Whole Number 185
by Paul E. Sparks and Russell E. Bidlack
The preceding article in this issue of the Quarterly (pp. 5106-5115) about John Sparks (1816-1899) of early Lewis County, Kentucky, affords us an opportunity to conjecture about his Sparks lineage. Unfortunately, at the present time, we can only conjecture; however, there is fairly good evidence that his great-grandfather was 220.127.116.11 William Sparks, Sr., who was in Bourbon County, Kentucky, as early as 1786.
In order to consider the first Sparkes in Lewis County, we must note the parent counties from which Lewis County was formed. Bourbon County was created in 1785 and embraced almost all of present-day eastern Kentucky. Mason County was next created; it was taken from Bourbon County in 1788. Lewis County was formed from Mason County in 1806; thus, a family could have settled on land in Bourbon County in 1785 and have been a resident of Lewis County twenty years later without having moved.
There can be little doubt that most, if not all, of the Sparkses who were early settlers in the Kentucky counties named above (Bourbon, Mason, and Lewis) were descendants of 18.104.22.168 William Sparks, Sr. He was in Bourbon County in 1786 where he and his son, 22.214.171.124.2 William Sparks, Jr., were among the petitioners to have a new county formed that would be more convenient for them. He and William Sparks (Jr.?) paid property taxes in Bourbon County in 1787. (One was listed as "William Sparks" and the other as "Wm. Sparks" by the tax collector in 1787.) by 1795, William Sparks, Sr. was paying taxes in Bourbon County along with five other men named Sparks who were, we believe, sons of William Sparks, Sr.They were:126.96.36.199.2 William Sparks, Jr.; George Sparks; Michael Sparks; John Sparks; and Joseph Sparks. Four of these men were married in Bourbon County between 1791 and 1797.We estimate that they had been born in the 1770s. William Sparks, Sr. continued to pay taxes in Bourbon County until 1797.
Recently we received a copy of a document, "The Daly Family," written in 1930 by Henry Daly and published in the June 1988 issue of a publication of the Ventura [California] Genealogical Society. Mr. Daly made several references to an ancestor named Sarah (Sparks) Morrow of early Bourbon County, Kentucky. Here is what he wrote about her:
Grandma Morrow was Sarah Sparks. She had 5 brothers in the Revolution [ary] War. She died at the home of her youngest son, Samuel Morrow, at Roachport, Boone Co., [Missouri] in August 1851, while nursing her grandson, Robert Morrow, 3rd, with the cholera. The Sparks family was a large one, 15 children.The father and 4 brothers took sides with the British while the other 5 sons supported the colonists. The Morrows objected to their son marrying one of the girls but he married the 4th daughter of Cul (or Cal) Sparks and moved to the wilds of Kentucky; settled 6 miles east of the now city of Paris, KY.She was a noble woman and raised all of the 10 [sic] children up to be respected.
The size of the family of William Sparks, Sr., and its presence in Bourbon County, tends to make us believe that this is the Sparks family that Henry Daly wrote about. We wonder whether the "Cul" or "Cal" Sparks to whom Daly appears to state was Sarah's father might have been the nickname for Michael Sparks taxed in Bourbon County in 1795. If so, we wonder whether Henry Daly, writing from childhood memory, may have confused the name of Sarah (Sparks) Morrow's father's name with that of her brother.
Paris, six miles from which Daly stated that Sarah and her husband had settled, is the county seat of Bourbon County. Sarah's husband's name was Robert Morrow, according to Henry Daly, and their children's names were: John, Riley, Jeptha, Delilah,Robert, Isabella, D. [daughter], Hiram, Irene, and Samuel.
Where had 188.8.131.52 William Sparks, Sr. and his family lived prior to his and 184.108.40.206.2 William Sparks, Jr.'s appearance as taxpayers in Bourbon County, Kentucky, in 1786? There are a few clues. At least one descendant has stated that his pioneer ancestor named Sparks had come to Kentucky from Virginia. An eminent genealogist, Dr. William N. Talley, lecturer at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, wrote that the majority of the early settlers in Lewis County had come there from the southwestern part of present-day Pennsylvania. This area had been claimed by both the colony of Pennsylvania and that of Virginia prior to 1782 when the disputed boundary between the two states was finally settled by Congress in the "Decree of Trenton." Persons born before 1782 in what became Washington County, Pennsylvania, for example, could later disagree on the state of their births, whether Pennsylvania or Virginia. (See the article entitled "Virginia Claims in Southwest Pennsylvania" in the June 1963 issue of the SPARKS Quarterly, Whole No. 42, pp. 735-37.)
Another tentative clue regarding where William Sparks, Sr. may have been before coming to Kentucky is found in Vol. I, 1788-1810, of the Federal Land Series, edited by Clifford Neal Smith and published by the American Library Association in 1972.On p. 149 is the text of a document at the National Archives identified as:
Item 2524, dated November 30, 1785 (D/164/161. Report of the houses situated between Yellow Creek & the mouth of the Muskingum [River] on the Ohio destroyed by a detachment under the command of Capt. John Dougherty.
A photocopy of the original document referred to above has been obtained from the National Archives and is reproduced on the following pages. It will be noted that William Sparks is named as occupying a cabin at Mingo Bottom (second from the last name on the first page).We believe that he was probably the William Sparks, Sr. who migrated to Bourbon County, Kentucky.
Why did the Federal government order that these settlers' houses on the upper Ohio River be destroyed in 1785? It was because they, including William Sparks, had, in the terminology of the time, "squatted" on land without obtaining titles to it. The Federal Government had recognized this land as belonging to Native Americans. Thus, these "squatters" were violating agreed upon Indian rights and thus could well ignite the flames of an Indian war. On September 23, 1783, the Continental Congress had issued a proclamation forbidding "all persons from making settlements on land inhabited or claimed by Indians, without [i.e. outside] the jurisdiction of any particular state."
