James Sparks and Mary Ann Ellis


Touched up.

Image of Mary Sparks courtesy of descendants of Mabel Clair McKenney Tripp.

James Sparks was born 1803 in , Fleming, Kentucky. He married abt 1827 to Mary Ann Ellis in , Nicholas, Kentucky. She was born 1806 in , Nicholas, Kentucky.

I believe James to be the son of George Sparks and Elizabeth “Betsy” Wells. Mary Ann Ellis was the daughter of James Mason Ellis and Francis Fanny Doughty.

Kentucky Nicholas County Marriage Bonds 1799-1855 gives:

James SPARKS & Polly ELLIS, November 1, 1827. By John Rogers.

As Mary Ann ELLIS was born in Nicholas County, Kentucky, I believe this Polly ELLIS to be Mary Ann and wife of James Sparks. In the census, James SPARKS and Mary are consistently located beside family of Mary Ann ELLIS, most consistently James Nicholas ELLIS, her brother.

James and Mary Ann had 7 children:

  1. Elizabeth J. Sparks b. abt. 1828, died before 1853, married Richard Allen Crane who was born 1826 and died 1878.
  2. James E. Sparks b. 1832 in Indiana, died 1927 in , Chautauqua County, Kansas, married 1852 March 28 in , Martin, Indiana to Carrie E. (Cary Ann) Burch b. 1835 in , Greene, Indiana, died 1917 in , Chautauqua, Kansas. Direct line.
  3. George T. Sparks b. abt. 1830, died before 1864. 1851 Jan 12 at Greene, Indiana he married Cyrene C. (Syreney) Vest. In 1864 March 31 at Loogootee, Martin, Indiana she married 2nd Martin J. Stuckey, b. abt 1798 in Kentucky. He was married 3 times previously, to Millie Cleveland, Ruth Love and Catherine Van Hoy.
  4. Otho Sparks was born abt 1834 and died before 1898. 1856 April 13 in , Martin, Indiana he married Mary E. Lamar. He married 2nd, 1895 Nov 17 in , Gibson, Indiana, Sarah C. Collins.
  5. William Sparks was born about 1837.
  6. Benjamin D. Sparks was b. abt. 1840 in , Monroe, Indiana, and died in Chautauqua County, Kansas. He appears to have married 3 times, to a Mary Curtis, Minerva Edmondson, and Emma Louis Mitchell. I’ll list his families on a separate page.
  7. Mary Ellen Sparks was born abt. 1845. 1867 April 4 in Macoupin, Macoupin, Illinois she married T. C. Russell.

I’ve yet to locate the family in the 1830 census.

1830, 1832, 1834, children were born in Indiana. About 1835 James’ father died. hen in 1837 and 1840 two more children were born in Indiana.

The census data for 1840.

James M. ELLIS, father of Mary Ann, is on page 58, and his sons Benjamin and Ellis, and SCOTT and CRANE relations, are on page 67. The household of James SPARKS shows 2 2 1 – – 1 / – – 1 – – 1 (2 males under 5 would be William and Benjamin, 2 5 to 10 would be Otho and James, 1 10 to 15 George, 1 30 to 40 woulld be James Sr., 1 female 10 to 14 is unknown and 1 female 30 to 40 is Mary).

pg. 58

Jonathan HINKLE
Daniel GROSS SR.

William MOORE
James M. ELLIS Sr. – – – – – – – 1 / – – 1 2 1 – – 1
pg. 62
SPARKS 2 2 1 – – 1 / – – 1 – – 1
(Index gives as James SPARKS, images have first names cut off.)
pg. 67
David HALL
Jonathan SCOTT
Alexander SYMS
Benj. ELLIS 1 – – – 1 / – – – 1
James ELLIS Jr. – – – – 1/ 2 – – – 1
Vincent SCOTT 1 2 – – – 1 / 1 – 1 – – 1
Richard CRANE 1 2 3 – – 1 / 1 1 – – – 1
Yalden BAKER

Lastly, in 1845, Mary Ellen was born.

By 1848 the family was in Brown County Indiana where James is listed as a poll tax payer.

The 1850 census data.

