Whole Number 196
by Russell E. Bidlack
If it were possible to identify all of the descendants, living and dead, of 22.214.171.124.2 Matthew Sparks, who lived from 1730 until his murder in 1793, and his wife, Sarah, who was born ca. 1739 and died in 1831, they would number in the thousands. Matthew and Sarah were the parents of twelve children, ten sons and two daughters. All ten sons are known to have been married and had children, as did their daughter, Eady. In earlier issues of the SPARKS Quarterly, we have published articles about eight of the sons; here we present material on the remaning two, 126.96.36.199.2.10 Bailey Sparks and 188.8.131.52.2.11 Isaac Sparks. First, however, we will review our research on the parents, Matthew and Sarah Sparks, and cite the previous issues of the Quarterly in which information has been published on eight of their sons.
184.108.40.206.2 Matthew Sparks had been born ca. 1730 in Queen Annes County, Maryland. As a child, he had accompanied his father, 220.127.116.11 William Sample Sparks, on his move west from Queen Annes County to Frederick County, Maryland. (See the Quarterly of December 1989, Whole No. 148, pp.3484-3501; and December 2000, Whole No. 192, pp. 5443-5461, for articles on William Sample Sparks and his family.)
In 1754, Matthew Sparks moved with his father and other Sparks relatives from Maryland to North Carolina, settling in that part of Rowan County known as the Forks of the Yadkin. Today, this area is included in Davie County, North Carolina. We have found no record of the date that Matthew married Sarah, so we cannot be certain whether their marriage occurred in Maryland or after Matthew arrived in North Carolina. According to the memory of a great-granddaughter, Sarah's maiden name was Thompson. Matthew and Sarah's eldest son, John Sparks, was born, according to the inscription on his tombstone, in 1755. If the Bible record of Sarah's age when she died on August 23, 1831, "in the 93rd year of her age, " is correct, she must have been born in 1739. Thus, she was probably sixteen years old when her son, John, was born.
Matthew and Sarah Sparks lived in the Forks of the Yadkin until 1773/1774. A map showing the exact location of their land appeared on the cover of the June 1991 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No.154. Then, with their first eight children, they moved to the New River area in Surry County, North Carolina, settling in Benjamin Cleveland's tax and militia district. The earliest extant list of "taxable polls" (males 16 and over) for Cleveland's District, dated 1775, includes three males named Sparks: Matthew Sparks, Sr., John Sparks, and Matthew Sparks, Jr.; John and Matthew, Jr., being the two eldest sons of Matthew and Sarah Sparks.
The western half of Surry County, including Benjamin Cleveland's District, was cut off in 1778 to form Wilkes County. Matthew and Sarah Sparks's third son, William, who was born in 1761, recalled in his application for a Revolutionary War pension that he had remained as a resident of Wilkes County, "till the close of the Revolution when he removed with his father to what was then Franklin County, afterwards Jackson, and now  Clarke County, in the state of Georgia, and settled about four miles from Athens in that State."
Until the close of the Revolution, the part of Georgia where Matthew and his family settled had been the land of the Creek Indians, but in February 1784, the Georgia Legislature had voted to open this vast area to white settlement . In anticipation of this action, many "squatters" had already gone there to lay claim to tracts of land for future purchase. " Squatting" on land not yet placed on the market was a common practice by which a settler would mark, often by notching trees, the bounds (boundaries) of the land he planned to purchase, when possible. Other "squatters" usually respected the boundary lines made by an earlier "squatter, " as did the land office when it was opened. Because Matthew Sparks had "squatted" twice before in North Carolina, and had been successful in his later purchase of the land, he and his older sons may well have been among the Georgia "squatters" in anticipation of the February 1784 opening for official settlement.
As white settlers moved into these Georgia lands, the Creek Indians protested the loss of their hunting grounds and, under the leadership of a half-breed named Alexander McGillivroy, they began a series of depredations on the white settlements; a struggle followed that came to be known as the Oconee War, lasting some twelve years. Matthew Sparks, Jr., who had been born in 1759, stated in his application for a Revolutionary War pension in 1832 that soon after coming to the Georgia frontier, he had assisted his father and other settlers in erecting a fort, called Sparks Fort, to which they could flee if they feared an Indian attack. Many years later, when the Federal Government agreed to compensate settlers for losses suffered during the Oconee War, several members of the Sparks family, including Sarah, widow of Matthew, made claims for stolen livestock and other propperty. From these claims, we learn that Matthew Sparks had been killed by the Indians "in the Month of November 1793." (The text of these claims appears in the Quarterly of June 1961, pp.562-65.)
In 1899, a great-granddaughter of Matthew and Sarah Sparks, named Bettie C. Smith, recalled for a nephew the family story of how Matthew Sparks had lost his life in 1793: "He went out to kill a turkey one morning and was shot by the Indians." She added that Sarah, his widow, who died in 1831, "was buried at Old Pleasant Grove, " and that "the piece of shirt the ball went through when her husband was killed, was buried with her. "Unfortunately, Bettie did not give the location of "Old Pleasant Grove, " in her letter, although it was somewhere in Tennessee.
Bettie Smith's letter, dated March 11, 1899, has been an important source for us in tracing Matthew and Sarah's family. A copy of it was found in 1948 by William P. Johnson, one of the founders of the Sparks Family Association. Bettie was a grand- daughter of Nathan Sparks (1775-1844), the ninth child of Matthew and Sarah, but it was her grandfather's brother, Matthew Sparks, Jr. (1759-1841), whom she credited with telling her the family's history. Bettie Smith was in her seventies when she wrote to her 34-year-old nephew, Samuel T. Sparks, explaining that "when you get to be older, you will want to know more than now, who was your ancestors. "Samuel T. Sparks was then living in McKenzie, Carroll County, Tennessee.
In 1937, a great-great-grandson of Matthew and Sarah Sparks, William Levi Pinkerton, of Centerville, Tennessee, obtained a copy of Bettie's letter and shared its contents with other Sparks descendants. It was a copy of this shared copy that W. P. Johnson found in the Tennessee State Library in 1948. We published its text in the Quarterly of June 1961, and again in the issue of December 1995, Whole No. 172, p.4575, with a detailed record of the letter's history. When old letters are transcribed, errors are often made. There are several mistakes in the copy of Bettie Smith's letter that was found by Mr. Johnson in 1948. Whether they were made by Bettie, or by a later copyist, we do not know.
The most serious of these errors is the name given for Bettie Smith's great-grand father : his name was not John Sparks, as appears in the copy found by Mr. Johnson, but rather Matthew Sparks, although his wife's name appears correctly as Sarah. In recalling the names of their children, Bettie Smith, or the copyist, failed, also, to include that of their eldest son, John, although elsewhere in the letter there is mention of John's service in the Revolutionary War. There is also an error in the inclusion of a son of Matthew and Sarah named David; we have found no other reference to David, although it is possible that such a child could have died in childhood. Bettie Smith's letter is our only source for the color of the Sparks sons' hair; she said they were all "red-headed."
Another important source for identifying the children of Matthew and Sarah Sparks is a record brought to our attention in 1994; this was discovered under a most unusual circumstance. A member of our Association, Mrs. Dolly Ziegler, learned from a colleague who was helping Cadette Scouts in Billings, Montana, to earn "family history badges, " that one of the girls had brought an old Sparks family record that contained a transcription from a family Bible printed in 1816. This Bible had belonged to Nathan Sparks (1759-1841), a son of Matthew and Sarah Sparks. The person who had copied this record from Nathan's old Bible had died prior to 1994, and we have been unable to locate the old Bible, itself. Nevertheless, the photocopy of the record made for us by Mrs. Ziegler has provided an important supplement to Bettie Smith's 1899 letter.
Based on the sources cited above, and the research we have done on each of the ten sons of Matthew and Sarah Sparks, and one of their daughters, we believe that we now know the order of birth of all twelve of their children. Following is a brief biographical sketch of each one, with an indication of previously published material.
18.104.22.168.2.1 John Sparks, eldest child of Matthew and Sarah Sparks, was born in 1755 and died in February 1831, according to the dates on his gravestone still standing in the Sparks Cemetery a few miles west of Russellville, Franklin County, Alabama. The Wilkes County, North Carolina, marriage bond for him to be wed to Mary Parmely (1763-1853) was dated August 14, 1781. Often callled "Mollie," Mary Parmely was a daughter of Giles Parmely. A record of the lives of John and Mary (Parmely) Sparks, with the identification of their six children, appeared in the Quarterly of March 1966, Whole No. 53, pp.960-968. In that article of 1966, we speculated that John had been born in Maryland before his parents moved to North Carolina. Based on later research, we now believe that his father, Matthew Sparks, had moved to North Carolina in 1754. While we cannot be certain whether Matthew and Sarah were married in Maryland or North Carolina, there can be little doubt that John was born in what was then Rowan County, North Carolina. John Sparks, son of Matthew and Sarah Sparks, should not be confused with the John Sparks (1753-1840), son of Solomon and Sarah, about whom we published an article in the Quarterly of December 1955, Whole No. 12.
22.214.171.124.2.2 Matthew Sparks, Jr., second child of Matthew and Sarah Sparks, was born January 20, 1759, in what is now Davie County, North Carolina, then Rowan County. He died on August 14, 1841, at the home of his daughter, Jane (Sparks) Steele, in Clinton County, Illinois. His wife's name was Margaret MNU. We have not found her maiden name. We were in error in stating earlier that Margaret's maiden name may have been Traylor. We have also sometimes included the letter "J" as his middle initial. This appears on one census record, but this may have been an error made by the census taker. The text of Matthew Sparks, Jr.'s application for a pension for his service in the Revolutionary War appeared in the Quarterly of December 1956, Whole No. 16, pp.179-182. It was approved. A few years ago, a descendant established a chapter in the Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution in his name in Claremont, California. An article devoted to Matthew Sparks, Jr., with a record of his known children, appeared in the Quarterly of September 1984, Whole No. 127, pp.2644-2669. Some corrections to this article appeared in the Quarterly of March 1989, Whole No.145, pp.3367-68. In that article we called him "Matthew J. Sparks. " As noted above, we cannot be sure that he had a middle initial. It appears that none of his siblings were given middle names or initials. Matthew Sparks, Jr., did, however, give a son of his own a middle name. This was 126.96.36.199.2.2.5 Matthew Jefferson Sparks. Matthew Jefferson Sparks (ca.1802-1833) See a separate article in this issue of the Quarterly, beginning on page 5599, pertaining to two daughters of Matthew Jefferson Sparks.
