April 24, 2021
Whole Number 195
FRANCES SPARKS, THE WIFE OF JACOB AYLOR
by Craig M. Kil
[Editor's Note: We are most grateful to Craig M. Kilby of Chesterfield, Missouri, for the following article correcting an article published in the Quarterly in 1956. For clarity, we provide this introductory note. In the Quarterly of June 1956 entitled "The Sparks Family of Orange, Culpeper and Madison Counties, Virginia," we included information on Thomas Sparks (died 1787), a son of John and Mary Sparks. We noted that Thomas Sparks had been married to Mary Towles, daughter of Stokeley and Ann (Vallott) Towles, born November 1, 1723. On pages 136-7, we listed the nine children of Thomas and Mary as named in Thomas' will dated December 10, 1784. We added information about each of them as best we could in 1956. We noted that the second child of Thomas and Mary Sparks was Ann Sparks, the name used by Thomas in his will. We know now that Ann was a nickname used by her father for her actual name, Nancy Sparks. We erroneously stated that she had been married to Jacob Aylor (page 156). As Mr. Kilby proves in the following article, Nancy (Ann) Sparks married Jarvis Smith.
[We identified Frankey Sparks, named as a daughter in the will of Thomas Sparks in 1794, as "apparently unmarried" when her father prepared his will. As Mr. Kilby points out, "Frankey" was a nickname for "Frances," and it was Frances (Frankey), not her sister, Nancy (Ann), who became the wife of Jacob Aylor.]
The genealogy of the Aylor family by Sarah Aylor Lewis contains an error in an early generation. [The Lewis piece was published in The Germanna Record, Number 12, The Memorial Foundation of the Germanna Colonists in Virginia, 1970.] The wife of Jacob Aylor, #5 in the history, was not Frances Murray but was Frances Sparks. In the Sparks Quarterly it is stated that Frances Sparks "apparently was unmarried when Thomas made his will in 1784," and that the sister of Frances, Nancy, was the wife of Jacob Aylor, which is also an error. Evidence to correct these errors is presented.
The will of Thomas Sparks was written 30 December 1784 and was proved 19 February 1787. [Culpeper Co., Virginia. Will Book C. p. 226f.] It mentions that he had already given land to two of his sons, John and Humphrey Sparks, and then bequeaths to James Kilby "a parcill of land he now lives on which he is to hold by the boundaries I made for him." Though James Kilby is not named as a son-in-law, Russell Vawter and Jacob Aylor were left land as sons-in-law. The balance of his estate was to be divided between all of his children, named as John, Ann, Humphrey, Lucy, Henry, Thomas, Mary, and Frankey. The will does not give married names for the daughters, and it does not mention his fourth son-in-law, who was Jarvis Smith, husband of Nancy (Ann) Sparks.
The 1836 suit in Madison County, Virginia, entitled dark Administrators vs. Towles Executors provides the missing information. [Madison Co. Chancery File #45.] Since Thomas Sparks had married Mary Towles, a daughter of Stokeley Towles, her heirs were entitled to proceeds from the estate of her much younger half-brother. Henry Towles. Among those named in the court summons of January 7, 1841 were the daughters and their husbands of Thomas & Mary Sparks, who are given as Jacob Aylor and Frances his wife, Jarvis Smith and Nancy his wife, Russell Vawter and Mary his wife, and James Kilby and Lucy his wife (James Kilby married Lucy Sparks before 1770). A second summons dated 18 October 1844, in lieu of Jacob and Frances Aylor, names Merry Aylor, Bluford Aylor, Thomas Aylor, Martin Aylor, William Hitt and Polly his wife, Evans Wilhoite and Rhoda his wife. Not listed are Aaron, Ephraim, Elzy Aylor, or Nancy Aylor who married Caleb Wilhoite in 1812. There is no explanation as to why the Aylor genealogy does not give Bluford Aylor as a son of Jacob Aylor.
The error in stating [in the Aylor genealogy] that Jacob Aylor married Frances Murray arose because of the statement of Jacob in Mark Finks' Revolutionary War pension application that refers to his brother-in-law, Lt. James Murray. The relationship arose, not because Jacob's wife was a Murray but because Jacob's sister, Susannah, married James Murray.