Whole Number 194
by Russell E. Bidlack
In the Quarterly of March 2001, Whole No. 193, we published an abstract of the Civil War pension papers of William M. Sparks whom we identified as a son of Aurey (or Aurie or Aury) and Nancy Sparks. Based on William's age given in his pension papers, we calculated that he had been born "ca. 1843 . In the Editor's Note following this abstract, we noted that census records and information provided by a descendant of William's brother, Horace Sparks, Sarah Ward Dunham of Salisbury, New Hampshire, had been the basis for our data on Aurey Sparks. (At the top of p.5505, in the first line, the reference to William M. Sparks's listing on the 1860 census, should have read 1870 census.)
Your editor must confess that he had in his files additional information on this family, but he had misplaced it. These records had been provided by Ray and Sandy (Drake) Grimm of Nunica, Michigan, on behalf of Evadne Strohpaul-Tortellet. They consist of family data of Aurey and Nancy Sparks contained in a family Bible once owned by Clarissa Juliette Sparks, called Julia or Julie, a sister of William M. Sparks, and now owned by Ms. Strohpaul-Tortellet. The four pages of family records contained in this Bible have been photocopied and are reproduced here on pages 5517-5520. We are most grateful to Ms. Strohpaul-Tortellet of Grand Rapids, Michigan, for giving us permission to share with our readers these family records, along with the photographs used in this article.
This Bible was published in 1852. This is important to note because we must realize that entries dated prior to 1852 were necessarily copied or recalled from an earlier source, perhaps from an older family Bible. After 1852, as can be seen, the entries were made by a number of people over the years. Hereafter, we will refer to this Bible simply as "the 1852 Bible." We will also use the spelling "Aurey" for this Sparks family progenitor since it has been used most frequently in records pertaining to him, although in the 1852 Bible record it is spelled "Aura."
In the abstract of the Civil War pension papers of William M. Sparks in the March 2001 Quarterly, we stated in the Editor's Note that William's father's name had been spelled variously by census takers, it not being a common name with a standard spelling. We speculated that he had been called by a nickname, perhaps variously pronounced, and that his real name may have been Aurelius. This name had been used earlier by a branch of the Sparks family in Massachusetts, the state where Aurey had been born. That Aurelius Sparks had been born ca. 1794 in Sheffield, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. He had died there in 1865. (See the Quarterly of September 1987, Whole No. 139, beginning on page 3098, for information on that Aurelius Sparks and his family.) We have no record, however, of that Aurelius Sparks having a son named for him. It may be significant that there was a second cousin of the earlier Aurelius named Aurilla Sparks, born 1798, a daughter of John and Lois (Day) Sparks. (See the Quarterly of March 1987, Whole No. 137, p.3009.)
The name Aurelius has never been commonly used in America, in part because of the difficulty in its spelling, but even more because it had been held originally by the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius (121 A. D. -180 A.D.), whose 20-year rule, while including good works, is remembered chiefly for his extreme persecution of the Christians. We will return to speculation regarding the Sparks ancestry of Aurey B. Sparks later in this article.
It is from the 1852 Bible record that we learn that Aura B. Sparks, as his name appears there, was born December 3, 1816. From census records, we can be sure this was somewhere in Massachusetts. He was married on December 25, 1836, to Nancy A. Roff. Nancy's birth was recorded as "July 2, 1821, in Richmond, Liv. County, NY" "Liv." was doubtless an abbreviation for Livingston. Their marriage probably took place in the state of New York. Livingston County, New York, was created in 1821, the same year that Nancy was born, from portions of Genesee and Ontario Counties. We have not found a Richmond in Livingston County, but there Is a village just over Its eastern boundary line with Ontario County, one of the parent counties of Livingston that is called Richmond Mills.
Both Aurey and Nancy Sparks died in Lima (now Howe), Lagrange County, Indiana, in 1879, Aurey on July 28 "age 63 yrs. 7 mon. 28 days," and Nancy on December 29 "age 58 yrs. 5 mon. 27 days."
When the U.S. census of 1880 was taken, an attempt was made to record the deaths in each county that had taken place during what was called the "1880 Census Year," that is, between June 1, 1879, and May 31, 1880. Called "Mortality Schedules," these records had been compiled, also, as part of the censuses for 1850, 1860, and 1870. Their purpose was to provide raw data for future statistical studies of population trends.