188.8.131.52.2.3 William Sparks, son of Matthew and Sarah Sparks, was born April 3, 1761, in what is now Davie County, North Caroilna, although it was then part of Rowan County. He died in 1848, age 87, near Nacogdoches, Texas. He married Mary [ "Polly"] Fielder, daughter of William Fielder, ca. 1791. He served in the Revolutionary War, and in 1846, he made application for a pension based on that service, which had involved primarily his fighting the Cherokee Indians. His pension application was not approved because he could not present evidence of his service other than his own memory of it. (See the Quarterly of March and June 1954, Whole Nos. 5 and 6, for a copy of his application.) He stated that he had accompanied his father in his move to Georgia " shortly after the Revolutionary War, " and that he had remained there until "about A. D. 1811, when I moved to the Territory of Mississippi on Pearl River, now Lawrence County . . . . " A record of his life and his seven children appeared in the Quarterly of June 1985, Whole No. 130; September 1985, Whole No. 131; and June 1986, Whole No. 134.
184.108.40.206.2.4 Eady Sparks, daughter of Matthew and Sarah Sparks, was born ca. 1763. No article has been published about her, so we report here what we have have learned, based largely on the research of Johnella S. Boynton. "Eady" was a nickname for Idris, but because she seems always to have been called Eady, sometimes spelled "Edie, " we will call her Eady here. There can be little doubt that she married Randolph Traylor in Georgia, sometime after her parents moved there from North Carolina in 1783/84. On September 19, 1797, William Sparks, brother of Eady, sold land to Randolph Traylor that was located in Jackson County, Georgia. A deed for land sold by Traylor in Clarke County, Georgia, dated January 2, 1807, was signed by his wife, "Edie Traylor," as well as by Randolph. (See Deed Book D, p. 224.)
Randolph Traylor was a son of William Traylor, who died in Wilkes County, Georgia, in 1791, having moved there from Halifax County, Virginia, after the Revolution. When William Traylor died, he left 12 heirs. (See Halifax County Pleas Book 21, page 105, August Court 1802). Besides Randolph, the heirs included Elizabeth (Traylor) Brooks, the mother of Sarah ["Sally"] Brooks, who married Eady's nephew, John Sparks, in Jackson County, Georgia, in 1806. John Sparks was a son of Matthew Sparks, Jr., Eady's brother.
Randolph and Eady Traylor moved their family to Mississippi about the same time that Eady's brother, William Sparks, moved there in 1811. They settled in that part of Marion County, Mississippi, that became Lawrence County in 1818. We believe that a "Landel Traylor" listed on an 1813 Mississippi tax list is an incorrect rendering of Randolph. In Georgia records, he was sometimes called "Randall. " Randolph Traylor died in Mississippi before November 6, 1818, when an inventory was made of his estate in Lawrence County. Matthew Traylor, probably the eldest son, and Joseph Cooper, were made administrators of his estate. Richard Sparks, son of William, was made guardian of Randolph's minor heirs, named Thomas, Elizabeth, and Jo Ann Traylor. A later record shows Richard Sparks received a distribution from the estate of Sarah Traylor; we are uncertain if Sarah was another child, or whether an error was made in copying the earlier names. The 1823 Mississippi state census shows a Miss Sarah Traylor in Lawrence County. "Mrs. Traylor" was mentioned in an estate inventory of March 1820; other heirs included in Randolph Traylor's estate settlement were Hiram Traylor, William Traylor, and Nathan Traylor.
220.127.116.11.2.5 Ann Sparks, daughter of Matthew and Sarah Sparks, was probably born ca. 1766. We have no further knowledge of her beyond Bettie C. Smith's listing her in the 1899 letter as one of the two daughters of Matthew and Sarah Sparks.
18.104.22.168.2.6 James Sparks, son of Matthew and Sarah Sparks, was born April 14, 1768, in what is now Davie County, North Carolina, although the Forks of the Yadkin where Matthew's land was located was then part of Rowan County. He died, probably in Wilkes County, North Carolina, between 1830 and 1840. He appears not to have accompanied his parents and siblings on their move to Georgia in 1783/84, although he was then no more than sixteen years of age. We have not succeeded in finding the name of his wife, but from census records, it appears that he was the father of eight children, five daughters and three sons. We believe that we have identified his three sons. See our record of them in the article devoted to James Sparks in the Quarterly of June 1998, Whole No. 182, pp.4998-5003. (Unfortunately, at the beginning of that article, we stated that James was one of Matthew and Sarah's "eleven sons"; We now feel certain that there were ten sons, not eleven.)
22.214.171.124.2.7 Absolom Sparks, sometimes spelled Absolem, son of Matthew and Sarah Sparks, was born ca. 1771 in what is now Davie County, North Carolina, although the Forks of the Yadkin, where Matthew's land was located, was then part of Rowan County. Absolom accompanied his parents in their move to Georgia in 1783/84; he was then about thirteen years old. He remained in Georgia following his father's death in 1793, having earlier been married to a daughter of Benjamin and Francine Elsberry, whose name was either Lydia Elsberry or Mary Elsberry. She was a sister of Sarah ["Sally"] Elsberry who was married in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, to Absolom's brother, Nathan Sparks, on May 10, 1800. It appears that Absolom and his family moved with his brother, Matthew Sparks, Jr., from Georgia to Illinois Territory ca. 1807, then to Arkansas ca. 1820. He was the father of ten children. For an article about Absolom and his family, see the Quarterly of September 1982, Whole No. 119, pp. 2443-48. (In this article, we stated that his parents, Matthew and Sarah Sparks had migrated from Maryland to North Carolina ca. 1758; we are now certain that Matthew had come to North Carolina with other members of the Sparks family in 1754; whether he and Sarah were married in Maryland or North Carolina, we cannot be sure. In the Quarterly of September 1989, Whole No. 147, pp.3463-72, we published an article about Absolom's son named Willoughby Sparks, born in 1802.)
(126.96.36.199.2.7) 188.8.131.52.2.8 Jesse Sparks, son of Matthew and Sarah Sparks, was born July 23, 1773, probably in what is now Davie County, North Carolina. His parents moved in the same year he was born to that part of Surry County, North Carolina, that was cut off by an Act of the North Carolina Legislature in 1777 (effective February ruary 15, 1778) to form Wilkes County. It is possible that he was born after they arrived in Surry County. Many years later (in 1799) the area where Jesse's father obtained a land grant became part of Ashe County.
Jesse Sparks was about ten years old when the family moved to Georgia. He remained in Georgia following his father's death in 1793; there is a record that he served on a grand jury in Jackson County, Georgia, in January 1797. Earlier he had been married (first) to Elizabeth Jones. When Clarke County was created from Jackson County in 1801, Jesse became a resident of the new county. About 1808, he moved his family to Hickman County, Tennessee, where his first wife died in 1817, after bearing her tenth child. Jesse married (second) Susan May in 1818, and by her became the father of eight more children. He died in 1858 in Perry County, Tennessee. An article about Jesse Sparks and his family appeared in the Quarterly of March 1990, Whole No. 149, pp.3530-3553, continued in the issue of September 1990, Whole No.151, pp. 3630-49. (On page 3530 we stated that Jesse was one of eleven sons of Matthew and Sarah Sparks; we are now certain that there were ten sons, not eleven.)
(184.108.40.206.2.8) 220.127.116.11.2.9 Nathan Sparks, son of Matthew and Sarah Sparks, was born October 23, 1775, in the part of Surry County, North Carolina, that was cut off in 1778 to form Wilkes County. The area in which his father settled was, many years later (1799), cut off from Wilkes County to form Ashe County. He was a lad of eight or nine years when he accompanied his parents on their move to Georgia. He remained there after his father was killed by the Indians in 1793, and it was in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, that he married (first) Sarah ["Sally"] Elsberry, daughter of Benjamin and Francina Elsberry, on March 10, 1800. She was a sister of the wife of his brother, Absolom Sparks. Sarah died soon after their marriage, and on September 2, 1802, Nathan married (second) Nancy Hancock (1782-1856), a daughter of Martin Hancock. Nathan Sparks died on September 4, 1844, in Wilson County, Tennessee. He was physically handicapped, apparently unable to walk. For an article about him and his nine children, see the Quarterly of December 1995, Whole No. 172, pp.4548-4574.
18.104.22.168.2.10 Bailey Sparks was born May 3, 1778, in what is now Ashe County, North Carolina, but at the time of his birth it was part of Wilkes County. He died sometime after 1832 in Carroll County, Tennessee. He was married ca. 1809 to Martha Noland (also spelled Knowland and Knowling) who was a daughter of James Noland, and a sister of Wilmoth Noland, the second wife of Bailey's brother, Isaac Sparks. Bailey and Martha (Noland) Sparks were the parents of eleven children according to census records, of whom we have been able to identify seven. See the present issue of' the Quarterly, beginning on page 5611, for an article about Bailey Sparks and his family.
22.214.171.124.2.11 Isaac Sparks, son of Matthew and Sarah Sparks, was born July 15, 1780, in what was then Wilkes County, North Carolina, but is now Ashe County. He died ca. 1869 in Carroll County, Tennessee. He had been three or four years old when he accompanied his parents and a number of his siblings in their move to Georgia. He was married ca. 1804 in Clarke County, Georgia, to Sarah Nutt, a daughter of William Nutt. Sarah died. between 1806 and 1808, and shortly thereafter Isaac married (second) Wilmoth Noland (also spelled Knowland and Knowling), daughter of James Noland and a sister of Martha Noland, who married Isaac's brother, Bailey Sparks. Isaac was the father of twelve children. See the present issue of the Quarterly, beginning on page 5621, for an article about Isaac Sparks and his family.
