William Sample Sparks

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William Sample Sparks

Birthplace: Church Hill, Queen Anne's, Maryland, United States
Death: Died in Davie Co., NC
Immediate Family:

Son of William Sparks, Jr. and Margaret Ann Sparks
Husband of Rachel Sparks and Mary Corman
Father of William Z Sparks, Sr; Matthew Jefferson Sparks; Robert Sparks; Isaac T. Sparks, I; Rachel Sparks and 4 others
Brother of John Sparks; James Sparks; Sarah Sparks; Benjamin Sparks and Abigail Sparks

Occupation: SAR
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About William Sample Sparks


Sparks, William Sample (~1700 - >1765) - male

b. ABT. 1700 in Talbot County, MD

d. AFT. 1765 in NC

father: Sparks, William Jr. (~1674 - ~1735)

mother: Sample, Margaret (~1676 - <1730)

   William Sample Sparks is the 5th Great-grandfather of James Joseph Sparks.
   See MARYLAND MARRIAGES 1634-1777, Compiled by Robert Barnes,Baltimore, 1987, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. p. 168: "Sparks,William, 24 Aug. 1732, Mary Common (sic)" citing 1 QA-39 which refers torecords of St. Luke's Church, Queen Annes County, page 39. (Entries inthe IGI use both the names Common and Courman on the same date.)
   SPARKS QUARTERLY, December 1989, No. 148, pps. 3483-3501; WILLIAMSAMPLE SPARKS (BORN ca.1700, DIED ca.1765) at p. 3485:
   "(Dr.) Paul E. Sparks and this writer (Dr. Russell E. Bidlack) are nowconvinced that we have identified the parentage of William Sample Sparks,as well as his siblings and three of his children. We have to admit,however, that our proof for these relationships is based on what in thelaw is called "a preponderance of evidence" rather than upon a primarysource document containing this information. In part, our conclusionshave been reached through a process of elimination based on years ofstudy of all members of the Queen Anne's County Sparks family. Much ofour difficulty in this research results from the repeated use of theforename "William" by members of this branch of the family. Not only wasthe grandfather of William Sample Sparks named William (we have his 1709will probated in Queen Anne's County that same year), but this firstWilliam Sparks named his oldest son William, and in turn, not only didthat son (William Sparks, Jr.) name a son William, but each of the otherthree sons of this first William Sparks (who died in 1709) also named ason William, apparently to honor their father. Fortunately, William, sonof William Jr., was either given a middle name at his birth or, what ismore probable, adopted the middle name "Sample." This helps greatly todistinguish him in the records of the time from his father and from histhree first cousins named William Sparks. Unfortunately, there wereoccasions when "Sample" was omitted from his name when a clerk recordedit in an official record.
   "Until about a decade ago, we thought that the William Sparks who diedin Surry County, North Carolina, in 1802 was William Sample Sparks. Wegradually came to realize, however, that this William Sparks who died in1802 was actually a son of William Sample Sparks, who had died some 35years earlier. Unfortunately, this erroneous identification was given inseveral early issues of THE SPARKS QUARTERLY . A citation for each ofthese errors will appear at the end of this article.
   "In the QUARTERLY of March, 1971, Whole No. 73, pp. 1371-1389,appeared a study of the early Sparks families of Kent, Talbot, and QueenAnne's Counties, Maryland. On pages 3881-3889, we presented abiographical record of the first William Sparks to live in that area andwho wrote his will in June 1709 in Queen Anne's County. This will wasprobated in the County Court when the justices met the following October,which means that he had died in the summer or early autumn of 1709.There we presented documentary proof that this first William Sparks hadcome to Maryland from the county of Hampshire in England. These samerecords prove that he had a brother named John Sparks who lived nearWilliam Sparks in Maryland, dying in 1700. In his will, John Sparksreferred to two sons named John Sparks and George Sparks still inEngland. Another document proves that in 1716 John and George wereliving in Christchurch Parish in Hampshire County. From informationrecently provided us by Susan Sparks LeDuc of Ft. Wayne , Indiana, whoalso descends from this branch of the family, we believe that the aboveWilliam and John Sparks may have been sons of Thomas and Joane (Davis)Sparks who were married in Fareham Parish in Hampshire County, England onOctober 19, 1635. Among their children baptised in that in that parishwere William Sparks, baptized on August 6 , 1646, and John Sparks,baptized on December 3, 1649. While the ages of these two childrenappear to fit those of William and John Spark s who later appeared inMaryland, we must beg our readers to treat these relationships asspeculative until more extensive proof can be obtained. (Thomas Sparksof Fareham Parish had two other sons: Francis Sparks who was baptized onJuly 20, 1641, and Richard Sparks who was baptized on December 10, 1658.)Baptisms in England in the 1600s were usually performed soon after achild's birth.