Census takers in 1880 were directed not only to record the names of those persons who had died during the Census Year, but also each deceased person's age at death, his/her sex, race, marital status, nativity (including the place of birth for each parent), as well as the individual's occupation, the disease causing his/her death, and the name of the attending physician. The 1880 Mortality Schedule for Lagrange County, Indiana, gives the month in which Aurey Sparks died as August, (1879) although the 1852 Bible record gives it as July. Both agree that he was 63 years old. According to this 1880 Mortality Schedule, he was a married, white male born in Massachusetts; the places of his parents' births, however, were recorded as "unknown" to the person providing the Information to the census taker. Aurey's physician had been Dr. George Hughes who reported that Aurey had died from "Brain Fever" after an illness of 11 days. He had been a farmer.
The 1880 Mortality Schedule gave December 1879 as the month of Nancy's death, her age being 58; she was a widowed white female born in New York; the places of birth for her parents were "unknown," and her occupation had been "kept house." Dr. Hughes identified the cause of her death as "Lung Fever," from which she had been ill for 11 days.
Your editor is embarrassed by the need to point out another typographical error in his Editor's Note following the abstract of the pension papers of William M. Sparks in the March 2001 issue of the Quarterly, the first line. We gave Nancy's maiden name there as Stebbins. This was the maiden name of Liffle L. Sparks, wife of William M. Sparks. It is in the 1852 Bible record that we find Nancy's maiden name to have been Roff.
As one reads the record of births of the twelve children of Aurey and Nancy Sparks as recorded In the 1852 Bible, and the early deaths of all but five of them, with even their oldest son, Lorenzo, dying at the age of 21 and their son named Horace at age 24, we can sense the heartache that was regularly renewed for these parents. While the mortality rate among 19th Century children has been known to have been high, the death rate for children in this Sparks family was exceedingly high.
To aid our readers in interpreting the varied handwriting in the family record found in the 1852 Bible, we give below what we believe is an accurate transcription, with occasional marks of punctuation added, and a few notes in brackets.
Aura B. Sparks was born in December 3rd 1816.
Aurey B. Sparks died at Lima, Ind. July 28, 1879 at age 63 yr. 7 Mon. 2 days.
Nancy A. Sparks was born in Richmond, Liv. [Livingston] Co. NY, July 2nd 1821.
Nancy A. Sparks Died at Lima, md. December 29, 1879 age 58 yrs. 5 mon. 27 days
Lorenzo J. Sparks was born in Wheatland, Monroe Co., NY September 18th 1837.
Lorenzo J. Sparks Died in Oramel February 1st 1859, aged 21 years, 4 months & 19 Days. "To Die is gain." Phil. 1st, 21, preached from at the funeral. [The reference is to Philippians in the New Testament, Chapter 1, Verse 21: For us to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
Wheatland is both a town or township and a village in Monroe County, New York; Orarnel is a village in Allegany County, New York]
William H. H. Sparks was born in Michigan, Town of Sommersit [Somerset] Hillsdale Co. January 5th 1839.
W. H. H. Sparks died in Scottsville, August 24th 1840, Aged 19 Months, 3 weeks. 5 days. [Scottsville is in the town/township of Wheatland in Monroe County, New York.]
William H. Sparks was born in Scottsville May 7, 1841.
W. H. Sparks died in Scottsville June 8th 1841. Aged 1 month, 1 day. [It was not unusual at that time to name a baby after a deceased sibling.]
William M. Sparks was born in Scottsville September 4th 1843.
William M. Sparks Died at Red House, NY December 19, 1914, Aged 71 years, 3 months, 15 days. [See his marriage record on page 5516. Redhouse is shown on an 1880 map as a village in Cattaraugus County, New York.
See his Civil War pension file abstracted in the March 2001 issue of the Quarterly, pp.5503-06.1
Horns [sic] V. Sparks was born in Scottsville, October 6, 1845.
Horace V. Sparks Died June 6, 1869 Lima Indana.
[See his marriage record on page 5516. A descendant, Sarah Ward Dunham, reports that his middle name was Vail, and that her family record gives his birth as October 16, 1845, rather than October 6.]
Harriet J. Sparks was born in Garbuttsville, June 16th 1848.
Harriet J. Sparks Maybee died at Nappanee, md. April 30, 1900, aged 51 yrs. 14 days.
