Placer County









            Emigration to California in ’49 and the early ‘50s was drawn from the best element of the east and middle west, and, in fact from all parts of the world; for in those days it took pluck and courage to brave the dangers of overland travel or voyage; months were consumed in making the journey; and uncertainty, and in many cases hardship awaited the traveler.  Among those who landed in California at that early date, have passed through the varied experiences of a half century and are now comfortably situated in the Golden state, is Reuben Moore Sparks, a resident of Sunny South, Placer County.  It was in 1853 that he came to California.

            Mr. Sparks was born in Kentucky January 8, 1835, a son of Mattison and Winfred (Thomas) Sparks, the former a native of Kentucky and the latter of Virginia, the Sparks family having lived in Kentucky for several generations, the Thomas’s being an old Virginia family.  His ancestors were prominent in the early history of this country and were participants in both the war of the Revolution and of 1812.  Mattison Sparks attained the ripe age of eighty-seven years.  His wife was sixty-five when she died.  They had eight sons and a daughter, four of whom are living.

            In his native state Reuben M. Sparks spent the first eighteen years of his life, and then came to California, stopping first at Grass Valley, Nevada County, where for a year and a half he worked for wages on a ranch.  We next find him at Deer Creek, where he spent the winter in mining.  With a partner he secured a claim at Bear River, out of which they took about four thousand dollars.  They mined thirteen hundred dollars in a single week, and out of one pan of dirt took ninety-three dollars.  Also they had a canyon claim, which they mined successfully.  Later Mr. Sparks came to Iowa Hill, where he and his brother invested in a mine.  This, however, proved a failure.  He then went to Wolf Creek, where he mined one summer with good success, at the end of the season returning to Iowa Hill and going thence to Damascus.  There he became a partner with Mr. M. H. Power and others in the Damascus mine, which they consolidated with the Mountain Gate mine, in which he is still interested.  He is also a shareholder in the Hidden Treasure Gravel mine.  Since 1876 he has been a resident of Sunny South, where he now has a pleasant home, and surrounded with comfort and plenty, is spending the evening of life.

            Mr. Sparks was married in July, 1880, to Miss L. B. Bank, of Nevada County, a daughter of F. W. Bank, who has been a resident of this state since 1855 and now resides at San Juan. Mr. and Mrs. Sparks have an only daughter, Miss Hattie.

            Of Mr. Sparks’ political and fraternal affiliations it may be said that he has been a life-long Democrat and has long been identified with the Masonic order, having membership in both the blue lodge and chapter.




Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: “A Volume of Memoirs and Genealogy of Representative Citizens of Northern California”, Pages 683-684. Chicago Standard Genealogical  Publishing Co. 1901.

© 2010  Gerald Iaquinta.




Placer County Biographies

California Statewide

Golden Nugget Library