April 26, 2021

Pages 94-96
Whole Number 12


(Editor's s note: In the following documents, capitalization and punctuation have been modernized for the sake of clarity, but no changes have been made in spelling or content. The file number given to the application papers of John Sparks in The National Archives is S-7580.)

State of North Carolina)
County of Wilkes ) Ss

On this 30th day of October 1832 personally appeared in open Court before the Court of Pleas A Quarter Sessions of the County of Wilkes & State of North Carolina, now setting, John Sparkes, Esquire, a resident of the County of Wilkes & State of North Carolina, aged seventy-nine years, who being first duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath, make the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June 7th 1832.

That he was born the 25th day of February 1753 in the County of Rowan in the State of North Carolina, where he lived until he removed with his father to what is now Wilkes (then Surry) County, N.C., about the year 1772. He resided in Wilkes until the commencement of the Revolution, and about the year 1775 or 1776 he volunteered himself and entered the service of the United States in Captain Jesse Walton's company of minute men who had volunteered for two years. Soon after the company was organized, they were called upon to go against the Scotch & Tories who were said to be committing great depredations in the country around Cross Creek or Fayetteville. At the time the company marched, this Deponent happened to be from home, but as soon as he returned, and being informed that they had gone, he took his horse & pursued with all speed, hut did not overtake them; having heard that the Tories were suppressed and the troops on their return, he immediately turned about & returned home.

Soon after this he was ordered out by Captain Walton, to lake command of a scouting. party & scour the country around through Surry & Wilkes & to suppress the Tories or to bring in such as was supposed to be disaffected. In these little expeditions, he supposes he was in service two or three weeks. After remaining at home some months, orders were received from Colo. Martin Armstrong to repair and rendezvous at the head of the Yadkin, preparatory to marching against the Cherokee Indians. They did rendezvous at or near the head of Yadkin, and there remained until they built Fort Defiance where Gen'l. Wm. Lenoir now lives, during which time this Deponent had the command of the company, Capt. Walton having been appointed a Major.

About the time the Fort was completed, orders were received from Major Walton for the company to return home and prepare for an expedition against the Cherokee Indians. This Deponent and the company under his command did return home, having been gone about a month., with all possible despatch to go against the Indians, and in a few days marched to headquarters at the Pleasant Gardens where they joined Genl. Rutherford, at which time the company, under the command of this Deponent, was attached to the company under the command of Capt. Benjn. Cleveland and the entire command transferred to Capt. Cleveland.

 After organizing at headquarters, they marched immediately to the Cherokee Towns of Watauga, Cowee, Oconoluftee. Hiwassee, Tuckaseegie & Big Chota, with some others not recollected. This deponent was detailed while in the Nation, with others, to act as a spy, and on one occasion their party fell in with a small body of Indians on the Hiwassee, with whom they had an. engagement in which they killed ten & took three prisoners, without losing any men on their side. After this little skirmish they returned to the main array with their prisoners and delivered them up to GenI. Rutherford. The main body of Indians having fled and abandoned the country, it was thought unnecessary to pursue them, and after burning their houses, destroying their corn, and committing such other depredation upon them as they could, they returned to North Carolina, where they were discharged and returned home, having been gone about three months.

Soon after the return of this Deponent he was again called out and served in various short expeditions against the Tories, but the particular periods of each cannot now be recollected. About the time Lord Cornwallis was approaching North Carolina from the South, this Deponent was again called upon and marched, under the command of Colo. Benjamin Herndon, in pursuit of Lord Cornwallis as he was on his march from Cowans Ford on the Catawba to Guilford, and occasionally annoyed and kept in check his out-posts and foraging parties, one of whom they captured amounting to twenty or thirty men and detailed them prisoners until they were sent off to Virginia. This deponent and the troops with whom he was associated, pursued their march until they reached Genl. Green's army at the high rock on Haw River, where they remained several days after which Genl. Green discharged them, and they returned home, having been gone in this expedition at least one month.

