HON. CHARLES I. SPARKS. With a long and successful record as a lawyer, his present duties and responsibilities as judge of the Thirty-fourth Judicial District are a fitting honor to Judge Sparks, whose name is widely known all over Western Kansas.
Judge Sparks, who began the practice of law at Goodland in 1907, was born in Boone County, Iowa, December 22, 1872. In the paternal line he is of Scotch ancestry. The first American of the family settled in Pennsylvania in colonial times. His grandfather, Isaac Sparks, was born in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, June 17, 1811, and when a boy went to Tuscarawas County, Ohio, where he grew up and married, and was a farmer. He finally moved to Boone County, Iowa, and died in that county in 1889. He married Catherine McCrary who was born in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, December 9, 1811.
A. B. Sparks, father of Judge Sparks, was born Tuscarawas County, Ohio, in 1851, and went with his parents to Boone County, Iowa, about 1886. He was a farmer in that section of Iowa for nearly half a century and is now living retired at Boone in Boone County. He is an independent voter and an active supporter of the Methodist Episcopal Church. A. B. Sparks married Jennie Weston, who was born in Jefferson County, New York, in 1853. Charles I. Sparks is the oldest of their children. A. W. Sparks, their second child, is a farmer and rural mail carrier in Boone County, Iowa; J. N. lives in Los Angeles, is a minister of the Methodist Church, but when the World war broke out he sought an opportunity to get into the service of the allies and enlisted in the Canadian Engineers and at last accounts was on duty overseas. George A. is a resident of Valparaiso, Indiana, a teacher there, but during 1918 was in the war service of the Young Men's Christian Association. Lawrence B. is a farmer in Boone County, Iowa, and the youngest of the children is Dorothy, still at home with her parents.
Judge Sparks grew up on his father's farm and was at home to the age of twenty-two. In the meantime besides the instruction and the wholesome discipline he received at home he was getting an education in the rural schools of his native county. He also attended Simpson College at Indianola, Iowa, four years, and while there was initiated in the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. He took his law course in the Iowa State University at Iowa City, graduating LL. B. in 1896.
Upon graduation Judge Sparks took up the practice of law at Boone, Iowa, and in February, 1907, fortified by eleven years of successful experience as a lawyer and as a public official, came to Goodland, Kansas, and for a time was associated with Calvert, the pioneer lawyer, and was busied with a general civil and criminal practice until he entered upon his duties as district judge. His official record began in Iowa, where he served two terms as county attorney of Boone County, being at that time the youngest county attorney in the state. In the campaign of 1898 he was chairman of the Republican Central Committee of Boone County. He has served as city attorney of Goodland and as a member of the school board, and was elected in 1914 as judge of the Thirty-fourth Judicial District, comprising the counties of Sherman, Thomas, Sheridan, Graham and Rooks. He has presided with dignity and impartiality over the various courts in his district, and his record was approved by a practically unanimous re-election in 1918 for another four year term, there being no opposition candidate.
Judge Sparks is a member of the Methodist Church. He is affiliated with Mount Olive Lodge No. 79, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, at Boone, Iowa, with Goodland Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, with Columbia Commandery of the Knights Templar at Goodland, of which he is past eminent commander, and is a member of Sparks Lodge, Knights of Pythias, at Goodland, which was named for him. He is also a member of the District Judges Association of Kansas.
Judge Sparks has a farm in Sherman County, northeast of Goodland, which identifies him modestly with farming, and owns a modern town home at Eleventh and CaIdwell streets in Goodland. He married at Marengo, Iowa, in 1895, Miss Ida D. Roberts, a daughter of E. D. Roberts, born in Wales in 1831, and was twelve years old when his parents came to America and settled at Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he grew to manhood. In 1861 Mr. Roberts enlisted in Company F of the Thirty-Fifth Illinois Infantry, and was a Union soldier until the close of the war. Among other engagements in which he participated with his regiment were those of Shiloh, Chickamauga, Gettysburg, Lookout Mountain, and the Wilderness. He married at Farmington, Iowa, and in 1866 located in Boone County. He was superintendent of a coal mine there, and filled the office of superintendent of mines for Boone County under the state administration. He was also honored with various township offices. He died at Marshalltown, Iowa, in 1903. He was a republican, a member of the Baptist Church, and was affiliated with the Masonic fraternity. E. D. Roberts married Catherine Williams, who was born at Winterset, Iowa, in 1839, her people being territorial pioneers in Iowa. She died at Boone in 1901.
Judge and Mrs. Sparks have three children: Catherine Dorothy, the oldest, was born May 30, 1898, and is a sophomore in Kansas University at Lawrence. C. Alden, born July 27, 1900, is stationed at Fort Logan, Colorado, and is a member of the Twenty-Fourth Regimental Band of the United States army. Clarence R., born October 22, 1903, is in the first year of the Sherman County High School.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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