April 7, 2018

Pages 2848
Whole Number 133


In the Quarterly of September 1961, Whole No. 35, we published an article entitled "Zachariah Sparks (died ca. 1781) of South Carolina" in which we noted that Zachariah's son, William Sparks, who was born August 16, 1772, married Mary Palmer (born July 6, 1779, died July 6, 1848), daughter of the Rev. Joshua Palmer. We noted (page 576) that Joshua Palmer "was a prominent minister of the Baptist Church" and that Hiram Sparks, a grandson, had stated that Joshua Palmer "was a native of England and that he served on an English ship at sea for three years and then came to America as a young man." We concluded, however, that Hiram Sparks must have been mistaken regarding Joshua's origin and quoted from what we thought was Joshua's application for a Revolutionary War pension in which his place of birth was given as Amelia County, Virginia. We now fear that we confused two quite different men, both named Joshua Palmer. We were not the first to be confused, however, because a descendant of William and Mary (Palmer) Sparks was granted membership in the D. A. R. on the basis of being descended from the Joshua Palmer who served in the Revolution. It was this latter Joshua Palmer, who died of cancer in Union District, South Carolina, in 1835 (his will was dated May l, 1835, and was probated on December 23, 1835) who served in the Revolution. In his will, this other Joshua Palmer named his children as William Palmer, Vardy Palmer, Martha Cudd, Purr Palmer, Lutetia McDaniel, Richard Palmer, Thomas Palmer, Ann Davis, Joshua Palmer [Jr. ], and Vardy Palmer. He named his wife as Rhoda to whom he left a slave named Milly to be sold at Rhoda's death. He also named a grandson in his will, named Robert Smith. He did not mention a daughter named Mary. This is one of several reasons we have now come to the conclusion that there were two entirely different Joshua Palmers. While the one who died in 1835 had obviously remained in South Carolina, the other, the Rev. Joshua Palmer whose daughter Mary married William Sparks, had moved to Indiana in 1808. We now believe that he spent the remainder of his life in Indiana and doubtless died there, date not known.

A person who is doing serious research on the Rev. Joshua Palmer, father of Mary who married William Sparks, is Donna Meszaros, 2123 N. Madelyn Ave., Tucson, AZ (85712). She welcomes correspondence with others interested in the Rev. Joshua Palmer.

Page 2851


Mrs. Kathleen Pebley Winn needs help with her branch of the SPARKS family. Her earliest known SPARKS ancestor was John Corwin Sparks, born ca. 1828 in Ireland, who married Elizabeth Tremaine, ca. 1848. She was born ca. 1832 in England. When the 1850 census was taken of Monroe County, New York, they had a son, John C. Sparks, Jr., born in January 1850. Also living in the household was a female, Martha Sparks, aged 70, born in Ireland, who may have been the mother of John C.

John Corwin Sparks was a painter, and he was listed in the 1868-69 directory of Onondaga County, New York. A few years later, he moved to Saline County, Kansas, where he settled at Brookville. In a History of Brookville, written by Louisa Malone, appears the statement: "In 1882, J. C. Sparks and Charles Granger were painters." Other statements in this history are: "Mrs. J. C. Sparks ran a millinery store," and "Charter members of the Brookville Methodist Church organized in 1877 were trustees: Henry Richardson and J. C. Sparks."

John and Elizabeth (Tremaine) Sparks were the parents of four children, all born in the state of New York. They were: (1) John C. Sparks, Jr., born in January 1850; (2) Richard H. T. Sparks, born September 16, 1856; (3) Martha Elizabeth Sparks, born May 1860; and (4) Edwin Elsinore Sparks, born August 27, 1866.

Edwin Elsinore Sparks married Julia Anna Richardson in 1883 in Saline County, Kansas. They were the parents of Earl Henry Sparks, born on February 2, 1888, in Wakeeny, Trego County, Kansas. He was the father of Mrs. Winn. Mrs. Winn lives at 907 East 6th Street, Rolla, Missouri (65401). She welcomes correspondence with anyone who can help her with her SPARKS ancestry.

