June 25, 2019

Pages 1094-1102
Whole Number 59


In past issues of The Sparks Quarterly we have published abstracts of pension and bounty land applications for persons named Sparks who served in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. We now propose to begin a new series devoted to pensioners of the Civil War who served on the Union side.

In the National Archives in Washington there are millions of records relating to persons who have served their country in one way or another, Some of these records contain a wealth of genealogical data, while others reveal little beyond the individual's name. Since these records often are without name indexes, research among them is exceedingly time consuming. The staff of the National Archives cannot undertake extensive genealogical research, but they are willing to aid as much as possible when they know exactly where to look for the information.

Pension applications for soldiers serving in the Union Army have been indexed and there are several hundred listed under the name Sparks, Spark, and Sparkes. For one dollar, the National Archives will provide xerox copies of those documents contained in a given file which appear to have genealogical significance. As our Association funds permit, we plan to request these records and to publish abstracts in the Quarterly. Carrie Grant Heppen, our faithful Washington researcher, has filled out the necessary application forms for the first fifty Sparks files and we have ordered and received the xeroxed records from these fifty.

Abstracts of these records will be published In the Quarterly in alphabetical order over the next several years. Where possible, we shall add notes to further identify the individual.

It should be remembered that our data from these pension files are limited to those documents which the clerk in the National Archives thought were of genealogical value. It is quite possible that additional details can be gained from a thorough search of all the papers in a given pension file.

AARON SPARKS, alias Aaron Wilson, born ca. 1838, died 1914; served in Company H, 135th U.S. Colored Infantry. File designation, WC-790,331.

On May 6, 1901, Aaron Wilson of Bennettsville, Marlboro County, South Carolina, applied for a pension (under an Act of Congress passed on June 27, 1890) based on his service in Company H of the 135th Regiment of the U.S. Colored Infantry. He stated that he had served under the name of AARON SPARKS because he had been a slave owned by SAMUEL SPARKS. However, his father's name was Wilson and he later took the name Aaron Wilson. In his application, in reply to the question, "Where had you lived before you enlisted," Wilson stated: "With Capt. Sparks, Bennettsville, P.O." He stated that he bad been born in Virginia, date unknown, but that he believed himself to be about 63 years old (born, therefore, ca. 1838). He had enlisted at Raleigh, North Carolina, on March 27, 1865, as a private in Company H, 135th U.S. Colored Infantry, and had been discharged at Louisville, Kentucky, on October 23, 1865, Aaron Wilson married Julia Irby at Louisville, KY, in camp, in August, 1865, by a chaplin in the Army. He died at Bennettsville, South Carolina, on November 4, 1914.

Additional data on Aaron Wilson and his family are contained in these records, but since his only connection with the Sparks family is the fact that, as a slave prior to the Civil War, he had been owned by Captain Sparks, there is no point of our including more in this abstract.

In one of the records, Aaron Wilson identified his former owner as Samuel Sparks of Bennettsville, Marlboro County, South Carolina. This was the Samuel Sparks mentioned on page 693 of the Quarterly for December 1962 (Vol. X, No. 4, Whole No. 40). Samuel Sparks, son of 9.1.1 Daniel and Martha (Pearce) Sparks, was born March 21, 1787, died September 19, 1878. His son, Captain Alexander Dottridge Sparks (1829-1894) was a captain in the Confederate Army, and his army coat is preserved in the Confederate Museum at Columbia, South Carolina. He organized and equipped his own company of troops, which was Company I, South Carolina Volunteers (Cavalry).

45.6.5 ABEL B. SPARKS, born in East Sharon, Potter County, Pennsylvania, died in Van Buren County, Arkansas; born May 8, 1842, died July 28, 1929; served in Company D of the 85th Regiment of New York Infantry Volunteers. File designation: XC-2629526.

Among the documents in this file is the certificate of discharge for Abel B. Sparks. He is identified as a private in Captain Wm. L. Starkweather's Company D of the 85th Regiment of New York Infantry Volunteers; he was enlisted by Captain Kenney at Sharon, Pennsylvania, on September 7, 1862. His discharge for disability was dated October 25, 1863, and was issued at David's Island, New York. It was stated that he had been ill for eight months. He was described as six feet tall, with a light complexion, blue eyes, and light hair, and his occupation was given as that of a lumberman.

