Allen Sparks, farmer, sections 29 and 31, Mendon Township, was born near Maysville, Lewis County, Ky., June 1, 1822. His parents were James and Elizabeth (Gilman) Sparks, he of Kentucky and she of Pennslyvania. They were both members of the Christian church, and had a family of eight sons and five daughters. Allen was the second child and oldest son. He worked on his father's farm until he was twenty-one, when he went on a produce boat down the Mississippi River to New Orleans; thence to the mouth of Red River; thence to Shreveport, La., and down the Black River to Camden, La.; thence up the Washita River to Britton's Bluffs, buying and selling produce, etc., finally loading their boat with cotton and produce for New Orleans, where they sold out. Mr. Sparks was then employed as overseer on Hall's plantation at Union Parish, La., for one year, and then returned to New Orleans and took the steamer, "Queen of the West," for Mayseville, Ky., being five days and thirty-six hours on the trip. He remained here on the old homestead until the fall of 1844, when he went to St. Croix, Minn., and worked in the pineries there and at Wisconsin until May, 1850, when he came down the Wisconsin River to McGregor, Ia., and entered 160 acres of land in Mendon Township, Clayton County, and engaged in farming. May 9, 1861, he enlisted in Company C, Third Iowa Infantry Volunteers; was wounded in the left knee at the battle of Blue Mills, Mo., and wounded in the abdomen at the battle of Pittsburg Landing. He was sent back to Iowa until he recovered from his wounds and to get recruits for his regiment. Some eight months after he joined his company at Memphis, Tenn., and was in the siege of Vicksburg forty-two days, and the night of the bayonet charge, June 10, 1863, was ruptured from jumping into a rifle-pit, and at the battle of Jackson, Miss., July 12, 1863, was wounded in the wrist with a musket ball, which tore off the finger of his right hand. He then remained in the hospital at Mound City, Ill., until September, 1863, when he received an honorable discharge. He returned to Clayton County, Ia., and in 1867 settled on his present farm, where he and family still reside. Mr. Sparks married Martha Moore, Dec. 5, 1852. She was born in Carter County, Ky., and was a daughter of Jerry Moore. Mr. and Mrs. Sparks had four sons, viz.: Winfield S., Josephus, Benjamin and Henry Sparks. The mother died in 1859, and Mr. Sparks married Sarah A. Woodward, Sept. 25, 1862. She was a daughter of James and Hannah (Town) Woodward, of Vermont. They settled in Clayton County, Ia., in the spring of 1849. They had a family of three sons and three girls. He and wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal church. He died in July, 1867; she, Feb. 10, 1879. Mr. and Mrs. Sparks have two sons and two daughters, viz.: Estella, born July 1, 1863; James W., born Aug. 24, 1867; Edward, born Jan. 20, 1871, and Anna, born March 7, 1876. Mr. Sparks owns a fine farm of seventy acres, forty under cultivation and well- stocked. He has held the office of School Director, and has always taken an active interest in the schools of the township. He is one of the old settlers and enterprising representative men and farmers of Clayton County. In politics he is a Republican, and voted for the amendment.
source: History of Clayton
County, Iowa, 1882, p. 1001-1002
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