May 10, 2021

Pages 4025-4034
Whole Number 160


by Russell E. Bidlack

Based on many years of research conducted by Dr. Paul E. Sparks and the present writer, along with our correspondence through the years with members of The Sparks Family Association, it has become apparent that a remarkably large number of Sparks descendants living in the U.S. today can claim the 1.2 William Sparks who died in Queen Annes County, Maryland, in 1709 as their immigrant ancestor. Each of his four sons had large families, and we have identified thirty-five of his grandchildren. In succeeding generations over three centuries, these numbers have multiplied, and we are certain that, if we could identify all of his descendants today, they would number in the tens of thousands. For this reason, we believe that it is appropriate to share with our readers some additional facts regarding William Sparks.

Through the years, we have published a number of articles pertaining to 1.2 William Sparks (died 1709) and his children. Our most detailed account of his life appeared in the Quarterly of March 1971, Whole No. 73, pp. 1381-89. In an earlier issue, that of December 1970, Whole No. 72, Dr. Paul E. Sparks explained the system by which the proprietors of the colony of Maryland encouraged immigration in the 17th century. We quote from Dr. Sparks's article:

That part of North America now called Maryland was first settled by white people in 1631 when William Claiborne came over from the colony of Virginia and established a trading post on Kent Island. He remained without neighbors until 1634 when the first colonists, led by Leonard Calvert, arrived from England in the vessels called the ARK and the DOVE, and founded the county of St. Marys. The future of the colony (named Terrae Marie or Maryland in honor of Queen Henrietta Maria) was assured. Thereafter, settlersfrom England poured in by shipload after shipload.

Each freeman who came to Maryland was given 100 acres of land for himself, his wife, and each child over age sixteen. In addition, he was given 50 acres for each child under age sixteen and for each "servant" he brought with him. "Servants" were persons brought in for hire and obligated to work or in some other manner pay for their transportation. In general, these persons were farmers, mechanics, masons, carpenters, shipbuilders, and often they were educated clerks and teachers.

Generally speaking, the lot of a servant was not especially unpleasant. The indenture usually lasted from two to six years, and at the end provision was made to give him or her a degree of independence. In the case of a male servant, he was given fifty acres of land, an ox, a gun, two hoes, and a modest amount of clothing. If the servant were a female, she received a skirt, waistcoat, apron, smock, cap, shoes and stockings, and three barrels of Indian corn.

This provision for encouraging new colonists proved so popular that seven years after the colony was established the land allowance was reduced from 100 acres to 50 acres for adults and to 25 acres for each child under age sixteen. In like manner, the early liberal allowance of land for transporting colonists was tightened. Initially the transportation of five men was worth 2000 acres, but in 1636 this was changed to require the transportation of ten men for this amount of land, and in 1641 it was again changed to require twenty men and women to be worth 2000 acres.

In many cases, the servant paid for his transportation by simply transferring the acreage he was to receive as a new colonist to the person who transported him. In turn, the person who provided the transportation might transfer his right to the land to another person who had no actual part in arranging or providing the transportation.

The system was finally abolished in 1683.

Our reason for including this description of immigration to Maryland during much of the seventeenth century is because we believe, although we cannot prove beyond any doubt, that the William Sparks who died in 1709 in Queen Annes County was the same William Sparks who had been brought to Maryland in 1662 by a man named Thomas Skillington. (On page 1363 of the December 1970 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 72, we mistakenly copied his name as Thomas Skillingham, and this error was repeated on page 1381 of the March 1971 issue, Whole No. 73.)

Dr. Sparks noted in his 1970 article, cited above, that the records of the assigning of land to persons transporting themselves or others to Maryland are preserved at the Maryland Hall of Records in Annapolis. We have obtained a photographic copy of each of the two records pertaining to William Sparks who came to Maryland in 1662. The first of these is found in Liber 6, called "Patents," page 71, entry #359. and reads as follows:

I Thomas Skillington of the province of Maryland do assign unto George Richardson all my right and title of these following Rights of Land first For Thomas Skillington and Mary his wife, William Sparks, Servants in all Six Ann Powell, Mary Webb, John Green as witness my hand this 2d of the 10 Month 1663.