In a few days after their return home, this Deponent was again called out with others to march in pursuit of Lord Cornwallis who had retreated to Wilmington. They marched immediately and rendezvoused under Genl. Rutherford some distance on this side of Fayetteville. After organizing, Genl. Rutherford detached near four hundred mounted men, of whom this Deponent was one, and placed them under the command of Col. Smith & Major Graham, and ordered then to proceed down on the south side of Deep & Cape Fear Rivers until they reached Wilmington; while he (Genl. Rutherford), with the balance of the troops, crossed the river and proceeded down on the north side, Previous to their arrival at Wilmington, they heard that Cornwallis had left the place, but that he had left a portion of the British troops to keep possession of the town. Before, however, they reached the town, a small detachment was sent ahead to reconnoitre and ascertain the situation of the place. When they returned, it was ascertained that most of the troops were on the northern side of the river, but that a small body had been left on the south to act as a paquet guard, upon whom Cob. Smith marched and surprised., and succeeded in killing and taking every man without surprizing the camp.

In a day or two, Genl. Rutherford arrived on the north side of the river, about which time the news of the surrender of Lord Cornwallis was received, upon which the British troops immediately evacuated the town and made their escape down the river in the night. The small pox having been left in Wilmington by the British, it was deemed unsafe for the troops to enter the place, and a discretion was given to the troops to return home or remain with Genl. Rutherford. Many did return home, of whom this Deponent was one, having been gone in this expedition nearly three months, (& having volunteered for three months would have remained that length of time, but for the smallpox breaking out as before mentioned.)

The capture of Lord Cornwallis being considered the closing scene of the war, this Deponent was not again called upon to perform any other service. He has no documentary evidence to prove his services, nor never received a written discharge that he has any recollection of. He refers to Captain Samuel Johnson as a witness who can testify to part of his services. And he aso refers to Captain Samuel Johnson & Reuben Sparkes as persons to whom he is well acquainted in his neighborhood, and who can testify as to his character for veracity, and their belief of his services. This Deponent has no record of his age, but the information herein given on that subject was derived from his mother many years ago, and he believes it to be correct. He hereby rebinquishes every claim whatsoever to a pension or annuity except the present, and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any state.

Sworn to & subscribed the day & year aforesaid.

[signed] John Sparks

R. Martin, Cbk.

On the day and year aforesaid, personally appeared in open Court before the Court aforesaid, Capt. Saml. Johnson, who being first duly sworn according to law, deposeth & saith that he served with John Sparkes, Esqr., the above Appbicant, during the three months tour performed under Genl. Rutherford to the Cherokee Nation, and further that the said three months tour as set forth & specified in the foregoing declarat ion as having been performed by the said John Sparks, Esqr., was performed by him.

Sworn to & subscribed the day & year aforesaid.

[signed] R. Martin Clk.

[signed] Saml. Johnson

We, Saml. Johnson & Reuben Sparkes, residents of the County of Wilkes & State of North Carolina, do hereby certify that we are well acquainted with John Sparkes, Esqr. who has subscribed & sworn to the above declaration--that we believe him to be seventy-nine years of age--that he is reputed and believed in the neighborhood where he resides to have been a soldier of the Revolution, and that we concur in that opinion.

[signed] Saml Johnson

[signed] Reuben Sparks

And the said Court do hereby declare their opinion after the investigation of the matter, and after putting the interrogatories prescribed by the War Department that the above applicant was a Revolutionary soldier and served as he states. And the Court further certifies that it appears to them, that Capt. Saml. Johnson and Reuben Sparkes who have signed the preceding certificate are residents of the County of Wilkes and are credible persons, and that their statement is entitled to credit.

[signed] Jno Walsh Ck Ct

Amended Declaration:

State of North Carolina)
Wilkes County)

Wilkes County ) Personally appeared before me, the undersigned, a Justice of the Peace in and for the County aforesaid, John Sparkes, Esqr., who, being duby sworn, deposeth and saith that by reason of old age, and the consequent loss of memory, he cannot swear positively as to the precise length of his service, but according to the best of his recollection he served not less than the periods mentioned below, and in the following grades: For 'Eight Months and twenty-one days' I served as a Private, and for such service I claim a pension. This deponent further saith by way of amendment to the foregoing declaration, that there is no clergyman residing in his neighborhood nor any within a reasonable distance whose testimony he could procure in favour of his veracity and their belief of his services as a soldier of the Revolution.

Sworn to & subscribed this 23d day of May 1833 before me, N. H. Wheatbey, J.P.

[signed] John Sparks