March 10, 2021

Pages 4283-4285
Whole Number 166

COUNTY, TEXAS (Texas Historical Commission)

We are always pleased (and proud) to learn of any honors that are given to persons named Sparks or to Sparks descendants. We learned that the Texas Historical Commission erected a highway marker in Comanche County last year (1993) to honor Frances Sparks Brown for her devoted community service during the later 1800s. The inscription on the marker, which has been reproduced on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly, reads as follows:


(October 17, 1849 - January 1, 1934) Frances Marie Sparks, a native of North Carolina and daughter of Daniel and Kezziah Sparks, married Thomas Brown in 1865. They lived in Grayson County, Texas, before moving to a 410-acre farm near here ca. 1876. During the 1880s and 1890s Frances served as a midwife and lay doctor for families in the area. Known as "Aunt Fanny" she often rode 6-8 miles by horseback at night to deliver a baby. Despite her husband's death in 1912, Frances skillfully managed her farm and reared 12 children while continuing to nurse many of her neighbors back to health.

A record of the family of Fanny (Sparks) Brown was part of an article published in the March 1988 issue of The Sparks Quarterly on pages 3202-3204. A picture of her and her husband, Thomas Brown, appeared on page 3203. At the time this article was published, descendants believed that her given names were Mary Frances; apparently they were Frances Marie.

We are also pleased when we are able to make corrections in articles we have published in earlier issues of the Quarterly. The article containing information about Fanny (Sparks) Brown (who was honored by the Texas Historical Commission) also contained incorrect and incomplete information about her brother, William J. Sparks. Here is the "new" information as it has been sent to us. Our readers are asked to make the necessary changes to William J. Sparks on page 3203 of the Quarterly. [Webmaster Note: This has been done.] William J. Sparks was born on August 10, 1847, in WilkesCounty, North Carolina. He married Mary Moxley in 1866 in Alleghany County, North Carolina. (The marriage license was dated January 2l, 1866.) Mary had been born on May 5, 1849, and was a daughter of William and Phoebe (Spurlin) Moxley. William and Mary did not accompany his mother to Texas in 1871, and they continued to live in Alleghany County for the rest of their lives. They died during the flu epidemic of 1918, Mary dying on April 4, 1918, and William dying on April 15, 1918. They had eight children. Dorah Alice Sparks was born April 29, 1867, in Alleghany County. (She was listed as l3 years of age on the 1880 census of Alleghany County.) She married James Avery Dixon, and they lived at low Gap, North Carolina, where James was an orchardist as well as a farmer. They had nine children: John Dixon, William Dixon, Carrie Dixon, Ethel Dixon, Harvy Dixon, Lia Dixon, Maude Dixon, Mandy Dixon,and Fred Dixon. Daniel Sparks was born April 4, 1868/69. (He was listed as 11 years of age on the 1880 census of Alleghany County; however, both his death certificate and tombstone inscription show his year of birth as 1867.) He married Lucy "Kitt" Brannock ca. 1884. She had been born on April 22, 1866, in SurryCounty, North Carolina, and was a daughter of John and Katie (Mayes) Brannock. Daniel and Kitt moved to Texas ca. 1900, and she died there in Eastland County on June 27, 1957. Daniel died there on December 22, 1959. They had eight children: Verna Sparks, James W. Sparks, Stella Sparks, Lloyd Sparks, Lillie Sparks, Enis Sparks, Lia Sparks, and Thomas Sparks.

Front row, left to right: Daniel Sparks, lillieSparks, and lucy "Kitt" (Brannock) Sparks, holding Thomas Sparks.
Back row, left to right: Enis Sparks, Verna Sparks, Stella Sparks, and James W. Sparks. Emmitt Monroe Sparks was born on September 24, 1874. He married Rovie Parks in 1897. He died on August 27, 1935, and was buried in the Saddle Mountain Cemetery in Alleghany County. He and Rovie had six children: Vergie Sparks, Elvie Sparks, Lois Sparks, Leavy Sparks, Evin Sparks,and Ernie Sparks. Albert Sparks was born ca. 1878. He was two years old on the 1880 census. Ida Sparks was born May 20, 1880. She was one month old on the 1880 census. Oscar James Sparks was born on July 12, 1881. He married Lydia Josephine Maines. He died on January 17, 1959. He and lydia had five children: Cittis Sparks, Lillie Sparks, Lokra Sparks, Brady Sparks, and James Sparks. Etta May Sparks was born on May 20, 1883. She married George W. Oakley. She died on December 14, 1958. She and George had three children: Bessie Oakley, James Oakley, and Thelma Oakley. Lula Sparks was born on October 23, 1888. She married John Coomes, and they had six children: Blanche Coomes, Eva Coomes, Paul Coomes, Ruth Coomes, Dorothy Coomes, and Nora Coomes.

[Editor's Note: We are indebted to Association members Veleta (Sparks) Johnson and Gladys (Sparks) Wilson for furnishing the information and photographs used in this article.]