Whole Number 178
by Mary Sparks Matthews
Mary Sparks Matthews, who has been a generous supporter of the Sparks Family Association since 1954, has published an interesting volume (519 pages) entitled Fourteen Frontier Families. The subtitle identifies these fourteen family names as Sparks, Ruth, Brooks, Pryor, Wyatt, Deale, Bull, Johnson, Pearce, Blount, Campbell, Chapman, Maxwell, and Kees. Each of the thirteen names following that of Sparks pertains to a family related by marriage to a Sparks in Mrs. Matthew's line of descent. Her immigrant ancestor in the male line was William Sparks who migrated from Hampshire County, England, to Maryland in 1662. Mrs. Matthews is a member of the tenth generation of descendants from this William Sparks, who died in Queen Annes County, Maryland, in 1709. (Two lengthy articles devoted to William Sparks and his family have been published in issues of The Sparks Quarterly, that of March 1971 [Whole No. 73], and that of December 1992 [Whole No. 160].)
It is from 1.2 William Sparks's son, 1.2.4 John Sparks, born ca. 1680, whose wife was Cornelia Curtis, that Mrs. Matthews descends through John's son, 188.8.131.52 Millington Sparks, and wife, Mabel Ruth. The forename "Millington" was repeated in the next two generations of Mrs. Matthews' line of descent, as was outlined in Paul E. Sparks's article entitled "184.108.40.206.2.1 Millington Sparks, III (ca.1775-ca.1835) . .." that appeared in the Quarterly of June 1995, Whole No. 170. (Dr. Sparks acknow ledged his indebtedness to Mrs. Matthews, as well as to Abbott Sparks, for "much of the materials used in this article.") The third Millington Sparks, a great-great- grandson of the William Sparks who died in 1709, seems to have been called William Millington Sparks; he was married in 1797 to Rebecca Brooks. They followed Brooks relatives to Georgia ca. 1803, then moved to Alabama. Their son, 220.127.116.11.2.1.4 Samuel Wyatt Sparks, born July 7, 1803, married Sarah Deal; Samuel and Sarah were the parents of Martin Van Buren Sparks, born March 4, 1837, who married Susan Leonora Bull.
The next Sparks in Mrs. Matthew's line of descent is that of her grandfather, Lloyd R. Sparks (1866-1934); her father was Fred Winchell Sparks (1891-1982).
For each of her frontier families, Mrs. Matthews has provided information regard ing the entire family where possible, not only in the narrative itself, but in the book's appendixes, "A" through "C" of which, pp. 287-400, pertain to the Sparks family. Mrs. Matthews has provided fascinating descriptions of the times and the physical locations where each generation lived; helpful charts and illustrations are also included. The book can be read as a narrative of the American frontier as well as a series of individual family histories. The binding thread throughout, however, is the author's own branch of the Sparks family.
Copies of Fourteen Frontier Families may be purchased directly from Mrs. Matthews for $45.00, which includes handling and shipping. Her address is:
377 North Catherine Park Dr., Glendora, CA 91741-3020.