July 08, 2007

Pages 2223
Whole Number 111


Mrs. David E. Russell of La Porte, Indiana, has sent an item which she came across in an old newspaper, the La Porte, Indiana, Daily Herald published on Thursday, June 21, 1894. The editor of the paper had published a personal letter that had been written to Mrs. Julia E. Work by J. L. Cronise from Botetourt County, Virginia. Mrs. Work was apparently in charge of an orphans' home in La Porte where a little girl named FERBA SPARKS from Hancock County, Indiana, had been placed. Mrs. Work had apparently arranged in May 1894 for little Ferba Sparks, aged 7 years, of Hancock County, Indiana, to be transferred, along with two other orphans, to the home of J. I. Cronise in Botetourt County, Virginia. Our only knowledge of J. L. Cronise is that he was identified in the newspaper article as "superintendant of the Luthern Sunday School." The portion of the letter, dated June 1894, pertaining to Ferba Sparks reads as follows:

Mrs. Julia E. Work:
Dear Madam:
I will drop you a few lines today regarding our children with whom we are very much pleased. ... Ferba Sparks has been in perfect health since she came and is looking so well. She is a great deal of company and help to Mrs. Cronise, is of good disposition and obedient, and is very kind to Frankie. She is very fond of Sunday school and her teacher Miss Brewer is an organist and has charge of the infant class. Her class sings a hymn at the close of Sunday school each Sunday and Ferba is beginning to sing very nicely. ...
                                                                               Very respectfully
                                                                               J. L. Cronise

The girl referred to is Ferba Sparks, aged 7, Hancock County. Cronise is superintendant of the Lutheran Sunday School.

We can imagine that Ferba Sparks grew up in Virginia, married there, and had children still living who have no knowledge that their mother was originally from Hancock County, Indiana. If such children or grandchildren exist, we hope that this item comes to their attention.