   "William Sparks (died 1709), the first American ancestor of thisbranch of the Sparks family, came to the colony of Maryland in or about1663. During the next 45 years, he accumulated a good deal of propertywhich he passed on to his wife, Mary, and to his children under hiswill. As noted earlier, one of his sons was named William, and while theelder William Sparks was living, this son was called William Sparks, Jr.,in official records. We believe that William Sparks , Jr., was theeldest son of William Sparks and that he was born about 1674. He wasmarried twice, his first wife being Margaret Hamilton , daughter ofJosiah Hamilton, to whom he had been married no later than March 1696 andwho was the mother of William Sample Sparks. (Margaret Hamilton wasidentified as the wife of William Sparks and the daughter of JosiahHamilton in a New Castle County, Delaware, deed dated March 31, 1696, andrecorded in Deed Book B-1, pp. 101-02; Josiah Hamilton had died by thisdate and property in New Castle that had been inherited by Margaret wassold in this deed.)" (JS Note: It was later determined that there wasno such person as Josiah Hamilton. That deed referred to Josyn Hamilton,formerly Josyn (Boyer) Sample, Widow of William Sample, who were WilliamSample Sparks's grandparents. See the December 2000 issue of theQUARTERLY, Whole No. 192, pp 5443-5461.)
   "Sometime prior to 1729, Margaret (Hamilton) Sparks died, andWilliamSparks, Jr., then married Anne ---, who died on December 16, 1730. (The Julian Calendar was still used by England and her colonies in1730, and Anne's date of death under the Gregorian Calendar adopted byEngland in 1752 would have been on December 27, 1730, according totoday's reconing.) Anne Sparks's death was recorded in St. Luke's ParishRegister in Queen Anne's County, Maryland. William Sparks , Jr. diedabout 1735, we believe, but no probate of his estate has been found amongQueen Anne's County records.
   "William Sparks , Jr. had three brothers who, along with himself,were named in their father's will of June 1709. They were GeorgeSparks, born about 1679; John Sparks, born about 1684; and Joseph Sparks,born about 1689 . The elder William Sparks also mentioned a deceaseddaughter in his will, who had married a man named Hynson.
   "William Sparks, Jr. and each of his brothers had several children ,resulting in at least 35 Sparks grandchildren for the elder WilliamSparks (died 1709). As mentioned earlier, four of these grandchildrenwere named William in his honor. Dr. Paul E. Sparks, as has been noted,has spent many years studying the records pertaining to this branch ofthe Sparks family, and in the QUARTERLY of June 1988, Whole No. 142, pp.3229-31, he presented a list of these 35 probable grandchildren, withnotes identifying each as best he could. The William Sparks shown asnumber 32 on this list was, we are convinced, the William Sample Sparkswho is the subject of this article. "Middle names were very rarely usedbefore the 19th century, and we suspect that "Sample" was added by oursubject to help distinguish himself in official records from his fatherand his three cousins who were also named William Sparks. When it wasthat he may have added "Sample" to his name, we do not know, nor do weknow why the name "Sample" was chosen. This was a Maryland surname, andit is possible that there was some connection between the Sparks andSample families . Each time that a record was made that had beeninitiated by William Sample Sparks, whether in Maryland or later in NorthCarolina, his full name appeared, but when a clerk recorded his name in acourt or church record, his middle name was usually ommitted. This wasprobably because middle names were so rare in the 17th and 18thcenturies. (See note above re Whole No. 192 revealing the source of thename Sample.)
   "In the several instances where William Sample Sparks signed adocument which has been preserved, he signed by mark, as did his fatherand grandfather. Not everyone in those days who signed by mark, however,was illiterate, and even if they could no write, they could often read.
   "Prior to the creation of St. Luke's Parish in Queen Anne's County ,the parish which included the area were the Sparks family lived was St.Paul's Parish, the records for which, unfortunately, have not beenpreserved. In 1728, a petition addressed to the Upper and Lower Housesof the Assembly of the Province of Maryland was circulated forsignatures. It requested that a new parish be created because "manysouls have to travel as much as twenty to thirty miles to keep the Lord'sDay." Among the signers of this petition was "William Sparks, Senr."This was surely the William Sparks born about 1674 who had been called"William Sparks, Jr." until his father died in 1709. In 1728, with hisfather having been dead for nearly 20 years and his own son, also namedWilliam, having come of age, it was logical that he now be called"Senior."
