Whole Number 157
[Editor's Note: Some thirty-odd years ago, in the June 1960 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 30, beginning on page 473, we published excerpts from the first part of an autobiography written in 1933 by William Tennis Sparks (1849-1938). A daughter of William Tennis Sparks named Helen S. Robbins, then of Charlottesville, Virginia, provided us with a microfilm copy of her father's lengthy manuscript, and it was from this film that we copied for our readers a portion of Mr. Sparks's work that pertained to his ancestry. (We believe that Mrs. Robbins, from whom we last heard in 1971, is no longer living.) Mr. Sparks's branch of the Sparks family had settled in and around Fayette and Franklin Counties, Indiana, in the early part of the 1800s.
[It was your editor's intention to present further excepts form this autobiography in a later issue of the QU AR TERL Y, but he failed .to do so. Recently, our Association's president, Dr. Paul E. Sparks, was able to solve a genealogical puzzle for a relative of William Tennis Sparks from the portion of Mr. Sparks's autobiography related to his ancestry which we have not presented in the Quarterly, and we decided that we should make this available to all of our readers. Because the first part appeared so many years ago, we are repeating here the most valuable portion, even though it has appeared in the June 1960 issue. We shall close these excerpts at the point where Mr. Sparks ended his account of his ancestors and older relatives.]
Birth and Ancestry
Birth, Life, and Death are certain. Every individual that enters this world comes into it by the same natural process. Each and everyone goes out of it sooner or later, and "there is no bourne from which the traveler ever returns." Death is inexorable, for "it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the Judgment."
Birth and death are both great mysteries. But it appears to me that Life is the most mysterious of all. It especially grips the mind, engages the thought, and commands the earnest attention of all men. The king upon his exalted throne; the common peasant in his humble mountain home; the poor fisherman in his storm-beaten hut by the sea, are all perpetually absorbed in this momentous subject. It has been said that "all things have a beginning." There was a time when all things created, that move, creep or crawl, live and have their being, did not exist.
Thus like unto the countless millions that came into existence before my time, I had a beginning also. The day and date of my nativity, I obtained from my mother. Our birth dates are necessarily imparted to us by our parents, or some authentic person who knows. I do not doubt in the least the accuracy of the date of my advent into the world, which was December 10, 1849. My mother imparted this truth to me at an early time of my life, therefore I believe the date given is absolutely correct.
I first saw the light of day in Laurel, Franklin County, Indiana. The town derived its name from a .town of the same name situated in the State of Maryland about midway between Baltimore and Washington, D. C. The county was named in honor of Benjamin Franklin. The state was so called because of so many Indian tribes that once inhabited that region.
Laurel is located about 18 miles west of the Ohio State line, and 57 miles N. by W. of Cincinnati, and about the same distance S. E. of Indianapolis, the state capital.
The little town has a population of probably six or seven hundred, which has remained practically the same for nearly 80 years. It is beautifully located in the White Water Valley, just west of the river, merging into the Seins Creek bottoms one-half mile to the southwest. That portion of the town immediately west is known as Somerset, a sort of suburb. When passing through Somerset when a lad, the Iron Foundry of James O'Hare always attracted my attention. The White Water Canal boats tied up to its banks shared with the foundry my boyish interest.
For eight decades the census enumerators have listed me as a unit in the population of this Great Republic. A large number of my contemporaries have passed into the great beyond. After the lapse of four score and three years, I remain to look out upon life with the accumulated interest of the passing years.
In the year when I was born, Zachary Taylor, "Old Rough and Ready," was President of the United States, but he died 7 months later, July 9, 1850. Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John C. Calhune, Lewis Casso and many other public men equally distinguished. were then living: Emerson, Longfellow. Bryant. Holmes. Lowell. Hawthorne. Audubon. and a host of other famous authors were making the world better for having lived in it. Many happy days have I enjoyed through the years because of their writings and what. by their efforts. they have accomplished for mankind. Anyone who may chance to read this sketch in after years. no doubt will be curious to learn something of my ancestors and immediate relatives. I have often regretted that I neglected in my younger days while yet there was an opportunity to ascertain from Father. Grandfather, and others. of my forebears, more information concerning the history of our family.
