Richard Sparks History by liwenting

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                                    A Review by Russell E. Bidlack

Publication Data: The Sparks Family Association Quarterly, Vol. XLVII, No. 2, June 1999, Whole
Nos. 186a and 186b, pages 5146-5173. The Sparks Quarterly is edited by Harold E. Sparks and
James J. Sparks and is available at

(Reproduced with permission from the Sparks Family Association)

[Ed Note: This article is reproduced without change; only the formatting has been altered.
Omissions from the original article are indicated by three dots with square brackets ([…]).
- Roger Navarre]


In the QUARTERLY of December 1971, Whole No. 76, pp. 1440-46, we presented the information
we had gathered relating to Richard Sparks, father of Benjamin and his four brothers named above.
In that article, we called the father simply Richard Sparks. Although he had a son also named
Richard, in no document of his time have we found him, the father, called "Sr." Here we also omit
"Sr." in our references to him, but we will refer to as "the elder Richard" or "the senior Richard" on
occasion to distinguish him from his son of the same name.

Since 1971, we have found a number of additional facts and clues regarding Richard Sparks that we
will incorporate in this review of his life. There are also some corrections resulting from further
research. Although in 1971, we believed that he had been born about 1725 and died about 1792,
we now believe that he may have been born as early as 1720 and that we can say with certainty
that he died in 1792.

No proof has been found regarding where Richard Sparks had been living prior to his appearance as
a witness to a will in Middlesex County, New Jersey, in the autumn of 1750. He was an adult by then,
and he was probably a married man. This writer continues to believe that he was probably from the
Salem County, New Jersey, Sparks family that had been living there for three generations, and in
which the name "Richard" was commonly used as a forename.

It was on September 3, 1750, that Richard Sparks signed his name as a witness to the will of
William Story who was identified in the will as a resident of New Brunswick in Middlesex County,
New Jersey. There were two other witnesses to William Story's will: Stephen Warne and Walter
Wall. Because persons who witnessed legal documents in those days were nearly always neighbors
and friends of the individual creating the document, we can assume that Walter Wall, Stephen
Warne, and Richard Sparks lived near William Story, and that they were well acquainted with each
other. As will be seen later, both Stephen Warne and Walter Wall would become close neighbors of
Richard Sparks in Pennsylvania in years to come. There may even have been family ties among

On March 13, 1750/51, Richard Sparks served as witness to another will, that of James Wall, also a
resident of Middlesex County, New Jersey. Again, Stephen Warne was a witness; a man named John
Bazley was the third witness. (The double dating here resulted from the fact that England, until the
autumn of 1752, continued to use the old Julian calendar under which the New Year began on
March 25, rather than the Gregorian calendar adopted by Catholic countries in Europe in 1582.)

On February 2, 1752, Benjamin Applegate, a resident of Nottingham Township in Burlington
County, New Jersey, made his will, in which he designated Richard Sparks and Walter Ward as his
executors in the settlement of his estate. Benjamin Applegate's wife, whose first name was
Elizabeth, had died earlier. Applegate family historians have wondered whether Elizabeth might
have been a sister of Richard Sparks.

Although we have found no evidence to support this speculation, there can be no question but that
the Applegates and the Sparkses, as well as members of the Wall family, were closely associated
over at least three generations. There has been a tradition among several descendants of Richard
Sparks that his wife had the maiden name Applegate. Knowing that Richard Sparks was one of the
executors chosen by Benjamin Applegate to administer his estate, it has been suggested that
Richard could have been a son-in-law of Benjamin Applegate, but in Benjamin's identification of
three daughters in his will, none was called by other than her forename; the names of married
daughters usually included their married names in documents of this nature at that time. It is
interesting to note, however, that while Benjamin Applegate left little more than a token
inheritance to each of his four oldest sons (Thomas, Benjamin, Jr., William, and Richard), he was
more generous to his youngest son, Daniel, not yet of age, as well as to his two daughters who,
likewise, were under age. As the following extract from his will indicates, his eldest daughter
received only a featherbed.

            ... I give to My Daughter Johannah a feather bed in full of her portion and all
            the Rest of my Estate both Rale [i.e., real] and personall to be Kept att Intrestt
            by my Executors and theay to put my son Danel to a trade and one third of
            said Estate I give to son Daniel when he shall arnve att the age of twenty one
            years and the second third of sd. Estate I give to my daughter Alse [nickname
            for Alice] att the age of Eighteen years and all the Rest of my Estate I give to
            my Daughter Jomine [nickname for Jamima] and if any of these three
            Children should die before age that money to be Devided Equil Betwen the
            other two last named...
The daughters Alice and Jamima were obviously under age (18 for females), so only Johannah,
whose share of the estate was a featherbed, could have been married at the time her father made
his will. That Johannah could have been the wife of Richard Sparks has been discounted by some
Applegate researchers in the belief that she was married to a man named John Feavel. Others,
however, maintain that Johannah (Applegate) Feavel was a daughter of Benjamin Applegate's son,
Richard Applegate, and was thus a granddaughter of Benjamin.

It is generally accepted among Applegate researchers that Benjamin Applegate's daughter, Alice
(whom he called "Alse" in his will), was married later to Walter Wall, and that Jamima (whom he
called "Jomine)," was later married to Isaac Morris.

Because Benjamin Applegate signed his name by mark, we know that he dictated his will to
someone who wrote it for him. It was the custom for a person doing the writing to serve, also, as a
witness. It was James I. Redford who signed first as a witness, followed by Elizabeth Readford [sic]
who signed by mark, and the third witness was William Miller who was the writer (and rather poor
speller, as the above extract illustrates). Descendants of Walter Wall, who was closely associated
with the Applegate and Sparks families, are convinced that Miller misunderstood Benjamin
Applegate in his dictation of his will, and that it was Walter Wall, not a man named "Walter Ward,"
who was the second executor for Benjamin's estate settlement. Although Walter Wall's marriage to
Benjamin's daughter, Alice, had not yet occurred when her father dictated his will, perhaps there
was the understanding he would become Benjamin's son-in-law in due course.

No proof has been found that the wife of Richard Sparks was Johannah Applegate, to whom
Benjamin left a featherbed, and there is even another possible Applegate female who could have
been his wife.
       Map of New Jersey reproduced from Fanning's Illustrated Gazetteer of the United States
       (New York, Ensign, Fanning, 1855) showing location of Cranberry (now called Cranbury
       Center) in Middlesex County. The following information is given regarding Cranberry on
       p.95: "Cranberry, post-office, Middlesex Co., N.J., 22 miles N.E. of Trenton; from Washington
       188 miles. Watered by Cranberry brook"

A century ago, there was a man named J. Sutton Wall who held the post of Chief Draughtsman in the
Department of Internal Affairs of Pennsylvania and who was a descendant of Richard Sparks
through Richard Sparks, Jr. Mr. Wall became interested in his family history in 1884, according to
one of his extant letters, and by 1907 he had "collected a large amount of interesting and valuable
data which I hope to commence putting in intelligible shape during the coming winter." (Letter to 0.
G. Wall, Friday Harbor, WA, dated September 9, 1907.) Unfortunately, all of his papers and research
were lost in a fire before he could complete his project. Because he wrote numerous letters to
persons whom he thought might have records that would be of interest to him, and because a
number of those letters were saved by the recipients and their descendants and have been shared
with the present writer, we know something of his research. In a letter that he wrote on February
14, 1906, to a Mrs. McGeehan in Parkville, Maine, who descended from both the Wall and Applegate
families, he stated: "I have lately learned that my great-grandfather, Col. Richard Sparks's mother,
was CHARITY APPLEGATE." Unfortunately, J. Sutton Wall did not include his source for making this
assertion. (Col. Richard Sparks was Richard, Jr., son of Richard Sparks, subject of this sketch.)

Another record pertaining to the name of the wife of Richard Sparks must be noted here because of
its being "in print," although it is in error. Over forty years ago, this writer corresponded with a Mrs.
Sara Sparks (Lynch) Douglas of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, a great-grandchild of Benjamin Sparks
[…] Mrs. Douglas, who had joined the Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution on the
basis of Benjamin Sparks's service in the Revolution, was most generous in sharing her research,
but she had made an unfortunate error in her DAR application that has been perpetuated in the
Society's archives. Mrs. Douglas had copied two unrelated items from Vol. I of the Collections of the
New York Genealogical and Biographical Society that she interchanged in her note taking. Both of
these records had been reproduced in the above volume from the "Reformed Protestant Dutch
Church of the City of New York: Marriages from 11 December, 1639 to 26 August, 1801." Following
is an accurate transcription of these two items:

        (page 14) 1646, August15.. Lovis Hulet to Helena Applegate.
        (page 259) 1785, Oct. 6. Richard Sparks to Elizabeth Peaceable.

