Whole Number 95
by Paul E. Sparks
Households headed by persons named Sparks appearing on the 1790 census of Pennsylvania were given in the first issue of the Quarterly (March 1953, page 6). Of the 21 Pennsylvania counties existing in 1790, Sparks families were found in six: Allegheny, Bedford, Fayette, Philadelphia, Washington, and York. Ten years later, when the second Federal Census was taken in 1800, the number of Pennsylvania counties had increased to 25 and households headed by persons named Sparks were found in seven: Allegheny, Bedford, Fayette, Luzerne, Northumberland, Philadelphia, and Washington. These entries have been copied for us by Dr. Paul E. Sparks and appear on page 1854.
As was true in each of the Federal censuses from 1790 through 1840, only the name of the head of each household was recorded. The members of the household, including the head, were then enumerated by sex and age groups. In 1800, there were five age groupings for males and for females: Those under 10 years; those from 10 to 16; those from 16 to 26; those from 26 to 45; and those aged 45 years and older. The number of "other free persons" living in each household was also given (these were usually Blacks who had gained their freedom) and the number of slaves. There were no slaves in any Sparks household in Pennsylvania according to the 1800 census.
Ordinarily, the head of the household appears in the enumeration as the oldest male or female. One may assume, for example, that the Sarah Sparks given as head of a household in Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County, was the female enumerated as over 45. There are exceptions, however, when aged parents or others lived with a family. Because of extensive research that we have done on the Sparks family of Allegheny County, we know that Sarah Sparks was, indeed, the female in her household who was over 45 - - she was the widow of Richard Sparks (his second wife) who had moved to Pennsylvania from Middlesex County, New Jersey, prior to the American Revolution. The Benjamin Sparks listed on the same page of the 1800 census of Allegheny County was Sarah's step-son, and he was the male over 45 in his household.
In many instances, we can speculate regarding the relationship of the household members one to another on the basis of their ages. It must be kept in mind, however, that a household often included individuals other than father and/or mother with sons and daughters. Other family members, such as grandparents, children of relatives, apprentices, hired men and women, and roomers who were living in the household on the day that the census taker called were probably enumerated. In copying the Sparks entries from the 1800 census of Pennsylvania, Dr. Sparks has given in parentheses following each name the page number of the census on which this household appears. Since the census taker usually progressed from house to house, two families appearing on the same page can be assumed to have lived near each other.
|County and Township
Name of Head of Household
|Joseph Sparks, Sr.||(p.55)||0||0||0||0||1|||||||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|City of Philadelphia||||||
|New Market Ward||||||