[See her two records of marriage on page 5516. The village of Garbutt is located in lower Monroe County, New York, very near Scottsville.]
G. W. Sparks was born in Garbuttsville June 9th 1850.
G. W. Sparks died in Garbuttsville June 9th 1850.
Mariett Sparks was born in Garbuttsville I.
Mariett Sparks died in Garbuttsville October 8th 1852. Aged 5 months.
A. A. Sparks was born in Scottsville July 22nd 1855.
A. A. Sparks died in Scottsville July 22nd 1855.
Clarissa Juliette Sparks was born in Bangor, Alleg. Coty. [Allegany County] March 11th 1857.
Julia Sparks Drake died April 12, 1923, Grand Rapids, Mich.
[See her record of marriage on page 5516. She came to be called Julia.]
Alma Jane Sparks was born in Canadier [?], Allegany Co., NY June 16th 1858.
Alma Jane Sparks Died in Lima November 19, 1866, Aged 8 years, 4 months, 2 days.
[We believe that the village in Allegany County where she was born was Caneadea on the Genesee River.]
Alberton Sparks. Born October 9, 1860. Died October 9, 1860. [When the census of 1860 was taken, Aurey and Nancy Sparks were living in Allegany County, New York.]
Gracie M. Sparks Born April 23, 1864
Filora May Sparks Born May 6, 1867. [The spelling came to be Floria.]
Mr. Aura B. Sparks married Miss Nancy A. Roff on December 25, 1836.
Horace V. Sparks married Lelia Smith, June 14th 1863.
William M. Sparks married Lillie Stebbens, October 11th 65
Mr. James L. Allen married Miss Hattie J. Sparks, July 1st 1875 in Lima, Ind.
Mr. Wm Drake married Miss Julia E. Sparks, July 4th /75  in Lima, Ind.
Mr. Amos Mabee married Miss [sic] Hattie J. Allen, December 25 1881, Sturgis, Mich.
[This was Hattie's, i.e. Harriet's, second marriage.]
At the bottom of the 3rd page of family records in the 1852 Bible is an entry very difficult to read. The names Nancy and Harvey Sparks appear to have been written, also "F. F. Sparks Born April 26, 1864." As will be noted later In this article, F. F. Sparks was probably the Francis Sparks, age 6, who appeared with his father, Harvey Sparks, age 52, as members of Aurey Sparks's household on the 1870 census of Lagrange County, Indiana. See page 5529 of this issue of the Quarterly.
Horace Vail Sparks's descendant, Sarah Ward Dunham, noted earlier, has confirmed that he and his wife, Lelia (Smith) Sparks, were the parents of only two daughters, no sons. It appears that Lorenzo was unmarried when he died In 1859 at the age of 21, and William M. Sparks had no children. Thus, Aurey and Nancy (Roff) Sparks had only two grandchildren, Grace and Flora, the daughters of their son, Horace.
As we mentioned in the Editor's Note following the abstract of the Civil War pension papers of William M. Sparks in the March 2001 issue of the Quarterly, Sarah Ward Dunham, a descendant of Horace V. Sparks's daughter, Grace (Sparks) Westwood, has a letter written to Grace in 1883 by William M. Sparks. William wrote it to his niece from his home in the village of Canaseraga in Burns Township, Allegany County, New York. Because of this letter's interest here, we again present it to our readers. Canaseraga is a village in the northeast corner of Allegany County, New York. William's "Sister Julie," who had forwarded to William a letter from their niece, Grace ["Grassie"], was Clarissa Jullette Sparks whose birth was recorded in the 1852 Bible record as March 11, 1857. She came to be called Julia, and she married William Drake July 4, 1875.
