NameWilliam SPARKS
Birthabt 1725, Queen Anne Co, MD [754]
Death1802, Surry Co, NC [754]
FatherWilliam Sample Sparks (~1700-~1765)
Marriageabt 1749, Maryland [2]
SpouseAnn (Sparks)
Birthabt 1727
1 MWilliam Sparks
Birthabt 1750, Federick, MD [754]
2 MMatthew Sparks
Birthabt 1752, Frederick Co, MD [754]
Deathbef May 1820, Yadkin, NC [754]
3 FRachel Sparks
Birthabt 1754, Frederick Co, MD [754]
Deathaft 1843, Surry, NC [754]
SpouseJohn Rose
4 FNancy Sparks
Birthabt 1756, Frederick Co, MD [754]
SpouseWilliam Wilcox
5 MGeorge Sparks
Birthabt 1758, Frederick Co, MD [754]
Birthabt 1762, Frederick Co, MD [754]
Deathabt 1826, Lawrence Co, KY [754]
7 FMargaret Sparks
Birthabt 1764, Surry, NC [754]
SpouseWilliam Gibson
8 MThomas Sparks
Birthabt 1766, Surry, NC [754]
9 MBenjamin Sparks
Birthabt 1769, Davie, NC
SpouseElizabeth Hicks
Marriage18 Jan 1797, Surry, NC [245]
10 MJeremiah Sparks
Birthabt 1772, Davie, NC [754]
Notes for William SPARKS
[THE SPARKS QUARTERLY, Whole No. 154, pgs 3752-3798;

"A probable reason why William Sparks did not accompany his father and siblings to North Carolina in or about 1754 was the fact that he had become a land owner; in all liklihood, he was also married by that time.

"On July 11, 1749, the colony's land office accepted the claim that William Sparks had made for fifty acres of vacant land and issued him a "certificate of survey" or warrant. See Liber BY & GS, folio 25, Commissioner Land Office, Annapolis, Maryland. Since William Sparks was quite a young man in 1749, and the fact that his father was not a landowner, we wonder whether he may have married about this time and whethe rhis father-in-law might have "backed" him in the enterprise. Unfortunately, we have found no record revealing the name of William'swife other than the fact that her first name was Ann. Four months later, on November 4, 1749, a man named Isaac Brooke, measured William Sparks's claim...(Article describes the system used for measuring and describingtracts of land by Metes and Bounds). For other purchases by WilliamSparks, see Frederick Co. Deed Book E, page 82 4; Frederick Co. Deed BookG, pp. 463-64 and Deed Book G, pp. 460-61 ; Commissioner Land Office,Liber BC & GS, Folio 642.

“As will beseen, William chose the name SPARKS DELIGHT for his tract, obviouslyexpressing his pleasure at becoming a landowner. (Taneytown is the nearest to wn to SPARKS DELIGHT today,being about eight miles southeast. The Taneytown Pike (Highway 140) passes through the tract's southern tip.)

(pg 3762 bottom) "William Sparks's father, William Sample Sparks , had moved with his family from Frederick County, MD., to the Forks of theYadkin in Rowan County, North Carolina, in, we believe, 1754 . Only William, the oldest of his sons, had remained behind. The family had been accompanied by three of the sons of Joseph Sparks (344 ) (uncle of William Sample Sparks who had died in 1749). These three were Solomon(356), Jonas (354) and Jonathan (357). It was Solomon who had obtained agrant for ninety-three acres of vacant land on the west side of theMonocacy River in the same year that William Sparks received his warrantfor SPARKS DELIGHT. Solomon Sparks had called his tract COLD FRIDAY.When he sold it to Matthew Howard on June 2 0, 1753, for "35 Poundssterling money," he was making preparation for the move to North Carolina.

"There must have been communication of some kind between WilliamSparks and his relatives in the Forks of the Yadkin because, in 1764, just a decade after his father, brothers, and cousins left Frederick County, William followed them to their new home. In preparation for this move, on April 26, 1746, he sold his entire farm, comprising some 283acres, to Christian Newswanger for 400 pounds.

