May 30, 2019

Pages 5599-5603
Whole Number 196

OF PULASKI COUNTY, ARKANSAS Margaret "Peggy" (Sparks) Evans (born ca.1825)
& Frances Elmira "Almira" Porter (1830-1898)

In the Quarterly of September 1984, Whole No. 127, we published a record of the family of Matthew Sparks (1759 -1841) whose wife's name was Margaret MNU. We stated there that her maiden name had been Traylor, but further research has disproved that assumption. We have no clue regarding what her maiden name might have been. We are now doubtful, also, that Matthew had the middle initial "J." Among primary sources, we find only one census record where this appears . Here, and in future references to him, we shall refer to him as Matthew Sparks, Jr., even though, following the death of his father (the elder Matthew Sparks) in 1793, he dropped its use from his own signature.

The youngest of the children of Matthew Sparks, Jr. and Margaret Sparks was named Matthew Jefferson Sparks; he was born ca. 1802, probably in Jackson County, Georgia.

Matthew Sparks, Jr. (1759-1841) had served in the American Revolution and received a pension for his service. His pension application made in 1832 reveals that he had moved with his family many times during the years following the Revolution . They had been living in Greenville District, South Carolina, before moving to Jackson County, Georgia, shortly before Matthew Jefferson Sparks was born. He accompanied his parents and siblings in their move from Georgia to Kentucky in 1807, then to Illinois Territory in 1810, and to Arkansas Territory in 1817. A few years thereafter, he was married, we believe, in Pulaski County, Arkansas, to Mary, whose nickname was "Polly." We have not discovered her maiden name.

Matthew Jefferson Sparks continued to live in Pulaski County, and when the 1830 census was taken, the ages of both himself and his wife were enumerated as being between 20 and 30, thus born between 1800 and 1810. The four children living in their household were enumerated as follows: a male between 10 and 15, thus born between 1815 and 1820; a female between 5 and 10, thus born between 1820 and 1825; and a male and a female under age 5, thus born between 1825 and 1830. There may have been another child born after 1830; see Matthew's will below.

Matthew Jefferson Sparks died as a young man, probably at age 31. He must have known death was near when he made his last will on December 2, 1832. It was probated on February 4, 1833. As seen in the text below, it appears that his eldest son had died earlier, and that he thought his wife might be pregnant. His will follows :

I, Matthew Jefferson Sparkes, of the County of Pulaski & Territory of Arkansas, United States of America, have made this my last will & testament in manner and form following, that is to say :
1st, after my decease I desire that all my just debts & funeral expenses be paid.
2nd, after my just debts & funeral expenses are paid, it is my desire that my wife, Polly Sparkes, have all my estate whether real or personal or whatsoever kind there may be for the purpose to raise and educate my children, Peggy Sparkes, John Sparkes and Almira Sparkes. Also a posthumous child if there be one.
3rdly & lastly, I desire that my aforesaid wife be my executrix to this my last will & Testament & to act as such without being bound to security or put to the trouble of appraising & making an inventory of my real estate.
In witness whereof, I, the said Matthew Jefferson Sparkes, have set my hand and affixed my seal this second day of December A . D. one thousand eight hundred & thirty-two.

Richard Graves (seal)
Casey James (seal)
Rebecca Hudson, her mark
Matthew Jefferson Sparks

The above will of Matthew Jefferson Sparks has been copied from the Probate Court's recorded copy, and we may wonder whether the clerk added the "e" to the spelling of Matthew's name. We are certain that he, like other members of his family, spelled his name "Sparks," not "Sparkes."

The will was entered for probate in the Pulaski County Court on February 4, 1833, by two of the witnesses: Richard Graves and Rebecca Hudson. Matthew Jefferson Sparks had probably died a few days before. As noted earlier, the eldest son, who had been enumerated with the family on the 1830 census, appears to have died before his father since only the three younger children were named in their father's will. Whether a posthumous child was born to Mary ["Polly"] Sparks later, as suggested might occur according to Mathew Jefferson Sparks's will, we do not know. We have not found Mary ["Polly"] Sparks in later census records of Pulaski County, and we may wonder whether she might have been married a second time before the 1840 census was taken.

When the September 1984 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No.127, was published, our only knowledge of the children of Matthew Jefferson and Mary [ "Polly"] Sparks was the listing of them in their father's will. We continue to have no information on the son named John Sparks, but Steven J. Porter, 7505 Camelback Drive, Shreveport, Louisiana, recently provided us with records that further identify the two daughters: Peggy (a nickname for Margaret), and Almira (whose full name had been Frances Elmira) .