   "Also among the signers of this 1728 petition were two other menwhose names appeared simply as "William Sparks." We are confident thatone of these was our William Sample Sparks--someone probably obtained hispermission to add his name and omitted the middle name "Sample," or it ispossible that he had not yet begun using it. The second William Sparkson this petition was probably the son of John Sparks and a first cousinfo William Sample Sparks. (William Sparks, son of John, was born about1706.) John Sparks also signed this petition, as did two men named GeorgeSparks. One of these was doubtless the George Sparks, born about 1679,who was a son of the elder Wi lliam Sparks who had died in 1709; theother was either George's son or a nephew.
   "The petition was successful, and St. Paul's Parish was divided t oform St. Luke's Parish. The Sparks family was included in the ne wparish. The marriage dated August 24, 1732, which was recorded in St.Luke's Parish register (pg. 41) of a William Sparks and a Mary Courmon(or Corman) may have been that of our William Sample Sparks, but, if so,it must not have been his first marriage. Our reason for believing thatthere had been an earlier marriage date for William Sample Sparks is thefact that his son, William Sparks (died 1801 in Surry County, NorthCarolina) obtained his first grant of land in Frederick County, Maryland,on July 11, 1749. He must have been at least 21 years old in order toqualify for a land grant, which would place his birth at least as earlyas 1728.
   "A map showing where the Sparks family of St. Luke's Parish in QueenAnne's County, Maryland, lived, appeared on the cover of the QUARTERLYfor March 1971, Whole No. 73.
   "We have found no record of William Sample Sparks ever owning anyland. He must have been a tradesman, perhaps an inn keeper. (As will benoted later, there are records of his having had a license to operate an"ordinary," a term used for an inn or tavern, after he moved to RowanCounty, North Carolina.)
   "From our brief records pertaining to William Sample Sparks found inQueen Anne's County and Frederick County, Maryland, it appears that hehad both financial and health problems at different times in his life.For example, on page 236 of the register of St. Luke's Paris h (this wascopied about 1899 from earlier records now in the Library of the MarylandHistorical Society in Baltimore), there is a record dated 1736 indicatingthat he had moved out of the parish without paying his church tax. Infact, he was called a "Runaway Insolvent" in the parish record. At thattime, every adult white male, regardless of his personal religiousconvictions, was required to pay a yearly tax to the Church of England.William Sample Sparks's tax for 1736 was 6 pence, but he left the parishwithout paying it. (In this parish record, his middle name was used.)
   "It was in or about 1736 that William Sample Sparks left Queen Anne'sCounty with his family and moved to the western part of the Province ofMaryland. To do so, he would have crossed the Chesapeake Bay andprobably travelled near, or possibly through, the small town ofBaltimore, which had been laid out in 1730, to reach the western edge ofwhat is now Carroll County, although at the time it was part of PrinceGeorge's County. He settled in the area of Big Pipe and Little PipeCreeks, perhaps close to where they join to become Double Pipe Creek,which, after about a mile, flows into the Monocacy River just abovetoday's Millers Bridge, about 5 miles north of the town of Woodsboro.(Little Pipe Creek, which flows north and west, now forms the boundarybetween Carroll and Frederick Counties for several miles.)
   "The area in which Sparks settled, which is drained by the MonocacyRiver and its tributaries, was then commonly called "Monocacy," as theIndians had called it before the appearance of the white man . This areacomprised most of what is now Frederick County along with part of today'sCarroll County. This area called Monocacy was a true frontier in the1730s, and William Sample Sparks and his family were true pioneers. Hedoubtless built his own cabin after his arrival. Record keeping was verylimited, except for recording the granting and selling of land. BecauseSparks was not a land owner, nor did he become involved in any majorlawsuit, his name was rarely recorded during the nearly two decades thathe lived there. No church existed there in the 1730's except a smallQuaker meeting-house. He did not join this group, nor did he join theLutheran Church established later by German settlers.
   "A map showing the Big and Little Pipe Creeks, along with the otherstreams flowing into the Monocacy River, is given below. (p. 3488)