126.96.36.199.2.12 Hardy Sparks, youngest child of Matthew and Sarah Sparks, was born on May 23, 1783, in what was then Wilkes County, North Carolina, but is now Ashe County. He died between 1850 and 1860 in Arkansas, probably in Scott County, where he and his wife were living when the 1850 census was taken. He was a babe in arms when his parents moved to Georgia. He was married ca. 1805 to Mary Hale (also spelled Hales and Hailes). We believe that she was a daughter of Isaiah Hale , for whom their first son was named; Isaiah Hale, born 1763/64, applied for a Revolutionary War pension from Hickman County, Tennessee, in 1832. Census records suggest that they were the parents of eight children, four sons and four daughters, but we have been able to identify only three sons. An article devoted to Hardy Sparks and these three sons appeared in the Quarterly of December 1990, Whole No. 152, pp.3687-3703. (We did not have Hardy's date of birth when that article was written, and we were then under the impression that he was one of eleven sons of Matthew and Sarah Sparks. We are quite certain to day that there were only 10 sons, and two daughters.)
188.8.131.52.2.10 Bailey Sparks, the tenth child and eighth son of 184.108.40.206.2 Matthew and Sarah Sparks, was born May 3, 1778, near the present-day village of Jefferson on the New River in what, since 1799, has been Ashe County, North Carolina. At the time of his birth, however, the land on which his parents and nine siblings were living was in Wilkes County, Wilkes having been formed in 1778 from Surry County. It was not until the close of the 18th Century, long after the Sparks family had moved to Georgia, that the part "of the County of Wilkes, lying west of the extreme height of the Appalachian mountains . . . is hereby erected into a separate and distinct county by the name of Ashe."
Matthew Sparks, Bailey's father, who seems always to have been an adventurer, had moved to this New River site in 1775 from the Forks of the Yadkin in what is now Davie County, North Carolina. At the time of Bailey's birth, his father was still "squatting" on a 400-acre tract that he planned to purchase from the state of North Carolina when it should become available. Such "squatting" was a common and respected custom among pioneers on the frontier at that time. Happily for Matthew and his family, he succeeded in obtaining from the Raleigh Land Office Warrant No. 163, for this tract in the fall of the same year that Bailey was born:
Wilkes County, North Carolina. File No. 22, Warrant No. 163:
To Matthew Sparkes 400 acres on the North Side of New River
Beginning on Little Naked Creek, Running Down, Including his
Impt. 5 November 1778."
The abbreviation "Impt. " was the commonly used word "Improvements, " that is, whatever Matthew and his sons had built on the tract while they had been "squatting" on it, a log cabin and stable, no doubt, along with some rail fencing around a portion that they had cleared and begun cultivating.
Upon obtaining his warrant, a settler would then have his tract surveyed to establish the boundaries to enclose the number of acres authorized in the warrant. Using a compass and a measuring chain 5.5 yards long, also cailed a pole or rod, the surveyor would begin at the point designated in the warrant, which usually also included the direction that he should proceed, mapping the distances between landmarks. A landmark might be the boundary of a tract already surveyed, a road or path, a tree on the bank of a stream, or even a stake that the surveyor drove into the ground. The surveyor was usually aided by two "chain carriers," often being young men of the neighborhood. In measuring Matthew Sparks's tract, Surveyor Joseph Herndon engaged 19-year-old Matthew Sparks, Jr., along with a James Vaningle, probably a neighbor, as his chain-carriers. The survey prepared by Herndon for Matthew Sparks's tract was published in full in the Quarterly of June 1961, Whole No. 34, in the article entitled "Matthew Sparks (died 1793) of North Carolina & Georgia, a Biographical Sketch."
The three oldest brothers of Bailey Sparks served in the American Revolution : John (born 1755), Matthew, Jr. (born 1759), and William (born 1761). In 1832, Congress passed an Act authorizing pensions for all veterans of the Revolutionary War who had served for at least six months. Applicants did not have to prove financial need nor a health problem, but they were required to describe the nature of their service, the period of time, and written proof of some sort, often consisting of affidavits of citizens who had personal knowledge of it. Although John Sparks did not apply, the other two brothers of Bailey did so. In their applications, both Matthew, Jr. and William stated they had been living with their parents in Wilkes County, North Carolina, when they had been drafted or they had enlisted in 1778.
It is in the pension applications of Matthew, Jr. and William Sparks that we learn of Matthew Sparks's last venture into a new frontier. In applying for a pension under the 1832 Act, a veteran was required to state where he had lived following the war. Both Matthew, Jr. and William stated that initially they had returned to their parents' home on New River in Wilkes County.
Sarah Sparks gave birth to her eleventh child, a son named Isaac, on July 15, 1780. Less than three years later, she bore her last child, Hardy Sparks, on May 23, 1783. It was in 1783, when Bailey Sparks was five years old, that his father again felt the urge to venture to a new frontier as word spread that the state of Georgia would open for settlement the Creek Indian lands east of the Oconee River in 1784. We may wonder what Sarah's feelings were as her husband talked of the opportunity this might provide for their older sons, as well as himself, to buy new land.
William Sparks stated in his application for a pension that, with the "close of the Revolutionary ..... . he removed with his father to what was then Franklin, afterwards Jackson, and now  Clarke County in the State of Georgia and settled about four miles from Athens in that state." Matthew Sparks, Jr. stated in his pension application that he had remained in Wilkes County "until three or four years after the close of the Revolutionary War" before leaving with his father for Georgia. (After half a century, veterans differed in their recalling the date that the conflict had actually ended; the surrender of Cornwallis had occurred on October 19, 1781, but the peace treaty with Great Britain definitively ending the war did not take place until September 3, 1783.)
Matthew Sparks last paid taxes in Wilkes County in 1782. We believe that it was a few months after the birth of Hardy Sparks in May 1783, that the family, with the exception of sons John and James, started for Georgia, again to find choice land on which to "squat" until a purchase of it could be made.
We will not repeat here the story of the Oconee War, during which, in 1793, the elder Matthew Sparks was killed by the Indians. Bailey Sparks was then fifteen years old.
We have only two records from Georgia pertaining to Bailey Sparks. It appears that he purchased land in Jackson County on August 20, 1798, from a man named William M. Stokes. (Deed Book A & B, page 128.) Jackson County had been formed from Franklin County in 1796 and included the land on which the Sparks family had settled in 1783184. In 1805, Clarke County was created in part from Franklin and included the Sparks settlement. Unfortunately, no census record from Georgia has survived prior to the one for 1820 to assist us in tracing Bailey Sparks, but we know that he was there on February 22, 1810, when he sold land in Clarke County connected with the settlement of the estate of one Charles Stuart. We have not obtained actual copies of these two Georgia deeds.
From later records, we believe that Bailey and Isaac Sparks, with only two years difference in their ages, were close friends as well as brothers. Another reason promoting their closeness was the fact that their wives were sisters. Isaac's first wife, Sarah Nutt, had died, we believe, after only a few years of marriage, and in ca. 1808, Isaac was married, second, to Wilmoth Noland, daughter of James Noland. Bailey Sparks was married at about the same time to Wilmoth's sister, Martha Noland. It also seems probable that these two couples moved to gether to Tennessee prior to 1810, as had three brothers of Bailey and Isaac before them, Matthew, Jr., Jesse, and Hardy Sparks.
A militia muster roll has been preserved showing that on January 12, 1812, a company was formed commanded by a Captain William Teas and comprised of settlers in the counties of Hickman and Humphreys, Tennessee, which adjoined, "for the pro tection of the frontier of West Tennessee." Both Bailey and Isaac Sparks were included in this roster.
From later records, it seems certain that Baiiey and Isaac had settled initially in Humphreys County. On the census of 1820, Bailey was shown as head of a household there, as was Isaac. Now 42 years old, Bailey was shown as heading a household that included his wife, enumerated in the 26 to 45 age category, as was Bailey himself. With them were five children, one male and four females, all under the age of ten. A female was also enumerated with Bailey's family in the "45 and up" category; this may have been Bailey's widowed mother, Sarah Sparks, who would then have been eighty-one, assuming that Nathan Sparks was correct regarding her age when she died in 1831, as recorded in his family Bible.
Sometime during the mid-1820s, both Bailey and Isaac Sparks moved west to Carroll County, Tennessee. Carroll County had been created in 1821 from what until then had been what was called the Western District of Tennessee. Until Benton County was created in 1835 from Humphreys and Henry Counties, Carroll adjoined Humphreys County. A researcher who has examined the land records in Carroll County has found no record of Bailey acquiring land there, although, as a resident of Carroll County in 1826, he sold land that he still owned in Humphreys County, as shown in the following abstract of this deed (Carroll County Book D, p.111).
This Indenture made this the Twenty fourth July in the year of our Lord Eighteen hundred and Twenty six between Baily Sparks of the State of Tennessee and Carroll County of the one part and William Blair of the County of Humphreys in consideration of the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars to him in hand paid by the said Blair, the receipt thereof is acknowledged, hath given, bargained, granted, sold, aliened, conveyed and confirmed unto the said Blair, his heirs and assigns forever, a certain tract or parcel of land situated, lying and being in the County of Humphreys and State afforesaid, on Hurricane Creek of Duck River bounded as follows, to wit: Beginning at an elm the South West corner of Isaiah Hammilton's occupant claim on the North bank of said creek. Thence North two hundred and two poles to a small white oak and double ash. Thence West twenty eight and a half poles to a black gum and red bud. Thence South one hundred and two and a half poles to a stake on a hill. Thence East seventy eight and a half poles to the Beginning, containing fifty acres... In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and fixed my seal the day and date above written....
Witnesses: Henry Epperson
[signed] Baily Sparks
Bailey Sparks often omitted the "e" in signing his name. (A pole is, like a rod, 16 1/2 feet in length.) This deed was also registered in Humphreys County in Book D.
As early as 1802 members of the Sparks family began appealing to both the state of Georgia and to the Federal government for reparations for their losses to the Creek Indians. It was not until the 1820's, however, that the Federal Government began giving serious consideration to these claims. In a file entitled "Indian Depredations" at the Georgia Department of Archives and History in Atlanta, a number of documents pertaining to the Sparks claims are preserved. We published several of these in the article devoted to Matthew and Sarah Sparks in the Quarterly of June 1961, Whole No. 34. Included is an inventory of the losses suffered by Matthew from 1786 until his death in 1793. His older sons made similar, but smaller, claims.
