Posted By: County Coordinator
Date: 3/10/2009 at 10:26:01
John Sparks, is a prominent and influential farmer of Marcy township and a representative of one of the old families of the county. He has made his home within the borders of Boone county since 1851 and therefore for more than half a century has been a witness of the changes which have occurred and have brought the community from its primitive condition to one of marked advancement. At the time of his arrival Mr Sparks was a youth of only about ten years, his birth having occurred in Owen county, Indiana, October 31, 1841. He is a son of Rev William J and Sarah (Jennings) Sparks, both of whom were natives of North Carolina. Becoming residents of Indiana, they remained in the latter state until 1851, when they brought their family to Boone county, Iowa, settling on a farm in Worth township. Later they came to Marcy township, locating on the Berry farm, where the father made his home until his death, which occurred in 1878, when he was seventy-two years of age, while his wife died at the advanced age of eighty-nine years. Both were consistent Christian people and held membership in the Baptist church and the father was a minister of that denomination, devoting much of his time and energy to the work of advancing the cause of Christianity. This worthy couple were the parents of thirteen children, of whom five are now living: Mary, the widow of Francis Williams, and a resident of Marcy township, Milley, wife of Joe Staley, of the same township, William, a retired farmer living in Taylor county, Iowa, Sarah Ann, the wife of Louis Phipps, a resident farmer of Des Moines township, and John , of this review.
Like the other members of the family, John Sparks pursued his education in the common schools, beginning his studies in Indiana, Later he continued his school work in Boone county. He assisted in the arduous task of developing a new farm here and continued to work in the fields and meadows of he old homestead until he had attained his majority. About the time of the Civil War was begun and with patriotic spirit Mr Sparks offered his services to the government, enlisting under Captain DeTar, but was taken ill and was unable to go to the front. He afterward purchased a farm in the southern part of Marcy township and was there engaged in agricultural pursuits for about thirty years. He also conducted a saw mill there and both branches of this business proved a source of a good income to him. In February 1882, he removed to his present farm known as the old Jerry Gordon farm, comprising 233 acres on Sec 14, Marcy township. Since that time Mr Sparks has made excellent improvements on his property and now has a good set of farm buildings, together with the latest improved machinery and all the modern accessories for facilitating farm work. He is successfully carrying on general farming and stock raising and trades to a considerable extent in stock. For some time he also operated a threshing machine in Marcy township and was very busy during the harvest season.
Mr Sparks has been twice married. He first wedded Miss Adelina Phipps, a daughter of Solomon Phipps, a farmer of Boone county. She died and their only child died in infancy. For his second wife Mr Sparks chose Nancy S Cartwright, who was born in Pike county, Ohio, November 25, 1848, a daughter of William A Cartwright, an agriculturist of the Buckeye state, now deceased. Unto Mr Sparks and his present wife have been born eleven children. The eldest is Sarah Jane, the wife of Wallace McCall, a resident of Marcy township. The others are: Alice, George E, Della, Grover, John Franklin, Carl, Justin, Arville, C, Clinton M and Flossie, all at home.
Mr Sparks has always given his political support to the Democracy and never fails to exercise his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the party. He has served for several terms as constable in his township, has been road supervisor and school director. Fraternally he is connected with Moingona Lodge No 258 F & A M, of Moingona. Almost his entire Life has been passed in this county and as the years have gone by he has taken a deep interest in public progress and improvement, doing what he could to promote the general welfare along such lines. He has a vivid recollection of the county as it was a half century ago, when the prairies were largely uncultivated and one could ride for miles without meeting a fence to impede progress. The work of improvement lay almost entirely in the future, but there has come to Boone county a progressive and enterprising class of citizens who have reclaimed the region for purposes of civilization and today it is the home of a prosperous and contented people who enjoy the conveniences and improvements of the older east.
1902 Boone County History Book
Boone Biographies maintained by Jan Bony.
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