   "When Frederick County was cut off from Prince George's County in1748, it contained all of the western portion of the province, includingWashington County (which was cut off from Frederick in 1776), a s well asAllegany County (which was cut off from Washington in 1789) , and GarretCounty (which was cut off from Allegany in 1872). To the east, FrederickCounty also included, until 1776, Montgomery County , and from 1748 until1837, a portion of Carroll County was included in Frederick.
   "This large area that became Frederick County in 1748 had been part ofPrince George's County from the time that Prince George's County had beencut off from Charles and Calvert Counties in 1695. Betwee n 1695 and1748, Prince George's County adjoined Baltimore County and comprised theentire western half of the province.
   "Our earliest reference to William Sample Sparks among court recordsof Prince George's County is in the probate file of a man named AllenFarquhar who died in December 1738. Allen Farquhar (he signed his willon November 30, 1738, as "Allen Farquer"), was a miller. He had movedfrom Chester County, Pennsylvania, sometime after 1726 and settled oneither the Big or Little Pipe Creek. He was a man of some means, and hismill served the early settlers for several miles around. Most businesswas conducted on credit in those days, but all bills came due when acreditor died. As part of the inventory of Alle n Farquhar's estate, alist was made of all of those who, according to his account book, were inhis debt for milling services. Over 60 n ames were listed, includingseveral Indians. The fourth name on the list was that of William Sparksin the amount of one pound and 14 s hillings. It is not surprising thathis middle name was omitted in Farquhar's account book since he was theonly Sparks in the neighborhood. (The inventory of Farquhar's estate ispreserved in the Hall of Records in Baltimore, Prince George's CountyInventories, Vol. 24 , pages 8-10; we are grateful to George J. Horvathof Eldersburg, Maryland for discovering this record for us.)
   "At some point following his settling in the Monocacy area, WilliamSample Sparks was joined there by his uncle, Joseph Sparks, with hisfamily. We know that Joseph Sparks was still in Queen Anne's County,Maryland in the spring of 1738 when, on April 27, 1738, his son wasbaptized in St . Luke's Parish church. Joseph and his wife, Mary, namedthis son William. It was some time during the decade that followed thatJoseph Sparks and his family joined William Sample Sparks in the Monocacy area, and it was there that he died in 1749.
   "Joseph Sparks, uncle of William Sample Sparks, died the yearfollowing the creation of Frederick County. He was a relatively youngman when he died, somehwere in his 50s, and he left his wife, Mary, witha large family. He did not leave a will, which may suggest that he diedsuddenly. The records pertaining to the settlement of his estate are inthe Maryland Hall of Records. As was customary, a detailed inventory ofJoseph Sparks's possessions was taken. It was a Maryland law that tworelatives of the deceased should certify the accuracy of such aninventory by signing their names to it; the two chief creditors of theestate were also supposed to sign. The children and spouse of thedeceased rarely signed such a document, since they would be heirs, soother close relatives where expected to perform this service. So, afterthe inventory of Joseph Sparks's belongings was completed by two of hisneighbors in June 1749, William Sample Sparks signed it (by mark). Hisfull name was given. The other signer was "Rachell Sparks," who likewisesigned by mark. In-laws were permitted to sign Maryland inventories and,while we cannot be certain, it would appear that Rachel may have been thewife of William Sample Sparks.
   "If, indeed, the Rachel Sparks who signed with William Sample Sparksas kin of Joseph Sparks in 1749 was the wife of William Sample Sparks, wemust conclude that she was either a third wife or that the marriagerecord cited earlier for a William Sparks and a Mary Courman was not thatof William Sample Sparks. It may well be that his one and only wife wasnamed Rachel. There was not a great deal of dif- ference in the ages ofWilliam Sample Sparks and his uncle, Joseph Sparks. The latter was bornabout 1689 while William Sample Sparks was born about 1700. WhileJoseph's children were first cousins of William Sample, they were nearlya generation younger than he.
   "The widow of Joseph Sparks was named Mary - - we have found no clueto reveal her maiden name. She became administratrix of her husband'sestate. The two disinterested parties who prepared the inventory wereJoseph Wood and William Carmack. From a recent book entitled PIONEERS OFOLD MONOCACY, THE EARLY SETTLEMENT OF FREDERICK COUNTY , MARYLAND,1721-1743, by Grace L. Tracey and John P. Dern, we know t hat Joseph Woodlived on Lingamore Creek about a half-mile south of present dayUnionville. William Carmack (1716- 1776) had moved to the LingamoreCreek area after 1733 from Cecil County, Maryland. The t wo creditorswho signed the inventory of the estate of Joseph Sparks in 1749 wereDavid Young, who claimed that Sparks had owed him "one pound andforpence," and Osborn Sprigg. The about owed to Sprigg was notspecified, although in the final settlement he was identified as"Sheriff" and was paid in tobacco valued at 3 pounds, 14 shillings, and 4pence.
