Isaac Jones homestead (1837-1851) Calloway County, KY

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Matthew Sparks Family Of Surry County, NC

Dobbins Creek, Yadkin County, NC
(formerly known as Sparks Creek)
Just upstream is the site of William Sparks' 1778 grist mill.

After quite a bit of thought I've decided to forego my usual "narrative style" post due to the fact that pretty much everything you could ever want to know about this family can be found on The Sparks Family Association website. Here's a link......

I'll just take a moment to reiterate my theory concerning this family's connection to that of Isaac Jones. As I mentioned in my earlier post involving Isaac's daughter Jane Jones, I am of the belief that she married Matthew Sparks' son John sometime prior to 1820 in Surry County, NC. 

Matthew Sparks was born in Frederick County, Maryland circa 1752 and was the son of William and Ann Sparks who had migrated down to the Davie County area of what was then Rowan County, NC around 1763. By the late 1770's, William had relocated his family to the Hunting Creek area of Surry County where he and his son Matthew began to purchase a rather large amount of land. By 1800, the father and son team had acquired a combined 1000 acres of grant land alone, which spread from the Brushy Mountains to Deep Creek.

Section of the Brushy Mountains in present-day Yadkin
County, NC once owned by William Sparks.

Having owned so much land in the Hunting Creek area, it's not surprising that Isaac Jones would eventually become their neighbor upon his arrival to the area in 1801. As I mentioned in my earlier post involving Thomas Jones of Frederick County, Maryland, it's quite likely that Isaac would have even known the Sparks family during his youth growing up in Rowan County.

1780 Land Grant Warrant for 200 acres
owned by Matthew Sparks.

Once again, it is believed by me that Isaac Jones' daughter Jane went on to marry John Sparks, the son of Isaac's neighbor Matthew Sparks, in Surry County around 1819. The primary piece of evidence that leads me to this conclusion is Jane's later Calloway County, KY marriage record to her second husband John Jeffrey. The date of the actual marriage license is January 25, 1834 and lists her as "Jane Sparks (widow)". Knowing that Jane had originally married a Sparks, the most likely candidate would have been someone living close to her family, such as Isaac's immediate neighbor Matthew Sparks. Out of Matthew Sparks' five male children, his youngest son John born circa 1800 seems to be the most likely to fit the bill. John Sparks makes his first appearance on the Surry County federal census in 1820 with his household information seeming to indicate that he was a relative newlywed and only having one daughter under the age of 10. This daughter I believe to be Nancy Caroline Sparks who was born in North Carolina on March 25, 1819. What is interesting here is that on the very next day, John's father Matthew wrote out his will dated March 26, 1819. A series of deeds can be found in the county dated two days prior that show Matthew giving various amounts of land to each of his sons, with his youngest son John receiving 50 acres next to his brother Joel. If you'll remember, this was the same Joel Sparks who purchased land from Isaac Jones in 1826. There is no record of John ever selling this particular piece of land, but a deed does exist dated August 26, 1825 showing him selling his entire rights to the estate of his father for $200. I've noticed that this action has prompted researchers with the Sparks Family Association to describe it as possible "contemplation of moving away from Surry County." I couldn't agree more because he can't be found on the 1830 Surry County census and it wasn't long after 1825 that Isaac's family left the area for Tennessee. Furthermore, out of all of Matthew Sparks' children, male or female, John has been the only one to remain a relative mystery to Sparks Family researchers. In my experience, a situation like this is often indicative of a person being absorbed into a different family through marriage which is exactly what I think happened here. The only other child known to exist from Jane Jones' marriage to a Sparks is her son Burrell J. Sparks who was born in North Carolina around 1822. It is still unknown as to what became of Jane's first husband, although based on the rest of the family's movements and her subsequent 1834 marriage to John Jeffrey, all signs would seem to indicate that he died in Tennessee and most likely in Lincoln County.

1819 Surry County, NC Will of Matthew Sparks