Canaseraga, Alle[gany] Co., NY
April 20th 1883
Dear Neace Grassie
You will be surprised to hear from me and wonder who I am. My name is William M. Sparks. You will not remember me your Father [Horace Sparks] and myself was brothers. When I las saw you you was a little girl of 4 years of their abouts. I have held you many a time My Sister Julie put your letter in one of hers and sent it to us. Your aunt Lilie (as you used to call her that is my Wife) and my Self have talk a great deel of you and Wonder Whare you and Floria was. Floria was a baby when I saw her last. oh how I would like to see you & your Sister
I am thinking when I think of you girls of those little Girles that i ust to know. I will not write much this time. Aunt Lillie [will] write Some my love to you both and kiss the Baby for me Write as soon as you get this Good bye from uneale
William M. Sparks
address Canaseraga, Alle[gany] County
As there is so little room left I will only say I well remember you and was pleased to hear from you plesse send your pictures to us we have a little baby boy over seven weeks old its mother is dead and We have taken it we have none of our owen alive I wish we could see you and Flora
Lillie L. Sparks
It has been from Sarah Ward Dunham that we have learned that the "V" shown as Horace Sparks's middle initial in the 1852 Bible record, stood for Vail, and that his wife, Lelia Smith, was a daughter of Doiphus and Tamson (Lockwood) Smith. (See their marriage certificate on page 5516.)
Ms. Dunham has shared with us a gripping account of events in the family of Horace Sparks following his untimely death at age 23. He had left a young wife and their two small children, Grace, age 4, and 'Flora, age 2. This account was written by Gladys (Westwood) Genseke of Streator, Illinois. Born on March 29, 1888, Gladys was the third child of Grace and her husband, James Hardy Westwood. Its contents explain indirectly the reason for Wffliam M. Sparks" s delight in learning the whereabouts of Grace and her sister.
Grace Marietta Sparks was born to Lelia Smith and Horace Vail Sparks on April 23, 1864, in China Township [St. Clair County], Michigan. Her father, a Civil War veteran, presumably contracted an illness during the War that took his life in the late 1860s. Her mother [Lelia (Smith) Sparks] married again and with her husband moved to Firbury [Livingston County], Illinois. The second husband went west to take up a claim, a project that was popular during those years. (The government sold land for $1.25 per acre, if the buyers would live on the land and improve it for a certain number of years.)
He did not return, and nothing was heard from him. Finally, his wife, our grandmother [Lelia], went west in search of him. She left our mother, Grace Marietta Sparks, with some friends, Mr. and Mrs. George Woods, and took her other daughter, Floryl [spelled Fiora in the 1852 Bible record], with her. Her search was not succesful, but when she returned to Fairbury she could find no trace of the Woods family. Even the house they had lived in was gone.
The Woods (our foster grandparents) also went west, in the meantime. Grandma Woods' grandfather, Grandpa Atkins, bought land in Nebraska and sent the Woods to improve it. They went via covered wagon and lived in a sod house through a few years of trying to prove up on the land. One year the grasshoppers ate up the crop; another year there was a drought, so they gave up and went back to Fairbury, to find that the house they had lived in had been moved to another location.
So Mamma [Grace] grew up in Fairbury, always feeling rejected by her mother, as she did not know for many years that her mother had tried to find her. Eventually she married James Hardy Westwood. They lived in Fairbury and Streator, then went to Hastings, Nebraska, where I was born [in 1888].
During the years they lived in Nebraska, Mamma and Laura Prawl became good friends, and kept up a correspondence for many years. Laura married Samuel Sloan and went to Seattle, Washington, to live. My sister, Emma, also went to Seattle after her marriage, and visited the Sloans. Mamma went to Seattle to visit Emma and her family, and also became acquainted with Laura's family. After Laura's death, Mr. Sloan stopped off in Springfield, Illinois, on his way to visit his boyhood home in Michigan. Mamma told him what she knew of her background, and it finally turned out that the people that he had worked for, as a boy, were Mamma's relatives. As he told them her story, they were impressed with the similarity of it to that of their "lost Gracie."
Aunt Daisy Burt, mother's sister, wrote and invited her to visit them in Richmond, Michigan. She did in the summer of 1922 and became acquainted with her surviving relatives. They all insisted that she was indeed the little daughter that her mother grieved for, and spent the rest of her life searching for.
[Gladys Westwood Genseke added the following note:]
James Hardy Westwood was born in Pottaville, PA, on June 10, 1850.
His parents, Margaret Hardy Westwood and Williamson Westwood, immigrated from King's Kettle, Fifeshire, Scotland (near Edinburgh.)
While it might appear from Mrs. Genseke's account that Grace Sparks did not learn about her mother's attempt to find her until 1922, we known from the letter to her from William M. Sparks in 1883, she had learned of her Sparks relatives long before 1922.
