July 11, 2014

Pages 1931-1938
Whole Number 99

UNION SOLDIERS NAMED SPARKS WHO APPLIED,
OR WHOSE HEIRS APPLIED, FOR
PENSIONS FOR SERVICE IN THE CIVIL WAR



(Editor's note: From time to time we have been publishing abstracts of the pension files of Union soldiers who served in the Civil War. A great many Union soldiers and their widows (sometimes parents and children) received Federal pensions for their service and the papers comprising their files in the National Archives in Washington contain fascinating records of both historical and genealogical significance. We have an index of all of the pension files for persons named Sparks that was compiled for us a number of years ago by Carrie Grant Heppen (now deceased). There are over 600 names on this list. For $3.00 it is possible to request that a clerk in the National Archives select and xerox the papers in a given file that appear to the clerk to have genealogical importance. It is also possible to obtain xerox copies of all the papers in a file, but the cost can run from $10.00 to $25.00 depending upon the number. If members of the Association have Sparks ancestors who served in the Civil War, we shall be glad to obtain xerox copies ($3.00 search) and publish an abstract in the Quarterly.

Dr. Paul E. Sparks, President of our Association, has obtained a number of these files (selected papers) and has abstracted them for publication. We shall use these as space permits, but it will be many, many years before we can publish all 600. It must be remembered in reading these abstracts that we have been limited to those papers which a clerk in the National Archives has considered significant.)

PHILEMON E. SPARKS  (also called Leman) was born in August 1844 in Ohio, son of Erastus and Pleme A. (Moore) Sparks. He married Delia Etta Burchard on June 16, 1867 in Washtenaw County, Michigan. He served in Co. F, 20th Regiment Michigan Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 871,142; Wid. Cert. No. 458,053.

Philemon E. Sparks, aged 45, a resident of Jackson, Michigan, made application for an invalid pension on July 25, 1889. He stated that he was enrolled on July 25, 1862, in Company F, 20th Regiment Michigan Infantry, commanded by Capt. S. P. Warner, and was discharged at the College Hospital, Annapolis, Maryland, on July 15, 1865. At the time of his enlistment, he was 17 years of age; he was 5 feet, 5 inches tall and he had dark hair, blue eyes and light complexion.

Sparks said that on or about 1 May 1864, he contracted typhoid fever and was sent to College Hospital, Annapolis, Maryland, where he remained for over a year. The disease had affected his kidneys and stomach and he had never fully recovered from the illness. Prior to his enlistment, he had been a miller, but he was now able to do only a partial day's work. John F. Jackson and George E. Jackson witnessed his signature and the application was sworn to before H. Don Blakeman, Clerk of the Jackson County Circuit Court.

Sparks's military service was confirmed by the War Department on Sep 28, 1889. He was enrolled on August 4, 1862, at Grass Lake, Michigan, in Company F, 20th Regiment Michigan Volunteers to serve for three years or during the war. He was present for duty until April 23, 1864, when he was reported "absent-left sick at Annapolis, Md." He continued to be reported the same until he was mustered out from the U.S.G. Hospital, Annapolis, Md., on July 15, 1865.

On Nov 7, 1889, Daniel N. Beardsley, age 47, a resident of Brooklyn, Michigan, made an affidavit to support Sparks's claim. He said that he was Sparks's bunkmate when Sparks took sick with typhoid fever in May 1864, and that after Sparks returned home, they became good friends. Sparks complained frequently about the pains in his stomach and his kidneys caused by the illness while in the military service. Beardsley's mark was witnessed by John A. Fabrique and H. Torensen. The affidavit was sworn to before John F. Jackson, a notary public, who added the following note: "Signed by mark because right arm is off at the shoulder."

Four days later, Lewis H. Brown, age 45, a resident of Norvell, Michigan, and a former comrade of Philemon Sparks, made a similar affidavit in his behalf.

On 20 January 1891, Mary A. Olds, age 59, a resident of Jackson, Michigan, testified that she had known Philemon E. Sparks for 24 years and that "he was seriously troubled with his stomach often spitting or vomiting of his food. Had to be careful what he ate... . I have known him continuously ever since being in the family a good deal and living neighbor to him." Minnie E. Gifford notarized the statement.

On 26 January 1891, Daniel B. Bentley, age 64, a resident of Grand Crossing, Cook County, Illinois, made an affidavit to support Sparks's application. He said he had worked as a millwright for Sparks and for his father. He knew that Sparks had severe stomach trouble and had often seen him spit up or vomit his food and become so ill that he could not perform his work. Henry Luther notarized the affidavit.

