March 1, 2021

Pages 3916­3917
Whole Number 157 JOSEPH H. H. SPARKS (1841-1912)
JOSEPH H. H. SPARKS, born 1841, died 1912

Along with his membership dues for 1992, Henry E. Smith of Wilmington, Deleware, has sent us a xerox copy of an item which he had happened to note in an 1894 newspaper while assisting his wife in some research. This pertains to a Joseph H. Sparks (or Joseph H. H. Sparks, according to his military re­cords) and appeared within an article devoted to the New Windsor Hotel located in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, in the June 20, 1894, issue of the Raftsman Journal, published in Clearfield. (The town of Clearfield is located in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania.)

Typical of weekly newspapers of the time, the illustrations used were drawings in the form of steel engravings, and we have reproduced above the drawing of Joe Sparks, as he was called by his friends, by an artist working for the Raftsman Journal.

As noted, the article copied for us by Mr. Smith is devoted to the New Windsor Hotel which had just been remodeled by its proprietor, James Mahaffey, Esq. Joe Sparks was the clerk of this hotel. This article reads, in part, as follows:

Everybody who sees the new Hotel Windsor, located at the corner of 3rd and Market streets, pays it the compliment of being the finest hotel property in all this section of the country. The repairs upon it have just been completed, and guests have the pleasure of enjoying comfortable and newly fitted rooms, a dining room replete in all of its appointments and a hotel office as commodious and neat as is the office of the Bingham House, Philadelphia, after which it was pat­terned. The Windsor has always belonged to one man, Ex-Sheriff James Mahaffey, who purchased the ground and a brick dwelling house in the summer of 1884, and erected the hotel property, then far in advance of any in Clearfield. It was opened to the public January 26th, 1885.

The new bar and fixtures are handsome pieces of furniture, and are said to be more expensive than any others in Central Pennsylvania. They are known as the Colonade Bar Fixtures, made in Chicago by the American Saloon Fixture Company, the leading furnishing company of America. The bar is twenty-four feet long, made of antique oak, the bar top solid mahogany, with French plate mirrors 5 x 18, a refrigerator back bar with vault in cellar ten feet in the clear. James Dougherty, who has been the bar clerk at Windsor for the past five years, has entire control of the new fixtures, and everything is kept clean and sparkling as a new dollar.. The hotel has a livery attached, and if supplied throughout with electric bells.

Joseph H. Sparks, who is perhaps the best trained hotel clerk in this section of the country, outside of the cities, has been in the employ of Mr. Mahaffey for the past five years. Mr. Sparks's home is at Clearville, Bedford county, where he is at the present time spending his summer vacation with friends. The boarders about the Windsor (and many of them have been there since the house was started) think "Joe" Sparks about the cleverest clerk that a good hotel could have and the cooks feel lost since they do not have him to make up the menu cards for dinner, etc. Mr. Sparks, although not as old as the proprietor of the Windsor, was a soldier, and is a member of the G. A. R. In 1890 the Democratic County Convention of Bedford county (unfortunately he belongs to that party) placed him in nomination as its candidate for Re­gister and Recorder. The Republican majority in the county that year was 600, but Joe chased his Republican competitor very close, and was only defeated by 224 votes. He served his party as County Auditor in 1885-86, and subsequently served on Gen. D. Stewart Elliott's staff in the National Guard as Major. Mr. Sparks was a member of the 133, Pa., Vol., commanded by Col. Frank Speakman, of Chester county. He fought at Antietam, Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg and has a splendid military record.

Few men have made more friends than has Mr. Sparks during the six years he has been in Clearfield, because of his integrity and genial qualities.

As a veteran of the Civil War, Joseph H. H. Sparks applied for a pension based on his service in Company K, 133rd Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry, and an abstract of his pension papers appeared in the Quarterly of March 1986, pp. 2861-62. He was a son of John and Rebecca (Wareham) Sparks.

A record of his branch of the Sparks family appeared in the September 1986 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 135; see page 2922 for specific information' regarding him and his immediate family.

Born on February 9, 1841, Joseph H. H. Sparks was married twice. He and his first wife, Mary Bussard, appear to have had no children. by his second wife, Georgia E. Casteel, he was the father of four children: John A. Sparks, born June 11, 1899; William S. Sparks, born March 19, 1901; Mary E. Sparks, born February 17, 1904; and Bertha I. Sparks, born August 21, 1909.

Joseph H. H. Sparks died on October 13, 1912.