October 20, 2020

Pages 5773
Whole Number 200


A print of the photograph appearing of the cover of the present issue of the Quarterly was sent to us by Robert Walker Sparks, IV (born 1920) of Richmond, Virginia. A biographical sketch of Mr. Sparks appeared in the Quarterly of September 1995, Whole No.171, pp. 4525-28. The young man standing between two of his sisters in this cover photograph was Robert Walker Sparks, II (1840-1909), father of Robert, III.

We do not have a date for this photo, but we can guess, from the ages of the subjects, that it was probably taken in the 1890's.

by his wife, Nannie (Harrison) Sparks, Robert Walker Sparks, II, was the father of eight children. They were:

1. George Harrison Sparks, born November 11, 1869.
2. Fanny W. Sparks, born November 17, 1871.
3. Mary Somerville Sparks, born October 24, 1874.
4. Robert Walker Sparks, III, March 23, 1877.
5. Thomas N. Sparks, born March 6, 1881.
6. Sally B. Sparks, born February 5, 1884.
7. Charles Frederick Sparks born July 1, 1887.
8. Nannie H. Sparks, born August 5, 1889.

The two youngest sons of Robert and Nannie Sparks are not in the photograph. We have no knowledge of Thomas N. Sparks other than his date of birth, 1881. Charles Frederick Sparks, born in 1887, died on October 21, 1909. His gravestone is on the same lot in the cemetery in Orange, Orange County, Virginia, as that of his parents.

The eldest son, George Harrison Sparks, is shown in the photograph, sitting on the viewer's right. He became a prominent physician in Orange County, Virginia, and a biographical sketch, with a review of his Sparks ancestry, appeared in the QUARTERL Y of March 2002, Whole No.197, pp. 5637-42. Dr. Sparks married Daisy L. Hoffman in 1905.

The third son, Robert Walker Sparks, III, as noted above, the father of Robert Walker Sparks, IV, was the young man in this photo standing between two of his sisters.

Fanny W. Sparks, the eldest daughter, born in 1871, is believed to have been the one sitting on the viewer's left. The second daughter, Mary Somerville Sparks, born in 1874, is believed to have been standing, on the viewer's left, in the photo. She had apparently been married to FNU Hendrick because, carved on her tombstone in the Orange, Virginia, cemetery, is the following inscription :

Mary Sparks I Hendrick I October 24, 1874 I July 7, 1910

Blessed are the I pure in Heart I In loving memory of I Mary Somerville Sparks Hendrick Founder of Kappa Delta Sorority

The third daughter, Sally B. Sparks, born in 1884, is believed to have been standing on the viewer's right, behind Dr. George Harrison Sparks. As noted, the fourth daughter, Sally B. Sparks, was seated beside Dr. Sparks.