In her DAR application, Mrs. Douglas stated:

        "The said Benjamin Sparks was the child of Richard Sparks, born [blank], died in 1815, and
        his wife Helena Applegate."

It was Richard Sparks, Jr., brother of Benjamin Sparks, who died in 1815. The Helena Applegate for
whom Mrs. Douglas found the 1646 marriage record not only lived a century earlier than Richard
Sparks, father of Benjamin, but she was married to Lovis Hulet, while the marriage of a Richard
Sparks to Elizabeth Peaceable in 1785 occurred about 35 years after Benjamin's birth. We have
found no further record of the Richard Sparks who was married in New York City to Elizabeth
Peaceable in 1785, but he was certainly not the Richard Sparks who is the subject of the present

It would appear that Richard Sparks of New Jersey was a member of the Presbyterian Church in the
village of Cranbury (sometimes spelled "Cranberry") in the township of Cranbury in Middlesex
County. (See map [above].) It is interesting to note that the Sparkses of Salem County, New Jersey,
were also Presbyterians. An article entitled "Records of the First Presbyterian Church of Cranbury"
by Edward J. Raser appeared in The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, Vol. XXVII, July/October
1952. Mr. Kaser stated:

            The First Presbyterian Church of Cranbury was organized about 1734 to
            serve the area bounded by the churches at New Brunswick, Princeton,
            Freehold (Old Tennent), and Allentown (Upper Freehold). No place of
            worship was built until 1740, and until 1744 when Rev. Charles McKnight
            was installed as the first pastor the congregation was dependent on supplies
            from other churches to perform ministerial duties....

            Rev. McKnight served the congregations both at Cranbury and Allentown, but
            after considerable conflict between the two groups, he was dismissed to the
            latter place in 1758. The ministry remained vacant until 1762 when Thomas
            Smith was installed. Rev. Smith was constantly afflicted with an infirmity
            which robbed him of much of his energy, resulting in his exercising "the
            opposite point of exactness" in preserving records of his service. The vacancy
            resulting from his sudden death In 1789 was filled by Gilbert Tennent
            Snowden in 1790.

            Among papers in possession of the church is a brief history written by Mr.
            Snowden prior to his decease in 1797. In the opening paragraph he laments
            the "great carelessness in preserving the Records of the Church," making an
            accurate account of the early work of the church virtually impossible....

Had marriage and baptismal records survived in the Cranbury Church, some of the mysteries
regarding Richard Sparks and his family might have been solved, since a record does survive
showing that on February 6, 1758, he contributed to a fund for building a parsonage for the pastor
to occupy at Cranbury.

No later record pertaining to Richard Sparks has been found in New Jersey, and our earliest record
of his being in western Pennsylvania is dated 1770. It appears that he owned no land in either
Middlesex or Burlington County--perhaps his occupation was that of a tradesman rather than that
of a farmer.

There is some reason to believe that Richard Sparks could have moved his family in the early 1760s
to what was then the western frontier. We know that Richard's third son, who was also named
Richard, was stolen by the Shawnee Indians when he was a small child, perhaps four or five years
old. Such an occurrence could scarcely have taken place in New Jersey at that point in time. Our
knowledge of little Richard's abduction is dependent upon the story having been preserved in
records left by people who had known Richard, Jr. and had heard his own account of the experience.

As a U.S. Army officer in the years following the American Revolution, Richard Sparks, Jr. had
advanced to the rank of colonel in the Second Division. Suffering from a severe stroke in 1814, he
had been forced to resign his commission and died soon thereafter, on July 2, 1815.

A fellow officer, Col. G. W. Sevier, who was also a brother of Sparks's second wife, was interviewed
years later by the historian, Lyman C. Draper, who made rather detailed notes regarding Sevier's
memories of Col. Sparks. Col. Sevier, however, could not recall Sparks telling him where it was that
he had been taken by the Shawnees, other than that he had been playing near his parents' home.
Draper added the following note to his transcription of this interview: "Col. Geo. Wilson thinks Col.
Sparks was captured near Pittsburgh when 4 or 5 years old -- kept till 17 or 18." Others believed
that Sparks had been 15 or 16 when he was released. In any case, we know that Richard Sparks, Jr.
had been released by the Shawnees in February 1775; he must have been stolen by them between
about 1763 and 1765. (Draper's manuscripts are preserved in the library of the Wisconsin
Historical Society in Madison; the notes taken during his interview with Col. Sevier are filed in a
section labeled "30-S.")

An army officer named James Magoffin, who had once acted as Col. Sparks's secretary, stated in a
letter dated November 5, 1852, that Sparks had told him that he had been captured "by the savages,
when a child, near Wheeling, on the Ohio." Wheeling is some fifty miles southwest from Pittsburgh;
we may wonder if Magoffin might have confused the place where he had been abducted with that
where he was later released. This release was at Point Pleasant, located near the mouth of the
Kanawha River, where it flows into the Ohio River.

The release of Richard Sparks, Jr. had come in February 1775 following the Battle of Point Pleasant
fought in the previous October during the colonial war known as Lord Dunmore' s War. (Lord
Dunmore was then the Royal Governor of Virginia and his troops were Virginians.) After their
severe defeat in this battle, the Shawnees agreed to give up all of their white captives they had
taken over many years. Word went out that this release would take place in the following February
at Point Pleasant, and families, including parents of lost youngsters, journeyed there from afar
hoping to find their lost ones. Having forgotten his parents, Sparks recalled in later years that when
his mother recognized him and began to cry, he thought he was going to be burned at the stake --
the only occasion in the past when he had seen an Indian woman cry had been on such an occasion.
Taking him home to what is now Forward Township in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, his parents
and siblings set about "civilizing" him. What an interesting account must have been related by
those parents in later years, of their arduous journey to Point Pleasant in that winter of 1775 to
seek their lost boy, and with what joy they brought him home! (The Magoffin letter to Henry R.
Schoolcraft appears in the latter's Information Respecting the History, Condition and Prospects of
the Indian Tribes of the United States, Part IV, Philadelphia, 1854, pp. 629-632.

It was noted earlier in this sketch that the elder Richard Sparks was closely associated with the
Wall and Applegate families in Middlesex and Burlington Counties in New Jersey in the 1750s. This
close association continued after members of all three families lived in what became, and is today,
Forward Township in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The Wall family traces its history to a 17th
century immigrant named Walter Wall. A record of the Wall family appears in a history of
Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, edited by Thomas Cushing and published in Chicago by A. Warner
& Co. in 1889. The following is taken from p. 439.

            The Wall Family. The history of this family in America dates from an early
            period in the history of the country. In 1640 Lady Deborah Moody, the widow
            of a Wiltshire baronet, organized an association of some fifty persons who
            came to America and among them was Walter. This association first
            established at Lynn, Mass., remaining there until 1643, when they removed to
Gravesend on Long Island. In the latter part of 1657 Walter Wall and others
emigrated to New Jersey with their families, where they made a purchase
embracing the present county of Middlesex and part of Monmouth.... Walter
Wall found himself the possessor of valuable land. Here his son Garret
became a man of some prominence in public affairs, his name being
mentioned in Middletown town-book as receiver of taxes, and his son, Jarat,
or Jarrett, was among the leading citizens...

James Wall, son of Humphrey Wall, and grandson of Jarrett Wall, above
mentioned, together with his brother Walter, moved from their Jersey homes
in 1766 to find greater freedom and change of scene in then "western wilds"
west of the mountains. Arriving at the forks of the "Yough," as it was then
called (which included that portion of the counties of Allegheny and
Westmoreland now lying between the Youghiogheny and Monoagahela
rivers, comprising the townships of Lincoln, Elizabeth, and Forward in
Allegheny, and Rostraver township in Westmoreland, they built cabins,
cleared the land and commenced the cultivation of the frontier land,
surrounded by Indians and the wild animals of the forest. In the spring of
1769 they revisited New Jersey, and in the fall of the same year returned to
their new homes with their families. Several other New Jersey families came
with them, among them the Applegates, Pierces, Ketchams, Johnsons, Imlays,
Smiths, and others....
       Portion of " Stream Map of Pennsylvania" issuead by Sanitary Water Board Water and
       Power Resources Board, Harrisburg, showing location of Forward Township, Allegheny
       County, within the "Forks of the Yough." The claim for land made by Richard Sparks was
       located near the letter "F" of Forward Township on this map.

