NameJames Sparks
Birthabt 1762, Frederick Co, MD [754]
MoveAft Rev. War, Ashe Co, NC
MoveAft Rev. War, Lee Co, VA
Move1821, Lawrence Co, KY
Deathabt 1826, Lawrence Co, KY [754]
FatherWilliam SPARKS (~1725-1802)
MotherAnn (Sparks) (~1727-)
SpouseMary (Sparks)
Birthabt 1765 [2]
1 MEphraim Sparks
Birthabt 1781, North Carolina [754]
Deathbef 1860, Breathitt Co, KY [754]
Birthabt 1783, North Carolina [753]
Death2 Mar 1869, White Co, TN [486]
Marriageabt 1806, Washington Co, VA
3 FLela Sparks
4 MSolomon Sparks
5 FNancy Sparks
Birthabt 1790, North Carolina [754]
Death1878, Floyd, KY [754]
SpouseJoshua Pennington
6 MJames J. Sparks
Birthabt 1790, North Carolina [754]
7 MJesse Sparks
Birthabt 1797, North Carolina [754]
Deathaft 1869, Lawrence, KY [754]
Notes for James Sparks
"James Sparks, son of William and Ann Sparks, was probably born in Frederick County, Maryland, about 1762, and would have been about two years old when his parents moved to North Carolina. He served in theAmerican Revolution. His wife's name was Mary ---. He lived in Ashe County, North Carolina, then Lee County, Virginia. He and his brother,Thomas Sparks, took their families to eastern Kentucky soon after the 1820 census was taken, settling in what became Lawrence County in 1821. He died there about 1826. His children were: (here lists children)."

A record from Lawrence County, Kentucky, Court Book I, recorded January 16, 1826. Here isthe document as it was recorded by the County Clerk on pages 177-178:

"James Sparks, an old Revolutionary soldier, proferred on oath astatement and declaratory relative to his services, praying to be placed on the pension list of the United States with an affidavit of his beingin indigent circumstances accompanying the same, all of which are ordered to be recorded and certified to the Secretary of War, which is in the words and figures following, to wit:

"State of Kentucky, Lawrence County. On the 16th day of January 1826, personally appeared in open court, it being a court of records; it being made so by the laws of the state; it being solemnly adjudged so to be by the other tribunals of this state for the county aforesaid; James Sparks, a resident in said county, aged sixty-four years, who being first swornin according to law, doth on his oath make the following declaration inorder to obtain the provisions made by the Act of Congress of the 18th ofMarch, 1818, as the first of May, 1820:

"That he, the said James Sparks, enlisted for the term of eighteen months on the __day of June 1780 in the state of North Carolina in acompany commanded by Captain Gordon, in the regiment commanded by Col. Lewis, in the line of the state of North Carolina on the Continental establishment; that he continued to serve in said corps until December 1781 when he was discharged from the service in Surry County in the state of North Carolina; that he hereby relinquishes every claim whatsoever to a pension except the present; that his name is not on the roll of any state except Kentucky; and the following are the reasons for not makingan earlier application for a pension, viz.:

"I have always lived in a new part of the country which was thereby uninhabited and a considerable distance from any county seat and never before this time for ten years past have been at any court where I could get my business done and never knew what way to proceed to get myself enrolled on the pension list, and was always too poor to employ counsel to act for me....

"And that I have not, nor any persons in trust for me, any property orsecurities, contracts or debts due to me, nor have I any income otherthan what is contained in the schedule hereto annexed and by mesubscribed, to wit:
Two cows, worth not more than seven dollars each.....$14. 00
One yearling, worth not more than three dollars...... $3. 00
Three calves, worth not more than two dollars each... $6. 00
Nine hogs and 11 pigs worth in all................... $20. 00
Total $43. 00
Signed: James Sparks

"That since the 18th day of March 1818, the following changes have been made in my property: At that time I had three cows which arethe same over above mentioned and calves and yearlings above mentionedare the increase of those cows; that one of the cows not long since diedon the range; that I have sold none since that time; that the hogs I havenow are the increases of above three sows and pigs that I had at thattime. They have had some pigs occasionally since which I have raised andkilled for meat for my family, the number not now recollected; that Ihave sold none; that I have lived on a small piece of rented land andmade use of all the profits except the rents for the support of my family; that my occupation is (sic) but from age and infirmity, I am unable topursue; that my family consists of myself and wife, aged sixty-four years , named that I have no children living with me."
Signed: James Sparks ...

