Whole Number 192
by Russell E. Bidlack
We begin this article with grateful acknowledgement to Joyce Bastasch, a long-time member of our Association, who lives in Palos Verdes Estates, California. It was Mrs. Bastasch who discovered and called this writer's attention to information contained in the published court records of early New Castle County, Delaware, thus enabling us to solve a mystery that has long mystified descendants of William Sample Sparks (ca.1700-ca.1765), son of William, Jr. and Margaret Sparks. An article about William Sample Sparks was published in the Quarterly of December 1989, Whole No. 148, to which further details regarding his life were added in the Quarterly of June 1997, Whole No. 178, as part of an article devoted' to his daughter, Rachel (Sparks) Bicknell. The mystery has pertained to the source of the middle name of William Sample Sparks. The record noted by Mrs. Bastasch is the will of William Sample father of Margaret Sample, the future wife of William Sparks, Jr. Dated December 11, 1682, William Sample's will was probated three weeks later, on January 1, 1683. (The old Julian Calendar was then in use, so these dates are slightly different under our Gregorian Calendar used since 1752.) The full text of the will of William Sample will appear later in this article.
Typical of the time, the name "Sample" was spelled in a variety of ways among the court records of early New Castle County. When Williaim Sample made his will, for example, he signed his name "Will: Sempell." When he had been granted a tract of land (600 acres) in the colony of Delaware on April 19, 1681, his name was recorded as "William Semple." In a tax record dated June 12, 1684, for this same 600 acres, his widow's name was given as "Widdow Sample." Although William Sample Sparks seems to have signed his name by mark, others spelled his middle name as Sample. Except in quotations, we will use that spelling here.
Because of the mystery pertaining to the origin of the name Sample, we have noted our inability to account for it in a number of articles that have appeared in the Quarterly. Our earliest mention of William Sample Sparks was in the issue for June 1961, Whole No. 34 (p.557). There we noted that the signatures (by mark) of William Sample Sparks and Rachel Sparks had appeared on the inventory taken in 1749 of the estate of Joseph Sparks who had died that year in Frederick County, Maryland. Joseph Sparks was an uncle of William Sample Sparks. (Maryland law then required that two relatives, as well as the estate's two major creditors, sign the inventory of the possessions of a deceased person as part of the probate process.) There were other references to William Sample Sparks in later issues of the Quarterly, often including the question of why the name Sample had been chosen for him.
It was not until the issue of the Quarterly of December 1989, Whole No. 148, that we presented a detailed record of the life of William Sample Sparks. There we noted that he had used his middle name only when he might otherwise have been confused with a cousin or nephew also named William Sparks. We even speculated that he might have chosen "Sample," himself, to use as a middle name merely to prevent this confusion, rather than having been christened "William Sample Sparks." this remains a possibility, but whether chosen by his parents at the time of his birth ca. 1700, or whether it was added by himself at a later time, we can be sure it had come from the name of his maternal grandfather, William Sample. While this grandfather had died some two decades prior to the birth of his namesake, William Sample Sparks's mother, Margaret (Sample) Sparks, dooubtlesstold him of her father who had died while she was still a little girl.
Based on a predominance of evidence gathered over many rears, we stated in the 1989 article, as we had done in earlier references, that Willam Sample Sparks was a son of William Sparks, Jr. William Sparks, Jr. was the eldest son of the immigrant, William Sparks, who died in Queen Annes Couny, Maryland, in 1709. (See the articles in the Quarterly of March 1971, Whole No. 73, and December 1992, Whole No. 160, for information on William Sparks' [died 1709] and his family.) We also noted in the 1989 article that William Spatks, Jr. had been married twice, his first wife, Margaret, mother of William Sample Sparks, having died prior to 1730.
Until Mrs. Bastasch's discovery, we believed that the maiden name of Margaret had been Hamilton based on a New Castle County, Delaware, document of March 31, 1696, that had been copied incorrectly. This erroneously copied record appears in NewCastleCounty, Delaware,LandRecords, 1673-1710, compiled by Carol Bryant, pp.76-77. It can easily be understood how this error had been made from the 200-year-old handwritten copy of the original by a Court clerk. Furthermore, women then rarely owned:· land, so in copying this document, Ms. Bryant had doubtless just assumed that the land in question had pertained to a man.
A photocopy of this 1696 deed, recorded in New Castle County deed book B1, pp. 101-02, has been obtained from the Hall of Records in Dover, Delaware. In this there is the identification of "William Sparks of the province of Maryland and Margaret his wife, the daughter of Josine Hamilton, later of New Castle, Delaware ..." In this first recording of the name "Josine" in the 1696, it could easily be interpreted as "Josiah," but when her name was repeated later in the deed, the spelling is clearly "Josine." We now know that, following the death of William Sample in 1682, his wife, Josine, had been married to a man named Hamilton. Margaret, wife of William Sparks, Jr., was, asthis 1696 deed indicates, a daughter of Josine Hamilton, but Josine had been Josine Sample when Margaret had been born in the 1670s.
A transcription of this entire 1696 deed follows, with a minimum of punctuation added for clarity:
Know all men that John Bisk of the Town of New Castle, Taylour, and William Sparks of the province of Maryland and Margaret his wife, the daughter of Josinh [?] Hamilton late of New Castle deceased, for a valuable Consideration to whom in hand paid by Benjamin Sweet of the Town of New Castle aforesaid the recept whereof they do hereby Acknowledge Have given, granted, Enfeofed and by these presents Confirmed unto the said Benj. Sweet a certain Lott of ground in the Town of New Castle containing in bredth thirty foot and in lenth from sewer to street bounded to the Eastward by Front Street, to the Westward by Land Street, to the Northward by the land of the said John Bisk and to the southward by a house and gound lately belonging to the said Josine Hamilton, deceased, which said lott was confirmed by patent from Francis Lovelace, Esqr. Governour under his Royall highness James Duke of York the Eighth of Aprile 1672 unto Isaac Tine with other lotts thereto adjoyning To Have and to hold the sd lott of ground and premisses with fencings and Improvements to the sd Benj. Sweet and his heirs and behoef of him, his heirs and assigns forever under the Yearly rent according to the Lord of the Soyle. And the said John Bisk, William Spark and Margaret his wife the premesses & every part thereof to the said Benj.Sweet and his heirs against them and their heirs and all other persons whatsoever shall and will warrant and forever defend by these presents
In witness whereof
they have hereunto sett their hands and sealls this 31st of March 1696
Sealled and delivered in
the presence of
Lendorr Osterhaven, John Bisk
Jacob Allrichs, Eliz: Bisk
Henry Wright, William Sparks
Acknowledged in Open Court held at New Castlethe 16th of June 1696 as wittness my hand and seal of the court
Based on the published copy of this deed, as noted earlier, this writer stated, erroneously, in his 1989 article, as in earlier references in the Quarterly, that Margaret, wife of William Sparks, Jr., had been a daughter of "Josiah Hamilton." We know now that Josiah Hamilton did not even exist. The photocopy of the officially recorded copy of the deed in question clearly reveals that it was Margaret's mother who was described as "late of New Castle deceased." Although when Margaret's mother, Josine, died, she married FNU Hamilton, her earlier husband had been William Sample (or "Semple"), as proven by his will dated December 11, 1682.