Page 2852-2854


JONAS SPARKS, 1770-1823


Mr. George T. Sparks, 17 Aliff Lane, St. Albans, WV (25177) is seeking information regarding the parentage and ancestry of his great-great-grandfather, Jonas Sparks, who was born March 12, 1770. Jonas Sparks lived most, if not all, of his life in the town of Vernon in Tolland County, Connecticut. He was married there on February 19, 1794, to Olive Smith, a daughter of Matthew and Thankful (Ackley) Smith. She was born February 12, 1776, at East Haddam, Connecticut. A member of this family stated many years ago that the father of Jonas Sparks was named John Sparks. It is true that a John Sparks was living in Tolland County when the 1790 census was taken, in the town of Bolton. (There were four males enumerated in his household, all over 16 years of age, including himself.) This was probably the same John Sparks whose name appeared on the Tolland County census of 1800 with a male (himself) over 45, a female also over 45 (doubtless his wife), and one other male between 26 and 45. His name appears on the same page of the 1800 census as does that of Jonas Sparks; a Joseph Sparks was also listed as living in Tolland County in 1800, aged between 26 and 45. (See page 2730 of the March 1985 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 129, for this census record.) This John Sparks died, according to the Vernon Church records, on July 20, 1809, aged 77. From this it would appear that he had been born ca. 1732. There is a family tradition that this John Sparks died while driving some geese up a hill.

From the vital records maintained by the town of Vernon, we know that Jonas and Olive (Smith) Sparks were the parents of the following children:

1. Hannah Sparks was born May 8, 1794. She was married in Vernon to Mark Merrick on December 22, 1815.

2. Lucretia Sparks was born January 20, 1796. She was married in Vernon to Walter Harris on October 8, 1823.

3. William Sparks was born October 22, 1798. See below for additional information regarding him.

4. Larissa (or Larasa) Sparks was born April 14, 1802. She was married in Vernon to Ira Thrall on October 18, 1826, by A. Benedict.

5. Olive Sparks was born August 1, 1804. She was married in Vernon to Augustin Parker on September 25, 1823, by Oliver H. King, justice of the peace.

6. Arial Sparks (son) was born 1 April 1806. He married Matilda Ingham Windham, Connecticut, on January 15, 1829, by the Rev. Dennis Platt at Vernon. On the 1850 census of Vernon, his wife's age was given as 42. Living with them were the following, whom we assume to have been their children:

(1) Lyman Sparks, age 20;
(2) Antonnette Sparks, age 16;
(3) Martha Ann Sparks, age 14;
(4) William E. Sparks, age 10;
(5) Henry H. Sparks, age 9;
(6) Sarah L. Sparks, age 7; and (7) Louisa Sparks, age 4.
(See pp. 2312-13 of the Quarterly for June 1981, Whole No. 114, for a complete listing of Sparkses living in the town of Vernon in 1850.)
7. Chloe Sparks was born January 30, 1809. She was married in Vernon to James Ingraham on November 26, 1829, by A. Benedict.

8. Thankful Sparks was born August 2, 1811. She was married in Vernon to Charles Ingraham of Hebron, Connecticut, on March 9, 1834, by Chester Humphrey.

George T. Sparks, who has submitted this query, reports that there is a family tradition that Jonas Sparks had a brother named Shubael Sparks, probably younger than Jonas. Shubael Sparks first appeared on the Vernon census of 1810; we can speculate that he was one of the males over 16 enumerated in the household of John Sparks on the 1790 census. Shubael Sparks also appeared on the Vernon census in 1820. He died on June 26, 1826, at the age of 54 according to his tombstone in a Vernon cemetery.

George T. Sparks owns a sharpening stone that has an interesting history. It is 9 inches long, one and one-fourth and two and one-eighth inches at the ends, and one-half inch thick. It is tapered at the ends and it weighs one pound. According to family tradition, Jonas and his brother, Shubael, had a disagreement over the ownership of this stone. To settle the matter, they decided to cut it in half. Their father stopped them from ruining the stone in this manner, but not before a small notch had been made in it. Mr. Sparks reports that it was either Jonas Sparks or his son, William, who was killed in a well accident. He has a piece of blood-stained paper which was in the man's pocket when he died. Because this paper was part of a court document indicating that $1.20 in taxes has been received on October 16, 1815, he believes that it must have belonged to Jonas Sparks who, according to the Vernon vital records, died on March 31, 1823, at the age of 53.

According to the inscription on his tombstone in a cemetery in Vernon, Connecticut, Jonas Sparks died on March 31, 1823, as indicated in the town records. Jonas's wife, Olive, died on October 2, 1836, at the age of 60.

William Sparks, son of Jonas and Olive (Smith) Sparks, as noted above, was born on October 22, 1798, at Vernon; he died there on May 31, 1864. He was married in Vernon on October 9, 1823, to Lucy Parker by a justice of the peace named Oliver H. King. She was a daughter of Ephriam Parker, Jr. and Lucy (Prior) Parker. Lucy was born January 19, 1802, and died, according to the vital records of Vernon, on November 10, 1850, of consumption at the age of 49. The entry for her death in the vital records gives Mansfield as the place of her birth and indicates that, when she died, she was residing at Rockville.

