April 4, 2018

Pages 4695
Whole Number 175


[Editor's Note: During our many years of research on the Sparks family, we have rarely found a Sparks who gained fame in the theatre. There has been at least one, however. Can anyone identify the parentage of the actor named Joseph W. Sparks, born in 1856, whose home was in Mount Vernon, New York? The following biographical sketch is copied from Who's Who on the Stage published in 1908 by Walter Browne and DeRoy Kock.]

JOSEPH M. SPARKS, actor, born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1856. His first stage work was as a boy in a song and dance at a little variety theatre in Hartford, called Newton's Varieties. He had a partner and they appeared as the SPARKS BROS. In 1872 they joined a real traveling company and opened at Lynn, Massachusetts, with Maffet & Bartholomew's pantomime in "Flick & Flack." The next season they went into variety and played in the principal variety houses almost continuously until 1880, when they joined Tony Denier for a season in his Humpty-Dumpty company. In 1882 they signed with Harrigan & Hart and Mr. Sparks remained with Harrigan for eight seasons during which term he was sent on the road as the star of "Cordelia's Aspirations," "Dan's Tribulations," and "Squatter Sovereignty." Then he accepted an offer from Rich & Harris to join May Irwin's company and later toured with his own company in a play called "Mr. O'Reillery" by George Hobart and afterwards was with Klaw and Erianger in "A Little of Everything." The season of 1906 he was with Arnold and Daly and the fall season with Henry W. Savage's "The Stolen Story" company. The season of 1907-08, he played Winfield Scott Carroll in George Ade's comedy "Artie." His home is at Chester Hill, Mount Vernon, NY [1908]