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454 - History of Vermillion County Biographical and Historical Record of
Vermillion County, Indiana

in 1854; Rosina, in 1858; Martha, in 1860; Sarah, in 1852, and Amelia, in 1870. Mr. and Mrs. Coil have two children -- Leora E., born in Missouri, October 15, 1873, and Annie C., in Illinois, December 9, 1876. Mr. Coil now makes his home at Newport, where he has held the position of agent for the American Express Company since 1883.



GEORGE B. SPARKS, one of the leading citizens of Clinton Township, has been identified with Vermillion County since May, 1859. He was born in Lawrence County, Ohio, November 9, 1830, the only son and the second of three children of John and Sarah (Sinton) Sparks. His father was born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. His mother was a native of Ireland, but was reared from a child in the United States. They were married in Adams County, Ohio, and after their marriage settled in Lawrence County, where the mother died in 1833, and the father July 31, 1847. They had three children. The eldest daughter is Mrs. Mary Jane McCauslen of Steubenville, Ohio, and the youngest, Sarah B., died in childhood. George B. was reared by his maternal grandmother, Mrs. Mary Sinton, in Adams County, Ohio. When his father's estate was settled although it was not large he received enough to be of material benefit to him when he started in life for himself. From the time of his first starting in the business life he was for many years connected with iron production, and when he came to Vermillion County, in 1859, he bought a controlling interest in the old Indiana Furnace, six miles west of Clinton, which was one of the early enterprises of the Wabash Valley. Under the firm name of G. B. Sparks & Co. the production of iron and the foundry business was continued until 1864 when the mine was abandoned and has fallen into disuse. The buildings which at one time were occupied by hundreds of miners and their families have been torn down or have by gradual decay become things of the past, and the 1700 acres which are still owned by Mr. Sparks are devoted to agricultural purposes. Mr. Sparks is an enterprising progressive man and his farm is one of the best in the township, having all the most modern conveniences for carrying on his work, and thus saving labor and increasing his products. He came to Vermillion County, a single man, and continued in the state of celibacy until November 25, 1875, when he was married to Miss Margaret Brown, a daughter of John and Mary Brown, who settled in Vermillion County, in 1853, remaining residents of the county until their death. She was born in Ireland and was brought to America when but five years of age, living in Pennsylvania four years and coming thence to Vermillion County. Mr. and Mrs. Sparks have one child -- Edward M., born September 23, 1876. In politics Mr. Sparks is an ardent supporter of the principles of the Republican party, casting his first presidential vote for John C. Fremont. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, Jerusalem Lodge, No. 99, and Terre Haute Chapter, No. 11, and has passed all the chairs of his lodge.



PROF. GEORGE L. WATSON was born in Lenawee County, Michigan, March 4, 1855, a son of Levi Watson, who has been a resident of Westfield, Illinois, since December, 1867. The subject of this sketch received his education in Westfield, graduating from the college in that city in 1874, and subsequently followed the teacher's profession


Biographical Sketches - 455

with eminent success for ten years. For one year he was principal of the schools of Tower Hill, Illinois, and for two years was the teacher of mathematics in the Green Hill Seminary (Indiana). He came to Eugene, Vermillion County, Indiana, in 1880, and for four years was principal of the schools of this place. In 1883, one year before he abandoned his profession, he engaged in the hardware business in Eugene, which he has since followed, being associated with Mr. Fultz under the firm name of Watson & Fultz. This firm carries a full line of hardware, furniture, and farm implements their capital stock valued at from $4,000 to $5,000, and their annual sales amounting to $12,000. Professor Watson was united in marriage May 23, 1878, to Miss Ada E. Evans, and to this union three chldren have been born named -- Essie Glenn, Frank and Lucile. While a resident of Illinois Mr. Watson served as township and village clerk for several years, and in 1880 was nominated on the Republican ticket in Warren County, Illinois, for the office of county surveyor, which honor he declined coming to this county before the election. Both he and his wife are worthy members of the Presbyterian church, and among the respected citizens of Eugene.



WILEY JONES, section 34, Helt Township, was born in Stokes County North Carolina, March 27, 1824, a son of Philip Jones, a native of the same county who came to Vermillion County, Indiana, with his family in 1832, and settled in Helt Township. When Mr. Jones came to Indiana he had a family of small children and was $45 in debt. He sold a pony to pay his indeptedness but was then left without even a cow or pig. He and his wife and children were obliged to work hard to make a living. Wiley Jones was reared on the pioneer homestead, in the log cabin, and now has one of the puncheons which composed the floor. He has always given his attention to agriculture, and now owns seventy-three and a half acres of good land. His land has a fine vein of coal underlying it and he has leased three mines, which yield a good quality of coal. Mr. Jones was married January 29, 1846, to Elizab [sic] Dawes, daughter of William Dawes,, of Hillsdale. They have had thirteen children, seven of whom are living -- William F., John N., Benjamin F., Harrison, Charles A., Ozias and Sarah A. Mr. and Mrs. Jones are members of the United Brethren church.



WILLIAM C. GROVES, section 16, Vermillion Township, where he is engaged in farming and dealing in stock, owns a fine farm of 370 acres, all in a high state of cultivation. When he settled on his farm it was wholly unimproved, but he went bravely to work and now has one of the best farms in the township, his improvements testifying more than words can to the thrift and enterprise of the owner. He was born in East Tennessee November 4, 1817, a son of Jacob and Mary (Harlan) Groves, natives also of Tennessee, of German descent. His parents came to Indiana in 1831, and settled in Vermillion Township, where the father died December 9, 1843. He was born October 17, 1794. The mother survived her husband thirty years, her death occurring in 1873. They reared a family of eight children, but two of whom are living -- Rachel and our subject. William C. Groves was fourteen years old when his parents came to Indiana, and here he was reared amid pioneer