Invalid Certificate No. 871,142 was issued to Philemon E. Sparks and he was placed on the pension roll. He died on March 3, 1895. On March 25, 1895, his widow, Delia Etta Sparks, aged 44, a resident of Chelsea, Michigan, applied for a widow's pension. She said she married Philemon E. Sparks on June 16, 1867, at Sylvan Centre, Washtenaw County, Michigan, by the Rev. H. M. Gallup. Only one child born to them was under the age of 16 when her husband died, namely, Emma Belle Sparks, born Nov 27,'1889. George J. Crowell and Wesley Canfield witnessed her signature.
Widow Certificate No. 458,053 was issued to Delia Etta Sparks and she was placed on the pension roll. When she died in the spring of 1906, she was receiving 8.00 per month.

(Editor's Note: Philemon E. Sparks, also called Leman, was born in August 1844, according to a biographical sketch of his father, Erastus Sparks, appearing on page 931 of the History of Jackson County, Michigan, published in 1881 by the Interstate Publishing Company. Erastus Sparks, father of Philemon E. Sparks, was born in Cortland County, New York, on August 19, 1820, and was married in Trumbull County, Ohio, to Pheme A. Moore on Sep 6, 1843. The parents of Erastus Sparks were Erastus and Philatha (Higgins) Sparks--his grandparents were Isaiah and Filisity (Dawset) Spark$. See the Quarterly of Sep 1965, Vol. XIII, No. 3, Whole No. 51, pp. 916-24 for a record of this family.)

JOSEPH H. SPARKS  was born at Lynn, Massachusetts. He married Mary Ann Jones on Nov 26, 1846. He served in Company A, 1st Regiment Mass. Cavalry. File Designation: Wid. Cert. No. 11,709.

On July 8, 1863, Mary A. Sparks, 38 years of age, a resident of Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts, made application for a widow's pension under the 1862 Act of Congress. She said she was the widow of Joseph H. Sparks whom she had married on Nov 26, 1846. He had served in Company A, 1st Regiment Mass. Cavalry, commanded by Captain Higginson, and had died at Aldie, Virginia, on June 22, 1863, of wounds received in battle. He left her with four children under sixteen years of age: Josephine F. Sparks, 14; Hattie A. Sparks, 11; Lettie Sparks, 6; and George E. Sparks, 3. She appointed Horatio Woodman, Boston, Mass., as her attorney. John Sparks and Jacob Collyer witnessed her signature and the application was sworn to before Henry C. Oliver, Clerk of the Lynn Police Court.

On the same day, John Sparks and Jacob Collyer also made a joint affidavit to support Mrs. Sparks's application. They said they had known Joseph H. Sparks for more than twenty years and knew of his death on June 22, 1863, because they read an account of it in a newspaper and also heard the Mayor of Lynn read a telegram announcing the death. They said Sparks had left four children under sixteen years of age. The affidavit was sworn to before Oliver B. Coolidge, a Justice of the Peace in Essex County, Massachusetts.

On July 8, 1863, Benjamin H. Jones, Clerk of Lynn, Mass., made a copy of a marriage record showing the Joseph H. Sparks and Mary Ann Jones, both of Lynn, were married on Nov 26, 1846, by the Rev. Thomas Driver.

On Sep 3, 1863, the War Department confirmed the military service of Joseph H. Sparks. He was mustered into Company A, 1st Regiment Massachusetts Cavalry on Sep 3, 1862, at Cambridge, Mass., to serve for three years or during the war. He was reported on the muster roll of Company A for May and June 1863 with the following remark: "Killed in action at Aldie, Virginia, on June 19, 1863."

On December 28, 1863, Mary A. Sparks was issued Widow Certificate No. 11,709 and she was placed on the pension roll at the rate of $8.00 per month. On January 6, 1864, three of her children were also declared eligible for pension benefits at the rate of $2.00 each per month until they reached their sixteenth birthdays. They were: Hattie Sparks, born June 30, 1852; Lettia Sparks, born Oct 8, 1856; and George E. Sparks, born August 11, 1860.

On Nov 7, 1866, Mary A. Sparks, age 40, now a resident of Malden, Massachusetts, applied for increased pension benefits under the 1866 Act of Congress. Accompanying her application were the birth records of three of her children taken from the vital records of Lynn and sent to the Bureau of Pensions by Benjamin H. Jones, Clerk of the City of Lynn. The records showed the following:

Harriet Augusta Sparks was born June 30, 1852.
Letitia Sparks was born Oct 8, 1856.
George Everett Sparks was born August 11, 1860.