Abel B. Sparks applied for a pension in 1915, at which time he was a resident of Geneva, Ohio. When he applied for an increase in his pension on February 11, 1926, he was living in Kingsville, Ashtabula County, Ohio. When he died on July 28, 1929, he was a resident of Shirley, Van Buren County, Arkansas. In his original application, Abel B. Sparks stated he had been born in East Sharon, Potter County, Pennsylvania, on May 8, 1842. His death certificate, based on information supplied by his son, Samuel C. Sparks, states that he was born in Bolivar, New York, but this was an error. Abel's father's name was given on his death certificate as 45.6 William Sparks, born in New York, and his mother's maiden name was given as Hines.

In his applicated dated February 11, 1926, Abel Sparks stated that he had been married first to Ellen McGreevy at David's Island, New York, on August 15, 1863. His first wife died at Kingsville, Ohio, on April 28, 1903. Abel Sparks's second wife was Elizabeth Warner, who had been married to Oliver Hazelltine on April 8, 1877, but had divorced Hazelltine on February 26, 1900. Abel B. Sparks and his second wife, Elizabeth Warner, were married on July 25, 1905 at Conneaut, Jefferson County, Ohio. He stated: "My wife deserted me and locked me out of our home on the 18 day of August 1914."

In answer to the question regarding his children, Abel B. Sparks named them as follows: (note that all of these children were by his first wife, Ellen (McGreevy) Sparks) Charles A. Sparks, born September 21, 1865 Elmer E. Sparks, born May 28, 1868 Samuel C. Sparks, born January 1, 1871 Cora V. Sparks, born February 22, 1873 Warren H. Sparks, born May 9, 1876 Edwin E. Sparks, born April 29, 1878

Included among the documents xeroxed by the National Archives from Abel B. Sparks's file is a certified copy of the marriage certificate of his marriage to Mrs. Elizabeth Hazeltine on July 25, 1905, performed by the Rev. W. D. Starkey, on file in Jefferson County, Ohio. Also included is the marriage certificate of Abel B. Sparks to his third wife, Mrs. Callie Jennings, dated January 6, 1928. He was then 85 years old and Mrs. Jennings was 65. The marriage was performed by a Justice of the Peace named William Payne in Shirley, Arkansas.

On August 14, 1929, Callie B. Sparks, widow of Abel, applied for a pension. (She signed her name as "Calla" rather that "Callie".) She stated that she had married Abel B. Sparks on January 6, 1928 and that she had been married twice before, first to C. Endacott who had died on July 24, 1916, and second to Sam Jennings who died March 11, 1922. She stated that Abel Sparks had been married three times previously, that his first two wives were dead and that he had divorced his third wife, T. A. Sparks, in Harrison County, Iowa, in January 1925. This is the only reference to a wife named T. A. Sparks. If Calla was correct, she would have been his fourth wife, not his third as stated above.

From other records gathered by the Editor, we know that Abel B. Sparks was a son of 45.6 William B. Sparks, who was born March 11, 1803, and died on September 26, 1865, William B. Sparks and Rachel Hines were married on July 31, 1828. When the 1850 census of Potter County, Pennsylvania, was taken, William B. and Rachel (Hines) Sparks were listed as parents of the following children:

45.6.1 Benjamin Sparks, born ca. 1832
45.6.2 Sarah Sparks, born ca. 1835
45.6.3 Andrew Sparks, born ca. 1837
45.6.4 Nancy Sparks, born ca. 1840
45.6.5 Abel B. Sparks, born May 8, 1842
45.6.6 Rachel Sparks, born ca. 1845
45.6.7 William Sparks, born ca. 1849

There may have been other children born after 1850.

45.6.3 Andrew Sparks, brother of Abel, also served in the Civil War and was killed in action on April 2, 1865. Rachel Sparks, the mother, later received a pension because of her son's support of her prior to his death.

