Sparks

 

 

The chronicle begins with Henery Sparks [i.e. Henry] who, at the time of his marriage to Martha Barrett, 10 July 1676, in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, was of Exeter, New Hampshire. Born around 1646, he may be the same Henery who left Bristol, England, on 28 August 1666 bound to Edward Tocknell and destined for New England. (See Tepper, Passengers to America) Henery was fined in 1667 at Cocheco (now Dover, New Hampshire) for fighting with the Indian Cromwell; he was taxed in 1671. In 1673 he was fined for taking Samuel Leavitt's bridle "on 27:12:1673, Samuel Leavett Vs. Henery Sparkes for taking away his bridle from Goodman Robie in a disorderly way, under suspicion of theft. Judgement for plaintiff." (From Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts, Vol. V, 1672 74) In February 1677-78, he was "late of Ex. now sojourning at Chelmsf ack. Judg. to Simon Bradstreet." (Noyes, Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire) In February 1676, Henry was credited to Chelmsford in the return of a Middlesex Regiment of Militia as it met the challenge of King Phillip's War. He was twice pressed into service. He was granted land in Chelmsford for this service. (History of Chelmsford)

 

Martha Barrett, daughter of Thomas and Frances (Woolderson) Barrett and granddaughter of Thomas and Margaret Barrett, was born in Braintree, Massachusetts, on 17 September 1656. Her father moved to Chelmsford prior to March, 1660. She married Henery Sparks on 10 July 1676 in Chelmsford. It is probable that they had the following children: Frances; a male born in Chelmsford and died on 6 May 1683; Abiell (or Abigail); Henry; and Deliverance.

 

It was while Henry was fighting in the eastern parts of the colony that problems beset Martha. She was put in jail in Boston on suspicion of witchcraft. The History of Chelmsford, quoting from the Massachusetts Archives, provides us with an account of John Arnold, the Boston jailer, who not only played host to Martha Barrett Sparkes for 58 weeks, from 28 October 1691 to 8 December 1692, but had as his guests the more celebrated ladies from Salem, including Sarah Good, Sarah Osbourn, and Rebecca Nurse. On 1 November 1692, Martha's father, Thomas Barrett, petitioned the Governor and Council for her release. The account above and the petition below are taken from the Massachusetts Archives, Vol. 135.

 

To his Excy. Sr. William Phips, Knt. Capn Genll. and Governor in Cheife of their Majties Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England and to the Honed. Council thereof. The Humble Petition of Thomas Barrett of Chelmsford in New England, in behalf of his Daughter Martha Sparkes, wife of Henry Sparkes who is now a Souldier in their Majties Service att the Easterne Parts, and soe hath beene for a Considersble Time, Humbly Showeth That yor Petitionrs Daughter hath Layne in Prison in Boston for the Space of Twelve months and Five days, being Committed by Thomas Danforth, Esq the Late Depty Governor, upon suspicion of Witchcraft, Since which noe Evidence hath appeared against her in any Such matter, neither hath any Given bond to prosecute her nor doth any one att this day accuse her of any such thing as yor Petitionr knows of. That Yor Petitionr hath ever since Kept two of her children - -the one of 5 years ye other of 2 years old, wch hath been a considerable Trouble and charge to him in his poore & meane Condition; besides yor Petitionr hath a Lame antient & sick wife, who for these 5 yeares & upwards past hath beene soe afflicted: as that shee is altogether rendred uncapable of affording her self any help, wch much augments his Trouble. Yor Poore Petitionr Earnestly and humbly Intreates Yor E'cy & honrs. to take his distressed condition into yor consideracon, And that you will please to order ye releasemt. of his Daughtr. from her confinement. Whereby shee may returne home to her poore children to look after them, haveing nothing to pay the charge of her Confinemt.

 

Thomas Barrett appeared before the Court on December 6, 1692, and guaranteed a bond for Martha's appearance before the next session of the Court. Two days later she was set free. The Records of the Middlesex County Court for this period were burned in a Concord fire since that time. No papers relating to the case are to be found in the Court files of 1692 and 1693 (according to the History of Chelmsford).

 

As if this were not enough, Henery Sparks died on 16 July 1694 in Chelmsford. Martha (Barrett) Sparks died on 28 February 1697 in Chelmsford at 40 years of age.