The facts I possess relating to the Sparks. Purvis. and Davidson Families will be given in the following pages.
William Purvis, my great-grandfather. was born in Virginia in 1770. He came to Kentucky not l<;mg after Daniel Boone made the first settlement in that state. I remember him quite well. The last time I saw him was at our house in 1866. He was then 96 and totally blind. He died soon after in Brookville. Ind. I was delighted. when a boy. to hear him tell of the old pioneer days. How he shot panthers. bears. deer. and wild turkeys with his old flint-lock rifle. I have seen and handled that same old gun. I have long desired to possess it as a relic of early days. The last I heard of it. Francis Purvis. a grandson. had it. who then resided near Galveston. Ind., five miles from Kokomo.
My great-grandfather. Wm. Purvis, came from Kentucky to Indiana in an early day. before it became a state. and settled near where Laurel now is. At that time, there were only three houses in Southeastern Indiana. His log cabin, one where Connersville now stands. another to the west of Big Blue River. He told of crossing the Ohio River at Fort Washington, now Cincinnati.
It has been claimed that the blood of the American Indian coursed through his veins. At least. that is a tradition held by many of his descendants. If this tradition has any foundation, I possess no evidence at present to verify it. However, he had many of the characteristics of the Indian. He was as straight in form as any dusky warrior. and possessed the same dark. piercing eye. Moreover, his habits in the wilderness were similar to those of the Red Man.
He was light of body, and small of stature. Perhaps he was less than 5 feet 5 inches in height. His wife's maiden name was Jones. who died before my time.
They had a family of three sons and two daughters, as I now recall. Their names were as follows: George, Frank, Rebecca, Nancy, and Jesse. [Data given by Mr. Sparks regarding these Purvis children have been omitted from these excerpts from his autobiography.]
Rebecca Purvis (my grandmother) was born in Bourbon County,Kentucky, probably in 1807. She resembled her father. She had the same kind of dark, penetrating eyes. As a woman, she was of normal size. Her brothers and sisters were all small in stature, somewhat below average. She was a voluble talker with a wonderful mellow and attractive voice. When she visited us, I was delighted to hear her talk. She usually monopolized the conversation, because everyone was willing to listen to her splendid gift of expression. She had a very retentive memory and seldom forgot the minutest detail.
I have known many of the Sparks family of three or four generations. However, I have not been in touch with many of the name for several years. My great-grandfather Sparks was yet living when I was a lad of six.
I distinctly remember my grandfather coming up to our house from his home near Laurel on his way to visit his father out near Indianapolis on Eagle Creek, where great-grandfather resided at that time. Grandfather Hugh Sparks was only 50 years of age then, 1856.
Great-grandfather was a native of England. I knew very little of his history; I do not even know his Christian name or when he died. I should have questioned grandfather more concerning him.
[Editor's Note: Research conducted after the publication of the first part of Mr. Sparks's autobiography in 1960, proved that his great-grandfather was named David Sparks. He was born March 16, 1785, probably in Tennessee, and he died on August 22, 1861, in Hendricks County, Indiana. His will was published in the December 1956 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No; 16, pp. 172-76. Subsequently, other articles have been published about David Sparks and/or his descendants in the following issues of the Quarterly: June 1960, Whole No. 30, pp. 473-481; June 1972, Whole No. 78, pp. 1477-1485; March 1977, Whole No. 98, page 1896; and June 1989, Whole No. 146, pp. 3427-429.]
Grandfather Hugh Sparks was born in Somerset, KY, July 11, 1808, and was reared in Madison County, Ohio, near London. I always believed that he was a native of Ohio until I saw him for the last time when he was 82. I then asked him if he was not a native of Ohio. He replied that he was not, but was born in Kentucky, giving me the facts of his birth as stated above.
