Cemetery 25 Sparks Charles Perspective Corrected.jpg


Charles Addison Sparks (1853-1925) | Gifford.

Odysseus himself might have given up, but Sparks — grandson of Capt. James Sparks (1771-1849), son of Thomas Sparks (1804-1895), and first cousin of Capt. Benjamin F. Sparks (1850-1916) — completed one of the more grueling and fruitless voyages of the seafaring age. It began 9 December 1916, just weeks before Benjamin took off on the ill-fated Maryland. Charles Sparks was the first mate aboard Catherine, a three-masted schooner on its way from Boston to the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira and then to Lisbon. At 37°20’ N 62°42’ W, about 790 miles east of Norfolk, Va., she was hit by a northwest gale. “The main boom was lost, the foresail and fore stay sail were were whipped to fragments,” The Advocate reported. “One boarding sea swept two nested dories and a big iron tank, containing drinking water, across decks and overboard, they tearing through the reefed foresail and stripping that sail from its spars, in their flight. The port cat head was torn away. The stern boat (at davits) went whirling away in the grip of another sea.” When Catherine was next heard from, in mid-January, she was nearly 1,700 miles south, in Barbados. Sparks was hospitalized for injuries he’d received during the gale. Before leaving Barbados, however, he had to relieve the captain, who was even sicker than Sparks. Catherine finally made it to Madeira in April, but abandoned plans to continue to Europe. It was decided that she should pay a call at Grand Turk Island on her way home to take on a cargo of salt. Instead, Catherine was driven ashore there and totally wrecked in early June. Sparks was back in Provincetown two weeks later, unlike his less fortunate cousin Benjamin. [Lot No. 224.]

¶ Last updated on 7 March 2018.

Provincetown’s Historic Cemeteries and Memorials, Key G-54, Page 13.

Find a Grave Memorial No. 137214748.

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