William and Lucy (Parker) Sparks were the parents of the following children:

(1) Harriet Sparks, born ca. 1824. She died, according to her tombstone in a cemetery in Vernon, on June 12, 1828, at the age of 4 years.

(2) George Washington Sparks, born April 6, 1826, died July 26, 1885. (See below for additional information.)

(3) Burdette Sparks, born in 1831. He died, according to his tombstone in Vernon, on April 2, 1832, at the age of 2 years and 7 months.

(4) Harriet Sparks (second child with this name). No further information.

(5) William Burdett Sparks, born June 20, 1836. He married Maria Antoinette Wilson in Manchester, Connecticut, on December 29, 1859.

George Washington ["Wash"] Sparks, son of William and Lucy (Parker) Sparks, was married twice. His first marriage was to Susan Cheesboro on October 17, 1849, in Vernon by the Rev. Albert Smith. She died on August 2, 1852. Apparently they had no children.

George Washington Sparks was married, second, on May 25, 1853, to Harriet Jerusha Geer, daughter of Edmund and Elizabeth (Grant) Geer. She was born April 6, 1823, at Gilead, Connecticut. They were the parents of three daugthters and one son.

Children of George Washington and Harriet Jerusha (Geer) Sparks

(a) Alice Louisa Sparks, born November 21, 1854, at Vernon, Connecticut; she died at Talcottville, Connecticut, on March 31, 1918. On April 16, 1878, she married Morris H. Talcott. He died at Talcottville on June 9, 1937.

(b) Nellie Harriet Sparks, born September 18, 1858, died October 9, 1942. She married Jang Lansing, a native of China. They had two sons, Raymond Parsons Lansing, born December 26, 1893, died about 1976, and Twitchel Lansing.

(c) Emma Sparks, born September 9, 1864, died at Victor, California, in childbirth on June 30, 1899, leaving a son and a daughter.

(d) George Edmund Sparks (father of George T. Sparks) was born December 24, 1865; he died at Swanton, Ohio (near Toledo), on January 15, 1946. He was married twice, first on October 11, 1893, in Vernon, Connecticut, to Jennie M. Pease and, second, on May 8, 1926. to Laura Bell Trumbull who died on August 15, 1976.

Page 2854



In 1963, John H. Zimmer of Humboldt, South Dakota, wrote to a member of the Sparks Family Association as follows: "I own a farm in Minnehaha County, South Dakota, that at one time was owned by a Bentley Sparks in the early days of sod houses. It is a quarter-section north of Humboldt. The sod house was supposed to have been built by Bentley Sparks and his father and brothers, who also had land in this vicinity at the same time." Mr. Zimmer did not know the names of Bentley Sparks's father and brothers. Does anyone have knowledge of this Sparks family? Your editor would be pleased to have further information.

Page 2855-2857


Edith Ross Marshall, 2511 Main Street, Anderson, Indiana (46014), would like information about her branch of the SPARKS family. Her great-great-grandfather, James Sparks, was born or about March 5, 1798, in Kentucky, probably in the northern part, in or around Campbell County. There, on May 30, 1819, he married Elizabeth "Betsy" Wells. She was born April 3, 1803, in Bracken County, Kentucky, and may have been a daughter of Richard Wells.

(Richard Wells was the bondsman for the marriage of James Sparks and Betsy Wells. He was also the bondsman for the marriage of Patsy Sparks to William Rice on December 7, 1815, in Campbell County. Another Sparks marriage in Campbell County was that of Betsy Sparks to Frederick Imhoff on November 2, 1816. These women may have been sisters of James Sparks.)

James Sparks paid taxes in Campbell County from 1820 to 1833. He was also the head of a family on the 1820 and 1830 censuses of Campbell County. by 1830, he and Betsy had four daughters and one son. About 1835, he moved his family to Indiana where he was listed on the 1840 census of Marion County. His family had now grown to nine children, seven daughters and two sons.

