Whole Number 161
[Editor's note: The reader is referred to the Editor's Note beginning on page 4087. Like the biographical sketch of Samuel Sparks (1846-1926), that for Jesse D. Sparks (born March 7, 1864) which follows has been copied from The Biographical Record of Logan County, Illinois, edited by James E. Jewett and printed by the S. J. Clarke Publishing Company of Chicago in 1901, pp.652-53. (See Item 2,a,(2) on page 4085.)]
One of the eminently successful and highly respected farmer citizens of Logan county, Illinois, who owns a fine farm in Oran township, is Jesse E. Sparks, whose birth occurred March 7, 1864. He is a son of James and Martha (Weaver) Sparks.
In 1837 the grandparents of our subject, 101.2 Samuel and Mary Sparks, left their home in Ohio and located in Logan county, Illinois, where the former died at the age of sixty-five years, and the latter at the age of eighty years, both of whom being laid to rest in Lucas cemetery. They had a family of ten children, five of whom still survive, as follows: Samuel, who lives in Sheridan township; Jesse, who lives in Washington, Illinois; Sarah, who married Dr. Fleming, lives in Oklahoma; Evaline, who is the wife of E. Douglas, and lives in Mason county; and Mary, who married G. Douglas. The mother of our subject was born in Nashville, Tennessee, in Dec, 1835, and now resides on the old farm, in West Lincoln township. The father of our sub ject, James Sparks, came to Logan county with his parents, when he was but eleven years old, and resided here until his death, in February, 1901, at the age of seventy-four years and ten months.
James Sparks was through life a very active and industrious man1 giving his personal attention to his farming operations. He began life as a farmer and saved his earnings. His first purchase consisted of one hundred and ninety- two acres of land in West Lincoln township and the property he placed in a high state of cultivation and continued its improvement until his retirement from active life a few years previous to his death. Mr. Sparks was a well known and highly respected man. Although he was not a member, he was a liberal supporter of the Baptist church and was a man of influence in his community, but would never accept political office. To him and wife were born six children, two of whom died in early childhood, and one beautiful daughter, Mary, died at the age of eighteen. Those surviving are: Emma, the wife of A. S. Howard. residing in Broadwell township; Jesse, our subject; and George, who resides with his mother on the home farm, which he has never left. He has one son and two daughters. All of the children were afforded educational advantages in the district schools and remained under the shelter of the parental roof until they married.
Jesse Sparks was reared on the fine old farm in West Lincoln township, and during the winter months he was a regular attendant at school, but with other farm boys, he assisted in the farming operations during the summers. Until he was twenty-six years old he remained with his father, relieving the latter of much of the hard labor, and becoming a thoroughly instructed agriculturist.
Mr. Sparks was married June 1, 1890, to Miss Sarah C. Beaver, who was born in Broadwell township, November 21, 1868. She is the daughter of Michael and Sarah A. Beaver, the former of whom was long one of the most prominent citizens of Broadwell township. Conaway Pence, Mrs. Sparks' grandfather, was a pioneer of Corwin township, and for years was surveyor of Logan county. Mrs. Beaver makes her home with her daughter, Mrs. Sparks, the other members of her family being: [i.e., chfldren of Michael and Sarah Beaver:] Commodore, who lives in Nebraska; Alice, who is the wife of J. J. Duff and lives in Oran township; Wilson, who lives in Lincoln; and Elmer, who resides in Nebraska. All of these were educated in the schools of Lincoln.
In 1891 Mr. Sparks removed to Oran township where he rented a farm of two hundred and twenty acres, belonging principally to Mr. Beaver, and there he carried on general farming for nine years, but in the spring of 1900 he removed to his present place, it being the old Beaver homestead, 'consist ing of two hundred and eighty acres. This is one of the most desirable tracts in the township. Mr. Sparks also has an interest in his father's place, and in addition, a farm near Lincoln. He has always taken an intelligent in terest in his agricultural work and thoroughly understands every feature of it.
Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Sparks, namely: James E., Ruth, Commodore N., Jessie K. and an infant son. Like his father, Mr. Sparks has taken an interest in public affairs in his county, but has never accepted office. He is known as one of the progressive, reliable, public- spirited and liberal members of his community, who well represents the best class of the citizens of Logan county.