The children had been born to Joseph H. Sparks and to Mary A. Sparks. He was born in Lynn and was a cordwainer. She was born at St. George, Maine. Nothing was sent from the pension file to indicate what action was taken on this latter application. 

WINSHIP W. SPARKS son of James and Hepsebah Sparks, was born ca. 1836 in Maine. He married (1st) Martha Carlton and (2nd) Minerva J. R - - - - -. He served in Company H, 3d Regt. Maine Volunteers. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 192,458; Wid. Cert. No. 561,956.

On December 10, 1873, Winship W. Sparks, aged 38, a resident of Bowdoinham, Maine, made a reapplication for an invalid pension. He stated that on June 3, 1861, he had enlisted at Bowdoinham, Maine, in Company B, 3rd Regiment Maine Volunteers, commanded by Capt. E. A. Batchelder, and had served until he was mustered out on June 28, 1864. He said that because of the military service, he had lost the sight of one eye completely, and the vision of the other eye was badly impaired. He had been treated in the Regimental Hospital, the Georgetown, D.C., Hospital, and at Camp Parole, Annapolis, Maryland. He appointed Henry Boynton, Augusta, Maine, as his attorney. Henry Sewall and Fred Gannett witnessed him make his mark and the application was sworn to before Wm. M. Stratton, Clerk of Kennebec County Supreme Judicial Court.

The military service of Sparks was confirmed by the War Department on Nov 30, 1874. He was mustered into military service at Augusta, Maine, on June 3, 1861, in Company B, 3rd Regiment Maine Volunteers to serve for three years or during the war. He was reported "absent-sick" in August 1861 at Washington and at Baltimore, but was returned to duty in December 1861. On December 13, 1862, he was reported as "missing in action" at Fredericksburg, Virginia, but was paroled on 19 January 1863. He was reported as a paroled prisoner at Annapolis, Maryland, until December 1863 and then was returned to duty. He was mustered out of the service with his company on June 28, 1864.

Invalid Certificate No. 192,458 was issued to Winship W. Sparks and he was placed on the pension roll. He died on August 16, 1897.

On May 23, 1900, Minerva J. Sparks, aged 63, a resident of Bowdoinham, Maine, applied for a widow's pension. She said she and Winship Sparks had been married on April 21, 1880, at Bowdoinham by the Rev. M. McIntire. She had not been married previously, but her husband had been married before and his wife had died in 1870. She appointed J. B. Cralle & Co., Washington, D.C., as her attorneys. William R. Fairclough and Thomas G. Herbert witnessed her signature.

In Nov 1900, Lewis M. Fulten and Elmer E. Small, tax assessors of Bowdoinham, Maine, stated that in 1899 Minerva J. Sparks's real estate was valued at @1200 and her personal property was valued at $128. Mrs. Sparks also stated that she owned a small farm, one horse, one cow, one heifer
and six sheep from which she derived a small income which was her sole support. She owed her hired man $100 for work he had already done. She owned no stocks, bonds, or notes. She said she had no children, either minor or of age.

Two sisters of Winship W. Sparks wrote supporting statements for Minerva J. Sparks. On 4 February 1903, Mrs. J. C. Richardson, Roxbury, Massachusetts, wrote: "Dear Sister. I am Winship's sister and am 71 years old. He was my youngest brother but one. He was never married but once when he married you. His first wife's name was Martha Carlton of N.H." The letter was sworn to before John H. Townsend, a justice of the peace of Boston, Mass. On June 11, 1903, Rachel W. Wilson, aged 80, Bowdoinham, Maine, stated that she had known Winship W. Sparks since he was born , being a sister. He was not married but once prior to marrying his present widow, Minerva J. Sparks.

Widow Certificate No. 561,956 was issued to Minerva J. Sparks and she was placed on the pension rolls. When she died on Sep 16, 1904, she was receiving $8.00 per month.

(Editor's note: James Sparks, the father of Winship W. Sparks, was a veteran of the War of 1812. See the March 1961 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 33, Vol. IX, No. 1, for an abstract of his application for bounty land (p. 543) and the December 1968 issue, Vol. XVI, No. 4, Whole No. 64, pp. 1201-02 for a record of his death as well as other Sparkses of Bowdoinham, Maine.)