   "Recalling that the mother of William Sample Sparks was Margaret (Hamilton) Sparks, it is interesting that a John Hamilton was one of the1749 creditors of Joseph Sparks in Frederick County. (We have notsucceeded as yet in tracing the ancestry of Margaret Hamilton other thanknowing her father's name was Josiah Hamilton.)
   "The children of Joseph and Mary Sparks were identified in a FrederickCounty court record dated August 1750 in which Mary was ordered to giveto each of her children his/her proper share of Joseph's estate. Thechildren were named as" Solomon, Joseph, Charles, Jonas , Jonathan,William, George, Merum, Mary, Ann, Rebecka, and Sarah.
   "Our next record pertaining to William Sample Sparks is dated 1750 .This was a petition submitted by him to the Frederick County Court at itsJune 1750 sitting. As recorded in Liber 1748-50 of the Frederick County"Circuit Court Judgments," Folio 557, this petition reads:
   To the worshipful the Justices of Frederick County Court, nowsetting, the petition of William Sample Sparks, Pipe Creek One Hundred,humbly sheweth that your petitioner has been afflicted many years with asore leg that renders him very incapable to maintain his family; that ifye worships would please make an order to set your Petitioner Levy free,your Petitioner as bound shall pray, etc. Upon reading which petitionand consideration thereof had, it is ordered by the Court here that thePetitioner be levy free for the future.
   " From this petition, it appears that William Sample Sparks still hadchildren to support who were still living at home in 1750.
   "A key source for genealogical research in Maryland are the landrecords, which are, in some ways, different from those of any otherAmerican colony. The period in Maryland's history with which we areconcerned here, fell into what is known as the "Second Period ofProprietary Rule, 1716-1776." Prior to 1683, land had been granted toindividuals who paid the transportation costs to bring settlers,including them- selves, to the province, but after 1683 individuals couldobtain land grants without bringing in settlers. Because the colony wasgoverned by a "Proprietor," however, annual rent had to be paid to himeven though an individual held title to his land. This all ended, ofcourse, with the American Revolution. Another peculiar feature of landownership in Maryland was the custom of naming each piece of land when itwas initially granted. The first owner chose the name for it by which itwould usually be known thereafter, even when sold to another party. Thismakes tracing of land ownership much easier in Maryland than in otherstates. Sometimes the names chosen for the land had genealogicalsignificance. When land was plentiful, as i t was when William SampleSparks moved to what became Frederick Count y in 1748, individualsoften"squatted" on vacant land until they or another party obtained anofficial grant. This is probably what was done by William SampleSparks. Joseph Sparks probably did the same, but had he not died in1749, it is likely that he would have tried to obtain a land grantfollowing the creation of Frederick County in 1748.
   "William Sparks, son of William Sample Sparks, (we feel certain thathe was the oldest son), began acquiring land in Frederick County in 1749.He left Frederick County in 1764 to join his father and brothers in RowanCounty, North Carolina.
   "Another son of William Sample Sparks was named Matthew and was bornabout 1730. We believe he was his father's second son. According to adescendant, he married Sarah Thompson, but whether this marriage tookplace in Maryland or after he moved to Rowan County, North Carolina, inor about 1754, we do not know. An article devoted to Matthew Sparks andhis family appeared in the QUARTERLY of June 1961, Whol e No. 34, pp.556-566. At that time, however, we had not identified him as a son ofWilliam Sample Sparks and stated simply that the two men were somehowrelated. We know now that he was the same Matthew Sparks who was shownas a creditor in the inventory of the estate of one Matthew Hopkins whohad died in Frederick County a year or two following the death of JosephSparks. Although undated, this inventory was taken sometime in 1751; itshowed that had owed Matthew 475 pounds of tobacco when he died. (SeeFrederick County Inventories , Book A, No. 2, p. 187.) Tobacco was acommon medium of exchange, and this probably meant that young MatthewSparks had performed some kind of labor for Hopkins for which he had notyet been paid when he died. The other Frederick County record pertainingto Matthew Sparks is a court record dated November 1752 describing aproposed road in the area of Beaver Dam Branch, Great Pipe Creek, andLittle Pipe Cr eek which "has been lately marked by Matthew Sparks." Theperson advocating that this road be built, Dr. Charles Carroll, indicatedthat Matthew Sparks had performed this task at his "instance and charge." It would appear that Matthew Sparks had acquired some surveying skillsin order to perform this service for Dr. Carroll. The court rejected theproposal, however; Dr. Carroll died in 1755. (See Frederick County CourtJudgments, November 1742.)