James SPARKS and Mary are living beside her brother James Nicholas ELLIS. John ELLIS in household 140 is a brother of her father James Mason ELLIS. John ELLIS married a Lucretia WELLS who could possibly have been a relation of Elizabeth WELLS, wife of George SPARKS.

pg. 51A
John ELLIS 76 farmer b. PA 400 can’t read or write
William 38 farmer 200 b. KY can’t read or write
John 34 150 b. KY can’t read or write
Elizabeth McCAMORIN 36 b. KY can’t read or write
Mary ELLIS 32 b. IN
William McCAMORIN 16
Sarah MURPHY 15
Jane MURPHY 15 twins
William McCAMORIN 16 farmer b. IN
Martin STUCKEY 52 potter 400 b. KY
Catharine 31 b. NC
John 1 b. IN
Martin 1. b. IN
Upton STUCKEY 27 potter 600 b. IN
Jane 30 b. NC
Martin 4 b. IN
Arthur 1 b. IN
Aaron ROSE 16 potter b. NJ
Hubbard LOVE 45 farmer
Sarah LOVE 40 $500 b. NC
John 30 farmer b. IN
Sarah J. 18
William N. 15 farmer
Mary Ann 13
Arch 10
Emaline 7
Naller ? 3
Sabra LOVE 83 b. PA
James S. LOVE 22 farmer b. IN
Hannah LOVE 26 b. SC
Abigail B., EMORE 8 b. IN
John CRANE 26 Farmer 200 b. IN
Elvira 36 b. KY
John C. 4 b. IN
p. 51B
William CRANE 3 b. IN
Ben N. 1
NOTE: Worldconnect http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=:1651362&id=I75186476 (caspian64@aol.com)
Elvira ELLIS (sister of Mary Ellis SPARKS) , b. 1814 KY, daughter of James M. ELLIS b. 1784 PA or VA and Francis Fanny DOUGHTY. John Cord CRANE was a son of Richard CRANE and Rebecca GARDNER (Rebecca was a sister of Elizabeth GARDNER and Elizabeth married 2nd Richard CRANE). John Cord CRANE died young… “She may not have been in a good mental state. Some records indicate that her children were given away and she is found in one census as ‘living with a slew of paupers’. 1850 Census: IN, Martin Co. Perry Twp; 1860 Census: IN, Martin Co. Perry Twp, pg 51; 1870 Census: IN, Martin Co. Center Twp. pg. 300; 1880 Census: IN, Martin Co. Perry Twp.; Holt History of Martin Co IN Vol. 2 (Putnam County Library.”
Next door is Elvira and Mary’s brother James Nicholas ELLIS.

James N. ELLIS 36 Farmer 500 b. KY
Maria 36 b. KY
Elvira 13 b. IN
Elizabeth 11
Mary J. 9
James A. 4
Benj. 2
NOTE: This is James Nicholas ELLIS b. 21 July 1811 in Nicolas Co. KY and died 3 Sept. 1892 in Neosho Co. KS. His wife is Rebecca Mariah SCOTT b. 1 May 1816 in Nicolas Co. KY. Joel Weintraub writes at Genforum as to Rebecca Mariah SCOTT that her parents were Jonathan SCOTT and Catherine BORDERS, and that Jonathan’s father was Simon SCOTT who “was a youngster in Scotland when Pirates captured him, and released him in Virginia when he was of age…thus he knew his first name but not last, so he called his surname Scott after Scotland.”
James SPARKS 46 farmer 300 b. KY
Mary 43 b. KY
George T. 20 b. IN
James E. 18
Otho 16
William 13
Benj. 10
Mary Ellen 5
Richard A. CRANE 23 Farmer $200
Elizabeth CRANE 22
James S. 2
Richard 49 farmer $650 b. KY 150/153
Elizabeth CRANE 42John C. 23 farmer
Thomas 22 farmer $400
Isaac E. 19
Elizabeth 17
Benjamin J. 16
Susan R. 16
Charles H. 3
Elisa E. 2
Cary A. BIRCH 2
John A. BIRCH 13
Isaac T. BURCH 12
Martha S. BIRCH 7
George H. CRANE 10
Note: Cary BIRCH is erroneously given here as 2 instead of 12.
151/156 James and Percilla QUEEN

In 1852, son James E. Sparks was married. In 1855, Mary Ann’s brother, Benjamin, died. The marriage of son Otho followed in 1856.

