ABNER BENJAMIN SPARKS was born in Camden NJ in 1862 to Abner and Amelia Sparks. His father was in the tobacco business in Camden as early as 1850. The 1880 Census shows the Sparks family living at 302 Arch Street, where the elder Sparks conducted his cigar store and cigar manufacturing business. By 1890 A. Benjamin Sparks had followed his father into the cigar trade.  The elder Sparks apparently passed away during the 1890s.

A. Benjamin Sparks was living in Camden in 1900. He was boarding at 3rd and Benson Streets, and working as a house painter at that time. Shortly afterwards he married, and a son, Benjamin was born the following year. 

When the Census was taken in 1910 A. Benjamin Sparks was working as a bank teller. He lived with his wife and son at 609 South 4th Street. His neighbor at 605 South 4th was Camden's Tax Receiver, John S. Roberts, and at some point after the census Sparks succeeded him in that office.

In 1930 A. Benjamin Sparks was living in a house he owned at 408 Chambers Avenue with his wife Mary, 60, and son Benjamin, 29, a clerk in a brokers office. Sparks, then 67 was working in Camden's tax office, a position he was laid off from in February of 1933 as the city tried to economize due to the Depression, but was called back at least temporarily to service in June of that year. He was still living on Chambers Avenue as late as the fall of 1936. 

A. Benjamin Sparks died on June 18, 1941. It is reported that he wrote his own obituary.

A. Benjamin Sparks' 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, which had been instituted July 29, 1847, when John R. Thompson, William Rianhardt, Robert P. Smith, Shelbourne S. Kennedy, David Surran, William P. Murphy, William C. Monroe, Charles M. Thompson, John S. Long, William A. Davis, Charles S. Sturgis, Wesley P. Murray and Richard Jones met in Starr's Hall, and were constituted as Camden Council, No. 7, by State Councilor James Cappuck and State Council Secretary George S. Willits. They soon removed to Bontemps' Hall, and many years afterward to United Order of American Mechanics' Hall, where they now meet. Camden was the oldest council of the order in the city, and exercised large influence in the State, and furnished, among many others, these State Councilors, — John S. Read, William D. Middleton and Edward T. James. The officers in 1886 were as follows: Junior Ex-Councilor, Edwin A. Stone ; Councilor, Thaddeus B. Andrews; Vice- Councilor, Joseph B. Elfreth; Recording Secretary, A. Benjamin Sparks ; Financial Secretary, Joseph L. Bright ; Treasurer, Abner Sparks ; Inductor, F. W. Armstrong ; Examiner, James H. Armington ; Inside Protector, Merrit H. Pike ; and Outside Protector, Ballinger Smick. Edward S. Andrews, father of the above-mentioned Thaddeus B. Andrews and at one time a member of the Camden Fire Department, was also a member. 

302 Arch Street

Abner Sparks Cigar business.
White-haired man is probably Abner Sparks. The young man is possibly A. Benjamin Sparks. The boy is unknown.

Philadelphia Inquirer
September 7, 1919

Click on Images for PDF File of Complete Article

Admiral Henry Wilson - Charles H. Ellis
Elisha A. Gravenor - Edward S. Hyde
William E. Albert - James H. Long
Frank S. Van Hart - William D. Sayrs Jr.
Frank S. Fithian - A. Benjamin Sparks
Kessel Webster - William H. Iszard
Robert D. Clow - Andrew B.F. Smith
William H. Lorigan
Charles Austermuhl
David Doane -
William C. Davis
William Vanaman -
David Baird Sr.
J. Wesley Sell - William D. Brown
Charles A. Wolverton -
William J. Browning


Philadelphia Inquirer * September 26, 1922

Simon Wilkinsky

Frank Ford Patterson Jr.

Harry Reeves

Irving Buckle

Leon Buckle

O. Glen Stackhouse

David Rankins

Frank S. Van Hart

George A. Frey

A.B. Sparks

Robert Irving

Victor King

George W. Tash

Benjamin S. Maloney

Isaac Albertson

T. Harry Rowland

J. Heulings Coles

Willard T. Gibbs

C. Lawrence Gregorio

John J. Tischner

Frank B. Hambleton

Frank J. Leonard

Dr. William H. Pratt

Mrs. Katherine Donges

Mrs. Mae Hawkins

Edward Kelleher

Albert Neutze

Louis Bantivoglio

J.H. Williams

John H. Carroll

John P. Shaw

Joseph B. Davis

William Frost

Patrick Carr

Alfred L. Sayers

William D. Brown

John Rogers

Charles E. Hill

Charles S. Wolverton

Samuel Edwards

John Dobbins

Lizzie P. Abbot

Edward L. Aument

Frederick Stanton

Walter J. Farrell

John B. Dean

S. Raymond Dobbs

Harry McCloskey

Herman Neissner

Francis Stratton

Clara K. Stamm

Morris Steppa

Thomas Heil

Albert Bardsley

Albert H. Starr

George A. Harkins

John McAlack

Richard Davies

Leo Harkins

William Smith

Joseph Wood

Camden Courier-Post - February 2, 1933

Tax Sales Clerk Loses Position as Economy Program Continues to Cut Expense

Services of A. Benjamin Sparks as city tax sales clerk terminated yesterday as city officials furthered their economy program. Sparks, a former city tax receiver, re-entered the municipal service August 1, 1929, and has been in charge of tax sales.

Commissioner Harold W. Bennett, director of revenue and finance, expressing regret that economy compelled him to dispense with Sparks' services, said that Louis Hoffman, assistant to Sparks, will be in charge of the tax sales department. Bennett commended Sparks as an able, conscientious and trustworthy employee.

Sparks served as city tax receiver under councilmanic form of government. After retirement from his municipal post, he became a cashier at at old Central Trust Company and later held a responsible position with the Broadway Merchants Trust Company.

Sparks lives at 408 Chambers Avenue.

Camden Courier-Post - June 1, 1933

Collector's Office Swamped by Payments-Bennett Asks More Help

Because of the unprecedented rush to pay first-half taxes for 1933, Commissioner Harold W. Bennett, director of revenue and finance, may extend the deadline from 9 p. m. to­night to 9 p. m. June 7 without penalty.

The director, who has asked for more help, said it was the greatest tax rush in the history of Camden. The line of taxpayers yesterday extended past the public health offices, almost a full city block. A large volume of receipts also is coming in by mail, he said.

The commissioner said he was unable to issue figures showing total receipts to date, but said about $119,000 was paid in Saturday, half of which was in scrip.

Five cashiers' windows are open.

Three always have been sufficient to accommodate last-minute, payments in previous years.

Bennett said he attributed the unprecedented rush to the fact that bills were late in being sent out, that persons wish to cash in on scrip and because citizens have been impressed by the "educational campaign" conducted by the city, impressing the importance of prompt tax payments.

A. Benjamin Sparks, former receiver of taxes; Otto E. Braun, formerly employed in the tax office, but now with the emergency relief, and men from the controller's and assessor's offices have been pressed into service. Bennett has asked for more from other department heads.