 

 

ASA SPARKS of MOUNT WASHINGTON, MA

 

 

 

Last Will & Testament signature of Asa Sparks

 

 

 

"The March 1987 issue of the Sparks Quarterly dealt with the Henry Sparks lineage which began in Chelmsford, Mass, and then went to Rhode Island and Connecticut. The article focused only on one son of Samuel and Margaret (Lorton) Sparks, a second son of Samuel and Margaret, who went to Berkshire County, Mass, and whose descendants went to Connecticut, New York, Michigan, Ohio, California and Minnesota.

 

Asa Sparks was probably born in Scituate, Rhode Island about 1745. Family tradition simply stated that Asa went west. West in the late 1760's apparently meant New York State of Western Massachusetts. It is possible that he traveled west with his brother Henry and sister Margaret. Asa and Margaret both settled in Berkshire County, Mass, while Henry is found in Washington County, NY. On May 28, 1770, Asa married Abigail Sage in Sharon, CT. That record listed both Asa and Abigail as being of the Oblong. The Oblong was disputed territory that included the entire western border of Connecticut and New York, as well as the southwestern border of Massachusetts and New York.

 

Asa's Revolutionary War service consisted of three separate enlistments according to Massachusetts Archive Records. He enlisted from December 16, 1776 to March 15, 1777, and was present at Ticonderoga in February of 1777. Second, he enlisted from July 8, 1777, as part of the Berkshire County Militia. Third, he enlisted from October 23, 1780 to October 25, 1780 as part of a march from Mount Washington to Bennington, Vermont, to guard the frontiers on an alarm

 

Abigail Sage was the daughter of Allen and Abigail (Willard) Sage, she was born in Waterbury, CT on August 4th 1754. She was baptized in The Cromwell, CT, First Congregational Church on August 11, 1754. Allen Sage became an original proprietor of Taconic Mountain, Mass, later named Mount Washington. He and his son Daniel also served in the Revolutionary War. It was from his father-in-law that Asa Sparks purchased his tract of land in Mount Washington in 1775.

 

Asa's land purchases expanded. He bought land that extended from the mountain top of Mount Washington east to the swamps of Sheffield, Mass. His land holdings also extended south in the northern Connecticut town of Salisbury. He was a yeoman and in the Town of Taconic Mountain in the 1790 federal census. From 1792 to 1814, he was listed in the assessorís reports of Sheffield, Mass. About 1800, Asa became involved in the iron ore industry of the area. He purchased an iron forge from Calvin Loring, et al., in the northern part of Salisbury that abutted the Massachusetts line. In the account book of Captain Abel Thorp, a neighbor of Asa's in Sheffield, Asa is shown as often paying his debts with materials made of iron, presumably made at his forge. The forge was sold to his son-in-law, David Chapin in 1807. David died however during 1812 and the forge returned to Asa who leased a portion of it for a six year period to Isaac Bartlett of Salisbury. The remainder of the land was sold to David Chapin's cousin, Phineas Chapin in 1812.

 

The latter years of Asa's life were probably spent as a retired farmer. Among Asa's probate papers, there is a statement by his son Benjamin that he (Benjamin) ran the farm as "a hired hand" from February 15, 1806 to June 1, 1814. At Asa's death, it was Benjamin who received the family homestead and served as executor of his father's estate.

 

Asa died June 8, 1814, in Sheffield, Mass. His place of burial is unknown. It is likely, however, that he was buried either in the Sage-Candee Cemetery in which many of his descendants are buried. Abigail, his wife, survived until at least 1830 and it is probable she died and was buried in New York.

 

Asa Sparks wrote his last will and testament on July 4, 1813, saying that he was "infirm of body and threatened with death tho thro the mercy of God of sound mind and memory." The probate records provide a complete list of Asa's children. He listed ten children in his will. However, the probate documents acknowledge that three children predeceased Asa. His will was proved in Sheffield, Mass, on August 4, 1814.

 

The first of ten children of Asa Sparks were probably all born in Mount Washington, Mass. The vital records of Mount Washington for that period are very scarce. The 1790 federal census lists two males over 16, 5 males under 16 and 4 females. The youngest three were probably born in Sheffield, Mass."

 

Source: Asa Sparks (ca. 1745 - 1814) of Berkshire County, Mass. By Thomas and Virginia N. Howard (appeared in the Sparks Quarterly, Vol. XXXV, March 1987, Whole# 137.)

 

 

VIEW SPARKS FAMILY TREE

 

HOME