This will was recorded "vetbatim" in the records of the Court of New Castle meeting January 1, 1683, at Which session "The laest [i.e. last] will and Testament of
William Sempill, Late of New Castle, deceased" was produced (i.e., probated) by two of the witnesses, John Biske and Jonas Arskin. The text of this will follows:
The Last Will and Testament of William Sample
In the Name of God amen this 11th day of December in the yeare of or Lord God 1682. I: William Sempill, Inhabitant of New Castle upon delaware River being Sick and weake in Boddy but of perfect mind and memory thankes be Given unto God, Therefore calling unto mind the mortality of my Boddy and knowing that itt is appointed for all men once to dye, Doe make and ordayne this my Laest will and Testament in manner and forme following That is to say first and Principally I: give my Soule into the Hands of God who Gave itt to mee and for my boddy I: commend itt to the Earth, to bee burried in decent Christian manner, noteing butt att the Gennerll: Resurection I: shall Receave the same againe by the mighty power of God, And as touching Such worldly goods as itt hath bin pleased God to bless me in this Lyfe tyme wth I: Give devyse bequeath and dispose the Same in manner & forme following Vizt: First I: give, devyse and bequeath unto my dearly beloved wyfe Josyn Sempill and my Little daughter Margaret wth: Rest of my wifes Children all my p'sonall Estate as goods and Chattles & moveables to be Equally divyded and distributed to my wife and daughter Margret and the rest of my wyves Children to use, occupy and dlspose of as Shee my said wyfe Shall See necessary and conveniety for the use of my sd: wyfe and daughter Margaret and my wyves Children, only Excepted I: doe devyse and bequeath & Give unto my Little daughter Margaret all my Estate in Christina Creeke or upon a brainch of the said Creeke boath Reall & personall movements and imovables, goods and Chattles wth: all the increase to the Soale and proper use and behoffe of she my said daughter Margartet itt being my will that first of all my wyfe Josyn Sempill puts on and upon the Plantation in Christina or brainch of the sd Creeke for the use of my daughter Margaret Soe manny Cowes, Sowes and other Chattell and What Els I: am allreaddy obliged to put upon the aforsd Plantation all being for the Soale and proper use and behoofe of my daughter Margret, until Shee Marryeth or Comes of age, the Increase to be att the disposal of my wyfe Soe Long as she remains a widdow provyded She my wyfe Keepes the old Stoke good, and in the next place, if itt please God to call mee out of this world I: doe ordaine Constitute and appoint my beloved friends Mr. James Walliam & Samuel Land of the Towne of New Castle, to bee executors: of what what worldly Estate I shall Leave behind mee, and to use the best of their Indeavors for the bennefitt of my wyfe, my daughter Margret and my wyves Children, with all that my wyfe Josyne Sempill pay all Just debts due from me, to others, and that sheereceive all debts due from others to mee, and I: doe hereby utterly disallow Revoake & Annull all and Every other former Testaments, wills, Legacies, bequeaths. Executors: by me in any wise before this type named, willed, or bequeathed, Ratifying and Confirming this and none other to bee my Laest [last] will & Testament whereof I haue hereunto Sett my hand & Seale the day & yeare above written--
[signed] Will: Sempell (LS) Signed Sealed published
pronounced. declared by
the sd: William Sempill
as his Laest will & Testament
In the Presence of us --
In this will, a symbol from Old English and Old Norse, the Runic character called the "thorn," was used for the letters th, as in the, this, etc. The symbol resembles the letter y, and many editors substitute a y for the thorn, thus spelling the word "the" as "ye" or "that" as "yt " implying that "the" had been pronounced "ye" or "that" as "yet;." Since the thorn was not a y, this writer prefers to substitute the letters "th" to retain the pronunciation that the original writer had intended.
From the will of William Sample, it is apparent that his wife Josine, had been married previously, and that she had had children by that earlier husband. Unfortunately, however, William Sample did not mention the surname of Josine's children by her earlier marriage. We will return to this question later in this article.
From the wording of his will, its seems apparent that William Sample intended that his two friends, James Walliam and Samuel Land, serve as executors of his estate, although he qualilied their appointment with the words "use the best of Indeavors for the bennefitt of my wyfe, my daughter Margret and my wyves Children... The Court record indicates that when this will was presented to the Court for probate, William Sample's widow, Josine, made the claim that her husband had intended that she administer his estate, and that James Walliam and Samuel Land should "bee understood only as overseers & assistants to the widdow [herself] in the performand of her husbands will." Josine must have been a strong and bold woman for her day, for the justices accepted her argument.
Before returning to a discussion if the provisions that William Sample made in his will, it may be appropriate to review the dating system then in use in England and her colonies. As noted, it was on January 1, 1683, that William Sample's will was presented for probate in the New Castle court. The meeting dates for this session of the court were recorded however, as follows: "Att a Court Held in the towne of New Castle...the first and 2d dayes of the Elleventh month called January annoq. Dom.1682/3." It was under the old Julian Calendar, which remained in use in England and her colonies untill 1752 that January was counted as the eleventh month of the year and February as the twelfth. The new year began on March 25th, in keeping with vernal equinox, but all of March was counted as the first month of the year.
Dating back to the time of Julius Caesar, the Julian calendar had been adopted in the Christian world during the Nicene Council in A.D. 325. While based on the solar year and divided into 365 days, plus an extra day every fourth year, the Julian calendar was found to exceed the solar year by eleven minutes, amounting to a full day every 131 days. This was corrected in 1582 with the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, which we use today, by having no leap year in centenial years not divisable by 400, and to correct the cumulative error that had grown over the centuries, ten days were dropped and January was designated as the first month of the year. Because it was Pope Gregory XIII who ordered that the new calendar be adopted, it was named for him. For this reason, the Gregorian calendar was ridiculed by Protestant nations, including England, calling it a "Catholic Calendar".Before returning to a discussion of the provisions that will, it may be appropriate to review the dating system and her colonies. As noted, it was on January 1, 1683 was presented for probate in the New Castle Court. T~ session of the Court were recorded, however, as followE the Towne of New Castle.. the first and 2d dayes of th January Annoq. Dom: 168213." It was under the old Ji mained in use in England and her colonies until 1752, tI as the eleventh month of the year and February as the began on March 25th in keeping with the vernal equino) counted as the first month in the year.