An excellent article devoted to this fascinating incident in American history by Randolph C. Downes, appeared in the Ohio Archealogial and Historical Quarterly, Vol. XLIII, July 1934, No. 3, pp. 273-82. In this, Mr. Downes tells how these "squatters" on the Upper Ohio River even attempted to form a separate state within the Union to be governed by a man named William Hoglund.
In his report to Col. Josiah HarMarch [see following pages] after his squad's destruction of the settlers' houses in November 1785, Captain Dougherty added a private note:"Notwithstanding which I am firmly of opinion that many will be re-built, for the poor devils have nowhere to go."Indeed, some did remain and rebuilt their cabins, but William Sparks was not among them.When another military unit went in April 1786 again to drive out the "squatters" by destroying their homes, William Sparks' name was not on list. Mr. Downes noted in his article that it was not until 1789 that the last of the "squatters" left the Upper Ohio when an Indian war did actually begin.He noted: "Then and then only did this nameless state cease to exist as its citizens fled, some back to Pennsylvania and Virginia, others down the Ohio to the fertile lands of Kentucky."
Daughtery Picture 1
Daughtery Picture 2
Shown above, beginning on page 5118, is a 2-page document preserved at the National Archives (2524, November 30, 1785: D/164/161-2). Report of Capt. John Dougherty to Lt. Col. Josiah HarMarch of the 1st U.S. Infantry. Dougherty had been sent with a squad of soldiers from Fort Mcintosh to destroy the cabins of "squatters" on Indian land on the west side of the Upper Ohio River.
A portion of map "The Upper Ohio, 1753-1777," from page 57, Atlas of American History (New York, Scribner's, 1943), showing location of Mingo Bottom where William Sparks was dispossessed as a "squatter" in 1785.
Was William Sparks one of those who, after the first burning of their homes in 1785, fled "down the Ohio to the fertile lands of Kentucky?" We believe there are reasons to suggest that he was.
If the William Sparks who had "squatted" on land at Mingo Bottom on the west side of the Ohio River was the same William Sparks, Sr. who was in Bourbon County, Kentucky, as early as 1786, where had he been before coming to the Upper Ohio?Again, we have clues amounting to circumstantial evidence, but no specific documents to support them, but it seems highly probable, that he had come there from Washington County, Pennsylvania. Following is a summary of our knowledge of the William Sparks who, in 1773, had "squatted" on land in what would become Washington County, Pennsylvania, following the Degree of Trenton accepted by Congress to become effective in 1782.
William Sparks of Washington County, Pennsylvania, with his brother, George Sparks, were subjects of an article that appeared in the June 1963 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 42, pp. 728-34, although at that time we had not yet found documentary proof of where they had lived prior to 1773. Although we then thought it likely that they were brothers, we could not be sure. Likewise, we had no knowledge of William Sparks's whereabouts after 1781; we even thought that he may have died about then. We had succeeded in finding several interested descendants of William through his son, James Sparks, born ca. 1865, but they could tell us little about James's parentage. We had considerably more information about George Sparks, however, when we prepared the June 1963 article. George had remained in Washington County for the rest of his life, making his will there on July 9, 1803; he died in the spring of 1806.George Sparks's wife's name had been Mary, and on page 734 of the June 1963 Quarterly we gave a list of their children:Salathiel, George, Jr., William Bostwick, Solomon, James, and Mary.
Our research since 1963 has proven that William and George Sparks were, indeed, brothers; they were sons of Joseph Sparks who died in Frederick County, Maryland, in 1749.An article devoted to Joseph Sparks appeared in the Quarterly of March 1990, Whole No. 149, pp. 3554-61.Joseph Sparks was born ca. 1690 in Talbot County, Maryland, and was the youngest son of William Sparks, who had been an immigrant to Maryland from Hampshire County, England, in or ca. 1662. William Sparks under consideration here was thus a grandson of the immigrant and had doubtless been named for him. This elder William Sparks made his will on June 21, 1709, in Queen Annes County, Maryland; it was probated there in October 1709. In his will, William Sparks had indicated that his son Joseph had not yet come of age.
Two articles in the Quarterly have been devoted to 1.2 William Sparks (died 1709).The first appeared in the issue for March 1971, Whole No. 73, pp. 1381-89; the second was in the issue of December 1992, Whole No. 160, pp. 4025-34. We believe that William Sparks (died 1709) is the ancestor of more persons named Sparks in the U.S. today than of any other Sparks immigrant.Joseph Sparks spent his youth in Queen Annes County, Maryland, and it was doubtless there that he married Mary -, although no record has been found of the marriage.From Joseph's estate records, we know that he was the father of twelve children, seven sons and five daughters.There is always the possibility, of course, that he had been married more than once. A birth record has been found for only one of these children; the son named William was born April 27, 1738, according to the records of St. Luke's Parish in Queen Annes County. His parents were identified as Joseph and Mary Sparks. He was baptized at St. Luke's Church on June 4, 1738. (For a listing of the Sparks births, baptisms, marriages, and deaths found in the records of St. Luke's Parish, 1728-1850, see the Quarterly of March 1971, Whole No. 73, pp. 1389-91.)
Joseph Sparks had inherited land from his father in Queen Annes County that, in the end, amounted to 100 acres. He sold this to a wealthy neighbor named Augustine Thompson, on March 21, 1719.We have found no further record of Joseph in Queen Annes County until that of his son William's birth in 1738.
Joseph Sparks had a nephew, William Sample Sparks, who was nearly the same age as Joseph.William Sample Sparks had moved west to Frederick County, Maryland, before 1736, and Joseph Sparks followed him there after his son William's birth on April 27, 1738. Joseph died there, without making a will, in 1749, leaving his widow, Mary Sparks, with the twelve children. In the subsequent division of Joseph's estate, the children were named as follows in a Frederick County Court record dated August 22, 1750:Solomon, Joseph, Jr., Charles, Jonas, Jonathan, William [born 1738], George, Merum, Mary, Ann, Rebecca, and Sarah.