He [Hugh Sparks] was above the average height, probably 5 feet 11 inches; his form was erect, and he had a very quick step. His eyes were a clear English blue, something of the Nordic type. His hair was rather nondescript. It could be described as a sort of mouse or dust color. He was very industrious, cheerful and kind hearted.
He married Rebecca Purvis in 1825. These grandparents had 10 children, 5 sons and 5 daughters. I saw them all and knew them intimately except two, Albert and George, who both died before my time.
1. James Sparks (the firstborn) [son of Hugh and Rebecca (Purvis) Sparks, and father of William Tennis Sparks] first saw the light in Connersville, Fayette County, Ind., June 27, 1826, and died in Waldron, Ind., January 1914, in his 88th year. He was 6 feet tall, and weighed about 185 pounds. His hair in his younger days was nearly black and quite handsome, becoming almost white late in life. Being erect in form, he was strong in body and quite capable of performing much hard work on the. farm for many years.
He had keen black eyes, a retentive memory, greatly resembling his mother. He married Mehetable Davidson, J an. 1846. Naturally, I will have much to say of both Father and Mother in the chapter telling of my youthful days.
2. William Sparks (Father's brother) was born in Franklin Co., Ind., 1828 and died in Rushville, Ind., 1909 in his 81st year. He was near 6 feet in height, erect in form, . with black hair and keen black eyes like his father.
He was a disciple of St. Crispen. He married Sarah Knots by whom he had a son, John, who died in Rushville some years ago, leaving two or three sons, whom I have never seen. [See the Quarterly of December 1956, pp. 172-75, for material on this family.] "Uncle Bill," as we usually called him, and Aunt Sarah, had an adopted daughter named Hattie, who married FNU Downey. Their daughter married Mr. Bert Matney of New Salem, Ind.
3. Martha Sparks (Father's oldest sister). This aunt resembled her brother, William, very much, I thought. She married a rather handsome, blue-eyed, fair-skinned German by the name of Daniel Urtle. They had a little daughter, Elizabeth. Not long after Aunt Martha passed away, young in years, I remember being at their house in Laurel. Little Cousin Lizzie was taken to Winona, MN, by Mrs. Snider to live with her. I have completely lost all trace of her, not knowing if she is still living or not. No doubt she has long since followed her dear mother to the Spirit Land.
After the Civil War broke out, Uncle Daniel entered the Union Army as a volunteer in the 21st Illinois Regiment, the same commanded by Col. U. S. Grant, who subsequently became the most noted general of the War. Uncle Dan took an active part in the great battle of Stone River or Murfresboro.
He was severely wounded in this sanguinary battle. His thigh bone was badly shattered by a canister shot. I saw him stretched upon an army cot at Grandfather's in the summer of 1864 when he was convalesing. I had a long conversation with him concerning that terrific battle. Sometimes he would sit on the side of his cot and pick pieces of splintered bone from his wound in his thigh with the point of a knife. It was not long before he was able to be up, then joined the Invalid Corps stationed at Madison, Wisconsin.
I never heard of him afterward. I often recall, even to this day, the handsome German soldier who shed his blood on a great American battlefield.
4. Elizabeth Sparks (2nd sister of Father) married John Williams of Franklin County, who was a bridge builder. I remember their two sons, Clinton and Forest. I think there was another boy, but I do not recall for sure. Aunt Lizzie died comparatively young, and Uncle married again. I was at their home in 1869 and remained over night. Since then I have no knowledge of them. The last I heard of the boys, they resided in Lafayette, Indiana.
5. Malinda Sparks (Father's 3rd sister) was a beautiful young woman as I now recall her. When she was near 18, she married Dennis Curran, an Irishman said to be the cousin of the noted John Philpot Curran, Master of the Rolls in Ireland, and one of the most brilliant wits and orators of his day. They had one daughter, Malinda, born I believe in the year 1852. Her mother, like her two older sisters, died very young. In fact, she had not reached her 20th birthday when she was taken away from her husband and infant daughter.
After her mother's death, little Malinda was taken by her grandparents to live with them. She must have been quite young then, for I remember her using a bottle to take her food when I visited Grandfather's. She had named her bottle "Fox." I wonder if she still remembers "Fox."