The family of Richard Sparks is not mentioned among those who accompanied the Walls back to the
"forks of the Yough," yet from the location of Richard's land there, we believe there can be no doubt
that he was with the Walls and Applegates from the time of their initial settlement. Considering the
likely place and date of the abduction of Richard, Jr. by the Shawnee Indians, we can wonder
whether it was the Richard Sparks family who may have been the first from New Jersey to the
"forks of the Yough." (See [first map] for this location.)

Recalling that Stephen Warne had been a witness with Richard Sparks for two wills in Middlesex
County in 1750 and 1751, it is interesting to note that the Warne family also migrated to the forks
of the Yough". The following quotation regarding the Warne family is taken from A Genealogy of
the Warne Family in America by the Rev. George Warne Labaw, published in New York in 1911, p.

            Joseph Warne, died before 1790, quite an old man, married Dorcas Miller.
            Born, reared, and married in New Jersey. He and his wife, with others from
            New Jersey, among them the Millers, the Allens, the Parkinsons, etc., in 1768-
            1770, went to Western Pennsylvania and formed in the S.E. part of what is
            now Allegheny Co., in Forward Township, but then Westmoreland Co., and
            Elizabeth Township, a settlement that was at that time, and has ever since
            been known as "The Jersey Settlement "

            The route taken from Carlisle was southwest down the valley into Maryland a
            few miles over the border, then west over the mountains, and north into
            Pennsylvania again, through what is now Bedford County to the county seat
            of the same name, and beyond it some distance, when the course was west
            and southwest to the point of destination, a matter of perhaps 175 miles,
            through the wilderness from Carlisle. Mr. and Mrs. Warne located on 300, or
            as another authority says 2784, acres of land near the present village of
            Sunnyside. This land was surveyed to him March 21, 1786... bounded by lands
            of Andrew Pearce on the north, Jonathan and Stephen Pearce on the east,
            Joseph Beckett, Esq. on the south, and Peter Johnston on the west....

The Richard Sparks family probably followed the same route from New Jersey to the "forks of the
Yough" as did the Warne family. Stephen Warne, witness with Richard Sparks in Middlesex County,
New Jersey in 1750 and 1751, is believed to have been a brother of Joseph Warne. Joseph Warne's
oldest son was also named Stephen.

The boundary line between Pennsylvania and Virginia (since the Civil War that part of Virginia has
been West Virginia) was in dispute as early as 1749. The matter came to a head with the beginning
of the French and Indian War when both colonies feared that the French, with their Indian allies,
would invade their western borders. The governors of the two colonies recognized the need for an
American fort at the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, but it was Virginia's
Governor Dinwiddie who set out to build such a fort in the summer of 1754. He also announced that
he would recruit a military force of sufficient strength to defend the area, and that such recruits
would be rewarded with land grants east of the Ohio River. While agreeing on the need for such a
fort, Governor Hamilton of Pennsylvania notified Governor Dinwiddie that under his own colony's
Royal Charter, the proposed Virginia fort was in Pennsylvania and that the land that Dinwiddie was
offering to volunteer soldiers was Pennsylvania land. Dinwiddie, however, proceeded with his plan.
We here quote from a lengthy account of the Pennsylvania and Virginia Controversy that was
prepared by Major Robert H. Foster as an introduction to a record of the "Virginia Entries"
published in the Pennsylvania Archives, Series 3, Vol. 3:

            In the summer of 1754 a company of Virginians, under command of Captain
            Trent, arrived at the confluence of the rivers and commenced to build the
            proposed fort; but before they had completed their labors a force of one
            thousand French and Indians, with eighteen pieces of cannon, appeared
            before the unfinished stockade and compelled the little body of forty-one men
            present for its defense to surrender. The French immediately built "Fort
            Duquesne," and remained in possession until forced, by the expedition of
            General Forbes to destroy and abandon it in November 1758, its place being
            taken by Fort Pitt, built in 1759.

            The claim of Virginia embraced all the land west of Laurel Hill, included
            within the present counties of Westmoreland, Fayette, Greene, Washington,
            and parts of Allegheny and Beaver; whilst the Pennsylvania claim rested
            entirely upon the charter of Charles II, King of Great Britain, to William Penn,
            by which the lands granted to Penn were to extend westward five degrees
            longitude from the river Delaware, and there had been sufficient
            investigation to convince the Pennsylvania Proprietaries that the point at
            which the two rivers united to form the Ohio was some distance within the
            limits of the royal grant to them. For twenty years, however, after 1754, there
            was no official correspondence between the authorities of the two colonies in
            relation to their claims, and, although the military grants promised in the
            proclamation of Gov. Dinwiddie were never surveyed or given to the persons
            who were to receive them, settlements within the bounds of the territory in
            dispute under Virginia rights were encouraged, and in a few years, after
            success had crowned the efforts of General Forbes to wrest from the French
            their hold upon the Ohio, and Colonel Bouquet's expedition had driven away
            the Indians and relieved the beleaguered garrison at Fort Pitt, pioneer
            settlers began to appear along the Monongahela Valley.

            On the part of the Pennsylvania authorities no rights were granted for lands
            west of the Allegheny mountains until after the treaty at Fort Stanwix in
            November, 1768 by which the Indian title to that section of the State was

            As the controversy between the two colonies continued into the 1770s, the
            settlers in the valleys of the Ohio and Monongahela became increasingly
            partisan, depending upon whether they identified with the North or the
            South. We can be sure that Richard Sparks, like his neighbors in the "Jersey
            Settlement," was on the side of Pennsylvania. All of them, however, were
            "squatters," without legal titles to the land which they hoped, eventually, to
            acquire. All being former neighbors or at least acquaintances back in
            Middlesex and adjoining counties in New Jersey, they were able to agree on
            the boundary lines between each man's "tomahawk claim," i.e. the lines of
            notched trees marking the boundaries. They were not greatly concerned a
            rival might "steal" their land before such time as their legal right to it could
            be established.

 (In the QUARTERLY of December 1990, we published an article entitled "Charles Sparks (ca.1730-
ca.1771) of Maryland & Pennsylvania" pertaining to a Sparks family unrelated to Richard Sparks,
that settled on land included in the part of the Pennsylvania and Virginia disputed territory that
became Washington County in Pennsylvania. This Charles Sparks and his brothers, George and
William, sons of Joseph Sparks who died in Frederick County, Maryland, in 1749, believed that their
"Tomahawk Claims" were in Virginia. See also an earlier issue of the QUARTERLY, that of June 1963,
Whole No. 42, pp. 728-35, for an article on the brothers of Charles Sparks, George and William.)

Although we will probably never know exactly when and how the boundary lines between the
Jersey Settlement "squatters" were agreed upon, it was the old "metes and bounds" system that was
used, often resulting in very odd shapes. The typical such claim was for 300 acres, although when
actual surveys were made, the acreage was seldom exactly 300. As seen on the land map shown
[later in this article] Richard Sparks's 300-acre tract, which actually turned out to be 308, was
bordered by those of old New Jersey friends (perhaps relatives), named Applegate: Samuel,
Benjamin, William, and Daniel, as well as James Wall. Close by were the claims of other former New
Jersey neighbors: John Imbly, Andrew Pearce, Daniel Thompson, Joseph Warne, and John McClure.

William Penn and his heirs were the initial owners of all the land comprising the colony of
Pennsylvania, selling or granting it to individuals and groups through the years. Called the colony's
"Proprietaries," the Penns remained loyal to England from the commencement of the American
Revolution. John N. Boucher in his History of Weatmoreland County, Pennsylvania (New York:
Lewis Pub. Co., 1906) explalned the following course of events in this regard.

            Our state government by its representatives which followed the Declaration
            of Independence, rightly reasoned that a power siding with a foreign nation
            at war with us should not hold such dominion over any considerable part of a
            free commonwealth. Therefore, on June 28, 1779, they passed the "Divesting
            Act," which took from the Penns most of their territory, leaving them only
            private reservations, and vested it in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Although the new Commonwealth of Pennsylvania began granting patents to land not previously
granted by the Penns, it did not attempt to do so in the vast area claimed also by Virginia. The
immigrants in the "Jersey Settlement" thus had to wait until 1785, when the U.S. Congress settled
the Pennsylvania/Virginia dispute, to apply for warrants for the purchase of the tracts on which
they had been living as squatters.