"[Editor's Note: As stated by the Lawrence County Clerk, James Sparks applied for a pension under two Acts of Congress, that of March 18, 1818,and that of May 1, 1820. The Act of 1818 had provided pensions for Revolutionary War veterans who had served in a Continental military organization (as opposed to local militia units), for at least nine months or until the war's end. Veterans who could prove their service could apply even though they had suffered no disabilities, but consideredthemselves to be in need of financial assistance. Many more veterans applied for, and were granted, pensions under this 1818 Act than Congress had anticipated, and it came to be widely believed that a large number ofthese pensioners were not actually in need of financial aid from the federal government. The Act of 1820 was passed by Congress, therefore,in an effort to eliminate non-deserving veterans from the pension rollsas well as to prevent others from applying. The 1820 Act required everyone who had been approved for a pension under the 1818 law now tojustify his pension by submitting to the Secretary of War a certifiedl ist of his possessions as well as a statement regarding his annual income to prove his poverty . A large number of veterans who had begun receiving pensions under the 1818 law were removed from the pension rollsas a result of the 1820 law. New applicants, such as James Sparks, were required, of course, to submit this information. This explains why JamesSpark s described his financial situation in such detail.]

"It appears that the application of James Sparks for a pension for military service in the Revolutionary War was never acted upon, or perhaps it was never actually sent to the Secretary of War, whose office was then in charge of military pensions. The National Archives can find no evidence of the service of James Sparks. It may have been discovered that the military unit with which he had served consisted only ofmilitiamen and thus not "of the Continental establishment" , or he may have died shortly after completing his application. When the 1830 censuswas taken of Lawrence County, James Sparks was not there, nor was he enumerated as a member of the household of his son, Jesse Sparks who wasthen living in Lawrence County. He did not appear on the tax roll ofLawrence County after 1825.

"The second court record which pertains to James Sparks was written twenty years later, on June 8, 1846, by the clerk of the Carter County(Kentucky) Court, for the purpose of obtaining bounty land for the heirsof James Sparks, Jr., of Lee County, Virginia. James Sparks , Jr. son ofJames Sparks (ca.1762-ca.1827) had served in the United States Army from1812 until his death on July 17, 1816. James Sparks, Jr. apparently hadno children (he probably never married), and his heirs, who becameentitled to bounty land based on his service in the War of 1812, were his siblings. Named as heirs of James Sparks, Jr. in this court of record of1846 were his brothers, Ephriam Sparks, William Sparks, Solomon Sparks and Jesse Sparks; his sisters, Lela Sparks and Nancy Sparks; and his half-sister, Rebecca Sparks. Pertinent portions of the bounty land file identifying these siblings of James Sparks were abstracted and publishedin the March 1961 issue of the Sparks Quarterly, Whole No. 33, pp. 542-43(which has been recopied above).

"James Sparks (ca.1762-ca.1827) was born in Frederick County,Maryland, and carried as a baby to Rowan County, North Carolina, by hisparents , William and Ann Sparks. He was about eleven years old when hemoved with his parents from The Forks of the Yadkin, still then a part ofRowan County, to Surry County, in 1773. When the Revolutionary War brokeout, he was one of many young men who took an oath of allegiance to NorthCarolina, marking its separation from the British Empire. On a list thathas been preserved of those taking this oath, there is the followingentry: "James Sparks , son of William Sparks." (See North CarolinaArchives File No. 92.7O1.11 ) It was also at about this time that heapparently married Mary ---. She may have been a widow with a youngdaughter.

"James Sparks (ca.1762-ca.1827) apparently lived near the boundaryline between Wilkes and Surry Counties, and he paid taxes at times inboth counties. He paid taxes in Wilkes County from 1782 to 1786 and inSurry County from 1792 to 1800; however he was not listed on the 179O or18OO census in either county. On July 23, 1787, the Wilkes County Courtordered him, along with fourteen of his neighbors, to "view " [i.e. workon the road] "from where Oar Road crosses the Surry County line nearHunting Creek to the Salisbury Road below the Old Store and along saidroad to the county line; likewise the road where new runs at HuntingCreek above Peter Goods to said road between said Goods and the OldStore." When the Wilkes County Court met on April 19 , 1788, JamesSparks was one of sixteen men ordered "to view road through land [of]Thomas Dickson on New River instead of present road."

"When the Surry County Court met on May 12, 1791, James Sparks was oneof eighteen men "to view, mark and lay off a road the nearest and bestway from the end of the Fox Knob to Wm T. Lewis' Mill on Spence's Creekfrom thence into whats called Mine Hole Road and from said mill to theIron Work s and make report thereof to next court." Also serving on thisdetail was James's father, "Wm Sparks Senr.," and two of his brothers,William Sparks, Jr. and Thomas Sparks. They made their report to thecourt on August 10, 1791.

"By 1804, James had moved his family to Grayson County, Virginia ,where he paid a personal property tax. He also paid taxes there thefollowing year, but by 1806, he was in the Upper District of WashingtonCounty , Virginia. He paid taxes there from 1806 to 1809.

