March 15, 2020

Pages 4134-4135
Whole Number 162


Mrs. Mildred (Sparks) Bowers, Gilman City, Missouri, 64642, is looking for the parents of her great-grandfather, William T. Sparks, who was born ca. 1821 in Ohio. He married Susanna E. Schooley on September 11, 1843, and when the 1850 census was taken, they were living at Collinsville in Madison County, Illinois. by 1855, they had moved to Louisville Township in Clay County, Illinois, where they were also listed on the 1860 and 1870 censuses. William's occupation was given as that of a sawyer, i.e., a person whose work is sawing wood.

When the 1880 census was taken of Clay County, William was shown as living in the household of Thomas Abell, age 27, a native of Indiana. William's age was given as 59 years, and his occupation was that of engineer. According to census records and from information furnished by Mrs. Bowers, we believe that William and Susanna had six children.

1. Zelma B. Sparks was born ca. 1845. She died in Clay County in October 1860 at the age of 14 years, from "inflamation of the brain."

2. William Monroe Sparks was born ca. 1847. He died on March 18, 1876, leaving his estate to his mother, Susanna E. Sparks. He apparently was never married.

3. Catherine Sparks was born ca. 1852. She married William Harvey Smith on January 24, 1872, in Clay County. When the 1880 census was taken of Clay County, they were living in Stanford Township with their two children,

Richard A. Smith, age 4, and
William S. Smith, age 2.

Also living in their household was Catherine's brother, Simon C. Sparks, age 25.

4. Lou E. Sparks was born ca. 1854.

5. Simon C. Sparks was born ca. 1856. He married Adie Holmes in 1886 in Washington County, Illinois, and they had a son, Francis Marion Sparks. Francis Marion Sparks was the father of Mrs. Bowers.

6. Columbus D. Sparks was born ca. 1863.

[Dr. Paul E. Sparks, president of the Association, has prepared the following notes to accompany Mrs. Bowers' query.]

There are several reasons to believe that William T. Sparks, subject of this query, was a son of Simon and Catherine (Templeton) Sparks, natives of New Jersey, who lived for most of their lives in and around the Greene-Clark-Montgomery Counties area of Ohio. (See pp. 738-741 of the June 1963 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 42, for further details of the family of Simon and Catherine [Templeton] Sparks.) Here are the reasons for our belief.

a. According to census records, it appears that Simon and Catherine (Templeton) Sparks had a son, born between 1820 and 1825, whom we have been unable to identify. William T. Sparks fits this apparent son, age-wise.

b. After the death of her husband, Simon Sparks, in 1854, Catherine (Templeton) Sparks moved to Christian County, Illinois, in 1855. In 1857, she moved to Clay County, Illinois. William T. Sparks also lived in Clay County from 1855 to 1880.

c. When the 1880 census was taken of Clay County, the census taker was told by the person he interviewed from the household of William T. Sparks, that Sparks was a native of New Jersey. Simon Sparks was also a native of New Jersey.

d. William T. Sparks named a daughter, Catherine, and a son, Simon. He may have named the children for his parents.

e. Richard Sparks and Simon C. Sparks, known sons of Simon and Catherine (Templeton) Sparks, both bought land in Christian County, Illinois, Richard in 1854 and Simon in 1855. Simon C. Sparks died in Clay County, Illinois, in April 1860 of consumption.

f. So far as we know, Andrew Sinnockson Sparks, brother of Simon Sparks, who was in Greene County, Ohio, as early as 1813 (as was also Simon), had no son named William born ca. 1821.

For further information about the New Jersey branch of the Sparks family, the reader is referred to the following issues of the Quarterly: September 1957, Whole No. 19; March 1958, Whole No. 21; March 1966, Whole No. 53; and March 1973, Whole No. 81.