March 18, 2021

Pages 5274
Whole Number 188 JAMES BASIL SPARKS (1853-1928)

In the Quarterly of December 1990, Whole No. 152, we published an article entitled " Hardy Sparks (ca.1782-ca.1855), Son of Matthew and Sarah (Thompson) Sparks," pp.3687-3703. On page 3691 of that article, we included a sketch of the life of James Basil ["Baz"] Sparks, who was born in Hickman County, Tennessee, on June 15, 1853, a son of Hale and Sarah (Clayburn) Sparks and a grandson of Hardy and Mary Sparks. James Basil Sparks married Mary Frances Breedlove on September 11, 1873, in Newton County, Arkansas. She had been born on August 20, 1854, a daughter of Irvin Breedlove, and she and James became the parents of thirteen children, information about each of whom appeared in the 1990 Quarterly cited above. He died on February 15, 1928; Mary Frances died on December 12, 1941.

A grandson of James B. and Mary Frances (Breedlove) Sparks, Conan W. Sparks, Tulsa, Oklahoma (74128), has sent us a copy of the obituary of his grandfather from a local newspaper of the time of his death, which appears below. (A son's name given in the obituary as "Ewan" has been corrected to Irvin. ) Mr. Sparks obtained this clipping from his cousin, Nadine Sparks Mead, who is also a member of our Association. With it is a note written by Nadine's mother, Florence (Duff) Sparks, wife of Grant B. Sparks, son of James B. and Mary Frances Sparks. This interesting note addressed to Nadine is given below, following the obituary.

Conan has also sent us the photograph of James Basil Sparks with his wife and four of their children that appears on the following page. He also sent us a copy of the photo of James Basil Sparks's brother, Jesse Sparks, son of Hale and Sarah (Clayburn) Sparks, appearing on page 5276. Jesse was born May 11, 1841. A sketch of his life and a record of his 12 children can be found on page 3690 of the December 1990 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 152.

Page 5275
Whole Number 188

Obituary of James Basil Sparks

J. B. Sparks was born in Hickman county, Tenn. on June 15, 1853. He came to Arkansas with his parents when a small child, and remained a resident of the state until his death, which occurred at his home near Anna's Chapel on February 16, 1928.

In 1872 he married Miss Mary Francis Breedlove, of Jasper, Ark. To this union were born thirteen children, all of whom are living and have families: Jim, Irwin, Henry, Frank, Sam, McKinley, Grant, all of Lamar; Sherman, of Scranton, Ark.; Mrs. Sarah Robinson of Limestone Valley; Mrs. Laura Cowan, of Lena, Oklahoma.; Mrs. Charlcie Matthew, Mrs. Amanda Rhynes, and Mrs. Parlee Slusher, of near Lamar.

Page 5274-5277
Whole Number 188 JAMES BASIL SPARKS (1853-1928)
[of Arkansas]

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Sitting: James Basil and Mary Frances (Breedlove) Sparks
Standing, left to right (children): Irvin Hale Sparks; Grant Bayles Sparks; Charicie Leotia Sparks; and George McKinley Sparks

The funeral service was conducted in the church at Anna's Chapel. A large number of relatives and friends were present to mourn their loss. The funeral was preached by the writer, then the burial was conducted by the Masons, of whom Mr., Sparks was a faithful member.

Mr. Sparks had lived a busy and useful life, mostly spent in the public service. He had been a Justice of the Peace for 48 years. He left many friends indebted to him for unselfish service rendered them.

He left this world with a song and prayer on his lips, and I think is still singing something like this:

Well, wife, the storm will soon be o'er, The victory soon be won, The glory-land is just ahead, Your race is nearly run.

And again-- Dear mother and children, don't fail to be ready, For soon the stern message will come, This Life will be wanning, while Heaven you gain, A pleasant and peaceful home, And I will be waiting, waiting up here, With harps of pure gold, I'll sing of His love While waiting for you in Heaven above.

G. W. Galloway

Following the clipping of this obituary in Nadine's scrapbook, her mother wrote the following:

I know you won't be able to remember your grandpa Sparks because you were only 20 months old when he died and you had not seen him since you were 14 months old. Grandpa was a mighty jolly old man. The last time he was at our home he trotted you on his knee and talked about what a fine baby you were. He said he always trotted his children and sang to them. And he sang to you too, an old time song with an old time tune. And it sure was pretty. Maybe you won't ever hear an old time song but I hope you will because I'm sure you would think it the prettiest you ever heard for they really are--the way your grandpa sang them.

Old Bro. Galloway--who wrote this piece about your grandpa was a fine old man. He used to preach on the streets here as long as he was able. He always asked about you and always came to see us when grandma came to see us. He died in July 1929.