With Henry VIII having broken with Rome, England insisted on continuing to count the passing of time with the old Julian Calendar longer than did the rest of Europe. Particularly in the world of trade and travel, the two calendars caused growing confusion. In the American colonies, the custom grew to use "double dates" during January and February and the most of March. Thus, the New Castle Court session beginning on January 1, 1682 under the Julian Calendar was written "1: Jan: 1682/3" Under the Gregorian Calendar this was New Year's day, 1683. The English parliament finally adopted the Gregorian Calendar in 1752, by which time it was necessary to drop eleven days, and throughout England and the colonies in 1752, September 2 was followed by September 14.
Another historical matter needing discussion in order to understand the difficulty in tracing the forebears of William Sample Sparks is the complicaterd evolution of the the colony of Delaware. First it is important to note that New Castle County, Delaware, the place of residence of William Sample when he died in December 1682, very nearly adjoins Queen Annes County, Maryland, the home of William Sparks, Jr. It is not surprising that William Sparks, Jr. became aquainted with Margaret Sample, for, though living in different colonies, they grew up but a few miles apart. They were probably married in Delaware ca. 1695.
Delaware did not come under English rule until 1664, the same year that England took possession of Amsterdam in New York. Although its shore on the Delaware River had been visited in 1609 by Henry Hudson, a British sea captain in the service of the Dutch West India Company, it had been Sweden, not Holland, that succeeded in establishing a settlement at what is now Wilmington in 1638.
In 1651, the Dutch established a colony and built a fort at what is now New Castle, and in 1655 New Sweden capitulated to the Dutch.The Swedish colonists on the Delaware remained, however, coming under Dutch rule. Then in 1664 when a war between England and Holland spread to the New World New Amsterdamand other Dutch possessions in America were taken by an English expedition under James, Duke of York. The Swedish and Dutch settlers on the Delaware River were permitted by the English to remain on their land byswearing allegiance to the King of England, and in 1673 the Duke of York's Book of Laws introduced them to the English legal system. In the 1696 deed quoted earlier, the reference to "the Lord of the Soyle" meant the King of England. It is only after English rule do local records exist for what became the colony of Delaware.
In 1682, King Charles II extended the proprietary rule of William Penn to include, beyond the colony of Pennsylvania, the land on the Delaware River that eventually would become the colony of Delaware. Initially, however it became known as the "Lower Counties" of Pennsylvania. These three "Lower Counties" were called New Castle, St. Johns, and Sussex, although St. Johns was changed to Kent County in 1682. In 1703, these three counties were granted their own assembly, which was an important step toward their becoming the separate colony of Delaware.
Although our earliest reference to William Sample in New Castle County, Delaware, found thus far is dated October 22, 1677, we believe that if there existed Dutch and Swedish court or land records prior to English rule, we would probably find his name there. We are certain, however, that he was neither a native of Holland nor Sweden, but that he had come from England. We further believe that he was the same William Sample who arrived in Maryland in February 1653/4, i.e., it was 1653 under the old Julian calendar but 1654 under the Gregorian Calendar.
At the Maryland Hall of Records there is a very early handwritten volume of land records called "Liber A. B. & H." An expert in locating and interpreting Maryland records, Dr. Carson Gibb, who has done research for us over a number of years, has provided us with photocopies of a number of pages in this volume pertaining to William Sample.
As explained in The EarlySettlers of Maryland by Gust Skordas (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1968, p. ix), this "Liber A.B.& H" is a transcription completed in 1717 from much earlier records, most of which are no longer extant. Included in this 1717 transcription is what was once called "Liber H (1650-55)," which no longer exists.
To interpret the earliest record pertaining to William Sample in "Liber A.B.& H." one must note that, to attract settlers to Maryland, Lord Baltimore, the proprietor of the Colony, offered free land to any man or woman who came to his colony at his/her own expense. The number of acres provided had been reduced from 100 to 50 per immigrant by 1653 when William Sample came. Ship passage from England to Maryland cost about 20 pounds at that time, a sum that few individuals desiring to emigrate to Maryland could pay. Many such men and women therefore, came as indentured servants, agreeing to work for the person paying their passage for varying numbers of years for their passage. The person paying for the passage would receive his servant's "right" to the 50 acres.
The immigrant who "transported himself," i.e., paid his own way, or the person who "transported" someone, would, soon after arrival in Maryland "demand" a "right" to the promised 50 acres. Upon receiving the written "right", he/she could then transfer (sell) it to another person. (For a more detailed account of this form of acquiring land in Maryland, see the Quarterly of December 1992, Whole No. 160, pp.4025-26.)
On page [folio] 382 of "Liber A.B.& H" appears the following entry dated 26th January 1653: "William Sample" Demandeth Fifty acres of land for transporting himself into this province about February last." (This would have been February 1653 under the Julian Calendar, but it would be February 1654 under the Gregorian Calendar.)
The name "Sample" was by no means a common surname in the 1600s nor is it even today. No one else named Sample appears in the Skordas volume cited earlier or in Carson Gibb's A Supplement to The Early Settlers of Maryland.
The exact same entry that appears for William Sample on page 382 of "Liber A.B. & H". was made also, on the same page, for each of two other men who had transported themselves, i.e., paid their own way, from England to Maryland. They were Samuel Graves and Richard Harris. Whether Graves and Harris might have come to Maryland with William Sample is not known.
Sometime prior to July 3, 1654, William Sample had transferred his "right" to fifty acres to a man named George Bushy (also spelled Bussy). George Bushy had also arrived in Maryland about the same time as had William Sample, Samuel Graves and Richard Harris as revealed in an entry on page 380 of "Liber A.B. & H." Just above the George Bushy entry is that of Henry Keyne who figures later with William Sample, Samuel Graves and Richard Harris in the sale of their "rights".
"Liber A.B.& H." Folio 381.
26th June  Henry Keyne Demandeth one Hundred and fifty Acres for Transporting himself and Richard and Edward Kene, his two Brothers into this province about February last.
[Same Liber, same folio, & same date.]