It was in Hot Springs County, Arkansas, that Margaret ["Peggy"] Sparks married Jonathan Evans on September 27, 1840. (Hot Springs County had bordered Pulaski County until 1835 when Saline County was created.) This couple appears on the 1850 census of Hot Springs County with five children, as follows:

Evans,  Jonathon H Age 29 born in Tennessee
   " Margaret  " 25 "    " Arkansas
   " Eliza V.  " 8 "    "     "
   "  Mary C.  " 7 "    "     "
   "  Almira  " 5 "    "     "
   " Egbert M.  " 4 "    "     "
   " Milton N.  " 2 "    "     "

Steven Porter has provided the following information about his ancestor, Almira Sparks, daughter of Matthew Jefferson and Mary ["Polly"] Sparks. Almira was born in Pulaski County, Arkansas, on January 9, 1830. Although she was called Almira in her father's will and was known as Almira in her family, she had been named originally Frances Elmira Sparks. She was married in Saline County, Arkansas, on January 4, 1846, to Joel Turner Porter, son of Ridley and Edith (Johnson) Porter. Usually called by his middle name, Turner, he had been born June 4, 1825, and died sometime after June 1900, in Grant County, Arkansas. During the Civil War, he served in Logan's Brigade, Captain Miller's Company, 11th Cavalry Regiment of the Confederate Army . He and Almira lived near Hurricane Creek (pronounced "Hairkin Crick"), two miles east of Sheridan, Arkansas.

Almira (Sparks) Porter died on February 18, 1896, in Grant County, Arkansas. (Grant County was not created until 1869, from portions of Hot Springs, Saline, and Jefferson Counties.) A record of the eight known children of Joel Turner and Almira (Sparks) Porter follows: Nancy C. ["Sis"] Porter was born in May 1848 in Grant County, Arkansas; she died after 1920. She married (first) Daniel S. Williams, in October 1869, and (second) to James J. Gallion after 1880. Her children by her first husband were: Emma Williams, born ca. 1871. She married Jarrett Newell. Minnie [Etta ?] Williams, born ca. 1873.

Her children by her second husband, James J. Gallion, were: Thomas R. ["Tom"] Gallion, born in August 1881, in Grant County, Arkansas. He married Belle Young on February 16, 1913. Edward J. Gallion, born in May 1884, died in 1962 in Grant County, Arkansas. He married Argie Ladd on June 23, 1907. Finis Gallion, born October 13, 1886, in Grant County. He married Bettie Brown on December 25, 1913.