Angeline Rebecca (Sparks) Parrish (seated, far left), daughter of James and Betsy (Wells) Sparks, with her husband, Samuel Parrish (on her left), and daughter, Nancy Ellen (Parrish) Ross (seated, far right). Shown also is Nancy Ellen's husband, Alfred Harvey Ross (on her right), with son Alfred Farley Ross (sitting, center front); three other Ross children are standing: (left to right) Frank Leslie Ross, Nelle Ross, and Walter Samuel Ross. Photograph taken ca. 1895. (See following page for Angeline. )

The final move of James and Betsy Sparks was to newly-formed (1844) Tipton County, Indiana, where they were listed on the 1850 and 1860 censuses. Three more children were born to them between 1840 and 1850, making a total of twelve children. According to a descendant, James Sparks was killed at Crab Orchard, Kentucky, during the Civil War. Betsy apparently died in the early part of 1868, and her estate was probated at the May term of the Tipton County Court. Nine of her twelve children were named as heirs. Here is what we have learned about each of them.

1. Julia Ann Sparks was born August 28, 1820, in Campbell County, Kentucky. She married William Monroe Hedges on December 14, 1841, in Marion County, Indiana. He was born February 11, 1794, at Flemingsburg, Kentucky. His father was said to have been a native of England, and his mother's maiden name was Rebecca Doyle. William died in Indianapolis on March 18, 1899, at the age of 105 years. Julia Ann survived him only two months, dying on May 5, 1899. They were the parents of nine children: Hiram, Monroe, Jonas, Dudley, James, Sarah, Francis M., Oliver, and Louisa.

2. Mary Sparks was born 1 April 1822, in Kentucky. She married James M. Dailey, ca. 1842. We have no further information about this couple.

3. Elizabeth Sparks was born March 23, 1825, in Kentucky. On March 18, 1852, she married James Giles in Tipton County, Indiana. He was born ca. 1802 in Maryland. He and Elizabeth appeared on the 1860 and 1870 census of Tipton County, and, according to these censuses, they had four children: Allen J., Delilah, Rachel, and John.

4. Thomas Sparks was born ca. 1829 in Kentucky. He married Mary Jane McGowan on December 21, 1854, in Tipton County. We have no further information about them.

5. Clarissa Sparks was born ca. 1830 in Kentucky. She married Robert Cults
on June 9, 1863, in Tipton County. We have no further information about them.

6. William Sparks was born ca. 1832 in Kentucky. We have no further information about him.

7. A daughter whom we have been unable to identify was born ca. 1834; she may have died when quite young.

8. Martha Jane Sparks was born ca. 1835 in Kentucky. She married Elisha McCowan on June 29, 1854, in Tipton County and when the 1860 census was taken, they had one child, a daughter, Margaret. There may have been other children born to this couple.

9. Melissa Ann Sparks was born March 28, 1836, in Marion County, Indiana. She married Elijah R. Bonham on July 9, 1853, in Tipton County. We have no further information about this couple.

10. James A. Sparks was born July 28, 1840, at Indianapolis, Indiana. On March 17, 1861, he married Nancy Reams in Tipton County. He enlisted in the 101st Regiment Indiana Infantry on December 13, 1863, and served until he was mustered out with his company on July 25, 1865. Nancy (Reams) Sparks died on June 6, 1866, leaving James with a two-year-old son.

(For further information on James A. Sparks, see the abstract of his Civil War pension file on pages 2858-60 of the present issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 133, March 1986.)

On July 8, 1899, James A. Sparks was married (second) to Cordy Gibson in Izard County, Arkansas. She had been born ca. 1880. She died on June 3, 1910, and James died on November 23, 1919. He was the father of six children. by his first wife he had a son named George W. Sparks. by his second marriage, he had five children: James H. Sparks, Pearlie Ann Sparks, Lester Sparks, Charles Sparks, and Edgar Sparks.

11. Angeline Rebecca Sparks was born October 18, 1844, in Indiana. On August 18, 1859, she married Samuel Parrish in Tipton County. He was born on November 2, 1832, in Ohio. He died in November 1899. After his death, Angeline married (second) Thomas Beckett. Angeline and Samuel had two children, Nancy Ellen and Elizabeth. Elizabeth died when quite young. Nancy Ellen married Alfred Harvey Ross and they were the grandparents of Mrs. Marshall who has supplied most of the information in this query. A photograph provided by Mrs. Marshall showing Angeline Rebecca (Sparks) Parrish and her family appears on page 2856.

12. Nancy Ellen Sparks was born ca. 1846 in Indiana. She married Daniel Clouser on Febrary 15, 1866, in Tipton County. He served in the 8th Regiment Indiana Cavalry during the Civil War. He and Nancy Ellen had at least four children according to the 1880 census of Tipton County. They were: Annie May, Charles, Della Pearl, and Daniel.