When immigrants first began squatting on land that would come to be called the "Jersey
Settlement," it was in Rostraver Township in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. In 1771, Bedford
County was created from Cumberland, and the "Jersey Settlement" became a part of the new
county, still in Rostraver Township. A tax list survives for Bedford County in 1773 on which
appears the name of Richard Sparks; his tax was four shillings. Later that same year, however,
because of the growing population, the county of Westmoreland was cut off from Bedford County,
with Rostraver now a township in that new county. Then, in 1788, the "Jersey Settlement" was
contained in still another new county, that of Allegheny. During the next 62 years, all or parts of
eleven other Pennsylvania counties were created from Allegheny, but the "Jersey Settlement"
remained within Allegheny County (its southern end), comprising the township of Elizabeth. In
1869, Forward Township, containing what had once been Richard Sparks's land, was cut off from
Elizabeth Township.

Just as Pennsylvania had organized the disputed territory within its system of county government,
so also had Virginia. Virginia included it initially within its county of Augusta; but in 1775,
however, Virginia formed the District of West Augusta to govern the area. Then on January 6, 1777,
this "District" was divided into three distinct counties: Monongahela, Ohio, and Yohogania. The
"Jersey Settlement" was now within Virginia's Yohogania County.

Early in the 20th Century, an historian named Boyd Crumrine discovered that the minutes of the
court for Yohogania County, between December 23, 1776, and August 1780, had been preserved by
the Washington County, Pennsylvania, Historical Society, while similar records for Ohio County
were in the County Court in Wheeling, West Virginia. Crumrine also located land and probate
records during the brief period that the District of West Augusta existed. He transcribed and
published these records over the years 1902 to 1905 in an obscure publication called the Annals of
the Carnegie Museum. This work has since been republished by the Genealogical Pub. Co. of

Fortunately, through this Virginia source, we have found the references to Richard Sparks, given
below. (The page numbers are from Vol. II of the Annals..., all pertaining to Yohogania County.)

            At a Court Continued and held for Yohogania County, August 24, 1778...

            Ordered that Andrew Pearce, Richd. Johnston, James Wall and Richd. Sparks
            or any three of them being first sworn do appraise the Estate of Samuel
            Ketchum decd. and make return to next Court.
Samuel Ketchum had died intestate, and at the same meeting of this county court Elizabeth
Ketchum, his widow, and William Ketchum, his brother, had been appointed to administer this
estate. When the court met again on October 26, 1778, the following entry was made in the
Yohogania County Minute Book (p.268).

            Inventory of the Estate of Samuel Ketchum deceased, returned by the
            appraisers and Ordered to be Recorded.

The widow of Samuel Ketchum named Elizabeth, was Elizabeth Sparks. Without doubt she was a
daughter of the elder Richard Sparks. She was married, second, to Moses Kuykendell, a widower.
See [the end of this article] for further information about her.

Typical of settlers on a new frontier, those of the "Jersey Settlement" soon gave attention to their
need for roads, the building and maintenance of which being the responsibility of the owners of
land in their vicinity. When a petition was presented to the justices of a county court regarding the
need for a road in a given place, it was customary for the court to appoint men in the immediate
area to "view" whether, indeed, a road was needed and, if so, where. At the Yohogania County Court
meeting on April 27, 1779, the following action was taken (p.334).

            On the Petn. [petition] of Andrew Heath and others Ordered that Thos.
            Applegate, Richd. Sparkss, Jas. & Walter Wall or any three of them do view a
            Road from Wm. Anderson to Thos. Applegates and make retn. to next Court.

The next minute pertaining to this proposed road was made during a meeting of the justices May
24. 1779. (p. 344)

            Ordered that the Road from Thomas Applegates to Will'm Andersons as
            returned by the viewers keeping along as the road is already opened, be
            confirmed. Thomas Applegate is appointed overseer of sd. Road, and that the
            Tithables within three miles do cut open and keep sd. Road in repair.

Another Yohogania County Court minute pertaining to Richard Sparks is dated October 27, 1779,
and it also pertains to his involvement with a road. (p. 395)

            Ordered that Richd. Sparks, Jas. Wall & Walter Wall & Andrew Pearce Jun. do
            view a Road from the new store on Monongehala to the dividing Ridge Road
            near Jas. Wilsons & leading to Colo. Cooks.
In the colonial period, county courts, comprised of the justices of the peace within the county,
regulated the amount individuals could charge the public for certain specified services, such as
proprietors of ordinaries (inns and taverns), millers, and ferry boat operators. It appears that in
1779 a man named James Gray, who frequently was charged as a transgressor in one form or
another in Yohoganla County, had charged for providing a ferry boat service across the
Monongahela River without obtaining a license. One of the persons so served was Richard Sparks.
The court minute (p. 342) is as follows, dated April 1779:

        Ordered that James Gray be sum'd [summoned] to answer the information of the States
        Atto. for ferrying over the River Monongehala & rec'd. 3 S. [shillings] for the same cont'y
        [contrary] to Law the following person at the following times.

            Joseph Shelton & one horse. March 27th, 1779
            James Bevard at the same time.
            Danl.. MeClintock & one horse 29th March 1779.
            29 Pack Horses 27th March and took Rec.t [receipt]
            for the same of David Kennedy.
            Richd. Sparks & one horse 27th March.

It is interesting to note that at the next meeting of this court, on May 24, 1779, it was

            Ordered that Samuel Newell be appointed to keep a ferry over the River
            Monongehala from the new store to the opposite Shore and that he keep one
            good Boat with Sufficient hands to work her and that he give Bond with
            Security according to Law at the next Court.

The inhabitants of the "Jersey Settlement" must have found it awkward to be subject to two rival
county courts, one in Pennsylvania and the other in Virginia, but the problem was finally solved by
the Revolutionary War. The Penn family and the Royal Governor of Virginia were no longer factors
in this long dispute, and it was now in the interest of both states to cooperate in helping to gain in
dependence from England. Commissioners representing the two states met in Baltimore, and on
August 31, 1779, they agreed "To extend Mason and Dixon's line due west five degrees of longitude,
to be computed from the river Delaware, for the southern boundary of Pennsylvania, and that a
meridian drawn from the western extremity thereof to the northern limit of the said State be the
western boundary of Pennsylvania forever." Both states ratified this agreement in 1780, but there
were delays and the surveys required were not completed until 1785. These boundary lines were
promptly approved by the Continental Congress, and the" Jersey Settlement" was now officially a
part of Pennsylvania.
A Congressional Act of April 1, 1784, now became effective for the state of Pennsylvania to sell
"unappropriated lands" enabling squatters, including Richard Sparks, in the Forks of the Yough to
begin the procedure to acquire legal possession of their "tomahawk claims."

The first step that a squatter in the Forks of the Yough was required to take to claim "vacant land,"
(i.e. land not previously claimed) was to request that a warrant be issued to him. A warrant was not
a title in itself, but when granted it was an order from the state's Land Office to the Surveyor
General of Pennsylvania to have the tract located and surveyed. It was the Surveyor General who,
in person or by a deputy, then determined whether there had been an earlier claimant and, if not,
he conducted the survey and reported his findings back to the Land Office. A warrant was then
issued to the claimant with which the individual could then request a patent, which was equivalent
to a deed, at the same time making the required payment (ten pounds per 100 acres).

It was on July 10, 1786, at which time the "Jersey Settlement" was still within Rostraver Township
in Westmoreland County, that the Land Office requested John Lukens, the Surveyor General, to
make the survey of Richard Sparks's claim. The official copy of this 1786 document survives at the
Bureau of Archives and History of the Division of Land Records in Harrisburg and is reproduced
[below]. The most interesting date on this document is that following the words "Interest to
commence from the..." The meaning of these words was "the earliest date of habitation by law ," i.e.,
the year in which the individual claimed to have made improvements and had begun living on his
tract of land. While the final digit of the year written on Richard Sparks's warrant is blurred, other
records prove that it was intended for the "first of March 1770."

As noted earlier, descendants of the Wall family have long stated that James and Walter Wall had
gone to the Forks of the Yough in 1766 and had returned for their families in 1768. Yet the
"Interest to commence" date on each of their warrants was given as the "first day of March 1769."
There is good reason to assume, we believe, that Richard Sparks had marked off his claim at least as
early as the Wall brothers had marked off theirs.

