Whole Number 106
(Editor's Note: In earlier issues of the Quarterly, we have published papers found in the pension files of veterans of the American Revolution. We have not previously published the papers pertaining to 50. DAVID SPARKS of Brunswick, Cumberland County, Maine, however. We have delayed in part because we have hoped that we might learn more regarding his family. Should any member of the Association have information regarding this Revolutionary War veteran, please let us hear from you.
From the information contained in his application for a pension in 1818, we know that David Sparks was born ca. 1745 - - he gave his age in 1818 as 73. He was apparently a resident of Brunswick, Cumberland County, Maine, throughout his life - - he enlisted there in Captain John Reed's Company of Colonel Allen's Regiment of the Massachusetts Line in January 1777. At that time what is now the state of Maine was considered to be part of Massachusetts and continued to be governed by Massachusetts until 1820 when Maine was declared a separate state. In the following papers, therefore, Brunswick is referred to as being in Massachusetts.
We have a record that a David Sparks married Jane Eaton (or Baton) in Brunswick on October 21, 1780, but whether he was the same David Sparks of the following pension papers, we do not know.
David Sparks was inscribed on the pension roll, to receive $8.00 per month, on April 25, 1818. A Certificate of Pensions (10464) was issued on May 7, 1819, and mailed to Josiah Hilbingston (?) of Alna, Maine. The file number in the National Archives for these papers is 537437. David Sparks died on March 6, 1820.)
State of Massachusetts) SS:
Lincoln County )
To the Hon. Josiah Stebbins, one of the judges of the Circuit Court of Common Pleas (called the Second eastern circuit) which is a court of record in the State of Massachusetts:
The Declaration under oath of David Sparks formerly a private soldier engaged in the service of the United States during the Revolutionary War, now a citizen of the United States and a resident of the town of Brunswick, county of Cumberland, and state of Massachusetts, respectfully sheweth,
That the said David Sparks enlisted into Capt. John Reed's Company, Colonel Alden's Regiment, Mass. line in the month of January 1777 for three years and continued to serve in the same Regiment and Company until the month of January 1780, at which time he was honorably discharged at West Point, which discharge he lost in the winter of 1781 and has not since been able to find it.
And the declaration further sheweth that the said David Sparks is now a citizen of the United States, resides in the town of Brunswick, County of Cumberland, and State of Massachusetts, and is by reason of his reduced circumstances in life, in need of assistance from his country for support. He is seventy-three years of age and was at the Surrender of Genl. Burgoyne's Army.
Therefore the said David Sparks conceives himself entitled to the benefit of the Act of Congress of the United States, entitled, "An Act to provide for certain persons engaged in the Land and Naval Service of the United States in the Revolutionary War," approved 18th March 1818, and requests your Honor will examine into the truth of the matter aforesaid, certify and transmit the testimony in the case, and the proceedings had thereon, to the Honorable the Secretary of the Department of War, to the end that such relief may be had in the premises, as is by law in such case made and provided.
/s/ David Sparks
STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS
Lincoln County, SS
Personally appeared David Sparks of the town of Brunswick, county of Cumberland and State of Massachusetts, being duly sworn, saith, that the matters by him set forth in the foregoing Declaration, are in all respects just and true.
Sworn and subscribed before me this)
25th day of April 1818 )
/s/ Josiah Stebbins, a judge of the C.C.C P. 2d. E.C.
STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS)
Lincoln County SS )
Personally appeared John McMannus and Amos Lunt and being duly sworn according to law, do depose and say that they are personally acquainted with David Sparks the Deponent aforesaid, that they were in the service with him in the same three years by him in his declaration mentioned, often saw him, and are certain that during the whole or nearly the whole of that time he served as he has declared.
Isl John McMannus /s/ Amos Lunt
Sworn and subscribed before me this)
25th day of April 1818 )
/s/Josiah Stebbins, a judge of the C.C.C. P. 2d.E.C.
STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS)
Lincoln County SS )
BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the twenty fifth day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighteen before me Josiah Stebbins, a judge of the Circuit Court of Common Pleas, called the second eastern circuit of Massachusetts, which is a court of record, personally appeared the afore said David Sparks who by me duly sworn to the truth of the facts stated the foregoing Declaration and herein duly subscribed the same, hath before me testified and declared as therein appears here, and on an examination and inquiry it appears to me hath by reason of his reduced circumstances in life, he is in need of assistance from his country for support,
WHEREFORE, I being satisfied that the said David Sparks did serve in the infantry of the United States as a Private Soldier in the Revolutionary War, against the common enemy, for the term of nine months and longer, to wit: for the term and the manner stated in the Declaration of the said applicant; and that the said applicant is fairly and justly entitled to the benefit of the Act aforesaid, THEREFORE I DO HEREBY CERTIFY and transmit the testimony in the case, and the proceedings had thereon, as before set forth, to the Honorable the Secretary of the Department of War. GIVEN under my Hand and Seal of the said Court of Massachusetts this twenty fifth day of April in the Year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighteen.