[signed] Thomas Skillington

From the wording of this transfer of Skillington's claim for land, it is difficult to determine the status of William Sparks. It appears that Ann Powell, Mary Webb, and John Green were definitely "servants," but William Sparks may not have been a servant, but was simply one of the six persons entitled to land.

The manner in which Skillington wrote the date of this transfer of his "Rights of Land" to Richardson is significant. In other entries on this same page, as well as on preceding and succeeding pages, the name of the month is given. Members of the Quaker faith, however, refused to use what they considered to be pagan names for the months in the Julian calendar, and substituted numbers. Under the Julian calendar, which would continue to be used in England and her colonies until 1752, March 25th was designated as the beginning of each new year. March was thus considered to be the first month while February was considered to be the twelfth month. Thus, when Skillington dated his transfer of land rights to Richardson as "this 2d of the 10 Month 1663," he substituted the number 10 for the month of December. The date of this transfer under the Julian calendar was thus December 2, 1663.

Although we have found no further references to Thomas Skillington in relationship to William Sparks, there is further reason to believe that Skillington was a Quaker. An entry appears in the minutes of the Third Haven Meeting of the Quaker denomination in Maryland which reads: "Kenellam Skillington of Talbot County, planter, and Lydia Craxtill, late of Barbados, spinster, married 20, 8th month, 1692, at home of Thomas Skillington."

The next entry (#372) among Maryland's land patents in Liber 6 containing a reference to William Sparks is dated January 5, 1663. Under the Julian calendar, the year 1663 extended from what would, under the Gregorian Calendar, have been March 25, 1663, through March 24, 1664. Under the Gregorian calendar (in use in England and America after 1752), entry #372 was made just a month and three days after entry #359, quoted above.

Entry #372 reveals that George Richardson obtained a warrant for 1300 acres of land based on his being credited with transporting himself and a Mary Richardson, who may have been his wife, along with twenty-four others. These included the six individuals whose transportation had been "assigned" to him by Thomas Skillington, plus six others that had been transported by Robert Blurkhorse and likewise assigned to him, along with four individuals transported by John Edmondson and also assigned to Richardson. We can assume that Richardson rewarded Skilllington, Blurkhorse, and Edmondson in some manner for transferring these land rights to him. In the transcription of the entire text of entry #359 which follows, it will be seen that the name of Thomas and Mary Skillington was mistakenly spelled "Skillinson" and that William Sparks was called "William Sparke."

[Liber 6, Entry #372, dated 5th January 1663 (i.e. 1664 under the Gregorian Calendar) Punctuation has been added for clarity in this transcription.]

Then came George Richardson and demands Land for the transportation of himself in Anno 1661, Mary Richardson in 1663, Thomas Hayward in 1662, Elizabeth Clarke 1661, Anthony Wilson 1659; John Skitters 1656; Thomas Skillinson 1653; Mary Skillinson 1660, William Sparke [and] Ann Powell in 1662, Mary Webb 1661. John Green 1663, John Gary 1660, Jno Morfett [?] 1663, were Entered by Robert Blurkhorse, ditto die, assigned unto the said Richardson. Francis Devine [and] Mary Devine 1660, Edward

Goodman 1656, Robert Stapleford 1661, Richard Richardson 1663, Elizabeth Cordrass 1661. Ditto Richardson Enters more rights, Viz: William Lile 1653, Priscilla Lile 1656; John Cooke, James Graner, John Housmond, and Susanna Eastneck, these four assignd him from John Edmondson as per assignment.

Warrant Issued, ditto die, in the said Richardsons Name for 1300 Acres, being for all the above mentioned Rights, returneable 5th July next.

While George Richardson spelled Thomas and Mary Skillington's name as "Skillinson," and William Sparks as "William Sparke," there can be no doubt that the six immigrants whose land rights he had acquired from Thomas Skillington (Entry #359) were among those for whom he subsequently obtained his warrant for 1,300 acres of Maryland land. It should be noted that Entry

#372 also identifies the precise year (1662) that William Sparks came to America. Again, we must emphasize, however, that we have no compelling proof that he was the same William Sparks (died 1709) for whom we have many subsequent Maryland records. Their being the same person, however, seems highly probable.