As will be seen from the portion of the township land map reproduced [below], the tract (308
acres) for which Richard Sparks obtained a warrant dated July 10, 1786, was bordered by land
claimed by the following: Samuel Applegate, James Wall, Benjamin Applegate, James Dean, Andrew
Pearce, Daniel Applegate, and Daniel Thompson. While we do not have copies of the warrants for
all seven of these individuals, it is interesting to note that James Wall claimed to have settled on his
tract of land (300 acres that, when surveyed, comprised over 322 acres) on March 1, 1769, as did
also Walter Wall, whose tract adjoined that of James Wall. Thomas Applegate's tract adjoining that
of James Dean was also dated from April 1, 1769. Daniel Applegate, however, dated his claim as of
March 1, 1775. Benjamin Applegate's tract was described in its warrant as "Four hundred Acres of
Land including an improvement adjoining land of Walter Wall, James Wall, Richard Sparks, and
William Applegate in Rostraver Township." When surveyed, however, Benjamin Applegate's tract
was found to comprise only 397 and a quarter acres. Richard Sparks's warrant described his tract
as "Three hundred Acres of Land including an improvement on the waters of Applegate Run
adjoining land of Benjamin Applegate and others in Rostraver Township."
As shown on the warrant of Richard Sparks, he believed that his claim contained 300 acres. When it
was surveyed, however, it was found to comprise a total of 308 acres. The survey was conducted on
May 15, 1787.

                        The elder Richard's warrant for his land claim.
       A small portion of a map showing land grants in what was then Rostraver
       Township,Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, now within Forward Township in
       Allegheny County. Located within a bend of the Monongahela River, across from
       Washington County, the elder Richard Sparks's claim (for 300 acres) was found to contain
       308 acres when surveyed. His warrant was dated July 10, 1786; it was surveyed on May 15,
       1787. His warrant from the State of Pennsylvania is reproduced on page 5162.

On May 1, 1786. even before receiving his warrant. Richard Sparks signed an "agreement" that was
recorded many years later in Allegheny County Deed Book 35, p. 310. This document reads as
            Know all men by these presents that I Richard Sparks of Rostraver Township
            and County of Westmoreland and State of Pennsylvania am holden and
            firmly bound unto Benjamin Sparks, of the same place, his heirs, executors,
            administrators & assigns in the Just sum of Four hundred pounds of good and
            lawful money of Pennsylvania unto the which payment well and truly to be
            made and dune. I do hereby bind myself my heirs, executors, and
            administrators firmly by these presents, sealed with our Seals, dated the First
            day of May one Thousand seven hundred and eighty six. The Condition of the
            above obligation is such that the above bounded Richard Sparks, his heirs,
            executors & administrators, do well and truly make over and convey unto the
            above named Benjamin Sparks, his heirs, Executors or administrators &
            assigns, a certain tract or plantation whereon the said Benjamin Sparks now
            lives Containing, One hundred and forty eight Acres, at or upon the First day
            of October next then his present obligation to be void and of no effect, or else
            to be and remain in full force and virtue.
                                                                [Signed] Richard Sparks
            Signed sealed & delivered in the presence of                his
            Benjamin X Applegate and Thomas Pears                       mark

Twenty-three years after this document was signed by Richard Sparks, a justice of the peace named
Joseph Beckett added the following statement to it.

Allegheny County S.S.

            Before me, Joseph Beckett, one of the justices of the Peace for the County
            aforesaid personally came Thomas Pears one of the subscribing Witnesses to
            the obligation annexed to this piece of paper whereon these presents is
            wrote, and being sworn as Law directs, deposeth and saith that he was
            personnally present heard and saw Richard Sparks therein named, sign, Seal
            and deliver the same as for his act and deed, and the name Benjamin
            Applegate was acknowledged by the said Benjamin by putting his mark
            there, to which he subscribed as a witness thereto of such selling and
            delivering and that the named Thomas Pears is of the proper Handwriting of
            this afformant, which he subscribed as witness of such sealing and delivery.
                                                             [signed] Thomas Pears
The significance of the fact that this "agreement" was never converted into a deed, and the delayed
date of Joseph Beckett's affirmation, after which a decade passed before it was recorded in the deed
book cited above, will be explained later in this article.

It is at this point in our tracing of the life of Richard Sparks that we face a mystery. While it is
apparent in his "agreement" with Benjamin that Richard anticipated receiving a patent to his land
by October 1, 1786, so that he could provide his son with a deed for the land promised him, yet no
patent was ever issued to Richard Sparks. While there was no time limit placed for a warrant to be
converted into a patent (deed) from the state, most settlers in the Forks of the Yough did so quite
promptly. Benjamin Applegate, for example, whose land adjoined that of Richard Sparks, and was
surveyed on May 5 1787, obtained his patent on November 28, 1787.

Daniel Applegate, whose survey had been on September 2, 1786, however, waited until January 19,
1789, to obtain his patent. Samuel Applegate, whose land also bordered that of Sparks, actually
waited 20 years, until 1807, to obtain his patent. Perhaps it was the required fee (10 pounds per
100 acres) or a disagreement regarding the accuracy of the survey, that caused some delays, but we
suspect that Richard's failure was because of illness and/or his early death. Perhaps it was the fact
that three of his five sons were in far off Kentucky that prevented family members from assisting
their father in this matter. The only time, however, that a grantee holding a warrant actually
required a patent was when he, or his heirs, wished to sell all or part of the land. For a deed
conveying land through a warrant to be valid, it had to have been patented, hence the reason in
1786 that Richard Sparks signed only an "agreement" with Benjamin to provide him with a proper
deed later, at which time Benjamin would also pay his father the agreed upon 400 pounds for 128
acres from the grant.

Upon application to convert a warrant into a patent, besides paying the fee, it was customary for the
owner to choose a name for his land, it being an old English custom useful for future identification.
Today the names chosen frequently arouse curiosity regarding what lay behind their selection. A
pun was surely intended when both Daniel and Benjamin Applegate chose the name "Orchard" for
each of their tracts, while William Applegate was more explicit in choosing "Apple Orchard" for his
tract. John Imbly chose "Kingston," Samuel Applegate, in 1807, selected "Wheatfield," Walter Wall
used "Fidelity," while his brother James chose "Lisben." Other names that the reader will note on
the land map shown [above] were: Andrew Pearce, Sr.'s selection of "St. Andrew" for his tract while
his cousin, Andrew Pearce, Jr. chose "Recreation." (It was Andrew Pearce, Jr.'s daughter, Rachel,
who would be married to the elder Richard Sparks's son, Benjamin.) No name was ever given to
Richard Sparks's 308 acres, however, because no patent was ever issued to him. Future owners of
parts of the Sparks tract eventually obtained patents on their own.

As noted earlier, we have not succeeded in documenting the name of Richard Sparks's first wife,
who was also the mother of his children, but we know that she died before Richard, and that he was
married, second, to a woman named Sarah. She was still living in 1800 and was shown as head of
her household on the census of that year. Richard died, we are certain, in 1792.

When the 1790 census was taken of Elizabeth Township in Allegheny County (Forward Township
not being cut off from Elizabeth until 1869), Richard Sparks was shown as heading his household,
although the transcriber for publication of the 1790 census for Pennsylvania thought both he and
his son Benjamin's name had been spelled "Starks." (See the transcription of this census published
by the Genealogical Publishing Co. in 1966, entitled Heads of Families at the First Census of the
United States in the Year 1790,Pennsylvania.) Richard Sparks, Jr.'s name was transcribed correctly.

For this first U.S. census, only the name of the head of each family (actually household) was
recorded, followed by a simple enumeration of its members: males, 16 years and over; males under
16; and females regardless of age. The head of the household was also represented in the
enumeration. The enumeration following the entry for the elder Richard Sparks was one male
(himself) over 16; no males under 16; and 4 females. One of these females was surely his second
wife, Sarah. Perhaps the other three females were daughters of Richard still living at home, or
daughters of Sarah by an earlier marriage.

Our last record of Richard Sparks is dated March 23, 1792. On that date. he signed an "Agree[ment]
& Bill of Sale" to Samuel Applegate, transferring to him three acres of his land, comprising the
northwest corner of his tract, adjoining Samuel Applegate and James Wall. It was described as

            ... a certain parcel of Land Lying and being in the forks and bounded as
            follows, Viz. Beginning at a certain line tree standing on the North side of the
            lick run ridge and on James Walls line, then up the said line to the top of said
            ridge to the corner that is made by the said Sparks and Applegate, from
            thence in a straight line till it strikes the corner that is betwixed the said
            Applegate and Hezekiah Douthitt containing three acres more or less for and
            in consideration of the sum of Twenty pounds of said State."

