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SPARKS QUARTERLY, pg 100: "Nelson Sparks, born about 1818; married1843, Margaret Mauk."
SPARKS QUARTERLY, June 1989, Whole No. 146, pps 3396-3423:


"Editor's Note: In 1821, a number of families from the Surry-Wilkes Counties area of North Carolina joined relatives and friends from the Lee-Scott Counties area of Virginia and moved to Lawrence County, Kentucky. Among these families was that of Levi Sparks of Wilkes County, North Carolina. He was accompanied by his five sons. Here we present the family of his son, Nelson Sparks, and Nelson's descendants. For further background of this branch of the SPARKS family , see the December1955 issue of THE SPARKS QUARTERLY, Whole No. 12.)

"Nelson Sparks, son of Levi and Sarah (Lyon) Sparks, was born about 1818 in Wilkes county, North Carolina, and was only three years old when his parents moved to Lawrence county, Kentucky. There he grew to manhood, on the headwaters of Big Blaine Creek. On March 14, 1843, he was married to Margaret "Peggy" Mauk by Daniel Carroll, a minister of the Baptist Church. The wedding took place at the bride's home in Carter County, Kentucky.

"Peggy (Mauk) Sparks was born on June 8, 1820, in Virginia and was a daughter of Peter and Eleanor "Nellie" (Sparks) Mauk, natives of North Carolina. (See her picture on the cover of the present issue of the QUARTERLY [pg 3395]).

"(Nellie Sparks, mother of Peggy Mauk, was a daughter of Thomas and Rebecca Sparks. She was born on February 5, 1791, in Scott County ,Virginia. Thomas Sparks, father of Nellie, was a son of William and Ann Sparks, natives of Maryland, who moved to North Carolina about 1765.)

"Nelson and Peggy Sparks settled down to housekeeping on the Caney Fork of the Little Sandy River, but about a year later they moved to Big Gimlet Creek where Nelson bought 314 acres of land on September 12,1845, from his father-in-law, Peter Mauk. He bought another tract of land on December 21, 1847, from William Thomas. On July 12, 1856, Nelson and Peggy sold 200 acres of land to her brother, Frederick Mauk.

"The outbreak of the Civil War tore the Levi Sparks family apart, as it did many other families in Kentucky. On October 22, 1861, Nelson and his 17-year-old son, Peter Sparks, went to the town of Grays on where they both enlisted in Company H of the 22nd Regiment Kentucky Infantry of the Union Army. Three days later, Nelson's brother, John L. Sparks, traveled to Prestonburg, Kentucky, where he enlisted in Company S of the 5th Regiment Kentucky Mounted Infantry of the Confederate States Army.  The bitter feelings these actions created endured long after the war ended.

"Nelson Sparks served in the Union Army until May 18, 1864, when he received a Certificate of Discharge at Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He returned to his home on Big Gimlet Creek and was listed with his family on the first census of newly-formed Elliott County when it was taken in June 1870. He was appointed one of the first justices of the peace for the new county on May 25, 1869.

"On October 11, 1874, Nelson Sparks and his 12-year-old son, George W., went to the town of Olive Hill on business. There he met an old friend, Calvin Scott, and they had several drinks together at a livery stable where Nelson's horses were fed. For some reason which will probably never be known, Scott shot Nelson Sparks fatally during their visit. It is said that as soon as he pulled the trigger, he exclaimed, "I've shot my best friend!" George drove the team, with his dead father lying in the wagon bed, back to Elliott County where Nelson was buried in the Mauk Ridge Cemetery.

"Peggy (Mauk) Sparks was left with several small children, but she kept them together. The older children rallied around her, and in 1890 she applied for a Widow's Pension based on her husband's military service. She received the pension until her death, which occurred on January 14,1897. she was buried beside her husband in the Mauk Ridge Cemetery. She and Nelson had ten children, nine of whom reached maturity." 


NELSON SPARKS, son of Levi and Sarah (Lyon) Sparks, was born about 1819 in North Carolina. He died on October 11, 1874, in Carter County, Kentucky. He married Margaret Mauk on March 16, 1843. He served in Company H, 22nd Regiment Kentucky Infantry. File Designation: WidCert. No. 292,410.

"On August 8, 1890, Margaret Sparks, 70 years of age, and a resident of Gimlet, Elliott County, Kentucky, made an application for a Widow's pension. She stated that her husband, Nelson Sparks, had enlisted as a private in Company H, 22nd Regiment Kentucky Infantry Volunteers on October 22, 1861, at Grayson, Kentucky, and was discharged in 1864. He died on October 11, 1874. She said she was married to Sparks under her maiden name of Margaret Mauk on March 16, 1843, in Carter County, Kentucky, by Daniel Carroll. She had not remarried since the death of her husband, nor did she have any children under the age of sixteen years. She appointed H. D. Phillips of Washington, D.C. , as her attorney. Elizabeth Sparks and Ida E. Sparks witnessed her make her mark.

"Margaret Sparks supported her claim by sending the Bureau of Pensions her husband's Certificate of Discharge which had been given to him on May18, 1864, by Col. George W. Monroe. Sparks had enrolled in company H, 22nd Regiment Kentucky Infantry Volunteers, commanded by Capt. Stephen Nethercutt, on October 16, 1861, to serve for three years, and he was discharged at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, by reason of disability. At the time the certificate was issued, he was 45 years of age. He had been born in North Carolina; he was 5 feet, 11 inches tall; he had a fair complexion, black eyes, and dark hair; and he w as a farmer by occupation. His mustering-out pay had been $228.05 . Margaret Sparks also had the Clerk of Carter County, J. W. Thornton, send a copy of her marriage record to the Bureau of Pensions.

"On January 15, 1891, William Rose, age 45, and James McFarland, age31, both residents of Gimlet, Kentucky, made an affidavit that, being close neighbors of Nelson Sparks, they knew that when he died, he left two children under the age of sixteen, namely, Martha F. Spark s and George W. Sparks. F. M. Mauk and Jacob McDowell witnessed their signatures, and the affidavit was sworn to before J. E. Sparks, a notary public of Elliott County.

"On January 21, 1891, Dr. J. H. Steele of Olive Hill, Carter County ,Kentucky, made a physician's affidavit. He said that he had practiced medicine for 35 years and had been well acquainted with Nelson Sparks since 1856, and he knew that he was shot and killed on October 11, 1874, for he was present at his death. The affidavit was sworn to before C. M. Erwin, a notary public of Carter County.

"The War Department confirmed the military service of Nelson Sparks on February 16, 1891, and the Bureau of Pensions issued Widow's Certificate No. 292,410 on May 21, 1891, to Margaret Sparks entitling her to a pension of $8.00 per month, retroactive to August 28, 1890. She continued to receive the pension until her death on January 14, 1897.

The 1870 census of Elliott County, Kentucky (FHL 976.9255x28b), no.128 shows Nelson Sparks, 51; Sarah (sic) 50; Margaret, 20; Leander, 19;Frederick, 16; Louisa, 13; Martha, 10; George, 9.