Many years ago, the present writer corresponded with a great-grandson of Jesse Sparks (1773-1858), the eighth child of Matthew and Sarah Sparks. This great-grandson was J. Kent Sparks of Pope, Tennessee, who died in 1966. Jesse Sparks was living in Hickman County, Tennessee, in the late 1820s when the Federal Government agreed to receive reimbursement claims from the victims of the Creek Indian attacks. A number of documents in this connection had been inherited by J. Kent Sparks, who kindly loaned them to this writer to copy. Unfortunately, this was before the invention of photocopying.
Jesse Sparks, himself, claimed that a mare he had owned, worth $70.00, had been stolen. One of the documents in J. Kent Sparks's possession was Jesse's application for letters of administration for his father's estate, which was approved on September 14, 1829. This gave Jesse the power to collect the reparations for his father on behalf of all the heirs. A commission had been appointed to determine the amount to which each victim, or his heirs, was entitled. In anticipation of a payment to Matthew's heirs, Jesse Sparks and his brother, Nathan, had obtained authorization to travel to Milledgeville, "the Executive Department of Georgia," to collect and divide this payment among the heirs. Among the documents in Jesse Sparks's collection is an agreement dated September 11, 1828, signed by Sarah, widow of Matthew, and sons Isaac, Hardy, and Bailey Sparks, authorizing Jesse and Nathan to serve as:
..our true and lawfull Attornies in fact for us and in our names and for our use and benefit, to demand and receive any sum or sums of money which may be due or coming to us or either of us... in consequence of the destruction or loss of the property of Mathew Sparks by the Creek Nation of Indians...
Sarah Sparks signed this document by mark as "Sary Sparks." Her three sons signed their names. Isaac and Bailey Sparks also witnessed their mother make her mark.
A letter to Jesse Sparks from R. A. Green, Secretary for Georgia Governor, William Schley, dated November 20, 1835, is among the papers owned by J. Kent Sparks in the 1960s. This letter informed Jesse that, at long last, the reparation funds due himself and the heirs of Matthew Sparks were available : "... Jesse Sparks is entitled to $70.00 principal and $17.25 interest making $87.25, and Matthew Sparks is entitled to $1112.00 principal and $316.00 interest, making $1,428,10..." by this time, Sarah, widow of Matthew, had died.
When the 1830 census of Carroll County, Tennessee, was taken, Bailey Sparks was shown as head of his family there, as were, also, his brothers, Isaac and Hardy. Bailey's age was marked in the 40 to 50 category; his wife in the 30 to
40 range. The children in their family now numbered nine, as follows:
|15 to 20
5 to 10
10 to 15
5 to 10
Sometime prior to September 1832, James Noland, father of Martha Sparks and Wilmoth Sparks, died in Humphreys County, Tennessee. On September 10, 1832, Jesse Noland, who was probably a son of James, purchased the rights of inheritance to tile land of James Noland in Humphreys County held by Martha and Wilmoth Sparks, as well as that of another daughter, Elizabeth Epperson. The text of this deed follows:
[From Carroll County, Tennessee, Will Book E, p.200.]
This indenture made this 10th day of September A.D. 1832 between Bailey Sparks and Martha, his wife, Isaac Sparks and Wilmoth, his wife, and Henry Epperson and Elizabeth, his wife, all of the County of Carroll, heirs at law of James Noland, late of Humphreys County, dec'd of the one part and Jesse Noland of said County and State of Tennessee of the other part. Witnesseth that.. for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred and seventy dollars to them in hand paid by the said Jesse Noland.. have given, granted, bargained and sold... unto the said Jesse Noland a certain tract or parcel of land containing one hundred and twenty two acres be the same more or less, situated, lying and being in Humphreys County, aforesaid, on Hurricane Creek and adjoining the lands of James Teas, Esquire, and others and which said lands came to them by descent as heirs of the aforesaid James Noland, dec'd...
In testimony whereof the said parties have hereunto set their hands and affixed their seals.
Isaac Sparks (seal)
Baily Sparks (seal)
Henry Epperson (seal) her
Martha X Sparks (seal) mark
Wilmoth Sparks (seal)
Elizabeth Epperson (seal)
State of Tennessee )
Carroll County Court )
September Term 1832. . . The said Martha Sparks, Wilmoth Sparks and Elizabeth Epperson they being privately examined as the law directs, separately and apart from their husbands and having voluntarily relinquished their right of dower to the estate conveyed without compulsion or coertion from their said husbands by the said Indenture to be their act and deed and ordered to be certified to Humphreys County for registration and the State tax paid to me. A copy Test.Edward Quin, Clerk.
From the above document, it is evident that Bailey Sparks was alive in September 1832, but this is the last record that we have found of him. A researcher named Mrs. C. F. Delap of Springfield, Tennessee, who examined the court records of Carroll County, Tennessee, a number of years ago, reported that Bailey Sparks had been a member of the Carroll County Court prior to September 1832, when it was noted that he had resigned his post. We may ponder whether he may have resigned for reasons of health or whether he was about to move from Carroll County. In no extant census for 1840 has a household headed by Bailey Sparks been found.
There is some reason for us to wonder whether he and Martha, in 1832 or 1833, moved to Mississippi, possibly with at least the younger members of their family, settling in the Carroll, Lafayette. and Yalobusha Counties area. These and other Mississippi Counties were part of the "Choctaw Indian Cession" of 1830. As noted below, it appears that some of Bailey's children are found in the records there.
Based on the census records of 1820 and 1830 where 220.127.116.11.2.10 Bailey Sparks was shown as head of a household in Tennessee, it appears that he and his wife, Martha (Noland) Sparks, may have been the parents of as many as eleven children, but for a number of these we can only speculate regarding their identification.18.104.22.168.2.10.1 Son Sparks appears to have been born ca. 1809. He was shown on the 1820 census as a male under the age of 10 years, and on the 1830 census as between 15 and 20. We have not learned his name.
22.214.171.124.2.10.2 Mary H. Sparks, daughter of Bailey and Martha (Noland) Sparks, was born ca. 1811. She married Michael F. Fields prior to 1830; they were living in Carroll County, Tennessee, when the 1830 census was taken, but by 1840 they were in Carroll County, Mississippi; they then lived briefly in Yalobusha County, Mississippi, but by 1850 they were in Choctaw County, Mississippi.
We are indebted to Mrs. Lemuel M. Rathbone of Austin, Texas, a great-great-granddaughter of Michael F. and Mary H. (Sparks) Fields, for information on this family; she has provided us with a llst of their children :126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Bailey S. Fields, born ca. 1830.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Sarah A. Fields, born ca. 1832.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 James A. Fields, born ca. 1834.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Martha E. Fields, born ca. 1836.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Mary Fields, born ca. 1838.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Sidney Fields, born ca. 1840. She married William R. Griffin.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Susan Isabel Fields was born October 11, 1843 or 1845; she married Andrew Jackson Caraway.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Malissa D. Fields was born September 9, 1846. She married John Wellington Cleveland.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Daniel R. B. Fields was born ca. 1849.
126.96.36.199.2.10.3 Daughter was born to Bailey and Martha (Noland) Sparks ca. 18188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Eady Sparks, daughter of Bailey and Martha (Noland) Sparks, was born December 7, 1816. It seems probable that she was named for Bailey's sister. She married John J. Goodrum on March 16, 1837.
Some years ago, Jeff Lovelace of Dallas, Texas, wrote that his great-great-grandmother, 220.127.116.11.2.10.4 Eady (Sparks) Goodrum, had been born on December 7, 1816, he thought, in Dickson County, Tennessee. Dickson adjoins Humphreys County, Tennessee; we are certain that it was in Humphreys County that Eady was born. Mr. Lovelace sent us a photocopy of a page from a family Bible that he had found--he did not know the whereabouts of the original. We give here the contents of this record in the hope that it may prove helpful to someone.
John J. Goodrum & Eady Sparks was Married March 16, 1837
John Jefferson Goodrum was born February 11, 1811 in Jefferson Co. Miss.
Eady Goodrum was born December 7, 1816 Dixon Coounty, Tennessee.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Thomas Goodrum was born February 11, 1838
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Martha Ann Goodrum was born January 13, 1840
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Mary Matilda Goodrum was born August 27, 1842
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Susan Elizabeth Goodrum was born March 28, 1845
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 James Liles Goodrum was born April 15, 1848
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Reuben Smith Goodrum was born October 3, 1850
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Laura Jane Goodrum was born December 16, 1853
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Sarah Francis Goodrum was born June 23, 1856
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Julia Terrissa Goodrum was born January 13, 1860Susan E. Goodrum Departed this life August 3, 1848
Thomas B. Goodrum departed this life August 6, 1848
Julia T. Goodrum departed this life June 23, 1861
Eady Goodrum Departed this life August 6, 1875 59 years
The household of John J. Goodrum appeared on the 1850 census of Yalabusha County, Mississippi (page 478) "South of the Yalabusha River."On this census Eady's name was given as Edith; perhaps the census taker misunderstood or just assumed that Eady was a nickname for Edith.
John J. Goodrum age 39 Born in Mississippi $250 Real Estate Edith " 33 " Tennessee Martha " 10 " Mississippi Mary " 8 " " James L. " 2 " "
Jeff Lovelace has noted that Eady (Sparks) Goodrum died in Burleson County, Texas, and was buried in the Hix Cemetery in Burleson County. Her husband's date of death was not known to Mr. Lovelace, but he believed that he had been buried in the Little River Cemetery in Milam County, Texas. Sarah Francis Goodrum, from whom Mr. Lovelace descends, was born in Gonzales County, Texas; she married William Henry Lovelace on February 4, 1875. in Milam County, Texas. She died on January 5, 1929, in Brown County, Texas.
