SPARKS, SAM (1873–1933). Sam Sparks, public servant and banker, was born in Bell County, Texas, on February 5, 1873, the son of Sam A. and Mary (Fisher) Sparks. He attended Belton Male Academy, Wedemeyer School at Salado, and Belton Business College. He was city secretary at Belton from 1894 to 1897 and succeeded his father as sheriff of Bell County in 1897. In 1903 he was elected president of the Texas Sheriffs' Association. On November 15, 1906, he married Mrs. Bertha Jones Mulkey; they became the parents of three children. During the time Sparks was Texas state treasurer, from 1906 to 1912, he established residence in Austin. He embarked on a career in finance in 1912 and organized the Texas Trust Company, which became the Texas Banking and Trust Company in 1922 and merged with Republican Bank and Trust in 1932; Sparks was serving as chairman of the board of directors of the firm at the time of his death. While president of the Austin Chamber of Commerce in 1916 Sparks helped bring grand opera to the city for the first time and assisted in the merger of the United Telephone Company with Southwestern Bell, a move that provided residents with one of the lowest telephone rates in the country at the time. Sparks was also president of the Travis County Fair in 1921 and the Central Texas Fair in 1922 and was prominent in Lions Club affairs. He led drives for funds for building Memorial Stadium at the University of Texas and the University Methodist Church. He died in Austin on July 6, 1933, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery.
Frank Carter Adams, ed., Texas Democracy: A Centennial History of Politics and Personalities of the Democratic Party, 1836–1936 (4 vols., Austin: Democratic Historical Association, 1937). Austin American-Statesman, July 7, 1933.