May 15, 2020

Pages 4050-4055

In addition to making the correction noted above, we give here a listing of the children and grandchildren of Solomon and Catherine (Hillegas) Sparks as recorded by Judge Walter Sparks prior to 1925, but supplemented with a considerable amount of data discovered since the Judge prepared his twenty-five charts. Solomon Sparks was born November 15, 1767, near Uniontown, Washington County, Pennsylvania; he died on March 19, 1838, at Winchester, Adams County, Ohio. In issue of the Quarterly for June 1963, Whole No. 42, we published material pertaining to George Sparks, father of Solomon. Since the publication of that article, we have learned that George Sparks, father of Solomon, was a son of 1.2.5 Joseph and Mary Sparks. Joseph Sparks, born ca. 1730 in Queen Annes County, Maryland, died in Frederick County, Maryland, in 1749. In an article about another son of Joseph Sparks (i.e., Joseph Sparks, Jr.) appearing in the Quarterly of September 1986, Whole No. 135, we gave information about the elder Joseph Sparks (died 1749) on page 2915. More information about this branch of the Sparks family appeared in the Quarterly of December 1989, Whole No. 148, as part of a study of the life of William Sample Sparks, who was a nephew of Joseph. A detailed study of the life of Joseph Sparks appeared in the Quarterly of March 1990, Whole. No. 149, pp. 3555-61. Solomon Sparks, son of George Sparks and a grandson of 1.2.5 Joseph Sparks, was married ca. 1792 to Catherine Hillegas, probably in Washington County, Pennsylvania; she was a daughter of John and Elizabeth Hillegas and had been born on February 15, 1775. She died on March 14, 1859, at Winchester, Ohio.

Although Judge Sparks referred to Solomon Sparks as a "Revolutionary Veteran," we have found no proof of such service. Considering that Solomon was born in 1767, he would have been only nine years old when the Declaration of Independence was signed. On October 19, 1781, when Cornwallis surrendered, Solomon would have been only in his fourteenth year, so if he did serve in the Revolution, his service would probably have been as an errand boy or waiter to an officer.

Solomon and Catherine (Hillegas) Sparks were in Brooke County, Virginia, when the 1810 census was taken. (Since the Civil War, Brooke County has been part of West Virginia, just over the state line from Washington County, Pennsylvania.) Enumerated in Solomon's household in 1810 were their first eight children. Solomon and Catherine did not stay in Brooke County very long, however, for they were in Adams County, Ohio, by 1812. There they purchased a 164-acre farm just west of the village of Winchester. Solomon had followed his older brother, Salathiel Sparks, to Ohio.

Solomon Sparks was a tailor by occupation. He and Catherine became charter members of the First Baptist Church of Winchester in 1814. Solomon died there on March 19, 1838, and on April 23, 1838, his son, James Sparks, was appointed administrator of his father's estate. The administration bond was set at $3,200, with Hiram Burnett and Milton Gassett as bond securities. When the 1850 census was taken of Adams County, Catherine, widow of Solomon was shown as heading a household in which her sons Abner Sparks (age 38) and John 0. Sparks (age 30) were still living. Following is a brief record of the children of Solomon and Catherine (Hillegas) Sparks, with a list of the known children of each. We plan to provide a more detailed record of these children and their descendants in future issues of the Quarterly. John Sparks was born February 7, 1793, and died on July 19, 1819, at Natchez, Mississippi. He may have gone there on a business trip. The following notice of his death appeared in the Mississippi State Gazette of August 7, 1819: "Died. John Sparks, 30 years of age, of bilious fever." According to the records of Judge Sparks, described earlier, John Sparks had not been married. Ezra Sparks was born June 18, 1795, and died on January 14, 1862, at Winchester, Ohio. He was married at Winchester on July 14, 1820, by William Baldridge, M.D.V., to Mahala Shriver. She had been born on August 18, 1801, in Berkeley County, Virginia (now West Virginia); she died on July 16, 1867, at Winchester, Ohio. Their children were: Solomon Shriver Sparks, born July 1, 1821. Rebecca Ann Sparks, born 1823. John F. Sparks, born ca.1825. Levi Sparks, born ca.1827. Robert M. Sparks, born February 9, 1829. Mary Ellen Sparks, born October 17, 1831. Catherine Sparks, born ca.1833. Kerrilla Sparks, born September 4, 1835. Ezra Sparks, Jr. born June 6, 1838.

