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See THE SPARKS QUARTERLY, December 1957, Whole No. 20, pp. 264-66:


"Ruth Ely Porter (Mrs. Milby Porter) of 3112 Wheeler Ave., Houston 4, Texas, is (written in December 1957) seeking information regarding the ancestry of her grandfather, ALBERT CYRUS SPARKS. He was born in Lewis County, Kentucky, on January 8, 1830, and died at Fort Scott, Kansas, on March 22., 1915 (buried in the Chapel Grove Cemetery). It is known that the Christian name of Albert Cyrus Sparks's mother was Elizabeth, but the name of his father has not been proved, although there is some reason to believe that it was James Sparks. Mrs. Porter has a picture (tin-type) of Albert Cyrus Sparks's father; he is believed to have had English ancestry.

"Albert C. Sparks is known to have had at least two brothers, Harry Sparks and John Sparks, of the vicinity of Cloverdale, Putnam County, Indiana. There was also an "Aunt Eliza Sparks," but whether she was a sister or a sister-in-law of Albert C. Sparks is unknown. Albert C. Sparks was a member of the Campbellite, or Christian, Church. It appears that in his youth he lived in Indiana, probably Putnam County, and was married in Indiana, date unknown, to Sarah Jane Collins, who was born on Jan. 20 (or 30). 1836, in Putnam County, Indiana; she died on August 29, 1876, near Webb City, Missouri. Sarah Jane was the daughter of John Collins, whose tombstone in Evergreen Cemetery, Pleasant Grove, Minnesota, indicates that he was born on August 1. 1806, and died on August 25, 1886. (The eldest child of John Collins was Betsy Ann Collins Burgan who was born at Somerset., Kentucky, on February 27, 1827; died at 87 years in 1911, at Pleasant Grove, Minnesota. Sarah Jane's brothers, William H. Sparks (JS: Should be "Collins"?) (whose farm is still owned and cultivated by his descendants) and John Collins served in the Indian Wars and in the Civil War, from August, 1862, to August, 1865. William Collins enlisted, at 32 years of age, John at 31. Both are buried at Pleasant Grove.)

"It would seem probable that there was a close relationship between Albert Cyrus Sparks and James Harvey Sparks of Putnam County, Indiana. According to a history of Putnam County by Jesse W. Weik (1910), James R. Sparks was born in Lewis County, Kentucky, on February 8, 1826, the son of James and Elizabeth (Gilman) Sparks. (Elizabeth Gilman was the granddaughter of Henry Gilman, a soldier in the Revolution under General Wayne.) According to Mr. Weik's account, the family moved from Lewis County, Kentucky, to Putnam County, Indiana, about 1838, locating near Mt. Meridian. It seems probable that Albert C. Sparks was a member of this family. James Sparks, father of James Harvey Sparks, was listed on the 1840 census of Putnam County, Indiana, as follows:

himself, between 40 and 50 years
wife, between 30 and 40
2 sons under 5
2 sons between 5 and 10
1 son between 10 and 15
2 sons between 15 and 20
1 daughter between 5 and 10
1 daughter between 10 and 15

"Mr. Weik stated that James H. Sparks learned the blacksmith trade in Greencastle and on February 27, 1851, was married to Emily Jane Coffman, daughter of John and Mary (Williams) Coffman of Fountain County, Indiana. She died February 7, 1920 at the age of 69. James H. Sparks was still living in 1910 and was a member of the Christian Church. He served in Company I, 43rd Indiana Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. On the 1850 census of Putnam County, Cloverdale Township, James H. Sparks was listed as "Harvey Sparks," which was his middle name. He was living with the family of Greenburg and Lucinda Lyon. Greenburg Lyon was also a blacksmith. The only other Sparks living in Putnam County in 1850 was Elizabeth Sparks, age 22, born in Indiana, who was living with the family of David C. and Elizabeth A. Allen in Floyd Township.

"Albert Cyrus Sparks moved to Minnesota as a young man and settled near Pleasant Grove in Olmstead County. The exact date on which he moved is unknown, but it was sometime prior to the summer of 1856 for in August of that year his oldest child was born in Minnesota. The first census of Minnesota was taken in 1857. Albert C. Sparks was listed in Olmstead County as 28 years old, a farmer, born in Kentucky, with his wife and first child. He was living in "Town 105, Range 13." Living next to Albert C. Sparks was the family of Elizabeth Sparks, 54 years old, born in Pennsylvania. With-out doubt, this was the mother of Albert C. Sparks. Living with her were William Sparks, age 18, and Mary Sparks, age 16, both born in Indiana; these were doubtless younger children of Elizabeth. Also living with her were E. R. Tubbs., age 5, born in Iowa.9 and L. J. Tubbs., age 3, born in Minnesota. Perhaps these were grandchildren. Living with the family of Allen and Alice Dice nearby was John Sparks, age 11, born in Indiana. Perhaps he was also a son of Elizabeth. Also living in Olmstead County in 1857, only a few houses from Albert C. Sparks, was Joseph Sparks, age 25, farmer, born in Indiana, and his wife, Armela Sparks, age 18, also born in Indiana.

