Whole Number 103
William A. Sparks made application for an invalid pension on June 14, 1899, for disability incurred in the Spanish-American War; however, the earliest document (in chronological order) sent by the National Archives from his pension file is a Declaration for Pension, Act of Congress, 1926, which is dated January 13, 1927. In this application, Sparks stated that he was 51 years of age and a resident of Birmingham, Alabama, and that he had been a physician since 1905. He said that on June 27, 1898, he had enlisted in Company F, 2nd Regiment Alabama Infantry at Jasper, Alabama, and had served until he was discharged on Oct 31, 1898, at Montgomery, Alabama. At the time of his enlistment, he had blue eyes, light hair, and a dark complexion, and he was a student. While in the service he contracted chronic bronchitis, pernicious anemia and a heart murmur which now rendered him unable to earn his support. He stated that he was already receiving a pension under Invalid Certificate No. 1,158,873. He appointed Oscar Anderson as his attorney. B. T. Rochester and D. McCollum, both of Birmingham, witnessed his signature and the application was sworn to before J. R. Stiff, a notary public.
On or about March 15, 1940, William A. Sparks moved to a veterans hospital in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. There he authorized the Veterans Administration, in the event of his death, to give all of his personal property left on the premises to his wife, Vera Mae Sparks, and in the event she was unable to accept it, it should be given to his son, William Donald Sparks, age 27. Other children named in the document were Mrs. Vera Mildred Skaggs, age 24, and James Sparks, age 18.
William A. Sparks died on March 29, 1940. The certificate of death stated that he was born May 12, 1875, at Carbon Hill, Alabama. His father was John W. Sparks and his mother's name before marriage was Mary E. Shirley. His wife's name was recorded as Vera Mae McCollum Sparks. Dr. Sparks was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery, Birmingham, Alabama.
On April 2, 1940, Vera Mae Sparks, widow of William A. Sparks, made application for a widow's pension. She sent the Bureau of Pensions a copy of the marriage license issued on February 28, 1910, by Judge S. E. Greene, Probate Judge of Jefferson County, Alabama, to William A. Sparks, age 33, and Vera Mae McCollum, age 21. They were married the same day by 0. P. Bentley, O.M.G. Mrs Sparks went on to say that she was born 6 February 1889, and that her marriage to Sparks had been her only marriage. She was issued Widow's Certificate No. XC 2,469,141 and she was placed on the pension rolls. She died on December 5, 1972, at Marion, North Carolina.
(Editor's Note: William A. Sparks was a son of John W. and Mary E. (Shirley) Sparks and a grandson of Samuel and Frances (Kitchen) Sparks of Walker County, Alabama. Samuel Sparks was a son of Thomas and Rutha (White) Sparks of Lawrence County, Alabama. See page 993 of the June 1966 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 54 (Vol. XIV, No. 2) for the 1860 census of Walker County in which the family of Samuel Sparks was listed.)