(A record of this family appeared in the Quarterly of September 1963, Whole No. 43, pp. 749-756.) Levi Sparks, son of Solomon and Catherine (Hillegas) Sparks, was born April 9, 1798, and died on January 13, 1872, one-half mile north of Peosta, Dubuque County, Iowa. He was a farmer, but he was also a mechanical engineer and operated a saw mill. He was married on December 16, 1819, by William Baldridge, M.D.V., at West Union, Adams County, Ohio, to Zulima Craig Moore; she had been born July 10, 1800, at Lexington, Virginia. She died on September 23, 1867, at Peosta, Iowa. Their children were: Edwin Sparks, born 1820, died soon after birth. Ella Ann Eliza Sparks, born 1822, died in infancy. Edwin Sparks (second of this name), born October 26, 1829. (As noted on page 4049, he was the father of Judge Walter Winfield Sparks.) Levi Sparks, Jr., born June 1, 1832. Zulima Sparks, born April 10, 1836. Catherine Sparks, born June 5, 1841.

The following account of the life of Levi Sparks appears as part of a biographical sketch of a grandson, Edwin Spurgeon Sparks, in a History of Oregon, Vol. III, published in 1922, p. 12:

Levi Sparks moved to Iowa in the early 1840s. In the locality where he filed upon a homestead, most of the surrounding land had been taken by men from a locality in an eastern state. These men had pledged themselves to allow no outsider to settle there. They looked with hostile eyes upon the newcomer as he erected his little cabin, and one night, with their features disguised with white clothes, they invaded his domain and calling him to his door they ordered him to move on. He told them he was there by permission of the government which had given him the land and he had every reason to believe the government would pages him, and there he would remain. Admiring his courage and determination, the men rode away and did not molest him further, but on the contrary soon became his friends, and in a short time he became a power in the community. He had married Zulima Craig Moore, a blue-blooded Virginian, who was a relative of Thomas Moore, the Irish poet. Elizabeth Sparks, daughter of Solomon and Catherine (Hillegas) Sparks, born July 20, 1800, and died on May 5, 1832, at Winchester, Ohio. She married Samuel Cornelius on July 20, 1820. Judge Sparks could find no further information regarding her, nor have we. Solomon Sparks, Jr., son of Solomon and Catherine (Hillegas) Sparks, was born March 6, 1803, and died on May 6, 1832, at Winchester, Ohio. He was a farmer. He was married on March 8, 1827 in Brown County, Ohio, to Elizabeth ["Betsey"] Cowan; she had been born on May 30, 1803, at Winchesterand died there on August 9, 1892. They were the parents of two children: Nancy Jane Sparks, born November (or Dec) 15, 1829. Catherine Sparks, born May 7, 1832.

There is a court order preserved in Highland County, Ohio, dated October 17, 1838, which reads: "James Davidson appointed Guardian of Nancy Jane Sparks, aged 8 years, and Catherine Sparks, aged 6 years, children and heirs of Solomon Sparks, dec'd." Highland County adjoins Adams County on the north side of Adams County, so Davidson did not live far from the Sparkses in Adams County. A younger brother of Solomon Sparks, Jr., George Hillegas Sparks (1814-1887), as noted on page 4054, was married in Highland County to Jane Ann Davidson in 1839. It is highly probable that Jane Ann Davidson was closely related to James Davidson. Circumstantial evidence also suggests that James Davidson married Elizabeth (Cowan) Sparks, widow of Solomon Sparks, Jr., after the latter's death in 1832, and that it was for that reason he became guardian for the two Sparks children.