George Bushy Demandeth two hundred and Fifty acres of land for Transporting himself, his Wife and George and Henry Bussy [sic] their Sons into this province about February last with John Jenkins his Servant.
No written record has been found by which Henry Keyne, William Sample, Samuel Graves, and Richard Harris transferring their "rights" to George Bushy (oe Bussy) has been found, but that they had done so is indicated by the following entries on folio 384 of "Liber A.B.& H."
3d July  George Bussy [sic] Demandeth as pr Titles two
Hundred and Fifty Acres in his own Right and one hundred and
Fifty in the right of Henry Keene and his Brothers and fifty acres
a piece in Rights of Samuel Graves, William Sample and Richard
Harris, in all Five hundred and fifty acres.
Immediately following this entry, at the top of folio 385 appears the following:
3d July  Warrt [i.e., Warrant] to lay out for George Bussy [sic] two Hundred and Fifty acres and for Henry Keene and his Brothers One hundred and Fifty acres and for Samuel Graves Fifty acres, for William Sample Fifty acres and for Richard Harris fifty acres being in all Five hundred and Fifty acres of land in any part of the province not formerly taken up. retd 1st January
One other Maryland record has been found pertaining to William Sample. On April 1, 1660, he and one Francis Carpenter witnessed the will of Richard Hix in Calvert County. Hix was identified in the will as living on "Patuxent River". Here William Sample signed his name as "Wm. Sampell." Perhaps it was from Calvert County Maryland that he went to Delaware while it was still under Dutch rule.
Because he had had the resources to transport himself to America, William Sample must have been a young man of some means. by the time he appears in the English Delaware records, he seems to have been a man of both Financial resources and status in his community, as will be seen below.
We have had no access to any records that may have been kept during the Dutch rule of Delaware, but English Court records survive and those from 1676 to 1699 were published by the Colonial Society of Pennsylvania in two volumes, 1676-1681 in 1904 and 1681-1699 in 1934. Both volumes have been reprinted by the Clearfield Company of Baltimore, Maryland, in 2000.
It was on April 4, 1677, that William Sample first appeared in the English Court records of New Castle. This was a case in which he and William Hamilton were plaintiffs against James Besevick, claiming that Besevick owed them "by his bill bearing date 8th of Novembr Last  the sume of seven hundred fourthy and seven gilders & three styvers." The Court, comprised of three justices of the peace who served as magistrates, ruled in favor of Sample and Hamilton. There were subsequent cases in which William Sample and William Hamilton were co-plaintiffs regarding money due them, suggesting that they may have been partners in some manner. For example, at a session of the Court on February 18, 167718, William Sample and William Hamilton were plaintiffs against the estate of John Askin, deceased, "for the sume of three hundred and six gilders and seven styvers."
In a Court record dated July 24, 1677, a jury was empaneled to consider a case involving a stolen coat; William Sample was one of the jurors, a duty that he would perform thereafter on several occasions.
In the autumn of 1677, a census was taken of the "Tydable [tithable] prsons living in the [New Castle] Court's Jurisdiction." A total of 307 male heads of households were listed in such a way to suggest that their arrangement was geographical. That in which William Sample's name appeared was headed "from the next side" and comprised 42 names. William Hamilton's name followed that of William Sample in the list, suggesting that their houses were probably side-by-side. Close neighbors included Math: d' Ring, John Bisk, January Boyer, Joh: d' haes, and James Walliam, all being persons mentioned as Sample's associates in later records.
That William Sample was a prominent citizen of New Castle County is proven in the Court's minutes of July 17, 1678. A petition was then drawn up addressed to the Governor, Sir Edmund Andross, requesting that three additional justices of the peace be appointed to serve as magistrates on the Court. Included in the petition were the names of four citizens presented "as the fittest prsons" from whom the Governor might choose three: "Mr Johannes Dehaes, Mr William Semple, Mr Abram Man, and Mr Hendrick Williams." William Sample was one of the three who were appointed by the Governor, and as one of the now seven magistrates, he attended his first Court session on November 5, 1678.
Governor Andross, whose principal duty was to govern the colony of New York, then also governed the three Delaware counties, which meant that his Delaware subjects rarely had personal contact with him. In July 1679, four of the New Castle magistrates, including William Sample, agreed to be available on occasion to travel to New York to represent New Castle County before the Governor. It is interesting to note that when the New Castle Court met on July 6, 1681, it adjourned without acting because Justice Otto was ill and "Justice Will: Sempill is absent at New York." Sample served as a member of the New Castle Court for the remainder of his life.
In attempting to gather information regarding Josine Sample in order to tell something of her life, we are fortunate that she was mentioned a number of times in the extant Court records of New Castle. It is also helpful that she was the only person with the forename Josine in these records. Her name is also spelled Josyn, Joslyn, and, on one ocasion, Usyn.
This writer is quite certain that her maiden name was Boyer. She was married, first, to a man named John Marshall by whom she had a number of children; he had died prior to 1675. Josine was married, second, to William Sample; they were the parents of one child, Margaret Sample. With William Sample's death in 1681, Josine again became a widow. Sometime prior to 1686 she was married, third, to William Hamilton. She died prior to March 1696. The Court records revealing her marriage and other events in her life are discussed below.
Josine was doubtless of Dutch origin; she probably was born prior to 1650. Our most important clue that her maiden name was Boyer (or Boeyar or Boeyer) is contained in a curious entry in the minutes of the New Castle Court of Novem ber 5, 1678:
Josyn Boeyer, the wyfe of Mr William Semple, for hur unhandsome & ill behavior being heretofore bound over to the Court, The Court, (in hopes of hur better behavior) did Continue the prsentment till next Court day.
William Sample, who had been appointed a magistrate in this Court only five months earlier, must have found himself in an awkward situation with this Court's notice of his wife's "unhandsome & ill behavior." We will return to this incident later in this article. Our interest at this point, however, is that in this record his wife is identified by, we believe, her maiden name, "Josyn Boeyer." This is given further credence by a Court record dated March 15, 1679/80. As seen in this, in 1675 a man named Justa Andries (also written as Andersen) had purchased a tract of land lying on Christina Creeke in New Castle County, the record of which could not be found because of the neglect of the town's clerk at that time, a man named William Tom. (There are frequent statements in these Court records complaining about Tom's neglect of his duties.) In order to prove that he had purchased the tract (400 acres) of land, Andries prevailed upon the justices of the Court to obtain confirmation from those who had sold him the 400 acres, they being Robert Scot, Josyn Marshall, widow of John Marshall, John Cosins, and John Boeyer. Apparently this tract had been inherited by these four individuals. Of these four, John Boeyer and Josyn Marshall attested in person to the 1775 sale. It is the belief of this writer that John Boeyer and Josyn Marshall were brother and sister, and that Robert Scot and John Cosins were husbands of Josine's sisters. Four of the magistrates, including William Sample (Will: Sempill), signed this document.
