May 10, 2021
Whole Number 155
54. ZERAH SPARKS (ca.1784-ca.1868)
(AND HIS KNOWN DESCENDANTS)
OF SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND ALABAMA
by Paul E. Sparks
FAMILY OF ZERAH THOMAS ["DIDD"] SPARKS
Seated (left to right):Thomas Young Sparks; Ida (Sherrill) Sparks; Watt Walley, holding Chester Walley; Myra (Sparks) Walley; Zerah Thomas Sparks; Mahala (Singleton) Sparks, holding A. G.Sparks; Andy Vaughn, holding Dennis Vaughn; Molly (Sparks) Vaughn.
Seated in front (left to right): Emma Lee Sparks and Belle Sparks.
Standing (left to right): Silas Sparks; Alfred Sparks; Bessie Sparks, William Sparks; Ola Sparks; Addie Sparks.
In window: Lucinda ["Lucie"] Marcella (Brock) Sparks, mother of Zerah Thomas.
(Photograph take ca. 1900-1905; see pages 3813-3815.)
[Editor's Note: For a considerable period of time, we have been corresponding with some descendants of Zerah Sparks who lived most of his life in the Union-Spartanburg Counties area of South Carolina, but who moved to Butts County, Georgia, ca. 1843, and then to Marshall County, Alabama, where he died shortly after the close of the Civil War. We have accumulated quite a bit of information about some of his descendants, but very little about Zerah, himself. We are now publishing the information that we have in the hope that some of our readers can help us to establish the identity of his parents.]
54. Zerah Sparks was born ca. 1784, probably in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and, undoubtedly, his parents (whose names we have not learned) were among the Sparkses who migrated to that county from Maryland ca. 1776. These Sparks families were headed by two men, 17.2 Matthew Sparks and 17.1 Thomas Sparks, probably brothers, each having a large number of children. (See the September 1955, Whole No. 11 and the March 1956, Whole No. 13 issues of the Quarterly, for further data about these Pittsylvania County, Virginia, families.)
The earliest official record that we have found of 54. Zerah Sparks is contained in the 1810 federal census of Union County, South Carolina, on which he was listed as the head of a household. His name appeared on line 53 on page 590 of that census. Three lines below his name were households headed by Thomas Sparks and Leonard Sparks. Zerah was enumerated in the 16-24 age group; Thomas was in the 26-45 age group; and Leonard was in the age group of persons over 45 years. Because of the proximity of these families, we are inclined to believe that they were closely related, probably a father (Leonard) and two sons, (Zerah and Thomas). Living in the household of Zerah Sparks was a female, probably his wife, aged 16-26; a male and a female, aged 10-16; and two males, aged under 10 years. The latter two males were probably sons of Zerah while the other children were probably relatives.
No record has been found of the first marriage of Zerah Sparks, nor have we learned the name of his wife. Apparently, she had been born ca. 1790. When the 1820 census was taken of Union County, she and Zerah had four children, all born between 1810 and 1820. One of the sons shown on the 1810 census as born between 1800 and 1810 had apparently died or was living in another household in 1820. Living near Zerah in 1820 were Thomas Sparks, Leonard Sparks, and Josiah Sparks, all over the age of 45 years.
by 1830, Zerah was living in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. His move from Union County probably involved his going a fairly short distance since Union County and Spartanburg County have a common boundary. Two sons and two daughters had been added to his family by 1830, and it seems obvious that, based on census records, he and his wife had had nine children born to them since their marriage ca. 1806. Another child, a son, was born to them in November 1831, making a total of ten children born to his first marriage. Zerah's wife probably died after the birth of her child in November 1831.
Zerah Sparks did not remain a widower for very long, and ca. 1834 he married (second) Luranna Horn. She had been born in November 1810 in North Carolina, although a tradition handed down by descendants indicates that she was born in the Dutch West Indies and was brought to North Carolina as a small child. When the 1840 census was taken, she and Zerah were still in Spartanburg County. by this time, they had three children of their own, two sons and a daughter. They also were shown as owning seven slaves.
Subsequent census records indicate that shortly after the 1840 census was taken, Zerah and Luranna left South Carolina and moved to North Carolina where they stayed until early in 1844 at which time they moved to Butts County, Georgia. Accompanying them on this move was Zerah's son, Francis Marion Sparks, and his family. In Zerah's household in 1840 were three of his children by his first marriage, William W. Sparks, John T. Sparks, and James Thomas Sparks, and there may have been others. When the 1850 census was taken of Butts County, which listed all members of each household by name, three of Zerah's sons, Marion Sparks, William Sparks, and John Sparks, were shown as heading their own households. Zerah was shown on the 1850 census as aged 66 and Luranna was shown as aged 38. With them were seven children: Russell, 14; Joshua, 11; Nancy, 10; Marzen [?], a male, aged 8; Meredith, 7; Zachariah, 6; and Moses, 2. In addition, James Thomas Sparks, aged 18, the youngest child of Zerah's first marriage, was also living in Zerah's household in 1850.
The 1835 cession of Indian lands in the Cherokee Nation led to the formation in 1836 of three Alabama counties: DeKalb, Cherokee, and Marshall. Settlers in these counties were no longer required to contract with the Indians for their land, but were now permitted to acquire land through "homesteading." Sometime between 1844 and 1850, Marion Sparks and James Sparks, sons of Zerah, went from their homes in Butts County, Georgia, to Marshall County, Alabama, where they homesteaded land. They probably returned to Butts County ca. 1850 to prepare their families for the move to Alabama.
Sometime after February 1853, Zerah and two of his sons, Marion and John, left Butts County with their families and moved to Little Wills Valley which was located near Lebanon, the county seat of DeKalb County, Alabama. It was there that Zerah?s son, James Thomas Sparks, was married in 1853, and James R. Sparks, son of Marion, was married there in 1855.
Zerah Sparks did not stay in Little Wills Valley very long, and shortly after February 1857, he moved to Marshall County. There, he settled at Red Apple, approximately two miles west of the present-day town of Boaz on Sand Mountain, at a place called Mount High (now non-existent). Mount High was quite probably located within the present-day city limits of Boaz and incorporated the Old Boaz Cemetery where Zerah was buried after his death ca. 1868.
When the 1860 census was taken of Marshall County, Zerah and Luranna Sparks were living in the village of Mount High. He was 80 years of age, and Luranna was 48. With them were their children: Joshua, 22; Nancy, 20; Amon, 18; Meredith, 16; Zachariah, 15; Moses, 11; Elizabeth J., 9; and Zerah, Jr., 7.
LURANNA (HORN) SPARKS,(1810-1903)
The Civil War undoubtedly caused great concern and anguish for the family of Zerah Sparks. Nine of his sons and two of his grandsons served in the Confederate Army. One of these sons, John T. Sparks, served in the Union Army after he was paroled from the Confederate Army, along with his son. Three sons apparently lost their lives because of the conflict.
The last records we have found pertaining to Zerah Sparks are some claim documents that he signed in connection with the death of his son, Amon Sparks, who died while in the military service. The final settlement was signed by Zerah Sparks on November 22, 1867. He was about 83 years of age at that time, and he probably died soon afterwards.
Zerah Sparks was buried in the Old Boaz Cemetery which apparently was closed for further burials ca. 1900. It was opened for the burial of Zerah's wife, Luranna (Horn) Sparks when she died in 1903, however, and she was buried beside her husband.
