CHAUNCEY SPARKS was born in Barbour County, Alabama, on October 8, 1884. He moved with his family to Quitman County, Georgia, after the death of his father. Sparks graduated from Mercer University in 1907, earned a law degree in 1910, and established a law practice in Eufaula, Alabama. He served on the bench of the inferior court of Barbour County from 1911 to 1916. Sparks entered politics in 1914, serving as secretary of the Barbour County Democratic Executive Committee until 1918. He was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives, serving from 1919 to 1923, and again in 1931 to 1939, and was a trustee of the Department of Archives and History from 1920 to 1947. Sparks ran unsuccessfully for governor of Alabama in 1938, but prevailed in the 1943 election. Sparks became Alabama’s 44th governor on November 3, 1942, and was sworn into office on January 19, 1943. During his tenure as governor, the University Medical College was established, a school of forestry was opened at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, and the first oil-producing well began operating in Alabama. Sparks’s administration also contended with the economy’s abrupt growth, which resulted from the wartime defense spending, and the dismantling of war-geared programs. He left the governor’s office on January 20, 1947, and in 1950 ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Sparks withdrew from public life, returning to his law practice in Eufaula. He died on November 6, 1968, and is buried at the Fairview Cemetery, Eufaula, Alabama.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.