This agreement also obligated Sparks to provide "the said Applegate a deed of conveyance when he
gets his deed from the Office." The "Office" doubtless meant the Land Office and referred to Sparks's
patent not yet obtained.

According to the recorded copy of this document (Allegheny County Deed Book 33, p.387), Elijah
Hart was the sole witness. It was not until December 9, 1826, that this agreement was actually
recorded, by which time, on April 2, 1794, Samuel Applegate had transferred the three acres to
James Applegate, and James, in turn, had transferred it to Richard Storer on November 29, 1807.

From the wording of this agreement, it is apparent that a man named Hezekiah Douthitt was living
on a portion of Richard Sparks's land in March 1792, but no formal document has been found to
suggest when and how such an arrangement had been made. However, on April 2, 1792, just ten
days after the Sparks’ Applegate agreement had been signed, the two sons of Richard Sparks
(Benjamin and Richard, Jr.) signed jointly an agreement with Hezekiah Douthitt (spelled
"Dowthwitt" in this latter document) to sell to him a portion of their father's 308 acres--where he
was doubtless living at the time. From this we conclude that the elder Richard Sparks had died
during the ten-day interval following his sale to Applegate, and that Hezekiah Douthitt was anxious
to obtain a document proving his ownership of the land he had been occupying, which is shown on
the land map as the north end of the Sparks grant as comprising 92 acres and 35 poles. (See also the
drawing of the Sparks tract [below].) (A pole in square measurement is equal to a square rod, or
30.25 square yards.)

In the words of this agreement, the two brothers, for "one hundred pounds of the State of
Pennsylvania... doth obligate themselves to give said Hezt. Dowthwitt a deed of conveyance as soon
as they obtain the real deed for said land and moreover we obligate ourselves to obtain the
aforesaid deed." The land was described in the agreement as follows:

            Beginning at the Mouth of Lick Run and Running a strait line up said run till
            it strikes Richard Sparks line, and then along said line till [it] strikes Sam'l.
            Applegates line; from thence till it strikes Elijah Hart's line; thence up Daniel
            Applegate's line to the place of beginning.

Benjamin and Richard Sparks, Jr. never succeeded in obtaining the promised deed, but, somehow,
Douthitt managed to obtain a patent in his own name for his 92-plus acres some 42 years later, on
January 8, 1834, as shown on the land map ([above]).

The senior Richard Sparks did not leave a will, nor has any record been found pertaining to the
probating of his estate. From subsequent deeds involving his two sons who were then still living in
the Forks of the Yough, we know that each was occupying a portion of his father's land, as was also
their stepmother, Sarah Sparks, who held a widow's dower right to a share of her husband's estate.
In the Douthitt deed noted above, the reference to the "Richard Sparks line" referred to Richard, Jr.,
not to his father.

By 1792, both Benjamin and Richard, Jr. had been married and had families. At least four of
Benjamin's seven children had been born by then, as had five of Richard's six.

Although in 1786 it had been the elder Richard Sparks's intent for Benjamin to have 148 acres of his
308-acre grant, it appears that Benjamin and Richard, Jr.'s informal division of what remained of
the grant in 1792, based probably on how much had been cleared and brought under cultivation by
then, resulted in Benjamin having the 95 acres on the west (shown belonging to Isaac Pangbourn on
the land map), while Richard, Jr.'s portion on the south and east sides comprised 118 acres, shown
on the land map as belonging to Brisbane Wall. The circumstances of the passing of these parts to
Pangbourn and Wall will be noted below. (See drawing [below]).

Eighteen years had passed between young Richard's release from the Shawnees and the death of
his father, during which he was much involved in military affairs, largely as a scout for the
Americans in fighting the Indians during and following the Revolution. He had been married in
1782 to Frances Nash, a young woman living with her parents in the "Jersey Settlement," and in the
following year the first of their six children was born. Frances died with the birth of their sixth child
in 1794. A number of records exist proving that Richard found it impossible to live the routine life
of a farmer like his father and Benjamin. Having grown up as an Indian, he was not content to
remain long in one place. Family traditions suggest that as a husband and father he was largely a
failure. In 1791, he was commissioned a captain in the Pennsylvania Militia and soon thereafter
joined General Arthur St. Clair, whom Washington had ordered to destroy the Miamis, and on
March 5, 1792, he was commissioned a captain in the regular army of the United States. In the
summer of 1794, the year his wife died, he was with General Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers
where he commanded a company. After the death of Frances, their children were reared by
relatives, including Richard's stepmother, Sarah Sparks. Seven years passed before he saw his
children after his wife's death. Richard rented his share of his father's land to a man named Ezra
Brandt. On June 29, 1797, he was married, second, to Ruth Sevier, daughter of General John Sevier,
a famous Indian fighter and hero of the American Revolution, who had become Governor of the new
state of Tennessee in 1796. During the remainder of his military career, Richard Sparks, Jr. was
associated with the Old Southwest. In 1806, he was promoted to the rank of major in the U.S.
Second Infantry, and by 1809 he had advanced to lieutenant colonel. On July 6, 1812, he became a
full colonel.

Benjamin Sparks continued as a farmer on his portion of his father's land until his untimely death in
1801. His wife, Rachel (Pearce) Sparks, daughter of Andrew, Jr. and Massa Pearce, was left with
seven children, five of whom were under age, including two who were mere infants.

The cause of Benjamin's early death will probably never be known, although he did have time to
make his will, which is given in full in the sketch of Benjamin's life [provided in another article]. He
left both his real and personal estate to his wife for her use during her widowhood in rearing their
minor children.

In the same year that Benjamin Sparks died, 1801, his brother, Capt. Richard Sparks, returned to the
"Jersey Settlement" for a visit; he was accompanied by his second wife, Ruth (Sevier) Sparks. Our
knowledge of this visit, and its connection to the story of the elder Richard Sparks's land warrant
for which a patent was never obtained, is found in a most unusual source--the will of Garret Wall,
son-in-law of then Captain Richard Sparks. Garret Wall (1778-1849), a member of the Wall family
long associated with the Sparks family in the Forks of the Yough, had been married to Mary Sparks,
the eldest daughter of Richard and Frances (Nash) Sparks. Mary died in 1821 and Garret Wall was
married a second time to Mary Watson. He had children by both wives, and in his 1846 will, he
explained in some detail why he left none of his estate to his children by his first wife. He believed
that he had been cheated by their grandfather, beginning with Richard's 1801 visit.

The following is quoted from Garret Wall's will dated May 29, 1846, on file among the probate
records in the Allegheny County Court House. (Some punctuation has been added, but Wall's
spelling has not been corrected.)

            ... My first Father in law, Capt. Richard Sparks of the United States army, had
            six Children by his first wife, who were bilited amongst their friends in this
            Neighborhood after their Mothers death, until I marryed his eldest daughter.
            A flew weeks after I Married his daughtor he cald in this Neighbourhood on
            his way to the War Office, not having seen his children from the death of their
           Mother, some five or six years, haveing paid but little attention to them.... He
           my Father in law... [stated] that if I would perform certain servaces for him
           he would make me a Deed for the tract of land whereon I now live, saying he
           considered I would have a good bargain for he considered the land, altho
           poor, and with the incumbrance of his Step moehters dower wright, to be
           worth five hundred dollars....

           Altho I spent seven hundred dollars in his, Sparks, Services including about
           200 Dollars of debets paid for him in Pittsburgh, in all 200 Dollars more than
           the valuation put on the land by himself. Forty six years ago this land was
           thought but of little value, there was when I came to it but thirty four acres
           cleared, besides some eight or ten acres in possession of Grandmother Sparks.
           The thirty four acres had been in the hands of tenants for some thirteen years
           [and] was must exausted, bore little else than peneroyal, and in a manner
           destitute of fenies [fences]. Sparks treated me dishonestly. After
           acknowledging again and again that I had performed my part of the
           contract, but he would take special care not to send the promised deed or
           convayance.... The fact is the land is justly mine. I paid a high price for it....
           Sparks never returned to see his children after he left his children with me....
           From 1801, the five younger siblings of Mary Sparks lived with her and her
           husband. The reason that Richard Sparks never provided Garret Wall with a
           deed to the land was simply because he could not do so, since the elder
           Richard Sparks had never obtained his patent. In fact, during their 1801 visit,
           Richard and Ruth Sparks had signed a power of attorney on July 6, 1801, for
           Joseph Beckett, an old neighbor and justice of the peace:

           ...Firmly to execute a good firm Warrantee deed to my old farm or
           plantation.. lately in the Tenure of Ezra Brandt Joining lands with Garret
           Applegate and others, to Confirm it over to my Son in law Garret Wall and
           Mary his wife.... I also Constitute and [direct] my said attorney to grant,
           Bargain and Sell all my part portion and share of the grist Mill Built in
           partnership with Joseph Applegate... Togeather with my part of the lot of
           land it is Situated on Containing about Twenty Acres.... I also ordain him my
           said attorney Firmly to execute a good Warrantee deed to Hezekia Douthit
           for the tract of Land and [on which] said Douthett now lives on, agreeable to
           a article I signed for that purpose...