A granddaughter of Grace Marietta Sparks has recalled a slightly different story that her mother had told her about Lella's attempt to find her daughter. According to this version of the story, Lelia did actually locate George and Mrs. Woods, but when she went to their home Grace "was sent upstairs & warned not to come down or to go to the windows. She found out later that the Woods had told her Mother, who had returned to take her back, that Grace was dead."
While the letter M appears in the 1852 Bible record as Grace Sparks's middle initial, and her daughter, Gladys, gives Marietta as her middle name, Sarah Ward Dunham, to whom we are grateful for sharing with us the childhood photograph of Grace reproduced on page 2525, reports that some members of the family believe her middle name had been Ada. Grace's birthplace was a town called China in St. Clair County, Michigan; she died on November 3, 1943, in Springfield, Illinois. She married James Hardy Westwood in January 1880 and they became the parents of six children:
Emma Rettenmeyer Westwood, born 1 April 1881.
Bessie Hardy Westwood, born 21 October 1883.
Gladys Flora Westwood, born 29 March 1888.
Margaret Farrington Westwood, born 10 June 1896.
William Ellsworth Westwood, born 13 September 1898.
Grace Carolyn Westwood, born 29 August 1900.
We have no information about Filora May Sparks, daughter of Horace and Lelie (Smith) Sparks. In William M. Sparks's letter of 1883, he spelled her name "Floria." From his letter, it appears that she was living at that time and had been reunited with her sister, Grace.
Location of Aurey and Nancy Sparks between 1837 and 1879
With census records and the places of birth and death given in the 1852 Bible record for a number of Aurey and Nancy Sparks's children, we are able to chart the family's movements between 1837 to their deaths in 1879. The frequency of their moving from place to place, even from state to state, was unusual for their time. It does not appear that Aurey was ever the owner of any land, although he was a farmer (or "farm laborer") by occupation.
Their first child, Lorenzo Sparks, was born in the town (i.e., township) of Wheat-land in Monroe County, New York. by January 5, 1839, however, Aurey and Nancy Sparks had moved with their son to the town (township) of Somerset in Hilisdale County, Michigan, where a son named William H. H. Sparks was born on that date. As will be noted again later in this article, a Talbert Sparks, born ca. 1789, was living with his family in this town of Somerset when the 1840 census was taken. As will be noted in greater detail later, we believe that there was a close relationship between this Talbert Sparks and Aurey Sparks. When Aurey's second son, William H. H. Sparks, died on August 24, 1840, however, the 1852 Bible record gives Scottsville as the place of his death. From later records, we know that Scottsville is located in the town (township) of Wheatland In Monroe County, New York. Aurey and Nancy's residence in Hiisdale County, Michigan, had been brief, their having returned to, or near, their earlier residence in New York.
The next seven children born to Aurey and Nancy between 1841 and 1855 were all born in Scottsville, or in a village located very near Scottsville called Garbut, in Monroe County, although in the 1852 Bible record the spelling is "Garbuttsville."
by 1857, Aurey Sparks had moved his family to Allegany County, New York, where their tenth child, Clarissa Juliette Sparks, was born March 11, 1857. Alma Jane Sparks, their eleventh child, was born, also, in Allegany County, in a village that appears to have been spelled "Canadier" in the 1852 Bible, but we are sure that it was intended for Caneadea. The place of birth and death of their last child (their twelfth), Alberton Sparks, on October 9, 1860, was not recorded in the 1852 Bible, but we know that they were still living in Allegany County, New York, when the 1860 census was taken. On that census record, their post office was shown as Halisport, a village located in the southeast corner of Allegany County, near New York's boundary with Pennsylvania. Following is the enumeration of Aurey Sparks's household on the 1860 census:
Allegany County, New York 1860 Census, Town of Caneadea Page 444, Post Office: Hallsport, Dwelling #1273 Family #25 Sparks, Aurey Age 45 Male Born: Massachusetts Farm Labourer Nancy 39 Female New York William 17 Male ? Horace 14 Male " " Harriet 12 Female " " Clarissa 3 Female " " Alma 1 Female " "
A fragment of a letter exists among the papers of Evadne Strohpaul-Tortellet that is reproduced above. It appears to comprise the closing words of a letter from a relative of Nancy (Roff) Sparks named "R. Raff," or Roff (?) to "A and N sparks," i.e. Aurey and Nancy Sparks. The date appears to be August 4, 1861. The only words surviving from the letter' s contents are: ". . . dry here this summer farwell." There is also: "P. S. Batavia Kane Co Ills". Might the final words have been "To her Sister"? Perhaps this fragment had been saved because it contained the new address of the Roff (or Raff) relative who had gone west.