It appears that shortly before 1850, James Davidson moved with his family to Montgomery County, Missouri, as did also George Hillegas Sparks with his family. In fact, when the 1850 census was taken of Montgomery County, Missouri (District No. 61), these two families were living in the same dwelling. The wife of James Davidson was shown as Elizabeth Davidson, age 46, and a native of Kentucky, as was also James Davidson. Note that Elizabeth Cowan, widow of Solomon Sparks, Jr., had been born on May 30, 1803, which would mean that she would have been 46 when the census was taken of the Davidson household on August 30, 1850. Judge Sparks believed, however, that Elizabeth Cowan had been born in Winchester, Ohio, whereas Elizabeth, wife of James Davidson, was shown as born in Kentucky. Errors of this nature are made frequently, however. Living with James and Elizabeth Davidson in 1850 was Catherine Sparks, age 17, a native of Ohio. This was surely the same Catherine Sparks, daughter of Solomon Sparks, Jr., for whom James Davidson had become guardian in 1838. (Judge Sparks indicated that she married George Pugh. Her older sister, Nancy Jane Sparks, was married, according to Judge Sparks, to Henry Kibler in January 1848.)

The Kesiah Davidson, age 23, born in Ohio, shown in the household of James Davidson in 1850, may have been his daughter by a previous marriage. (James Davidson's age in 1850 was shown as 56.) The three Davidson children listed in 1850 (Mary, 10; James, 9; and Virginia, 4) were probably children of James and Elizabeth. Catherine Sparks, daughter of Solomon and Catherine (Hillegas) Sparks, was born January 11, 1806, and died on August 28, 1806. James Sparks, son of Solomon and Catherine (Hillegas) Sparks, was born August 31, 1807, and died on January 10, 1858. He married Rebecca Ann Shriver by Dyer Burgess, M.D.M., in Adams County, Ohio, on January 1, 1829. Following his death, Rebecca Ann married (second) William Robe on November 3, 1858. There is a tombstone in the Winchester, Ohio, Cemetery for Solomon and Catherine (Hillegas) Sparks which has the inscription: "Erected to Their Memory by Rebecca Robe." Rebecca was a daughter of Peter Shriver.

James Sparks appeared on the 1850 census of Winchester Township, Adams County, Ohio, age 45. He was listed as a native of Pennsylvania, and his occupation was that of inn keeper. Living with him in 1850 was his wife,

Rebecca A. Sparks, aged 42, a native of Kentucky. Following their names are the names of fifteen residents at their inn, among whom was a John Sparks, age 25. This John Sparks had been born in Ohio, and under occupation, the census taker wrote "None." Whether this was a son of James and Rebecca Ann (Shriver) Sparks, we do not know. Judge Sparks gave no information regarding any children of James and Rebecca Ann. When James died, his will left all of his estate to his widow, with no mention of any children. (See Brown County Wills, Vol. 3, p. 297.) For a record of Sparkses found on the 1850 census of Ohio, see the Quarterly of December 1977, Whole No. 100, pp. 1944-1959.

The following sketch is taken from Winchester Sesquicentennial, 1815-1965, by W. M. Sellman, published in 1965, page 8.

The most noted of the old inns was built by James Sparks ca. 1839, on lot 27, which he had bought from Eliza Darlinton in 1837. James Sparks was born in Pennsylvania on August 31, 1807, a son of Solomon and Catherine Sparks. On January 1, 1839, [See correction by the Editor.] he married Rebecca Ann Shriver a daughter of Peter Shriver. The hotel built by Sparks in 1839 was a two-story structure, with a balcony extending out over the sidewalk. Several stables to the rear of the hotel faced the alley on the north. Sparks operated the inn for sixteen years, and enjoyed an excellent reputation as host. In 1855, he sold the property to James W. Mclntire and moved to Ripley, Brown County, where he died January 10, 1858. [Editor's Note: The date given here for the marriage of James Sparks and Rebecca Ann Shriver is in error; according to the marriage records in Adams County, the date of their marriage was January 11, 1829. by Dyer Burgess, NDM.] Mary Sparks, daughter of Solomon and Catherine (Hillegas) Sparks, was born January 4, 1810. She married Thomas Ramsay in Adams County, Ohio, on November 13, 1828; he had been born in Columbia County, Ohio, in 1804. He was a cabinet maker. Their children were: Charles Sparks Ramsay, born October 5, 1829. Catherine Ramsay. Solomon Ramsay. George Ramsay Harvey Ramsay. Abner Sparks, son of Solomon and Catherine (Hillegas) Sparks, was born August 17, 1812, in Adams County, Ohio, and died at Humboldt, Illinois, on August 31, 1881. He was a farmer and merchant. He was married on May 14, 1861, at Yankee Town, Ohio, to Lucinda Woodburn who had been born on February 13, 1832, at Amanda, Ohio. She died on April 5, 1918. Children: Mary Catherine Sparks, born February 3, 1863. George Sherman Sparks, born June 7, 1864. Delilah Isabel Sparks, born June 21, 1865. John Oliver Sparks, born June 27, 1869. Nancy Ann Sparks, born March 21 1871; died in infancy. Elizabeth Jane Sparks, born March 22, 1872; died at age of one year. Florence Jeanette Sparks, born June 23, 1875. George Hillegas Sparks, son of Solomon and Catherine (Hillegas) Sparks, was born November 15, 1814, in Adams County, Ohio, and died on November 16, 1887, at Gamma, Montgomery County, Missouri. He was a farmer and carpenter. He was married by Lawrence Rose, J.P., in Highland County, Ohio, on April 11, 1839, to Jane Ann Davidson. She had been born on November 6, 1821, and died on January 2, 1902.