We underwritten, the Justices of This Towne of New Castle Doe hereby Certifie That upon tfle Request of Justa Andries we have made Examinacon and doe fiend that there was heretofore in the year 1675 sould and made over by Rob: Scot, Josyn the widow of John Marshall deceased, John Cosins, and John Boeyer unto him the said Justa Andries a seartaine Pattent for fouer hundred acres of land Lying and being in Cristina Creeke aforesaid betweene the Land of January Staalcop & the mill Creeke as by the said Pattent baring date the first of october 1669 may more att Large appeare by the neglect of the former Clercq Mr William Tom (as is supposed) nothing Can bee found upon Record thereof however Living wittnesses To witt John Boeyer and Josyn marshall and others do attest that there was such a Transport Past In the Court of new Castle In witness Whereof wee have herunto sett or hands at New-Castle this 15 day of March 1679/80.
The charge by the New Castle Court against Josine Sample for her "unhandsome & ill behavior" noted earlier, appears to be explained in a Court record of November 3, 1680. This reads:
Josyn the wyfe of William Sempill in open Court did Terme & call Rynier vander Coelen a man wth twoo fathers, a murtherer, a Roug and a dogh. Mr Will: Sempill desiers that the Case may be referred till next Court to the end he may bee the better provyded, wch the Cort Grant and doe order that the plt & deft [i.e., Rynier Vander Coelen and Josine Sample] bee both & each of them bound in a bond of £40 for their good behavior till then, hee wch first breakes the peace and afronts the other shall bee Imediately Imprizoned & pay the sd 40 pounds.
The next meeting of the Court was on December 9, 1680, but there was no mention in its proceedings of Josine' s "unhandsome & ill behavior." It was during Court session, however, that:
January Boeyer was this day sworne Constable of this Towne of New Castle in the roome of January Biscus [John Bisk] for one year or till another bee sworne in his Roome.
January Boeyer [John Boyer] was, we feel certain, a brother of Josine Sample. When the Court met on May 3, 1681, John Boeyar (as his name was spelled on this occasion) brought "an action of Slaunder" against Hendrik Vanden Burgh, in which Josine was mentioned.
Susanna the wyfe of Geo: Moore sworee in Cort sayeth that, shee washing att the house of January Hermsen did heare Hendrik Vanden Burgh say that the wastecoate wch John Boeyar had was Lyke to the wastecoate hee had Lost, and the deponant replyed that shee had seen such a wastecoate wch Aeltie [wife of John Boyer] brought from William Sempills wyfe & therefore did not thinke itt to bee the same & further sayeth nott: Peter Claesen sworne Sayeth that he heard Hendrik vanden Burgh say that hee supposed the Blancquet which Brantie [?] had bought of John Boeyar was his & att an other tyme hee heard Hendrik vanden Burg's wyfe say that itt was a sad thing that a man must see hur owne things Every day worne & wth that the deponant sawe Aeflie Boeyars pas by but whether shee was meant the deponant nowes nott: Edmund Cantwell Swore sayeth that being in the office of Mr Herman, Hendrik Vanden Burg Came in there and the deponant asked what was the matter wth him he replyed that John Boeyar had in the Street threatned to stryke him, wth the Constables stike and that John Boeyar had bad him to goe to mistrs Darby; an ugly theefe as hee is sayed the sd hendrik whereupon the deponant sayed you must not say soe. Yes replyed the sd hendrik. I: can proove itt and further sayeth nott.
The cort thought itt fitt to referre this action untill next Court day & the deft hendrik vanden Burgh then to appeare, or Else Judgemt to pass wth out delay.
The case of John Boyar against Hendrick Vanden Burg, labeled in the Court proceedings of July 6, 1681, "In an action of Slaunder," was decided as follows:
The deft being 3 tymes called did not appeare nor none for him. This action haveing Long Continued in Cort Contrary to the order of the Laest Cort, The Court doe therefore order him to pay the sume of 50 gilders as a fyne for the Slaunder sence hee did not proove [disprove] it; and that the deft pay the Costs of suit.
Recallng that it had been Rynier Vander Coelen who had complained about Josine Sample insulting him in Court, and that it had been Hendrik Vanden Burg who was fined for his slander against John Boyer, the following entry in the minutes of New Castle Court for December 6, 1681, is interesting:
Justice Alrichs, Justice Will: Sempill & Justice Dehaes are of opinion, that drink shall be sould by the halfe aneker but not by the small measure & the halfe anckers Carried out of the Towne as before.
It is this Corts opinion & order that all those as have sould drinke to the Indians Contrary to a former order of this Cort bearing date the 2d day of August 1680, and the Tolleration of the Governor shall be fyned according thereto.
The Constable John Boeyar prsents Hendrik Vanden Burgh and Reynier Vander Coelen for selling of drink to the Indians by the small measure [i.e., by the glass].
John Boyar sworne in Court Sayeth that hee has seen Hendrik Vanden Burgh take drinke by the bottell to the Indians, and that hee sawe twoo Indian woomen drinke small chyter att Reynier Vander Coelens. This Case referred till next Court.
Unfortunately, the extant record of New Castle's Court proceedings ends at this point. From 1681 until 1699, the only record that we have of the Court's actions pertains to land and probate matters. It is among these records, however, that were published by the Colonial Society of Pennsylvania in 1934, we learn of the death of William Sample ["William Sempill"] in December 1682 and have the text of his will dated December 11,1682. A transcription of William Sample's will was given earlier in this article, with the added information that, although he had clearly designated James Walliam and Samuel Land as his executors, his widow, Josine, convinced the Court that she should be the executrix, with Walliam and Land to serve as "overseers & assistants to the widdow." For a woman to prevail in this manner at that time was most unusual.
We shall probably never know how it was that William Sample had become "Sick and weake in Boddy" as he described himself in his will dated December 11, 1682. Was it disease, of which there was always plenty in the 17th Century, or was it an accident that brought on his quick demise? He had been present when the Court of New Castle met on November 2, 1782, at which none other the "The Right Honorble: Proprietry: William Penn" had been present with five Council members, including Captain William Markam, the new Deputy Governor of the "Lower Counties." On November 9, 1682, when Capt. Markam called a special meeting of the New Cas tle Court to announce that, henceforth, every Saturday would be set as the town's "Market Day," William Sample was present. The Court did not meet again until the following first day of January at which the first order of business was the appearance of John Bisk and Jonas Arskin who did "Solomly declare in Cort: that they were personally Prsent and did heare and See William Sempill Declare, Signe and Seale this his Laest will and Testament." There followed the transcription of the will.