The parents of William B. Sparks (and the grandparents of Abel) were 45. John and Lovina (Brewster) Sparks. 45. John Sparks, who was born in 1750 and died in 1825, served in the American Revolution from New Jersey. Later his widow received a pension for his services, These papers were abstracted in the December 1957 issue of the Quarterly, (Vol. V, No, 4, Whole No, 20, pp. 251-260). ABEL TOMLIN SPARKS, born ca. 1828 in Georgia, died January 20, 1896, in Clay County, Alabama; married Nancy Ann M. Newsom in Talledega County, Alabama, in 1850; served in the Confederate Army until taken prisoner in 1863; later served, while a prisoner-of-war, on Union ships. File designation: W. C. 15441.

On February 11, 1889, Abel T. Sparks, a resident of Lineville, in Clay County, Alabama, applied for a pension on the basis of his service to the United States while a prisoner-of-war duing the Civil War. He stated that he was 61 years old, thus making him born ca. 1828.

From the half-dozen records supplied by the National Archives from his file, it is evident that Abel T. Sparks served originally in the Confederate Army as a private in Company G, 28th Alabama Infantry. He had enlisted on December 28, 1862, at Talledega, Alabama, for three years or the duration of the war. A muster roll dated February 29, 1864, for Company G lists Abel T. Sparks as "missing since November 25/63 supposed to be a prisoner of War."

After being taken prisoner, Abel T. Sparks agreed to serve in the Union Navy and "enlisted" at Rock Island, Illinois, on May 24, 1864; he served on the worship New Hampshire until July 15, 1864, then on the Wabash from July 16, 1864, to January 27, 1865, then on the Hunchback from January 28 to June 12, 1865, then on the Vermont from June 13 to June 26, 1865, when he was discharged as a "paroled prisoner." In his application for a pension, Abel T. Sparks stated that he had been discharged at the Brooklyn Navy Yards. He described himself as six feet tall, with a light complexion, dark hair, and blue eyes.

Abel T. Sparks stated that while on duty at Fort Fisher in North Carolina on or about December 24, 1864, he "was jared by the reports of the cannons to such an extent that his hearing became impaired in both ears," and that he had suffered from deafness thereafter; he also stated that he had suffered ever since his service from rheumatism. He claimed to be three-fourths disabled.

Abel T. Sparks stated in his application that he had lived in the counties of Randolph and Clay in the state of Alabama since his discharge, and that he was a farmer. He signed his application as Abel T. Sparks; Samuel M. McKay and John W. Burney signed as witnesses on February 11, 1889.

Included among the papers in this pension file is the marriage certificate of Abel T. Sparks. He married Nancy Ann M. Newsom in Talledaga County, Alabama, on December 12, 1850, by Charles Davis, a Justice of the Peace. This marriage was reported as being on file in Vol. A-2, p. 160, of the Marriage Records of Talladega County. The death certificate of Nancy Ann, which is also among the pension papers, reveals that she was born in 1827 in Coweta County, Georgia, and was the daughter of Silas and Lavina Newsom, both of whom were born in Georgia; she died on May 21, 1912, in Clay County, Alabama.

On January 17, 1902, Nancy Ann Sparks, then a resident of Cherry in Clay County, Alabama, applied for a pension as a widow. She stated that her husband's full name had been Abel Tomlin Sparks and that he had died on January 20, 1896, at Cherry,

The application which Nancy Ann Sparks submitted required only that she list any children who were were then (1902) under 16 years of age. She listed none. She signed this application by mark; her witnesses were H. T. McKay and B. A. Stephens.

We have little information on Abel T, Sparks other than that taken from his pension file. Apparently he was a son of David and Milly Sparks who were living in Talledaga County, Alabama, when the 1850 census was taken. Abel T. Sparks was listed as a member of their household, aged 22. (This census was taken on November 8, 1850, whereas Abel was married on December 12, 1850; thus he was still at home when the census taker called on David Sparks.) Abel's birth place was given as Georgia. David Sparks, believed to have been Abel's father, was listed as 56 years old (thus born ca. 1794) and his birth place was given as North Carolina. Milly's age was given as 59 (thus born ca. 1791) and her birth place was given as South Carolina. When the 1860 census was taken, Abel T. Sparks was listed as a resident of Randolph County, Alabama. Living with him and his wife was one child, a female, who was listed simply as L. Sparks, aged 8 years. She was doubtless a daughter. ABRAHAM J. SPARKS, born on December 3, 1830, in Bedford County, Pennsylvania; died January 1, 1881, at Del Norte, Colorado; he married Ellen R. Frankenberger in Bureau County, Illinois, on June 10, 1855; served as Captain of Company H of the 146th Illinois Infantry. File designation: WC 346597.