18.104.22.168.2.10.5 Dau1 Sparks was born to Bailey and Martha (Noland) Sparks ca. 1820. She may have been the Matilda Sparks who married James Fields In Carroll County, Mississippi, on June 9, 1838. We may speculate that James Fields may have been a brother of Michael F. Fields, who married Mary H. Sparks, daughter of Bailey and Martha. James Fields and his family appeared on the 1850 census of Choctaw County, Western Division, Mississippi, as follows:
Name Age Born Occupation Property Values James Fields 35 North Carolina Farmer $450 Matilda Fields 31 Tennessee William B. Fields 10 Mississippi James A. Fields 8 " Daniel G. Fields 6 " Winney A. Fields 5 " Mary E. Fields 2 " Martha Fields 3/12 " Hannah Tatum 20 North Carolina Christopher Bess 24 Mississippi Farmer 22.214.171.124.2.10.6 Son2 Sparks appears to have been born to Bailey and Martha (Noland) Sparks ca. 1821. He was enumerated on the 1830 census of Carroll County, Tennessee, as between 5 and 10 years of age. We have no further information.126.96.36.199.2.10.7 Dau3 Sparks was born to Bailey and Martha (Noland) Sparks ca. 1822. She may have been the Elizabeth Sparks who married Charles Monney in Yalobusha County, Mississippi. Their marriage was recorded there, but with only the information that it had been between 1833 and 1846; it probably was performed ca. 18188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Dau4 Sparks was born to Bailey and Martha (Noland) Sparks ca. 1824. She may have been Susan A. Sparks who was married on November 2, 1848, to James H. W. Callaway in Yalobusha County, Mississippi, by a justice of the peace named William M. Pollan. (Recorded in Marriage Book A.)When the 1850 census was taken of Choctaw County, Western Division, Mississippi, J. H. W. Calaway [sic] was shown as a farmer who had been born in Georgia and was then 22 years old. His wife, Susan A. Calaway, was recorded as 27 years of age and a native of Tennessee. No children for them were recorded. (Page 5, rev., taken October 25, 1850, family #70.) Also living in their household was the family of James M. Martin and his wife, Martha. (See below.) The family of James and Matilda Fields, noted on the preceding page under the possible child of Bailey and Martha Sparks named Matilda, appears on the same 1850 census (page 5, rev., family #73) as that of H. W. Calaway and James M. Martin (family #70).220.127.116.11.2.10.9 Dau5 Sparks was born to Bailey and Martha (Noland) Sparks ca. 1826. She may have been the Martha Sparks who married James M. Martin on March 12, 1847, in Yalobusha County, Mississippi, by a justice of the peace named WIlliam M. Pollan. (Recorded in Marriage Book A.) (One person who copied this, recorded the groom's surname as Marlin rather than Martin. From census records, it appears that Martin is correct.) On the 1850 census of Choctaw County, Mississippi, James M. Martin was shown as 35 years old, a native of Alabama, and a farmer. Martha Martin was recorded as 24 years of age, a native of Tennessee. They were shown with one child, a son, named George L. Martin, age 6, born In Mississippi. On this 1850 census, James M. and Martha Martin, with their son, were included as members of the household of J. H. W. Callaway and Susan A. Callaway. (See above.) There can be little doubt that Martha (Sparks) Martin, Susan A. (Sparks) Callaway, and Matilda (Sparks) Fields were sisters.18.104.22.168.2.10.10 Wimoth Jane Sparks was born April 10, 1828, and was, without doubt, a daughter of Bailey and Martha (Noland) Sparks. She was enumerated on the 1830 census as under 5 years of age. She was married in Yalobusha County, Mississippi, on January 27, 1848, to William Gentry. As in the marriages there for Susan A. Sparks and Martha Sparks, Wilmoth and William were married by a justice of the peace named William M. Pollan, as recorded in Marriage Book A.Wilmoth J. Sparks was doubtless named for Wilmoth (Noland) Sparks, wife of Bailey's brother, Isaac Sparks. Isaac and Wilmoth also named a daughter Wilmoth, but she was given the middle initial "P. " (See page 5630 of the present issue of the Quarterly for further information regarding Wilmoth P. Sparks.Much of the information that we have regarding Wilmoth J. Sparks came to us in 1983 from Margie Bates Nelson (Mrs. J. H.), of Kingwood, Texas, a great-great granddaughter of Wilmoth. From Mrs. Nelson, we learned that Wilmoth's middle initial, "J.," was for Jane, and that family records reveal that she had been born on April 10, 1828, in Tennessee. Wilmoth died on May 17, 1896, in Limestone County, Texas, and was buried in the Hyden Cemetery near Limestone. The source for Wilmoth's birth and death dates were copied by Mrs. Nelson from her gravestone.William and Wilmoth Jane (Sparks) Gentry moved from Yalobusha County, Mississippi, to Choctaw County. Mississippi, shortly after their marriage. Apparently it was in Choctaw County that their only child, Sarah Ann Gentry, was born December 1, 1849, and it was there that her father died either shortly before or soon after Sarah Ann's birth. William Gentry was recorded on Mississippi's Mortality Schedule for 1850 as having died in Choctaw County at the age of 26, and that he had been born in Alabama. It was as part of the 1850 federal census that a mortality schedule was used to record the deaths in each county during what was called the "census year," i.e., deaths between June 1, 1849, and May 31, 1850.
Wilmoth (Sparks) Gentry has not been found on the 1850 census of Choctaw Coun ty, nor on any other 1850 census, but we next find her in Limestone County, Texas, where she must have gone with her infant daughter shortly after her husband's death. It would seem probable that a relative assisted her in this move. It was not long after William Gentry's death that his widow was married, second, to a widower with three small children named Alexander Hyden. We can imagine that Hyden needed a wife to care for his motherless children, while Wilmoth, a young widow, had need for a provider and pagesor. Marriages of convenience were often in that day a solution to such problems. Mrs. Nelson copied for us an account of this marriage written by a man named Hampton Steele who recalled that he had gone to school with Hyden's children. His account was published in A Memorial and Biographical History of Navarro, Henderson, Anderson, Limestone, Freestone, and Leon Counties [Texas] published in 1893, as follows:Alexander Hyden came to the county [of Limestone] about the latter part of 1846. When he came here he stopped and lived in a cedar log house that William Anglin built, about a mile north of Groesbeck. He was a widower and he had three children, a boy and two girls. They were James and Jemima and Lydia. We used to go to school together. I think he lived there three or four years before he moved down in the timber below Groesbeck. He was elected County Commissioner in 1852 and again in 1854 and again in 1856 and again in 1858. About the year 1850, he married the widow Gentry. They had five children, 3 boys and 2 girls. There are now  just two of them living, Bailey Hyden and Jake Hughes' wife. After Alexander Hyden came here, he helped Anton Sharp build a gin, the second gin built in this county; hewed out all the timber for the gin and Bailey says he has that old broadaxe yet. . . "
Mrs. Nelson provided us with a list of the children of Wilmoth Jane Sparks by her two husbands, the first, Sarah Ann, by William Gentry, and the other five by her second husband, Alexander Hyden. They were:22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Sarah Ann Gentry, born December 1, 1849, was married on April 15, 1866, to John Edward Bates in Limestone County, Texas. She died on March 23, 1928, in Thornton, Texas. Mrs. Nelson reported that in Sarah Ann's application for a Civil War pension, based on her husband's service, she stated that she had been born in Winston County, Mississippi. Winston adjoins Choctaw County where William Gentry appears to have died.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 William Alexander Hyden, born July 14, 1853, in Limestone County, Texas, died 5 February 1903, in Beckham County, Oklahoma. He was married ca. 1873 to Sarah Catherine Herod.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Mary S.. Hyden, born ca. 1855 in Limestone County, Texas.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Roland A. Hyden, born ca. 1859 in Limestone County, Texas; died prior to 1870 in Limestone County.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Bailey H. Hyden was born in Limestone County, date not known. He married Daisy Ellis.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Edie P. Hyden, born ca. 1865 in Limestone County, Texas; she married Jake Hughes.It is interesting to note that a son of Wilmoth Jane Sparks, her fifth child, was named Bailey H. Hyden. There can be little doubt that he was named for his grandfather. A possible reason for Wilmoth Jane's moving to Limestone County, Texas, following the death of her first husband, was that Willoughby Sparks (ca.1802-ca.1860), a son of Absolom Sparks (ca.1771-ca.1830), brother of 22.214.171.124.2.10 Bailey Sparks, was living there with his family when the 1850 census was taken. Willoughby Sparks was an uncle to Bailey's children; he had lived in Carroll County, Tennessee, before moving to Texas in 1845. (See the Quarterly of September 1982, Whole No. 119, pp.2443-48, for an article about Willoughby Sparks.)126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Dau6 Sparks was born to Bailey and Martha (Noland) Sparks ca. 1829. She was shown on the 1830 census as one of Bailey's children then under five years of age. We have no further information.
(As noted above, a number of the children of Bailey and Martha (Noland) Sparks moved to Mississippi in their youth and were married there. In the same "Marriage Book A" that is preserved in Carroll County, Mississippi, in which the marriage of Matilda Sparks and James Fields was recorded (page 140) on June 9, 1838, there is, on the following page, the record of a William M. Sparks who served as the bondsman for the marriage of James J. Brown and Sarah V. Elles. We wonder whether this William M. Sparks might be one of the unidentified sons of Bailey and Martha (Noland) Sparks. Can any reader further identify this William M. Sparks?)
184.108.40.206.2.11 Isaac Sparks (1780-ca,1767)
Son of Matthew and Sarah Sparks
Much of the introduction to the biographical sketch of Bailey Sparks, beginning on page 5611, also pertains to his brother, Isaac Sparks, and will not be repeated here. As noted, there were only 14 months' difference in the ages of these two brothers, Bailey having been born on May 3, 1778, and Isaac on July 15, 1780. Their oldest brother, John Sparks, had been born 25 years before Isaac Bailey and Isaac being so nearly the same age may account for the close friendship that they appear to have enjoyed throughout their lives; they even married sisters.
Isaac Sparks was born on his parents' 400-acre tract of land in what later became Ashe County, North Carolina, although at his birth, the Sparks home was still within the county of Wilkes. Wilkes County had been created from Surry County in 1777, and it was not until 1799 that Ashe was cut off from Wilkes. At its creation, Ashe County was described as "that part of Wilkes County lying west of the extreme height of the Appalachian mountains. " Today it borders Grayson County, Virginia, on the north and Johnson County, Tennessee, on the west.