"The deed which William Sparks signed on this occasion signified amajor change in his and his family's lives. The deed was recorded in theFrederick County Courthouse in Deed Book J., pp. 305-06. The decision byWilliam Sparks to follow his father and siblings to NC in 1764 may wellhave related to the growing political unrest in western Maryland. TheFrench and Indian War, which was the American phase of the Seven Year sWar in Europe, had finally come to an end in 1763, but the threat from hostile Indians continued to be a constant worry. While the Indianattacks against Frederick County settlers had been well to the west ofthe settlements along the Monocacy River, in the area that now comprisesthe counties of Washington, Allegany, and Garrett, the stories carried eastward of Indian atrocities received wide publicity . A writer livingin Fredericktown (now called Frederick) wrote in July 1763 to theMaryland Gazette: "Every day, for some time past, has offered themelancholy scene of poor, distressed familites driving downwards throughthis town with their effects, who have deserted their plantations for fear of falling into the cruel hands of our sava ge enemies, now daily seen in the woods."

"The Forks of the Yadkin (now Davie County), where William's father,brothers, and cousins had gone ten years earlier, was part of the Granville land, and this area became William Sparks's destination when heand his family began their journey in the late spring of 1764. Whethero ther Frederick County families accompanied them, we do not know,although when the 1765 quit-rent list was prepared for Frederick County ,the words "gone to Carolina" followed ten of the names.

"In the article devoded to William Sample Sparks (The SparksQuarterly, Whole No. 148) we speculated regarding the route that he andhis party had probably taken to the Forks of the Yadkin in 1754. We canguess that now, in 1764, his son followed a similar route.

"The likelihood is that William Sparks traveled down the Great TradingPath (also called the Great Wagon Road) from Frederick, Maryland ,through Winchester and Staunton in Virginia, to Drapers Meadows,Chiswells, and Wolf Hills, then along the north and east side of the(North) Yadkin River to where it is joined by the South Yadkin. He mayhave crossed the Yadkin at the Shallow Ford in what is now southeastYadkin County, or he may have continued a few miles beyond the Fork wherehis brother, Matthew, had acquired Granville land in 1761, to the TradingFord near the village of Salisbury. If he chose the latter, he wouldthen have travelled back northward to Howard's Ferry across the SouthYadkin.

"Based on research among North Carolina official records as well aslater family records, Dr. Paul E. Sparks and the present writer (Bidwell)are convinced that William Sparks and his wife, Ann, were the parents often children. We believe that at least six of these children were bornin Maryland, before the family set out for the Forks of the Yadkin.These were, we believe, William Jr. (521), Matthew (334), Rachel (530),Nancy (53 3), George (534) and James (189). William Jr., the oldest son,whos e name fitted family tradition, was thirteen or fourteen years old in 1764. The other four children of William and Ann, born, we believe ,in North Carolina, were named Margaret (535), Thomas (536), Benjamin(553), and Jeremiah (554).

"A map of the Forks of the Yadkin appears on page 3495 of #148. There is shown the exact location of a tract of the 372 acres whichWilliam' s brother, Matthew Sparks, had purchased from Lord Granville'sagent on April 4 , 1761, for 10 Shillings sterling. As shown, this tractlay at the very point where the South Yadkin River joins the (North)Yadkin River . The tract which Matthew's (and William's) cousin, SolomonSparks , purchased also in 1761, lay on the North or Main Yadkin. (p.3768)

"It was not until 1836 that the area between the two rivers was cutoff from Rowan County to become Davie County. (The name "Forks of theYadkin" is often used for this area, but it has sometimes been used,also, for a larger area, even including parts of what are now Iredell andDavidson Counties.) "We believe that Matthew Sparks , who was aboutfive years younger than William, had "squatted" on his land for a numberof years before he actually purchased it, this being a custom followed bymost of the early settlers on Granville lands. We believe that WilliamSample Sparks, father of William and Matthew, had made his home onMatthew's land. We know from court records that it was in his home thathe had a license to "keep an ordinary" (that is, a tavern to accomodatetravellers), beginning in 1762. The seat of justice for Rowan County,the town of Salisbury, is located only nine miles further down on theYadkin River, so M atthew's land would have been a strategic spot for an"ordinary." His house no doubt stood near the river which formed anatural highway . It is quite probable that William Sample Sparks, hiswife (whose name, we believe, was Rachael, although she was surely asecond or eve n third wife), and his younger children, lived near hisson, Matthew.