   "Solomon Sparks, son of Joseph Sparks and a first cousin of WilliamSample Sparks, obtained a grant of 93 acres of land on the east side ofBeaver Dam Creek on March 20, 1750. Because, under the old Juli anCalendar, the new year did not begin until March 25, it was on March 31,1751, that Solomon made his purchase according to todays calendar.(England and her colonies adopted our present Gregorian Calenda r in 1752which changed the New Year to January 1 and moved the reconing of daysahead by eleven.) Solomon Sparks was required to pay a yearly "Rent ofThree Shillings and nine pence Sterling in Silver or Golde." (SeeFrederick County Liber GS #1, Folio 116-118.) He chose the name "ColdFriday" for his tract of land. On June 30, 1753, Solomon Sparks, withthe approval of his wife, Sarah, sold this tract for 35 pounds to MatthewHoward. (See Frederick County Deeds, Liber E , Folio 194-95.)
   "We believe that the reason Solomon Sparks sold "Cold Friday" inNovember 1753 was that he, along with several other members of the Sparksfamily, including William Sample Sparks, were preparing to move fromFrederick County, Maryland, to the newly formed county of Rowan in NorthCarolina. They probably made the journey in the spring of 1754.
   "The destination of these Sparks emigrants wasa the land called "Lord Granville's Domain between the Yadkin and the Catawba Rivers" i nNorth Carolina. North Carolina had been established originally as aproprietary colony belonging to eight English lords. In 1729, however,seven of these lords sold their rights to the colony to the King, butone, Earl of Granville, refused to part with his share which , in 1744,was set apart with specified boundaries. Part of his "domain" consistedof a vast area which had been organized in 1749 as Anson County, but fromwhich Rowan County had been cut off as a separate county in 1753.Shortly after Rowan County had been created, the county seat wasestablished and named initially Rowan Court House, but this was changedlater to Salisbury.
   "By 1754, the year in which we believe that William Sample Sparks ,with two of his sons and three of his cousins (sons of his deceaseduncle, Joseph Sparks), set out for North Carolina, a great many othersettlers had already made the journey. Agents for Lord Granville hadadvertised the virtues of this new land, particularly in Irelan d andGermany. Thus, many of the early pioneers were Irish and Germa nimmigrants. How it was that William Sample Sparks and his sons andcousins learned of "Lord Granville's Domain" we shall probably neverknow, and we can only guess why they were attracted to it. A possiblereason was a growing fear that there would be warfare between England andFrance and that this would result in Indian uprisings in westernMaryland. Indeed, what would be called the French and Indian War inAmerica was about to commence. There was also the fact that desirablevacant land was much less plentiful than had been the case a few yearsearlier, and owners of good land in Frederick County were demanding highprices. There was the pleasing prospect of being able not only to obtainnew land in North Carolina at a much lower cost, but also there werereports that the soil there was unusually rich and that the climate wasmore mild than in western Maryland.
   "Whether other Frederick County families joined the Sparkses in theirpioneering venture, we do not know, but it seems likely. The men namedSparks in the group besides William Sample Sparks were his sons Matthew(about 34 years old) and James (who was still in his teens ); there werealso three sons of Joseph Sparks; Solomon Sparks (about 27), Jonas Sparks(about 20); and Jonathan Sparks (about 18). One or more daughters ofWilliam Sample Sparks may also have been included as perhaps, also, oneor more of the daughters of Joseph Sparks ( died 1749).
   "We can only speculate on the route followed by these pioneers. Thefollowing paragraphs from James S. Brawley's THE ROWAN STORY, 1753 -1953(Salisbury, N.C., 1953, pp. 12-13), helps us to imagine what their pathmay have been.
   "At the time Granville's survey was run (1746) people were beginningto fill the valley between the Yadkin and Catawba Rivers. The firstsettlers seem to have followed the river courses from South Carolina,principally the Pee Dee and Santee, and picked up lands in the southernpart of what is now Rowan. Others poured in from Pennsylvania andtraveled down the "Gread Wagon Road" that led them through the ShenandoahValley into the North Carolina Piedmont. A record of one German, JohnRamsour, showed that he traveled 502 miles from Lancaster, Pennsylvania,to Salisbury.
   (Continued under wife's notes) 

