June 21, 2016

Pages 2053-2061
Whole Number 104

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 size of the file. 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.)

BENJAMIN CAGER SPARKS, son of Matthew and Lucy (Callaway) Sparks, was born March 22, 1844, in Washington Co., Ind. He died on February 18, 1926, at Chariton, Iowa. He married (1st) Emma Stanley; (2nd) Sadie Bradford on August 24, 1874; and (3rd) Maud E. (Peterson) Fuller on June 22, 1911. He served in Co. D, 14th Regt. Iowa Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 455,807; Wid. Cert. No. 1,614,020.

On March 5, 1888, Benjamin Sparks, age 41, a resident of Chariton, Lucas County, Iowa, applied for an invalid pension. He said he had enlisted on September 13, 1862, in Co. D, 40th Regt. Iowa Infantry, commanded by Col. John A. Garrett, and was discharged with his company at Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, on August 2, 1865. He said he was 5 feet, 8 inches tall; he had a fair complexion, blue eyes and black hair; and he was a farmer by occupation. While stationed at Vicksburg, Miss., in December 1862, he incurred chronic diarrhea from drinking stagnant water and from exposure and this ailment turned into piles, rheumatism and fistula. He was treated for this condition only one time and that was at the hospital at Little Rock, Ark. After he returned to Iowa, he had lived in Lynngrove, Jasper Co., Oskaloosa, Mahaska Co., and in Chariton, Lucas Co. He became a butcher by trade. He appointed G. W. Alexander, Chariton, Iowa, as his attorney. F. N. Gardner and A. M. McCormick witnessed him make his mark and the application was sworn to before W. S. Long, Clerk of the Lucas County Court.

Dr. William H. Gibbon confirmed Sparks's physical condition by making a Physician's Affidavit on April 23, 1888. He said he had treated Sparks for chronic diarrhea and ulcerated bowels since.August 1873. Gibbon signed the affidavit as "Late Surgeon 15th Iowa Vols."

On June 6, 1888, the War Department confirmed Sparks's military service. He was mustered into Co. D, 40th Regt. Iowa Infantry on Nov 15, 1862, at Iowa City and was present with his company until July and August 1864 when he was left at Little Rock. He rejoined his unit on August 24, 1864, and was present until he was mustered out with his company at Fort Gibson, Cherokee Nation, on August 2, 1865. His records showed him sick from September 20 to Oct 9, 1863; from September 29 to Oct 6, 1864; and from May 25 to May 29, 1865.

On March 30, 1889, Adam Burnham, Newton, Iowa, made an affidavit in Sparks's behalf. He said he was a member of Sparks's military company and that in June 1863 at Vicksburg, Sparks had contracted rheumatism, diarrhea, and fistula from the hard service and bad water. He said Sparks was a good soldier and always ready to do his duty. The affidavit was sworn to before John L. Mathews, Deputy Clerk of Jasper County District Court.

On April 9, 1889, Benjamin C. Sparks also made an affidavit to support his application. He said he could not furnish any more medical evidence for his disabilities than that which had already been furnished by Dr. Gibbon, because his former physician, Dr. Coolidge, had died in Oskaloosa, Iowa, five or six years before. He asked that his neighbor's evidence be accepted. Joe R. Landes witnessed his mark and swore to it before O. E. Payne, Clerk of Lucas County Court.

On June 21, 1889, the Bureau of Pensions asked William Ring, Newton, Iowa, to give any evidence he could of Sparks's disabilities. Ring responded that he was well accuainted with Sparks since he had served in the same military company from August 1862 to August 1865. He said that in August 1863 while at Vicksburg, Sparks contracted chronic diarrhea, fistula, and rheumatism from hard service and from drinking; impure water on the Yazoo march. He said Sparks continued to suffer from these diseases up to the time of his discharge from the army.

