September 14, 2017

Pages 2669-2672
Whole Number 127

BOUNTY LAND AND PENSION APPLICATIONS
FOR SOME FORMER SOLDIERS NAMED SPARKS



(Editor's Note: Veterans of the War of 1812, the Creek and Seminole Indian War of 1836, and the War With Mexico, 1846-48, were, through a series of Acts of Congress, rewarded for their service to their country with grants of governmentowned land (called "bounty land") and, in cases of hardship, with pensions.The veterans (or their heirs) were, of course, required to make application for this bounty land and to present evidence of their military service. These applications are preserved in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Here we present abstracts, prepared by Dr. Paul E. Sparks, of these files for three men named Sparks.)  

FRANCIS MARION SPARKS, son of John and Sarah (Brooks) Sparks, was born February 4, 1818, in Jasper County, Georgia. He married (first) Rebecca Holman on November 11, 1841, in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, and (second) Mary Catherine Brown on October 23, 1845, in Chambers County, Alabama. He served in the Alabama Militia during the Creek and Seminole Indian War in 1836. File Designations: Bounty Land Warrants Nos. 13,385 and 149,529; Wid. Appl. No. 2504.

On December 3, 1850, Francis M. Sparks, aged 33, a resident of Cass County, Texas, appeared before Charles Westmoreland, a Justice of the Peace, and applied for any bounty land to which he might be entitled for giving military service to the United States. He said he had enlisted in the early part of May 1836 for an indefinite period in Capt. John Broadnax's Company, known as the Tallassee Guards of the Alabama Volunteers. He served for four months in the War of the Creek Indians and was discharged at Tallassee, Alabama, on or about the first day of September 1836. To the best of his remembrance, he did not receive a discharge, but if he had received one, it was now lost. (War Department records proved that he served from May 7, 1836, until September 7, 1836.) He signed the application as "F. M. Sparks." Thomas J. White, Cass County Clerk, certified that Charles Westmoreland was a justice of the peace of Cass County. Francis M. Sparks was issued a warrant for 40 acres of bounty land.

On May 5, 1855, Francis M. Sparks applied for additional bounty land to which he might be entitled under the 1855 Act of Congress. He was now a resident of Hopkins County, Texas. He made the application before R. J. Holbrook, a notary public of Titus County, Texas. He signed the application as "Francis M. Sparks." Thos. C. Montgomery and Thos. H. Turner witnessed his signature. Sparks was issued 120 acres of bounty land.

On October 27, 1892, Mary C. Sparks, aged 66, a resident of Pickton, Texas, applied for a Widow's Pension. She said she was the widow of Francis M. Sparks who had died on March 14, 1876, in Franklin County, Texas. He had enlisted under the name of Francis M. (or Doc) Sparks on May 7, 1836, at Tallassee, Alabama, in Capt. John H. Broadnax's Company of the Alabama Infantry, commanded by Genl. Jessup, in the War with the Creek Indians, and had served until he was discharged on August 1, 1836. At the time of his enlistment, he was 18 years of age; he was 5 feet, 11 inches tall; he had blue eyes, dark hair and a light complexion; he was born in Jasper County, Georgia; and he was a farmer. She had been married to Sparks on October 30, 1845, in Chambers County, Alabama, by the Rev. Frank Callaway. She was married under her maiden name of Mary C. Brown. Francis M. Sparks had been previously married, but his first wife had died in 1842. Mrs. Sparks went on to say that she and her husband had lived in Chambers County for two years after their marriage and then had moved to Texas in 1848. She appointed John Wedderburn, Washington, D.C., as her attorney. J. H. King and J. T. Banister witnessed her sign her name as M. C. Sparks.

In an undated affidavit, Nathan F. Sparks of Johnson County, Texas, brother of Francis M. Sparks, testified that he was well acquainted with his brother's first wife and was present when she died ca. 1842 in Dadesville, Alabama.

On February 27, 1893, V. C. Black and E. B. Cowan testified that they knew Francis M. Sparks had died on March 14, 1876, because they attended his funeral. His widow had not re-married.

The Bureau of Pensions approved the claim of Mary C. Sparks on July 17, 1895, and she was placed upon the pension roll at the rate of $8.00 per month. This amount was increased to $12.00 per month on April 19, 1901.

On April 29, 1910, W. B. Sparks informed the Bureau of Pensions that his mother, Mary C. Sparks, had died on January 18, 1910, and had been buried in the Cypress Church Cemetery in Franklin County, Texas.

(Editor's note: For further information regarding Francis Marion Sparks, see the present issue of the Quarterly, beginning on page 2659.)

JAMES BROOKS SPARKS, son of John and Sarah (Brooks) Sparks, was born January 31, 1809, in Illinois Territory. On June 30, 1830, he married Mary Ann Cook in Jasper County, Georgia. He served in the Alabama Militia during the Creek and Seminole Indian War in 1836, and in the 1st Regiment Alabama Volunteers during the War with Mexico in 1846-47. File Designations: Bounty Land Files: Nos. 8055 and 43,522; Pension Cert. No. 368.)

On November 28, 1852, James B. Sparks, aged 45, a resident of Tallapoosa County, Alabama, applied for bounty land to which he might be entitled under the 1850 Act of Congress for performing military service to the United States. He said that he had served as a 2nd sergeant in Capt. William H. House's Company of the Battalion commanded by Major John C. Webb in the War with the Creek Nation of Indians in 1836. He had volunteered at Lafayette, Alabama, on May 15, 1836, and had been discharged on September 1, 1836. His application was sworn to before Luke Davenport, a justice of the peace. Marcus C. Lane, Probate Judge of Tallapoosa County, certified that Davenport was a justice of the peace. Bounty Land Warrant No. 7295 was issued to Sparks for 40 acres of land.