With the annexation of the "lower Counties" to Pennsylvania, the Dutch and Swedish inhabitants could become English citizens through petition to their county courts. There can be no doubt that William Sample had been an English citizen by birth, whereas Josine was of Dutch origin. As Sample's wife, however, Josine shared her husband's English status, but as his widow, she was no longer considered an English citizen. So it was that, on February 21, 1862/3, two months following her husband's death, Josine was one of 71 inhabitants of New Castle County who signed a petition expressing their "desire to bee Naturalized." Her name appeared thereon as "Josyn Sempill." Only one other female was included, a widow named Mary Blocq (Block).
As noted earlier, on April 19, 1681, William Sample had obtained, through a petition to the Court of St. Johns County (the name of which became Kent County the next year), a tract of 600 acres. As was English custom, the first owner of land could choose a name for it; the name chosen by Sample was "The Vinyard." There was no specific reference in his will to this 600-acre tract in Kent County; it was simply included among his "worldly goods" that "I give, devyse and bequeath unto my dearly beloved wyfe Josyn Semple and my Little daughter Margaret wth [the] Rest of my wyfes Children..." A Kent County tax list of 1684 includes "The Vinyard" (600 acres), under the name of "Widdow Sample."
As we have noted earlier, the one property owned by William Sample that he did not include with the rest to be divided among his heirs, was a tract of land in New Castle County, on a branch of Christina Creek, that he left specifically to his daughter, Margaret: "to my Little daughter Margaret all my Estate in Christina Creek or upon a branch of the said Creeke..." He also directed that his widow, Josine, place livestock on this land for the future benefit of Margaret. This land was undeveloped at the time he made his will.
As shown on the map of New Castle County on the previous page, Christina Creek flows some four or five miles northeast of the town of New Castle. The manner in which William Sample's land there had come into his possession is not revealed in the New Castle Court records. From later tax records, however, we know that it comprised 400 acres.
The manner in which William Sample came into possession of a town lot shortly be fore his death may illustrate the advantage he enjoyed as a justice of the New Castle Court. The Court minutes of September 6, 1681, contain the following:
Upon the motion of Justice Will: Sempill ordered that if the Cooper, Hans Coderus, doth not settle his Lott Granted him by this Court Lying next to Engelbert Lott, within one yeare after the date of the grant, then hee to forfeit the same and Mr Sempil to have preferrence to take itt up before any others.
It had been during a meeting of the Court on April 6, 1680, that the justices had granted to Hans Coderus one lot of land "within this Towne of New Castle Provided hee himself settles the same & follows the Coopers trade for Incourradgemt [encouragement] & the Conveniency of the Inhabitants."
It was not until the Court met on May 2, 1682, however, that confirmation was made, among several other grants of land, that Sample acquired ownership of this lot: "Granted to... William Sempill the Lott which was formerly Granted to Hans Corderus & not improved."
Tax lists were compiled following William Penn's appointment as Governor of the "Lower Counties" in accordance with his careful record keeping. These reveal that William Sample's widow now owned both the land on Christina Creek, in trust for her daughter, Margaret, but town lots in addition to the one formerly granted to Hans Coderus. From William Sample's will, we know that Josine had children by her first husband, John Marshall, (called "the rest of my wyves Children"), and that Josine had held property that had been left to her and/or her children by her earlier husband. With her marriage to Sample, however, that property, under English law, would have come under his control. After his death in 1682, however, it would have reverted to Josine and to her children by Marshall. A tax list for the town of New Castle in 1683 shows her, as "Josyn Sempel," taxed for two town lots in the amount of two shillings and two pence. As a woman, she was not taxed as a "tithable," however. Taxed and living near her in the town of New Castle in 1683, were the following individuals whose names also appear in other records pertaining to William and Josine Sample: James Walliam, John Bixcus (Bisk), Emelius d. Ring, and John Henrickson.
In a New Castle County tax list of 1684/5, "Joslyn Semple" was shown with 400 acres of land and one town lot; her total tax on this property was 5 shillings and 5 pence that year. This town lot was doubtless the one once owned by Coderus. The name of John Biscus follows that of "Joslyn" in this list; he held three town lots. James Walliam is next (one town lot). John Boyer is also included with one town lot and Mathyas De Ring with three.
In his will, William Sample had referred on four occasions to his wife's children, besides his and Josine's one child, their daughter, "little Margaret." Since he made no mention of any children of his own, we may assume that if he had been married prior to his union with Josine, there had been no issue.
From available records, we can identify only one of Josine's children by her first marriage to John Marshall; this was Cataline, wife of Jonas Wright. It was at about the time that Josine married her third husband, William Hamilton, former close associate of William Sample, that her children petitioned the New Castle Court for their inheritance to be protected. It was Jonas Wright, son-in-law of Josine (though he called himself a son), who presented the petition on behalf of "himself and the rest of the orphans." by definition at the time, an orphan was one whose father was deceased, and it was not unusual for a son-in-law to identify himself as a son of his wife's mother. The following New Castle Court action was dated January 17, 1688/9:
Upon the Peticon of Jonas Wright the Son of Josyne Hamilton in behalf of himself and the rest of the orphans. The [Court] haveing considered the matter of the Peticon doe appoint James Walliam & Edward Blake who are desired to be Supervers of the estate & usuage of the sd orphans, and John Biscus, John Hendickson & Emelius De Ring are appointed Administrators in the behalf of the orphans.
The sd John Discus, JnO Hendrickson & Emelius De Ring Joyntly & Severally doe Recognize themselves & heirs &ct in the Sum of one thousand pounds to the Court of Orphans for the time being of the County of newcstle to render a true accopt [and] make good pay of all the estate of the orphans to them committed: when thereunto lawfully required.
James Walliam, one of the two men appointed by the Court to supervise "the estate," had been one of the executors named by William Sample in his will. The name Bisk was sometimes written "Biscus" as in the above Court document, and the John Biscus named here as one of the administrators to act on behalf of the "orphans" was the John Bisk mentioned in the deed of March 31, 1696, transcribed earlier in this article. It is also interesting to note that in the February 21, 1682/3 petition to the New Castle Court for citizenship that included "Josyn Sempill," there were also the names of Emilius D'Ringh and January Hendriksen.
