April 18, 2018

Pages 2893
Whole Number 134

PERSONS NAMED SPARKS
APPEARING ON THE FEDERAL CENSUSES OF DELAWARE
in 1820, 1830, 1840, & 1850



Introduction

The first settlement within the boundaries of what would become in 1787 the state of Delaware was made by the Dutch in 1631, but within a matter of months, that settlement was completely destroyed by the Indians. There followed a contest between the Swedes and their Finnish allies against the Dutch for the possession of the area. In 1664, however, when the English Conquered New Netherland, Delaware also came under the rule of James, Duke of York and Albany, who would, at a later date, succeed Charles II as king of England. Although the Dutch regained control of the region in 1673, their renewed rule was brief-in 1674 the English again conquered the area, and their control continued until the American Revolution gave statehood to the former colonies. In fact, Delaware rightfully claims the distinction of having been the Union's first state-Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution of the United States on December 7, 1787.

During the 1680's, as English settlers followed William Penn into Pennsylvania, a fair number "spilled over" into what was generally called "The Three Lower Counties." These three counties, later named New Castle, Kent, and Sussex, comprise the entire state of Delaware today. While "The Three Lower Counties" gradually separated themselves from full rule by Pennsylvania, establishing their own Legislature in 1704 and an Executive Council in 1710, "they continued to share with Pennsylvania the Proprietary family of Penn and the lieutenant governor until the Revolution." (Quoted from page 265 of Milton Rubincam's chapter on Delaware in Vol. I of Genealogical Research: Methods and Sources [rev. ed.] published by The American Society of Genealogists in Washington, D.C., in 1980.)

With the passing of the years, an unusually large portion of the settlers in Delaware were Scotch-Irish, particularly was this true in New Castle County.

The earliest record that we have found of a Sparks in the region that became the state of Delaware is in a New Castle County tax record for the "south side of Apoquenimy" dated 1684/85. This indicates that a person named Sparks was taxed there 4 shillings & 6 pence for 400 acres of land. No forename is given for this Sparks, nor is he shown as a "tithable" on the tax list, so we must assume that he was an absentee land owner. On March 31, 1696, William and Margaret Sparks, with John and Elizabeth Bisk, sold to Benjamin Swett half of a lot located "in the front Street." (See page 219 of Records of the Court of New Castle, published in 1935.)

While Delaware was closely associated with Pennsylvania during the Colonial Period of American history, it adjoined primarily the colony of Maryland (no fewer than seven Maryland counties: Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne's, Caroline, Dorchester, Wicomico, and Worcester border Delaware's three counties.) We can assume that some of the many branches of the Sparks family in eastern Maryland must have "spilled over" into Delaware. For example, a Kent County, Delaware, court record dated August August 16, 1705, refers to a petition of John and Cornelia Sparks--from other research, we know that John and

Cornelia Sparks were residents of Queen Anne's County, Maryland. In this court case, it was noted that Cornelia Sparks, wife of John, had been named administratrix of the estate of Caleb Curtis of Kent County, Delaware. The Court authorized Cornelia and John (in those days, a married woman could not act alone in a court case) to sell land owned by Curtis in order to pay his debts and to help maintain "two small children of the Sd. Deceased." It seems that John and Cornelia Sparks must actually have been living in Kent County, Delaware, because John Sparks served on a jury there (in Kent County) on December 15, 1705. (See the December 1974 Quarterly, Whole No. 88, p.1699.)

A. Calendar of Kent County, Delaware Probate Records 1680-1800, shows (p.227) that Jane Nicholas, widow of Samuel Nicholas, whose will was written on April 8, 1767, subsequently married Ebenezer Clampit and still later Benjamin Sparks. It was doubtless this same Benjamin Sparks who witnessed the will of James White in Kent County, Delaware, on August 26, 1784. (See page 361 of the Calendar cited above.)

Charles Wiggins of Kent County, Delaware, in his will dated October 9, 1797, named as one of his heirs Deborah Sparks, wife of Lambert Sparks. This was probably the "Lambirt Sparks" who was a member of the 8th Company, 3rd Regiment, of the New Castle Brigade in 1797.

The 1790 census for Delaware (the first U.S. census that was taken) has been lost, but that for 1800 survives . (See the Quarterly of September 1972, Whole No. 79, page 1514, for a record of the Sparkses listed in 1800.) There were six persons named Sparks who were identified as heads of households in 1800. A "Widow Sparks" aged between 16 and 26, with a female child under 10 years, was listed as living in the city of Wilmington in New Castle County. Also in Wilmington there was a free black woman named Susan Sparks in whose household there were three other free blacks (sex and age categories not given). We can speculate that Susan Sparks may have been a freed slave once owned by a white family named Sparks . Also living in New Castle County in 1800, in Appoquinimink Hundred, was a head of household named Elama Sparks. This household consisted of a male and a female, both between 26 and 45, with 3 male children, one between 10 and 16 and two under 10 years of age.

