April 30, 2021

Pages 5323-5324
Whole Number 189

Born October 0,1801
of Lawrence County, Alabama, and McLennan County, Texas

In the Quarterly for September 1999, Whole No. 187, beginning on page 5207, we published the results of a search of the 1860 census of Texas for families and individuals named Sparks. In presenting a transcript of these data, your editor added notes of explanation whenever he was able, based on records he and the late Paul E Sparks had accumulated through the years. An invitation was extended to readers to share corrections with us, as well as additional information. We are pleased to publish information that has been provided by our longtime Association member, Anita V. Sparks Eakin of San Antonio, Texas. Referring to the household in McLennan County, Texas, on page 5219 in which 59-year-old Thos; Sparks, school teacher, who had been born in Georgia, Mrs. Eakin notes that the head of this household was James D. Wallace--only his initials were recorded by the census taker. The youngest Wallace daughter, whose name your editor copied as "Liner [?]" was actually Lena, according to Mrs. Eakin.

Regarding Thomas Sparks, living along with three of his children in the Wallace household, Mrs. Eakin writes:

Under your remarks [page 5222] on the THOMAS SPARKS, living in the J. D. Wallace household [page 5219], his wife was listed as NANCY JANE McWHORTER in the McWhorter family history outline sent to me several years ago. But, she was called "Julina." I do not know why, but when her death, which occurred on September 11, 1857, in Lawrence County, Alabama, was reported in the county newspaper, the Moulton Democrat, of September 11, 1857, she was called "Julina." This notice was as follows:

Departed this life on the 3rd inst., Mrs. Julina Sparks, wife of Thomas, at his residence in the town of Oakville."

This shows that the Thomas Sparks family was in Alabama as late as September, 1857, but by 1860 they had followed other relatives to Waco, McLennan County, Texas.

Mrs. Eakin has shared with us a letter she had received from Phil Waldrep of Trinity, Alabama, who is now working on his third volume on cemeteries of Lawrence County, Alabama. Mr. Waldrep indicated that he is quite familiar with the Oakville area in Lawrence County where Thomas Sparks and his family were living when his wife died in 1857. Mr. Waldrep indicated that it is no longer a town. It is interesting that it was there that Jesse Owens, the famous runner in the 1936 Olympics, was born. Mr. Waldrep added that people living in the surrounding area were often buried there and that "before the Civil War it was a thriving community." No tombstone for Julina Sparks has been found. We quote further from Mrs. Eakin's letter:

I can identify the T. P. Sparks on the 1860 census of Hill County, Texas [see page 5217], age 22, clerk, born in Alabama, living in the household of Joseph Hix and family. I do not know this Hix family, but am positive that T. P. Sparks is THADEUS PINCKNEY SPARKS, son of Thomas and Julina Sparks, his wife. I realize that Thadeus is listed also in the family in McLennan, County, but that happens now and then on the census records.

The age is right, and so is the birthplace. Thadeus was born June 23, 1838, at Mt. Hope, Lawrence County, Alabama. He married Rebecca Pines Shelton, who appears in the 1860 census of Hill County in the household of P. H. Shelton, farmer, born in Virginia. Rebecca was shown as 14 years old in 1860, born in Missouri. I have traced this Shelton family back to St. Clair County, Missouri, in 1850. Because the Hill County courthouse burned, their records do not start until 1876.

Thadius Pinckney Sparks and family moved to McLennan County, Texas, after appearing on the 1870 census in Navarro County, Texas. He appeared in Waco, McLennan County on the 1880 census and the 1900 census, but Rebecca, his wife, was shown as head of the household on the 1910 census of McLennan County. I have found T. P. Sparks in several Waco City directories where the family was rather affluent at one time, but Rebecca applied for a widow's pension based on her husband's service in the Indian Wars here in Texas. Battalions were formed to protect the frontier from the Indians. Her application reveals the date of her marriage to Thadius as March 22, 1864, in Hill County, Texas. Her husband's name was spelled "Thaddeus" throughout her application. She had been born on September 7, 1845, in Missouri; she died on December 13, 1919, in Covington, Tennessee, but her body was shipped back to Waco for burial.

Thadius P. Sparks served as a Ranger in Capt. John Henry Brown's 1st Detachment of Volunteers from June 28 to September 12, 1859. He died on February 22, 1910. The census was taken after that date, so Rebecca was shown as head of the household. Both were buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Waco, Texas.

Two more sons of Thomas and Julina Sparks served in the Texas Rangers:

John C. Sparks and Thomas M. Sparks. The latter applied for a pension for his services, and gave his middle name as "McQuirter," a common misspelling of Mcwhorter.