On Nov 14, 1889, the Bureau of Pensions approved Sparks's application and placed him on the pension rolls under Invalid Certificate No. 455,807 at the rate of $12.00 per month, retroactive to March 27, 1888.

On May 26, 1890; on February 8, 1892, and on Nov 27, 1897, Sparks applied for increased pension benefits because of the increased severity of his diseases. On each occasion, the Bureau of Pensions asked the local Examining Board to examine Sparks and furnish a Surgeon's certificate. After each examination, the three physicians would certify that he was suffering from the same ailments. Upon receipt of the Surgeon's certificate, the Bureau of Pensions would reject the claim. On April 25, 1901, however, after Sparks had sent supporting affidavits with his application, he was notified that his pension would be increased from $12.00 to $17.00 per month, retroactive to 2 January 1901.

The same pattern followed applications from Sparks on January 29, 1903, February 4, 1904, and Nov 23, 1908. He was examined by the local physicians; a report was sent to the Bureau of Pensions; and Sparks was notified of the rejection of his application.

On 1 April 1910, by a special act of Congress, Sparks was placed on the pension rolls at the rate of $30.00 per month.

On January 26,1924, Sparks made his last application for increased pension benefits. He said he was 79 years of age and was born in Washington County, Indiana, on March 22, 1844. He said his disabilities now required the regular personal aid and attendance of another person. He said he married Maudie Fuller Sparks on June 22, 1911, and they had one child, Jessie Pearl Sparks, born on August 20, 1915. He also said he had been married previously to Sadie Bradford on August 28, 1874, and that she had died on March 28, 1911. Rose Pearl Brittell, S. L. Brittell, Frank Atha, and Joseph R. Landes, all of Chariton, witnessed his mark and the application was sworn to before E. S. Wells, Second District Court Judge.

Sparks sent the application described above directly to his Congressman, H. K. Evans, of Corydon, Iowa, and Evans sent it directly to the Commissioner of Pensions, Washington, D.C., with a request that he be advised on the case from time to time. After a flurry of correspondence, Sparks was granted a pension increase to $72.00 per month. He died on February 18, 1926.

Pension laws prohibited the payment of pension benefits to the widow of a Civil War pensioner who had married the soldier after June 27, 1905. In the case of Maud E. Sparks, widow of Benjamin C. Sparks, Congress made an exception and she was placed on the pension rolls by a special Congressional Act, dated May 3, 1928. The bill provided her a monthly payment of $20.00 which would be increased to $30.00 when she reached the age of sixty years. When she died on December 7, 1967, she was receiving a pension of 70.00 per month.

(Editor's Note: See the present issue of the Quarterly, pages 2044 -2052, for a record of the branch of the Sparks family to which Benjamin Cager Sparks belongs.

JOHN H. SPARKS (20.1.x.y), son of 20.1.x Matthew R. and Lucy (Callaway) Sparks, was born Nov 16, 1836, and died on January 24, 1913. He married Nancy Ellen Matthews on April 29, 1866. He served in Company B, 5th Regiment Iowa Infantry. 760,282. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 491,097. Wid. Cert. No. 760,282 

John H. Sparks was granted an invalid pension on March 29, 1888. In the application or the pension he stated that he lived in Lynn Grove, Jasper County, Iowa. On July 15, 1861, he enlisted in Company 5, 5th Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Capt. Samuel Chapman, for a term of three years, and he was discharged with his company on July 14, 1864, at Chattanooga, Tennessee. He described himself as a farmer, age 50, 6 feet tall, with a dark complexion and black eyes and hair. He said that in Oct, 1862 he had contracted a lung disease which had resulted in a general disability which made him incapable of earning a living by manual labor. He said he had been hospitalized near Corinth, Mississippi. S. E. Arnold and R. T. English witnessed the application. On July 7, 1888, the War Department confirmed the military service of Sparks.