William Sparks, son of Joseph, was a babe in arms when he accompanied his parents in their move from Queen Annes County to Frederick County, Maryland, probably in the autumn of 1738 or the spring of 1739. It was a decade later, when he was ten or eleven years old, that he lost his father.
by 1759, in which year William Sparks came of age, he had moved to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.The distance was not great.He had lived in that part of Frederick County that would become Carroll County in 1837. Carroll County, Maryland, borders York County, Pennsylvania, on the north, and York County adjoins Lancaster County to the east.An assessor's return for Drumore Township in Lancaster County for 1759 includes a "Freemen's Page" (i.e., a listing of unmarried males over 21 living in the township) on which he wrote:"Wm. Sparks, at Robert Dicksons."Robert Dickson was a blacksmith so we can conjecture that young Sparks may have been apprenticed to Dickson to learn the blacksmithing trade. Two years later, on March 12, 1761, 220.127.116.11 William Sparks married Martha Moore at St. James Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Martha Moore was a daughter of Alexander and Margaret Moore of Drumore Township where William Sparks had been shown as a "freeman" in 1759.Alexander Moore had died, however, in 1750. In his will dated June 30, 1750, and probated on August 17, 1750, Alexander Moore had left land to his wife and their sons, James, John, and William; and "unto my well beloved daughters Agnes, Margaret, and Martha 40 pound[s]] Pennsylvania money to each of them as they come of age." He also left 10 shillings to his daughter Hannah and 5 pounds to a granddaughter named Margaret. (This will was recorded in Lancaster County Will Book A, Vol. 1, p.191.)
On May 31, 1766, in Lancaster County Deed Book L, p. 224b, a quitcipin deed was recorded by which the "Heirs of Alexander Moore" granted a portion of their inheritance "to Margaret Moore, widow of Alexander Moore." One of the grantors was identified as "Martha, wife of William Sparks of Drumore Township," thus proving that William Sparks was still living in Lancaster County in 1766.
Margaret Moore, mother of Martha (Moore) Sparks, continued to live in Drumore Township in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, until her death in 1777.She made her will on May 9, 1777, and it was probated on November 24, 1777. (See Lancaster County Will Book C, Vol. 1, p. 484.) In her will, she mentioned her sons, James and William, and her daughters:Margaret Fullerton; Hannah, wife of Moses Irwin; Agnes Dickinson; and Martha Sparks.Her clothing and other personal items were to be divided among these four daughters, with "a piece of Callico not yet made up" to be set aside for Martha Sparks.
William and Martha Sparks, however, were no longer residents of Lancaster County when Margaret Moore died.In fact, the assessment rolls for Drumore Township did not include William Sparks's name in 1769 nor thereafter.
We know that by 1773 William Sparks and his family were living in what was to become Washington County, Pennsylvania. He was a "squatter" there, having settled on land then claimed by both Pennsylvania and Virginia. Their original charters had overlapped.We can be sure that William hoped to acquire a title at a later date to the tract he had marked off. "Squatters" in what is now southwestern Pennsylvania designated the land they wished to claim by chopping notches in trees to mark its borders.These were called "Tomahawk Claims," and as other squatters arrived, the earlier marked boundaries were usually respected.A descendant of William Sparks remembered family stories about his ancestor having settled on "tomahawk land" in Pennsylvania, but the meaning of the term had been forgotten in the family.
William Sparks's brother, George Sparks, also took up a "Tomahawk Claim" in 1773 not far from William's. (See the cover of the Quarterly of June 1963 for a map showing the Sparks claims along with those of their neighbors.) Both William and George Sparks, perhaps because of their Maryland origin, believed that they had "squatted" on Virginia land and considered themselves to be Virginians. Virginia had organized this disputed land as its West Augusta County.Then, in 1776, Virginia set off a portion as Ohio County, which included the claims of the Sparks brothers.Pennsylvania, on the other hand, had organized the area as part of its vast Westmoreland County. Thus, references pertaining to William and George Sparks are found in both Virginia and Pennsylvania sources. We incorporated these references in our June 1963 article cited above; they will not be repeated here.
The most important Virginia record pertaining to George and William Sparks has to do with the final settlement of this controversy between Pennsylvania and Virginia. Virginia agreed in 1780 to give up her claim to what the Decree of Trenton stipulated belonged to Pennsylvania, with the understanding that she could issue certificates to her settlers for their "tomahawk" land claims which would then be honored by Pennsylvania. About 400 settlers in what is now Washington County applied to Virginia for certificates.To obtain a certificate, it was necessary for an applicant to state the year in which he had made his first settlement in the disputed area. Both William and George Sparks stated that they had settled on their claims in the year 1773. (The official copy of these certificates retained by Virginia is now preserved in the library of the University of West Virginia, a microfilm of which was loaned to us.)
The Virginia certificate issued to William Sparks was dated 5 February 1780, and was for 400 acres "on the waters of Buffaloe to Include his Settlement made in the year 1773." George Sparks received two Virginia certificates, one for 400 acres "on the waters of Buffalo and Cross Creek" and the other for a claim that he had purchased from a man named William Bailey adjoining his own claim.Bailey had made his settlement there in 1775.(The references to Buffalo Creek and Cross Creek did not mean that these streams flowed through or adjoined these "tomahawk" land claims, but that they were nearby and could be used to help to locate them.)