In the article on 1.2 William Sparks (who died in 1709) appearing in the March 1971 issue of the Quarterly, we told of the deed by which he and Thomas Heather purchased jointly a tract of 100 acres of land in Talbot County, Maryland, located in that part of Talbot County which was cut off in 1706 to become Queen Annes County. Sparks and Heather made this purchase on July 17, 1672, paying a total of 5,600 pounds of tobacco. (Tobacco was a common medium of currency at that time in Virginia as well as in Maryland.) This 100-acre tract was described as "Lying and being on the North Side of St. Michaels River." It had been laid out initially for Francis Martin, but the owner who sold it to Sparks and Heather was Richard Pernes.

When we published the March 1971 article, we had not discovered the Talbot County deed dated September 17, 1677 (Talbot Co. Land Record GG#:85-87) by which Thomas Heather (spelled "Hatherd" in the deed), with the consent of his wife, Anna, sold to William Sparks his share (50 acres) of this 100-acre tract. In this deed, both Sparks (spelled Sparkes) and Heather were described as then being residents of Talbot County, but what is especially interesting about this 1677 deed is that it reveals that it was on this same 100-acre tract that "the said Sparkes now liveth." The tract, as we have noted, was located on "the north side of St. Michaels River." Today, this river is called "Miles River." It is in what is now the southern portion of Queen Annes County.

As we noted on page 1381 of the March 1971 issue of the Quarterly, there is a Talbot County record dated October 16, 1677, which was just a month after Heather sold his interest in the land to Sparks, in which Heather acknowledged a debt to Sparks of 20,000 pounds of tobacco. How Heather became indebted to Sparks for this rather sizeable amount, we do not know. It seems probable, however, that what was described as a "valuable consideration" as Heather's compensation when he sold his share of the 100-acre tract to Sparks was actually in the form of a reduction in his debt to Sparks. Thomas Heather and William Sparks were obviously neighbors and close associates over a period of many years. We wonder whether there might have been a family relationship.

The finding of the September 17, 1677, deed disproves our statement at the bottom of page 1381 that "there is no evidence that William Sparks ever lived on the land on St. Michaels River." We now know that he and his family were, indeed, living there in the autumn of 1677 and had probably been living there since 1672.

As noted on page 1381 of the Quarterly, 1.2 William Sparks and his wife, Mary, sold this tract of 100 acres for 10,000 pounds of tobacco to Alexander Ray on July 21, 1696. However, it must have been considerably before 1696 that William Sparks had moved his family a few miles north to the 250-acre tract of land called "Sparks Choice" on the east side of Chester River. We do not have the exact date of his purchase of this larger tract, for which he chose the name "Sparks Choice," but it was ca. 1681.

One of the most important documents found thus far to provide insight into the life of William Sparks is his will dated June 21, 1709, and probated on October 24, 1709. (From these dates we know that William Sparks died between June 21 and October 24, 1709.) full text of William Sparks's will was transcribed on pp. 1387-88 of the March 1971 issue. In his will, William Sparks provided for each of his four sons (William Sparks, Jr. born ca. 1674; George Sparks, born ca. 1678; John Sparks, born ca. 1680; and Joseph Sparks, who was not yet of age when his father made his will in 1709.) William Sparks also provided for a grandson named Charles Hynson, who was apparently the child of a deceased daughter of William and Mary Sparks. We have not discovered the daughter's name. Charles Hynson, grandson of William and Mary Sparks, was probably the same Charles Hynson who married Phebe Carvill on November 30, 1739. This marriage was recorded in the register of St. Paul's Parish. The births of five children of Charles and Phebe are also recorded in this parish register: Charles Hynson, Jr., born December 11, 1743, called their "first born son" John Carvill Hynson, twin of Charles, Jr., called their "second son," born also on December 11, 1743; Mary Hynson, born May 21, 1746; Phebe Hynson, Jr., born December 3, 1747; and Richard Hynson, born 3 February 1749.