On Oct 10, 1893, John H. Sparks made an application for an increase in his pension because of increased aggravation of his disability. He stated that he was then receiving; a pension of $14.00 per month, and that his post-office was Lynnville, Iowa. There is nothing in the file provided by the National Archives to indicate what action was taken on the application.

On July 4, 1898, Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He said he was married and that his wife's maiden name had been Nancy E. Matthews. They had been married on April 29, 1866, at the home of M. T. Matthews in Lynn Grove, Iowa, by James E. Johnson, a minister. Their children who were living and their dates of birth were:

Lucy L. Sparks, born June 5, 1867 Richard L. Sparks, born December 17, 1875
Perry M. Sparks, born May 5, 1869 Moses E. Sparks, born August 21, 1877
Ruth A. Sparks, born February 11, 1871 Raymond Sparks, born December 3, 1879
Jerry W. Sparks, born April 17, 1873 Robert G. Sparks, born May 7, 1882
  Guy O. Sparks, born 7 January 1884

John H. Sparks made a further declaration for increased pension benefits on April 11, 1908, under the 1907 Act of Congress in which he confirmed much of the information he had furnished earlier. He said that he was born in Washington County, Indiana, on Nov 16, 1836; that he was living at Sully, Iowa; and that he was already receiving a pension under Inv. Cert. No. 491,097. A. W. Forsyth and Carl J. DeJong attested to the application. When Sparks died on January 24, 1913, he was receiving a pension of $15.00 per month. He was buried at Lynnville, Iowa.

Nancy E. Sparks, widow of John H. Sparks, applied for a widow's pension on April 16, 1913. She said her maiden name had been Nancy E. Matthews and that she had been married to John H. Sparks on April 29, 1866, at Lynnville, Iowa, by the Rev. James B. Johnson. It was the first marriage for both. There were no children under sixteen years of age in 1913. Abraham Burnham, age 68, and J. B. Sparks, age 71, made affidavits supporting her claim and a copy of her marriage record was sent to the Bureau of Pensions. On June 23, 1913, she was notified that her application had been approved and that she would receive a pension of $12.00 per month during her widowhood under Wid. Cert. No. 760,282. For his help in preparing the application, her attorney, H. Reynolds, received a fee of $10.00. There is nothing in the file provided by the National Archives to show the date of death of Nancy E. (Matthews) Sparks.

(Editor's Note: See the present issue of the Quarterly, pages 2044-2052, for a record of the branch of the Sparks family to which John H. Sparks belongs.)

WEEDEN H. SPARKS (20.1.x.y1) ,  son of Matthew and Lucy (Callaway) Sparks, was born ca. 1838 in Washington County, Indiana. He served in Company C, 3rd Regiment Iowa Infantry.

Weeden H. Sparks enrolled as a private in Company C, 3rd Regiment Iowa Infantry on May 20, 1861, at McGregor, Iowa, for a period of three years. At the time of his enrollment, he was 22 years of age; 5 feet, 11 inches tall; and he had brown hair and grey eyes. He stated that he had been born in Washington County, Indiana, and that he was a farmer. He reported for duty on June 8, 1861, at Keokuk, Iowa, and was placed on the company roll as William H. Sparks with pay due from the date of his enrollment.

In Nov and December 1861, he was listed on the company roll as Weeden Sparks with the remark that he was sick in Benton Barracks. He was present for duty from January to May 1862. In May 1862 he was listed as sick in the Louisville (Ky.) Barracks. From June 1862 to January 1863, he was present for duty and was listed as W. Sparks. On the February 1863 roster, he was listed as Weeden Sparks with the remark "Deserted January 28, 1863 from Moscow, Tennessee." This entry was changed on the company roster in July 1863 to "Deserted February 27, 1863 at Moscow, Tennessee."

There are no documents dated later than July 1863 in the military file of Weeden H. Sparks, nor is there any indication that he returned to his unit, or was apprehended by military officials. He was carried on the company roster as "W. Sparks," "Weed Sparks," "Weeden Sparks," "Weden Sparks," and "William H. Sparks." Since his parents, Matthew R. and Lucy (Callaway) Sparks, had another son, born ca. 1845, whom they named "William" - - perhaps Weeden Sparks simply used that name as an alias.