"On August 1, 1808, James Sparks bought 30 acres of land on the NorthFork of New River in Ashe County, North Carolina, from James Hurley.Hurley was described in the deed as "of Sullivan County, Tennessee,"while Sparks was described as "of Washington County, Virginia." Theconsideration was $30.00. Sparks apparently moved to the newly-acquiredland, for he was listed on the 1810 census of Ashe County. He was shownin the "over 45" age category; his wife was enumerated as between 26-45.Living in the household were two males, both aged between 16 and 26 (JS:probably Solomon Sr, 22 & James Jr. 20), and one male (probably Jesse 13)and one female (probably Nancy 16), 10-16. Living nearby was W. Sparks,aged 16 to 26, with his household.

"James Sparks (ca.1762-ca.1826), the subject of this article, shouldnot be confused with two of his contemporaries, also named James Sparks,who lived in this same section of North Carolina. One of them was hisuncle, James Sparks, (355) who had probably been born about 1735 inMaryland who had moved to the Forks of the Yadkin about 1754. He servedon the May 1756 court in Salisbury, North Carolina. He was a chainbearer on a survey of a tract of land granted to his brother, MatthewSparks, on December 16, 1760, in Rowan County. He paid taxes in RowanCounty in 1768 and 1772, and in Surry County in 1774 and 1776. This JamesSparks also served in the Revolutionary War according to testimony givenby his nephew, William Sparks, in 1846. ( See the June 1954 issue of SQ,Whole No. 2, pp. 36-38). He probably died shortly after his militaryservice."

"The other James Sparks with whom our present subject should not beconfused was the James (332) born about 1767 who died about 1835 and whowas a son of Matthew and Sarah (Thompson) Sparks; thus he was a firstcousin of James Sparks (ca.1762-ca.1827), subject of this article. Wehave found few records pertaining to James Sparks, son of Matthew andSarah Sparks. He was born about 1767, probably in Rowan County, NorthCarolina. He was married about 1791, but we have not learned the name ofhis wife . He paid taxes on 100 acres of land in Surry County in 1792,1793 and 1794 and was listed on the 1800 census of Surry County as thehead of his household. He appeared on the 1810 census of Wilkes Count ybut in 1820 and 1830 he was in Burke County, North Carolina. Accordingto these censuses, he had eight children, five daughters and three sons.There is some evidence that his sons were named Hardy, Allen, andAbsalom. He probably died about 1835 in Burke County.

"By 1811, James Sparks (ca.1762-ca.1826), the subject of the presentarticle, now designated as Senior, had returned to Virginia and was inLee County where he paid a personal property tax. There were otherpersons named Sparks who also paid taxes there that year. They wereJames Sparks , Jr., William Sparks and Absalom Sparks. It was in thefollowing year, 1812, that James Sparks, Jr. enlisted in the UnitedStates Army to serve five years. As noted earlier, he died in service onJuly 17, 1816.

"We have found few records of James Sparks (ca.1762-ca.1827), or ofhis family in Lee County, Virginia. He paid personal property taxesthere from 1811 to 1814. His son, Ephriam, paid personal property taxesthere in 1813 and 1814, and his son William, paid taxes there in 1811 and1 812. We have found no records of marriages, wills or admininistrationsof persons named Sparks in early Lee County, and there are only two landtransactions recorded involving persons named Sparks. The deeds involveWilliam Sparks, son of James, who bought 100 acres of land in 1816 andsold the tract three years later.

"The last record we have found in Virginia of James Sparks is the 1820census of Lee County. By the time the census was taken, his son, JesseSparks, had been married and had brought his bride into his parent'shome. He was listed as the head of the household. In the meantime, abrother of James Sparks, Thomas Sparks, (born ca. 1766), had moved to LeeCounty and Thomas' family was enumerated on the 1820 census . It wasalso about this time that the brothers made plans to move to the BigSandy River region of eastern Kentucky, a move which they made thefollowing year. They settled in the newly-formed Lawrence County. (Forbiographical material on Thomas Sparks, see the QUARTERLY of December1991, Whole No. 156, beginning on page 3853).

"When James Sparks, Sr., left Lee County, Virginia, and moved with hisson Jesse, to Lawrence County, Kentucky, he was probably accompanied byhis daughter Nancy, and her husband Joshua Pennington. His son, JamesJr., had died in the army in 1816, as noted above. Rebecca Sparks, namedas a half-sister of James Sparks, Jr., left no records as far as we havebeen able to determine, and she may have been a step-daughter, ratherthan a daughter, of James Sparks, Sr. Ephriam Sparks, eldest son ofJames Sparks, Sr., remained in Virginia until about 1832 when he moved to Perry County, Kentucky. William Sparks, son of James, continued to live in Virginia until about 1825 when he moved to White County, Tennessee.
[See THE SPARKS QUARTERLY, June 1991, Whole No. 154, p. 3796, THE SPARKS QUARTERLY, March, 1994, Whole No . 165, pp. 4265-4276,for an article written by Paul E. Sparks (171)]
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