He died on September 28, 1918, in France, during the closing days of World War I. Joel Thomas ["Tom"] Porter was born January 8, 1850, in Merry Green Township, Grant County, Arkansas, and died on January 2, 1911, in Buck range Howard County, Arkansas . He served as a justice of the peace in Grant County, Arkansas, 1896-1898. He married (first) Emmaline ["Emma"] E. Worthen after 1870; she was a daughter of John and Louisa (Veazey) Worthen . He married (second) Josephine Anna ["Jo"] ["Joanna"] Rootes on December 21, 1881, in Grant County, Arkansas. She was a daughter of Harris [or Horace] and Sarah (Hill) Rootes. He was a nephew of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, and was living with him in the 1830s. The two children of Joel Thomas and Emmaline (Worthen) Porter were: Oliphia (or Olief?) ["Ollie"] Porter, born in October 1872 in Sheridan, Grant County, Arkansas. She married Daniel Albert Kimmer on May 21, 1900, in Grant County John T. Porter, born August 1874 in Sheridan, Grant County, Arkansas; died before June 13, 1913. He married Mary Alice Smith on January 6, 1901, in Howard County, Arkansas.
The children of Joel Thomas ["Tom"] and Josephine (Rootes) Porter were: "Sister" Porter, born ca. 1883, died ca. 1895 by drowning. Her name may have been Frances . Edward ["Edd"] Porter, born October 16, 1885, in Grant County, Arkansas; he died on October 12, 1960, in Sheridan, Grant County, Arkansas. He married Mary ["Mollie"] Wilson on March 7, 1929, in Grant County. James Walter ["Walt"] Porter, born August 1887, in Grant County. Hardin Harvey ["Hardy"] Porter, born in June 1890 in Grant County, Arkansas. He died in Schaal, Arkansas. Benjamin Franklin Porter, born July 6, 1892, in Grant County, Arkansas; he died on November 30, 1966, in Mineral Springs, Howard County, Arkansas. He married Deedie Young in Howard County, Arkansas. Jesse J. ["Jess"] Porter, born in September 1895 in Grant County, Arkansas. Herbert Newton Porter, born October 11, 1898, in Arkansas. He died June 29, 1957, in Grant County, Arkansas. He married (first) Willie Leek on December 11, 1920, in Howard County, Arkansas. He married (second) Cordelia ["Cordie"] Davis on August 8, 1934, in Howard County. He married (third) FNU MNU He married (fourth) Bertha Cross on September 14, 1942 in Jefferson County, Arkansas. (Cross was not her maiden name.) He was married (fifth) to Vera Pauline Stewart in 1947. Amanda ["Mandy"] E. Porter was born November 16, 1859, in Grant County Arkansas, and died on November 27, 1921, in Grant County. She married Jonathan ["Jack"] Hardin in May 1885 in Grant County. Their children were: Birdie Hardin (whose name was possibly Bertha or Roberta), born in April 1888 in Grant County, Arkansas. She married John Howen on October 2, 1910. Edward Hardin, born in September 1891. John E. Hardin, born December 30, 1893, in Grant County, Arkansas; he died on March 26, 1911, in Grant County Jack Dewey Hardin, born in July 1898. He was called "Joe." James Henry Porter was born July 9, 1860, in Grant County, Arkansas, and died January 4, 1934, in Buck Range, Howard County, Arkansas. He married Laura Jane McCool, a half-sister of Josephine Anna Rootes, Joel Thomas Porter's second wife, Laura Jane was a daughter of George McCool and Sarah Hill. The children of James Henry and Laura Jane (McCool) Porter were: James Thomas ["Tom"] Porter, born March 10, 1884, in Sheridan, Grant County, Arkansas; he died on January 18, 1970, in Paraloma, Sevier County, Arkansas. He married Mary Ella Wright on July 28, 1915, in Howard County, Arkansas. Sarah Dove Porter, born January 9, 1886, in Grant County, Arkansas; she died on June 7, 1911, in Buck Range, Howard County, Arkansas. She married Thomas A. ["Tom"] Stone on October 14, 1909, in Howard County, Arkansas. Willie Porter, born December 22, 1887, in Grant County, Arkansas; she died on February 22, 1966, in Mineral Springs, Howard County, Arkansas . She married James Oscar McKee on March 17, 1918. Catherine ["Katy"] Porter, born September 17, 1891, in Arkansas; she died on January 19, 1973, in Mineral Springs, Howard County, Arkansas. She married Thurman Goodlett on March12, 1917. Idus Shaw Porter, born May 25, 1894, in Arkansas; he died on July 28, 1981, in Mineral Springs, Howard County, Arkansas. He married Lois Chloe Hooker. Clarence Butler Porter, born December 18, 1896, in Buck Range, Howard County, Arkansas; he died in December 1972 in Texarkana, Arkansas . Laura Ella Porter, born September 10, 1889; she died on July 10, 1905, in Buck Range, Howard County, Arkansas. Blanche Elizabeth Porter, born September 10, 1902, in Buck Range, Howard County, Arkansas; she died on September 14, 1998, in Texarkana, Arkansas. She married Paul Cowling. Frances Almira [ "Fannie"] Porter was born in 1864 in Grant County, Arkansas; she died in 1942 in Grant County, Arkansas. She married E. Andrew ["Ann"] Hardin in Grant County . Their children were : Hattie E. Hardin, born July 19, 1885, in Grant County, Arkansas; she died on October 26, 1962. She married Henry H. Hill on January 28, 1904, in Grant County, Arkansas. George Hardin, born February 14, 1890, in Grant County, Arkansas; he died on September 25, 1912. Herbert ["Buddie"] Hardin, born November 8, 1891, in Grant County, Arkansas; he died on January 14, 1907, in Grant County. Edna E. Hardin, born December 2, 1899, in Grant County, Arkansas; he died on April 14, 1929, in Grant County. Bennie Carlisle Hardin.

Three other children of Andrew and Frances Almira (Porter) Hardie died before 1900. Turner Porter was born in 1865 in Grant County, Arkansas. Edward R. Porter was born March 20, 1868, in Grant County, Arkansas. He died in 1900 in Grant County. Flora Eva ["Evy"] Porter was born January 9, 1874 in Grant County, Arkansas. She died on July 18, 1952, in Grant County. She married William Allison in 1899. They had no children.