As we have noted earlier, it was ca. 1695 that William Sparks, Jr. married Margaret Sample. In his will, William Sample had called Margaret "my little daughter." She was born ca. 1676 and was probably 18 or 19 years of age at the time of her marriage. William Sparks, Jr. was probably a little older than Margaret.
We cannot be certain where William Sparks, Jr. was living in 1695. In the 1696 deed quoted earlier, he was identified as a resident "of the province of Maryland." He and his father, William Sparks (died 1709), had witnessed the will of John Ellet in Talbot County, Maryland, in October 1695. Talbot County then included what became Queen Annes County in 1706.
On December 2, 1696, William Sparks, Jr. and his father were among 62 "Military Officers of Kent County, Maryland" who signed a pledge of loyalty to King William III expressing their shock on learning of an assassination plot to restore King James II to the English throne.
We can be sure that William Sparks, Jr. lived close enough to New Castle, Delaware, for him easily to have become acquainted with Margaret Sample. With their marriage, William, of course, came into possession of Margaret's inheritance.
In the will of the senior William Sparks in 1709, he had left property to each of his four sons (William, Jr., George, John, and Joseph), as well as to a grandson, Charles Hynson, whose deceased mother had been a daughter. He also mentioned a granddaughter, a child of his son, William, Jr., as follows:
I give to my Daughter, that is to say my grand Daughter, being the daughter of my Son Wm. Sparks, one year heffer with all her female Increias to be marked and Delivered for her use presently after my Death, the males to go to him or them that Shall or does take care of the same.
Unfortunately, William Sparks, Sr. did not include the name of his granddaughter in his will. Perhaps his singling her out for a special gift was simply because she was his first granddaughter. A discussion of the tracts of land that William Sparks, Jr. inherited from his father will appear in a future issue of the Quarterly.
Here we note, however, a land transaction that proves Margaret (Sample) Sparks was living in 1710. She died at some point during the next two decades, however, for another deed proves that William, Jr.'s wife's name in 1730 was Ann.
The senior William Sparks (died 1709) had a brother named John Sparks who died in Kent County, Maryland, in 1700. In his will, John Sparks had left his 100-acre farm, that was described as part of a larger tract called "Bucks Hill," located in Kent County on the north side of Chester River, to his two sons, John, Jr. and George Sparks, who were still in England. To claim their inheritance, however, John Sparks required that one or both of these sons would have to come to Maryland "to enjoy it." (The text of the will of John Sparks was published on pp. 1377-78 of the Quarterly of March 1971.) Neither of these sons of John ever came to America to claim their inheritance, however, although they attempted to have an intermediary do so for them, an attempt that failed. by March 1710, John's oldest nephew, William Sparks, Jr., had become the land's owner, following the death of John's widow, Elinor Sparks. (Note: After the death in 1709 of the elder William Sparks, his son, William, Jr., was no longer called "Junior" in court and land records. We will continue to refer to him as "Jr." in this article, how ever, for the sake of clarity.)
On March 6, 1710, "William Sparks of Queen Anns County and Margaret his wife" sold this land to William Cummings (spelled "Comegys" in this deed) of Kent County, Maryland, for 3,500 pounds of tobacco, the common currency of Maryland at that time. Acknowledging the possibility that his uncle's sons in England might still claim this land, the following statement was included in this deed. (Punctuation has been added for clarity.)
...... said William Sparks & Margarett his wife, their heirs Extrs and admtrs [i.e., executors and administrators], Shall & will from time to time & att all times for Ever hereafter warrant & for Ever defend the before granted premises to the said William Comegys, his heirs & assigns, for Ever against the hris [heirs] & Successors of John Sparks, Deceased, Onckle [uncle] to the aforenamed William Sparks, as alsoe any other person or persons Claiming Right by heire Ship from the said John Sparks, Deceased...
It was required in Maryland that deeds be presented to the Court of the county in which the land was located to be registered and recorded. William Sparks, Jr. presented this deed to the clerk of the Kent County Court, John Smith, on March 79 1710. Margaret did not accompany her husband on his journey from their home in Queen Annes County to Kent County to sign this deed and present it in Court (See Land Records JS # N, pp.248-49 of Kent County.) Instead, she appointed a family friend, who may also have been a relative, Michael Haskett, to represent her. Her appointment of him was recorded with the deed, following:
Know all men by these prsents that I Margrett Sparks of Queen Anns County have & doe appoint my trusty & well beloved friend Mr. Michell Haskett of Kent County to be my true & lawful attorney for & in my name, stead & behalf, to affix my name to a Sertain Deed of Sale for one hundred akers of Land as in the Said Deed may more lawfully appear and also to acknowledge the same as the law directs, to Wm Comegys, his heirs & assigns for Ever, Rattifling & holding good & firm in Law Whatever my Said Attorney Shall act in & aboute the prs. In witness whereof I have hereunto sett hand and fixed my Seal this [blank] day of March anno Dom 1710/11. Signed, Sealed & delivered in the Presents of us
[Names of witnesses not recorded.]
Margaret M Sparks
The last land record found for William Sparks, Jr. is dated March 3, 1729/30. Called "William Sparks of Queen Annes County Planter" in the deed, he sold to Thomas Honey for 6,000 pounds of tobacco the tract of land called "Sparks Outlet" comprising 114 acres that he had inherited from his father. His brother, George Sparks and wife Mary, witnessed the fact that William had received payment from Honey. Particularly significant is the fact that the wife of William who signed the deed with him in 1729/30 was Ann Sparks. Both signed by mark. Margaret (Sample) Sparks must have died prior to 1729 and Ann must have been a second wife of William Sparks, Jr.
The Sparks family headed by the senior William Sparks were members of the Church of England, and they worshipped at St. Paul's Church at Centerville, now the seat of justice of Queen Annes County. Unfortunately, no records of birth, marriage, and death survive for this early period. There is a record, however, from 1728, that reveals that William Sparks, Jr., along with his brothers, John and George Sparks, were among the members of St. Paul's who petitioned the Maryland General Assembly to create a new parish nearer to their homes. Their petition was approved, and St. Luke's Parish, located at Church Hill in Queen Annes County 48 miles east of Annapolis, was created that same year.
Baptisms, marriages, and deaths were recorded at St. Luke's and most survive today. None has been found pertaining to William Sparks, Jr., however. Another William Sparks, Jr. was recorded as dying on January 15, 1731, (under the Gregorian Calendar, 1731), but he was the son of John Sparks, brother of William. He was called "Junr." in this record so he would not be confused with his uncle. There is also a record of the death of an Anne Sparks that reads: "Anne the wife of William Sparks, deced., December 16, 1730." This was probably the second wife of the William whom we have designated as "Jr." throughout this sketch.
