Sparks Bird, son of John and Cassandra Bird, was born at Redstone, Westmorland County, Pennsylvania, February 9, 1797. His parents removed to Jefferson County, Ohio, about the year 1803, which, at that time, was very sparsely settled. The Delawares yet remained along the Tuscarawas River, in large numbers, and ranged the forest in quest of wild game. They often visited the cabin of the parents of Mr. Bird, but offered no threats or intimidations. In the spring of 1814, at the age of eighteen, young Bird left the parental roof in search of employment and fortune, and stopped a short time near the present city of Massillon. In the spring of 1815, he visited his uncle, General Beall, at Wooster, and obtained employment of him; and in 1816, in company with the general and the late Hon. Levi Cox, passed up the trail and visited the village of Loudonville, which at that time, contained but few cabins. They traveled over a great deal of the townships of Hanover, Green, and Lake, and he made choice of the southeast quarter of section seven, in Lake Township, when he returned to Wooster and entered. He then entered the employ of General Beall, and worked at clearing and farming for some time. The farm of the general occupied most of the present site of Wooster, and Mr. Bird says he has plowed over the ground upon which some of the best residences of Wooster now stand. The old Wyandot trail, just at the south margin of the present city of Wooster, was then quite plainly marked by Indian travel. The trail was at that time much used by the Delaware's and Wyandots, on their trading excursions to "Old Pitt," as the city was then called. It was not uncommon to see hundreds of red men, from the northwest, pass and re-pass the settlement about the block-house, every week, for four or five years after the war of 1812; but the spirit of the red man had been completely broken, and the hostiles had generally removed to Canadian soil, while the Montour's, the Armstrong's, the Jonacakes, the Dowdees, and the Lyons still continued to range the forest of what is now Ashland County, in search of game. During the period of his employment by Gereral Beall, he became acquainted with the notorious John Driskel, who afterwards became the leader of a gang of desperadoes in Green township, of what is now Ashland County, that were the terror of law-abiding people. When Driskel first came to the settlement at Wooster, he was not considered a bad man, otherwise than somewhat quarrelsome when under the influence of corn whiskey. Associations and sprees with his gang of outlaws soon made him a dangerous man; and so rapid was his progress in crime that law-abiding citizens were compelled to defend themselves against the incursions of the villainous thieves and land pirates headed by him. The leading crimes of this bandit consisted in horse stealing, incendiarism, and house breaking. Driskel and his gang originated in Columbiana County, whence they gradually collected in Wayne County, and spread to Green Township, in what was then Richland County. The boldness of there crimes created terror wherever they appeared. Driskel, the head of the banditti, is said to have been maimed by an encounter with Andrew Poe having had the end of his nose bitten or cut off, which, added to his crimes, rendered him exceedingly repulsive in appearance. While residing in Wayne County, several of the gang were detected, convicted and sent to the penitentiary. Driskel was finally captured and sent to State prison; but, by some means, he escaped, and by the aid of his son John, and the two Brawdys, relations, and professional highway men and thieves, for a long time escaped recapture. Repeated acts o f incendiariam in Green township, in which many barns, other buildings, hay and stock were consumed, and horses and cattle stolen, the indignant pioneers speedily organized a band of regulators, or a black cane company, to compel the Driskel gang to leave the country or suffer retaliation from an indignant and outraged community. The Driskel banditti, learning the state of public feeling, prepared to rejoin John Driskel, the head of the gang, who had been, in the mean time, captured, and on his way to Columbus had escaped and fled to Illinois, where his desperadoes hastened to rejoin him and renew their desperate vocations as a banditti, and where the Driskels finally expiated their crimes by being shot or hung by the regulators. In September 1820, Sparks Bird accompanied a surveying party to Michigan, as a chain carrier, and was employed in surveying several counties around Saginaw bay. On the return of the company, they were driven ashore in a violent snowstorm; but all escaped from the wreck, suffering dreadfully from cold and wet. They finally reached Cleveland, almost exhausted, where they were kindly cared for. From thence he returned to Steubenville, and, in 1823, returned to Lake Township, and commenced clearing and improving his farm, and put up a cabin. In 1824 he was joined by his brother William and family. He then commenced pioneer life in earnest clearing, making rails, fencing, logrolling, and raising cabins among the new settlers, being the chief employment. At this time wild game was quite abundant on Little Lake, and it was not uncommon for the pioneers to be serenaded by wolves. On one occasion, the Bird brothers had purchased a lot of chickens from a neighbor about one and a half miles distant, and, for convenience, had gone for them in the evening. After capturing them upon the roost, they had gone but a short distance along the winding paths in the direction of their own premises, when they were saluted by the unpleasant howl of wolves rapidly advancing upon their trail. The Bird brothers quickened their gait from a rapid walk to a run, as the wolves neared them in their flight. William Bird, being quite large and fleshy, kept up with Sparks, who was much lighter and more active, with difficulty. They hastened along the path, making all the speed of which they were capable, until Sparks caught his foot, tripped, and fell in some brush, but held his fowls, and finally escaped the wolves. He is of opinion that he must have made excellent time, for the voracious howlers remained about his cabin all night, in the hope of dining on his favorite poultry. Mr. Bird was a good shot, and a successful hunter, and kept his table well supplied with both venison, turkeys, bear, and wild honey. His experiences as a hunter are much like other rangers of the forest in Ashland County. He often met Jonacake, Billy Dowdee, and other Indian inhabits of Greentown, as they ranged over the hills of Lake. He has lived continuously on his pioneer farm since he began to improve it in 1823-4. He has frequently been honored, by his fellow citizens, with township offices, having been elected trustee in 1838-9 and again from 1849 to 1855. He married Eliza daughter of the late Jacob Long, in 1832. She deceased in 1835. He married Charlotte Austin, of Jeromeville, in 1840. She died in 1860. In 1864 he married Rachel, youngest daughter of the late Alexander Finley, the first pioneer of Mohican. In 1832 the parents of Mr. Bird located in Clearcreek Township, and his mother, Mrs. Cassandra Bird, was one of the first organizing members of the Presbyterian Church of Clearcreek, then a branch of "Old Hopewell," in Montgromery. John Bird, father of Sparks, resided near Savannah, from 1832 to 1839, and was a soldier under General St. Clair, in his disastrous expedition against the Shawnees and their confederates, on the Miami, November 4, 1791, but was so fortunate as to escape that massacre. Sparks Bird, although far advanced in years, possesses a good deal of mental and physical vigor, and may survive to relate his pioneer experiences for many years.