September 12, 2016

Pages 2111-2120
Whole Number 106

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 which 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 Naticnal 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 as high as $30, depending upon the size of the file. Dr. Paul E. Sparks, President of our Association, has obtained many of these files (selected papers and has abstracted them for publication. We shall continue to use these as space permits, but it will be many, many years before we can publish all of them. 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 genealogically significant. They do not necessarily tell the complete story of the individual concerned.)

BALIS E. SPARKS, son of Isiah H. and Sarah (Clayborn) Sparks, was born Oct 27, 1832, in Hickman County, Tenn. He married Sarah Jane Jones on February 27, 1862. He served in Co. C, 1st Regt. Ark. Infantry. File designation: Inv. Cert. No. 693220.

Balis E. Sparks, a resident of Newton County, Arkansas, applied for an invalid pension on or about Oct 3, 1890, for disabilities he had incurred as a private in Company C, 1st Regiment Arkansas Infantry. He claimed that he suffered from rheumatism which was a result of hard service during the winter of 1864. The War Department confirmed his military service. He was enrolled on February 12, 1863, at Fayetteville, Arkansas, and served until he was mustered out at Fort Smith, Arkansas, on August 10, 1865. When he was discharged he was 32 years of age; he was 5 feet, 9 inches tall; he had a dark complexion, black eyes and dark hair; and he was a farmer. He was issued a pension under Invalid Certificate No. 693,220 at the rate of $6.00 per month.

On May 18, 1896, Sparks made a request for increased pension benefits, claiming that he was almost totally disabled from a disease of the kidneys brought on by military service while at Fort Smith, Arkansas, in the fall of 1864. He appointed J. B. Cralle & Co., Washington, D.C., as his attorneys. Mollie Jones and L. R. Sparks, both residents of Chancel, Arkansas, witnessed his signature and the application was sworn to before J. B. Sparks, a justice of the peace in Newton County.

On June 29, 1896, George W. Sparks, age 60, a resident of Chancel, Arkansas, made a comrade's affidavit to support the claim of Balis E. Sparks. George said that he was also a member of Company C, 1st Regt. Arkansas Infantry and knew that Balis Sparks had been confined to his barracks and exempt from duty in September 1864 because of illness. The affidavit was sworn to before J. B. Sparks, a justice of the peace.

Annie Jones, age 74, a resident of Snow, Arkansas, testified in behalf of Sparks on Oct 1, 1896. She said she had known Sparks since 1860 and since that time had seen him about once each week. When he returned from the service, he complained about trouble with his kidneys and was suffering from fatigue and worry. She said she had waited upon him and had given him medicine while he was confined to his home because of the kidney disorder. W. B. Hefley witnessed her make her mark.The pension of Balis E. Sparks was increased from $6.00 to $12.00 per month on Nov 25, 1896.

On September 28, 1897, Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He said he married Sarah Jane Jones on February 27, 1862, by
the Rev. Aron Owens. He had eight living children:

1. Annie Sparks, born August 16, 1868
2. Benjamin Sparks, born March 22, 1870
3. Lemuel R. Sparks, born March 1873
4. Mary Jane Sparks, born September 20, 1875
5. David Sparks, born June 20, 1883
6. Martha Pairlee Sparks, born Oct 29, 1886
7. Manda Sparks, born April 30, 1889
8. Lethy Rufina Sparks, born July 10, 1892

On April 13, 1908, Sparks, now a resident of Checotah, McIntosh County, Oklahoma, asked for additional benefits under the 1907 Act of Congress. He said he was born on Oct 27, 1832, in Hickman County, Tennessee, and was now 75 years of age. He had lived in Newton County, Arkansas, until September 1907 when he had moved to Checotah. Claude Niles, R. P. Rutherford, A. J. Millsaps, and J. V. Millsaps attested to his application. When Balis Sparks died on September 23, 1910, he was receiving a pension of $20.00 per month.

On Nov 30, 1910, Lemuel R. Sparks, a son of Balis E. Sparks, asked for reimbursement for expenses incurred in his father's last illness and burial. He said that his father was married only one time and that was to Sarah Jane Jones. She had died on March 9, 1909. Lemuel said that his father's final expenses amounted to $239.51 which included the doctor's fees and undertaker's bills. He said that his father died at his (Lemuel's) home and that he was buried in Mt. Nebo Cemetery eleven miles east of Checotah.

Dr. B. J. Vance testified that when Balis E. Sparks took sick on July 24, 1910, he had been visiting in Muscogee, Oklahoma, but that he (Dr. Vance) had recommended that Sparks be moved to the home of his son, Lemuel R. Sparks, which was eight miles east of Checotah. Other attending physicians were Dr. C. T. Rogers and Dr. J. 0. Callahan. There was nothing sent from the pension file of Balis E. Sparks to indicate what action was taken on this request.

