April 7, 2018

Pages 2928
Whole Number 0

QUERY - JOSEPH SPARKS (born ca. 1812-14)

Alan Sparks of West Virginia is seeking information regarding his great-great-grandfather, Joseph Sparks. From census records, it appears that Joseph Sparks was born ca. 1812-14 somewhere in Pennsylvania. About 1844, probably in Monroe County, Ohio, he married Priscilla Cronin, daughter of Michael Cronin. Michael Cronin had come as a 2-year-old child with his parents from County Cork, Ireland, to Norfolk, Virginia, in 1772. The Cronin family was in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, before moving to Monroe County, Ohio, ca. 1810.

When the 1850 census was taken of Wayne Township, Monroe County, Ohio, Joseph Sparks was listed as a "laborer" 38 years old and a native of Pennsylvania. Priscilla, his wife, was 29, also a native of Pennsylvania. Their oldest child, a son named John Sparks, was then 5 years old and had been born in Ohio. Their next child, James Sparks, was born later that year (1850); a daughter, Sarah, was born in 1853 - - she subsequently married Obediah Nally; their next child, Joseph Sparks, Jr., was born in 1857; and their daughter, Martha, was born in 1858 - - she married Philip Watkins. All five of these children eventually moved to Pleasants County, West Virginia.

Joseph Sparks apparently died in Monroe County, Ohio, sometime before 1880-he did not appear on the census of that year. His widow, Priscilla (Cronin) Sparks, died in Monroe County ca. 1894.

Page 2930


Paul Adrian of 1515 Alta Vista Road, Santa Barbara, CA (93103), is seeking information regarding the parentage of his great-great-grandmother, Elizabeth Sparks, whom he believes was born sometime between 1800 and 1815. Elizabeth Sparks married (first) John Burns, and they had a daughter named Catherine Burns who was baptized on November 24, 1836, in Rochester, Monroe County, New York. (The church in which she was baptized was named St. Anthony of Padua; earlier it had been called St. Patrick's.) Catherine Burns married James Corrigan in Rochester in 1861, in the same church in which she had been baptized. They had a son, John Francis Corrigan, who was baptized in Rochester on October 18, 1866. He became Mr. Adrian's grandfather.

Elizabeth Sparks's first husband, John Burns, died, and she married (second) John Lawler. The date of this marriage, like that of the first, is unknown. Whether she had children by her first husband other than the daughter Catherine is not known, nor do we know whether she had children by her second husband, John Lawler.

Page 2930


Mrs. Dolly Ziegler, a member of our Association, has received information on the parents of Rachel Swaim who married Jonathan Sparks in 1817 in Surry County, North Carolina. She believes Rachel's parents were Moses Swaim and his wife, whose name was possibly Catherine Hines, and that Moses was a son of John and Charity (Teague) Swaim. Mrs. Ziegler is pleased to have these data, with several earlier generations, for which she credits the research of Col. Leslie L. Dunning of Kettering, Ohio. Col. Dunning cautions that some of the data need proof, and to that end Mrs. Ziegler wants to circulate it to other Sparks/Swaim researchers with a request for corrections and additions. She makes this offer: send her a stamped, self-addressed envelope and a family group sheet showing your descent from a child of Jonathan and Rachel (Swaim) Sparks - - that is, a sheet showing one of their children as a parent and listing that person's children who would be grandchildren of Jonathan and Rachel. She will use the envelope to send you a pedigree chart and family groupings on Rachel and her ancestry. Write to: Mrs. Dolly Ziegler, 605 Park Lane, Billings, MT 59102.

Pages 2944-2947


Larose Adams Wynn (1368 Wrenwood, Memphis, TN 38122) would like to correspond with descendants of Jonas Sparks, who was born in that part of Rowan County, North Carolina, that was cut off to form Davie County in 1836. He was a son of David. and Mary (Little) Sparks. David Sparks was born ca. 1768 in Rowan County and was a son of a Jonas Sparks who died there in 1805. (This elder Jonas Sparks and his children were the subject of an article appearing in the Quarterly OF March 1964, Whole No. 45, pp.790-807.)

The younger Jonas Sparks, son of David and Mary (Little) Sparks, moved from North Carolina to Tennessee; he was taxed in Madison County, Tennessee, between 1827 and 1829. He was in Tipton County, Tennessee, in 1835 when he served on a jury, and when the 1840 census was taken, he was in Shelby County, Tennessee. (Both Tipton and Shelby Counties adjoin the state of Arkansas.) It was probably in Tennessee that Jonas Sparks was married; his wife's name was Rebecca, but we have not discovered her maiden name.

by 1846, Jonas and Rebecca Sparks were living in Tippah County, Mississippi, with six children. Tippah County adjoins the county of Hardeman in Tennessee on the north. The 1850 census of Tippah County, Mississippi, indicates that Jonas' first four children, born between ca. 1830 and ca. 1841, had been born in Tennessee, while the other two had been born in Mississippi between ca. 1846 and 1848. Whether additional children were born after 1850, we do not know.