In the course of time, Uncle Dennis married a Catholic lady of Harrison, Ohio, where they resided. Soon after, they took little Malinda to live with them. They sent her to a Catholic School in Harrison, where she became fairly well educated. After she became almost a young lady, it seems she and her stepmother did not get along agreeably so she left the parental roof and returned to dwell with her grandparents, where she continued to reside until they passed away. After her grandparents were gone, she went to . live with our Aunt Sally Shafer who was now a widow, and had purchased a modest home in Shelby County, Ind. She was given the small home by her aunt. Her husband lived but a few years. I knew nothing of him, not even his name.
Malinda is now--of the date January 1, 1933, an inmate of the Old Ladies Home, Waldron, Ind. She is 80 years of age. I 'had the pleasure of calling on her in August 1931 and found she had a pleasant home in which to pass her declining days. I will mention her again in the proper connection.
6. Lury Sparks (Father's 4th sister) was born ca. 1840 and was married. to Passwell Long in Franklin County. As she stayed at our house a considerable part of her girlhood days, I will have occasion to mention her frequently further on. They had two children, a boy and a girl. The boy was very delicate in health and did not live many years. The daughter married Eli Quaintance, a lightning rod salesman of Lafayette, Ind., where they resided; I saw Mr. Quaintance a time or two in Kokomo, Ind.
Lury Sparks died in her father's house in the late summer of 1864. Mother and I were there at the time, and attended her funeral. She was buried at Laurel in the beautiful cemetery on the hill. I do not know what became of her husband, who was a brother of Uncle Emanuel Long who married Mother's sister.
7. Sarah Sparks (Father's youngest sister) was born in Franklin County, Ind., probably in 1844-5. She married Ira Shafer about the beginning of the Civil War. They never had any children. Uncle Ira joined the Union Army as a volunteer in the 68th Regt., Ind. Vol. Infantry. "Aunt Sally," as we always called her, made her home with her parents while Uncle Ira was away fighting for his country. His regiment was captured near Mumfordsville, KY. They were paroled and afterwards exchanged.
One Saturday, Wesley and I visited Grandfather's. To entertain us, Aunt Sally procured a small revolver, a gift from Uncle Ira. We set up a target in the yard, and had much fun and enjoyment in firing at it by turns. It was great sport for us boys. Firearms had a great attraction for me. Of course, in war times almost every boy was crazy to handle and shoot a gun of some description. I remember Aunt Sally's visit in March 1863. She brought a copy of The Brookville American with her, in which I read an account of the marriage of Edward Prince of Wales in the City of London, on March 10, 1863. On the death of his mother, Queen Victoria, he became King of England as Edward VII. He is the father of the present King of England, George V.
Aunt Sally's last days were spent with Cousin Malinda in Shelby County, Indiana, which fact has already been stated.
8. Samuel Taylor Jenks Sparks (Father's youngest brother) was born ca. the beginning of 1849, near Laurel, Ind. He died at the home of his niece, Malinda Curran, at the comparatively early age of 58. He never married. Being near the age of Wesley and me, we made visits quite frequently before reaching manhood, and enjoyed many sports together, such as hunting, fishing, swiming, etc. We indulged in many kinds of games and boyish ventures in our youthful days.
All of Grandfather's immediate family long since have "crossed the Bar." There are only a few, and a very few, who knew any of them. To this small number, they remain now only a lingering memory, objects almost of a forgotten past.
