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Old Chester, PA: Biographical Sketches

Rev. Milton Sparks


Rev. Milton Sparks

Photo from Home Directory of the Colored People of Chester, 1906 compiled by Lawrence L. Barrett & C. I. Wilson. The photographs in the book were taken by Mr. H. E. Williams, 210 E Broad St., Chester.

Rev. Milton Sparks

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The following biographical sketch of the Rev. Sparks is taken from the Home Directory of the Colored People of Chester, 1906 compiled by Lawrence L. Barrett & C. I. Wilson. This reference is available at the DCHS research library.

The Rev. Milton Sparks was born March 8, 1873, in Gretna, Louisiana. He is the son of Robert and Lilly Sparks. His environment was humblest of the humble. Educational advantage was secured at the expense of a parish school, until the age of 12 years. At this age, mother discovered it would be a loss of time to have him continue, as they who taught as heads of these schools were very limited, and had but little to impart to advantage. Therefore, she concluded to dispatch him to Prof. Lucian Adams, a graduate of Oberlin, Ohio, a gentleman and scholar of no mean degree. He it is to whom credit may be bestowed to laying the foundation of educational usefulness in this young mind. After a few months over three years and a half, Providence called the pilot of this young man's life by death to the God who giveth. Anchor was cast, a number of years past, was tossed here, there and yonder. At last orders received from an uncommon source inspired him to go forward. Many difficulties gave rise to hinder the object which stood conscious as a Moses before a burning bush. Just then the Lord's voice was heard. A heart burning to enter life's service in the behalf of my people. The call of God say make ready. O, what an hour, I shall never forget. Satin offering and proclaiming. But thanks be to God I decided with the aid of one Walter Cooper to take God into my life. I can never forget that hour I first felt His saving power. There came a calm in my life, which after a few days gave rise to a new and strange anxiousness. Now not the secular but divine. An appeal came from the soul asking for education in the purest sense. What to do I did not know. Departing from home in search of funds for the coming school year, it was on a bright, sunshining day, while enroute to work I heard a voice commanding me to go to Philadelphia, and there my ministry would begin. The remaining facts were dictated. After arriving in Philadelphia and joining the Zion Baptist Church. Was elected church clerk and superintendent of the Sunday School, increasing that body to over two hundred members. He afterwards went to Boston, Mass., and was there in the employ of Senator Russell and wife for one year. When leaving they asked him his purpose, and upon being told gave to the now Rev. Sparks $300.00 to go to Howard University at Washington, D. C., where he remained six years, supporting himself by outside service, finishing May 29, 1900. Ordained in Vermont Avenue Baptist Church, Washington, D. C., Rev. George W. Lee, pastor, Called to Baltimore, laboring one year without salary, and went to Elmira, N. Y., leaving there because of limited environments, and was immediately called to serve as General Missionary for Pennsylvania under the auspices of the Pennsylvania State Baptist Convention, during the period of which service he was recommended to the people of Calvary Baptist Church of this city, preaching for them a Sabbath. He was requested to return the following Sabbath, they being without a pastor. Supplied them until the regular church meeting, at which time they were decided in the selection of a minister and called the subject of this story Easter Sunday, April 7th, 1903.

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2003 John A. Bullock III.

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