(Editor's Note: See the present issue of the Quarterly, pages 2044 -2052, for a record of the branch of the Sparks family to which Weeden H. Sparks belongs.)

CLINTON C. SPARKS, son of Elijah and Elizabeth (Davis) Sparks, was born ca. 1818. He died on may 4, 1901. He married Susan A. Nabb on Nov 18, 1847, in Queen Anne's County, Maryland. He served in Co. G, 49th Regt. Indiana Infantry Volunteers. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 255,275 and Wid. Cert. No. 518,350.

On April 4, 1877, Clinton C. Sparks, age 58 years, a resident of Orange County, Indiana, made application for an invalid pension. He stated that he had enlisted in Company G, 49th Regiment Infantry under the command of Capt. John A. Ritter on Nov 8, 1861, and had served until his discharge on Nov 29, 1864, at Indianapolis, Indiana. At the time of his enlistment he was 28 years of age; 5 feet, 5 inches tall; and he had dark hair, a dark complexion, and blue eyes. He was a bridge-builder by occupation.

Sparks said that in the latter part of December 1863 he was hospitalized at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri, for erysipelas which had left him permanently disabled so that he could not make a living as a farmer. Joseph Duncan and William A. J. Jones witnessed his signature and John R. Simpson, Orange County Circuit Court Clerk, certified the application.

The Adjutant General's Office confirmed the military service of Clinton C. Sparks on May 15, 1877. He had enlisted at Jeffersonville, Indiana, on Nov 8, 1861, to serve for three years. He was present for duty until March 9, 1863, when he was hospitalized at Milliken's Bend. He remained in the hospital until February 29, 1864. He was mustered out with his company on Nov 29, 1864.

Clinton C. Sparks was placed on the pension rolls. On Nov 4, 1897, he was living; at Huron, Lawrence County, Indiana, where he responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions as follows: He married Susan Nabb on Nov 18, 1847, at Centreville, Queen Anne's County, Maryland. They had no living children.

On May 23, 1901, Susan A. Sparks, age 81 years, a resident of Mitchell, Lawrence County, Indiana, made application for a widow's pension. She said that she was the widow of Clinton C. Sparks, a Civil War veteran, who had died on May 4, 1901. Joseph Duncan and Alford T. McCoy, both residents of Mitchell Indiana, attested to her statements which were notarized by James H. Crawford.

Susan A. Sparks was issued a pension under Widow's Certificate No. 518,350. When she died on September 12, 1905, she was receiving $8.00 per month.

74. COLEMAN SPARKS, was born ca. 1826 in South Carolina and he died on June 24, 1663 while in the military service of the United States. He married Louisa E. Goings (or Goins) on 1 April 1849. He served in Co. D, 1st Regt. Alabama Cavalry. File Designations: Wid. Cert. No. 162,128; Minor Cert. No. 260,670.

On 3 February 1871, Louisa E. Sparks, age 38, a resident of Tuscumbia, Alabama, made application for a widow's pension. She stated that she was the widow of Coleman Sparks who was a private in Company D, 1st Regiment Alabama Cavalry Volunteers and who had died on April 25, 1863, at Glendale, Mississippi, of chronic diarrhea. She and Coleman Sparks had been married on 1 April 1849, at Calhoun, Georgia, by Esquire Collier, a justice of the peace. Her maiden name was Louisa E. Goings. Children of this marriage who were under the age of sixteen were: Joseph Monroe Sparks, born Oct 11, 1855; Sarah Delia Sparks, born Nov 20, 1857; Sue Anna Sparks, born April 11, 1860; and Arty Missa and Julia Ann Sparks, twins, born February 15, 1862. A. L. Moody and William Dillard witnessed her make her mark and the application was sworn to before S. S. Anderson, Judge of the Franklin County Probate Court.

