Practical industry, wisely and vigorously applied, never fails of success. It carries a man onward and upward, brings out his individual character and acts as a powerful stimulus to the efforts of others. The greatest results in life are usually attained by simple means and the exercise of the ordinary qualities of common sense and perseverance. The everyday life, with its cares, necessities and duties, affords ample opportunities for acquiring experience of the best kind and its most beaten paths provide a true worker with abundant scope for effort and self-improvement.
Francis M. Sparks was born a short distance east of the city of Rushville, Rush county, Indiana, December 12, 1832. He is the son of Thompson and Lucy (Head) Sparks, the former a native of Hamilton county, Ohio, the latter of New Hampshire. The paternal grandfather, Isaac Sparks, was also a native of Hamilton county, Ohio, and died in that state. He was a farmer and a great hunter, selling much game in Cincinnati. The maternal grandfather, Nathaniel Head, was a native of New Hampshire, but removed to Portsmouth, Ohio, and there followed the occupation of woolen manufacturer. Thompson Sparks, the subjects father, was reared in his native state, where he followed the occupation of farming and stock raising.Subsequently he removed to Rush county, Indiana, where he farmed until his death, at twenty-six years, November 14, 1833. His widow survived him many years, passing away February 26, 1880.
Francis M. Sparks was the only child born to his parents. In 1844, when about twelve years old, he accompanied his mother to Hancock county, settling in Brown township. Determined to own a home of his own and follow an independent career, he obtained possession of forty acres of land, later adding to it eighty more. This latter tract he cleared and improved, and sold it in 1869. The following year Mr. Sparks located on his present farm, formerly known as the Harrison Curry place. He first purchased one hundred and sixty acres in section 2 and 11, later one hundred and forty-nine acres lying partly in Center township and partly in Jackson township. He also bought a tract of fifty-eight acres in Green township, making a total of four hundred and sixty-seven acres in possession of the subject. Here he has carried on all kinds of farming, raising grain and much live stock, particularly cattle. He now operated his land through renters.
Mr. Sparks has been twice married. His first wife was Miss Lydia Garner, whom he married on the 24th of July, 1859. Two children, both now deceased, were born to this union as follows: Ladora became the wife of Charles E. Moore and the mother of seven children, but two of whom are living. Meatta married John C. Loudenback and they had three children, Grace, Gertrude and John F. Mrs. Sparks passed away in 1863, and for his second wife Mr. Sparks chose Miss Matilda Loudenback, their marriage being consummated May 6, 1882. Mrs. Sparks is a native of Jackson township, this county, and is the daughter of Joseph and Malinda (Brown) Loudenback, both natives of Fayette county, Indiana. Mrs. Malinda Loudenback passed away in 1863 and her husband subsequently wedded Miss Martha Chapman, and is now living in Jackson township. Grace Loudenback lived with Mrs. And Mrs. Sparks until her marriage to Lee Carpenter.
While Mr. Sparks has ever taken a keen interest in public matter, as all patriotic citizens should do, yet he has not consented to run for office. By judicious management and enterprise, he has won for himself a handsome competence which enables him to put aside the more arduous duties of life and rest in the enjoyment of the fruits of his former toil. He and his wife occupy a warm place in the hearts of their acquaintances and because of their eminent worth are accorded the respect of the entire community.
Transcribed from Biographical Memoirs of Hancock County B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Logansport, Indiana, 1902 Pages 263-264.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI July 10, 2002.
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