When actual surveys were subsequently made of the "squatters'" claims, they were almost always found to contain fewer acres than the claimant had thought.When William Sparks's tract was finally surveyed in 1786, it was found to contain slightly over 323 acres.by 1786, however, William Sparks was no longer living on his tracthe had sold it to a man named Thomas Bines, but we do not know the date of this transaction. It was not until 1787 that Bines finally obtained a patent (deed) from the state of Pennsylvania for the tract. As was the custom in Maryland and Virginia, the first owner of a tract of land gave it a name to help in its future identification.George Sparks named his first tract "Sparta."The tract he had purchased from Bailey was called "Eleanoroon." When Thomas Bines obtained his patent on the tract he had purchased from William Sparks, it was called "Ben-ington," but whether it had been given this name by Sparks or by Bines, we do not know.
Although the Decree of Trenton did not take effect officially until 1782, both Virginia and Pennsylvania knew as early as 1780 that it would become effective then. In anticipation, Pennsylvania created the new county of Washington in 1781, carving it out of Westmoreland County. The first tax list for the new county has survived; it is dated 1781 and has been published in the Pennsylvania Archives, 3rd. Series, Vol. 22.Both William and George Sparks were taxed in Hopewell Township; William's taxable property consisted of 340 acres of land, 2 horses, 4 cattle, and 8 sheep. (Although when it was surveyed, William's tract was found to comprise slightly more than 323 acres, apparently it was thought to comprise 340 acres in 1781.)George Sparks was also taxed in 1781:400 acres and the same number of domestic animals as his brother.
Township maps showing the tracts of land originally patented to individuals in Washington County, Pennsylvania, as well as in Fayette and Green Counties, were drawn by John H. Campbell, chief draftsman in the Land Office Bureau of the Department of Interior of Pennsylvania, in the early 1900s. This project was necessitated by the rapidly increasing value of coal lands in western Pennsylvania. These maps were reproduced and published as Vol. Ill of The Horn Papers in 1945 under the title Early Westward Movement on the Monongahela and Upper Ohio, 1765-1795.The map for Independence Township of Washington County appears as number 68 in this volume. The tracts of land claimed by William and George Sparks were both located originally in Hopewell Township in Washington County, but in 1856 Independence Township was created from part of Hopewell Township and included the land once "squatted" upon by William and George Sparks in 1773.Because Thomas Bines had purchased, and then obtained the patent for, William Sparks's tract, his name appears as its owner on this map, it having been surveyed on April 19, 1785, as containing slightly over 323 acres. A small portion of this map is reproduced on page 5124 showing the owners of tracts near that of Thomas Bines in the 1780s.As can be seen, in his description of the land of Thomas Bines, John Campbell noted that Bines was an "assignee" to this tract and that it had been surveyed for him on March 25, 1786, "in pursuance of a Virginia cert[tificate]." That Virginia certificate, of course, had been issued to William Sparks.
Independence Township in Washington County adjoined Ohio County, Virginia, on its western border.(Ohio County was divided in 1796 to form Brooke County to the north; after 1863 both Ohio and Brooke Counties became part of the new state of West Virginia.)
Our belief that the William Sparks who "squatted" on land at Mingo Bottom, and whose cabin there had been among those destroyed by Capt. Dougherty on November 30, 1785, was the same William Sparks who had been a pioneer in what had become Washington County, Pennsylvania, is based in part on the fact that a tract of land adjoining Sparks in Washington County had been claimed by a man named John Carpenter with a Virginia certificate. He was, we believe, the same John Carpenter named by Capt. Dougherty in his report of houses destroyed on Indian lands.At the end of his report, Dougherty noted: "The house of John Carpenter with a sick family in it of George Norris's [was] left standing near the houses of his which were destroyed." The other houses belonging to Carpenter that were destroyed were described as being "along the shore below Cross Creek." Another name found on Capt. Dougherty's list, that of Francis Riley, appears, also, as that of a neighbor of William Sparks in Washington County.
Believing as we do that the William Sparks who, according to Capt. Dougherty, was a squatter at Mingo Bottom in 1785, was the same William Sparks who had "squatted" earlier on land in Washington County, we have to ponder why he would have then left the land for which he had obtained a Virginia certificate in 1780.Was he, like Daniel Boone, a restless adventure seeker, always dreaming of finding richer land, perhaps a land speculator, or were there other personal reasons that we will never know? Might his wife, Martha (Moore) Sparks, have died and had he married a second time?As will be noted in more detail later, there is some reason to wonder whether there was a second wife named Mary (Jolly) Sparks.
A number of years ago, we corresponded with several descendants of James Sparks, a son of William Sparks of Washington County, Pennsylvania.None of these individuals had any written records or documents pertaining to the early generations of the family.Some knew that James's father's name had been William Sparks, and one or two recalled hearing that his mother's name had been Martha Moore, but none knew that she and William had been married in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. They had assumed that William and Martha had met in Maryland. There was the general knowledge that William Sparks had been born in Maryland and that he had once lived in Frederick County.
In 1886, a biographical sketch of Alien Sparks (born in 1814), who was a son of James, was included in a History of Clinton County, Indiana published by the Interstate Publishing Co. in Chicago. According to this account, believed by some to have been written by Alien's son, Elijah Sparks, a prominent attorney of his time, James Sparks had been "born near Fredericksburg, Maryland, in September 1759, and when fourteen years old moved across the Allegheny Mountains on pack-horses, to Washington County, Pennsylvania...."(p. 819) There never has been a Fredericksburg in Maryland, but there was (is) a town named Frederick. James's parents had not been married until 1761, and census records place his birth in ca. 1765. James was shown as 85 years old when the 1850 census was taken. Even within this biographical sketch itself, the birth year of 1759 for James Sparks is disputed with the statement: "He died in October 1855 in the ninety-seventh year of his age."