("The Old Boaz Cemetery," "The Sparks Cemetery of Boaz," and "The First Baptist Church Cemetery" at Boaz are one and the same. It is the cemetery situated alongside the First Baptist Church. A new cemetery is the Hillcrest Cemetery of Boaz. Locally these cemeteries are referred to as "The Old Boaz Cemetery" and "The New Boaz Cemetery, or Hillcrest Cemetery.")
by his first marriage, Zerah Sparks had ten children, making a total of twenty children by his two marriages. Of these twenty children, we can identify all of those by his second wife and six of those by his first marriage. All of these sixteen children, except two, lived in the DeKalb-Marshall Counties area of Alabama at one time or another. Here are the children of Zerah Sparks:
54.1 Son1 Sparks
54.2 Son2 Sparks
54.3 Nancy Sparks
54.4 Francis Marion Sparks
54.5 William ["Billy"] W. Sparks
54.6 Leonard Sparks
54.7 John T. Sparks
54.8 Dau1 Sparks
54.9 Dau2 Sparks
54.10 James Thomas ["Tom"] Sparks
Children by Luranna:
54.11 Russell Sparks
54.12 Joshua Sparks
54.13 Nancy Ann Sparks
54.14 Amon Sparks
54.15 Meredith ["Med"] Sparks
54.16 Zeriah Margaret Sparks
54.17 Zachariah T. Sparks
54.18 Moses Sparks
54.19 Elizabeth Sparks
54.20 Zerah Sparks, Jr.
54.3 Nancy Sparks,
A daughter whom we have been unable to identify was born to Zerah Sparks and his first wife born between 1810 and 1815. She may have been the Nancy Sparks who married Mathis Cook ca. 1835 in South Carolina and who settled later in DeKalb County, Alabama. If this is the case, it means that Zerah named two of his daughters Nancy (one by his first wife and one by his second). (See the September 1969 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 67, p. 1266, where we published a query regarding the Nancy Sparks whose husband was Mathis Cook; there we listed the five children of this union:
54.3.1 Nancy Cook, born August 21, 1837;
54.3.2 Joshua W. Cook, born July 14, 1839;
54.3.3 Martha Jane Cook, born January 1849;
54.3.4 "Liza" Cook; and
54.3.5 Mary Elizabeth Cook, born February 19, 1858.
The latter, however, may have been a daughter of the second wife of Mathis Cook.
54.4 Francis Marion Sparks, son of Zerah Sparks and his first wife, was born ca. 1813 in South Carolina. He was a blacksmith by trade, and he was usually referred to by his middle name, Marion. He married Elizabeth Horn, probably in South Carolina; however, no record has been found of that event. She had been born ca. 1811 in North Carolina according to census records, and she may have been a sister of Luranna Horn, the second wife of Zerah Sparks. Apparently, Elizabeth and Marion had a child who grew up as 54.4.1 James Robert Sparks and who was born May 8, 1832. In all likelihood, Bob (as he was called) was born prior to the marriage of his parents.
(The incident of a child being born out of wedlock, or prior to the marriage of the parents, was not uncommon in those days, and the families of the persons involved often forgot the matter in later years. In the case of Bob Sparks, son of Marion and Elizabeth (Horn) Sparks, however, the matter of his birth was not forgotten. Many years later, on April 6, 1859, Marion Sparks appeared before the Marshall County Probate Court and "adopted" James Robert Sparks, stating as his reason "so as to make him capable of inheriting my estate real and personal." The declaration was made before Judge Montgomery Gilbreath and was attested to by Luke Mizell and Thomas J. Cochran.)
Marion and Elizabeth were in Butts County, Georgia, when the 1850 census was taken, but shortly afterwards they moved to Alabama where they settled near the village of Aurora. When the 1870 census was taken of Marshall County, five Sparks families occupied houses enumerated by the census- taker as 367, 368, 369, 370, and 372. Living in House 372 were Marion and Elizabeth. Marion's brothers, Tom, Russell, and Moses, occupied Houses 367, 368, and 370, and Bob Sparks, son of Marion and Elizabeth, occupied House 369. Marion and Elizabeth died sometime after 1870.
54.4.1 James Robert ["Bob"] Sparks was born May 8, 1832, in South Carolina. He went with his parents to Butts County, Georgia, and then on to Alabama. It was there that he married Margaret E. Brock on January 4, 1855, in DeKalb County. She had been born ca. 1834 in North Carolina and was a daughter of Reuben Brock, a native of South Carolina. Bob and Margaret did not remain in DeKalb County very long, but moved to neighboring Marshall County.
According to a HISTORY OF BOAZ, ALABAMA, published in 1976 by the Boaz Chamber of Commerce, Bob Sparks sold 160 acres of land to J. L. Gillespie in 1877. The following year, he sold 500 acres to his uncle, Billy Sparks. The land was located on the site of present-day Boaz. It seems quite likely that Bob had inherited the land from his parents. He probably sold the land in preparation for a move to Greene County, Alabama, where he settled near Eutaw ca. 1880. Bob and Margaret (Brock) Sparks had six children according to the 1860 and 1870 censuses of Marshall County.
188.8.131.52 Adarina Sparks was born ca. 1856 in Marshall County.
184.108.40.206 Luranna Florentine Sparks was born ca. 1858 and was undoubtedly named for her great-grandmother, Luranna (Horn) Sparks. She married Dan Rogers on June 17, 1877, in Marshall County by S. B. Roberts in the home of her father. Witnesses were Meredith Sparks and John P. Beard.
220.127.116.11 Marion C. Sparks was born ca. 1859. He was quite likely the M. C.Sparks who married Norah Wade on July 29, 1877, in DeKalb County.
18.104.22.168 James Harris Sparks was born ca. 1861. He married Mary D.Upchurch on August 29, 1878, in Marshall County. His father gave permission for him to get a marriage license, and they were married by Jesse F. Miller, a justice of the peace, in the home of D. Upchurch. (The reason permission by his father was necessary was doubtless because he was not yet of age.)
22.214.171.124 Nancy A. E. Sparks was born ca. 1865.
126.96.36.199 Laura Sparks was born ca. 1867.
54.5 William W. ["Billy"] Sparks, son of Zerah Sparks and his first wife, was born December 28, 1818, in South Carolina. He went with his father to Butts County, Georgia, and it was there that he married Elizabeth W. Evans on December 10, 1844. She had been born on April 28, 1824, in Georgia, and was a daughter of
Archibald W. Evans David Evans. When the 1850 census was taken, Billy was described as a farmer in Butts County. Living on an adjacent farm was his brother, John Sparks, and his family.
MR. & MRS W. W. ["BILLY"] SPARKS
In 1878, a group of people in Butts County (including Billy Sparks) made the decision to move to the Sand Mountain plateau of Marshall County, Alabama. They were influenced by the stories they heard of the rich, easily-tillable soil. As reported in the HISTORY OF BOAZ, ALABAMA, mentioned above, on October 31, 1878, a wagon train, consisting of ten wagons drawn by horses and one wagon drawn by oxen, left Butts County and headed for the Sand Mountain area. There were 42 people and two dogs (Cricket and Touse) in the train, which was in charge of the wagon-master, Billy Sparks. They arrived at what is now the town of Boaz on November 11, 1878.
Four days later, on November 15, 1878, Billy Sparks bought 500 acres of land from his nephew, Bob Sparks, for $960. The land was located in what is today downtown Boaz. Billy divided it into lots and offered to give a lot to anyone who would start a business on it. According to the history referred to above, he gave land for the first store, the first public school, the first cemetery, and the first Baptist church. He built his home on Main Street. The town prospered and was named Boaz in 1886.
Billy Sparks died on January 4, 1891. His will was probated on February 7, 1891. In it he named four of his children: Sarah E. Williamson, Wesley W. Sparks, Martha A. Stewart, and Francis Marion Sparks. Billy named his son, Francis Marion Sparks, as his executor. All of the children lived in or near Boaz.
Elizabeth (Evans) Sparks died on June 24, 1893. She and Billy were buried in the "Sparks Cemetery," now called "The Old Boaz Cemetery." They had six children.
SALLY (SPARKS) WILLIAMSON (1846-1897)
54.5.1 Sarah ["Sally"] Elizabeth Sparks was born January 2, 1846, in Georgia. She married John Williamson in 1867, and they had four children prior to their divorce, after which she returned to the home of her parents. She became the first teacher in the town of Boaz and was also the first Worthy Matron of the Rebeccas there. She died on August 21, 1897. Children of John and Sally (Sparks) Williamson:
188.8.131.52 William Franklin Williamson was born July 28, 1868, in Georgia. He married Cora Mae Bullard.
184.108.40.206 Harriet ["Hattie"] Harkness Williamson was born ca. 1870 in Georgia. She married Dr. William T. Gillespie on February 16, 1888, in Marshall County, Alabama, by the Rev. G. B. Wade.