spouse: ???, Rachel (*1701 - )

- m. BEF. 1725 in MD

----------child: Sparks, William (~1725 - )

----------child: Sparks, Matthew (~1730 - 1793)

spouse: Courmon, Mary (*1714 - )

- m. 24 AUG 1732 in St. Lukes Parish, Queen Anne's, MD

----------child: Sparks, James (>1732 - )

----------child: Sparks, George (*1741 - )

----------child: Sparks, Rachel (1757 - >1845) -------------------- To conserve space on geni.com, I am only going to put in the parent's names and list children in the "About" areas. Most information about these relatives are a combination of three sources: ancestry.com, sparksfamilyassn.org, and freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com (AKA: "freepages, etc.") Unless proven elsewhere otherwise, I accept these relationships as factual and have included them here.

William Sample Sparks (or Sparkes) has a lot of conflicting information about him out. He may have been married 3 times but maybe only once - to Rachel Hamilton. There are records of a William Sparks having married a Mary Corman (or Courman) but this may not be the right William Sparks. William Sample then either married a third time to a Rachel or it is a “continuation” of his one and only marriage as Rachel was his wife when he died. He did not leave a will.

Different sources say William had 3, 4, or 5 children (3 sons, OR 4 sons, OR 4 sons, and1 daughter.) A consensus list of the 5 children is listed below. A lot of Wm Sample's information can be found in the Dec. 1989, June 1997, and Dec. 2000 issues of the sparksfamilyassn.org quarterlies...and many other issues, same website.