GEORGE W. SPARKS,  son of William Henry Harrison Sparks and Eliza (Hosea) Sparks, was born April 17, 1841, in Jackson County, Ind. He died on July 29, 1920. He married (1st) Nancy A. Shortridge on 1 May 1862, and (2nd) Elizabeth Simmons on February 16, 1871. He served Co. G, 25th Regt. Indiana Infantry. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 484,538.

George W. Sparks received a certificate of disability for discharge dated February 23, 1862, at St. Louis, Missouri. According to the certificate, he enlisted on July 15, 1861, at Medora, Indiana, under Capt. John W. Poole in Co. G, 25th Regiment Indiana Infantry Volunteers to serve for three years. He was 20 years of age; he was 5 feet, 10 inches tall; he had black eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion; and he was a farmer. Capt. Poole went on to say that Sparks had been unfit for duty for 60 days because of typhoid fever which had hospitalized him at Jefferson City, Missouri, on Sep 26, 1861, and which had caused him to be left behind and unable to accompany his company. Capt. Poole issued the certificate on March 3, 1862, at Fort Donaldson, Tennessee. When the certificate reached the 4th Street Hospital at St. Louis, the surgeon who examined Sparks concurred with Capt. Poole's decision and Sparks was discharged retroactively to February 22, 1862, at St. Louis, Missouri.

On or about August 23, 1886, George W. Sparks applied for an invalid pension, but a copy of the application was not included in the documents sent by the National Archives from his pension file. His military service, including his hospitalization, was confirmed on March 2, 1887, by the War Department, but his claim was denied.

On Sep 2, 1889, Sparks was examined by Henry C. Dixon, a physician at Tunnelton, Indiana. Dr. Dixon found Sparks's heart beat to be accelerated and that he had abcesses on his shoulders and legs which Dixon thought were caused by typhoid fever. The affidavit was sworn to before Charles A. Knight, a notary public. Sparks also made an affidavit to support his claim. He said that on August 23, 1886, he had applied for a pension and had appointed Thomas Boyatt as his attorney, but that the application had been rejected, whereupon Boyatt had abandoned the claim. Sparks asked that his claim be reviewed and appointed John C. Wells of Seymour, Indiana, as his attorney.

Four undated affidavits were submitted by comrades of Sparks to support his claim. Jacob L. Hinkle, age 51, a resident of Mooney, Indiana, stated that he was a 2nd lieutenant in Sparks's company and was with him when he was hospitalized at Jefferson City, Missouri, with typhoid fever. The fever attack was so severe that Sparks eventually was sent home. Since that time, he had gradually weakened, particularly in his left leg and knee and in his left hip joint where the fever had settled. Hinkle said the disability had rendered Sparks able to perform only limited manual labor. Hinkle's observations about Sparks were concurred in by three other fellow soldiers. They were Fielding H. McHargue, 49, of Medora, Indiana; Anderson Parris, 45, of Sparksville, Indiana; and Theodore Bridgewater, 47, of Emison, Indiana. All of them gave similar testimony about Sparks's military service and his disability.

Apparently the testimony of Sparks's former comrades was convincing for he was issued Invalid Certificate No. 484,538 and placed on the pension rolls.

On Sep 30, 1897, 4 February 1898, and March 25, 1915, George Sparks responded to questionnaires sent from the Bureau of Pensions. He stated that he had been born on April 16, 1841, in Jackson County, Indiana, and that he had been married twice. His first marriage was to Nancy A. Shortridge on May 1, 1862, in Jackson County, Indiana. She had died on April 15, 1869. He was married (second) to Elizabeth Simmons on February 16, 1871, at Vernon, Jennings County, Indiana, by the Rev. John Stout. She had died on May 10, 1897, at Elwood, Indiana. He had five children:

William Henry Sparks, born May 10, 1863
Mary Ida Sparks, born Sep 14, 1866
Italy Clyde Sparks, born March 23, 1869; died Oct 14, 1869.
Edith Sparks, born March 5, 1872
George Leslie Sparks, born July 29, 1875

On May 7, 1902, George W. Sparks asked for a review of his pension under the 1900 Act of Congress. He was 61 years of age and was living in the National Military Home at Marion, Grant County, Indiana. He appointed John 0. Frame as his attorney. When George W. Sparks died on July 29, 1920, at the National Military Home, he was receiving a pension of $32.00 per month.