Maryland landowners were required to pay an annual tax to the colony's Ldrd Proprietor. It was called a "rent" tax. The 1734 "Rent Roll" for Queen Annes County happens to survive, and it shows "William Sparks" as still owning a tract called "Royston," that he had purchased in 1722, as well as "Adventure" that had once be longed to his father, William Sparks (died 1709). No further reference to William Sparks, Jr. has been found, nor has research by Dr. Gibb, our Maryland researcher, revealed any record of his selling either of these two tracts. We believe that he either died ca. 1734 or that, possibly, he moved with his son, William Sample Sparks, to Frederick County, Maryland and, perhaps, died there.
William Sample Sparks, son of William, Jr. and Margaret (Sample) Sparks (he was probably their eldest son) was born ca. 1700.
The marriage record in the register of St. Luke's Parish dated August 4, 1732, for a William Sparks and Mary Courmon (or Corman) may have been that of William Sample Sparks, but we cannot be sure. If so, it would surely have been a second March riage for him. Our only actual record in Queen Annes County in which his full name appeared is on page 236 of the Register of St. Luke's Parish under the financial accounts for the year 1736. William Sample Sparks was recorded there as having moved away without paying his annual Church of England tax required of every adult male regardless of actual Church membership. William Sample Sparks had left for Frederick County still owing six pence.
In moving west to Frederick County, William Sample Sparks had either accompanied or followed his uncle, Joseph Sparks, to the part of Frederick County that is now (since 1837) the western portion of Carroll County, Maryland. It is possible that, as noted above, his widowed father, William Sparks, Jr., accompanied him and died there.
As noted earlier, an article devoted to William Sample Sparks appeared in the Quarterly of December 1989, Whole No. 148, although at that time we believed that his mother's maiden name had been Margaret Hamilton based on the erroneously copied document discussed near the beginning of the present article. As noted in the December 1989 article as well as that of June 1997, records exist proving that William Sample Sparks moved with members of his family from Frederick County, Maryland, to the Forks of the Yadkin in Rowan County, North Carolina, in ca. 1754. There he operated an ordinary, or inn. Since we have found no record of his owning land while living in Frederick County, Maryland, it is quite possible that he had operated an ordinary there, also. Readers are referred to the two articles cited above for further details of the life of William Sample Sparks. We believe that he died in North Carolina ca. 1765.
Because no probate records appear to exist pertaining to William Sample Sparks, and with the lack of any evidence that he owned land, we have found it to be quite difficult to identify his children. Based on indirect and circumstantial evidence gathered over a half-century among documents found in both Maryland and North Carolina, however, the late Paul E. Sparks and the present writer concluded that we could state with certainty that he had four known sons and one daughter. He appears to have had two, possibly three, wives.
Typical of the male descendants of the immigrant William Sparks, who died in Queen Annes County, Maryland, in 1709, William Sample Sparks named his first son William Sparks, born ca. 1725 in Queen Annes County; he died in Surry County, North Carolina, in 1801/02. He had accompanied his father in his move west to Frederick County, Maryland, in 1734/35 where he married Ann ----, William did not accompany his father in his move to the Forks of the Yadkin (then) Rowan County, North Carolina, ca. 1754, but he followed him there a decade later, in 1764. A lengthy article devoted to William Sparks (ca.1825-1801/02) appeared in the Quarterly of June 1991, Whole No. 154, pp.3752-3898. He and his wife Ann were the parents of children named William, Jr., Matthew, Rachel, Nancy (?), James, Margaret, Thomas, Benjamin, and Jeremiah.
The second son of William Sample Sparks of whom we have knowledge was Matthew Sparks. We believe that he was born shortly before or shortly after his father moved from Queen Annes County to Frederick County, Maryland. He accompanied his father on the move to the Forks of the Yadkin ca. 1754. According to the memory of a granddaughter writing a century ago, his wife, Sarah, had the maiden name Thompson. Matthew was killed during an Indian raid in that part of Franklin County, Georgia, that is now Clarke County, in 1793. An article devoted to Matthew and his family appeared in the Quarterly of June 1961, Whole No.34, pp.556-66. At the time of that publication, however, we believed that Matthew had not moved to North Carolina until 1758 rather than ca. 1754, and, while we knew that he was "closely related to William Sample Sparks and to Solomon Sparks," later research has proven that William Sample Sparks was Matthrew's father, while Solomon Sparks was his first cousin. Matthew and Sarah Sparks were the parents of eleven sons (all of whom had red hair according a descendant) and two daughters: John, Matthew, Jr., William, Eady, Ann, James, David, Absolum, Jesse, Nathan, Bailey, Isaac, and Hardy.
James Sparks, son of William Sample Sparks, probably was born after his father had moved from Queen Annes County to Frederick County, Maryland. He accompanied his father as a young man in the move to the Forks of the Yadkin in North Carolina. He served on a jury during the May 1756 Court in Salisbury, North Carolina, and he paid taxes in Rowan County in 1768 until 1772, then in Surry County, North Carolina, in 1774 and 1776. His nephew, William Sparks (born April 3, 1761), son of Matthew and Sarah Sparks, recalled in his application for a Revolutionary War pension in 1846 that while serving in Capt. John Cleveland's campaign against the Cherokee Indians in 1778, after crossing the "French Broad River just above the mouth of Swanono.. the foot company from Wilkes County [North Carolina] inwhich was my uncle James Sparks, and which marched behind us, built a station and remained to guard the frontier until our return from the Indian Country. Here I saw my uncle on my return." We have found no further information pertaining to James Sparks. He may have lost his life in the Revolutionary War or simply moved to a different part of the country after the war.
George Sparks, son of William Sample Sparks, is believed to have been born after his father moved to North Carolina. He died in Newberry County, South Carolina, in 1796, leaving a will entrusting the rearing of his son, Reuben Sparks, to his sister, Rachel (Sparks) Bicknell, in North Carolina. (See the Quarterly of June 1997, Whole No. 178, pp.1809-14.)
Rachel Sparks was the only daughter of William Sample Sparks whom we have been able to identify. She was born in 1757 and was married in Surry County, North Carolina, in 1774 to Thomas Bicknell. Still living in 1845, just nine days before her 88th birth day Rachel applied for a widow's pension based on her husband's service sixty years earlier. It was from her pension file at the National Archives that we obtained the information that enabled us to tell of her interesting life and provide information regarding her family for the Quarterly of June 1997, Whole No.178, pp.4409-26.