This document, signed by Richard and Ruth Sparks, was witnessed by Robert McFarland, Martin
Andrews, and Saml. Walker. It was recorded on March 30, 1803, in Allegheny County Deed Book
L.II, p.295.
It is apparent that Joseph Beckett failed to obtain a patent for the portion of the land grant of the
elder Richard Sparks to which Richard, Jr. claimed inheritance. Finally, however, in his will made
on March 6, 1814, he, then as Colonel Richard Sparks, as his first provision, stated:

            In the first place I give and devise to my daughter, Polly Wall, the tract of
            land she now resides on in Alleghany County in the state of Pennsylvania,
            containing two hundred & fifty or three hundred acres be the same more or
            less, to her and her heirs forever.

"Polly" was the nickname of Mary (Sparks) Wall. Her father considerably exaggerated the amount
of land that he and his brother, Benjamin, had agreed long ago should be Richard's share, seeming
to suggest that he had inherited nearly the entire tract that had constituted his father's claim. But,
in any case, it was Richard's will that finally made legal the promise he had made in 1801 to Garret
Wall, although it was Garret's wife who became the heir. From Garret's will, however, we know
that he continued to live on what had been Richard's farm even after Mary's death on November 10,
1821. With Garret's death on January 13, 1848, it passed to his and Mary's son, Brisben Wall. It was
Brisben Wall who finally succeeded in obtaining a patent for the 118 acres and 85 polls on October
28, 1848. (See the land map [above] and the drawing [below].)

As noted earlier, Benjamin Sparks, in his will dated July 26, 1801, which was entered into probate
on September 19th of the same year, had directed that his wife, Rachel, should have the use of both
his real and personal estate for the support and education of their minor children. As will be
discussed in more detail in the article devoted to Benjamin and his family, it was in 1817 that
Benjamin's heirs sold their claim to his land to Amos Robins. From Benjamin's surviving children's
agreement with Robins in 1817, it is apparent that during the years that had passed since their
father's death in 1801 and that of their uncle in 1815, Benjamin's surviving children had forgotten
that it had been their grandfather, the elder Richard Sparks, who had squatted on, and subsequently
obtained, a warrant, but not a patent, to the original tract of 308 acres. When they found the
unrecorded agreement by the elder Richard Sparks to sell to, and, when possible, provide a deed to
his son, Benjamin, dated May 1, 1786, for 128 acres, the children of Benjamin appear to have
assumed that this had been signed by Benjamin's brother, Richard Sparks, Jr. and that it had been
Richard, Jr. to whom the warrant had been issued. How they reconciled the fact that this
agreement, which had never been carried out, called for 128 acres whereas Benjamin's farm
comprised only 91-plus acres, is difficult to imagine.

Amos Robins saw to it that included in his agreement was a promise that Benjamin's children "shall
and will at the proper costs and charges... as soon as the nature of the above indentury... be deemed
sufficient in law, convey and assure in fee simple, clear of all incumbrance unto the said Amos
Robins his heirs and assigns all the aforesaid tract of land..." (These 1817 agreements were
recorded in Allegheny County Deed Book 24, pp.340-46.)

The problem regarding the legal status of Benjamin Sparks's land continued. On December 11,
1819, Amos Robins sold a half-interest in the tract to Samuel Robins for $600. Although called a
deed, the document contained the following. Amos Robins doth further covenant and agree... that
he will in a reasonable time, at the joint expense of him and the said Samuel make or cause to be
made... a good and sufficient Deed in fee simple..." Interestingly, when this deed was recorded on
May 5, 1829, the 1786 "Agreemt" between the elder Richard Sparks and Benjamin, with Joseph
Beckett's addendum of November 6, 1809, was recorded immediately following. It had not been
recorded previously. (Allegheny County Deed Book 38, pp.309-10) Amos and Samuel Robbins had
neglected to have their agreement of 1819 recorded until 1829, at which time they sold the
Benjamin Sparks tract to Isaac Pangborn or Pangbourn), and it was Pangborn who finally succeed
in obtaining a patent for it on January 26, 1830, as shown on the land map reproduced [above].
[Below] is a more readable drawing of the 308-acre tract for which the elder Richard Sparks
received a warrant in 1786, showing the division of it over the years.
The agreement to sell to Samuel       On March 23, 1792, shortly
Applegate the 3 acres (see            before his death, the elder
opposite) included a reference to a   Richard Sparks sold this
corner "betwixed the said             triangular piece of land
Applegate and Hezekiah Douthitt."     comprising about 3 acres, to
It is apparent that Douthitt (also    Samuel Applegate, who owned
spelled Douthett and Doughitt)        adjoining land. Lacking a patent,
was then living on the north end of   Sparks could only promise to
Sparks's tract, probably with the     provide a deed sometime in the
understanding that he could           future. Samuel Applegate
purchase it. Soon after the death     transferred these 3 acres in
of Richard Sparks, his sons,          1794 to James Applegate, who
Benjamin and Richard, Jr., sold on    sold them to Richard Storer in
April 2, 1792, to Douthitt 92 acres   1809. Whether one of these
& 35 poles for 100 pounds             men, or a later owner, ever
Pennsylvania money, promising to      obtained a patent for this small
provide a proper deed at a later      tract of land is not known.
date (Their father had never
obtained a patent to his 308 acre
grant after receiving a warrant in
1786.) Douthitt managed to
obtain a patent to his tract from
the state of Pennsylvania on June
5, 1834.

It was probably soon after the        It was doubtless because their
death of their father that Benjamin   father had not obtained a patent
and Richard Sparks, Jr. agreed on     for his 308-acre grant that
how they would divide the             Benjamin and Richard, Jr. did not
remaining land. Their portions        execute deeds formalizing their
  differed in size, but they were                                agreement. They were probably
  probably similar in value.                                     already living on this land at the
  Benjamin's farm was found to                                   time. Richard's portion was
  comprise 95 acres & 111 poles. In                              found later to contain118 acres
  his will of 1801, he left all of his                           85 poles. Although in 1801 he
  estate to his wife, Rachel, for her to                         had promised this Land to his
  rear and educate their children. In                            on-in-law Garret Wall, he was
  1817, she and her six surviving                                never able to provide him with
  children sold their claim to this                              an actual deed, and in his will in
  land to Amos Robins. It came into                              1815, Richard Sparks left it to
  the possession of Isaac Pangborn                               his daughter, Mary, Garret's
  (also spelled Pangbourn) prior to                              wife. It passed to her and
  1829, and he succeeded in                                      Garret's son, Brisben Wall, after
  obtaining a patent for it from the                             Garret died and on October 23,
  state of Pennsylvania on January                               1848, Brisben Wall obtained a
  26, 1830.                                                      patent for it from the state of

The five sons of the elder Richard Sparks were: James Sparks, born in or about 1752; Benjamin
Sparks, born about 1754; Richard Sparks, Jr., born in or about 1757; Walter Sparks, born in or
about 1760; and Daniel Sparks, born on February 10, 1763. There was also at least one daughter
of the elder Richard Sparks whose name was Elizabeth Sparks.