We published an article entitled "James Sparks of Washington County, Pennsylvania, and Clinton County, Indiana," in the Quarterly of March 1984.In this, we repeated, unfortunately, a number of the errors appearing in this 1886 account. There can be no doubt that James Sparks either remained in Washington County, Pennsylvania, when his father moved to claim land, we believe, at Mingo Bottom on the upper Ohio River, or that he later returned. James became of age ca. 1786, but he did not marry until ca. 1798.There is little doubt but that he was married in Washington County, his bride being Margaret Ray, daughter of James and Margaret Ray.James and Margaret were the parents of twelve children. It was not until ca. 1820 that James moved his family to Ohio, living first in the part of Richland County that helped to form Ashland County in 1846, but a decade earlier they had moved to Clinton County, Indiana. Information about the children of this couple can be found in the Quarterly for March 1984, Whole No. 125, pp. 2588-2600; and June 1984, Whole No. 126, pp. 2612-36.
In 1952, a member of the Association now deceased (Mrs. Edna Briggs) shared with us a letter dated September 9, 1939, written by Elizabeth K. Sparks, widow of Joseph Sparks (born in 1866), who had been a grandson of James and Margaret (Ray) Sparks.Elizabeth K. Sparks copied a record that Guy Sparks (1867-1955), nephew of her husband, had compiled "from hearsay and family tradition." He had written the following regarding William Sparks, father of James Sparks:
William Sparks was a soldier in the Revolutionary War; serving with distinction thro' the war. Was at Stony Point, Brandywine, and Yorktown.He married Martha Moore. Her parents were wealthy and gave them a farm in Marylandeast of the mountains. Sold this for Continental money and lost it. Came west of the mountains and settled on 500 acres of Tomahawk improvement in Washington Co., Pennsylvania.
Based on "hearsay and family tradition" as Guy Sparks had confessed, this account doubtless has elements of truth along with obvious errors.It does appear that William Sparks did serve in the American Revolution based on Washington County Militia records (see p. 730 of the June 1963 Quarterly, Whole No. 42.)That service was much less extensive, however, than described in the above account.
Another descendant of William and Martha (Moore) Sparks through their son James who had a keen interest in his branch of the Sparks family was Dr. Alan Lee Sparks (1901-1978), a son of the Guy Sparks mentioned above. Dr. Sparks stated in a letter dated September 20, 1952, that: "my remote ancestor was one William Sparks [who] took tomahawk land in Pennsylvania.... They spent a generation or so in Pennsylvania & then journeyed westward to Ohio where there was a temporary settling."We believe that this family memory may have referred to William's brief stay at Mingo Bottom on the upper Ohio in 1785.
Dr. Alan Sparks believed that William and Martha (Moore) Sparks were the parents of sons named James, William, Jr., and Richard, and daughters named Perunia, Marjory, Martha, and Margaret.As we have noted, James Sparks either remained in Washington County, Pennsylvania, when his father left, or he returned later to be married to Margaret Ray ca. 1798.We believe that the son named William was the William Sparks, Jr. who, with William Sparks, Sr., signed a petition in 1786 as a resident of Bourbon County, Kentucky, asking that a new county be formed that would be more convenient; William Sparks, Jr. paid taxes in Bourbon County from 1787 to 1797, after which his residence may have been in Nicholas County, Kentucky, which was created from Bourbon and Mason Counties in 1799.He apparently died in 1799 (see the Quarterly of September 1980, Whole No. Ill, pp. 2240-41).We have no knowledge of the Richard Sparks thought by Dr. Alan Sparks to have been a son of William and Martha (Moore) Sparks.
Earlier we noted the possibility that Martha (Moore) Sparks may have died in the 1780s and that William Sparks had been married a second time. Our clue for this is the fact that in the biographical sketch of Alien Sparks (1814-1905), son of James Sparks, it was stated that Alien's grandmother had been Mary (Jolly) Sparks,This was definitely an error for there is ample proof that James Sparks's mother had been Martha (Moore) Sparks, but could the writer of this biographical sketch, believed to have been Alien's son, Elijah Sparks (1843-1916), have mistakenly recalled the name of Alien's step-grandmother?We have found records proving that there was a Jolly family living in Washington County, Pennsylvania, in the 1780s.
If we are correct in conjecturing that the William Sparks, Sr. of Bourbon County, Kentucky, as early as 1786 was the same William Sparks born in Queen Annes County, Maryland, on April 27, 1738, a son of Joseph and Mary Sparks, when and where did he die? In 1799, the year in which William Sparks, Jr. died in Kentucky, William, Sr. would have been 61 years old. Earlier we noted that Guy Sparks (1867-1955), a grandson of James and Margaret (Ray) Sparks, had prepared a record of his branch of the Sparks family "from hearsay and family tradition." This he shared in 1939 with his uncle, Joseph Sparks, and in 1952 Joseph's widow shared it with Edna Briggs, who shared it with us.In this record. Guy Sparks stated that William Sparks, his great-grandfather, had "died at the age of 75."He also listed the children of William as: "James, William, Marjory, Martha, and Margaret." Note that he did not include Richard and Perunia as had Dr. Alan Sparks in his list.
What may have been Guy Sparks's source for stating that William Sparks had died in at the age of 75, we do not know. If he was accurate, and the William Sparks, son of Joseph and Mary Sparks, born in Queen Annes County on April 27, 1738, was the same William Sparks who married Martha Moore, we could then calculate that William died in or ca. 1813.We cannot, however, substantiate this date based on any written record known to us.
Following is a tentative list of the children of William Sparks. We conjecture that he was the 18.104.22.168 William Sparks, son of Joseph and Mary Sparks, born in Queen Annes County, Maryland, on April 27, 1738, who accompanied his parents in their move ca. 1739 to Frederick County, Maryland; who married Martha Moore in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on March 12, 1761; who "squatted" on "tomahawk" land in Washington County, Pennsylvania, in 1780; who "squatted" on land at Mingo Bottom on the upper Ohio River prior to November 1785; who, we believe, was in Bourbon County, Kentucky, in 1786; and who, according to one descendant, died at the age of 75, probably in Kentucky, in or ca. 1813.
