David
B.
Sparks


 

DAVID B. SPARKS was born in Camden, New Jersey around 1847 to Abner and Amelia Sparks. He was the third son, coming after Alfred and Charles, and before younger brother Abner Benjamin Sparks, who was better known as A. Benjamin Sparks. Abner Sparks was in the tobacco business in Camden as early as 1850, and eventually had a cigar factory, at 302 Arch Street, next door to the family home at 304 Arch.

According to the 1890 Veterans Census, David B. Sparks enlisted in Company K, 44th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment on July 6, 1863. He served for two months and 15 days.

The 1870 Census shows that David Sparks was married. He lived with his wife Mary, 16, at the home of his mother-in-law, Elizabeth Arrison, in Camden's Middle Ward. He was working as a cigar maker, as was his sister-in-law Sarah Arrison. Brother-in-law William H. Arrison, then 14,  would learn the cigar maker's trade in the early 1870s, and would follow it and operate tobacco shops in Camden until 1930.

On April 20, 1872 David B. Sparks was appointed to the Camden Fire Department, replacing William C. Lee, who had resigned, as an extra man with the Hook and Ladder Company, known in modern times as Ladder Company 1. George Morgan was appointed to the same unit on the same date, replacing James Cassidy, who had also resigned. David and Mary Sparks, and their son William, were then living at 302 Arch Street, or as it was then known, Plum Street. He resigned from the Fire Department in October of 1872. 

By 1880 David Sparks and family were again living with his wife's mother. Their address was 570 Berkley Street. David Sparks was by then working as an engineer. 

The 1900 Census shows the Sparks family, now with a daughter-in-law and a grandson, at 333 Mickle Street. David Sparks is working as a railroad engineer.

David Sparks and his family were living at 330 Royden Street and still working as an engineer when the 1906 City Directory was compiled. 

David Sparks passed away away prior to the April 16, 1910 Census enumeration. He was survived by his wife, Mary E. Sparks, and his son William Sparks, a scenic artist, and five grandchildren. The family was then living at 622 South 3rd Street

David Sparks was active in a fraternal organization known as the Seven Wise Men. The Kearney Conclave, No. 1, Heptasophs (or Seven Wise Men), was organized in Test's Hall, October 15, 1869, when George P. Oliver, of Maryland, Supreme Chancellor; Dr. G. Jennings, Supreme Ephor, of Pennsylvania, and others, initiated and installed these members and officers: A., Harry H. Franks; C, S. C. Hankinson; Pro., Charles H. Cook; R. S., Theodore F. Higbee; F. S., Charles M. Baldwin; T., D. W. Neall; I. G., James E. Carter; H., Caleb H. Taylor; W., David B. Sparks; S., Wm. Acton; Wm. Higbee, Wm. Darby, Henry Hollis, Frank Rawlings, Samuel K. Batchelor, Isaiah Morton, John D. Mahoney, Samuel Pine, George Parson, Benjamin F. Richards, George W. Williams, Absalom Dougherty, Henry Rhinehart, Wm. H. McKee, S. R. Hankinson, John Laning, Richard Bozarth, Alexander Simpson, Nathan Jacobs and William Middleton. Edward S. Andrews, who served with the Camden Fire Department in the 1870s, was also a member.


Philadelphia Inquirer - July 26, 1873
John Gray Jr. - Thomas Grapewine - Henry Frost
Bernard Dennis - Elwood Cline 
David B. Sparks - Charles Elfreth - Joseph Nece William Osler - Isaac Randolph

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