There are no records of Wm.Sample of having owned any land. He had financial and health problems all during his lifetime. He most probably operated an Inn or "Ordinary" and had possibly built a home on the land owned by his son Matthew. There is a record dated 1736 indicating that he had moved out of the Parish (St.Luke's) in Maryland, without paying his church tax. In fact, he was called a "Runaway Insolvent" in the parish record. At that time, every adult white male, regardless of his personal religious convictions, was required to pay a yearly tax to the Church of England. William's tax for 1736 was 6 pence, but he left the parish without paying it when he moved from Queen Anne's County to Frederick Co, MD; (he latter moved to the forks of the Yadkin River in Rowan County, NC in about 1754.)

In 1750, William Sample Sparks petitioned to become levy-free (from England) due to his ill-health (sore leg) that rendered him incapable of maintaining his family; it is unknown if this was granted; it may have been only an attempt at not paying for taxes…

On Jan. 19, 1762, Wm S. got a "liquor license" to keep an Ordinary (tavern or inn) in Rowan County, NC. The county (government) set the prices inns could charge for everything; Two citizens “of substantial means” were required to serve as “securities” to the license and William’s were: William Giles, a justice of the court (who was also one who approved the license) and Benjamin Milner, Rowen Co. Sheriff. William was referred to as "Mr." for the license which was then a title used only for men of high standing in their community, those who had established themselves as “gentlemen of integrity.” In Oct.1764, William applied for renewal of the license this time with Jacob Aaron (or Arrant), another inn owner and Hugh Montgomery, a former Philadelphia merchant and Rowan County store owner, who both signed as “securities.”

William’s name was often found on the lists of jury members for several trials. He knew many of the justices/judges in the county personally. He “squatted” on land (an accepted practice of the time) and made “improvements” thereon, but he had to move when the land was legally purchased by a James Andrews. William probably moved onto his son Matthew’s property and operated his “ordinary” there…which was mostly for travelers, being on the main wagon road.

William Sample Sparks’ children have been controversial as to whom and how many, but this is the consensus list: WILLIAM, MATTHEW, JAMES, GEORGE, and RACHEL. William and Matthew’s mother was definitely Rachel Hamilton. James’ mother was probably Mary Courman. George and Rachel’s mother was (again) a Rachel.

My direct line stems from Matthew Jefferson Sparks (Sr.)

WILLIAM Z. (b. 1725, Queen Anne’s County, NC) married Anne. He died in Surry County, NC in 1801/2. Their 9 children were: William, Jr.; Matthew; Rachel; Nancy(?); James; Margaret; Thomas; Benjamin; and Jeremiah.

MATTHEW (b. 1730, Fredrick County, MD) married Sarah Thompson; He went to Yadkin in about 1754 with his father. He was killed in an Indian raid in Franklin County, GA (now Clarke County) in 1793. They had 11 sons (all with red hair) and 2 daughters. Matthew has his own page.

JAMES (b. 1747, probably Fredrick Co, MD); no record of him having been married. He was in the Revolutionary War and served with Capt. John Cleveland (1778). He tried for a pension in 1846.

GEORGE (b. ca. 1749, NC) married early, wife’s name unknown, but they had a son Rueben. George died in Newberry County, SC in 1796 and asked that his sister Rachel care for Rueben.

RACHEL (b. Dec. 12, 1757, NC) married Thomas Bicknell in Surry County, NC on Oct. 22, 1774. Thomas was in the Revolutionary War (with various spellings of his last name) and he died of a gunshot wound to his hip he sustained during the War. They had 6 children, 3 identified as: William, Micajah, and Mary (b. May 15, 1781, married David Roper) Rachel died in either 1851 or 1855.

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William Sample Sparks's Timeline

Church Hill, Queen Anne's, Maryland, United States
Age 25
Queen Anne, Maryland, United States
Age 30
Fredrick Co., MD
Age 30
August 24, 1732
Age 32
Church Hill,Queen Annes,Maryland,USA
Age 40
Virginia, USA
Age 43
Age 47
Rowan, North Carolina, USA
Age 47
Age 55