"On the map appearing on page 3769, we show the location of other landowners living (or at least owning land) near Matthew's and Solomon'sgrants prior to Lord Granville's death in 1763, that is, before the landoffice was closed. While it was assumed at the time that Granville'sheirs would soon begin selling vacant land again, for a va riety ofreasons this did not happen, and it was not until the state of NorthCarolina confiscated Granville's estate did land sales commence again in1778. From 1763 to 1778, the only way that an individual could acquire alegal title to a tract of land in the Granville District was to purchaseit from some who had obtained a grant prior to 1763. Families continuedto "squat" on vacant land, however, many of whom expected to buy theirtracts eventually.

"It can be assumed that Matthew and Solomon Sparks had more neighborsthat suggested by this map because of the presence of squatters.Regarding the squatters, Jo White Linn has written: "Possessing no legaltitle to the land on which they lived, they remained virtually invisiblein the records, their names not appearing on tax lists, in deed books,nor in will books, since they lacked ownership of real property." [SeeMrs. Linn's "Prolegomenon" for Rowan County, NC, Vacant Land Entries1778-1789 abstracted by Richard A. Enochs, 1988]

"It was to the Sparks home[s] on Matthew's land that William and Annwent with their family in 1764.

"The earliest settler in the area now constituting Davie County ofwhom we have record had been Morgan Bryan, a Quaker, who had settledfirst in what is now Yadkin County in 1748. After a year or two, Bryanhad moved with his grown sons to what is now the northeast corner ofDavie County . Morgan Bryan and his seven sons gradually acquired some5,000 acres, and the area in which they lived came to be called "theBryan Settlement." Another early settler had been Squire Boone,originally from Pennsylvania and an old acquaintance of Morgan Bryan. Hehad arrived with his family in either 1751 or 1752. His seventeenyear-old son, Daniel, accompanied him, and in 1756 Daniel Boone, who wasdestined to become famous, was married to Rebecca Bryan, daughter ofJoseph Bryan, son of Morgan Bryan. (p. 3770, but see p. 3885)

"Mention is made here of the Boone family because a description ofSquire Boone's cabin has been preserved. It was probably not verydifferent from the cabin in which William Sparks found his brotherMatthew, living when he arrived at the Forks of the Yadkin in 1764. Thisdescription of the Boone home was written by a man named H. H. Helper in1 883. Helper had been born and reared near the Boone cabin and recalled its appearance for the historian, Lyman C. Draper, whose papers arepreserved by the Wisconsin State Historical Society. Helper said thatBoone's one-room house was one story high; its length was 22 feet and itswidth was 18 feet. Each of the faced logs with which it was builtmeasured 12 by 18 inches, and the roof had a 60 degree slope . There wasbut one door made of heavy planks which hung on wooden h inges. The doorhad some nails in it, but otherwise the structure wa s "pegged." Thefloor was made of oak boards, adzed smooth. The chimney was 7 feet widein front and 6 feet wide behind with a deep fire place. It was built ofsoapstone rocks with mud for mortar.

"During the ten years between the arrival of William's father,brothers, and cousins, the population of the Forks of the Yadkin hadgrown, but not dramatically, for this had been the period of the Frenchand Indian War. While the war had caused hardships in western Maryland,as had been noted earlier, it had been even more devastating for thesettler s along the Yadkin River. The French had directed their allies,the Cherokee Indians, to conduct numerous raids against the settlers, although our records of these events are few. We know that Daniel Boonefeared so for the safety of his family that either in late 1759 or early1760, he moved his wife and children to Culpepper County, Virginia, whilehis parents returned to Maryland. During 1761 and 1762 , however, theCherokees were subdued, and Daniel Boone, who had figured prominently inthis war against the Cherokees, brought his family back to the Forks ofthe Yadkin that year. It will be recalled that it was also in 1762 thatWilliam Sample Sparks obtained his first license to keep an ordinary.

"So it was that by 1764, when William Sparks arrived in NorthCarolina, peace had returned to the Forks of the Yadkin. How fascinatingit would be today if we could listen to the stories that William' sfather and brothers had to tell him and Ann of their experiences du ringthe previous ten years. They would also have had many questions to askWilliam and Ann regarding events during the past decade back home inFrederick County, Maryland.