Jonas Sparks has not been found on the 1860 census of Tippah County, Mississippi, nor anywhere else, although we have only scattered data from the 1860 census of the U.S. at this time. Jonas Sparks had apparently died prior to 1870, for in that year his widow, Rebecca, age 60, was living in Arkansas County, Arkansas (in Crockett Township). Her nearest post office was Mt. Adams.
Based on census records as well as family records for the daughter Amanda and the son Jonas H., we believe that Jonas and Rebecca Sparks had the following children born prior to 1850. It is possible that others were born after 1850.

A. Amanda M. Sparks was born ca. 1832 in Tennessee. She married Edmund C. Davis in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee; the marriage bond (#2683) was dated March 20, 1851, and we can assume that they were married soon after that date. They had four children born sometime in the 1860's. Amanda had died prior to the time that the 1870 census was taken; her husband was listed without her. The four children were:
1. William Obediah Davis was born in 1851 in Shelby County, Tennessee, and died on March 8, 1935, in Los Angeles, California. His ashes were buried in the Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis. He was married twice: first to Lottie Graft (or Graff) and second to Emma Savelle. He had a daughter, Mattie Davis, born in 1873, who married Charles Scott of Kansas City, Missour, and a son, William Obediah Davis, born February 25, 1900, died December 1, 1900.

2. byron Davis was born in 1854. He married Josephine ------ He died in Memphis, Tennessee, on September 12, 1878, a victim of a Yellow Fever epidemic. 

3. Alice Lavinia Davis was born July 18, 1861, in Memphis, Tennessee; she died on January 11, 1943. It is believed that her mother had died before 1870 and that her father also died before 1872, in which year Judge Andrew Ray ordered that she be placed in St. Mary's Episcopal Church Home where she was baptized March 25, 1874. The baptismal record identifies her parents as Edmund and Amanda Davis. She was baptized a second time at St. Mary's (Catholic) Church at which time her parents were identified as Edmund Davis and Amanda Sparks. Alice L. Davis married Warren Porter Spencer in Memphis on November 19, 1878. They had the following children:
a. Lottie Spencer, born 1878; died five days later.
b. Myrtle Spencer, born September 28, 1879, died April 11, 1969, She married Joseph Luckett.
c. Dora Cecilia Spencer, born September 27, 1888. She married a Dr. Cambrun and was still living in Evansville, Indiana, in 1980.
d. Mary Elida ["Lida"] Spencer, born December 27, 1883. She died in Memphis of May 13, 1969. She married William Hoke Harrleson. (Larose Adams Wynne, author of this query, is a granddaughter of this couple.)
e. byron Spencer, born in 1885; died November 5, 1885, aged 10 months.
f. Warren Victor Spencer, born in September 1886. He died in 1955.
g. Martha Scott Spencer was born in October 1892; she died in 1964. She married Frank H. Schmidt of Haywood (Sawyer County), Wisconsin.
h. Charles Spencer, born in 1894; he lived only 10 months.
i. Leona Spencer, born in 1895; she lived only 6 months.
j. William Obediah Spencer, born in May 1897; he was killed in Memphis on May 24, 1923.
k. Alice Camille Spencer was born March 19, 1899, and died in Chicago, Illinois, on January 21, 1967. She married John Dewey Willbanks.
4. Leona Davis, date of birth not known, was, according to family tradition, adopted at some point following her mother's death by a friend of her mother named either Mrs. Clifton or Mrs. Crafton (possibly Clifford) in Arkansas. Leona married Roy Bowen of Jonesboro, Arkansas, and they had a son, also named Roy Bowen. Leona died when the son was ten years old. She was, at her request, buried in Little Rock, Arkansas. A daughter of Alice Lavinia (Davis) Spencer, niece of Leona, once recalled that when William Obediah Davis (brother of Alice and Leona) was elected a justice of the peace in Memphis, Leona saw the notice, and it was through this that the family found each other.
B. Daniel Sparks, son of Jonas and Rebecca Sparks, was born ca. 1832 in Tennessee. No further information.

C. Rebecca C. Sparks, daughter of Jonas and Rebecca Sparks, was born ca. 1837 in Tennessee. No further information.

D. Jonas Harris Sparks, son of Jonas and Rebecca Sparks, was born October 8, 1840, in Tennessee. He was married on December 23, 1866, in Arkansas County, Arkansas, to Olivia Anne Hudson. She had been born on August 27, 1850, in Mississippi; she died on October 20, 1926, in Celina, Denton County, Texas. They moved from Arkansas to Texas after 1882. Jonas H. Sparks was a farmer, a Baptist, and he served in the Civil War as a private in Company E, 18th Arkansas Regiment under Colonel H. Crockett. He died in Hunt County, Texas, on January 28, 1887; he and his wife are buried in the McWright Cemetery there. Following her husband's death, Olivia married (second) David Jones Hynds in December 1888, and they had two daughters, Lucy Lee Hynds, born August 18, 1890, and Winnie Davis Hynds, born August 7, 1893. A family record in the handwriting of D. J. Hynds, which has been copied for us by J. C. Perkins of Grand Prairie, Texas, a grandson of David Jones and Olivia Anne (Hudson) Hynds, the children of Jonas Harris and Olivia Anne (Hudson) Sparks [her first marriage] were born on the dates shown below, all at Golden, Arkansas County, Arkansas. The information following these dates has been provided by Mr. Perkins; his mother was Winnie Davis Hynds.