220.127.116.11 Martha A. ["Mattie"] Williamson was born February 26, 1872. She married William P. Turk in the home of James Gillespie on June 26, 1892, by Isaac Windsor.
18.104.22.168 Elizabeth Mandane Williamson was born ca. 1873 in Texas. She married T. A. Snellgrove on October 17, 1898, in Marshall County.
54.5.2 William Wesley Sparks was born October 2, 1848, in Georgia. He married Allie B. Stewart on September 6, 1874. She had been born in Georgia on February 17, 1847. She died on July 18, 1913, and Wesley (as he was called) died on August 20, 1915. They were buried in the Hillcrest Cemetery in Boaz. They were the parents of three children.
The Brice Building. Dr. D. A. Morton standing by the auto.
Next, leaning on the front of the auto, is HOWELL SPARKS
22.214.171.124 Howell Oscar ["H. O."] Sparks was born June 12, 1875. He married Lula May Quillian Trussell on May 1, 1898, in Marshall County, Alabama. She had been born June 17, 1879, in Georgia.
H. O. Sparks was a prominent businessman in the early days of Boaz.He built the two-story Brice Building on Main Street ca. 1909. When it was completed, a barber shop occupied one-half of the first floor and a grocery store occupied the rest. Upstairs, there was a photography shop and the telephone office. (The photographer charged twenty-five cents for taking a picture.) H. O. Sparks also and was postmaster from 1913 to served as a justice of the peace 1922. H. O. Sparks died on September 17, 1943, and his wife, Lula, died on December 9, 1963. They had four children:
126.96.36.199.1 Hubert Odell Sparks,
188.8.131.52.2 Martin Fowler Sparks,
184.108.40.206.3 Irma E. Sparks, and
220.127.116.11.4 Lovie B. Sparks
(Irma E. [Sparks] Johnson has been most helpful to us in the preparation of this article and has permitted us to use her copy of the GENERAL HISTORY OF BOAZ, ALABAMA, prepared by the Boaz Chamber of Commerce, from which we have reproduced several photographs.)
18.104.22.168 Joseph Curry Sparks was born ca. 1877.
22.214.171.124 Lillilous Sparks was born in October 1882. He was married and lived near Boaz. He had no children.
54.5.3 A. E. Sparks was born on May 13, 1854. She died on August 4, 1855.
54.5.4 Martha A. ["Mattie"] Sparks was born May 3, 1856. She married Sam Stewart. She died during the 1930s. She and Sam had seven children:
126.96.36.199 Lilly Stewart,
188.8.131.52 William Stewart,
184.108.40.206 Leonard Stewart,
220.127.116.11 Claude Stewart,
18.104.22.168 Homer Stewart,
22.214.171.124 Burma Stewart, and
126.96.36.199 Sally M. Stewart
54.5.5 Dau Sparks, was born to Billy and Elizabeth (Evans) Sparks; she married Lee Norris.
54.5.6 Francis Marion Sparks was born on April 15, 1862, in Butts County, Georgia, and was a sixteen-year-old lad when he arrived in Marshall County, Alabama, with his parents. He grew to manhood in Boaz and built a house on North Main Street. It was there that he brought his first wife, the former Mittice Thompson, ca. 1887. She was a daughter of James A. and Catherine M. (Wilkerson) Thompson. She died about a year after her marriage, and Marion (as he was called) was then married (second) to her sister, Elnora Samantha Thompson, on November 10, 1889. She had been born on September 19, 1861.
Marion Sparks engaged in several enterprises to gain a livelihood. He farmed, sold merchandise, performed carpentry work, and ran a grist mill that ground corn. He was a member of the Odd Fellows and a staunch Democrat in politics. He gave each of his children a good education for that day.
Elnora (Thompson) Sparks died on December 30, 1896, a few days after the birth of twin daughters. After her death, Marion continued to live in Boaz until his death, which occurred on July 26, 1924. His death broke up the family, and the twins, Nena and Nona, left Boaz for Nashville, Tennessee, where they made their homes. Marion and Elnora had six children.
188.8.131.52 Mertice ["Mertie"] Beatrice Sparks was born September 7, 1890. She married George Quincey Milwee on May 15, 1913. He had been born on October 10, 1888. Mertie died on November 3, 1954 and George died on November 1, 1959.
184.108.40.206 Florence Ophelia Sparks was born January 24, 1892. She married Henry P. Rosser on June 3, 1921. She died on October 26, 1875.
220.127.116.11 Olis Leon Sparks died at birth.
18.104.22.168 William Alexandria Sparks died when he was about one year old.
22.214.171.124 Nena Sparks was born December 11, 1896. She was a twin of Nona, below. She married the Rev. W. B. Woodall on January 21, 1927.
126.96.36.199 Nona Sparks was a twin of Nena Sparks (next above) and was born December 11, 1896. She did not marry and continues to live in Nashville, Tennessee.
54.6 Leonard Sparks, probable son of Zerah Sparks and his first wife, was born ca. 1822 in South Carolina. He married Zeriah Sparks ca. 1839, probably in Union County, South Carolina. They were in Union County when the 1850 census was taken, but between 1850 and 1854, they moved to Georgia where they finally settled in Gwinnett County.
We have found no official records to indicate that Leonard Sparks was a son of Zerah Sparks. Perhaps the strongest evidence of their relationship comes from the memory of Mrs. Hettie Hudgins of Albertville, Alabama. Mrs. Hudkins, a great-granddaughter of Leonard and Zeriah (Sparks) Sparks, remembers clearly being told by her grandfather, Tom Garrett, that William W. ["Billy"] Sparks and Moses Sparks (sons of Zerah Sparks) were her mother's great-uncles.
This information from Mrs. Hudgins was more or less corroborated by testimony from Mrs. Lula Banks of Anniston, Alabama, prior to her death in 1986. Mrs. Banks, also a descendant of Leonard and Zeriah (Sparks) Sparks, recalled that older generations of her family visited the family of William W. ["Billy"] Sparks in Boaz, Alabama, thus indicating a close relationship.
One final bit of evidence should also be mentioned: Zerah Sparks did, indeed, have a son (according to census records) who was born between 1820 and 1825.
(For futher details about the family of Leonard and Zeriah [Sparks] Sparks, see page 1762 of the September 1975 Quarterly, Whole No. 91; as well as pages 1841-52 of the September 1976 Quarterly, Whole No. 95; and pages 3368-69 of the March 1989 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 145.)
54.7 John Thomas Sparks was born ca. 1825 in South Carolina. He accompanied his father to Butts County, Georgia, in 1844, and it was there that he married Mary Ann Godwyn on October 1, 1845. She had been born ca. 1826 in Georgia. When the 1850 census was taken of Butts County, John and Mary Ann were shown with three children. They moved their family to DeKalb County, Alabama, ca. 1853 where they settled at Little Wills Valley.
With the outbreak of the Civil War, John T. Sparks enlisted as a sergeant in Company B (DeKalb Rifles) of the 49th Regiment Alabama Infantry. This unit fought in the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862. Later it formed part of the defense of Vicksburg until that city surrendered on July 4, 1863. It appears likely that Sparks was among the enlisted men who were paroled to return to their homes in North Alabama.
According to information given by his son, Francis, after John T. Sparks returned home from his service in the 49th Regiment Alabama Infantry, he served as the head of a company of scouts (or guides) for the Union forces in the northeastern part of Alabama. Francis Sparks stated that his father was the captain of Company A, 1st Regiment Alabama Cavalry of Independent Scouts and Guides in 1863; however, the Adjutant-General's Office, Washington, D.C., could find no records of that unit when requested for information in 1912. Francis Sparks stated at that time that he had served as a private in that company, under his father. (An abstract of the pension application file of Francis Marion Sparks appears in this issue of the Quarterly, beginning on page 3830.)
Because of his role as a guide for the Union troops, the family of John T. Sparks apparently suffered severely from the actions of Southern (Confederate) supporters. Francis Sparks related that his father's house had been burned, and that the family had been forced to leave their personal possessions to burn, also. Jesse Sparks, a son of John T. Sparks, was taken from his sick bed and exposed to the weather to escape the fire, which was the probable cause of his death shortly thereafter.