Father and Mother [James and Mehetable (Davidson) Sparks] were married on January 10, 1846, as already stated. Both were indeed young--he not yet 20, and she just past 17. Twelve children were born to them--six boys and six,girls. One half of this large family have now passed beyond--January 1, 1933. Four of the girls and two of the boys are dead. A sketch of the twelve now follows, each lettered in the order of birth.
a. John Wesley Sparks was born February 20, 1848, near Laurel, Franklin County, Indiana. He married first, Tyne Hite, a very fine woman who died some years after, leaving no children. He married second, Emma (Holmes) Hite, widow of Joseph Hite of Richland Township. Emma was a twin, a splendid woman and an excellent housekeeper. I knew Emma well and all of her father's family. Wesley died in 1913 at the age of 65 at his home near Glenwood, Rush County, Indiana. Four of Emma's sisters attended the funeral, all widows, they with Emma numbering five widowed sisters attending the funeral, a rare occurrence. Emma died some years later. They left three sons: George, Albert, and George. I think they all reside in Indianapolis.
b. William Tennis Sparks (that's me) was born December 10, 1849, in Laurel, Franklin County, Indiana. Married, first, Mary Caroline Beaty, September 9, 1869, near Sharpsville, Tipton County, Indiana. It was a double wedding; James W. DeWitt and Sarah E. Beaty were united in marriage at the same time by the same ceremony performed by the Rev. Jay Randolph, a patriarchial Baptist Minister. The marriage occurred at about 4 A. M. The bridal party left Sharpsville on the early morning train for Indianapolis and points south. Each of the two bridegrooms that morning weighed 156 pounds; each of the two sister brides weighed 125 lbs. This was thought to be a remarkable coincidence.
Mr. and Mrs. Wm. T. Sparks had two girls: Edith Ann, born in the same house in which her father and mother were married; her birth occurring March 22, 1872. Martha Adelia was born in the village of St. Louis, Bartholomew County, Ind., September 28th 1875.
William Tennis Sparks married, second, Lida Swinehart of Adelphi, Ross County, Ohio, at Chillicothe, Ohio, by Rev. Biggs at the Presbyterian Parsonage, November 14, 1883, at 2 o'clock P.M. Children: Verne Sparks, born in Kokomo, Ind., corner Virginia St. and Indiana Ave., December 21, 1887.
Sara Helen Sparks, born in Tippecanoe City, Ohio, corner Walnut and Third Sts., June 3, 1892.
Edith A. Sparks married Judson Shook August 15, 1889. The names of their children in order are: Andrew, Mabel, Beulah, Emily, Harold, and Mildred. All are married and have children. Andrew, my oldest grandson, lives in Minnesota and is the father of 7 children. Mabel married Wm. Lucke, and they have two fine daughters aged 15 and 13; they reside in Rapid City, South Dak. Beulah married Gordon Baber; they have two or three children and now reside in Arizona. Emily Shook married "Teddy" Deetrick; they have one son and they reside in Chicago. Harold Shook, I have never seen; he is married to a Florida young school teacher, and they have one little boy. They dwell in St. 'Petersburg, Florida; I never saw them. Mildred Shook married FNU Robson, a mail carrier.They have a nice little boy they call "Jack." They live in Gordon, Neb., near her mother and father who also reside in Gordon.
Martha Adelia Sparks [daughter of William Tennis and Mary Caroline (Beaty) Sparks] married John Metsker ca. 1892. They had five children: Lewis, Paul, Victor, Edith, and Helen Gould. Paul died several years ago. All the remaining four are married and have sons and daughters. Mattie, as we all call her, was divorced from John Metsker some years since. Subsequently, she married Charles Ivy. They now reside at Denver, Colorado. I have not seen Mattie for more than 40 years.
Verne Sparks married Fannie Wasson Bellows in Nashville, Tenn., July 28, 1917. They have no children. They reside at 12214 Harvard Ave., Chicago, IL.
c. Edward Johnson Sparks, who is usually called "Barney," a nickname he has borne almost from infancy. In fact, he nicknamed himself "Barney" from an old German by that name who lived near. "Barney" was born in Laurel, Ind., February 10, 1852. He married "Tine" Hall in La Otto, Ind., January 27, They have resided all their wedded lives in Churubusco, Ind., now about 55 years. Three daughters have been born to them: Minnie, Maud, and Chloe.
Minnie married first, Mr. Gordon, a preacher. They had a son and a daughter. The son, Fred, is married and has a child or two. The daughter was married, but is now a young widow with no children and lives in California. Minnie married, 2nd, Mr. Adams; they have no children and reside at 1213 N. Hanna St., Ft. Wayne, Ind.