1. Daniel W. Sparks, born March 7, 1868. He died in November 1916 at Celeste, Texas. He married Ettie Redman. (He was called David on the 1880 census.) They had children named
(a) James Harris;
(b) Agnes;
(c) Lee Ellen;
(d) Effie;
(e) Inez;
(f) Roy;
(g) Lillian, and
(h) Ettie Mae.
2. Joseph W. Sparks, born December 8, 1870. He died in August 1953 at Celeste, Texas. He married Ida Pearl McDonald, and they had children named:
(a) Felton 0.;
(b) Willie; and
(c) Alma Jean.
3. Jonas D. Sparks, born September 28, 1874. He died on April 12, 1959, at Grand Junction, Colorado. He married Eva Young and they had children named:
(a) Theodore Bryan;
(b) Oleta; and
(c) Vinita.
4. Emma Lillie Sparks, born April 6, 1876. She died on September 6, 1967, at Little Rock, Arkansas. She married Enzo Love Ewing in 1893. They had children named:
(a) Floyd Dial;
(b) Grace Olivia;
(c) Loyd Weldon;
(d) Onilla Dru.
5. Moman R. Sparks, born June 23, 1878. He died on December 24, 1967, at McKinney, Texas. He married (first) Ollie Gill and had children:
(a) Moman Harris;
(b) Robert Milton;
(c) Glenn Morris; and
(d) Olive Jo.

He married (second) Ava Pearl Stinson and they were the parents of

(e) Lillie Catherine; and
(f) Annie Mae. (On the 1880 census, he was listed as "Moreman B. Sparks." )

6. Thomas Ben Sparks, born June 12, 1882. He died in September 1976 at Celeste, Texas. He married Tommie Shoemaker and they had a daughter named Mildred Lee.

E. Laura A. Sparks, daughter of Jonas and Rebecca Sparks, was born ca. 1846 in Mississippi. She married John W. Worthy on March 22, 1866, in Arkansas County, Arkansas. He had been born ca. 1846 in Mississippi. From census records, it does not appear that they had children, but when the 1880 census was taken of Arkansas County, Arkansas, a 6-year-old boy named Leslie Sparks was listed in their household and was identified as an "adopted son."

F. Joseph A. Sparks was born in Mississippi ca. 1848. He was living with his mother in Crockett Township, Arkansas County, Arkansas, when the 1870 census was taken. When the 1880 census was taken of that county, he was listed as living in Keaton Township in the household of his brother-inlaw and sister, John W. and Laura A. (Sparks) Worthy. He was the father of three children whose names appear following his own on the census record. He had been married to Mary Fly on November 9, 1871, in Arkansas County; she was then 20 and he was 22, according to the marriage record. It seems probable that his wife had died prior to 1880, leaving him with three small children:

(1) Levi E. Sparks, born ca. 1773;
(2) Joseph M. Sparks, born ca. 1875; and
(3) Estelle M. Sparks, born ca. 1878. Also living in the John W. Worthy household in 1880 was Eliza Fly, age 55, a native of North Carolina, who was described on the census as a "boarder." Was she the mother-in-law of Joseph A. Sparks assisting in the care of his three motherless children?

Page 2956


Miss Susan Udell of Michigan is seeking information about the family of Peter Sparks of early Cayuga County, New York. He was born ca. 1780 and married Minerva Alford, ca. 1805. Minerva was born ca. 1790. This family was listed on the 1810, 1820, 1830, and 1840 censuses of Cayuga County, and, according to these census data, Peter Sparks had ten children: two sons and eight daughters. Only two of the children have been identified: a daughter, Lucinda Sparks, and another daughter, Matilda Sparks, born ca. 1833.

According to The Phelps Family in America, written by O. S. Phelps and published in 1899, Lucinda Sparks was born March 24, 1810, in Scipio Township, Cayuga County, New York. She died there on May 26, 1852. She was married twice, Her first marriage was to Charles Heliker by whom she had a son, Charles Heliker, Jr., born on February 8, 1830. Her second marriage was to Ambrose Phelps in November 1834. To that union seven children were born, only two of whom reached adulthood. They were: Marcella Phelps, born on February 29, 1840, and Arnold Phelps, born June 18, 1843. After the death of his wife, Lucinda (Sparks) Phelps, in 1852, Ambrose Phelps, with his children, Arnold and Marcella, and his stepson, Charles Heliker, moved to Michigan where they settled at Marshall.