On September 7, 1854, Sparks again applied for bounty land. He was now a resident of Titus County, Texas. He said that he had served as a private in Capt. Sumeral Dennis' Company of the 1st Regiment Alabama Six-Months Volunteers commanded by Major Goode Bryan in the War with Mexico in 1846. He had volunteered at Dadesville, Alabama, on May 21, 1846, and was mustered into service at Mobile, Alabama, on June 3, 1846. He had continued in service about fourteen days and was then mustered out with his company by order of the War Department. He appointed John A. Jordan, Dadesville, as his attorney. William B. Wylie and William Sparks witnessed his signature, and the application was sworn to before Joseph Morris, a justice of the peace of Titus County, Texas.

A month later, on October 9, 1854, Sumeral Dennis, a resident to Tallapoosa County, Alabama, appeared before Luke Davenport, a justice of the peace, and swore that James B. Sparks had served in his (Dennis') company which was a unit of the 1st Regiment Alabama Six-Months Volunteers in the War with Mexico in 1846. On the same day, in a letter written from Dadesville, Alabama, John A. Jordan asked the Commissioner of Pensions to send any allowance given to Sparks to him (Jordan) at Henderson, Texas, "to which place I am preparing to go."

Apparently no warrant was issued to Sparks for on January 12, 1856, he re-applied for bounty land. He testified before Robert J. Holbrook, a notary public in Titus County, Texas, that he had served with Capt. Sumeral Dennis in the 1st Regiment Alabama Volunteers commanded by Maj. Good Bryant"in the war with Mexico declared on February 11, 1847, for three months and continued in actual service for thirty days." Thos. F. Bryarly and Joel Arrington witnessed his signature.

On August 14, 1856, Thos. R. Hill, clerk of Titus County, Texas, certified that R J. Holbrook was a regularly commissioned notary public. Two days later, Holbrook wrote to the Commissioner of Pensions that if necessary he would forward a certified copy of his commission as notary public, but he pointed out that five bounty land claims had been delayed because the Titus County Clerk had not for warded the certificate. The delayed claims to which he referred were made by: Jas. B. Sparks, Campbell English, William Sparks, Benjamin H. Elder, and William Spicer.

Bounty Land Warrant No. 84,260 for 80 acres of land was issued to James B. Sparks on October 10, 1856.

On September 14, 1892, James B. Sparks appeared before J. J. Morris, clerk of Franklin County, Texas, and applied for a pension under the Indian War Pension Act of 1892. He was now 83 years of age and a resident of Purley, Texas. He said that he had enlisted at Lafayette (or Ft. Henderson), Alabama, on June 1, 1836, in Capt. William House's Company of the Battalion of Alabama Infantry commanded by Arnold Seals in the Creek Indian War of 1836. He had been discharged at Lafayette on or about September 1, 1836. At the time of his enlistment, he had been 27 years of age; he was 5 feet, 10 inches tall; he had blue eyes, dark hair, and a light complexion; and he was a farmer. He had been born in the Illinois Territory. From 1836 to 1852 he lived in Alabama, and from 1852 to the present he had lived in Texas. His wife, Mary Ann Sparks, had died at Purley, Texas, on May 31, 1887. He had previously obtained 160 acres of bounty wand, but he had never applied for a pension. T. H. Turner, Sr. and J. E. Brooks witnessed his application.

On January 13, 1893, Certificate No. 368 was issued to Sparks and he was placed upon the pension roll at the rate of $8.00 per month. According to the certificate, he had held the rank of 2nd Sergeant in Capt, William H. House's Company of Alabama Militia. He died on January 4, 1899.

(Editor's Note: For further information regarding James Brooks Sparks, see the present issue of the Quarterly, beginning on page 2653.)

WILLIAM SPARKS,  son of John and Sarah (Brooks) Sparks, was born January 24, 1807, in Georgia. He probably married (first) Rhoda Cooper in 1830; he married (second) Nancy McAlister on February 2, 1837, in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, and (third) Hannah A. Weeks about 1853, probably in Titus County, Texas. He served in the Alabama Militia during the Creek and Seminole Indian War of 1836. File Designations: Bounty Land Warrants Nos. 43,095 and 86,694.

On May 17, 1852, William Sparks, aged 45, a resident of Titus County, Texas, appeared before Edward C. Simmons, a justice of the peace, and made application for bounty land to which he might be entitled under the 1850 Act of Congress. He said he had volunteered on May 20, 1836, at Tallassee, Alabama, as an ensign in Capt John H. Broadnax's Company of Alabama Volunteers to serve for three months. He served until he was discharged at Tallassee on August 20, 1836. He appointed Edward C. Simons as his attorney. Thos. Resin (?), Clerk of Titus County, certified that E. C. Simmons was a justice of the peace.

The War Department confirmed that Sparks had served in the Alabama Militia from May 4, 1836, until August 6, 1836, and he was issued a warrant for 40 acres of bounty land.

On June 4, 1855, William Sparks again made application for bounty land under the 1855 Act of Congress. He was still a resident of Titus County, Texas. He was sworn before R. J. Holbrook, a notary public, and stated that he had previously received 40 acres of bounty land for service in the Creek War of Alabama in 1836. He signed the application as "Wm. Sparks." Spencer Shearer and F. M. Sparks witnessed his signature. A bounty land warrant was issued to Sparks and he received an additional 120 acres of land.

(Editor's Note: For further information regarding William Sparks, see the present issue of the Quarterly, beginning on page 2648.)

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