John T. Sparks died in DeKalb County, probably in late 1871. His wife and his daughter, Nancy Jane, signed a deed to sell a tract of land on January 8, 1872, in DeKalb County. His son, Francis, with his wife, Malinda, who were residents of Dunklin County, Missouri, at the time, also signed the deed there on February 1, 1872. No record has been found of the death of Mary Ann (Godwyn) Sparks. She and John T. Sparks had three children, all born in Georgia.
54.7.1 Nancy Jane Sparks was born ca. 1846. She may have been married twice. Her first marriage was to Jesse Cook on February 18, 1862, in DeKaib County, Alabama. They were married by the Rev. E. Storie. Her second marriage was, apparently, to Storie sometime prior to 1872, for she signed a deed in January of that year as "Nancy Jane Storie." We have no further information about her.
54.7.2 Francis Marion Sparks was born near Griffin, Georgia, ca. 1847 according to statements that he made in 1912 in his request for a pension for military service in the Union Army. He stated that he had served as a private in Company A commanded by Captain J. T. Sparks, of the 1st Regiment Alabama Cavalry, from 1863 until 1865. After leaving that service, he had been married to Lucinda Smith in DeKalb County on August 6, 1868.
Most of the information that we have about Francis Marion Sparks has come from the application which he made in 1912, as noted above. He was living at that time in the village of Rocky Ford in Otero County, Colorado. He stated that after his marriage in Alabama, he had moved to Missouri ca. 1870 where he had lived near the town of Clarkton in Dunklin County. He moved to Colorado ca. 1894.
[Editor's Note: We have a record of two Sparks graves in the Lulu Cemetery in Dunklin County, Missouri: Elmer Sparks, born June 17, 1895, and Ida Belle Sparks, born November 27, 1902, died July 24, 1965.]
(Although he made no reference to a second marriage in his 1912 pension application, it is obvious that Francis Marion Sparks had lost his first wife and that he had remarried ca. 1887. He made no reference to any children by his first marriage.)
In March 1912, the wife of Francis M. Sparks wrote a letter to support her husband's request for a pension. She addressed this letter to President Taft, and it is given in full as part of the abstract of Sparks's pension file beginning on page 3831. In this letter, Mrs. Sparks stated that she was twenty-one years younger than her husband, and that they had twelve children, the youngest being only eleven months old. At least three of their children were old enough to vote in 1912, thus they were born prior to 1891. Unfortunately, there was no mention of Mrs. Sparks's name in the pension papers of her husband which we have obtained from the National Archives ("Selected Papers" only), nor are the names of any of their children revealed.
54.7.3 Jesse T. Sparks was born ca. 1847. According to a statement contained in the application of his brother for a pension, he died during the Civil War from exposure to the weather after his parents' house was burned.
54.8 Dau1 Sparks born ca. 1828
54.9 Dau2 Sparks born ca. 1829
54.10 James Thomas ["Tom"] Sparks, son of Zerah Sparks, was born in November 1831 in South Carolina and was Zerah's youngest child by his first marriage. It appears likely that Tom's mother died when he was born. He was a young man when he, along with his brother, Marion, went to Marshall County, Alabama, to homestead land sometime between 1844 and 1850. When the 1850 census was taken of Butts County, Georgia, he was living in the household of his father.
In 1853, Tom Sparks, along with his father and two brothers, Marion and John T., moved to Little Wills Valley in DeKalb County, Alabama, and it was there that he married Lucinda ["Lucie"] Marcella Brock on September 15, 1853, by S. A. Taylor, M.G. The marriage license was dated September 12th. Lucie had been born ca. 1834 in Alabama and was a daughter of Harris and Nancy Brock. When the 1860 census was taken, Tom and Lucie were listed in DeKalb County, but they moved to Marshall County soon afterwards.
In March 1862, Tom Sparks enlisted in Company C, 48th Regiment Alabama Infantry, Confederate States Army, as a lieutenant. He was wounded in the Battle of Cedar Run (also called the Battle of Cedar Mountain) on August 9, 1862, and was hospitalized at Farmville, Virginia. He was returned to duty on January 24, 1863, and on the organizational list of General William Taliaferro's Brigade, he was noted as wounded "from the time that General Lee took command at Gordonville, Virginia, until the army left the Valley." He was discharged with the rank of captain on May 18, 1865. He still had a musket ball in his leg when he died.
(The 48th Regiment Alabama Infantry suffered heavy casualties during the Civil War. Of the 1,006 men who formed the unit at the outset of the war, fewer than 100 were left to surrender at Appomattox in 1865. The unit fought in a dozen major battles. At Russells Mill, Virginia, it went into battle with 315 men and came out with only 54 who were not casualties. Four of the sons of Zerah Sparks served in Company C of this regiment.)
After he returned from the war, Tom and Lucie spent the remainder of their lives in or near Guntersville. Tom was elected town marshal of Guntersville in 1874 and was sworn into that office on January 14, 1875, by the mayor, J. P. Beard. by 1880, he and Lucie were living on Wyeth Mountain, a point of Sand Mountain overlooking Guntersville on the Tennessee River. It was there that Tom died on February 5, 1901. Lucie died just a week later, on February 12th. They were buried in the Rehobeth Cemetery located two miles east of Guntersville. They were the parents of at least nine children.
54.10.1 William L. ["Bill"] Sparks was born ca. 1855 in DeKalb County. He married Susana E. Jones on October 7, 1872, in Marshall County. He died shortly after his marriage and left no children.
54.10.2 Zerah Thomas ["Didd"] Sparks was born June 1, 1857. He married Mary Mahala Singleton on March 17, 1875, in Marshall County. She had been born on May 4, 1859, in Pike County, Georgia, and was a daughter of Wyatt and Narcissus ["Cissy"] Singleton. Didd and Mary Mahala Sparks lived the rest of their lives in Marshall County where they reared twelve children. Mary Mahala died on May 18, 1919, and Didd died on January 10, 1929. They were buried in the Rehobeth Cemetery. A photograph of the family of Didd Sparks appears on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly. The twelve children were:
188.8.131.52 Thomas ["Tommy"] Young Sparks was born January 25, 1876. He married Ida Catherine Sherrill on January 12, 1899, in Marshall County. She had been born on August 4, 1875. Tommy died on November 5, 1936, and Ida died on February 29, 1948. They were buried in the Rehobeth Cemetery. They had five children, including an unnamed daughter who died at birth. The four surviving children were: Lila Bunella, Elmer Jordan, Sibyl Louise, and Otha Elson. Lila Bunella Sparks is the mother of Billie (Hill) Thompson who has been most helpful in the preparation of this article.
184.108.40.206 Elmira ["Mira"] Lucy Sparks was born May 4, 1878. She married Herman Wadkins Walley on March 4, 1898. She died on March 14, 1942.
220.127.116.11 William ["Willie"] Alvin Sparks was born December 14, 1880. He married Matilda Ann Townsend on December 23, 1900. He died on December 29, 1935.
18.104.22.168 Mary ["Molly"] Frances Sparks was born March 15, 1882. She married Andrew ["Andy"] E. Vaughn on November 13, 1898. She died on March 10, 1960.
22.214.171.124 Nancy Elizabeth ["Bessie"] Sparks was born May 29, 1884. She married Sam Thrift, Jr. on December 23, 1900, in a "double wedding" ceremony with her brother, Willie Sparks, at the home of their father. She died on October 9, 1976.
126.96.36.199 Alfred Sparks was born February 10, 1886, in Marshall County, and it was there that he married Mary Annie Colquitt on April 10, 1910. She had been born on October 15, 1886, in Marshall County and was a daughter of Robert P. and Margaret (Pugh) Colquitt. Annie (as she was called) died on July 13, 1971. Alfred died on May 20, 1984. They had ten children:
188.8.131.52.1 Clara Sparks,
184.108.40.206.2 Mildred Sparks,
220.127.116.11.3 Clyde Sparks,
18.104.22.168.4 Margaret Sparks,
22.214.171.124.5 Edgar Sparks,
126.96.36.199.6 Annie Sparks,
188.8.131.52.7 Ollie Sparks,
184.108.40.206.8 Ellie Sparks,
220.127.116.11.9 Iva Sparks, and
18.104.22.168.10 Verde Rae Sparks.
Iva (Sparks) Edmonson has been most helpful in collecting and sharing information for this article and has furnished many of the pictures.