The military service of Coleman Sparks was confirmed by the War Department on July 11, 1871. He had enrolled on March 13, 1863, at Glendale, Mississippi., in Company D, 1st Regiment Alabama Cavalry for a period of three years. He was present for duty until he died in the hospital at Glendale on June 24, 1863, of chronic diarrhea.

On July 13, 1871, Louisa Sparks brought her family Bible to W. L. Gray, a justice of the peace, to prove the birth dates of her children. The Bible entries were as follows:

74.1 Joseph Sparks was born January the 8th, 1850 died at about 9 months of age
74.2 General Washington Sparks was born Oct 20, 1851
74.3 William Thomas Sparks was born December 6, 1853
74.4 Joseph Monroe Sparks was born Oct 17, 1855
74.5 Sarah Deliar Sparks was born Nov 20, 1857
74.6 Suanner Sparks was born April 17, 1860
74.7 Arty Misser Sparks, twins, were born February 15, 1862
74.8 Julia Ann Sparks, twins, were born February 15, 1862

James Osborn and Calvin Dillard witnessed Louisa Sparks make her mark and Abner J. Ligom, Judge of the Colbert County, Alabama, Probate Court, certified that J. L. Gray was a justice of the peace.

On September 30, 1871, Justice of the Peace' W. L. Gray made an affidavit that he had seen a family record of Louisa E. Sparks vrhich showed that she and Coleman Sparks were married on 1 April 1849.

A year later, on Oct 17, 1872, Sarah E. Goings went before Judge Abner W. Ligon and testified that she was the mother of Louisa E. Goings and that she was present in Georgia when Coleman Sparks and Louisa E. were married. She stated: "They started from home to be married and returned in a short time as man & wife, and I know they lived together as man & wife until the death of Coleman Sparks, and had a family of children, and that she never married since. I have made efforts & Louisa E. Sparks to obtain record evidence of her marriage in Georgia, but none can be found." O. G. Wingo and Charles Womble concurred in her statement, and the affidavit was witnessed by S. B. Thornton and S. W. McCloskey and was sworn to before A. W. Ligon, Judge of Colbert County Probate Court.

An undated document (probably written about 1873) in the pension file of Coleman Sparks tells the circumstances surrounding his enlistment in the Union Army. Here it is in its entirety:

"Case of Mrs. Louisa E. Sparks, Widow of Coleman Sparks, Decd., Late of Co. D, First Regt. Alabama Cavalry, Col. Geo. E. Spencer, Commanding Regt. No. 197,467. Special, Jas. H. Stoss, Tuscumbia, Alabama.

Coleman Sparks resided in Colbert (late Franklin) Co., Ala., and as he was known to be an uncompromising Union man, no notice of his conscription was Served upon him, but he was Seized by the conscript officer, backed by a Squad of Cavalry, as Mr. Sparks was on his way to the Mill with grain for the use of his Family as Breadstuff. He was taken from his Team just as he was & hurried to the Rebel Headquarters from whence he made his Escape in a few days & made his way as best he could to the Federal Headquarters at Glendale, Miss., near Corinth where he Enlisted as above & was Mustered into the Service and Died from Fever resulting from Exposure & cold contracted in the Swamp in making his Escape from the Confederate Headquarters, as his Family was informed by his comrades, some of their Neighbors. His Family consisted of his wife, now widowed, and their Seven children, the younges [sic] being infant Twin Daughters of but a few months old.