(Editor's Note: George W. Sparks was a son of William Henry Harrison Sparks and Eliza (Hosea) Sparks; he was a grandson of Stephen Sparks (1775-1851) of Jefferson County, Kentucky, and Jackson County, Indiana. His great-grandfather was James Sparks (ca.1752-1834) of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Indiana. For details about Stephen Sparks, his grandfather, see the Quarterly of December 1963, Vol. XI, No. 4, Whole No. 44, pp. 781-83. The records of James Sparks's service in the American Revolution were published in the Sep 1954 issue of the Quarterly, Vol. II, No. 3, Whole No. 7, pp. 40-45.)

THOMAS SPARKS,  son of Matthew Brooks and Nancy (Sutton) Sparks, born ca. 1827, died Sep 18, 1864. He married Sarah Ann Harp on July 2, 1848, in Morgan County, Ill. He served in Co. C, 14th Regt. Illinois Infantry. File Designation: Wid. Cert. No. 73,699; Minor Cert. No. 175,055.

Thomas Sparks enlisted in Company C, 14th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Capt. A. H. Cornman, on May 25, 1861, at Jacksonville, Illinois, for a period of three years. He was given a disability discharge for chronic diabetes on August 20, 1862, at Memphis, Tennessee. According to the discharge certificate, he was 34 years of age and was born in Bedford County, Tennessee. He was 5 feet, 10 inches tall; had a light complexion, gray eyes and dark hair, and he was a farmer by occupation.

On July 8, 1864, Thomas Sparks made application for a invalid pension claiming that during the fall of 1861 and the spring of 1862, while on duty in Missouri and Tennessee, he had contracted diabetes for which he had received a disability discharge and which had left him totally disabled. He stated that he was living near Girard, Illinois. A. S. Mayfield witnessed the application and Thomas M. Metcalf and B. P. Andrews attested it. The application received the number of 48,562.

Thomas Sparks apparently did not live long enough to receive a pension for he died on Sep 18, 1864, from his illness. On August 15, 1865, his widow, Sarah Ann Sparks, made application for a widow's pension. She stated that she was 33 years of age and lived near Girard, Illinois. She had been married to Thomas Sparks on July 2, 1848, in Morgan County, Illinois, under her maiden name, Sarah Ann Harp by C. Daulton, a justice of the peace. She and Thomas Sparks had the following children under the age of 16 at the time of his death: Matthew A. Sparks, born August 2, 1850; Mary E. Sparks, born Sep 28, 1851; William E. T. Sparks, born 4 January 1854; John S. Sparks, born March 25, 1856; Nancy E. Sparks, born July 27, 1860; and George H. Sparks, born June 13, 1862. W. E. Eastham and G. D. Eastham attested the application and a copy of the marriage license of Thomas and Sarah Ann was forwarded at the same time by John Trabue, Morgan County, Ill., clerk.

The Adjutant General's Office confirmed the military record of Thomas Sparks and a widow's pension was issued to Sarah Ann Sparks. Then, in Nov 1866, she applied for an increase in the pension under the provisions of the Act of Congress of July 1866. She stated that the list of her children by Thomas Sparks, as set forth in her earlier application was accurate except that Harriet L. Sparks, her daughter by Thomas Sparks, was over 16 years of age at the time of the death of Thomas Sparks and Matthew A. Sparks, her son by Thomas Sparks, had reached the age of 16 on August 2, 1866. James M. and Nancy Petterson made a joint affidavit that they had been present at the birth of John S. Sparks on March 25, 1856, and the birth of Nancy E. Sparks on July 27, 1860, both of them children of Sarah Ann Sparks by her husband, Thomas Sparks, deceased. They said that Sarah Ann Sparks had not remarried. John Black and George Heustis witnessed the affidavit which was notarized by L. B. Ross, a justice of the peace.

At the March 1876 term of the Morgan County, Illinois, Court, James Wood was appointed guardian of George H. Sparks and Nancy E. Sparks, minor heirs of Thomas Sparks, deceased, and the following month, on April 8, 1876, he and Sarah Ann Sparks (now Sarah Ann Jackson) appeared before Samuel M. Martin, clerk of the Morgan County Court, and jointly made application for a pension for Nancy E. Sparks and George H. Sparks, minor children of Thomas Sparks, deceased. They stated that Sarah Ann Sparks, widow of Thomas Sparks, had drawn a widow's pension until April 1873, at which time she had married John A. Jackson. The only children of Thomas Sparks who were under age 16 were Nancy E. Sparks and George H. Sparks. W. H. Wright and James A. Fay attested the application which was signed by both James Wood and Sarah A. Jackson. Minor Certificate No. 175,055, dated April 11, 1876, was issued to the guardian of the children, James Wood.

