Evermore Genealogy

George Sparks and Elizabeth Betsy Wells

The Sparks Family Tree Website gives this on George Sparks:

SQ, p. 1319:


“George Sparks was born about 1767 and died prior to 1840, probably in Nicholas County, Kentucky. He was probably the George Sparks who married Rachel McClenahan in Nicholas County, Kentucky, on April 18, 1805. (This may have been his second marriage since a George Sparks married Elizabeth Wells on June 14, 1790, in Bourbon County.) It is quite possible that his widow was the female aged between 70 and 80 who was enumerated among the family of George Sparks on the 1840 census of Nicholas County; this latter George Sparks is believed to have been a son of George and Rachel (McClenahan) Sparks.

“George Sparks paid taxes from 1787 to 1799 in Bourbon County, but apparently was in that portion of Bourbon County which became Fleming County in 1798 because he paid taxes in Fleming County from 1802 to1804. He was in Lewis County from 1809 to 1817, but went to Nicholas County where he lived until is death prior to 1840.

“George Sparks was an Ensign and then a Lieutenant in the Fleming County Regiments (Cornstalk Militia), first in the 30th Regiment and then in the 58th Regiment in 1803-4.” (Article here lists 10 children by sex and approximate birth-dates, no names.

“Some descendants believe that they can identify four of the ten children of George Sparks as George Sparks, Jr.; John Thornton Sparks; Cyntha Ann Sparks; and William Sparks. More positive proof is needed to make this claim a certainty; however, in the hope that the publishing of these records will stimulate the uncovering of additional data, we are giving the records of these four persons as probable children of George and Rachel (McClenahan) Sparks.” (here follows information on the four children named for which see their family sheets.)

SQ, p. 5128: “George Sparks, born ca. 1764, died ca. 1835. He was married (1st) to Elizabeth (Betsey) Wells, and (2nd) to Rachael McClanahan in 1805. Information regarding him and his family can be found in the QUARTERLY of June 1970, Whole No. 70, p. 1319; and December1970, While No. 72, p. 1370.”

I’ve no proof of it, but it’s my belief that James Sparks b, 1803 in Kentucky is the James who was a son of George Sparks and Elizabeth “Betsy” Wells. The following will be difficult to follow for individuals not somewhat familiar with the families in question, but let’s see how it goes…

James SPARKS and Mary ELLIS named a second son George and a third son Otho and the fourth son William, so these names fit. family-wise. Especially interesting is the use of the name Otho by both James and Mary Ellis and George and Elizabeth “Betsy” Wells.

John Wesley BIRCH, brother of Carrie BIRCH/BURCH (married James SPARKS) married an Elizabeth LENTZ b. 1838 in IN, Greene Co. LENTZ name is also seen in this family with John Thornton SPARKS, son of George and Rachel McCLENAHAN, marrying an Elizabeth LAUNTZ b. 1805. A nephew of John Thornton Sparks’ remembered an aunt marrying a SCOTT. James Nicholas ELLIS and Susanna ELLIS, siblings of Mary ELLIS (married James SPARKS) married SCOTTS.

The children of George and Elizabeth are said to be:

  1. Charles Sparks b. 1791 in Kentucky
  2. James Sparks b. about 1800
  3. Otho Sparks b. abt. 1800
  4. Ellen “Nellie” Sparks b. 1804

The children of George and Rachel are said to be:

  1. Mary Sparks b. abt. 1807
  2. John Thornton Sparks b. abt. 1809, died 1849 in Lewis County, Kentucky, married Elizabeth Launtz b. abt 1805 in Maryland, died after 1879.
  3. George Sparks b. abt. 1811 married 1st Catherine Stokes then Hanna Fishback.
  4. William Sparks b. 1812, married 1834 March 23 in Lewis County, Kentucky to Sianna Gilbert b. 1817 in Kentucky, died 1905 in Douglas County, Missouri
  5. Cytha Ann Sparks b. abt. 1814 in Fleming County, Kentucky, married Jesse Nash, son of James Nash and Mary Brackney.