The census data for 1860.

James SPARKS and Mary are again living next to James Nicholas ELLIS, and also next to son James E. SPARKS.

pg. 738
James ELLIS 38 stone mason b. KY
R. Mariah 44 b. KY
Elvira MILLER 23 b. IN
Mary ELLIS 19
James 14
Benjamin 12
Jonathan 10
Sarah A.
James W. ? 4
Albert 5
NOTE: James ELLIS was living next to the SPARKS in the 1850 Martin County census.
pg. 740 (76 ancestry.com)
73/73 James W. SCOTT 45 wheelwright $1200 $500 b. KY
Adelia 45 b. GA?
Malison 19 f. b. IL
Carolin 16 b. IL
Robert 12. b. IN
James Wesley SCOTT is going to be a relative of Rebecca Mariah SCOTT married to James Nicholas ELLIS in the above household.
James SPARKS 54 M Farmer personal value 200 b. KY
Mary 53 F b. KY
Benjamin D. 21 M b. IN
Mary E. 17 F b. IN
James SPARKS 26 m Farmer b. IN
Cary A. 24 F b. IN
John 7 M b. IN
Mary E. 3 F b. IN
Martha C. 1 F b. IN
John COWWDE? COWWELE 50 b. NY and family
84/84 577/577
Wiley C. VAILS 36 and Susan and family
Elizabeth M. SCOTT 40 widow
79/79 Davies LARKINS 65 and Ann and family
80/80 John ELLISON 30 and family
81/81 Sanford LARKINS 30
82/82 Wiliam LARKINS 28 and family
83/83 Alfred P. GIBBONS? 43 and family 584/584
D. ELLIS 28 personal property 500 b. ILL
Sarah 25
Martha A. 7
John 5
Andrew Ellison 2
Samuel SHOPES or SHAPES 36 (PA) and Mary and family
Stephen SMITH and Julia and family
NOTE: I don’t see any MCCORMICKS in Cumberland County.

In 1870 the couple is in Whitley, Moultrie, Illinois.

Illinois, Moultrie, Whitley
119/117 SPARKS James 62 Farmer $00 $100 KY
Mary E. 50

Son James E. SPARKS and Carrie BURCH SPARKS are reported to have migrated to KS, Chautauqua Co. in 1873. This is subsequent the death of Mary Ann’s father in 1871 and her mother in 1872.

The brother of Mary Ann ELLIS, James Nicholas ELLIS, also migrated to Chautauqua Co. KS and is observed in the 1880 Sedan census threre, in which Benjamin SPARKS is also observed.

Francis PARTCH has written that her ancestor Samuel McCORMICK boated with the SPARKS down from IN. It is possible the SPARKS families returned to IN.

James And Mary E. are in Sedan in 1875.

1875 Sedan, Howard, Kansas

4/2 James SPARKS 67 Farmer $100 KY from IL
M. 66 KY from IL
5/6 I. F. ELDRIDGE 40 NC from MO
I T? 28 NC
C B 9 NC
E M 7 NC
W A 5 MO
S V 2 KS
6/2 M MURPHY 38 and S E Murphy 34

The SPARKS families connect with the LOVE and STUCKEY families, observed in the census, through George T. SPARKS, son of James SPARKS and Mary Ann ELLIS. George married Cyrene VEST in 1851. Cyrene VEST marries 2nd Martin STUCKEY in 1864. He was married to Ruth LOVE, daughter of James LOVE and Sabra, before 1820 in Indiana.

Brother of James Mason ELLIS, John ELLIS, had a ggrandson, Christian ELLIS, who married Lorena RICH 1898 in Indiana, Martin County. Her mother was a Sharum, daughter of George Sharum and Rachel Standley, and Rachel Standley’s mother as Jane LOVE who married William STANDLEY. Jane was a sister of Ruth who married Martin STUCKEY.

Brother of James Mason ELLIS, John ELLIS, had a ggrandson, Christian ELLIS, who married Lorena RICH 1898 in Indiana, Martin County. Her mother was a Sharum, daughter of George Sharum and Rachel Standley, and Rachel Standley’s mother as Jane LOVE who married William STANDLEY. Jane was a sister of Ruth who married Martin STUCKEY.

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.