In the Duck Creek Hundred in Kent County in 1800, there was a household headed by Stephen Sparks, aged between 16 and 26; with him was a female, probably his wife, in the same age category. There were no children in his household. In nearby Little Creek Hundred in Kent County, another Stephen Sparks was listed in 1800, also aged between 16 and 26. With him was a female aged 26 to 45 as well as a female child under 5 years of age. Also living in Little Creek Hundred was a free black man whose named was written as "Ste phen Sparks man, Negro." This name may have been intended as "Sparksman," or, perhaps, it may have been the census taker's intent to indicate that he was a black employee of Stephen Sparks, or his former slave. In any case, there was a total of five free black persons in this household.

On March 5, 1805, in Kent County, the Court named a Stephen Sparks to be the administrator of the estate of "Margaret Sparks, late Holliday." (See Kent County Register of Wills, Vol. 0, p. 110.)

A search of the 1810 census of Delaware failed to reveal a single person named Sparks. A listing of those appearing in 1820, 1830, 1840, and 1850 follows. See the Quarterly of March 1986, Whole No. 133, pp. 2830-31 for an explanation of census records and their use in genealogical research.

SPARKS HOUSEHOLDS LISTED ON THE 1820 CENSUS OF DELAWARE

County Location Head of Household Ages          
Males     10 10
to
16
16
to
18
16
to
26
26
to
45
45
&
up
New Castle CountyChristiana One Hundred George Sparks (p.114)* 3       1  
  New Castle One HundredLeonard Sparks (p.144)*         1  
Females                
New Castle County Christiana One Hundred George Sparks (p.114)* 1       1  
  New Castle One HundredLeonard Sparks (p.144)*         1  

SPARKS HOUSEHOLDS LISTED ON THE 1830 CENSUS OF DELAWARE

County Location Head of Household Ages                      
Males     <
5
5
to
10
10
to
15
15
to
20
20
to
30
30
to
40
40
to
50
50
to
60
60
to
70
80
to
90
90
to
100
100
etc
New Castle County City of Wilmington George Sparks (p.173)   1 2     1            
    Aaron Sparks (p.174) 1   1   1              
    James A. Sparks (p.178)   1   1   1   1        
Females                            
New Castle County City of Wilmington George Sparks (p.173) 1 1   1     1          
    ---Aaron Sparks (p.174) 1   1   1              
    James A. Sparks (p.178)         2              

*Note: On the 1820 census of Christiana One Hundred in New Castle County, George Sparks was shown as owning 2 slaves, while Leonard Sparks of New Castle One Hundred in the same county was shown as owning one slave.

SPARKS HOUSEHOLDS LISTED ON THE 1840 CENSUS OF DELAWARE

Note: Living in the household of Samuel C. Sparks in Kent County was one free colored male, no age category given.

PERSONS NAMED SPARKS LISTED ON THE 1850 CENSUS OF DELAWARE

County Location Head of Household Ages                      
Males     <
5
5
to
10
10
to
15
15
to
20
20
to
30
30
to
40
40
to
50
50
to
60
60
to
70
80
to
90
90
to
100
100
etc
Kent County Duck Creek Hundred Samuel C. Sparks (p.53 1       1              
  Town of Smyrna James M. Sparks 1 -     1              
New Castle County City of Wilmington Jesse Sparks (p. 156)         2   1          
    George Sparks (p.158)         1     1        
    Joseph Sparks (p.160)         1              
    George W. Sparks (p.167)         1              
Females                            
Kent County Duck Creek Hundred Samuel C. Sparks (p.53) 1       1              
  Town of Smyrna James M. Sparks 1       1              
New Castle County City of Wilmington Jesse Sparks (p. 156)   1   1     1          
    George Sparks (p.158)     1 1 1     1        
    Joseph Sparks (p.160)       1                
    George W. Sparks(p.167)         1 1            

(Editor's Note: The 1850 census is, as most of our readers know, a key census for genealogical research because, for the first time, a federal census listed every individual (except slaves) by name, along with an indication of that individual's sex, age, race, and place of birth. For the head of the household, and usually for males who were self-supporting, the occupation was also given. The value of real estate owned by an individual was also given. Unfortunately, no provision was made in the 1850 census for indicating the relationship of persons living in a household. The census-taker was instructed to number consecutively each house as well as each separate family living in that house, although these instructions were not always carried out. These numbers are transcribed since they provide a clue as to how close two families may have lived near each other.]


