Abner B. Sparks

Abner Sparks Cigar business.

Abner Benjamin Sparks was born in Camden, NJ, in 1862 to parents Abner and Amelia Sparks, the latter of whom was engaged in the tobacco business in Camden since 1850. The Sparks family resided at 302 Arch Street, as indicated by the 1880 Census, where Abner Sr. operated a cigar store and cigar manufacturing business. A. Benjamin Sparks followed his father into the cigar trade around 1890, and it seems that the elder Sparks passed away in the 1890s.

In 1900, A. Benjamin Sparks was residing at 3rd and Benson Streets, working as a house painter. Shortly after, he married, and a son named Benjamin was born the following year.

By the 1910 Census, A. Benjamin Sparks had transitioned to working as a bank teller. He lived with his wife and son at 609 South 4th Street, with John S. Roberts, Camden’s Tax Receiver, as his neighbor at 605 South 4th. At some point after this census, Sparks succeeded Roberts in the tax office.

In 1930, A. Benjamin Sparks, now 67, owned a house at 408 Chambers Avenue, where he lived with his wife Mary and son Benjamin, who worked as a clerk in a broker’s office. Sparks, at that time, was employed in Camden’s tax office. He faced a layoff in February 1933 due to Depression-era budget constraints but was later called back at least temporarily in June of that year. He continued living on Chambers Avenue until at least the fall of 1936.

A. Benjamin Sparks passed away on June 18, 1941, and it’s reported that he wrote his own obituary. His older brother, David Sparks, served with the Camden Fire Department in the 1870s.

As a young man, A. Benjamin Sparks had been an active member of Camden Council, No. 7, of the Order of United American Mechanics. This council was established in 1847 and played a significant role in the community, even producing notable State Councilors. The officers in 1886 included Edwin A. Stone, Thaddeus B. Andrews, Joseph B. Elfreth, A. Benjamin Sparks, Joseph L. Bright, Abner Sparks, F. W. Armstrong, James H. Armington, Merrit H. Pike, and Ballinger Smick. Edward S. Andrews, a member of the Camden Fire Department, was also associated with this council.


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