22.214.171.124 Silas Sparks was born February 15, 1888. He died on November 9, 1974. He never married.
126.96.36.199 Eva Adeline ["Addie"] Sparks was born June 6, 1890. She married Buster Baugh on April 6, 1912. She died on March 8, 1936.
188.8.131.52 Viola ["Ola"] Magnolia Sparks was born May 2, 1891. She married Thomas Sherman Dye on December 29, 1909. She died on June 25, 1974.
184.108.40.206 Annie Belle Sparks was born April 3, 1894. She married Virgil Loveless Holder on January 14, 1914. She died on January 10, 1963. She and Virgil had nine children:
220.127.116.11.1 Talmadge Holder,
18.104.22.168.2 Zada Holder,
22.214.171.124.3 Hershell Holder,
126.96.36.199.4 Lula Holder,
188.8.131.52.5 Evelyn Holder,
184.108.40.206.6 Hazel Holder,
220.127.116.11.7 Bervil Holder,
18.104.22.168.8 Virgil Holder, Jr., and
22.214.171.124.8 Mary Holder.
126.96.36.199 Emma Lee Sparks was born May 9, 1896. She never married. She died on February 8, 1958.
188.8.131.52 A. G. ["G."] Sparks was born August 25, 1897. He married Bertha Smith. He died on June 6, 1963.
54.10.3 John Harris Sparks, son of Tom and Lucie (Brock) Sparks, was born in DeKalb County, Alabama in December 1859. He married Mattie Rodden on February 28, 1878, in Marshall County, Alabama, and they had at least one child, 184.108.40.206 Belle Sparks, born ca. 1880. John moved to Texas, and we have no further information about him.
54.10.4 Nancy A. ["Nannie"] Sparks was born ca. 1861. She married John Preston Rodgers on August 25, 1881, in Marshall County. They had at least seven children: Mollie Rodgers, Martha ["Mattie"] Delilah Rodgers, Cora Rodgers, Addie Rodgers, Evie Rodgers, and Elvie Rodgers (twins who died in infancy), and Belle Rodgers. There may have been one other daughter named Fannie.
54.10.5 Mary ["Molly"] M. Sparks was born ca. 1863 in Marshall County It was there that she married William H. Hart on December 29, 1880. They moved to Texas.
54.10.6 Henry V. Sparks was born on December 14, 1864. He married Sarah Adeline Rice on December 3, 1892. Henry died on August 8, 1922. He and Sarah had ten children, but only six of them survived infancy. They were:
220.127.116.11 Thomas Sparks,
18.104.22.168 Joseph Sparks,
22.214.171.124 Mary Evelyn ["Eva"] Sparks,
126.96.36.199 Robert Sparks,
188.8.131.52 Jasper ["Jack"] Sparks, and
184.108.40.206 John Sparks.
Descendants of Henry V. Sparks state that he also had a daughter, Emma Sparks, with Mary Dillard before his marriage to Sarah A. Rice. (Mary Dillard was a widow whose husband had been killed while working on a barge on the Tennessee River.)
54.10.7 James ["Jim"] Leonard Sparks was born June 12, 1873. He married Mary Anne Elizabeth Abilene Singleton on August 14, 1892, in Marshall County. Mary (as she was called) had been born on August 5, 1877. She and Jim had nine children:
220.127.116.11 Josephus Sparks,
18.104.22.168 James Thomas Sparks,
22.214.171.124 Lillie Leona Sparks,
126.96.36.199 Mamie Adeline Sparks,
188.8.131.52 Jesse Forney Sparks,
184.108.40.206 Mary Frances Sparks,
220.127.116.11 Lucie Cleo Sparks,
18.104.22.168 Daisy Maybelle Sparks, and
22.214.171.124 Emma Coelle Sparks.
Descendants of Jim Sparks state that he also had a son, Ed Sparks, with Mary Dillard before his marriage to Mary Singleton. (As noted above, Mary Dillard was a widow whose husband had been killed while working on a barge on the Tennessee River.)
54.10.8 Ezekiel ["Zeke"] Sparks was born December 24, 1875. He married Jane Grayson on May 1, 1898 She had been born on May 25, 1878, in Marshall County. Zeke died on November 12, 1939, and Jane died on December 5, 1948. They were buried in the Rehobeth Cemetery at Guntersville, Alabama. They had two children, Dovie and John.
54.11 Russell Sparks, son of Zerah and Luranna (Horn) Sparks, was born ca. 1836 in South Carolina. He went with his parents to Georgia and then with them to Alabama. He married Matilda Elizabeth Hill on December 31, 1857, in DeKalb County. She had been born ca. 1842 in Georgia. When the 1860 census was taken, she and Russell were living in Marshall County.
On July 1, 1863, Russell enlisted as a private in Company B, commanded by Capt. Rob A. Peterson, of the 61st Regiment Alabama Infantry, at Gadsen, Alabama. There is some indication that he left that military unit a few days later. Perhaps the news that Vicksburg, Mississippi, had fallen to the Union forces on July 4th had something to do with his decision to leave.
Russell and Elizabeth (as she was called) were listed on the 1870 and 1880 censuses of Marshall County, Alabama. They lived in the village of Red Apple, and Russell's mother and his brother, Zerah Sparks, Jr., were living in their household in 1870. Russell's mother was also living with them in 1880.
Russell Sparks was a doctor. He was killed accidentally in 1889 while returning home after calling on a patient. He had stayed with a sick child until after midnight on Sunday, April 7, 1889, and was probably asleep on his horse when the animal became frightened and threw him to the ground. He landed on his head and was killed instantly. The incident was reported in the Guntersville Democrat on the following Thursday as follows:
Tidings from Boaz, sixteen miles south of here, gives meagre [sic] particulars of the accidental killing of Dr. Russell Sparks. His body was found Monday morning lying in the road near Boaz and the fact of his horse turning up at home without him gives the idea that he was thrown from his horse, his head striking first, causing instant death. Dr. Sparks was a good man and a successful physician.
The will of Russell Sparks was probated on April 18, 1889, and his wife, Elizabeth, was named as his executrix. Children named in the will were:
Loranna (Sparks) Croft,
Redolah (Sparks) Tidwell,
Nancy (Sparks) Thornhill,
Cora D. Sparks,
Addison G. Sparks,
William R. Sparks, and
Minnie R. Sparks.
54.11.1 Luranna E. Sparks was born ca. 1858. She married Thomas W. Croft on December 20, 1875, by the Rev. A. N. Curry. R. Sparks, father of the bride, and T. W. Croft, father of the groom, gave their permission to the marriage.
54.11.2 Redolah E. Sparks was born ca. 1861. She married Charles W. Tidwell on May 5, 1881, in Marshall County by the Rev. J. M. Morton. T.W. Croft was the bondsman.
54.11.3 Marion J. Sparks was born ca. 1866. He probably died when young.
54.11.4 Amon Walter Sparks was born ca. 1869. He was killed by lightning when he was a small boy.
54.11.5 Nancy A. Sparks was born ca. 1871. She married Jesse Thornhill on September 6, 1888.
54.11.6 Cora D. Sparks was born ca. 1873. She married Jesse J. Dodd on December 23, 1890, by John L. Black at Red Apple.
54.11.7 Rutha Sparks was born ca. 1876.
54.11.8 Jesse O. Sparks was born ca. 1878.
54.11.9 Addison G. Sparks was born ca. 1880. He married Alice B. Dobbs on November 23, 1903.
54.11.10 William R. Sparks was born ca. 1882.
54.11.11 Minnie R. Sparks was born ca. 1886.
54.12 Joshua A. Sparks was born ca. 1839. On his military record, he gave his birthplace as Gwinnett County, Georgia. He married Elizabeth Williamson on July 12, 1861, in Marshall County by Judge M. Gilbreath.