Following is a record of the probable children of 22.214.171.124 William Sparks, Sr. of early Bourbon, Mason, and Lewis Counties, Kentucky:
[Note: Daughters whose names were recalled by descendants of his son James Sparks, but for whom we have no further information. We have no basis for calculating their dates of birth.]
126.96.36.199.1 James Sparks, born ca.1765, died in 1855.He has been discussed at some length in the preceding pages. He may have been the James Sparks who was taxed in Bourbon County, Kentucky, in 1790, 1795, and 1796. He may then have returned to Washington County, Pennsylvania, where he was married ca. 1798 to Margaret Ray. Information regarding James Sparks and his family can be found in the Quarterly of March 1984, Whole No. 125, pp. 2588-2600; and June 1984, Whole No. 126, pp. 2612-36.When that record was compiled, however, certain errors were made that have been corrected in the pages of the present article.The twelve children of James and Margaret (Ray) Sparks were:
188.8.131.52.7.1 Martha ["Marthy"] Sparks.
184.108.40.206.7.2 Margaret Sparks.
220.127.116.11.7.3 Sarah Sparks.
18.104.22.168.7.4 William Sparks.
22.214.171.124.7.5 James Sparks.
126.96.36.199.7.6 Margery Sparks.
188.8.131.52.7.7 Mary Sparks.
184.108.40.206.7.8 Joseph Sparks.
220.127.116.11.7.9 Thomas Sparks.
18.104.22.168.7.10 Robert Sparks.
22.214.171.124.7.11 Alien Sparks.
126.96.36.199.7.12 Elizabeth Sparks.
188.8.131.52.2 William Sparks, Jr., born ca.1762, died ca.1799.The name of his wife has not been found. Information regarding him and his family can be found in the Quarterly for September 1970, Whole No. 71, p. 1336; September 1971, Whole No. 75, p. 1416; March 1977, Whole No. 97, p. 1878; and September 1980, Whole No. 111, p. 2240.His children were:
184.108.40.206.2.1 Caleb Sparks
220.127.116.11.2.2 Joseph Sparks
18.104.22.168.2.3 Mary Sparks.
22.214.171.124.6 George Sparks, born ca.1764, died ca.1835. He married (first) Elizabeth ["Betsey"] Wells, and (second) to Rachael McClanahan in 1805. Information regarding him and his family can be found in the Quarterly of June 1970, Whole No. 70, p. 1319; and December 1970, Whole No. 72, p. 1370. His children were:
126.96.36.199.6.1 John Thornton Sparks.
188.8.131.52.6.2 Mary Sparks.
184.108.40.206.6.3 James Sparks.
220.127.116.11.6.4 Otho Sparks.
18.104.22.168.6.5 George Sparks, Jr.
22.214.171.124.6.6 Cytha Ann Sparks.
126.96.36.199.6.7 Ellen ["Nellie"] Sparks.
188.8.131.52.6.8 William Sparks.
184.108.40.206.6.9 Charles Sparks.
220.127.116.11.? Perunia Sparks
18.104.22.168.? Marjory Sparks
22.214.171.124.? Martha Sparks
126.96.36.199.? Margaret Sparks
188.8.131.52.8 Michael Sparks, born ca. 1769 died ??.He married Elizabeth Wells, 1794. No further information.
184.108.40.206.9 John Sparks, born ca. 1770, died 1814. He married Catherine Waddel in 1792. Information regarding him and his family can be found in the Quarterly of September 1972, Whole No. 79, p. 1498; and December 1980, Whole No. 112, p. 2262. Children of John Sparks:
220.127.116.11.9.1 William Sparks.
18.104.22.168.9.2 Micha Sparks (daughter).
22.214.171.124.9.3 Jonas Sparks.
126.96.36.199.9.4 Elizabeth Sparks.
188.8.131.52.9.5 Martha Sparks.
184.108.40.206.9.6 Susan Sparks.
220.127.116.11.9.7 Catherine Sparks
18.104.22.168.10 Sarah Sparks, born ca.1775, died 1851. She married Robert Morrow. See the present issue of the Quarterly, pp. 5116-17 for information on Sarah and her family.
22.214.171.124.10.2 Riley Morrow.
126.96.36.199.10.3 Jeptha Morrow.
188.8.131.52.10.4 Delilah Morrow.
184.108.40.206.10.5 Robert Morrow.
220.127.116.11.10.6 Isabella Morrow.
18.104.22.168.10.7 D. Morrow (daughter).
22.214.171.124.10.8 Hiram Morrow.
126.96.36.199.10.9 Irene Morrow.
188.8.131.52.11 Joseph Sparks, born ca.1776, died 1838. He married Anne Wilson in 1797. For information on this family see the Quarterly of June 1970, Whole No. 70, p. 1315; December 1970, Whole No. 72, p. 1366; and December 1984, Whole No. 128, p. 2679. Joseph and Anne's children were the following.
184.108.40.206.11.1 James Albert Sparks.
220.127.116.11.11.2 Harriett Sparks.
18.104.22.168.11.3 Catherine Sparks.
22.214.171.124.11.4 William Sparks.
126.96.36.199.11.5 Sidney Sparks (daughter).
188.8.131.52.11.6 John Sparks.
184.108.40.206.11.7 Joseph Sparks.
220.127.116.11.12 Jonas Sparks, born ca. 1780, died ca. 1810. No marriage record has been found, but his wife's name was Elizabeth.He is known to have had a daughter:
18.104.22.168.12.1 Cynthia Sparks.
22.214.171.124.13 Richard Sparks may have been a son of William Sparks, but we have no information other than a family memory of his name.