The Family was plundered to some extent by the Confederates, but the Federal Troops belonging to the command of Genl. Wilson & known as Wilson's Raid took her Team from the plow where her son was plowing in the Field & stripped her Premises of almost everything in the way of Supplies of all kind even to her Poultry. We made application more than two years since for her Pension, Back Pay, etc., and in due time made application for her property, taken by the Troops, to the Court of Claims, but as yet get nothing. Coleman Sparks & his wife & now his widow, have been members of the Sand Lick Church (Babtist) [sic] ever since they have Resided in Ala. They joining by Letter from their former Residence in Georgia. We long since filed all the Evidence that her (or rather our) attys. stated was necessary, yet get nothing. As to standing & respectability it good, so considered by all classes. Her children all make their Home with their mother on their littel Home Farm where by their Industry, they make an Honest living but during the War especily [sic] after they was Robbed of their Team & Property by the Federal Troops, it was with great difficulty indeed. The attys. in your city are Messrs. Charles C. Tucker & Co."

Louisa E. Sparks was issued Widow's Certificate No. 162,128 and she was placed upon the pension rolls. On September 27, 1876, she married Calvin Dillard which apparently stopped her pension, whereupon she made application for a pension for her minor children. This required her appointment as the guardian of her two youngest children: Artimissa Sparks and Julia Ann Sparks. Her appointment was granted on February 23, 1878, and Minor Certificate No. 260,670 was issued and the children were placed upon the pension roll.

The last record (in chronological order) sent from the pension file of Coleman Sparks is dated May 2, 1887. From the evidence presented, it appears that Louisa E. Dillard (formerly Louisa E. (Goings) Sparks) was trying to get retroactive pension benefits for her children prior to their sixteenth birthdays, for again she presented the family Bible with the dates of birth of her children in it. The Bible was printed in New York in 1853. A new entry had been made on August 15, 1877, when one of the children, Susa A. Sparks (called "Suanner" when her birth was recorded in the Bible) had died. Nothing was sent from the National Archives to indicate whether she was successful in getting retroactive benefits or not.

(Editor's Note: Coleman and Louisa L. (Goings) Sparks were living in the 12th Division of Gordon County, Georgia, when the 1850 census was taken; the census taker called on them on December 7, 1850. They had been married the year before (in 1849) and they were the only members of their household - - their first born son, Joseph, born 8 January 1850, had died in Oct, 1850. Coleman Sparks was listed as 23 years old (thus born ca. 1827) while Louisa was 20 (born ca. 1830); both were listed as born in South Carolina. The only other Sparks family listed on the 1850 census of Gordon County, Georgia, also in the 12th District, was that of Drury Sparks, age 55 (thus born ca. 1795) and his wife, Nancy, of the same age. With them were living Nancy Sparks, age 20; Caswell (or Carwell) Sparks, age 23; James Sparks, age 13; Mary Sparks, age 11; and Eliza J. Sparks, age 9. All members of this family were listed as having been born in South Carolina. Considering the ages of Drury and Coleman Sparks, Drury Sparks may well have been Coleman's father.

Drury Sparks belonged to the Union County, South Carolina, branch of the Sparks family; he was listed there on both the 1830 and the 1840 census. It may be logically conjectured that Drury Sparks, with his family, including Coleman Sparks, moved from Union County, South Carolina, to Gordon County, Georgia, between 1840 and 1850. He was probably the Drury Sparks who purchased land on Sugar Creek in Union County, South Carolina, on Nov 8, 1821, from Zachariah Nancy (Book T, page 121).

There was another Coleman Sparks (which is an unusual name in the Sparks Family) living in Union County, South Carolina, when the 1860 census was taken. He was then aged 23 and appears to have been a son of John and Unicy Sparks (ages 60 and 50 respectively). It is probably this Coleman Sparks whose grave is in the Padgett's Creek Church cemetery in Union County; his stone gives his date of birth as April 9, 1831, and his death as 1861.

