Last week I told you there were three James Sparks listed in the 1880 Laurel County census report. One was age 79 and living in the home of his daughter Matilda Bible. The other James Sparks was age 40. He was living in his own household with his wife Hila and children - Elbert, Tilford, Jesse, Eliza, Mahala, Edmond and Catharine. According to research done by others, the older man was the grandfather of the James Sparks in Logan Ewell’s story and the younger man was his uncle. I did not try to verify this research, but it seems correct. This week I am presenting information about James Sparks from the Mountain Echo. I got these from excerpts transcribed from the microfilm by Geri Sutton and indexed by Jan Sparkman. I am not certain which James Sparks these excerpts are describing. Most likely the one given the title Senior is the oldest gentleman.

March 7, 1879 – On last Monday Jule [Julie] Elliott of this county appeared before Judge W. L. Brown and swore out a peace warrant for Gus Lobe and put it in to the hands of Constable James Sparks for execution, but we understand Sparks never executed it, Lobe having skipped the county.

March 7, 1879 – On last Monday during the special term of the County Court at this place, Constable James Sparks attempted to execute a warrant of arrest against Mr. Andrew Lee, who was charged with malicious shooting and carrying concealed deadly weapons, was resisted by Lee and persuaded by the immoral use of the revolver to let him alone. During the melee considerably excitement prevailed throughout the town and within the space of a few minutes a great many of those who were in town were brought to the scene of the action. Notwithstanding the great excitement that immediately followed, Lee succeeded in pulling loose from Sparks and effected his escape. After Lee got away from the office he ran about halfway up the hill west of town, stopped, turned around and daringly patted his breast and crowed equal to a rooster who had just triumphed over his antagonist on the bloody arena. Lee is yet at large.

March 28, 1879 - Mrs. James Sparks, wife of James Sparks, Sen., of this county, has been in very bad health for several months and all hopes of her recovery have almost been despaired of.

March 28, 1879 - DIED – At his residence on the 26th inst. the wife of James Sparks, Sen. In this county.

August 6, 1880 – Mr. James Sparks of this county last Tuesday while walking through the court house yard let his pistol accidentally fire in his pocket the ball taking effect in the calf of the left leg ranging down and lodging against the bone, four or five inches above the ankle joint. He rode home about seven miles that evening with the ball still in his leg. He was getting along very well when we heard from him last.

August 13, 1880 – We learn that Mr. Sparks who accidentally shot himself in the leg last week has quite a painful wound and is not much if any better.

November 26, 1880 – We learn the old uncle James Sparks of this county is quite low, suffering from a wound he received about a week since by falling off his horse.

August 18, 1882 – Elected Magistrates/Justices of the Newcomb precinct I. R. Storms and James Sparks

October 20, 1882 – On last Thursday my son, Albert Sparks, left my house for parts unknown to me and without my knowledge and against my consent and any information given me as to his where about will be liberally rewarded. Description: He is 15 years of age, has light hair and blue eyes and fair complexion and when he left had on a pair of cotton pants and brown cotton shirt. For further particulars call on or address: James Sparks, London, Ky.

April 11, 1884 – DIED: At his residence in this county, three miles south of London, on last Saturday of heart disease, Mr. James Sparks. [This is the uncle. He, Hiley and some of their children (Albert, Jessie, Tilford and Edmond) are buried at Slate Hill Cemetery. His tombstone says born January 12, 1840; died April 4, 1884.]

Next week I will provide additional excerpts on Mr. Sparks.

The Laurel County Historical Society is located at Located 310 West 3rd Street in the old Health Department Building. We are open on Mondays & Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. We will open on other days by appointment. Please contact us far enough in advance to schedule a volunteer to open the library. You may contact the Laurel County Historical Society by calling 606-864-0607 or e-mail us at (The first character is a lower case L as in Laurel.)

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