/s/ Josiah Stebbins, a judge of the C.C.C. P. 2d E.C.
Lincoln County. I, Nath Coffin, clerk of the following Court within and for the County of Lincoln, hereto certify that Josiah Stebbins is a judge of the Circuit Court of Common Pleas and that the foregoing is personally his signature. In testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal of said court this 25 day of April 1818.
/s/ Nath Coffin
(Editor's Note: the following letter, dated March 9, 1935, and addressed to Mrs. George W. Hildreth, Foreside Road, Topsham, Maine, obviously in response to a letter of inquiry regarding David Sparks, has been filed by the Nathional Archives in his pension file.)
Reference is made to your letter in which you request the Revolutionary War record of David Sparks, a pensioner. The record of David Sparks is given herein, as shown in the papers on file in his claim for pension, S. 37437, based upon his service in that war.
David Sparks enlisted sometime in January 1777, served as a private in Captain John Reed's company, Colonel Alden's Massachusetts regiment, was at the surrender of General Burgoyne, and was discharged at the expiration of service of three years.
He was allowed pension on his application executed April 25, 1818, at which time he resided in Brunswick, Cumberland County, Massachusetts. He was then aged seventy-three years; the date and place of his birth, names of his parents, and his residence at the time of service in the Revolutionary War are not shown. He died March 6, 1820. There are no data whatever regarding the family of David Sparks.
Very truly yours,
/s/ A. D. Hiller, Executive
Assistant to the Administrator
(Editor's Note: On June 9, 1828, Abraham Sparks, a resident of the town of Shawangunk, Ulster County, New York, applied for a pension based on his service during the Revolutionary War. In order to qualify for a pension under the laws of 1818 and 1820, a veteran not only had to prove that he had served in the War, but also that he was in real need of financial assistance. The following documents are from Abraham Sparks's pension File No. W20064. See further editor's note at the end of these documents.)
State of New York, County of Ulster: SS
Abraham Sparks of the town of Shawangunk in the county of Ulster and state of New York, on the ninth day of June 1828, personally appeared in open court, being a court of record in and for the county aforesaid, proceeding according to the common law, and its jurisdiction being unlimited in point of amount, aged sixty four years, who being first duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the pension made by the Acts of Congress on the 18th March 1818 and the 1st May 1820:
That the said Abraham Sparks enlisted in the town of Shawangunk in the county of Ulster aforesaid in the month of April in the year 1780 for the term of nine months in the company commanded by Captain Levi Westfall in the regiment commanded by Colonel Wisenvelt in the line of the state of New York on the continental establishment; that he continued to serve in the said corps until the full end and term of nine months from the time of his enlistment and after the expiration of the said nine months he was honourably discharged from the services on the Delaware River in the town of Minisink in the county of Orange and state of New York; that the whole company was discharged at the same time but he did not nor did any of the soldiers get a written discharge at the time; that he hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension except the present; that his name is not on any roll of any state except New York.
That the following are the reasons for not making earlier application for a pension, because that until lately he has heretofore been able by his carpentry to support himself and his family and in pursuance of the Act of 1st May 1820, I do solemnly swear that I was a resident citizen of the United States on the 18th day of March 1818, and that I have not since that time by gift, sale or in any manner disposed of my property or any part thereof with intent thereby so to diminish it as to bring myself within the provisions of an Act of Congress entitled "An act to provide for certain persons engaged in the land and naval service of the United States in the Revolutionary War" passed on the 18th day of March 1818, and that I have not nor has any person in trust for me any property or securities, contracts or debts due to me; nor Have I any income other than what is contained in the Schedule hereto annexed and by me subscribed;
That I am by occupation a carpenter but have lately become and now am unable to pursue my trade in consequence of rheumatick complaints and the croup; that I now reside in a house in the town of Shawangunk aforesaid which I rent including a small garden from David Winfield; that my family consists of myself and my wife, aged about fifty-eight years, who is sickly and infirm; that I have children but they are all poor and laboring for their own support and are not able to provide for this deponent and his wife;
That since the 18th of March 1818, the following changes have been made in this deponent's property: All my earnings since that time and which have been barely sufficient for the use of my family have been expended from time to time in purchasing necessaries for myself and family, and that no other changes have been made since that time except about five years ago, I sold my only cow on account of her age and laid out the money for which I sold her in the purchase of another cow which I now own.
Sworn to & declared on the 10th day of June in open court before me.
/s/ A. D. Soper, First and Presiding Judge /s/ Abram Sparks
of Ulster County Courts.
It appears to the satisfaction of the Court that the said Abraham Sparks did serve in the Revolutionary War as stated in the preceding declaration against the common enemy for the term of nine months under one engagement on the continental establishment; and it is the opinion of the said Court that the total amount in value of the property exhibited in the aforesaid schedule is twenty one Dollars and thirty seven and a half cents, exclusive of his wearing apparel.