The SPARKS Quarterly gives George as being in Lewis County, Kentucky in 1810 and there is one George Sparks in that census. The George in this census has only 1 male child and 2 female children and George SPARKS is believed to have had 3 male children by Betsy WELLS between abt. 1791 and 1803, and one female child. b. 1804. James’ mother Betsy had however died by 1810 and George remarried to Rachel MCCLENAHAN. They had 1 female child and 1 male child, both under 10, by now. As this is the only George SPARKS in the Lewis Co. census, it would seem James and his two brothers might have been living with another family after the death of their mother. Ellie, James’ sister would fit in the age category of the 10 to 15 year old female in the household. James’ oldest brother, Charles, would have been about 19 and they were possibly in a household of their own.

1810 KY, LEWIS CO.
pg. 99 (5 of 10 ancestry)
Joshudy BALEY
Sollomon THOMAS
NOTE: 1 male under 10, 1 male 26 to 44, 1 female under 10, 1 female 10 to 15 and 1 female 16 to 25.
Conrad PRTUNY?
Samuel COX
Andrew JONES

In the 1820 Nicholas Co. KY census George SPARKS is living 4 doors from a James McCLANAHAN who is living beside a James ELLIS who would be the father of James Mason ELLIS.

Thomas DOUGHTY, father of Francis Doughty, wife of James Mason ELLIS, is seen on the following page.

Interesting to note that John ELLIS, brother of James Mason ELLIS, married a Lucretia WELLS, and that George SPARKS married an Elizabeth WELLS.

There is also a Caleb SPARKS in the census. He has 2 males to 10, 2 10 to 16, 1 26 to 45, 3 females to 10, 1 26 to 45 and 3 males in agriculture.

The NASH name appears both in this family and the family of Caleb SPARKS (son of William, son of William SPARKS and Martha MOORE), his daughter Catherine marrying Eli Harrison NASH, who is a brother of Jesse NASH, who married Cytha Ann, daughter of George and Elizabeth. The ELLIS name also appears in that family. Joseph SPARKS, son of Caleb SPARKS, married Isabella ELLIS. I don’t know who she is but there is likely to be found a relationship eventually.

In the George Sparks household there are 2 males to 10 (William and ?), 2 males 10 to 16 (John and Charles?), 1 45 and up (George). Then 1 female 0 to 10 (Cynthia), 1 16 to 26 (Mary) and 1 26 to 45 (Rachel).

Jesse ENLOW is observed in the census, whose line married into the HACKNEY-CROCKETT side of the family.

1820 NICHOLAS CO. NICHOLAS TOWNSHIP KY CENSUS pg. 104 or 105 (pg 1 ancestry.com)

Pg. 108 (5 of 26 ancestry.com)

Alexander MCDONALD
Thomas HARVEY?
Jesse ENLOW – 3 – – – 1 1 – 2 – 1 – 4 – – 1 – – – 2 – 1

pg. 15 of 26 Ancestry.com
Bevery BROWN
Thomas LONG
Nimrod WOOD

Eliakin? LONG
Benjamin WILSON

Avery LONG
Samuel ARNETT?
George SPARKS 2 2 – – – 1 1 / – 1 1 – –
Jacob BURNS?
James ELLIS – – – – 1 1 – – 2 – 1 – 2 – – – – 1 – 1 – 1
1 m 26 to 45, 1 m 45 and up; 2 females 16 to 26, 1 45 and up, 2 people in agriculture, 1 male 14 to 26 slave, 1 male 45 up slave, 1 14 to 26 female slave
NOTE: Profile of children doesn’t fit James Mason Ellis. But it seems there would be some relation as Thomas DOUGHTY is living the next page over by a PEYTON.

By 1827 James Sparks has married Mary Ann Ellis and, according to the census of children’s birth places, is in Indiana soon thereafter.

A possible is found for George Sparks in 1830 Nicholas County, Kentucky, though the household doesn’t fit with several young females present.

1830 Nicholas County Kentucky
pg. 213
Andrew SCOTT
George SPARKS – – 1 1 1 – – 1 / 1 1 1 – – – 1
1 male 10-15, 1 15 to 20, 1 20 to 30, 1 50 to 60, 1 female under 5, 1 female 5 to 10, 1 female 10 to 15, 1 female 40 to 50

Of course, I could be wrong about George being James’ father, but I’m ninety-nine percent confident this suspicion will prove right, if it does manage ever to be proven.


One response to “George Sparks and Elizabeth Betsy Wells”

  1. Sherry Howard Avatar
    Sherry Howard

    Eleanor Sparks was born 1813 Nicholas County, Kentucky, she was the daughter of George Sparks and Rachel McClanahan. She married Amos Mann and had a large family.

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