Isaac Sparks's parents had moved from the Forks of the Yadkin, now part pf Davie County, North Carolina, to their 400-acre tract of land in Wilkes County in 1775, but it had not been until November 5, 1778, that Matthew Sparks had obtained an actual title to it from what was then still the Colony of North Carolina. In his warrant, the tract was described as "...on the north side of New River, beginning on Little Naked Creek. " (The text of the initial survey of Matthew's land was included in the article devoted to him in the Quarterly of June 1961, Whole No.34.)
Isaac Sparks was the eleventh child born to his parents, a fact that was even noted in a biographical sketch of his son, Isaac H. Sparks, published in 1891/2. The twelfth and last child of Matthew and Sarah Sparks was also a son (their tenth), named Hardy; he was born May 23, 1783. His mother was then either 43 or 44 years of age.
We can be sure that, as an adult, Isaac Sparks retained few if any memories of his life in North Carolina, for he had scarcely reached his third birthday when the Sparks family moved south to Georgia. Sarah Sparks was doubtless thankful that there were older children, including two daughters, to assist in caring for their youthful siblings during what must have been a tiresome journey. We will not repeat here the events of Georgia's Oconee War that engulfed the family, even resulting in the murder of the father when Isaac was only 13 years old. These events were outlined in the preceding article on Bailey Sparks. We do have, however, a reference to Isaac when he was only five years old.
This early incident in Isaac's life is mentioned in a letter written by Bettie C. Smith, a granddaughter of Isaac's brother, Nathan Sparks (1775-1844). This letter was published, with an analysis, in the article devoted to Nathan in the Quarterly of December 1995, Whole No. 172, pp.4574-77. As noted there, Bettie Smith (whose maiden name had been Elizabeth B. Sparks), stated that she had heard the family stories contained in her letter to a nephew, from "Old Matthew Sparks" (1759-1841), who had been the second oldest of the ten sons of Matthew and Sarah Sparks. Referring to a time in Georgia when the famIly got up one morning to discover that all but one of their horses had been stolen by the Creek Indians, Bettie wrote : " . . . they started for the fort, twenty-five miles bareheaded...Uncle Isaac was five years old, and brother & sister swung (him] by his arms all the way." If Bettie Smith's memory of "Old Matthew's" account was correct, this incident must have happened in 1785 or 1786. It is also in Bettie Smith's letter that we learn the circumstance under which Isaac's father, Matthew Sparks, the elder, lost his life in 1793: "He went out to kill a turkey one morning, and was shot by Indians. "
When the Sparks family had settled in Georgia in 1783/84, their land was located within a huge county created in 1784 called Franklin. Before 1784, it had been known as part of the "Cherokee Lands." The Sparkses lived in that part of Franklin County that was cut off to from Jackson County in 1796. Then, in 1801, they found themselves in Clarke County when the portion of Jackson County in which they lived was cut off to form this new county. A tax list for Clarke County is extant for the year 1802. Isaac Sparks, as well as his brothers, Jesse and William, being white males over 21, were taxed simply as polls, but Isaac was taxed, also, for owning land. We have no record of his acquiring this land, however. In 1875, long after the Sparkses had left the area, the county of Oconee was created from Clarke County.
On June 1, 1799, a Baptist church was organized at what was called Mars Hill in that part of Jackson that became Clarke County and is Oconee County today. The original minute book of Mars Hill Baptist Church is still extant; it was transcribed a number of years ago by Frances West Reid and placed in the D. A. R. Library in Washington, D.C. From this minute book, we learn that on April 14, 1804, "Isaac Sparks and Sarah, his wife" were received into membership "by letter. " This should mean that they had earlier been members of another Baptist congregation that had recommended them as being in good standing. The minute book does not, however, reveal the congregation to which they had formerly belonged.
Isaac Sparks was 23 years of age when he was received into the Mars Hill Church. It is obvious that he had been married to Sarah Nutt before April 14, 1804. No record of their marriage has been found, however, and it is only through the will of Sarah's father, dated June 15, 1818, that we can identify her as a daughter of William and Jane Nutt. William Nutt called Isaac his son-in-law in his will, although we believe that Sarah had died before her father.
The Mars Hill Baptist Church minute book contains another entry under membership dated only four days after the entry for Isaac and Sarah being received "by letter." This entry simply reads: "March 18, 1804, Isaac Sparks, Member before this. " It would appear that, therefore, it had been only Sarah's membership that had been "by letter" following her marriage to Isaac. Then, on September 14, 1804, Isaac Sparks was "Dismissed, " without explanation. A year and one half later, on March 15, 1806, an entry in the minute book reads: "March 15, 1806, Isaac Sparks & wife Sarah, Dismissed by letter. " Such action in the Baptist denomination normally means that the couple was about to move away from the Mars Hill area and were given a letter to introduce them to another church as being in good standing. However, an entry dated October 18, 1806, reads: "Brother Isaac Sparks and wife Sarah, Excluded for disobeying Church." No later reference to Isaac or Sarah is to be found in the Mars Hill Baptist Church membership records.
Another member of the Sparks family appears in the Mars Hill Baptist Church membership records. This was Abel Sparks who was "Received by experience" on March 18, 1804. Abel Sparks was a son of Solomon and Sarah Sparks of Surry and Wilkes Counties, North Carolina. Abel Sparks's grandfather, Joseph Sparks, who had died in Frederick County, Maryland, in 1749, was a brother of Isaac Sparks's great-grandfather, William Sparks, Jr., who had died in Queen Annes County in the 1730s. Thus, Isaac Sparks and Abel Sparks were second cousins, once removed. Despite their rather distant relationship, Isaac and Abel obviously knew each other as fellow members of the Mars Hill Church, although Abel had not moved to Clarke County from North Carolina, before at least 1802. (For a detai ed record of the life of Abel Sparks, see the Quarterly of June 1987, Whole No. 138, beginning on page 3062.)
In 1803, a land lottery was sponsored by the state of Georgia to encourage settlement in its new counties of Baldwin, Wayne, and Wilkinson. Although the final drawing of winners did not take place until 1805, the rules applied to participants as of 1803. This lottery entitled a bachelor over 21 to one draw, if he were a citizen of the U.S. and had lived in Georgia for at least one year. The same residency requirements applied to Others, but a married man, with or without children, was entitled to two draws. Women were excluded except widows with one or more minor children--they were also entitled to two draws. A minor orphan, or family of orphans, with father and mother dead or remarried, was entitled to one draw. In Baldwin and Wilkinson Counties, the size of the lots to be won was 202 1/2 acres; in Wayne County, the size was 490 acres. There were five subsequent land lotteries in Georgia, but only for that dated 1803, but not drawn until 1805, have the names and resident counties been preserved; only the names of the winners of subsequent drawings have been preserved. Seven persons named Sparks were registered in Clarke County for the first drawing. (Note that this was the county in which the Mars Hill Baptist Church was located until Oconee County was cut off in 1875.) One of the seven was listed as "Garrot Sparks," but other records prove that this was an error; it was intended for "Garrot Spinks." The remaining six were:
Abel Sparks was, as noted earlier, a second cousin, once removed, from Isaac Sparks and his brothers, Jesse and William. Sarah Sparks was the brothers' mother, widow of Matthew, who had been killed in 1793; she was entitled to 2 draws because in 1803 her youngest son, Hardy Sparks, was still under age 21. We have not succeeded in identifying Theophelus Sparks, obviously unmarried, since he had only one draw; he could have been a son of William Sparks.
The only winner from Clarke County in the 1803/05 drawing was Isaac Sparks. He won Lot #25 in District 5 of Baldwin County, 202 1/2 acres. This part of Baldwin County was included in the formation of Morgan County, Georgia, in 1807.
Although the purpose of the 1803/05 Lottery was to attract settlers to the three counties listed above, the winners were not required actually to occupy the land they received. So it was quite legal for Isaac Sparks, on November 2, 1806, to sell half of his Baldwin County lot to a man named William Mothershead, who was described in the deed (Book B, p.369) as "of the State of South Carolina." Mothershead paid Isaac $200 for the "one hundred and one and one-fourth acres. " The witnesses were William Nutt and James McLeroy. William Nutt was probably Isaac's father-in-law, and we know that Sarah's sister was called Catherine McLeroy. We have not found a record of his sale of the other half of his lot.
In Georgia, a wife was expected to sign the deed for selling land with her husband, thus acknowledging her agreement for the sale and relinquishment of her dower right to the land. The fact that Sarah (Nutt) Sparks did not sign this deed with Isaac may mean that she had died by 1806.
by 1810, Isaac Sparks had moved to Humphreys County, Tennessee. On May 29, 1810, he was commissioned a lieutenant in the 38th Regiment of the Tennessee Militia from Humphreys County. (See Records of Commissions in the Tennessee Militia, 1796-1811, compiled by Mrs. John Trotwood Moore, 1947.) A Water muster roll has also been preserved showing that on January 12, 1812, a company of militia was formed by a Capt. William Teas comprised of settlers In the two adjoining counties, Humphreys and Hickman, "for the protection of the frontier of West Tennessee." Both Isaac and Bailey Sparks were members of Capt. Teas's company at the time of its organization.
We believe, but cannot be certain, that Isaac Sparks was a widower when he moved to Tennessee. It was relatively soon after settling in Humphreys County that he married Wilmoth Noland, daughter of James Noland, also a resident of Humphreys County. At about the same time, perhaps in 1807 or 1808, Bailey Sparks married Wilmoth's sister, Martha Noland. From the census records of 1850, 1860, and 1870, for which census takers were instructed to record the names of all persons in every household, with their ages as of June 1st. of the census year and their places of birth, it appears that Wilmoth had been born ca. 1790 in Tennessee. Isaac was thus ten years her senior.
In the biographical sketch of Bailey Sparks (page 5615 of the present issue of the Quarterly), appears an abstract of a deed dated September 10, 1832, proving that Wilmoth and Martha Noland were daughters of James Noland, who had died before the making of this deed. With this deed, Jesse Noland, probably a brother of Wilmoth and Martha, purchased from them, as well as from another sister named Elizabeth, wife of Henry Epperson, these three sisters' shares of inheritance of James Noland's land in Humphreys County, for a total of $170.
The earliest census taken in Tennessee was that for 1820. Both Isaac and Bailey Sparks were shown as heads of households in Humphreys County. The brothers were shown in the 26 to 45 age category, as were their wives. Isaac was credited with five children in his household: 1 male between 10 and 16; 2 males under 10 years; and 2 females also under 10 years.