The History of Gordon County, Georgia by Lulie Pitts published in 1933 states (page 89 that Coleman Sparks served on a grand jury before the Civil War. It is also stated (page 170) that Ruth C. Sparks was a widow of Carwell Sparks who served in the Confederate Army, Company F of the 4th Georgia Infantry, Dole's & Cooke's Brigade (Toombs's Volunteers) in which a Samuel Sparks also served. The author states (page 138) that W. D. Sparks and J. T. Sparks of Gordon County served in Company E of the 8th Georgia Batttalion, Gist's Brigade (Freeman's Volunteers). She gives three Sparks marriages recorded in Gordon County:

W. C. Sparks & Miss M. M. McCaul, December 9, 1868
Geo. W. Sparks & Miss S. J. Turner, 16 January 1868
Geo. W. Sparks & Louisa J. Clarda, 4 January 1880

We have found only one further item pertaining to the Coleman Sparks of this pension file. His son, General Washington Sparks, is buried in the Crooked Oak Cemetery at Crooked Oak in Colbert County, Alabama, located about 12 miles from Tuscumbia and about 9 miles from Russellville. Tombstone inscriptions there were copied by a local historian named R. L. James of Russellville about 1930. The tombstone for General Washington Sparks gives his name as General W. Sparks with the birth date Oct 20, 1851, and the death date as Nov 2, 1921. A note which Mr. James wrote in 1930 reads: "Mr. Sparks was of a different family from those buried in Sparks Cemetery. His mother was a daughter of Sarah A. Goins (wife of J. B. Goins) born April 30, 1813, died June 11, 1892. The Goins family came from Georgia and I think his father and mother married there." (See the Quarterly of December 1959, Vol. VII, No. 4, Whole No. 28, pp.431-33, for a record of the Sparkses buried in the Sparks Cemetery located near Russellville, Alabama.  

FRANK W. SPARKS, son of Henry and Nancy Ann (Taylor) Sparks, was born on July 24, 1839, in Oswego County, New York. He married Ellen J. Woodard on April 22, 1867, in Rockingham County, New Hampshire. He served in Company C, 55th Regiment Ohio Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 49,621; Wid. Cert. No. 781,736.

Frank W. Sparks received a Certificate of Discharge from the Army on Oct 19, 1864. It was issued at Atlanta, Georgia, by Capt. John R. Lowe, commanding officer of Company C, 55th Regiment Ohio Infantry, who stated that Sparks had enlisted on Oct 20, 1861, to serve for three years. Sparks was born in Oswego County, New York, and at the time of his enlistment he was 20 years of age; 5 feet, 5 inches tall; had hazel eyes, dark hair, and dark complexion; and he was a sailor by occupation.

Apparently Sparks made application for an invalid pension prior to August 28, 1865, for on that date Henry Miller, late Captain of Company C, 55th Regiment Ohio Infantry, swore that Sparks was discharged from the service because he was disabled from duty and had been ever since he was wounded at the Battle of Missionary Ridge, Tennessee, on Nov 23, 1863. He had received a gun shot which entered the left side of his face near the lower part of his ear and came out at the angle of the right jaw.

Frank W. Sparks was issued Invalid Certificate No. 49,621 and he was placed on the pension roll.

On July 29, 1909, Sparks applied for increased pension benefits under the 1907 Act of Congress. He was now 70 years of age and a resident of New Haven, New York. He said that after his discharge from the service, he had lived in Swanton, Ohio, for two years; in Chester, New Hampshire, for six years; in Ohio again for six years; and then he had returned to New Haven. Charles N. Lewis and Irving A. Webster witnessed his signature and the application was sworn to before S. M. Barker, a notary public.

