John Sparks

Gov. John Sparks


January 5, 1903 - May 22, 1908

August 30, 1843

May 22, 1908



Died in Office

Birth State

Married twice--Rachel Knight, Nora Knight; four children


JOHN SPARKS, the tenth governor of Nevada, was born in Mississippi on August 30, 1843. His education was limited and attained in the common schools of his native state. Before moving to Nevada, he worked in the cattle industry in Texas and Wyoming. Sparks first entered politics as the Silver-Democratic gubernatorial candidate. He then went on to win the general election in 1902. He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1904, but was reelected to a second term as governor in 1906. During his tenure, a state railroad commission was organized; the Nevada state police was formed; the public school system was restructured; irrigation laws were sanctioned; and a miners’ eight-hour workday bill was authorized. Also, a state engineer office was established; and the town of Sparks was named for him in 1904. While still in office, Governor John Sparks passed away on May 22, 1908. He was buried in the Masonic Memorial Garden Cemetery in Reno, Nevada.N


Nevada State Archives: John Sparks 1903-1908

Nevada State Library and Archives: Nevada Governors' Biographical Information

The Political Graveyard

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

Sparks Chamber of Commerce