"In his "Histories of the Dividing Line Betwixt Virginia and NorthCarolina", William Byrd wrote in 1728 that "the soil is exceedingly richon both sides of the Yadkin, abounding in rank grass and prodi giouslylarge trees; and for plenty of Fish, Fowel and Venison is inf erior to NoPart of the Northern Continent." James W. Wall, in "History of DavieCounty in the Forks of the Yadkin" (Spartanburg, SC, 1985 ),p. 7, hasnoted:

"Davie County in the forks of the Yadkin and South Yadkin Rivers w asan ideal place for the pioneer to settle. Here he found gentle rollinghills, valleys and bottoms, fertile soil - both clay and loam - some landalready cleared for planting. The climate was mild without extremes, andthe area was not subject to severe or frequent storms, drought, orfloods. Forests of oak, poplar, and pine furnished aboundant timber andfuel. There were ample grass for grazing and hay, numerous spring s andstreams for water, and fish and game for food."

"The Rev. Jethro Rumple, writing in 1881, described the life of theearly settler in his "A History of Rowan County, North Carolina" (pp.170-7 1) as follows:

"With the exception of a few articles, such as iron, salt, a littlesugar and coffee or chocolate, pepper and spice, the fa rm, theflocks and herds yielded all that was consumed at the homes of ourpeople. The table was loaded with home productions. The operations ofthe farm were carried on with rude and simple implements and in aprimitive way. The market for grain and flour was several hun- dredmiles distant, and the expense of transportation was too great tojustify the raising of more than was needed on the farm. The rich newgrounds and bottom lands with their virgin soil brought fort h abountiful crop with little labor, and left a large margin oftime for hunting and fishing. There was always a "slack season" betweenthe "laying by" of crops and fodder-pulling time. That was the timeto hunt squirrels, and the crack of the rifle might be heard aroundthe cornfields on all sides. And then fishing expeditions, were organized to some favorite pond or stretch of the river, where with longcircling seine the jumping trout and the blushing redhorse werecaptured. The farmers' boys know where the sweetest wild grapes or themost tempting muscadines grew, or where the thinnest-shelled blackhaws were to be found, and visited them accordingly. Those same farmer'sboys also knew the haw trees, persimmon trees, and grapevines in allthe country around that were likely to be frequented by the fatopossums in the later fall, and they had their 'possum dogs' ingood training by the time the first hard frost ripened the persimmons andthe opossum himself, and made his flesh fit for eating."

"Until the arrival of William Sparks in 1764, his father, Willia mSample Sparks, had been identified in records kept by the Rowan CountyCourt simply as "William Sparks" or "Will Sparks," although at any timehe initiated a record himself, such as when he requested a license tokeep his ordinary, he used his middle as well as his first name. Afterthe arrival of his son in 1764, we are quite certain that the clerkreferred thereafter to the son when he wrote the name William or WillSparks.

"In North Carolina, from 1760 until after the Civil War, the countycourt,comprised of the justices of the peace within the county, and whosedecisions affected nearly every aspect of the lives of the people, wascalled an Inferior Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions. In common usage,however, it was called simply the "County Court," and that is the name weshall use in this article.

"On July 14, 1764, the Rowan County Court ordered that "a Road be LaidOut the Neares[t] & Best Way from John Howard's Ferey to the Road fromBethabara to Salisbury Near Reedy Creek, runing up from sd Ferey to theFork to Boons Road." (Bethabara was the central village in the Moraviansettlement in what
is now Forsyth County --- the Moravians had obtained some 100,000 acresof land from Lord Granville in 1752.) Twelve men from the area wherethis road was to be laid out, including both Matthew Sparks and "Will"Sparks , were directed to perform this task. After this wasaccomplished, the court, on October 11, 1764, ordered that "WilliamSparks Bee & is hereby Appt d Overseer" to build this road, and that "allthe Inhabitants within that District Worke under him." [See Vol. II ofABSTRACTS OF THE MINUTES OF THE COURT OF PLEAS AND QUARTER SESSIONS,ROWAN COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA, 1763-1774 , by Jo White Linn, Salisbury,NC, 1979, pp. 29 & 31.] We are certain that this referred to WilliamSparks, not his father, William Sample Sparks--this was a task for a manin his forties rather than in his sixties. From this we know, also, thatWilliam had arrived and was settled in the Forks of the Yadkin by July1764. The ferry kept by John Howard was located on the South Yadkinabove the northwestern corner of Matthew Sparks's land.
Census notes for William SPARKS
1790 Surry Co, NC: 1-1-2. (p. 186)
Last Modified 27 Jun 2004Created 1 Dec 2013 using Reunion for Macintosh