An inscription on the reverse of this image indicates that this handsome well dressed young man was named Theo Sparks. He looks quite spiffy with his winged collar shirt, wide tie, and handlebar mustache. The photographer was not identified nor was the location of the photographer’s studio. Despite a paucity of information, research found some biographical information about Mr. Sparks. Theo Sparks (1870-1956) was born in Indiana. The 1880 US census finds him at age 10, living in Linton, Indiana.He lived with his parents, Peter S.  and Mary E. Sparks. His father was a farmer. He  lived with four older siblings, Iris (age 18), Orian (age 17), Ishmel (age 14), and Pascal (age 12). He also lived with three younger siblings, Marco (age 8), Eura (age 6), and Cush (age 2). Also living with the family was Theo’s fraternal uncle, Wesley Sparks. Theo and his siblings had very unusual and interesting names. Peter and Mary Sparks deserve kudos for their creativity in baby naming.The 1900 census finds the 29 year-old Theo Sparks living in Denver, Colorado and newly married to Maud Sparks (age 24). He was working as a motorman. According to the 1910 census, Theo and Maud still lived in Denver and had four sons, Rolland (age 8), Warren (age 5), Glen (age 4), and Jorville (age 3 months). It seems Theo and Maud continued Theo’s parents tradition of giving some of their children unusual names. Theo supported his family with his income from working as a street car motorman. The 1920 through 1940 censuses indicate that Theo and Maud continued to live in Denver with different members of their family being part of their household in each of the censuses.

Published in: on November 25, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (6)  
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Railway or Trolley Car Motorman in Omaha, Nebraska


This Cabinet card is an image of a railway or trolley car worker. The badge on his cap is labeled “motorman”. If he worked for a trolley line, than he worked for the Omaha Cable Tramway Company which operated in Omaha between 1884 and 1894. Instead, he may have worked on a train belonging to the Union Pacific Railroad which was one of several railroads operating in Omaha, Nebraska. It would be great to read some comments from readers who may have expertise or knowledge concerning the railway history of Omaha. The photographer of this photograph is Gray, of Omaha. To view other photographs by Gray, click on the category “Photographer: Gray (NE)”.

Published in: on January 7, 2009 at 2:53 am  Comments (2)  
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