Chloe married a young farmer by the name of Cleland. She died in the summer of 1932, leaving her husband, a son and daughter, father and mother and two sisters to mourn her loss.
Maud married Walter Burwell who owns a hardware store in Churubusco, Ind., and they live in their own home in town. They also own a farm not far from town. Mr. Burwell was auditor of Whitley County, of which Columbia City is the county seat. Maud went through a severe operation in the summer of 1932, and her health has been precarious ever since. They have a daughter, Carolyn, about 10 years old.
d. Margaret Emily Sparks was born in Rush County, Ind., January 25, 1854. She married John Bohannon, June 28, 1868. They had 4 children: Eva, Mart, Bert, and Charles; all have sons and daughters. John and Margaret resided in the town of Clarksburg, Ind., where John died several years ago, followed by Margaret some years later. Their youngest son, Charles, now (J an. 1, 1933) resides in Clarksburg, and he is the proprietor of a general store. Mart lives in Kokomo, Ind. Of the others, I know nothing.
e. Amanda Jane Sparks was born August 2, 1855, near Richland, Rush County, Ind. She married Isaac Milton Linville on September 3, 1870. They had three children: Myrtle, Cora, and Vert.
Myrtle married Ernest Lincoln Ferguson in Chicago, where they resided for awhile. They have a son, Remick, who is married and lives with Anna, his wife, in Hyattsville, Md. He is foreign teller for the Washington Loan and Trust Co., corner 9th and F Sts., Washington, D.C. Myrtle's daughter is employed at the same firm and is unmarried. Myrtle is also employed there. She is a widow, her husband having died when the children were young. I think they came to Washington from Massachusetts. Myrtle and Dorothy live on East Capitol Street in a small apartment. They have resided in Washington about 20 years. We visit back and forth occasionally.
Cora Linville was born in Rush County about one miles south of New Salem. She married a man by the name of Bloomfield in Chicago. Sometime thereafter, they separated. I have not seen her for 54 years.
Vert Linville married a banker's daughter in Chicago. They reside somewhere in the East, at one time at the Atlantic Highlands, N. J . I think after that they lived in Hartford, Ct. They have a daughter. I have never seen Vert's wife or child. It has been 54 years since I saw him.
Amanda died many years ago in Chicago, and was buried in the Ogden Cemetery near St. Paul, Ind. Her husband, T. M. Linville, was kill'ed by a street car in Chicago some years after.
f. James Hamilton Sparks was born March 25, 1857, H miles north of Richland, Ind. He married Josephine Hoover of Shelbyville, Ind. There was born to them a son, Harry, who is married and resides in Shelbyville, and they have children. Their two daughters, Minnie and FNU are married, have children, and live in Shelbyville.
James died in the City Hospital, Indianapolis, of lung trouble on March 5, 1932, and was buried in the Ogden Cemetery in Shelby County, near St. Paul, Ind. His widow, Josephine, still lives in Shelbyville and is about 77 years old.
g. Robert Hugh Sparks was born August 16, 1860, on the Miller Farm 2 miles east of Richland, Ind. He was named in honor of his two Grandfathers, Robert Davidson and Hugh Sparks. He married Emma Dill of Shelbyville, Ind. They have two daughters, Nellie and Anna D. Emma was divorced from Hugh and is married again and resides in California. Hugh also remarried. He and his wife, Charlotte, reside at Indianapolis, Indiana. They have no children.
Nellie married Mr. byroads in Indianapolis. They have two daughters; all live in Glendale, Cal. Anna Dorothy lives in Los Angeles, California, and is unmarried.
h. Sarah Elizabeth Sparks was born the Miller Farm, July 21, 1862, and died of spotted fever on April 30, 1864. She was buried in the small Methodist Cemetery on the hill, one mile east of Richland, Ind.
i. Charles E. Sparks (twin of Mary) was born on the Miller Farm or "Lease Place" about two miles east of Richland, Rush County, Indiana, on July 1, 1864. Charles E., as he has written his name for more than 50 years, was at first called Elmer Ellsworth. This name I gave him with Mother's approval, not long after his birth. Dad nicknamed him "Dick," which name he is usually called by the family. "Charles E." is the name chosen by himself.