(Editor's note: Thomas Sparks, who was born ca. 1827, was a son of Matthew Brooks and Nancy (Sutton) Sparks who had been married in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, in December 1803. Matthew Brooks Sparks, father of Thomas, was born ca. 1780 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and died in Morgan County, Illinois, in 1845; he had served in the War of 1812 and his widow, Nancy (Sutton) Sparks, had applied for bounty land based on this service. Her application and other papers were abstracted and published, along with notes on this family, in the March 1962 issue of the Quarterly, Vol. X, No. 1, Whole No. 37, pp. 636-37. Matthew Brooks Sparks was a son of Matthew and Kezia (Stone) Sparks as proven by a deed dated July 12, 1811, on file in Pittsylvania County (Book 17, p. 483). From this deed we know that Matthew and Kezia (Stone) Sparks were the parents of (1) Matthew Brooks Sparks; (2) Edmond Sparks who married Patsey Wright in 1804; (3) John Sparks who married Judah Dodson in 1807; (4) Jane Sparks who married William Duncan in 1811; (5) Nelly Sparks; (6) Nancy Sparks who married John Ware in 1811; and (7) Thomas Sparks. This family was closely related to the Addison Sparks who is the subject of the first article in this issue of the Quarterly.

When the 1850 census of Morgan County, Illinois, was taken, Thomas and Sarah Sparks were listed with their one-year-old daughter, Harriet Sparks. Nancy Sparks, mother of Thomas, was living with them. From this pension file, we know that the children of Thomas and Sarah Ann (Harp) Sparks were:

1. Harriet L. Sparks, born ca. 1849.
2. Matthew A. Sparks, born August 2, 1850.
3. Mary E. Sparks, born Sep 28, 1851.
4. William E. T. Sparks, born 4 January 1854.
5. John S. Sparks, born March 25, 1856.
6. Nancy E. Sparks, born July 27, 1860.
7. George H. Sparks, born June 13, 1862.
SAMUEL SPARKS,   was born ca. 1832, probably in Ohio. He died on February 24, 1884. He married Margaret Lechner on April 3, 1856, in Carroll County, Ohio. He served in Co. D, 87th Regt. Illinois Infantry. File Desig nation: Wid. Cert. No. 252,088.

On Sep 5, 1884, Margaret Sparks, age 49, a resident of Mount Erie, Illinois, appeared before John Kuster, clerk of Richland County (Ill.) Circuit Court, and applied for a widow's pension. She said she had married Samuel Sparks on April 3, 1856, in Carroll County, Ohio, and that he had served in Company D, 87th Regiment Illinois Infantry during the War of 1861. He had died on February 24, 1884, from a disease of the kidneys contracted during his military service. She said that her marriage was the first one for her and it was also the first for her husband. They had no children. She appointed R. N. McCauley of Olney, Illinois, as her attroney. Joshua L. MItchell , Jasper F. Moutray, Peter Rule and C. W. Burgess witnessed the application.

The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service on April 4, 1885. He was 30 years old when he enrolled on August 13, 1862, at Mount Erie, Illinois, as a corporal in Company D, 87th Regiment Illinois Volunteers for a period of three years. He was absent-sick at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, from July 16, 1863, to April 30, 1864, with diarrhea and intermittent fever. He was absent-sick in the U.S. Marine Hospital, New Orleans, Louisiana, during Sep and Oct 1864 with typhoid fever. He was mustered out with his company on June 16, 1865, at Helena, Arkansas.

On Nov 23, 1886, Oliver P. Tidball, age 62, a resident of Mount Erie, Illinois, testified that as a comrade of Samuel Sparks, he knew of the periods of illness which he had had while in the service. He said that he also knew of his disability after he came home that had prevented him from doing any manual work as a farmer.

In the spring of 1887, William Shannon and Reason Davis, neighbors of Samuel Sparks, made affidavits that he had been incapable of performing any manual labor for several years prior to his death.

In February 1888, Margaret Sparks notified the Bureau of Pensions that she had exhausted all efforts to find a doctor who had treated her husband while in the service or after he had been discharged. She said she had made diligent inquiry, but was unable to offer any new evidence to support her claim.

The Bureau of Pensions finally issued Widow Certificate No. 252,088 to Margaret Sparks and she was placed on the pension rolls. No document was included in those supplied from this file by the National Archives to indicate the amount of the pension nor the period of time she received it.

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