(Editor's Note: Isaiah Hale Sparks, father of Balis E. Sparks, was a son of Hardy and Mary (-----) Sparks of Hickman County, Tennessee, and a grandson of Matthew and Sarah (Thompson) Sparks of North Carolina and Georgia. For further details about these families, see the December 1956 issue of The Sparks Quarterly, Whole No. 16, and the June 1961 issue, Whole No. 34. Three brothers of Balis E. Sparks served in the same company and also received pensions - - the abstracts of their applications follow.)

GEORGE W. SPARKS, son of Isaiah H. and Sarah (Clayborn) Sparks, was born ca. 1837. He married (1st) Martha Jane Cissle and (2d) Elizabeth Washington Jackson. He served in Company C, 1st Regt. Arkansas Infantry. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 422,733; Wid. Cert. No. 582,505.

George W. Sparks applied for an invalid pension prior to August 11, 1887, for on that date the Bureau of Pensions asked the War Department to furnish his service records. Sparks claimed that he had enlisted on February 12, 1863, in Company C, 1st Regiment Arkansas Infantry and that he was discharged on August 10, 1865, at Ft. Smith, Arkansas. While on duty near Ft. Smith in March 1864, he was disabled by a disease of the eyes.

The War Department verified Sparks's military service. He was enrolled on February 12, 1863, at Fayetteville, Arkansas, in Company C, 1st Regiment Arkansas Infantry for a period of three years. He was promoted to corporal on March 15, 1863. He was present for duty until he was mustered out with his company on August 10, 1865. George W. Sparks was ill at Ft. Smith on March 24, 1864, but was returned to duty. The regimental hospital records showed a ----- Sparks admitted with an incis wound on Nov 28, 1864, but he was returned to duty in December 1864 . ----- Sparks was admitted in January 1865 but returned to duty.

George Sparks was treated on March 10, 1865 and also on April 3, 1865, but each time he was returned to duty. The report was concluded by this remark: "There are three other members of the company named Sparks and where the Christian names are not stated on the hospital records, it cannot be determined which of the four men was under treatment."

George W. Sparks was issued Invalid Certificate No. 422,733 authorizing a pension payment of $6.00 per month. Nov 9, 1895, he asked for increased pension benefits because of increased disability. He was 59 years of age and a resident of Chancel, Arkansas. He said, "my eye-sight is growing dimmer on account of the hard pains caused by neuralgia of the head and eyes." He appointed T. W. Talmadge, Washington, D.C., as his attorney. S. E. Sparks and M. A. Sparks witnessed his signature.

On July 28, 1897, he again asked for increased pension benefits under the 1896 Act of Congress. He appointed I. E. Rubenstein, Washington, D.C., as his attorney. B. E. Sparks and Annie Sparks witnessed his signature.

Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions on May 4, 1898. He said he married Elizabeth Washington Sparks, formerly Jackson, in September 1866 by E. B. Phenix in Taney County, Missouri. He had been previously married to Martha Jane Cissle, but he did not know the date of the marriage. He had two living children:

1. Sarah H. Sparks, born in 1868
2. Margaret A. Sparks, born in 1872

He added a remark to the above questionnaire: "this is to the best of my knowledge. all my records went to texas. i hav none."

George W. Sparks died on September 24, 1899, and his widow, Elizabeth W. Sparks, made application for a widow's pension. She was 66 years of age and a resident of Deer, Newton County, Arkansas. She said she had married Sparks on September 15, 1866, under the name of Elizabeth W. Stephenson. She appointed W. H. Wills, Washington, D.C.,as her attorney. J. H. Slusher and N. P. Slusher witnessed her signature.

On June 15, 1901, J. M. Adams, age 66, of Chancel, Arkansas, testified that he had made the coffin in which to bury Edward Stevenson, the former husband of Elizabeth W. Sparks, in the fall of 1865 in Christian County, Missouri.

On January 28, 1903, Lue E. Morrison, age 42, a resident of Limestone, Arkansas, swore that she was the only living child of J. W. Thompson, the first husband of Elizabeth W. Sparks. She stated further that Elizabeth W. Sparks had only been married twice prior to her marriage to George W. Sparks.

Elizabeth W. Sparks was issued a pension under Widow Certificate No. 582,505. When she died on May 18, 1924, at Stidham, Oklahoma, she was receiving a pension of 30.00 per month.

[Editor's Note: See the note regarding the family of George W. Sparks under the abstract of the pension papers of Balis E. Sparks, page 2112. George W. Sparks was one of four brothers who served in the same company: Balis E. Sparks, Jesse Sparkss Thomas E. Sparks, and himself.]