Joshua A. Sparks enlisted as a 2nd Corporal in Company C, commanded by Capt. W. S. Walker, of the 48th Regiment Alabama Infantry of the Confederate States Army on April 7, 1862, at Warrenton, Alabama. He was hospitalized for sickness and wounds at Winchester, Virginia, on August 9, 1862, but apparently he was sent home from there on a medical furlough. He died at his home on May 5, 1863. The cause of his death was recorded as "Alabama fever."
According to the military records of Joshua Sparks, his widow, Elizabeth, made a settlement with the authorities by which she accepted compensation for his transportation from Richmond, Virginia, to Warrenton, Alabama, (1550 miles) in lieu of money due for his furlough. Daniel C. Williamson witnessed her signature. We have no further records of this couple.
54.13 Nancy Ann Sparks, daughter of Zerah and Luranna (Horn) Sparks, was born January 29, 1840, in South Carolina. She married Richard Franklin Gibbs on November 14, 1867, by G. A. Dulin. Richard had been born on March 7, 1848, in Alabama and was a son of William and Winney ( ) Gibbs. (See also 55.20, below.) Richard and Nancy lived in the Red Apple-Boaz area of Marshall County, Alabama, until their seven children were born, and they then moved to Texas. They returned to Alabama and lived for a while in Winston County before settling down on Brindlee Mountain in Marshall County.
According to descendants of this couple, Nancy Ann's wedding shoes (moccasins) were made for her by her brother, John T. Sparks. When the 1900 census was taken of Marshall County, Nancy and Richard had three children living with them. Also living in their household was Nancy 5 mother, Luranna (Horn) Sparks, now 90 years of age. Nancy died on September 12, 1923, and Richard died on July 27, 1927. They were buried in the Friendship Cemetery near Boaz. They had seven children.
54.13.1 William Richard Gibbs was born November 29, 1868. He married Sallie L. Starnes on August 21, 1890, by L. P. Carroll.
54.13.2 Zerah Thomas Gibbs was born September 15, 1872. He married Eliza Gray.
54.13.3 John Franklin Gibbs was born April 27, 1873. He married Sallie Martin on August 30, 1893. His bondsman was Z. T. Gibbs.
54.13.4 Viola Rufair Gibbs was born February 28, 1875. She married William Evans on August 21, 1890, by L. P. Carroll.
54.13.5 Daniel Benjamin Gibbs was born January 22, 1878. He married Sarah Eubanks on February 8, 1904, by M. Sparks.
54.13.6 James Jordan ["Poke"] Gibbs was born February 17, 1881. He married Viola Jones on October 19, 1905, by M. Sparks.
54.13.7 Henry Moses ["Bud"] Gibbs was born March 17, 1885. He married Johnie Whitworth on November 19, 1908, at the home of A. J. Whitworth by the Rev. M. Sparks.
54.14 Amon Sparks was born ca. 1842 in South Carolina, and was eighteen years of age and living with his parents when the 1860 census was taken of Marshall County, Alabama. On April 7, 1862, he enlisted as a private in Company C, commanded by Capt. W. S. Walker, of the 48th Regiment Alabama Infantry, Confederate States Army. He died of measles at Auburn, Alabama, on May 15, 1862.
On December 7, 1862, Zerah Sparks, father of Amon, received $39.30 from J. L. Sheffield as the settlement of his son's military account. On November 22, 1867, Marion Sparks, a justice of the peace, processed documents related to the death of Amon Sparks. The documents were signed by Zerah Sparks and witnessed by Russell Sparks.
54.15 Meredith ["Med"] Sparks was born April 11, 1842. He gave his birthplace as Greenville, South Carolina, on his military records. On April 7, 1862, he enlisted as a corporal in Company C, commanded by Capt. W. S. Walker, of the 48th Regiment Alabama Infantry, Confederate States Army, at Warrenton, Alabama. His brothers, Joshua and Amon, enlisted on the same day.
MEREDITH ["MED"] SPARKS (1842-1921)
Many years later, on May 29, 1898, Med Sparks applied to the State of Alabama for a pension for his military service in the Confederate States Army. He stated that he had served as a private in Company C, 48th Regiment Alabama Troops. While in discharge of his duties on August 9 1862, he had been wounded in his left side at the Battle of Cedar Run, Virginia. He also stated that he was a farmer and that his post office was McVille, Alabama. (Present-day McVille is a little crossroads community with roads leading to Albertville, Guntersville, Scottsboro, and Collinsville.)
Med Sparks was examined by Dr. W. E. Quin in June 1899 who found that he had been struck by a piece of shell in his lower chest just to the left of his stomach and slightly below his heart. Sparks's heart was enlarged and affected his entire system so that he could not labor. Dr. Quin reported that Sparks claimed that he had been discharged three times from the military service on account of the wound.
Med Sparks's application for a pension from the state of Alabama was approved, and he was placed in the Third Class of pensioners on the DeKalb County Pension Roll. A census of Confederate soldiers was taken in 1907 by the state of Alabama, on which Med Sparks was listed as having been born on April 11, 1842, near Spartanburg, South Carolina. He had enlisted in the Confederate States Army at Warrington [sic], Alabama, (no date given). He had been wounded in the Battle of Cedar Run, Virginia, on August 1, 1863. He was discharged on October 27, 1863, at Emory College, Washington County, Virginia.
On January 15, 1915, Sparks applied to be placed in the Second Class of pensioners, giving as his reason that he was now over seventy years of age. He stated that he had been born in North Carolina on April 11, 1842.
No record has been found of the marriage of Meredith ["Med"] Sparks; however, he had very likely returned from his military service before his marriage to Nancy R. ["Dink"] Watts ca. 1865. She had been born on March 25, 1846, in Cherokee County, Alabama, and was a daughter of Daniel Dodson Watts, a native of South Carolina. She was also a sister of Eli A. Watts whose marriage to Med's sister, 54.16 Zeriah Margaret Sparks, took place in 1869. (See below.)
After his marriage, Med Sparks moved north of Boaz and settled just across the Marshall-DeKalb Counties line. Most of his children lived in or near his homeplace, and he still has many descendants living in this area today According to his grandchildren, although he was small in stature, he had strong principles, and he always "stood his ground" for what he believed was right. He was a country lawyer, a doctor, and a preacher. He gave land for the Freeman Chapel Methodist Church in which he was active until his death.
Dink Sparks died on January 17, 1921; Med died on June 30, 1930. They were buried in the Freeman Chapel Methodist Church Cemetery. They were the parents of ten children.
54.15.1 Luranna Sparks was born ca. 1866. She married Hewlett Harrison Freeman on February 14, 1884, at the home of Meredith ["Med"] Sparks by Jesse F. Miller, a justice of the peace. She and Hewlett had at least seven children:
126.96.36.199 Jesse Freeman,
188.8.131.52 Raymond Freeman,
184.108.40.206 Dillard Freeman,
220.127.116.11 Johnny Freeman,
18.104.22.168 James Freeman,
22.214.171.124 Marvin Freeman, and
126.96.36.199 Georgia Freeman.
54.15.2 William John Sparks was born ca. 1868. He married Martha Jane Freeman on November 12, 1888, by H. P. Berry, P.C. John (as he apparently was called) and Martha Jane had at least eleven children:
188.8.131.52 Minnie Sparks,
184.108.40.206 Lena Sparks,
220.127.116.11 Albert Sparks,
18.104.22.168 Alvin Sparks,
22.214.171.124 Alma Sparks,
126.96.36.199 Pluma Sparks,
188.8.131.52 Ella Sparks,
184.108.40.206 Lola Sparks,
220.127.116.11 Dewey Sparks,
18.104.22.168 Luther Sparks, and
22.214.171.124 Clinton Sparks.
54.15.3 George W. ["Kip"] Sparks was born ca. 1870. He married Frances Gertrude Cobb on October 17, 1891. Kip may have died a few years afterwards; his wife had remarried prior to 1900. They had three children:
126.96.36.199 Nancy Sparks,
188.8.131.52 William David Sparks, and
184.108.40.206 Minnie Sparks.
54.15.4 James R. ["Jim"] Sparks was born ca. 1872. He married Annie E. Petty on June 5, 1892, by the Rev. R. W. Roe. They moved to Arkansas.