He married his first wite, Cora Richards, in Orlando, Fla. After their two daughters were born, they separated. The daughters are married and have children. They both live with their families, in Berkeley, California. He is again married, and he and his wife, Daisy, live in Danville, IL. Their daughter, Loyette, lives with them. She is a fine young lady of 19 and is h. Mary Sparks (twin of Charles E.) was born July 1, 1864. She married Thomas Kennedy in Shelbyville, Ind. They have had eight sons and daughters: Myrtle, who is now a widow, resides in Joliet, IL., where her husband, Mr. Haywood, died in 1931; no children. Ernest Kennedy, with his wife and two girls, live in Shelbyville. Clyde Kennedy, another son of Mary's, is married and resides in Shelbyville. They have a daughter, Virginia, 14, who is a very pitiable sight, having been injured by a fall. Her death has been expected almost daily for several years. Ethel Kennedy married a German by the name of Irgang. They live in Indianapolis and have a thriving grocery store on Keating St. They have a little boy, Robert, about 6 years old. James Kennedy, a veteran of the World War, a showman, lives in Shelbyville, Ind. I think he is not married. The remaining three children, perhaps, died while very "young; at least, I know nothing of them.
k. Livonia Sparks was born May 31, 1869, on the Douglas Farm 21 miles north of Clarksburg, Ind. She married Mart Chrisler near Waldron, Ind. They subsequent separated. There was a son by this marriage, Phon, who, when a young man, was killed on his first trip as a brakeman on the Big 4 Rail Road, somewhere between Cincinnati and Indianapolis. Vonia, as she was called, for her second husband, married Samuel Brown of Shelby County. They now reside in Father's old home where he died in Waldron, Ind. The Browns have no children.
l. Louise Sparks (my youngest sister) was born April 25, 1872, on the Douglas Farm, Richland Twp., Rush Co., Ind. She married Charles Allen Dickinson in Chicago where they continued to reside for 13 years. They then moved to South Haven, Michigan, where they have resided ever since. Mr. Dickinson is a contractor and builder. He built two good houses in South Haven. They occupy the newest one and rent the older one. They have had five sons, 4 of whom are living.
Fred, with his 3 boys and 2 girls, and 2nd wife, live in Chicago. Fred is a printer by trade. He is something of a giant. He is 6 ft. 2! in. tall and weighs 285 pounds. Walter, Russell, and Harold live in South Haven. Walter and Russell are married, but have no children. Each has an adopted son. Walter is an electrician and is a member of the U. S. Waterways Commission. Russell is a city mail carrier in South Haven. Harold is ticket agt. for a movie house. He is not married and resides with his parents at 433 Cherry Street, South Haven, Mich. I stopped there and visited them for two or three days in September 1923, when I was on my way to the Black Hills of South Dakota. I had not seen Louise for 35 years.
This closes a brief record of my ancestors and nearer relatives. I have not gone into detail of the 3rd generation, simply because I am not in possession of sufficient data to treat the matter comprehensively.
All the references to the "present time" in this volume apply to the date as of January 1, 1933. I have at this time 13 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren. There may be one or two more of the latter, but I am unable to give the exact number absolutely. Therefore I am ready to begin the story of my childhood and early youthful days. This part of my autobiography is given entirely from memory after passing more than four score years. I should have begun keeping a diary at least 70 years ago. However, I began keeping a diary on New Years Day 1925. That was rather late in life to begin. Then I resolved to continue until the end. This is one New Year's resolution that probably will never be broken.
[Editor's Note: We have a microfilm copy of the entire autobiography of William Tennis Sparks provided to us thirty years ago by his daughter, Helen S. Robbins. Depending upon reader interest, we may publish additional excerpts in future issues of the Quarterly.]