March 25, 2020

Pages 2172-2173
Whole Number 108


Mrs. John M. Holt (7331 Island Circle, Boulder, Colo. 80301) is seeking information regarding the parentage and ancestry of her grandmother, MARY JANE SPARKS, who was born September 7? 1869? a few miles south of Bedford, Taylor County, Iowa, which is very near the Missouri line. She was married on July 23? 1887 3 to FRANK STEEL, a native of England, and they were the parents of eleven children. Mary Jane died on January 20, 1942, in New Market, Iowa, although she spent much of her life in Kansas.

It is known that Mary Jane Sparks was the youngest child of WILLIAM and SARAH SPARKS, but nothing is known about either of her parents. According to an obituary appearing in an Iowa newspaper, Mary Jane was born (1869) while her parents were in the process of moving from Des Moines, Iowa, to a farm near Fort Scott, Kansas. At an earlier date the family appears to have lived in Illinois.

According to family tradition, Mary Jane's mother (Sarah) died two months after Mary Jane's birth somewhere in Northern Missouri. The father and children continued on their journey to Kansas where the father (William Sparks) died before Mary Jane reached the age of two years. She was taken care of by her brothers and sisters until she was old enough to work.

When the 1880 census was taken, Mary Jane was listed (age 11) as living in Bourbon County, Kansas, with her brother, James Sparks. When the 1900 census was taken, Mary Jane, with her husband and five children, were still living in Bourbon County, Kansas, in Marmaton Township.

From census records, it appears that William and Sarah Sparks, parents of Mary Jane, had been born in Kentucky, ca. 1825-30; where in Kentucky is not known. Their oldest son, James Sparks, appears to have been born in Kentucky ca. 1851? although one census record gives his birth place as Illinois. Following is a list of the children of WILLIAM and SARAH SPARKS based largely upon census records and family traditions:

1. James Sparks, born ca. 1851, probably in Kentucky (possibly in Illinois). He married Ellen Jane -----, born ca. 1851 in Indiana. They are known to have had a son named Charles Sparks, born in May 188l, and a daughter named Celia Sparks born in March 1883. Both were born in Kansas ; the family was living in Bourbon County, Marmaton Township, Kansas, in 1900. James Sparks is believed to have gone eventually to Denver, Colo.

2. Robert Sparks, born ca. 1853 ? probably in Kentucky. In 1880 his wife's name was given on the Bourbon County, Kansas, census as Maggy. He is believed to have gone eventually to Denver, Colo.

3. Elizabeth ["Lizzie"] Sparks. She married FNU Bustern and lived in Dallas, Texas, and had three children, but their names are not known.

4. Eliza ["Lyzzy"] Sparks, born August 1858. She married James Lee (born ca. 1847 in Illinois). They were living in Bourbon County, Kansas, when the 1900 census was taken and their children were listed as Charles Lee, born March 1880; Lucy Lee, born May 1878; and Grace Lee, born April 1882.

5. Agnes ["Aggie"] Sparks, born ca. 1863 in Illinois. She was living with her brother, Robert Sparks, in Bourbon County, Kansas, when the 1880 census was taken. She married Lee Brown and had children named Clara, George, Fred, and Charlie. They lived in Redfield, Kansas.

6. Sarah ["Sary"] Sparks, born ca. 1865 in Iowa. She was living with her brother Robert Sparks, in Bourbon County, Kansas, when the 1880 census was taken.

7. Mary Jane Sparks, born September 5? 1869? in Iowa. She married Frank Steel, as noted earlier, and they were the parents of the following children: (l) Samuel Francis Steel, born July 12, 1888; (2) James Robert Steel, born February 6, 1890; (3) William Arthur Steel, born January 22, 1893; (4) Mary Rose Steel, born December 20, 1894; (5) Grace Underwood Steel, born December 9, 1896; (6) Norah Nourse Steel, born December 4, 1898; (7) Margaret Dyne Steel, born November 11, 1900; (8) Edward Fountain Steel, born December 2, 1901; (9) Henry Sparks Steel, born May 18, 1903; (10) Catherine Elizabeth ["Elsie"] Steel, born September 7, 1905; and (ll) Nellie May Steel, born September 4, 1909.

Page 2174


Blanche Templeton of R.R. 3, Knoxville, Iowa (50138) is seeking information on her ancestor, EUNICE SPARKS who, according to the 1850 census, "was born ca. 1796 in Kentucky. She married Thomas Dickey, born ca. 1787 in North Carolina. Thomas and Eunice (Sparks) Dickey were living in Scott County, Indiana, when the 1820 census was taken, at which time they appear to have had two sons and one daughter. by 1850 they were in Marion County, Iowa. They are known to have had a daughter named Eliza born February 4, 1816, in Scott County, Indiana, who married George W. Karr (or Carr) on December 12, 1834, in Bartholomew County, Indiana. She died on July 12., 1911, in Marion County, Iowa. Thomas and Eunice (Sparks) Dickey also had a son named John Dickey who married Eliza Karr (or Carr) .

Pages 2174-2175

Query ELIZABETH (Sparks) ROSS, 1772-1834

Mrs. George Hendrickson of 3300 Woodland, Ames, Iowa (50010) is seeking information on the parentage of her great-great-grandmother, Elizabeth Sparks, who was born on April 17, 1772. She married, ca. 1793, Jacob Ross who was born on April 17, 1772. Jacob Ross died in Peoria, Illinois, in 1839, while Elizabeth (Sparks) Ross died in 1834. Mrs. Hendrickson's grandmother, who was a daughter of James Sparks and Martha A. (Watson) Ross, once stated that Jacob and Elizabeth had lived near Woodbury in Gloucester County, New Jersey, but she believed that both families came there from Philadelphia. Mrs. Hendrickson's grandmother also believed that Elizabeth Sparks had a sister named Sarah Sparks who married FNU WELCH (or WELSH).

Jacob and Elizabeth (Sparks) Ross moved from New Jersey to Urbana, Champaign County, Ohio, with their family except for the eldest son, James Sparks Ross (born 179?) who remained in Philadelphia. At a subsequent date, the family moved from Ohio to Peoria, Illinois. This move must have taken place before 1836 because the third child of Jacob and Elizabeth (Sparks) Ross is said to have died in Peoria in 1836. Following is a list of the children of Jacob and Elizabeth (Sparks) Ross:

(1) Mary Ross, born May 2, 1794;
(2) James Sparks Ross, born April 7? 1796, died September 7? 1839, married Martha A. Watson;
(3) David Ross, born November 23, 1798, died 1836;
(4) George W. Ross, born February 7, 1801, died 1860, married Hannah MNU;
(5) Jacob Ross, born March 18, 1804, died in Kansas;
(6) Elizabeth Ross, born September 29, 1806, married FNU Boyd, Calhoun County, Iowa;
(7) John Ross, born March 13? 1809;
(8) Job Ross, born in 1811, died in 1851 at Astoria, Oregon; and
(9) Emeline Ross, born September 5, 1813, married (first) FNU McCumsey and married (second) FNU Brown, LaFayette, III.