Whole Number 70
126.96.36.199.6 George Sparks was born ca. 1764 and died prior to 1840, probably in Nicholas County, Kentucky. We now know he was the George Sparks who married Rachel McClanahan in Nicholas County, Kentucky, on April 18, 1805. He had married, first, Elizabeth Wells on June 14, 1790, in Bourbon County. It is quite possible that his widow was the female aged between 70 and 80 who was enumerated among the family of George Sparks on the 1840 census of Nicholas County; this latter George Sparks is believed to have been a son of George and Rachel (McClanahan) Sparks.
George Sparks paid taxes from 1787 to 1799 in Bourbon County, but apparently was In that portion of Bourbon County which became Fleming County in 1798 because he paid taxes in Fleming County from 1802 to 1804. He was in Lewis County from 1809 to 1817, but went to Nicholas County where he lived until his death prior to 1840.
George Sparks was an Ensign and then a Lieutenant in the Fleming County Regiments (Cornstalk Militia), first in the 30th Regiment and then in the 58th Regiment in 1803-04. According to census records, George Sparks had children as follows:
188.8.131.52.6.1 Dau1 Sparks born 1794-1800 (probably by an earlier marriage)
184.108.40.206.6.2 Dau2 Sparks born 1800-1810
220.127.116.11.6.3 Son1 Sparks born 1800-1810
18.104.22.168.6.4 Son2 Sparks born 1810-1820
22.214.171.124.6.5 Dau3 Sparks born 1810-1820
126.96.36.199.6.6 Son3 Sparks born 1810-1820
188.8.131.52.6.7 Son4 Sparks born 1810-1815
184.108.40.206.6.8 Son5 Sparks born 1815-1820
220.127.116.11.6.9 Dau4 Sparks born 1815-1820
18.104.22.168.6.10 Dau5 Sparks born 1820-1825
Some descendants believe they can identify four of the ten children of George Sparks as George Sparks, Jr.; John Thornton Sparks; 22.214.171.124.6.6 Cytha Ann Sparks; and William Sparks. More positive proof is needed to make this claim a certainty; however, in the hope that the publishing of these records will stimulate the uncovering of additional data, we are giving the records of these four persons as probable children of George and Rachel (McClenahan) Sparks:
[Note: We now know his children were:
126.96.36.199.6.1 John Thornton Sparks.
188.8.131.52.6.2 Mary Sparks.
184.108.40.206.6.3 James Sparks.
220.127.116.11.6.4 Otho Sparks.
18.104.22.168.6.5 George Sparks, Jr. , born ca. 1811
22.214.171.124.6.6 Cytha Ann Sparks, born ca. 1811.
126.96.36.199.6.7 Ellen ["Nellie"] Sparks.
188.8.131.52.6.8 William Sparks, born ca. 1812.
184.108.40.206.6.9 Charles Sparks.
220.127.116.11.6.1 John Thornton Sparks, born ca. 1809; he married Elizabeth Launtz in Lewis County, Kentucky, on April 1, 1830. On the marriage bond that was dated March 7, 1830, John Sparks was identified as over 21 years of age and consent for the marriage of Elizabeth was given by Curtis Launtz. John Thornton Sparks was sometimes listed in official records as John Sparks and sometimes as Thornton Sparks. He died as a relatively young man in 1849 in Lewis County. Earlier, in 1834, he had signed the marriage bond of his sister, 18.104.22.168.6.6 Cytha Ann Sparks, when she married Jesse Nash. One of his nephews remembers him as "Uncle John Thornton"; this man also recalled an "Uncle William" Sparks and an aunt who married a Scott. Elizabeth (Launtz) Sparks was born ca. 1805 in Maryland; she was a daughter of Curtis Launtz and was living with her daughter, Nancy Sarah (Sparks) Guthrie in Lewis County in 1880. John Thornton and Elizabeth (Launtz) Sparks had the following children:22.214.171.124.6.1.1 Melville Sparks, born ca. 1830, married Sarah Agnes Robb.(Note: There was another Thornton Sparks who was born ca. 1805 who married Martha Littlejohn in Mason County, Kentucky, in 1831 and was living in Fleming County, Kentucky, in 1840.)
126.96.36.199.6.1.2 David Curtiss Sparks, born ca. 1831.
188.8.131.52.6.1.3 Louisa Sparks, born ca. 1833, married William McElroy on March 6, 1866.
184.108.40.206.6.1.4 Nancy Sarah Sparks, born ca. 1835, married Thomas Guthrie.
220.127.116.11.6.1.5 Dau1 Sparks born ca. 1837.
18.104.22.168.6.1.6 Henry Sparks, born ca. 1838.
22.214.171.124.6.1.7 William Henry Sparks, born ca. 1840, married Josephine Holliday In 1866.
126.96.36.199.6.1.8 John Thornton Sparks, born ca. 1842, married Mary MNU.
188.8.131.52.6.1.9 Mary E. Sparks, born ca. 1845.
184.108.40.206.6.1.10 Elizabeth E. Sparks, born ca. 1848.
220.127.116.11.6.5 George Sparks, Jr., believed to have been a son of George and Rachel (McClenahan) Sparks, was born ca. 1811 in Kentucky died at New Ross, Montgomery Co., Indiana, in 1884. He married (first) Catherine Stokes in Nicholas County, Kentucky, in 1836 or 1837 (the marriage bond was dated 1 December 30, 1836); she was a daughter of Benjamin and Micha (Sparks) Stokes and she died ca. 1848. (Micha Sparks, mother of Catherine, was a daughter of John and Katharine (Waddell) Sparks of Nicholas County and was born ca. 1795.) Following the death of his first wife, Catherine, ca. 1848, George Sparks, Jr., married as his second wife, Hannah Fishback, who was born between 1819 and 1823 (her age was given as 31 on the 1850 census and as 37 on the 1860 census). About 1852, George Sparks, Jr., moved with his family from Kentucky to Montgomery County, Indiana. According to census records, George Sparks, Jr., had the following children. It is believed that the first five were by his first wife, Catherine Stokes, and the last six were by his second wife, Hannah Fishback.18.104.22.168.6.5.1 Melissa J. Sparks, born ca. 1838 in Kentucky.22.214.171.124.6.6 Cytha Ann Sparks, born ca. 1811 probably in Fleming County, Kentucky, believed to have been a daughter of George and Rachel (McClenahan) Sparks. She died in 1880 in Franklin County, Missouri. She married Jesse Nash on April 12, 1834, in Lewis County, Kentucky. he was born ca. 1813, son of James and Mary (Brackney) Nash who came to Kentucky from Alleghany County, Pennsylvania. He was a brother of Eli Nash who married 126.96.36.199.2.1.3 Catherine Sparks, daughter of 188.8.131.52.2.1 Caleb Sparks, in 1834. Jesse and Cytha Ann (Sparks) Nash had the following children:
184.108.40.206.6.5.2 Martha E. Sparks, born ca. 1840 in Kentucky.
220.127.116.11.6.5.3 Alvin Branch Sparks, born in Carlisle, Kentucky, ca. 1842, died August 12, 1910; he married Lucy Bowen.
18.104.22.168.6.5.4 William B. Sparks, born ca. 1844, in Kentucky.
22.214.171.124.6.5.5 Mary C. Sparks, born ca. 1848, in Kentucky.
126.96.36.199.6.5.6 John I. Sparks, born ca. 1849 in Kentucky.
188.8.131.52.6.5.7 Charles M. Sparks, born 1850 in Kentucky. He married Emma Fishback who was born in Bourbon Co., Kentucky, in 1852. Charles M. Sparks died at Advance, Boone Co., Indiana on NOv. 3, 1919. Their children were:184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Nellie M. Sparks, married Charles M. Ray, of Advance, Indiana.18.104.22.168.5.7.8 Harriet Sparks, born ca. 1853 in Indiana.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Franklin Forrest Sparks, born August 7, 1882, at Advance, Indiana. He was graduated from Harvard University in 1911, in which year he married Helena Nelson, daughter of William and Lena (Donavan) Nelson. He was principal of Broadwater County High School in Townsend, Montana, in 1921. They had four children:188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1 Dixie Sparks, born September 30, 1912;220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Lilith Sparks, married Frank Heady of Advance, Indiana.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.2 Blanche Sparks, born October 1914;
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.3 Charles Sparks, born September 1915; and
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.4 Nancy Sparks, born December 1917.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Anna Gould Sparks, married Russell Wyncoop of Lebanon, Indiana.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Chester Sparks, lived in Indianapolis, Indiana.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Maurice Sparks; died in infancy.
22.214.171.124.5.7.9 David B. Sparks, born ca. 1855 in Indiana.
126.96.36.199.5.7.10 Ellen Rebecca Sparks, born ca. 1857 in Indiana.
188.8.131.52.5.7.11 Frances B. Sparks, born ca. 1861 in Indiana; married a FNU Conner, buried in Union Hill Cemetery.184.108.40.206.6.6.1 William George Nash, born ca. 1835, married Jane Boyd and lived in Oklahoma and Texas.220.127.116.11.6.8 William Sparks, born in 1812, believed to have been a son of George and Rachel (McClenahan) Sparks, married Siarina Gilbert on March 23, 1834, in Lewis County, Kentucky. She was a daughter of Elias and Catherine Gilbert. (Her name is given on records as Sidney, Syanna, Lyanna, Susanna, and Sian..) She was born ca. 1817 in Kentucky and died ca. 1905 in Douglas County, Missouri. William and Sianna (Gilbert) Sparks were the parents of the following children.
18.104.22.168.6.6.2 Eliza Nash, born ca. 1837, married William Dunbar.
22.214.171.124.6.6.3 James Harrison Nash, died young.
126.96.36.199.6.6.4 Josephine Nash, died young.
188.8.131.52.6.6.5 John Thornton Nash, born ca. 1841, died in 1932 at Lyons, Kansas.
184.108.40.206.6.6.6 Jesse Nash, born ca. 1843, died in 1924 at Mansfield, IL.
220.127.116.11.6.6.7 Elizabeth Nash, died young.
18.104.22.168.6.6.8 Sarah Nash, born ca. 1847, married Henry Stahl, died in 1926 at Philmont, New York.
22.214.171.124.6.6.9 Theophilus Nash, born ca. 1849, died 1900 at Sterling, Kansas
126.96.36.199.6.6.10 Adolphus Nash, died young.
188.8.131.52.6.6.11 Mary Brackney Nash, married George Dexter, died in Lafayette, Indiana in 18184.108.40.206.10.6.8.1 Mealinda Sparks, born ca. 1837, married James W. Perry in 1858.No information on the other children of George Sparks.
220.127.116.11.6.8.2 Dau1 Sparks born ca. 1839.
18.104.22.168.6.8.3 William Henry Sparks, born ca. 1843.
22.214.171.124.6.8.4 George Sparks, born ca. 1845.
126.96.36.199.6.8.5 Elizabeth Sparks, born ca. 1847, married FNU Bishop.
188.8.131.52.6.8.6 James Sparks, born ca. 1852, died September 1854.
184.108.40.206.6.8.7 Mary Sparks, born ca. 1853; married FNU Ward.
220.127.116.11.6.8.8 Louisa Sparks, born June 18, 1855; married FNU Howls.
18.104.22.168.6.8.9 Amanda Sparks, born January 20, 1859.
[Editor's Note:As can be seen from our many conjectures in the above article, major mysteries remain in our attempt to organize this family unit.We would be most pleased to hear from anyone having further information. In using the above records, we beg readers to retain our frequent use of such words as "probably," "perhaps," "possibly," etc., along with our question marks, and please retain our frequent use of "ca." meaning "about."Too often we are finding material from the Quarterly being copied (often without giving the source) into computer programs in which our careful distinction between documented facts and possible relationships is ignored.]