James Sparks, the oldest of the children of the senior Richard Sparks, was the subject of an article
in the QUARTERLY of September 1994, Whole NO 167, beginning on page 4324. In the surviving
Court Minutes of Yohogania Cotinty, Virginia, dated April 24, 1780, at a time when Virginia claimed
what would become the southwest corner of Pennsylvania, there appears a reference to James
Sparks. With fifteen other men, including John and Walter Wall, James served in "a grand inquest
for the body of this County..." Like Benjamin and Richard Sparks, Jr., James Sparks served in the
American Revolution and, as a resident of Jackson County, Indiana, in 1833, a year before he died,
he applied for a pension based on that service. His pension papers, in which he recalled that service
and his places of residence before and after, provide an important source for telling his life story.
He stated that it had been in 1782 that he had moved to Jefferson County, Kentucky; his name
appeared on a tax list there the same year. He and his wife, Caty Sparks, were the parents of eight
children, the first four of whom had been born in what became Allegheny County, Pennsylvania,
before the family moved to Kentucky. Their names were: Stephen Sparks, born June 25, 1775; Alicy
(Sparks) Newkirk, born March 11, 1777; Benjamin Sparks, born July 1, 1778; Henry Sparks, born
ca.1780; Elizabeth (Sparks) Richter, or Rector, born ca.1783; James Sparks, born ca.1785; Moses
Sparks, born ca.1789; and Walter Sparks, born ca.1794.

Benjamin Sparks was born about 1754. He was the only son of the elder Richard Sparks to spend
his entire life in the Forks of the Yough where his parents had come as pioneers prior to 1760. He
was married to Rachel Pearce. We tell his life story in [another article].
Richard Sparks, Jr., third son of the senior Richard Sparks, was born between 1757 and 1760.
Although he was born before his parents moved from New Jersey to the Forks of the Yough, settling
in what is now Forward Township in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, we know that he was only a
small lad, probably no older than four or five years, when he was stolen (today we would say
kidnapped) by some Shawnee Indians. Reared as an Indian, and having forgotten his parents and
siblings, Richard was returned to his family only after the defeat of the Shawnees in the Battle of
Point Pleasant on December 4, 1774, by an army of Virginians under command of Governor
Dunmore. As noted earlier in this article, he was civilized" by his family, and during the American
Revolution he became a valued guide for the military, eventually becoming an officer in the U.S.
Army. He was commissioned as a captain in 1792 and rose to the rank of colonel. His life story was
recounted in the QUARTERLY of September 1974, Whole No. 87, with a reproduction of his painted
portrait on the cover. Further information appeared in the QUARTERLY of September 1998, Whole
No. 183, pp.5032-35. By his first wife, Frances Nash, Richard was the father of five daughters: Mary
("Polly") (Sparks) Wall, born January 26, 1783; Catherine (Sparks) McClure; Charity (Sparks) Budd;
Elizabeth (Sparks) Breazeale; and Elenor (Sparks) Printy. (Charity Sparks was married three times,
becoming Charity Cooper and Charity Printy, as well as Charity Budd.) Richard and Frances Sparks
also had a son, Jesse Sparks, who is believed to have died in his youth. Richard's first wife, Frances,
died about 1794, and his daughters were reared by relatives in Pennsylvania until the oldest
daughter, Mary, was married to Garret Wall; thereafter, until they came of age, Mary's sisters lived
in the Wall household. Richard Sparks, Jr. was married, second, to Ruth Sevier in 1797. There were
no children by this second marriage. Because of suffering a stroke, he was required to resign his U.S.
Army commission and he died in Mississippi in 1815.

Walter Sparks, fourth son of the elder Richard Sparks, was born about 1760, probably while his
parents were still living in Middlesex County, New Jersey. An article devoted to Walter Sparks
appeared in the QUARTERLY of December 1987, Whole No. 140, beginning on page 3130. Our
earliest record of Walter is that of his signing an "Oath of Allegiance and Fidelity" to the American
side in the Revolution dated May 25, 1778. We know that he was a member of Joseph Beckett's
Company, a militia unit organized to fight the British. Beckett owned a large amount of land on the
Monongahela River very near the grant that the elder Richard Sparks received in 1786. Walter
moved to Kentucky to join his brothers, James and Daniel, paying taxes in Jefferson County as early
as 1792, the same year his father died and that Kentucky was admitted to the Union. His wife's
name was Phoebe; she and Walter both apparently died in Jefferson County, Kentucky, about
1827/30. They appear to have had ten children: Richard Sparks born December 24, 1781; Elijah
Sparks, born about 1783; William Sparks, born about 1785; Hannah (Sparks) Smith 1789; Daniel
Sparks, born between 1787 and 1791; James Sparks, born about 1791; Joanna (or Johannah)
(Sparks) Lovelace, born August 16, 1793; Ezra Sparks, born about 1795-97; Walter Sparks, Jr.,
about 1802; and Elizabeth (Sparks) Smith, born about 1802. Information on each of these children
appears in the December 1987 issue of the QUARTERLY.

Daniel Sparks, the youngest son of the elder Richard Sparks was featured in the QUARTERLY of
September 1993, Whole No. 153. He was born on February 10, 1763, according to a family record
that appears to have been copied from an earlier record in a family Bible. We believe that he was
born while his parents were still living in Middlesex County, New Jersey. Like his brothers, James
and Walter, Daniel Sparks moved to Kentucky as a young man. His name appears on a poll list for
Jefferson County there dated April 2, 1782, and on June 4, 1782, he was a witness to an agreement
between John Helm and Moses Kuykendale, the latter being his brother-in-law who had also moved
to Kentucky. On June 28, 1792, he was elected captain of the First Regiment of Jefferson County
Militia, which suggests that he must have had prior military experience. On May 23, 1788, Daniel
Sullivan transferred to Daniel Sparks a 100-acre tract on Beargrass Creek in Jefferson County that
Sullivan had received as a Virginia land grant for military service in the Revolution.

Daniel Sparks was married twice. No record has been found of his first wife other than that she and
Daniel had two children: Samuel Ketchum Sparks and Rebecca Sparks. Samuel's middle name may
suggest that his mother's maiden name may have been Ketchum. A Samuel Ketchum had died in
the summer of 1778 according to a Yohogania County, Virginia, Court order that Andrew Pearce,
Richard Johnson, James Wall, and Richard Sparks should prepare the inventory of Ketchum's estate
on August 24, 1778. (See below the fact that Samuel Ketchum's widow was Elizabeth Sparks, a
sister of Daniel Sparks.) Daniel Sparks was married, second, to Sarah Bogard in 1789. He moved
from Kentucky to Clark County, Indiana, in or about 1811; he died there in 1820. His second wife,
Nancy (Bogard) Sparks, was still living in 1827. She and Daniel were the parents of twelve children.
The family record noted earlier provides dates of birth for all twelve children, as well as for Daniel's
two children by his first wife. They were: Samuel Ketchum Sparks. born August 10, 1786; Rebecca
Sparks, born March 25, 1788; Valentine Sparks, born September 26, 1790; Orson Sparks, born July
9, 1792; Nimrod Sparks, born June 11, 1894; Delila Sparks, born July 18, 1796; Massa Sparks, born
December 22, 1798; Hector Sparks, born December 21, 1799; Daniel B. Sparks, born March 28,
1801; Harmon N. Sparks, born December 1, 1803; Elizabeth Sparks, born April 1, 1809 (this could
be 1807); Nancy Sparks, born April 1, 1810; Catherine ("Caty") Sparks, born February 3, 1812; and
Hannah H. Sparks, born December 28, 1813.

Elizabeth Sparks, a daughter of the elder Richard Sparks, was married, first to Samuel Ketchum,
who died in the summer of 1778. (See the reference to the fact that her brother, Daniel Sparks,
named his first son, born in 1786, Samuel Ketchum Sparks[…].) At a meeting of the Yohogania
County, Virginia, Court on August 24, 1778, "Letters of Administration" were granted to "Elizabeth
Ketchum and William Ketchum, the Widow and bro'r. of Samuel Ketchum, decd." On the same day,
the elder Richard Sparks was one of four men ordered to make an inventory of the Ketchum estate,
a task reported as completed by the Court meeting on October 26, 1778. Elizabeth (Sparks)
Ketchum was married, second, to Moses Kuykendale (or Kuykendall) a widower who had been born
about 1748, a son of Benjamin and Sarah (Feree) Kuykendale. He and Elizabeth, who was often
called "Betsey," migrated with the Sparks brothers to Jefferson County, Kentucky, in or about 1782.
Elizabeth had had a daughter named Hannah Ketchum by her first husband, who, under a marriage
bond dated January 20, 1792, was married to Samuel Griffy. Moses Kuykendale served as
bondsman and was identified therein as Hannah Ketchum's step-father. Moses died prior to June
20, 1808, for on that date his widow, Elizabeth (Sparks) Ketchum Kuykendall, was married to her
third husband, William Steele. We have found no record of Elizabeth Sparks having children other
than her daughter, Hannah.

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