We know from a number of sources that the wife of William Sparks had the given name Mary, but we have found no clue by which we can identify her maiden surname. She was living at the time that William Sparks made his will, and he provided for her in a way that was typical at the time.

After the payment of his debts, of which there were very few, and the distribution of his specific bequests, William Sparks directed that one-third of his remaining personal estate be inherited by his wife, but she was to have the control and use of all of his personal property so long as she remained his widow, that is, so long as she did not remarry. She was also to have possession of what William Sparks described as "my now Dwelling planta[tion], with all its appurts (i.e., appurtenants) and the Land belonging to the Same ... dureing her widowhood." He added, however, that "if my said wife, Mary Sparkes, does marry again then to have no more than her third of my Said Land and plantation dureing her life ..." At the close of his will, William Sparks appointed "my wife, Mary Sparks, and my Son, William Sparks, to be the Exrs. [i.e. executors] of this my Last will and Testamt."

Since preparing the 1971 article, cited earlier, in which we gave the full text of the will of William Sparks, we have obtained copies of additional documents contained in the probate file of his estate. These papers were maintained originally by the Queen Annes County probate court, but they are now preserved at the Maryland Hall of Records in Annapolis.

The first of these documents, after the will, is dated October 8, 1709, and is a bond in the amount of "four hundred pounds Sterling currant Money of England" with John Hawkins, Jr. and John Nabb, both of Queen Annes County, as guarantors, that "Mary Sparks and William Sparks [Jr.], Executors of the last Will and Testament of William Sparks, Sen., late of Queen Ann's County, deceas'd, do make or cause to be made a true & perfect Inventory of all & singular the goods Chaitells and credits of the said deceased, appraised in Money ..." Mary Sparks and her son, William, Jr., were given until "the 24th day of Janry next ensuing" to complete the inventory, and they were given one year to pay the debts charged against the estate as well as to carry out each provision contained in William Sparks's will. Both Mary Sparks and her son, William, Jr., signed this bond by mark, Mary drawing the initial "M" and William the initial "W." (See below a photographic reproduction of this part of the bond.) The two sureties for the bond, John Hawkins, Jr. and John Nabb, signed their names. There were three witnesses as well: Thomas Trickey, Robert Thomas, and Johanna Nabb. Thomas Trickey and Johanna Nabb signed by mark. Johanna was probably the wife of John Nabb. Robert Thomas was a county official whose title was "Deputy Commissary." Thomas Trickey was a neighbor of the Sparkses; he had also been a witness to William Sparks's mark (signature) when Sparks had made his will in the previous June. The person who wrote Thomas Trickey's name for him spelled it Tricky, but in most records it appears as Trickey.

(###Check bottom of page. There are some signatures and typed words that didn't come through.)

It was on January 25, 1710, that an inventory was taken of the personal property that had belonged to William Sparks. The inventory was made by John Hawkins, Jr. and John Hackett, both of whom were neighbors of the Sparkses.

Readers are reminded that the old Julian Calendar was still in use in England and her colonies at the time William Sparks's estate was settled, and it would continue to be used until 1752. The Gregorian Calendar, however, was then in use in most European countries. The new year began, according to the Julian Calendar, on March 25th, hence the period from January 1 to March 25, 1710, under the Gregorian Calendar, was still 1709 under the old Julian Calendar. Because of the commercial intercourse between England and Europe, many legal documents in both England and America written between January 1st and March 25th prior to 1752 (when England finally adopted the Gregorian Calendar) were "double dated," i.e., a slash or line would follow the Julian Calendar year, then the year according to the Gregorian Calendar would be added. Thus, the inventory for the estate of William Sparks bears the date "25th day of Janeroy 1709-10."

