Berrien County Genealogy Project presents...

Sparks Burial Site

Buchanan Township, Berrien County, Michigan

This cemetery was transcribed and pictures by Daundra J. & Bud Baker, Sept 2004

Well, I thought I had located all the burial grounds in Berrien and Cass Counties, and another site comes to view. Just goes to show, that you must keep your eyes and ears open. I had heard about this family (Cornelius and Susannah Stevens Sparks) burial site some time ago, but really never pursued it, because I was told the two burials had been removed to Oak Ridge Cemetery in Buchanan; NOPE, they are still buried on private land. I got wind that it still the burial site still exists from a family member I was doing some research for, so I went on a hunt and did some old fashioned detective work. Sure enough, I found it (not that it was lost), located in a small overgrown scrub patch right in the middle of a soy bean field. We tramped back to the site and found just one marker remains, Susannah's. I know there is another marker, that was there at the last family visit (Cornelius), yet to be located. That will have to wait until fall when most of the over growth has died off.

More information can be found on the Sparks Family Tree Data page and Sparks Family Forum. This Sparks family and its ancestors have been and are well researched.. I would be happy to share the Sparks information I have as it relates to our family in Berrien County.

Thanks! To Pauline Hammond for giving me an update and additional information on this family.

Of course a big thanks to Brenda for giving me this fine site to post this information. Daundra Baker [email protected]

NOTICE: At the express wishes of the property owners, I have not given their names or the exact location of these burials. If you are a family member or have a true interest in this family, please contact me and I will gain the permission and take you there. The property owners are more than willing to have family visit the site and also to clean it up. They do not want to disturb the burials. When they first purchased the land they were informed of the graves. Taking their concerns to the county, they were told to, "plow it under because, we (the county) have no record of the burials." They could not do that. So out of respect they now, farm around the little burial site.
1) Cornelius Sparks...born, June 11, 1789 in Rowan Co, NC...died Aug. 17, 1862 in Buchanan Township, Berrien Co, MI.
It is his marker that we were unable to locate in 1968 and it was "lying flat and broken in half and read as follows: "Our Father, Cornelius Sparks, died Aug. 17, 1862."

The Christian Record, 1862, reads: "Cornelius Sparks...died at home of his son, Levi, Aug. 17, 1862, at 73 years of age. Brother Cornelius Sparks, when over 50 years of age, "embraced the Christian Faith" and for twenty years was a faithful servant of our adorable Redeemer. Brother Sparks left nine children and a large circle of friends to mourn his loss."

Sparks Family notes: "Cornelius Sparks was buried beside his wife in the family cemetery on his home farm in Berrien County, near Buchanan, Michigan."

2) Susannah (Stevens) Sparks...born, Oct. 28, 1794 in VA...died, Oct. 25, 1861...age 66 yrs. 11 mo. 27 dys. in Buchanan Township, Berrien Co, MI.
We found Susannah's marker to be intact, leaning on a old dry tree stump. The engraving on the marker is worn but readable: "Our Mother, Susannah, wife of Cornelius Sparks, died Oct. 25, 1861, age 66 yrs. 11mo. 27 dys."

Clipping from early Buchanan, Michigan newspaper (paper unknown, undated clipping) reads: "Died, Mrs. Susanna Sparks, consort of Cornelius Sparks of this village, on Thursday the 25th. inst. The deceased was 67 years old and had lived with her husband for almost fifty years. She united with the Christian Church about twenty years since, of which she was a faithful member until her death. She left a husband, nine children and a large number of friends to mourn her loss. She died with a well formed hope of blessed immortality beyond the grave."

Cornelius Sparks Family History

Cornelius was the son of David and Mary Ann (Little) Sparks Sr. Susannah was the daughter of Spencer and Elizabeth (Robard/Rupert) Stevens. They were married in Rowan Co, NC on Dec. 14, 1812. About 1814 they moved, by Ox Cart, with their small son, Joseph, to Wayne Co, IN. They remained there until about 1828, when Cornelius took his family to Berrien Co, MI and settled in Michigan Territory (Sec. #15 of Niles Twp) near the Saint Joseph River Bend. About three years later he removed his family to Buchanan Twp, where he bought a farm for $1.00 a quarter acre from the government. It was on this farm they raised their family of 11 children and were buried.


Joseph Sparks... born, Jan. 24, 1814, Rowan Co, NC..... died, Jan. 28, 1905, Berrien Co, MI
Spencer Sparks...born, Dec. 9, 1815, Wayne Co, IN....died, Mar. 12, 1872, Berrien Co, MI
David Sparks ...born, Abt. 1816, Wayne Co, IN...died, 1861, Berrien Co, MI
Mary Sparks...born, July 7, 1819, Wayne Co, IN...died, July 9, 1903
Elizabeth Sparks...born, July 26, 1821, Wayne Co, In...died, April 24, 1896, Berrien Co, MI
Levi Sparks...born, Oct. 3, 1823, Wayne Co, IN...died, Sept. 20, 1900, Berrien Co, MI
Anna Sparks...born, Sept. 30, 1825, Wayne Co, IN...died, Oct. 7, 1846, Berrien Co, MI
Ira Sparks...born Oct. 31, 1827, Wayne Co, IN...died, Dec. 29, 1905, Berrien Co, MI
Wilson Sparks...born, Apr. 19, 1830, Berrien Co, MI...died, June 23, 1922, Berrien Co, MI
Susan Sparks...born, Aug. 1, 1832, Berrien Co, MI...died, Oct. 22, 1917, Manistee Co, MI
Cynthia Sparks...born, Aug. 27, 1834, Berrien Co, MI...died, Sept. 10, 1989, Berrien Co, MI