Page 4055

The following sketch of George H. Sparks, son of Solomon and Catherine (Hillegas) Sparks, was written by Esther Vernatti (Mrs. W. J., Jr.), of 702 North 11th Ave., Ozark, Missouri 65721-9309. She has also provided the photograph of George H. and Jane Ann (Davidson) Sparks shown above. Mrs. Vernatti's husband's father, William James Vernatti, was a grandson of Mary ["Mollie"] Sparks, daughter of George and Jane. George H. Sparks, Sr. was a thrifty farmer and a fine carpenter. Each week he would walk 60 miles (round trip) to Danville, Missouri, where he built the courthouse soon after the Civil War. It is said that he and his three older sons served on the Confederate side in the Civil War, but records of this service have not been found.

He built a lovely home for his family near Gamma, Missouri. The lumber was cut and prepared from his own timber land. The interior was finished in hand rubbed walnut. The windows had a wide shelf at both top and bottom, and the floors were six inches thick. George and Jane, with their children, attended the Old School Presbyterian Church at Brush Creek. George H. and Jane Ann (Davidson) Sparks were the parents of the following children: James Davidson Sparks, born November 6, 1840. Oliver S. Sparks, born May 22, 1842. Martha Sparks, born April 20, 1845. Monroe Sparks, born July 20, 1847. Sarah Kizziah Sparks, born July 31, 1851. Katherine E. Sparks, born January 8, 1855. Mary Ann ["Mollie"] Sparks, born August 27, 1857. George H. Sparks, Jr., born March 14, 1860. John Hillegas Sparks, born March 15, 1863. Jonathan Boston Sparks, son of Solomon and Catherine (Hillegas) Sparks, was born June 10, 1817, in Adams County, Ohio, and died in March 1862 at Covington, Kentucky. Judge Walter Sparks, in preparing his 25 charts on the descendants of Solomon and Catherine (Hillegas) Sparks, could find no further information on Jonathan except that he had a daughter named Ida Marie Sparks who married FNU Goff.

He was probably the Jonathan B. Sparks shown on the 1850 census of Winchester Township, Adams County, Ohio, as 32 years old, born in Ohio, and a carpenter. Rebecca Sparks, doubtless his wife, was shown as 32 years old and also born in Ohio. Eleven year-old Cynthia A. Sparks, doubtless their daughter, was shown in their household, along with Joseph Wright, age 40, who may well have been a brother of Rebecca. A history of Winchester entitled Winchester Sesquicentennial, 1815-1865, by W. M. Sellman, published in 1965, states (page 38) that Jonathan B. Sparks married Barbara Wright. There is a record, however, of the marriage of Jonathan B. Sparks to Rebecca Wright, license dated January 28, 1839, in the Highland County, Ohio, marriage records. W. M. Seliman was probably mistaken in stating that the wife of Jonathan B. Sparks had the first name of Barbara. John Oliver Sparks, son of Solomon and Catherine (Hillegas) Sparks, was born April 26, 1820, and died in 1891 at Bement, Illinois. He was a grain merchant. He married Barbara Ann Bradford on January 8, 1851, in Adams County, Ohio, and they had the following children: Catherine Sparks. Inez Sparks.