This Inventory of the personal property owned by William Sparks at the time of his death in 1709 provides an interesting view of the life style of a prosperous Maryland farmer at the beginning of the 18th century. Dr. Sparks has transcribed the list of his possessions as recorded in the inventory; where he was uncertain of the word intended, he added a question mark enclosed in brackets. The standard abbreviations were used in the inventory for pounds (L,), shillings (S), and pence (d). (The "d" for pence came from the Latin word for penny, "denarius.")

A Trew and perficke Inventory of all and Singley the goods and Chattels Wrights and credits of Wm. Sparks of queen Anns County Law enfoefd and Aprisd in Money by we hose hands are under written this 20th day of Janeroy 1709-10.

To: Waring apparell 2:02:0 To: 1 putor Tankard & Tumbler 0:00:10 To: 6 Cows and Calves 2 heifers and Calves 14:00: 0
To: a pare of Leather Briches 0:07:0 To: 1 old poringer and Sawsar 0:00: 06 To: 4 four year old steers 7:0:0
To: a parcel of old Books 0:94:0 To: 5 putor dishes 0:15:0 To: 1 four year old bull 1:5:0
To: 11 yrs of ofan brigs [?J 0:05:6 To: 9 putor plates 0:04:06 To: 2 Three year old heifers 1:5:0
To: an old Raser 0:00:6 To: 1 mustard pott Tin 0:00:6 To: 1 five year old steer 2:0:0
To: 7 yrs of flannel 0:14:8 To: 1 brass drinking glass 0:01:0 To: 3 barein Cows 4:10: 0
To: 1 feather Bed and Linin in the new house 4:10:0 To; 1 brass Skillit 0:03:6 To: 4 Two year old steers and 2 Two year old heifers 4:10:0
To: 1 old feather Bed and old furniture in the new house... 1:10: 0 To: 1 brass candell stick 0:00:6 To: 3 yearlings 2:0:0
To: 1 feather Bed and furniture in the old house 2:10:0 To: 1 Boamshall spieomortor [?] 0:03:0 To: 1 calf 0:03:0
To: 1 Chist of Drawers 1:00:0 To: 1 Iron candell stick 0:00:6 To: 27 sheep 8:02:0
To: 2 tables and Firens [?] 1:00:0 To: 1 small Smoothing iron 0:04:6 To: 7 Two year old barrows 3:10:0
To: 1 horse cauld Scott 4:00:0 To: 1 seimer 0:00:2 To: 6 Sows and 9 Shoats 4:10:0
To: 1 horse cald [blank] 3:10:0 To: 3 Iron Potts 0:15:0 To: 1 young barrow 0:08:0
To: D0 cauld Chance 4:00:0 To: 1 Fring Pan 0:01:6 To: 1 grater 0:00: 05
To: D0 cauled Hailor 3:10:0 To: 1 Pare of Fier Tongs 0:01:6 To: 1 pr of Spaniel & common chains 0:06:0
To: 6 sickels and hooks 0:07:0 To: 1 Pare of Flesh Fork and Ladell 0:00:6 To: 1 pare of Woosteed Comes [?] 0:07:0
To: a Small Tub of feathers 0:07:0 To: 2 Leather Charer [?] 0:03:0 To: 37 bushals of wheat 6:09: 03
To: a parcell of unbroke flack 0:10:0 To: 1 Larg Wooden Chaircold 0:05:0 To: 12 bushels of oatts 1:04:0
To: 3 old cases of botels 0:10:0 To: 1 wooling Spinning Whell0:07:0 To: 8 barils Ingin Corn 4:00:0
To: 8 quart botels 0:19:19 To: 1 old couch 0:04:0 To: 750 pd of Tobacco at 1d pr 3:02:6
To: 2 old ladle 0:02:0 To: 4 old Chists 0:16:0 To: 1 Tobacco cask 0:00:6
To: 2 old Lotts of windger etc. [?] 0:05:0 To: 1 old Trunk 0:04:0 To: Thomas Honey pr ares 500 [?] 2:01:5
To: 1 old Crescent Saw & file 0:08:0 To: 1 old Cubord 0:10:0 To: atto by the County fore Cathrin  
To: 1 hansaw 0:01:0 To: 1 Small Looking Glass 0:01: 06   Jnoson [--?--] 6:05:0
To: 1 pare of Stilards & balance 0:04:0 To: 2 warming pan 0:04:0      
To: 1 chafing dish & Lockett 0:02:0 To. a harrow with Iron Teeth 0:07:0      
To: 4 old bands 0:02:0 To. 2 Sifters and one straner 0:01:6      
To: 1 old adz and handel 0:02: 0 To. 2 Sifting Trays 0:03:0      
To: 1 old augur and hamer 0:01: 06 To. 2 pales 1 pign 1 1/2 cups [?] and 1 chien [?] 0:05:0      
To: 1 old drawing Knife 0:01:06 To. old bales 0:04: 06      
To: 4 Spike gimbletts 0:00:06 To. Erthen Pans a Stue potte and 8 erthen butter pans 0:03:0      
To: 3 Fanting acks 0:01:06            
To: 2 old broad acks & cut knife 0:03:0 To: 2 new mault bags [?] 1 old do 0:04:0      
To: 1 old frow and millpaks 0:01:0 To: 1 bushall of Salt 0:03:0      
To: a parsell of old iron 0:02:0 To: 7 old Tubs & 2 Ston gars 0:08:0      
To: a set of weeding plow irons 0:04:06 To: 8 Fifty Gallon Casques old 0:12:0      
To: 2 old plow shar and colter 0:10:0 To: Thirty Gallon Casque old 0:04:0      
To: 1 old hand mill 0:10:0 To: 3 forty Gall Casque 0:07:0      
To: a cask & whole with rings 1:00:0 To: 2 pipes old 2 [--?--] 8:08: 0      
To: 1 old cart collar & saddle 0:08:0 To: 3 runlitts 0:01: 06      
To: 2 collar and tanse 0:08:0 To: 2 old Whell barrows 0:03: 0      
To: 1 old saddall 0:08:0 To: 1 old lard bag [?] 0:00: 08      
To: 1 old Gun 0:15:0 To: 1 small Iron gug 0:00: 08      
To: 2 putor Chamber potts 0:02:0 To: 2 cannews 0:15: 0      
To: 15 spoons 0:02:6 To: 1 Chospes [?] 0:07: 0      
To: 1 putor bason 0:01:0            
  _______ 39:00:06   _______ 10:07: 0   _______ 76:19:02