"On the 1860 census of Olmstead County, Minnesota, Albert C. Sparks was listed with his wife and two children, but also living with him were two nephews, Winfield Sparks who was born February 20, 1852, and Benjamin Sparks, born October 3, 1857; both were born in Iowa. Elizabeth Sparks was not listed in the 1860 census of Olmstead County -- perhaps she had died between 1857 and 1860, or she may have moved back to Indiana. Living next-door to Albert C. Sparks in 1860 was Jas. Sparks, age 27, farmer, born in Kentucky, with his wife Sarah (age 21, born in Indiana)., and two children, Angeline, age 2, and James, age 1 month, both born in Minnesota. Living with them was a Josephine Sparks, age 7, born in Iowa.

"Following the Civil war, Albert C. Sparks and his family moved from Minnesota to Missouri, later to Kansas, where he operated a saw mill. Albert Cyrus and Sarah Jane (Collins) Sparks were the parents of the following children

1. Hester Ann Sparks, born Aug. 27, 1856, at Pleasant Grove, Minn.; died April 21, 1945, at Fort Scott, Kansas. She married Francis Marion Gross on July 3, 1876. They were the parents of four children: (1) Jesse Gross; (2) Norman Gross; (3) Orville Gross; and (4) Nellie Matilda Gross.

2. Charles Sparks, born July 7, 1858, at Pleasant Grove, Minn.; died on Dec. 10, 1951, in Colorado Springs, Colo. He married, first, Otie Rosetta Lee, who was born in Fredonia, Kansas, and died in Chandler, Okla., on Aug. 20, 1895. They were the parents of two children: (1) Albert Sparks, born Jan. 28, 1891, at Fredonia; and (2) Syble Sparks, born Aug. 20, 1893. Charles Sparks married, second, at Chandler, Okla., on Dec. 28, 1898, Madge Evelyn Funk, who was born Aug. 8, 1874, in Stark County, Illinois. They were the parents of the following children: (3) Phyllis Sparks; (4) Jennie Sparks; and (5) Isaac Sparks. (Madge Evelyn (Funk) Sparks, second wife of Charles Sparks, was the daughter of Edgar Mortimer Funk, born Sept. 23, 1848, near Peoria, Ill., and Jennie Sharer, born near Laceyville, Penna., on Feb. 26, 1849. They were married at Toulon, Stark Co., Ill., on Sept. 23, 1869; both died near Vernon, Colo., and were buried in Chandler, Okla. Edgar Mortimer Funk was the son of Jesse Funk, born in Fayette County, Ohio, and his wife, Cynthia (Hanes) Funk, born in Brooks County, Va., near Natural Bridge. Jennie (Sharer) Funk was the daughter of Samuel Sharer, born in the state of New York, a Baptist minister, who died in Ewart, Iowa, and his wife, Jerusha (Smith) Sharer who was born in Pennsylvania, a school teacher, of the Quaker Faith.)

3. James Madison Sparks, born October 17, 1860, at Pleasant Grove, Minn.; died April 30, 1937, at Los Angeles, Calif.; buried in Westminster Memorial Park Cemetery.

4. Matilda Jane Sparks, born May 15, 1862, at Pleasant Grove, Mirm.; died Aug. 8, 1905, at Palmyra, Missouri. She married Alphonso Ethelbert Mills Ely at Ft. Scott, Kansas, on March 26, 1883. They were the parents of the following children: (1) Ruth Ely (Mrs. Milby Porter, author of this query); (2) Drusilla Ely; and (3) A.E.M. Ely.

5. Albert Sparks, born Jan. 27, 1864, at Pleasant Grove, Minn.; died Aug., 1891, in a silver mine accident at Lamertine, Cob.; buried in Idaho Cemetery, close to Cripple Creek.

6. Aletha Sparks, born June 22, 1866, at Pleasant Grove, Minn.; married Napoleon B. Simonds on Aug. 27, 1885. They had an apple orchard at Doniphan, Kansas.They were the parents of three children: (1) Lula Simonds; (2) Earl Simonds; (3) Walter Simonds. (One of the boys died at Camp Funston while in training for World War I.)

7. Flora Sparks, born May 15, 1868, at Pleasant Grove, Minn.; died June 3, 1869.

8. Luella May Sparks, born June 27, 1870, near Webb City, Missouri; died August 10, 1871.

9. Stella May Sparks (twin), born June 27, 1870, near Webb City, Missouri; died in childhood.

10. Cora Sparks, born Oct. 21, 1871, at Boonvilbe, Missouri; died May 6, 1952, at Atchison, Kansas. She married Ira Jett in August, 1895, at Doniphan, Kansas. He was born March 3, 1870, at Doniphan, Kansas, and died May 28, 1929, at Atchison, Kansas.

11. Nora Sparks, born Dec., 1874; died August 11, 1876.