How long Aurey and Nancy Sparks remained with their five children In the town of Caneadea, Allegany County, New York, is unknown, but by 1866 they, with their five surviving children, were living in Lagrange County, Indiana. The Civil War in which both of their sons had served had begun and ended between these two dates. It was in Lagrange County, according to the 1852 Bible record, that their daughter, Alma Jane Sparks, died on November 19, 1866, at the age of 8 years, in the village of Lima (now called Howe). It was there, also, that their son, Horace Sparks, died on June 6, 1869, at the age of 23, leaving a wife and two small children. It is interesting to note that on the 1870 Mortality Schedule of Lagrange County, Indiana, listing deaths between June 1, 1869, and May 31, 1870, Horace V. Sparks's death from "Inflamation of the Brain," has the notation that he had been a member of family number 8 on the population schedule for Lima Township, which was the number for Aurey's family. We may wonder whether Aurey and Nancy moved their family to Lagrange County to be near their son following the war, or whether Horace had accompanied or followed his parents there.
The map of a portion of western New York reproduced from a 19th century American atlas may prove helpful to. our readers in locating the several counties in which Aurey and Nancy Sparks lived at different times.
Possible Clues in Seeking the Parentage of Aurey Sparks
Aurey Sparks was shown as heading his household on the 1870 census of Lima Township in Lagrange County, Indiana. His post office was the village of Lima (now Howe).
Name Age Gender Birthplace Sparks, Aury [sic] 53 Male Massachusetts Nancy 47 Female New York Harriet 21 Female New York Julia E. 13 Female New York Harvey 52 Male Massachusetts Francis 6 Male Michigan
The occupation of Aury [sic] Sparks was given as Farmer; that of Nancy was "Keeping house," and Harriet was shown as "At home." The occupation of Harvey Sparks was given as Farmer.
As shown above, Aurey and Nancy's two surviving daughters were still living at home in 1870. Also living in their household was a Harvey Sparks, age 52, who, like Aurey was a native of Massachusetts, along with a 6-year-old boy named Francis Sparks, born in Michigan, who was surely a son of Harvey. We can guess that Harvey Sparks was a widower in 1870, and that he was closely related to Aurey with whom he was living temporarily.
Looking ahead 30 years to the census of 1900, we are certain that the Harvey Sparks appearing then in Branch County, Michigan, was the same Harvey Sparks who had been living with Aurey Sparks in 1870. Branch County, located in Michigan' s southern tier of counties between St. Joseph and Hilisdale, borders a small portion of the northern boundary of Lagrange County, Indiana, as well as Steuben County, Indiana. The distance from Lagrange County to Branch County is not great. Questions asked on the 1900 census beyond those used for earlier censuses, included not only the age on June 1, 1900, of each individual, but also the month and year of his/her birth; also, for married persons, the number of years married.
On the 1900 census of Union Township, Branch County, Michigan, Harvey Sparks was shown living in the household headed by Charles W. Parks, and Harvey was recorded as Parks's "Father-in-Law" The wife of Charles W. Parks was Oliva B. Sparks, who was thus a daughter of Harvey Sparks. Harvey was shown as 82 years of age, and he had been born in October 1817. (The "Census Day" in 1900 was designated as June 1; thus he was still 82 on June 1, 1900.) He was shown as having been married for 28 years, although no wife for him was included in the Parks household. An apparent error made in 1900 shows Harvey's place of birth as New York rather than Massachusetts, and his parents' birthplaces were noted as "Unknown." The census taker, Leon A. Johnson, who called on the Parks household on June 23, 1900, probably asked these questions of either Charles or Oliva Parks. The following information regarding Charles and Oliva Parks was recorded as:
Charles W. Parks. Head; Male; Born March 1840; Age 60; Married 33 years; Born in Michigan; Father born in New York; Mother born "unknown."
Oliva B. Parks. Wife; Female; Born May 1842; Age 58; Married 33 years; 9 children, 4 living; Born in New York; Both parents born in New York.