Sume Totall 126L 06s 08d

[signed] John Hawkins Jr

[signed] John Hackett

The final item on this inventory is as follows: "Inventory of William Sparks Estate 1709. Recorded in W.B. No. 4. Recorded Liber C, Folio 220."

The following document is also part of the probate file for William Sparks (died 1709) and has been transcribed by Dr. Paul E. Sparks as follows:

Qn Annes Co. ss.

The Account of Thomas Trickey & Mary his wife, and William Sparks exrs of the last Will and Testament of William Sparks Late of said County Decd as well of and for Such and so much of the Goods, Chattels & Credits of the Said Deceased as Came to Their hands and Possession, as of the Payments & Disbursements made out of the Same and Allowoth Viz

Imprimus The Said Accomptents Charge themselves with all and Singular the Goods Chattels and Credits of the said Deceased, Specified and Comprised in an Inventory of Goods and Exhibited into the Office for Probate of Wills amounting to the Sum of L126 :06 :08

And the said Accomptents humbly Crave Allowances for the Following Payments and Disbursements made out of the Same as folls, viz:

for Tobacco pd for a Coffin and Funeral Expenses 400

for Tobacco Paid Col. Hynson on Mr. Grahams Acct as pr Acct proved & Rect 905

for Money pd Jno. Hawkins Junr one of the App rs 60

for Tobbco pd Robt. Wharton as pr acct proved and

Rect appears 208

For Tobbco pd Thos. Parsons as per acct proved and

Rect appears 500

For Tobbco pd Edwd. & Hambleton as pr acct proved &

Rect app ears 211

For Tobco pd the Honble County Genl for fees 840

for Tobco pd the said County for Do150

For Tobco pd do for drawing and posting this Acct 50

And they humbly Crave Allowance for the above

payments at 10 pr cent being 4324 lb Tobco 432


Which 4756 lbs of Tobbco at 4d per L comes to L19:14:16

Remaining in the Accomptents hands to be Thereafter accounted for, (as they humbly Pray time may be L106:11:20 given them to Exhibit an Add.ll Acct) the Sum of L126:06:08

October the 24th 1711

Then came the above named, William Sparks & Mary Trickey and made oath upon the Holy Evangelists that the above is a Just and true Account of their Administration on the said Estate So Farr as they have administered.