There is a record that on April 11, 1818, Isaac had received a grant from the state of Tennessee for a 10-acre tract of land in Humphreys County. (See "General Grants #11418, Book T, p.834.) On January 9, 1822, Isaac sold these 10 acres for $60 to Thomas Epperson; both men were Identified in the deed (Book C, p.317) as of Humphreys County. The tract was described as " on Hurricane Creek of Duck River" and adjoining land owned by James Mercer. The witnesses were Benjamin Noland and Henry Epperson. Then, on June 29, 1822, Isaac sold to WIlliam Lain, also living in Humphreys County, a tract of 100 acres also located on the east side of Hurricane Creek. (Humphreys County Deed Book C, p.177.) We have not found a record of Isaac Sparks acquiring this tract. There were four men who witnessed this deed: James Teas, John Lain, Rheuben S. Harman, and Thomas Epperson. There can be little doubt that Isaac Sparks's reason for selling his land in Humphreys County was his intention to move west to the newly created Carroll County, Tennessee, formerly part of the state's "Western District." (Benton County, cut off from Humphreys County in 1835, now lies between Humphreys and Carroll Counties.)
When the 1830 census was taken in Carroll County, Isaac's brothers Bailey and Hardy, were also shown heading households there, as was their nephew, also named Isaac Sparks, a son of their much older brother, Nathan Sparks (born 1775). Nathan Sparks was then living in Wilson County, Tennessee. On the 1830 census, as in most other documents of the period when the "uncle Isaac" and the "nephew Isaac" were both living in Carroll County, they were distinguished from each other, when named in the same document, by being called "Isaac Sparks, Sr." and "Isaac Sparks, Jr. " While this usage of senior and junior for other than father and son of the same name can be confusing to the family historian, it was not unusual in the 19th century simply to use the terms to distinguish between an older and a younger person with the same name, regardless of the relationship, if any.
In this sketch of Isaac Sparks, born in 1780, we will continue to refer to him simply as Isaac, while his nephew will be called Isaac, Jr. As was noted in the sketch of Isaac, Jr. in the Quarterly of Dec, 1995, pp.4542-54, he became a prominent dealer in land, resulting in many deeds Involving him being recorded in Carroll County, Tennessee. In these deeds, "Jr." was rarely added to his name unless his uncle was also mentioned. The result is that one has considerable difficulty identifying the relatively few deeds that pertain to the elder Isaac, unless he was called "Sr." We do know, however, that Isaac (the elder) owned and lived on land located on Gwens Creek in Carroll County, and that it bordered Marlsboro Road.
by 1830, Isaac and Wilmoth had nine living children who were enumerated in their household by the census taker, 5 sons and 4 daughters. After the 1830 census was taken, two more daughters were added to their family.
From the enumeration of Isaac's household when the 1840 census was taken, we learn that only their eldest son, 220.127.116.11.2.11.1 William N. Sparks, had left home by then.
In her 1899 letter, noted earlier in this article, Bettie Smith, daughter of Nathan Sparks, recalled that her grand-uncle, "old Matthew Sparks," lived with his brother, Isaac, when she was a child. This was Matthew Sparks, Jr. (1759-1841), who appears to have been living with Isaac and Wilmoth as early as 1832, the year in which he applied for his Revolutionary War pension. A Carroll County Court record dated September 14, 1832, reads:This day came Matthew Sparks Into open court and filed his declaration proofs, &c. in order to get a pension as a Revolutionary Soldier according to Acts of Congress and was qualified to same accordingly.
As part of the 1840 general population census, a record was made of Revolutionary War pensioners and where they were living. Matthew Sparks was listed as 79 years old and a member of the household of Isaac Sparks in Carroll County. The 1840 census was also designed to tabulate the occupations of males in each household who were 16 and over. The census taker who visited Isaac's household noted that there were four members "engaged in Agriculture. " These four were probably Isaac, himself, and his sons named 18.104.22.168.2.11.2 J. H. Sparks, 22.214.171.124.2.11.3 Bailey N. Sparks, and 126.96.36.199.2.11.6 Jesse P. Sparks.
In 1849, Isaac Sparks obtained from the state of Tennessee a grant of 212 1/2 acres of land in Carroll County (Entry No. 240). We do not have a copy of this grant, but when the son named Jesse P. Sparks sold his share of it, an undivided 8th part, following his father's death, it was noted in the deed that it adjoined a tract of land that had been granted to James Dinwiddie. (Carroll County Deed Book P, pp.539-40.)
It was on the 1850 census of the United States that, for the first time, the name, age, and place of birth, were included for all members of every household, along with the value of any land that they owned, and the occupation of males who were 16 and over. Isaac was shown as 67 years old (he was actually 71), a native of North Carolina, and a farmer with real estate valued at $1,000. The census taker, a man named C. C. Hurt, recorded Wilmoth's age as 36, and a native of Tennessee. Wilmoth was actually 60 years old in 1850; if Mr. Hurt was guessing at ages in 1850, we must assume that Wilmoth had retained her youthful appearance after bearing eleven children. Seven of Isaac and Wilmoth's children were still at home in 1850, including their widowed daughter, 188.8.131.52.2.11.x Sarah (Sparks) Tyson, age 28, with her 4-year-old son, Isaac S. Tyson. Their other six children at home were:
184.108.40.206.2.11.3 Bailey N. Sparks, 33 (he also owned land valued at $60);
220.127.116.11.2.11.6 Jesse P. Sparks, 27;
18.104.22.168.2.11.7 Ann J. Sparks, 24;
22.214.171.124.2.11.9 Isaac H. Sparks, 21;
126.96.36.199.2.11.10 Wilmoth Sparks, 19; and
188.8.131.52.2.11.11 Mahala T. Sparks, 15. The three sons were all shown as "Farming."
The 1860 census included a bit more information regarding families than did that of 1850, including the name of their post office and the value of personal estate as well as real estate. The post office for Isaac Sparks's family was shown as Macedonia, with his real estate now worth $3,000, and his personal estate, $2500. (In a gazetteer published in 1850, Macedonia was described as a "post village, 108 miles west of Nashville, and 793 miles from Washington, D.C.") Two sons of Isaac and Wilmoth were still living at home in 1860, Bailey N., 45, and Jesse H., 33, as were Ann, 35, and Sarah Tyson, 37, who was called "in dwelling" by the census taker, with her son, Isaac Tyson, now 12 years old.
It is from the deed dated July 31, 1867, by which Isaac and Wilmoth's son, Jesse P. Sparks, sold to J. L. Seawright, his share of his father's land, that we know that Isaac had died prior to this date. When the 1870 census was taken, Wilmoth Sparks, Isaac's widow, was living with her unmarried son, Jesse P. Sparks, age 45. Wilmoth's age in 1870 was given as 70 although she was more nearly 80; she was shown as Keeping House.
Isaac Sparks did not leave a will, and no administrator of his estate was appointed by the Carroll County Court until the July 1871 Court term, perhaps because his widow did not request a settlement. When an administrator was finally appointed, it was Isaac Sparks, Jr., Isaac's nephew, who agreed to serve. Unfortunately, no other document pertaining to the estate has been preserved, according to a search by the Carroll County Court clerk a number of years ago.
We have not discovered the date that Wilmoth (Noland) Sparks died, although there is a document preserved by the Court that her estate's administrator, Moses T. Sparks, a son of Isaac Sparks, Jr., submitted a final settlement on November 21, 1881. Among his expenditures, Moses Sparks noted the expenditure of $13.00 for her coffin, paid to G. W. Rogers. Another item was $4.50 paid to "Gilbert &. Stofle, Burial Bill." The "amount In administrator's hands [on] November 21, 1881, was $246.39," in personal estate for division among Wilmoth's heirs.
The eleven children of Isaac and Wilmoth (Noland) Sparks were the following:184.108.40.206.2.11.1 William N. Sparks son of Isaac and Wilmoth (Noland) Sparks, was born in Tennessee ca. 1807. He appears to have left his parents' home in Carroll County, Tennessee, as a young man. He was married in the early 1830's to a woman named Lucy MNU, who, according to the 1850 census, had been born in South Carolina ca. 1816. The first two children were born in Mississippi, according to the 1850 census of Galveston County, Texas, while the other three shown on this census were born in Texas. William N. Sparks's occupation was given as Sheriff in 1850. (See the information pertaining to his brother, Isaac H. Sparks, below, that William N. Sparks held this post as early as 1849, and that he lived with his family in the city of Galveston.) We have found him on no census after 1850, nor in any other record. His and Lucy's children given on the 1850 census were:220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Arabella Sparks, born ca. 1835 in Mississippi.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Sarah Sparks, born ca. 1837 in Mississippi.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Mary Ann Sparks, born ca. 1839 in Texas.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 William w. Sparks, born ca. 1841 in Texas.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 John Sparks, born ca. 1843 in Texas.188.8.131.52.2.11.2 J. H. Sparks, son of Isaac and Wilmoth (Noland) Sparks, according to the late Paul E. Sparks, was their second son, born January 1, 1815, and died on October 7, 1841. Paul and the present writer worked together on material included in the Quarterly until Paul's death in 1999, and it was Paul who recorded the above birth and death dates for J. H. Sparks a number of years ago. While I have Paul's files, I have not found among them his source for these dates. Because of Paul's careful research, I am sure that they are correct, however.
184.108.40.206.2.11.3 Bailey N. Sparks, son of Isaac and Wilmoth (Noland) Sparks, was born ca. 1817. He was still living with his parents in Carroll County, Tennessee, when both the 1850 and the 1860 censuses were taken. He appears never to have married. At some point, Bailey acquired 87 acres of land. Like the approximate date (1867) of his father's death, so, also, our knowledge of the approxim ate date of Bailey' 5 death (also 1867) is found in a deed dated July 31, 1867. by this deed, Bailey's brother, Jesse P. Sparks, sold his own share of inheritance (one-eighth part) not only of Isaac Sparks's land, but also of the 87 acres "owned by Bailey N. Sparks at his death." Since Bailey N. Sparks had not married and had no direct heirs at his death, sometime prior to July 1867, his estate was inherited by his eight living siblings. In the Carroll County deed of July 31, 1867, Jesse P. Sparks sold to J. L. Seawright his anticipated inheritance, an undivided eighth part of these two tracts of land.220.127.116.11.2.11.4 Frances ["Fannie"] Sparks, daughter of Isaac and Wilmoth (Noland) Sparks, was born March 3, 1819. She married Thomas Knox Tyson and died on May 11, 1880. Thomas Knox Tyson had been born on November 30, 1815, and died on December 4, 1879. These dates are from the tombstones of this couple in Pebble Grove Cemetery located a few miles east of Maysfield in Milam County, Texas. We do not know when this couple moved to Texas from Tennessee, nor have we learned anything about their children.