Two daughters were living with Charles and O]iva Parks: Katie Parka. Female; Born August 1882: Age 17; Single; Born in Michigan; Father born in Michigan and Mother born in New York; Attended school 9 months during year. Burr Parks, Male; Born July 1885; Age 14; Single; Born in Michigan; rest same as for Katie.
Returning to earlier census records In our search for Harvey Sparks, we believe that it is possible that he was the Harvey S. Sparks shown as head of a household in Livingston County, Michigan, when the 1850 census was taken. The place of birth of this Harvey S. Sparks was given in 1850 as New York and his age as 32. His age of 32 would place his birth as 1818. His wife's name was given as Eliza M. Sparks, also age 32, and a native of New York. Living with them was one child, presumably their daughter, named Anna S. Sparks, age 7. From the 1900 census noted on the preceding page, we know that Harvey had a daughter named Oliva B. Parks who had been born in May 1842 and would thus have been 8 years old in 1850. We may wonder whether, somehow, Oliva B. Sparks could have been called Anna S. Sparks in 1850.
We have not found Harvey Sparks on any 1860 census, although we must note that, while a thorough search for Sparkses has been made of the 1860 census of Indiana, this has not been done for Michigan. When the 1870 census was taken, we know (see the previous page) that Harvey and his son, Francis, were living in the household of Aurey Sparks in Lagrange County, Indiana. It seems apparent that Harvey was then a widower. We may wonder whether he had other children at time besides Francis who may have been placed in other households. In the family of John and Hannah Ramsbey in Eden Township, there were two children named Sparks, Mary, age 6, and Jane, age 4, both born in Indiana. John and Hannah Ramsbey. ages 57 and 58, respectively, were also the parents of 5 other children living at home in 1870. From a later census, we know that Harvey Sparks had a son named William, 18 years old in 1880, who was probably the 10-year-old William Sparks who was living with Thompson and Sarah Hardesty in Clay Township, Lagrange County, Indiana in 1870.
When the 1880. census was taken, Harvey Sparks was in Cass County, Michigan. (Cass County is in the southern tier of Michigan counties, St. Joseph County lying between Cass and Hilisdale Counties.) Now 62 years of age, Harvey was shown as a native of Massachusetts. He had been married a second (possibly third) time by 1880 to a woman named Hannah. His household was recorded as follows in 1880., in Pokagon Township, Cass County, Michigan:
Name Age Gender Relation Birthplace Sparks, Harvey 62 Male Massachusetts Hannah 40 Female Wife Michigan William 18 Male Son Michigan Francis 16 Male Son Michigan Horace 4 Male Son Michigan Lorenzo 6/12 Male Son Michigan Mary 24 Female Dau.-in-law Michigan Cooper, Adelbert 10 Male Stepson Michigan
From the above enumeration in 1880, we can deduce that Hannah had been a widow when she married Harvey Sparks in the early 1870s. (Note that on the 1900 census, Harvey was credited with having been married for 28 years; this would place their marriage ca. 1872.) Hannah was surely the mother 10-year-old Adelbert Cooper identified as a stepson of Harvey--thus her married name must have been Cooper when she and Harvey Sparks were married. William and Francis Sparks were surely Harvey's sons by an earlier wife, while little Horace and Lorenzo had been born to Harvey and Hannah. Perhaps the daughter-in-law, Mary Sparks, was the wife William Sparks--or the widow of an unidentified deceased son of Harvey. It is interesting that Harvey and Hannah gave these children the names of two deceased sons of Aurey and Nancy Sparks.
We will never be able to find Harvey Sparks on (he 1890 census because the population schedules for that census were lost (99 percent of them) in January 1921 when the U. S. Commerce Building burned in Washington, D. C.