/s/ A. D. Soper
Schedule of the real & personal estate of Abraham Sparks of the town of Shawangunk in the County of Ulster and state of New York, an applicant for a pension made this 9th day of June 1828:
Real Estate, none in possession, reversion, remainder or expectancy either in law or equity
Personal Estate, none except necessary wearing apparel for myself and my wife, one bed worth $6, one cow worth $10, six chairs $3, two pots and a teakettle worth $1, three earthern pots worth 37 ½ cents, carpenter's tools worth $1.
/s/ Abram Sparks
19,955 New York. Abraham Sparks of Ulster County in the State of New York who was a private in the company commanded by Captain Westfall of the Regiment commanded by Colonel Weisenvelt in the New York line for the term of nine months from April 1780 to January 1781. Inscribed in the Roll of New York at the rate of eight Dollars per month to commence on the 2nd day of July 1828. Certificate of Pension issue the 6th of August 1828 and sent to James N. Mitchell, Esq., Shawangunk, N.Y. $16.80
New York. Abraham Sparks on roll Act 1818 to that time paid. Died 14th Debr. 1835. paid 2nd qr. 1837. John Hany, Esq.
State of New York, Ulster County.
On this 18th day of August 1838, personally appeared before me the undersigned one of the judges of the court of common pleas in and for said county, Leah Sparkes, a resident of the town of Shawangunk in said county and state aforesaid, aged 67 years, who being duly sworn according to law doth on her oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made by the Act of Congress passed July 7th 1838 entitled "An act granting half pay and pensions to certain widows" as that she is the widow of Abraham Sparks, dec., who was a private soldier in the War of the Revolution and a pensioner under the Act of Congress passed ... 1818 [one line is missing at this point which was probably written as follows: that she was married] to the said Abraham Sparks on the 20 of November in the year of one thousand and seven hundred and ninety two by the Revd. Moses Freley in the town of Montgomery in the County of Orange;
And that her husband, the aforesaid Abraham Sparks, died on the 14th day of December 1835, and that she was not married to him prior to his leaving the service, but the marriage took place previous to the first of January seventeen hundred and ninety four, viz., at the time above stated and that previous to her marriage, her name was Leah Decker and that she has remained a widow ever since the death of her said husband the said Abraham Sparks as will more fully appear by the proof here unto fast.
Sworn and subscribed before me the date above written by making her mark.
/s/ Abraham A. Deyo, one of the judges her
of the Ulster County Courts. Leah Sparkes
State of New York, Ulster County. mark
Be it known that before me personally appeared John H. Bevier, a resident of the town of Shawangunk and county of Ulster in the state aforesaid, aged 33 years, being duly sworn according to law, that it appears on the records of the Dutch Reformed Church in said town that Abraham Sparks, and Lea Decker had a child presented for baptism by the name of Jonathan born May the fourth, seventeen hundred and ninety three.
The above named John H. Bevier do depose and say that I am the present pastor of the above named church and that the foregoing is a true abstract of the entrys of Baptisms on the records of said church with the exceptions of the dates which in fair legible figures as follows:
Lea Decker ) Jonathan
geb May 4, 1793
And I the said John H. Bevier further depose and say that the customs & usages of the Reformed Dutch Church are such as to make it satisfactory evident to my mind that parents who were not lawfully married could not be permitted to offer their children for this holy ordinance or to have their names enrolled with those of baptised members of said church.
Sworn and subscribed before me the
18th day of August 1838 /s/ Abraham A. Deyo, pastor of
/s/ Abraham A. Deyo, one of the judges the R.D.Church of Shawangunk
of Ulster County Courts
New York City. 418. Leah Sparks, widow of Abraham Sparks, who served in the Revolutionary War as a private on the roll at the rate of 52 Dollars 33 Cents per annum to commence on the 4th day of March 1848. Certificate of Pension issued the 23 day of June 1848 and sent to the Hon. G. B. St.John. Recorded on Roll of Pensioners under Act February 2, 1848. Page 185, vol. 4.
(Editor's Note: Abraham Sparks was born ca. 1764, and he may have been a son of George Sparks of Ulster County, New York. On the 1790 census of Ulster County, George Sparks was listed as the head of a household living in Shawangunk Town. With him were four males above the age of 16, and two females. (See the March 1953 issue of The Sparks Quarterly, Whole No. 1)
On August 27, 1804, the will of Robert Sparks of Shawanounk, New York, was probated in the Ulster County courthouse in Kingston. Named as his beneficiaries were: a sister, Catherine, wife of John Rose, and three brothers: Abraham Sparks, Aldert Sparks, and Joel Sparks. It seems logical to assume that they were the children of George Sparks.
Abraham Sparks was listed as the head of his household on the 1800, 1810, 1820, and 1830 censuses of Ulster County, living in the town of Shawangunk. From these records, it seems apparent that he and his wife, Leah (Decker) Sparks, were the parents of five sons, all born between 1793 and 1800. The eldest son was Jonathan Sparks, mentioned in the pension file as born in 1793. Another son, Abraham Sparks, Jr., is known to have drowned on April 5, 1815. We have no further records of this family.)