On April 25, 1908, Ellen R. Sparks, a resident of Wyanet, Bureau County, Illinois, made application for a pension. She stated that she was the widow of Abram J. Sparks who had been commissioned a captain of Company H of the 146th Illinois Infantry at Wyonet, Illinois, on September 17, 1864, and was honorably discharged on July 8, 1865. She stated that Abraham Sparks had died on January 1, 1881, at Del Norte, Colorado. She signed her application as Ellen R. Sparks, and Parker H. Bimm and C. H. Hamrick signed as witnesses.

Ellen R. Sparks submitted with her application a copy of her marriage certificate which states that Abraham J. Sparks and Miss Elanor Frankenburger were married by the Rev. Joseph O. Gilbert on June 10, 1855, in Bureau County, Illinois. Although her name was given as Elanor Frankenburger on this certificate, she stated in her application that her maiden name had been Ellen R. Frankenberger.

With her application, Mrs. Sparks also submitted a sworn statement by a notary public named James P. Hall to the effect that he had made a true copy of the family record in the Bible owned by Ellen R. Sparks and that the births of the children of Abraham and Ellen R. Sparks were written in the Bible as follows:

Alice L. Sparks, born March 20, 1856
Jennie E. Sparks, born May 31, 1858
Cora B. Sparks, born October 14, 1860
Clarrissa I. Sparks, born October 26, 1865
Edgar S. Sparks, born April 17, 1870

James P. Hall added that "there does not appear of record in the said Bible the death of any of the above named children." He stated that the "Bible bears date of being printed in the year AD, 1856 and judging from the appearance of the writing, I believe the entries copied to have been made about the dates given." Mr. Hall dated his sworn statement February 18, 1892,

The only other record sent by the National Archives from this file is a notice dated July 15, 1913, that the postmaster at Wyanet, Illinois, had reported the death of Ellen R. Sparks and that her pension of $12.00 per month had been last paid to April 4, 1913.

From records previously published in the Quarterly, we know that Abraham J. Sparks was born December 3, 1830, and was a son of Joseph S. and Elizabeth (Naill) Sparks who moved to Bureau County, Illinois, from Bedford County, Pennsylvania, between 1851 and 1855. Joseph S. Sparks (1794-1868) was a son of Solomon and Rachel Sparks; Solomon Sparks (1760-1838) was a son of Joseph Sparks (who died in 1809). Joseph Sparks had moved with his family from Frederick County, Maryland, to Bedford County, Pennsylvania, ca. 1778.

For additional information on this family, see the Quarterly of March 1955 (Vol. III, No. 1, Whole No. 9, pp. 59-61); also the Quarterly of September 1961 (Vol. IX, No. 3, Whole No, 35, pp. 585-87); also the Quarterly of June 1965 (Vol. XIII, No. 2, Whole No. 50, pp. 912-13). ADDISON SPARKS, born ca. 1831 in Kentucky; died May 13, 1864, while in the Union Army; resided in Mercer County, Missouri; married Mary B. Widener on May 24, 1857; served as a private in Company B, 27th Regiment of Missouri Volunteer Infantry. File designation: WC 37630.

On September 20, 1864, the Adjutant General's Office made a report on the service of Addison Sparks. He was enrolled on August 15, 1862, at Ravenna, Missouri, in Company B of the 27th Regiment of Missouri Volunteers to serve three years. He was mustered into service as a private on September 12, 1862, at Benton Barracks, Missouri. This report concludes: "On the Muster Rolls of Co. B of that Regiment, he is reported 'Died in Small Pox Hospital, St. Louis, May 13th 1864.' Cause of death not stated.