Another clue that may lead to a future identification of Aurey Sparks's parentage is found In the 1840 census of Somerset Township in Hiisdale County, Michigan. As was noted earlier, a Talbert Sparks was shown there as heading a household in 1840. As the reader is doubtless aware, only the head of each household was recorded on census records prior to 1850. Talbert's age was given as between 50 and 60, in 1840, as was, also, that of a female who was doubtless his wife. The other members of this household were enumerated as follows: 1 male 20-30; 2 females 15-20; 2 females 5-10; and 3 males under 5 years. From the 1852 Bible record, we know that Aurey and Nancy's son named William H. H. Sparks was born in Somerset, Hlllsdale County, Michigan, on January 5, 1839. Aurey Sparks was not shown, however, as heading a household there when the 1840 census was taken. We know from the 1852 Bible record, however, that William H. H. Sparks had died on August 24, 1840, in the town (township) of Wheatland in Monroe County, New York. Census takers in 1840 were instructed, however, to record households as they had been constituted on June 1, 1840. If Aurey, with his wife and iwo Sons were still in Hillsdale County then, we may wonder whether they were part of Talbert Sparks's household on the 1840 census. If so, we may speculate that the male and female enumerated as between 50 and 60 were Talbert and his wife; perhaps Aurey was the male between 20 and 30, while Nancy could have been one of the females between 15 and 20, and their two sons could have been among the 3 males under 5 years.
Biographical data for Talbert Sparks can be found in an article by Thomas F. and Virginia N. Howard published in the Quarterly of September 1987, Whole No. 139. Entitled "Asa Sparks (ca.1745-1814) of Berkshire County, Massachusetts beginning on page 3113, this article identifies Talbert Sparks as a son of Asa and Abigail (Sage) Sparks, being the tenth of their fourteen children.
Talbert Sparks had been born ca. 1789, probably in Mount Washington, Massachusetts. He was married ca. 1810, probably in Sheffield, Massachusetts, to Sally. Sally Sparks died, age 76, in Lagrange County, Indiana, in the month of November 1869, at which time she was a widow. (See p. 5547 of the present issue of the Quarterly.) On the 1820 census of Sheffield, Talbert was listed as between 16 and 45 and in his household were three males under 10 and two females, also under 10. Only two of the sons and none of the daughters of Talbert have been identified in the Howards' research; one was probably Andrew Sparks, born in 1811, who married Abigail Moore in 1839. Andrew Sparks died on May 15, 1844, in Genesee County, New York, but his probate records indicate that he had paid taxes in Lucas County, Ohio, at one time. Talbert's other probable son was Newman Sparks, also born ca. 1811, in Massachusetts. Newman Sparks moved his family to New York and was recorded with them on the 1850 census of Scottsville in Monroe County. As indicated earlier in this article, Aurey Sparks lived for a number of years in Monroe County.
The second son of Asa and Abigail (Sage) Sparks was Lemuel Sparks, sometimes called Semuel, who was born ca. 1775 in Mount Washington, Massachusetts. He was married ca. 1793 to Sally Palmatier (or Parmenter) and they were the parents of twelve children, one of whom was named Aurelius Sparks, as noted earlier in this article. Another son of Lemuel and Sally Sparks was Horace Sparks, born ca. 1800. We may wonder whether Aurey named his fifth son for this Horace Sparks.
Still another son of Asa and Abigail (Sage) Sparks named Benjamin had Michigan connections. Benjamin Sparks was born ca. 1786 and was married, first, to Betsey Churchill in 1808 in Sheffield, Massachusetts. She died in 1816, and Benjamin was married, second, to Olive Chapin. His four children, Mary Ann, Daniel, Asa, and Martin, were all by his first wife. by 1827, Benjamin and Olive Sparks were living in LeRoy, Genesee County, New York. There is a deed recorded in Washtenaw County, Michigan, (of which Ann Arbor is the county seat), by which Benjamin and his wife, Olive, with Enoch J. Ely and his wife, Lucretla, sold land to Andrew Lincoln. Benjamin and Oliver Sparks was identified as residents of Genesee County, New York, in this deed. Three of Benjamin's children by his first wife (Mary Ann, who married Ether Lake; Daniel; and Asa) all moved to Michigan, Mary Ann and Asa to Kalamazoo County, and Daniel to St. Joseph County. Olive Sparks, widow of Benjamin, was living with her stepson, Asa Sparks, in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, when the 1850 census was taken.
We feel certain that Aurey (Aura, Auri, Aury) Sparks was a grandson (possibly great-grandson) of Asa and Abigail (Sage) Sparks, but we have not found from which of their eight sons he may have descended. Information about each of these sons, but not a complete record of all of their children, can be found in the Quarterly of September 1987, Whole No. 139, cited earlier. The Quarterly of March 1987, Whole No. 137, was devoted largely to the ancestry of Asa Sparks (ca.1745-1814).
[Editor's Note: Should any reader have further information on Aurey Sparks and/or Harvey Sparks, and their families, please share it with us.