Kent County, Delaware - 1850 Census
Duck Creek Hundred.
Page 13 Census taken July 24, 1850
179-179 Sparks, Merritt 32 (M) (W) Maryland Tinner
  " Ann 29 (F) (W) Delaware  
  " William S. 7 (M) (W) "  
  Casles, Mary F. 17 (F) (W) Maryland  
  Bryant, John 14 (M) (W) New York  
Dover Hundred.
Page 183. Census taken October 10, 1850.
460-460 Sparks, Solomon 28 (M) (W) Maryland Shoemaker
  " Jane 21 (F) (W) Delaware  
  " Georgianna 2 (M) (W) "  
Murder-Kill Hundred.
Page 231. Census taken August 15, 1850.
179-179 Hargardine, Henry 33 (M) (W) Delaware Farmer
  " Ruthana 26 (F) (W) "  
  " Robert 6 (M) (W) "  
  " Mary 4 (F) (W) "  
  " William 14 (M) (W) "  
  Sparks, Joseph 17 (M) (W) "  
  Pritchel, Silas 10 (M) (W) "  
Page 232. Census taken August 16, 1850.
463-463 Sparks, Bennett 44 (M) (W) Maryland Shoemaker
  " Sarah 49 (F) (W) Delaware  
  " Isaac 9 (M) (W) "  
  " Alexander 7 (M) (W) "  
  Jenkins, Andrew 4 (M) (W) "  
New Castle County, Delaware - 1850 Census
Christian Hundred.
Page 248. Census taken September 4, 1850.
485-485 Sparks, Laura D. 30 (M) (W) Maryland Laborer
  " Christiana 37 (F) (W) Delaware  
  " Julia E. 1 (F) (W) "  
Town of Wilmington.
Page 28. Census taken July 18, 1850.
-------------- Sparks, George 37 (M) (W) Maryland --------------
  " Harriet 37 (F) (W) Maryland  
  Hageny, Margaret 25 (F) (W) Ireland  
Page 36.Census taken July 19, 1850.
436-436 Alexander, Charles 24 (M) (W) Pennsylvania Laborer
  " Mary 28 (F) (W) Delaware  
  " Edward 3 (M) (W) "  
  Sparks, George 25 (M) (W) Jersey Married within year
  " Sarah 19 (F) (W) Washington, D.C. Married within year
  Farnesbury, Mary 20 (F) (W) Jersey  
  Dempsey, Elizabeth 17 (F) (W) "  
Page 78. Census taken August 19, 1850.
1187-1187 Sparks, Rebecca 35 (F) (W) Jersey -----
  " Alfred 1 (M) (W) Delaware  
  " Mary 6/12 (F) (W) " Carter
  Boulden, James 30 (M) (W) "  
  " Mary 7 (F) (W) "  
  " Sarah E. 4 (F) (W) "  
Page 88. Census taken August 16, 1850.
1321-1321 Robinson, Job 32 (M) (W) Delaware Tobacconist
  " Sarah A. 28 (F) (W) "  
  " Mary R. 10 (F) (W) "  
  " Emma E. 8 (F) (W) "  
  " Jane 6 (F) (W) "  
  " Julia 4 (F) (W) "  
  " Catherine 2 (F) (W) "  
  " William E. 10/12 (M) (F) "  
  Sparks, Josiah 52 (M) (W) Jersey Constable ----- $1200
  " Mary J. 18 (F) (W) Pennsylvania  
  Gibson, Elizabeth 16 (F) (W) Delaware  
Page 95. Census taken August 12,1850
1438-1438 Sparks, Dado 34 (M) (W) Delaware Engineer -----$600
  " Rebecca 28 (F) (W) "  
  " John L. 9 (M) (W) "  
  " Mary 1 (F) (W) "  
  Hays, Matilda 18 (F) (W) "  
Page 97.Census taken August 12, 1850.
1468-1468 Waples, Mira 40 (F) (W) Delaware  
  " William 19 (M) (W) " Laborer
  " Wolsey W. 13 (M) (W) "  
  Peterson, Betsey 57 (F) (W) "  
  " John 17 (M) (W) "  
  " James 21 (M) (W) " Sailor
  Sparks, Rebecca 27 (F) (W) "  
Page 110.Census taken August 28, 1850.
1659-1659 Sparks, George 64 (M) (W) Delaware Carter
  " Mary 30 (F) (W) " Laborer
  Johnson, Robert 30 (M) (W) New York Carpenter
  " Susan 25 (F) (W) Delaware  
Page 110.Census taken August 28, 1850.
1651-1651 Sparks, George 30 (M) (W) Delaware Tinner
  " Eliza 28 (F) (W) Maryland  
  " Julia E. 6 (F) (W) Delaware  
  " Mary A. 3 (F) (W) "  
  " Susan 10/12 (F) (W) "  
Page 144.Census taken September 6, 1850.
2170-2170 Sparks, John 37 (M) (W) Delaware Merchant ----- $5000
  " Hannah 27 (F) (W) Pennsylvania  
  " Caroline 8 (F) (W) Delaware  
  " John 5 (M) (W) "  
  " Kate 9/12 (F) (W) "  
  Lawrence, Ellen 21 (F) (W) Pennsylvania  
  Lee, Jane 18 (F) (W) "  
  Stanton, Kitty 32 (F) (W) Delaware  
  Black, Matilda 19 (F) (W) "  
St. George Hundred.
Page 199. Census taken July 27, 1850.
199-199 Sparks, William 24 (M) (W) Maryland  
  " Margaret L. 55 (F) (W) "  
  Johnson, Samuel L. 21 (M) (W) "  

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