On June 28, 1864, Mary B. Sparks signed a sworn statement prepared by B. F. Cornwell, the County Clerk of Mercer County, Missouri. She stated that her post office address was Princeton and that she was a resident of Mercer County; she gave her age as 27 years (thus born ca. 1837) and stated that she was applying for a pension under an Act passed by Congress on July 14, 1862. She stated that she was the widow of Addison Sparks who had been a private in Company B of the 27th Regiment of Missouri Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Col. Curley, and that Addison Sparks had died of the small pox in St. Louis on May 13, 1864, "a disease contracted while in the service of the United States." She further stated that she had been married to Addison Sparks on May 24, 1857, and that her name before her marriage had been Mary B. Widner. (In other papers in this file her name is spelled Widener.) She stated that she had "not in any manner been engaged in, or aided or abetted the rebellion in the United States." She stated that she and Addison Sparks had had the following children: (1) William A. Sparks, born September 23, 1858; (2) Parthena E. Sparks, born December 5, 1859; and (3) Sarah J. Sparks, born December 25, 1861. The following acquaintances of Mary E. Sparks signed as her witnesses: Wm. H. McKinley and Joel L. Brownley.

Mrs. Sparks submitted a true copy of the record of marriage as recorded in the court house of Mercer County, Missouri, which reads: "This is to certify that I solemized the rites of matrimony on the 24th day of May 1857 between Addison Sparks and Mary B. Widner, both of whom are residents of the County and State aforesaid. Given under My hand this 6th day of June 1857. [signed] Joel L. Brownlee, Minister of the Gospel."

Mary B. Sparks was pregnant at the time she made her application. Her fourth child was born November 13, 1864, some six months after Addison's death.

When a new law was passed on July 25, 1866, giving a war widow a pension of $8.00 per month, plus $2.00 for each child under 16, Mary E. Sparks submitted the following list of her children: Albert William Sparks, born September 22, 1858, in Mercer County, Missouri. Eviline F. Sparks, born December 3, 1860, Sarah Jane Sparks, born December 21, 1862, Arvillie Sparks, born November 13, 1864.

"She further declares that she has not remarried since the death of her husband, nor has she abandoned the support of any one of the children above named, nor permitted any one of the same to be adopted by any other person as his or her or their child."

In this statement of July 25, 1866, Mrs. Sparks gave her residence as Trenton, Grundy County, Missouri. She signed her name by mark, whereas she (or possibly someone else) had signed her name in a clear hand in 1864. Samuel Tidener and B. F. Wyatt, both residents of Grundy County, signed as witnesses. (Since her maiden name had been Widener, this Samuel Widener must have been a relative.)

There was some confusion in the Pension Office regarding the difference in the names of her children as submitted in 1866, and on July 28, 1868, she was required to swear on oath that the names and birth dates were as follows:

William A. Sparks, born September 22, 1858
Parthena B. Sparks, born December 3, 1859
Sarah Jane Sparks, born December 25, 1861
Arvila A. Sparks, born November 13, 1864

It seems evident that the eldest son had the forenames William and Albert and that there had been confusion regarding which was his first and his middle name. Likewise, the eldest daughter seems to have had the forenames Parthena and Eviline and that there had been confusion regarding which was her first and her middle name. Hugh S. Carries and W. M. H. Roberts witnessed this statement of July 28, 1868.

The final document in this file sent by the National Archives is a statement that Mary E.. Sparks was paid her pension of $12.00 per month on November 4, 1904, for the last time, and that she had died shortly thereafter.

Addison Sparks and his family were listed on the 1860 census of Mercer County, Missouri, in Summerset Township. (See the Quarterly for June, 1966, Vol. XIV, No, 2, Whole No. 54, p. 992.) This census was taken in June, 1860. Addison's age was given as 29, thus born ca. 1831. His birth place was given as Kentucky. Mary's age was given as 23 and her birth place was given as Tennessee. Their eldest son was given as W. A. Sparks, aged 1 year, and their first daughter was given as P. E. Sparks, aged 6 months. It would thus appear that the dates of birth which Mrs. Sparks gave for her children in 1868 were the correct dates. ALBERT C. SPARKS, born in 1841 in Monterey, Massachusetts; he died in Lee, Massachusetts, on January 26,1921; he married, first, Celina H. Clark; he married, second, Carrie B. Horton in 1908; he served in Company B and Company B of the 37th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers.