54.15.5 Meredith ["Tump"] Sparks, Jr. was born ca. 1874. He married Mrs. Octavia ["Taza"] (Sams) Jones on November 26, 1896. She had been born ca. 1878 in Georgia. Tump and Taza Sparks had at least eight children:
220.127.116.11 William Sparks,
18.104.22.168 Martha Sparks,
22.214.171.124 Lewis Sparks,
126.96.36.199 Gusty Sparks,
188.8.131.52 Georgia Sparks,
184.108.40.206 Doris Sparks,
220.127.116.11 Vera Sparks, and
18.104.22.168 Monroe Sparks.
54.15.6 Ida E. Sparks was born ca. 1876. She married John C. Selvage on January 11, 1894, by R. W. Roe. They had at least three children: Zula Selvage, Nettie Selvage, and Bertha Selvage.
54.15.7 Arthur C. ["Morman"] Sparks was born ca. 1878. He married Eliza J. Painter on December 1, 1898, by J. R. Nix, Clergyman. She was a daughter of G. W. Painter. Morman and Eliza had at least one child, George W. Sparks. They moved to Etowah County, Alabama.
54.15.8 Mary ["Molly"] Frances Sparks was born ca. 1879. She married Phillip A. Thornhill on February 18, 1898, by J. M. Miller, Minister. Molly and Phillip had at least one child, Lovie.
54.15.9 Willis Asbury Sparks was born September 17, 1884. He married Ruby Brock, a daughter of Marvin Brock. They had at least four children:
22.214.171.124 Fred Sparks,
126.96.36.199 Nellie Lee Sparks,
188.8.131.52 Leonard Sparks, and
184.108.40.206 Jessie Myrtle Sparks.
Willis died on August 14, 1937, and was buried in the Freeman Chapel Cemetery.
54.15.10 Martha ["Dolly"] Sparks was born ca. 1887. She married Charles Williams.
54.16 Zeriah Margaret Sparks was born ca. 1844 in South Carolina. She married Eli A. Watts on September 12, 1869, in Marshall County. He had been born on October 14, 1849, in Cherokee County, Alabama, and was a son of Daniel Dodson Watts; thus, he was a brother of Nancy R. ["Dink"] Watts who married Zeriah's brother, 54.15 Meredith Sparks. (See above.) Eli A. Watts moved to Arkansas where he died on March 3, 1925. Relatives say that Zeriah Margaret preceded her husband in death, but they do not know whether she died in Alabama or Arkansas; neither do they know whether there were any children born to this marriage.
54.17 Zachariah T. Sparks, was born ca. 1845 in North Carolina and was a tiny baby when his parents carried him to to Butts County, Georgia. He accompanied his parents on their move to Marshall County, Alabama, and was listed in their household on the 1860 census as a sixteen-year-old lad. He apparently returned to Butts County shortly thereafter, for on May 15, 1864, he enlisted in Company G, of the 3rd Regiment Georgia Reserves commanded by Capt. T. W. Thurman, Confederate States Army.
After the war ended, Zachariah Sparks married Lucy A. Stodgill on July 18, 1866, in Butts County. They settled down to housekeeping in the village of Worthville where Zachariah became a businessman. He was postmaster of Worthville for a while and was also a grocer and confectioner. In 1883, he was listed as a carpenter in the Georgia Gazetteer and Business Directory.
When the 1870 census was taken of Butts County, Georgia, Zachariah Sparks and his family were living near the village of Indian Springs. The census taker recorded Zachariah's age as 23 years and his birthplace as North Carolina. His wife's name was recorded as Susan; however, it seems quite likely that someone miscopied her given name, which was Lucy. She was aged twenty-one years. With them were children named 54.17.1 Jesse G. Sparks, aged two years; and 54.17.2 Nancy C. Sparks, aged one year.
54.18 Moses Sparks was born February 22, 1847, in Butts County, Georgia, and was thus a six-year-old boy when he went to Alabama where he grew to manhood in the Boaz area of Sand Mountain in Marshall County. When he was fourteen years old, he enlisted in Company I of the 30th Regiment Alabama Infantry, Confederate States Army. After returning from military service, Moses Sparks married Susan Scott on November 8, 1868, by D. C. Williamson. She had been born on April 2, 1846, in Alabama. She and Moses had eight children before her death on April 2, 1888. She was buried in the Friendship Cemetery near the village of Arab. Shortly before the death of Susan, Moses moved west of Boaz to Brindlee Mountain, near the village of Arab. There he lived for the remainder of his life, and many of his descendants still live in the Guntersville-Arab area of Marshall County.
Moses Sparks was married three more times after the death of Susan. He married (second) Josephine Claborn on November 23, 1889, by J. G. Davis. His third marriage was to Alabama McGhee, and his fourth marriage was to Lucille Merrell on April 19, 1929.
Moses Sparks was a deeply religious man. In 1935, he recalled his ministry in the Old Baptist Church. He stated that he had been converted when he was about twenty-one years old and shortly afterwards he began talking ("preaching") in public. He was soon "liberated to preach," and after a year or two, he was ordained as a minister. He was called to serve as the pastor of the Rocky Mount Church on Brindlee Mountain and served that church for forty-eight years. He also found time to serve other churches in the Mt. Zion Association. He frequently walked a distance of twenty- five miles to conduct a church service on Sunday.
Moses Sparks died on March 3, 1937, and was buried in the Rocky Mount Church Cemetery. He had eight children, all of them by his firstwife, Susan.
54.18.1 Mary C. Sparks was born August 12, 1869. She had one child, Effie, who married M. Ammon Terrell on November 30, 1902.
54.18.2 Winnie Sparks was born ca. 1871. She married W. A. Bobo on December 8, 1887, by T. A. Street, a justice of the peace. Winnie and W. A. had eight children:
220.127.116.11 Ole Bobo,
18.104.22.168 Sevetes ["Veets"] Bobo,
22.214.171.124 Buster Bobo,
126.96.36.199 Clyde Bobo,
188.8.131.52 Lovey Bobo,
184.108.40.206 Fannie Bobo,
220.127.116.11 Lilly Bobo, and
18.104.22.168 Buna Bobo.
54.18.3 Liza M. Sparks was born ca. 1874. She married John E. Jarrett on October 4, 1893, by the Rev. M. F. Taylor, M.G. Liza and John had eight children:
22.214.171.124 Russell Jarrett,
126.96.36.199 Ed Jarrett,
188.8.131.52 A. B. Jarrett,
184.108.40.206 Ola Jarrett,
220.127.116.11 Lizzie Jarrett,
18.104.22.168 Ruby Jarrett,
22.214.171.124 Loreal Jarrett, and
126.96.36.199 Oma Jarrett.
54.18.4 John Russell Sparks was born December 2, 1877. He married Delia May Cornelious on February 5, 1896, by Elder M. Sparks. John died on October 2, 1961. He and Delia had eight children:
188.8.131.52 Belvie Sparks,
184.108.40.206 Claude Sparks,
220.127.116.11 Maude Sparks,
18.104.22.168 Moses Emmett Sparks,
22.214.171.124 Ethel Sparks,
126.96.36.199 Lois Sparks,
188.8.131.52 Buster Sparks, and
184.108.40.206 Dole Sparks.
54.18.5Sarah S ["Sally"] Sparks was born in the spring of 1880. She married Earley W. Rains on September 22, 1898, by J. C. Shelton. Theyhad six children:
220.127.116.11 Vassie Rains,
18.104.22.168 Alkie Rains,
22.214.171.124 Clifford Rains,
126.96.36.199 Lionel Rains,
188.8.131.52 J. T. Rains, and
184.108.40.206 Elvin Rains.
54.18.6 Jeannette J. Sparks was born in April 1883. She was married twice. Her first marriage was to G. A. Jones on December 29, 1901, by the Rev. A. Whitworth. They had four children:
220.127.116.11 Barbara Jones,
18.104.22.168 Clifford Jones,
22.214.171.124 Cecil Jones, and
126.96.36.199 Flora Jones.
Her second marriage was to - Terrell, and they had two children:
188.8.131.52 BessieTerrell and
(Left to right) Moses Emmett Sparks, Moses Ezekiel Sparks
John Russell Sparks (1877-1961), & Moses Sparks (1847-1937)
(Photograph taken ca. 1935)
54.18.7Frances C. ["Fannie"] Sparks was born in May 1887. She married William H. Jones on December 31, 1903, by J. T. Stewart, M.G. They had three children:
184.108.40.206 Ima Jones,
220.127.116.11 Lucille Jones, and
18.104.22.168 Clarence Jones.
54.18.8Dola Marilda Sparks was born ca. 1888. She married Cargal Cornelious, and they had six children:
22.214.171.124 Ollie Cornelious,
126.96.36.199 Clyde Cornelious,
188.8.131.52 Earl Cornelious,
184.108.40.206 Gladys Cornelious,
220.127.116.11 Cwilla Eva Cornelious, and
18.104.22.168 Estelle Cornelious.
54.19 Elizabeth Jane Sparks was born June 17, 1851, in Butts County, Georgia. She married James M. ["Lonzo"] Gibbs on January 18, 1869, in Marshall County by G. A. Dulin, a justice of the peace. Lonzo had been born on December 2, 1850, in Alabama and was a son of William and Winney Gibbs; thus, he was a brother of Richard Franklin Gibbs who had been married to Elizabeth Jane's sister, 54.13 Nancy Ann Sparks, in 1867. (See 54.13, above.) Elizabeth Jane and Lonzo Gibbs were living in Marshall County when the 1900 census was taken. It was probably there that Lonzo died on November 6, 1902, and was buried in the First Baptist Church Cemetery at Boaz. Elizabeth Jane died on July 15, 1927, and was buried in the Hopewell Baptist Cemetery in DeKalb County. They had eleven children.
54.19.1 Mary E. Gibbs was born ca. 1870. She married Alexander McCarty on December 4, 1889.
54.19.2 James M. Gibbs, Jr., was born ca. 1873.
54.19.3 William J. Gibbs was born ca. 1876.
54.19.4 General Wesley Gibbs was born ca. 1879.
54.19.5 Russell M. Gibbs was born in February 1881.
54.19.6 Lou G. Gibbs was born in January 1883.
54.19.7 Winnie L. Gibbs was born in March 1886.
54.19.8 Lilly M. Gibbs was born in February 1888.
54.19.9 Alonzo S. Gibbs was born in March 1890.
54.19.10 Eddie L. Gibbs was born in June 1893.
54.19.11 Melvin C. Gibbs was born in March 1899.
54.20 Zerah Sparks, Jr. was born May 6, 1852, probably in Alabama, although there is a possibility that he was actually born in Georgia and carried as a baby to Alabama. He married Mary Jane Windsor on March 16, 1871. She had been born on November 6, 1852, in Alabama, and was a daughter of John D. and Amanda (Adrian) Windsor. A copy of the family Bible records of Zerah and Mary Jane is in the possession of Mrs. O. D. Sparks of Rainsville, Alabama. She has shared these records and also a picture of Luranna (Horn) Sparks with us. (See page 3804 of this issue of the Quarterly for the picture of Luranna Sparks.) Mary Jane Sparks died on November 30, 1930, and Zerah Sparks died on July 16, 1939. They were buried in the Wesley Cemetery in DeKalb County. They were the parents of thirteen children.
54.20.1 John F. Sparks was born June 21, 1871. He married Prudie Ann ---- who was born March 19, 1877. Both he and Prudie Ann were buried in the Wesley Cemetery in DeKalb County. John died on July 9, 1950.
54.20.2 Vianna Sparks was born July 12, 1873. She was married twice. Her first marriage was to Knight, and her second marriage was to Chandler.
54.20.3 Mary ["Polly"] Sparks was born April 3, 1875.
54.20.4 General Washington Sparks was born August 22, 1877. He married Louise Mize, and they had at least two children,
22.214.171.124 Jesse LeeSparks was born January 30, 1902. He married Dorothy Melissa Godwin, a daughter of Virgil and Willie (Champion) Godwin. They were the grandparents of Donald Wayne Sparks whose obituary was given on page 3750 of the March 1991 issue of the Quarterly.
126.96.36.199 Virgil Sparks.
54.20.5 Orpha Palistine Sparks was born January 8, 1879.
54.20.6Charles Russell Sparks was born December 18, 1881.
54.20.7 William Joshua Sparks was born January 26,1883.
54.20.8 Amanda Y. Sparks was born February 8, 1885.
54.20.9 Roy H. Sparks was born July 13, 1887. He married Leila J.
54.20.10 Isaac W. Sparks was born September 18, 1889.
54.20.11 Rufus R. Sparks was born May 6, 1891.
54.20.12 Nettie P. Sparks was born December 22, 1893.
54.20.13 Margaret ["Maggie"] Sparks was born August 22, 1895.
Whole Number 178
A CORRECTION AND A QUERY
PERTAINING TO THE FAMILY OF 54. ZERAH SPARKS (ca.1784-ca.1868)
In the Quarterly of September 1991, Whole No. 155, we published an article entitled "Zerah Sparks (ca.1784-ca.1868) and His Known Descendants, of South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. Zerah Sparks probably was born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. He lived the early portion of his adult life in the Union Spartanburg-Counties area of South Carolina where he married his first wife (whose name has not been discovered), by whom it appears that he was the father of ten children. Following her death prior to ca. 1834, Zerah was married, (second), to Luranna Horn, by whom he had ten additional children. He and his famfly lived briefly in North Carolina in the early 1840s, then in Butts County, Georgia, but by 1850 they had moved to DeKalb County, Alabama. A little later, Zerah moved to Marshall County, Alabama, where he died ca. 1868.
A son of Zerah and his first wife was named William W. ["Billy"] Sparks, born on December 28, 1818, in South Carolina. He was married on December 10, 1844, to Elizabeth W. Evans. In the Quarterly cited above, on page 3807, we stated that Elizabeth was a daughter of Archibald W. Evans. A descendant of this couple through their son, Francis Marion Sparks, (usually called by his middle name, Marion) is Cathrine Woodall Brown (Mrs. John Lee). Mrs. Brown has provided the following correction:
William W. ["Billy"] Sparks did, indeed, marry Elizabeth W. Evans; however, her father was not Archibald W. Evans, but David Evans. David Evans' will, dated May 8, 1873, with codicil added July 1, 1873, was presented for probate to the Butts County [Georgia] Court of Ordinary at its October term of 1873. He named his children as follows: Elizabeth W. Sparks, Mary A. Lunnceford, John B. Evans, Willis W. Evans, David F. Evans, and Stephen C. Evans.
The full list of Zerah's children, from the original article, is:
54.1 Son1 Sparks
54.2 Son2 Sparks
54.3 Nancy [?] Sparks
54.4 Francis Marion Sparks
54.5 William ["Billy"] W. Sparks
54.6 Leonard Sparks
54.7 John T. Sparks
54.8 Dau1 Sparks
54.9 Dau2 Sparks
54.10 James Thomas ["Tom"] Sparks
Children by Luranna Horn:
54.11 Russell Sparks
54.12 Joshua Sparks
54.13 Nancy Ann Sparks
54.14 Amon Sparks
54.15 Meredith ["Med"] Sparks
54.16 Zeriah Margaret Sparks
54.17 Zachariah T. Sparks
54.18 Moses Sparks
54.19 Elizabeth Sparks
54.20 Zerah Sparks, Jr.
He also named two grandchildren, who were children of two of his deceased children: Jesse E. Evans whose wife was Martha L. (Carter) Evans, and James A. Evans. These grandchildren were: William H. Evans and Sarah J. McGough.
Mrs. Brown would welcome correspondence with other descendants of Zerah Sparks. She is especially interested in discovering proof of the parentage of Zerah Sparks and of the identity of his first wife. Her address is: 3520 Coles Ferry Pike, Lebanon, Tennessee, 37087.