Before Me Robt Thomas Dep.y Comity

[A note appears on the reverse of this document indicating that on October 10, 1712, this administration had been accepted in the Prerogative Office at Annapolis.]

The inventory taken of the estate of William Sparks (died 1709) listed only his personal property, not his land. The tract of land which William Sparks called his "home plantation" in his will consisted of two adjoining tracts, one called "Hill's Adventure" and the other called "Sparks Outlet." "Hill's Adventure" comprised 100 acres that Sparks had purchased from Michael Hackett in 1681, while "Sparks Outlet" comprised 114 acres, the patent for which Sparks had purchased from Thomas Smithson in 1687. (See pages 1382-83 of the 1971 article on William Sparks for details regarding his purchase of these tracts.)

From the inventory of William Sparks's personal property, we know that there was a "new house" as well as an "old house," both containing beds and furniture belonging to William, on his "home plantation." George Sparks (born ca.1678), son of William and Mary Sparks, may well have been living in the "old house" at the time of his father's death in 1709. (See the article on George Sparks which follows, beginning on page 4035.)

As shown in the transcription on page 4033 of a probate record from the file on William Sparks's estate, we know that his executors paid 400 pounds worth of tobacco for his "Coffin and Funerall Expenses." From this same document, we know that tobacco was then valued at four pence per pound (weight). Since there were twelve pence in a shilling and twenty shillings in a pound (of money), these expences were the equivalent of 6 pounds, 13 shillings, and 4 pence, or close to the value placed on four 4-year-old steers (7 pounds) listed on the inventory of William's personal property. The total cost of settling William Sparks's estate, including the payment of several debts, came to 4,756 pounds of tobacco, or the equivalent in money of 19 pounds, 14 shillings, and 16 pence.

The most interesting new information provided in the probate papers for William Sparks is that within two years following William's death in 1709, his widow, Mary, had remarried. No record has been found to reveal the exact date of this marriage, but the accounting of the expenditures in the settling of William Sparks's estate dated October 24, 1711, reveals that Mary's name was now "Mary Trickey." Furthermore, because a married woman in those days could not act in legal matters without the involvement of her husband, this document clearly reveals, also, that her new husband was Thomas Trickey. Thomas Trickey had been one of the witnesses to William Sparks's will as well as to the executors' bond dated October 24, 1709. (His name was sometimes spelled Trickee as well as Tricky.) We can be quite certain that he was both a near neighbor and personal friend of the Sparks family.

We can speculate that Mary, wife and widow of William Sparks, had probably been born in the 1650s, since her oldest son, William Sparks, Jr., had been born ca.1674. Her youngest son, Joseph, was not yet 21 years of age when his father made his will in 1709, placing his birth around 1690. (See the article devoted to Joseph Sparks in the Quarterly of March 1990, Whole No. 149, pp. 3554-3561.) It would appear that Mary Sparks was a woman past her child-bearing years when she married Thomas Trickey. It seems probable, also, that Thomas Trickey was a widower when he became Mary's second husband. He may have been the father of a Thomas Trickey of St. Luke's Parish who married Mary Harrington on February 10, 1736. We have found no record of Mary, widow of William Sparks, after 1711.

Recently we engaged a professional genealogist living in Hampshire County, England, to conduct research there in an effort to prove the English origins of William Sparks (died 1709) and of his brother, John Sparks (died 1700). We hope that in a future issue of the Quarterly we can provide our readers with even more details regarding the life William Sparks (died 1709), ancestor of so many Sparkses in America today.