Apparently the Bureau of Pensions required proof of Sparks's age, for on August 17, 1909, he made a sworn statement about his age before B. T. Armstrong, a notary public. He also sent a page which he had taken from his father's Bible which was now in his possession. The Bible had been printed in New York in 1824. The page contained the following entries and have been copied just as they were written:

Scriba december 14, 1829. H. Sparks marred Nancy Ann Taylor
Martha Sparks born May 3, 1830 lyda Sparks born June 16, 1841
pheba Sparks born December 11 1831 bengman Sparks born febrary 19, 1843
francis H. Sparks born August 20, 1833 Nancy Ann Sparks born April 25, 1845
Syntha Sparks born July 22, 1835 betsey Sparks born February 15, 1847
Alph Sparks born June 28, 1837 daniel Sparks born May 17, 1849
frank Sparks born July 24, 1839 Hurby Sparks born June 4, 1854

On September 27, 1912, the War Department informed the Bureau of Pensions that Sparks had been hospitalized at Cumberland, Virginia, from July 6, 1862, until August 31, 1862. He was also hospitalized from Nov 23, 1863, until August 3, 1864. Apparently as a result of receiving this information, Sparks's pension was increased to $25.00 per month.

Frank W. Sparks died on April 3, 1914, and on April 16, 1914, his widow, Ellen J. Sparks, applied for a widow's pension. She was 69 years of age and a resident of New Haven, New York. She said that she and Sparks were married at Sandown, New Hampshire, on April 22, 1867, by George Sanborn, a justice of the peace. It was the first marriage for both. She was married under her maiden name of Ellen J. Woodard. They had no children under the age of sixteen, but they had three children over that age. Frank Mishell and J. Aline May witnessed her signature and the application was sworn to before A.A. May, a justice of the peace.

Emma S. Shepard, aged 74, a resident of Cunbridge, Massachusetts, made a supporting affidavit for Ellen J. Sparks. Mrs. Shepard said that she was a sister of Mrs. Sparks and was four years older. She was present when the Sparkses' first child was born. There was never any doubt that Frank and Ellen Sparks were married, and they never were divorced.

On May 18, 1914, A. A. May replied to the Commissioner of Pensions at the request of Mrs. Sparks. May said that it would be impossible for Mrs. Sparks to get witnesses who had known her from the time she had married until the present time. She was born in Massachusetts, and went to Connecticut with her parents. She married Sparks at Sandown, New Hampshire, in 1867 as shown on her marriage certificate. They had lived there two years and then moved to Ohio, and after that went to New York state. May concluded his letter with a postscript in which he said that Mrs. Sparks was in poor health and was unable to leave her house to get any further information. She was in need of financial help and had no means of support.

Widow Certificate No. 781,736 was issued to Ellen J. Sparks and she was placed upon the pension rolls. Nothing was sent from the pension file by the National Archives to indicate the amount or the time she received it.

(Editor's Note: The family of Henry and Nancy Ann (Taylor) Sparks was listed on the 1850 census of Oswego County, New York, which was published on page 505 of the September 1960 issue of the Quarterly, Vol. VIII, No. 3, Whole No. 31. They were living in the town of Oswego. There is in Oswego County a town called Scriba, which is the name appearing at the beginning of the Bible record appearing on page 2060 - - it was there, apparently, that Henry and Nancy Ann (Taylor) Sparks were married. The age of Henry Sparks was given in 1850 as 41, so he was born ca. 1809. His birth place was New York. The names of the children of Henry and Nancy Ann (Taylor) Sparks on the 1850 census record match those given in the Bible except that there is no Pheba (had she married by 1850:); the name "Alph" in the Bible proves to be Alpheus on the census; Frank is called Franklin on the census, although it is apparent from his pension application that he went by the name Frank; Lyda is Lydia and "bengman" is given as "Napoleon" on the census. by 1870, Henry Sparks was living; in Scriba; his wife's name appears in 1870 as "Anna", which suggests that he had married a second time. In 1870, the son named "Napoleon" on the 1850 census was given as "Benj."

Alpheus Sparks, born June 28, 1827, brother of Frank W. Sparks, served from September 23, 1862, until June 10, 1865, in Company B, 81st New York Infantry Regiment. He also received a pension for his Civil War service - - an abstract of the papers found in his pension file in the National Archives appeared on pages 1423 -25 of the Quarterly for September 1971, Vol. XIX, No. 3, Whole No. 75.)

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