"Frederick "Fred" Mauk Sparks, son of Nelson and Peggy (Mauk) Sparks, was born on May 1, 1853, in Carter County. On January 21, 1875 , he was married to Elizabeth Catherine Kegley in Elliott County. It was the first marriage for both.
Catherine (as she was called) was born on April 20, 1855, in Wythe County, Virginia, and was a daughter of Joel and Delilah (Hounshel) Kegley, natives of Wythe County. When the 1880 census was taken of Elliott County, Fred and Catherine were shown as having three children, two sons and one daughter. "Sometime in the 1890s, Fred Sparks joined the Christian Church, probably during a revival meeting, and his wife persuaded him to leave Elliott County and the temptations set before him by his friends and drinking companions. Accordingly, in 1897, he bought land at Rice, Kentucky, in Greenup County. (The post office no longer exists.) There he built a log house, and in the late fall he moved his family from Gimlet, Kentucky, to the newly-built home. It was there, on November 2,1897, that the picture was taken of the entire family which is reproduced in the Sparks Quarterly. (see page 3410). "Frederick Mauk Sparks was a good man in every sense of the phrase. An interesting biographical account of him was written by a granddaughter Anna Musser Bradley (a daughter of Laura Belle Sparks), and she has given us permission to use it here. She wrote:
"All I know of Grandpa Sparks is what my mother and her two younger sisters told me and, naturally, they praised him highly. He died when I was just a year old. He was converted during a revival meeting in Elliott County, shortly after his marriage, and he joined the Christian Church before he moved to Greenup County. Ultimately, he was ordained a minister of the Christian Church, and it is told that he preached sermons in the grove near the Sparks Cemetery. This is now called Happy Ridge because the Sparks family sang the old time gospel songs with such a fine spirit that the neighbors would gather in and sing and rejoice with them. "Grandpa was an industrious farmer, and he planted an orchard. He also could do all sorts of handy work and had a blacksmith shop. He kept seasoned hand-planed walnut boards in the loft of the shop which he used to make homemade coffins, and Grandma kept suitable cloth materials to cover, pad, line, and decorate the coffins for friends, neighbors, and relatives. "Grandpa also donated land for a cemetery. He was a good hand to wait on the sick and help the needy, and he was a good father as well. His grave was the second one prepared in the cemetery for which he gave the land. He died on May 20, 1906, just a few days after he reached his 53rd birthday." After the death of her husband, Catherine Sparks continued to live at Happy Ridge. Most of her children were married, or would soon marry, with families of their own, but she and the youngest children kept the home place together. (They had 78 grandchildren). She survived her husband for over forty years, dying on December 23, 1946. She was buried beside him in the Sparks Cemetery at Happy Ridge. She and Fred had eleven children, including an unnamed daughter who died at birth.