18.104.22.168.2.11.5 Sarah ["Sally"] Sparks, daughter of Isaac and Wilmoth (Noland) Sparks, was born ca. 1821. She was married on January 8, 1845, according to a Carroll County, Tennessee, marriage record, to Samuel Tyson. They moved to Henry County, Tennessee, where Samuel died on September 17, 1846. As noted earlier, Sally and her son, Isaac S. Tyson, doubtless named for Sarah's father, were living with her parents when both the 1850 and 1860 censuses were taken. Isaac S. Tyson was apparently born on October 26, 1845; he died on July 16, 1822.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Jesse P. Sparks, son of Isaac and Wilmoth (Noland) Sparks, was born ca. 1823. It appears from census records that he did not marry and that he lived in his parents' household so long as his father was living. Like his brother, Bailey, he doubtless assisted his father on the farm. As noted earlier, following his father's death, Jesse sold to a neighbor, J. L. Seawright, his one-eighth. share of the 212 1/2 acres of land in Carroll County that his father had obtained as a grant from the state of Tennessee in 1849. In this deed that Jesse signed on July 31, 1867, as "J. P. Sparks," he also sold to Seawright his 8th share of the land that his brother, Bailey N. Sparks, had owned prior to his death. We have no record pertaining to Jesse P. Sparks after 1870 when he was shown on the census of that year as living with his mother. She was described as "Keeping House," he as a farmer. Jesse did not appear on the 1880 census of Carroll County, nor do we have any further record of him.188.8.131.52.2.11.7 Ann J. Sparks, daughter of Isaac and Wilmoth (Noland) Sparks, was born in Carroll County, Tennessee, ca. 1824/5. She was shown on the 1850 and 1860 censuses of Carroll County as living in her parents' household; age 24 in 1850 and 35 in 1860. Her name has not been found on either the 1870 or 1880 censuses of Carroll County, nor do we have any record of her being married.184.108.40.206.2.11.8 Martha Sparks, daughter of Isaac and Wilmoth (Noland) Sparks, was born in Carroll County, Tennessee, on April 8, 1826; she was married, also, in Carroll County on December 19, 1846, to John Ewing Tyson, who had been born on March 14, 1825. They moved to Texas in 1853, settling in Milam County, where she died on January 25, 1891; he died there on March 3, 1880. Their graves are in the Little River Cemetery about three miles west of Maysfield, in Milam County. This writer corresponded briefly with a granddaughter of John Ewing and Martha (Sparks) Tyson many years ago. Following is a portion of a letter that Zula Freeman wrote on January 9, 1956. In this she referred to "Clarksville" in Carroll County, Tennessee. We believe that she meant Clarksburg.My name before I was married was Zula Beatrice Tyson, born June 2, 1887; married to John Clarence Freeman on October 23, 1907. My father was William Winfield Scott Tyson, born April 21, 1850, in or near Clarksville [i.e. Clarksburg], Tenn. He was a son of John Ewing Tyson & Martha (Sparks) Tyson, who was born March 14, 1825, in Tenn. My great-grand father on the Tyson side was Uriah Tyson. I have the history of my Tyson ancestry traced and documented back to the Immigrant who settled in Virginia, then to North Carolina & Tennessee, & then toMaysfield, Milam Co., Texas. My grandchildren are the fifth generation of my family, both father's and mother's, to live in Maysfield. Also, all generations have been members of the Maysfield Methodist Church.My grandparents were married In Clarksville [sic], in 1848, and they came to Texas in 1853. My grandmother, Martha Sparks, was born in Clarksvile [sic], Tennessee, April 8, 1826, and died in Maysfield, Milam County, Texas, on January 25, 1891. She was the daughter of Isaac Sparks; he never came to Texas. His wife was Wilmoth Knowland [sic]. I have a sister named Ola Wilmoth; she is 78 years old [In 1956].My grandmother had two brothers and two sisters that I have record of being in Milam County, Texas, and a brother who lived in Galveston, named Isaac H. Sparks. He later lived at Hicks, across the river from us. I remember him very well. He was tall, slender & was stoop shouldered. I remember he wore a beard & had a low, husky voice, and one small foot. He always wore boots & one had a sole on it, built up so his leg wouldn't be shorter than the other. It seemed that a log fell on it when he was a boy. I remember his wife too, she was Nan Porter before her marriage. I knew all of their children. They were much older than I, but we visited there often when I was a child.
Virgil Sparks [son of Isaac H. Sparks] never married but lived with his parents at the old homestead until their deaths only a few years ago. My husband & he talked to each other at times, one on each side of the river, on their own farms. He grew very deaf before he died. He was more than 80 years old when he died.Also, my grandmother, Martha Sparks, had a sister named Mahala who married a Darlean Smith and lived in Maysfield, Milam Co., Texas.220.127.116.11.2.11.9 Isaac H. Sparks, son of Isaac and Wilmoth (Noland) Sparks, was born September 27, 1827. He married Nancy ["Nan"] Porter in 1860. While we do not know the date of his or his wife's death, we have more information about his life than of any other child of Isaac and Wilmoth Sparks because of a biographical sketch appearing in The Lone Star State. a book published in 1891/92, p.731. He was also mentioned and described by a grand-niece, Zula Tyson, in a letter included in the sketch devoted to his sister, Martha Sparks. The article follows :Isaac H. Sparks) a well-known citizen of Burleson county, Texas, is ranked with the early settlers of this State. He came to Texas in 1849, landing in Galveston, where he had a brother, William N. Sparks, who at that time was Sheriff of his county, and under him the subject of our sketch served as deputy for over a year. After that he rented land in Milam county and cultivated one crop. Next we find him at Fort Sullivan, where for ten years he was variously employed, his enterprise and energy at once shoving him to the front. He made money rapidly. For some time he worked at the cabinet making and carpenter trade, and for four years he served as Deputy Sheriff under Jefferson Rogers. Then he engaged in the grocery business, continuing the same until the opening of the late war. Coming to Burleson county about the time the war broke out, he was appointed by the County Commissioners to attend to the wants of soldiers' families, and was thus occupied up to 1863. Then he engaged in the army service, freighting cotton, and was making a trip at the time of the surrender, being then at San Antonio, and from there returning home. He had sold his store and property at the opening of the war, taking Confederate money in payment for the same, at one time having about $30,000 in such money; this, of course, was a total loss. About all he had left when the war closed was a few cattle and horses; no, not all, for he still retained his pluck and energy, and with this as capital he went to work to rebuild his wasted fortunes. Mr. Sparks has been a cripple ever since he was five years old, at that time having his right foot injured while playing teeter with another boy. His physical disability, however, has not prevented him from making a success in life.For four or five years Mr. Sparks bought and sold cattle and also tradedin land, buying and selling many tracts. About 1870 he finally settled down to farming and stock raising. Now he owns a large farm on the Brazos bottoms and has about 500 acres where he lives. His homestead joins the old town of Frameville, having selected this place for the purpose of having his family near good schools. He has 100 acres under cultivation. In 1892 he bought from his son, Dr. Sparks, the grocery store at Frameville, and has been running the business ever since for himself, having conducted it for his son some time previous to that date.Mr. Sparks was born in Carroll county, Tennessee, September 27, 1827. He was reared on a farm and his education has been that gained chiefly in the school of experience. Before he reached his majority he began doing for himself, first being employed by a slave trader and after ward by a dealer in horses and mules. This was before he came to Texas, as above stated. His parents were Isaac and Willie (Knowling) [i.e., Wilmoth Noland]. His father was born in the fort at Athens, Georgia. . . .Isaac Sparks [his father] was the eleventh born to his father's family. His death occurred at the old homestead in Tennessee. He was one of the first settlers of the neighborhood in which he lived and died.The subject of our sketch was married in 1860 to Miss Porter. Their children, five in number, are as follows: Beatrice, wife of Sidney Dunn, died in 1889; Jesse P., a practicing physician of Burleson county; and James V., Benjamin I., and Willie, at home.Mr. Sparks is an ardent Democrat and has always taken an active part in political matters, but has never sought official position. He has been Election Judge ever since the reconstruction. Fraternally, he is a Royal Arch Mason. Mrs. Sparks is a member of the Missionary Baptist Church.When the 1880 census was taken of Burleson County, Texas, the five children of Isaac H. and Nancy E. (Porter) Sparks were listed as follows, all born in Texas:18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Jesse P. Sparks, age 16.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Beatrice A. Sparks, age15
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 James V. [called Virgil] Sparks, age 14.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Benjamin l. Sparks, age 11.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Willie J. Sparks [female], age 184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Wilmoth P. Sparks, daughter of Isaac and Wilmoth (Noland) Sparks, was born ca. 1830. She was married in Carroll County, Tennessee, on August 18, 1858, to Ambrose B. Mitchell. They moved to Texas following their marriage. We have no further information about this couple.18.104.22.168.2.11.11 Mahala T. Sparks, daughter of Isaac and Wilmoth (Noland) Sparks, was born in Carroll County, Tennessee, ca. 1834. She married Darlean [or Darlen] M. Smith, who had been born on October 4, 1819. They moved to Texas after their marriage. Mahala died on October 3, 1872, in Milam County, Texas; her husband died there on October 12, 1879. The graves of both are in the Little River Cemetery located about three miles west of Maysfield, Milam County, Texas.
[Editor's Note: We are sure that there are descendants of Isaac and Wilmoth (Noland) Sparks, as there are, also, of Isaac's brother, Bailey Sparks, who have information about their families that would supplement that which we have presented here. We will welcome receiving such information. ]