April 7, 2018

Pages 3579-3580
Whole Number 149

THE EARLIEST ALABAMA CENSUS RECORD--1820



Alabama was admitted to the Union as the 22nd state in 1819. A census of the new state was taken in 1820. At that time, there were 22 counties. Unfortunately, the 1820 census for many of these counties has been lost, the exceptions being Baldwin, Conecuh, Dallas, Franklin, Limestone, St. Clair, and Shelby. Only in Shelby County have households been found that were headed by persons named Sparks. From the fact that Sparks households appeared in eleven Alabama counties when the 1830 census was taken, we imagine that a number were also included in the lost portion of the 1820 census.

A record of the Sparks households found on the 1830 census of Alabama was published in the Quarterly of March 1956, Whole No. 13, pp. 127-130. That for 1840 appeared in the Quarterly of December 1988, Whole No. 144, pp. 3329-3331. That for 1850, where all individuals were listed by name rather than merely being enumerated within households, was published in two issues of the Quarterly, that for December 1958, Whole No. 24, pp. 351-355, and for March 1959, Whole No. 25, pp. 375-79.

As noted above, among the surviving portions of the 1820 census of Alabama, two Sparks households were included in Shelby County, as follows:

Sparks, Jesse 1 male over 21
  4 males under 21
  1 female over 21
  2 females under 21
Sparks, Isaac E. 2 males over 21
  1 female under 21
  1 slave

The Jesse Sparks shown above was a son of Stephen Sparks and was born in Newberry County, South Carolina, ca. 1785. He moved to Shelby County, Alabama, sometime prior to 1820. (See the Quarterly of December 1989, Whole No. 148, pp. 3507-3511, for a biographical record of Jesse Sparks.)

The Isaac E. Sparks, also shown as heading a household in Shelby County in 1820, had been born ca. 1795 in Newberry County, South Carolina. He was also a son of Stephen Sparks who died there in 1816 without leaving a will. Among the "Equity Records" of the Newberry District in South Carolina, Box 1, pkg. 7 (as abstracted in the GEORGIA GENEALOGICAL MAGAZINE, Winter 1976, #59) on October 20, 1820, Isaac E. Sparks was appointed by his siblings to become administrator of their father's estate in order to dispose of some 527 acres of land that had been owned by Stephen Sparks. In this document, Isaac E. Sparks and his brothers, Jesse and Joseph K. Sparks, along with his sister, Elizabeth and her husband William Pool, were identified as living in Shelby County, Alabama. The other children of Stephen Sparks who were named in this document were Zachariah, Pheoby (who had married FNU Lewis), Sarah Ann, and Mary. It is probable that Isaac's brother, Joseph K. Sparks, who was born July 10, 1790, was the other male over 21 shown in the household headed by Isaac E. Sparks on this 1820 census.

For further information on this branch of the Sparks family, see the Quarterly of September 1961, Whole No. 35, pp. 575-76.

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