On January 25, 1865, Albert C. Sparks appeared before Orrin P. Hulet, Clerk of the Superior Court of Berkshire County, Massachusetts, to make application for a pension.

He stated in his application that he was 24 years old (thus born ca. 1841) and a resident of the town of Lee. He stated that he had enlisted on August 11, 1862, as a private in Company B of the 37th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers; that he had been honorably discharged on September 1, 1863, for the purpose of being promoted. He was commissioned a second lieutenant on September 1, 1863, in Company B, commanded by Captain J, A. Loomis, in the same regiment. He stated that he was discharged on September 20, 1864, by reason of disability caused by wounds received from "musket balls coming from the Enemy and striking him in the right breast rendering him wholly unfit for service or duty." He signed his application as Albert C. Sparks; Orrin Hulet and Eleota M. Coombs signed as witnesses.

With his application, Albert C. Sparks submitted his discharge at the time of his promotion to second lieutenant. Dated October 8, 1863, this discharge states that he had been born in Lee, Massachusetts, although on his death certificate many years later his birth place was given as Monterey, Massachusetts. He was 21 years old when he was discharged to accept a commission and was described as being 5 feet and 5 inches tall, with a dark complexion, grey eyes, black hair, and he was by occupation a merchant.

From War Department records it was proved that Albert C, Sparks had stated the facts of his service accurately. He had been wounded on May 12, 1864, during the battle at Spottsylvania Court House in Virginia. He was furloughed on June 3, 1864, and went home to Lee, Mass., to recover. Dr. E. Wright had certified on August 8, 1864, that Albert C. Sparks was "suffering from severe fever, chronic diarrhea and is much emaciated, very weak, has a wound in the right breast received the 12th of last May." He was discharged from service on September 20, 1864, for physical disability.

On May 6, 1898, Albert C. Sparks was requested by the Bureau of Pensions to provide a list of his children and data pertaining to his wife. He responded by stating that his wife's maiden name had been Celina H. Clark and that they had been married on June 1, 1863, in Lee, Massachusetts, by the Rev. Tho. B. Fero of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He stated that he had not been married previously. He listed their children as follows: Susan C. Sparks, born September 18, 1866 Adelaide L. Sparks, born December 31, 1868 Albert Elmer Sparks, born December 5, 1872 Mary Sever Sparks, born December 10, 1876 Robert Romney Sparks, born November 25, 1881

Included in the pension file for Albert C. Sparks is the death certificate of his wife, Celina (Clark) Sparks. She died on December 13, 1903, in Lee, Mass,, at the age of 62 years and 10 months (thus born in 1841). She had been born in Stockbridge, Mass. Her father was Elmodorous Clark, born in Derby, Connecticut, and her mother was Laura P. Snow, born in Tyringham, Massachusetts.

On May 31, 1908, Albert C. Sparks married his second wife, a widow named Carrie E. Horton, whose first husband, David G. Horton, had died on January 27, 1900. The marriage certificate is included in Albert's pension file and reveals that he was 67 years old; his father's name is given as Austin Chapin Sparks and his mother's name is given as Rebecca Branning. (On his death certificate, however, her name appears as Rebecca Upham.) Her age on the marriage certificate was given as 61 and her birth place as Pittsfield, Mass. Her father's name< was William McMurry and her mother's name was Caroline Doolittle. Albert and Carrie were married in Lee, Massachusetts.

Albert C. Sparks died on January 26,1921, in Lee, Massachusetts, at the age of 79 years, 11 months, and 26 days (thus he must have been born on March 1, 1841). He was described on his death certificate as a retired merchant; his birth place is given as Monterey, Massachusetts. His father, Austin Chapin Sparks, had been born in New Marlboro, Massachusetts, His mother's name was given as Rebecca Upham while on his marriage certificate her name appeared as Rebecca Branning. She was born, according to Albert's death certificate, in New Marlboro, Massachusetts,

On February 7, 1924, Carrie E. Sparks, widow of Albert C. Sparks, made application for a pension. Her application was witnessed by Albert B. Clark and Catherine H. Hennessey. Carrie B. Sparks died on August 4, 1926, according to the last paper in this file.