JESSE SPARKS,  son of Isaiah Hale and Sarah (Clayborn) Sparks, was born May 11, 1841, in Hickman County Tennessee. He married (1st) Elizabeth Owen about 1866 and (2dj Edie Millsaps on Oct 7, 1909. He served in Co. C, 1st Regt. Ark. Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 506,330; Wid. Cert. No. 942,167.

Jesse Sparks apparently made application for an invalid pension prior to July 1887 for on July 28, 1887, the War Department was asked to verify his military service and hospital record. Sparks claimed that while a member of Company C, 1st Regiment Arkansas Infantry he had intermittent fever at Ft. Smith, Arkansas, in June 1865 which endured for nine months. He said he was carried on a wagon to Newton County, Arkansas, in December 1865 and then to Taney County, Missouri, where he stayed until March 1866. This illness left him with a chronic heart disease and rheumatism. The Regimental Surgeon was Dr. Waterman.

The War Department responded on Oct 6, 1887. Sparks was enrolled on February 12, 1863, at Fayetteville, Arkansas, in Company C, 1st Regiment Arkansas Infantry for a period of three years. He was mustered out with his company at Ft. Smith, Arkansas, on August 10, 1865. Hospital records showed a ----- Sparks had been treated in Oct 1864, in December 1864, and in January 1865, but the nature of the illnesses was not stated. To further complicate matters, there were three other men named SPARKS on the rolls of the company, Thomas E. Sparks, George W. Sparks, and Balis E. Sparks.

Jesse Sparks was issued a pension under Invalid Certificate No. 506,330. On June 5, 1912, Jesse Sparks, age 71, a resident of Chancel, Arkansas, made a request for increased pension benefits under the 1912 Act of Congress. He stated that he had been born on May 11, 1841, in Hickman County, Tennessee. At the time of his enlistment, he was 5 feet, 10 inches tall; he had a light complexion, blue eyes and dark hair; and he was a farmer. Since he had left the service, he had lived in Cooke County, Texas, and in Oklahoma, but most of the time he had lived in Newton County, Arkansas. H. R. Heydenreich and J. R. Heydenreich witnessed his signature.

On Oct 9, 1920, Sparks again applied for increased pension benefits under the 1920 Act of Congress. He gave his address as Limestone, Arkansas. He repeated much of the same information he had given earlier, but said that he was still suffering from heart failure and rheumatism. S. M. Adams and Ira Millsaps witnessed his signature and the application was sworn to before H. F. Heydenreich, a justice of the peace.

On May 4, 1921, Jesse Sparks replied to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He said he married Elizabeth Owens in 1866, but was divorced from her and the record of the divorce had been lost. He had thirteen children, but he had lost the record of their births. He arranged the names of his children in the following order:

1. Sarah Sparks 5. Bartlee Sparks 9. Nancy Sparks
2. Arion Sparks 6. James Sparks  10. Bellzona Sparks
3. Isiah Sparks 7. Clearice Sparks  11. William Sparks
4. Becky Sparks 8. Matthew Sparks  12. Harriet Sparks
    13. Rachel Sparks

After the divorce from his first wife, he had married Eadie (Millsaps) Casey on Oct 7, 1909, in Newton County, Arkansas. She was divorced from her former husband, Ambrose Casey.

When Jesse Sparks died on March 28, 1922, he was receiving a pension of $22.00 per month. According to the Certificate of Death, his father was Isiah H. Sparks, born in Tennessee, and his mother's maiden name was Clayborn and she was born in South Carolina.

The widow of Jesse Sparks filed an application for a widow's pension on July 21, 1922. She said she was Edie Sparks, age 46, and was a resident of Chancel, Arkansas. She had been married to Jesse Sparks on Oct 7, 1909, at Deer, Arkansas, by H. F. Heydenreich. Her husband had left no children under sixteen years of age. She appointed William Fletcher & Co., Washington, D.C., as her attorneys. S. M. Adams and Fines E. Boze witnessed her make her mark.

On September 4, 1923, J. M. Millsaps and J. C. Millsaps swore that they were present when Jesse and Edie Sparks were married on Oct 7, 1909. They said that Jesse Sparks was not married but one time prior to the marriage, and there was no legal reason why the couple could not get married.

Edie Sparks was apparently issued a pension under Widow's Certificate No. 942,167, but the pension was terminated on September 4, 1929, because of "forfeiture of title under the Act of August 1882." Edie Sparks appealed the decision in 1934, but apparently was not successful.

(Editor's Note: See the note regarding the family of Jesse Sparks under the abstract of the pension papers of Balis E. Sparks, page 2112. Jesse Sparks was one of four brothers who served in the same company: Balis E. Sparks, George W. Sparks, Thomas E. Sparks, and himself.)

THOMAS E. SPARKS,  son of Isaiah H. and Sarah (Clayborn) Sparks, was born ca. 1845. He married (1st) Martha Curtis and (2d) Margaret J. Adams. He served in Company C, 1st Regiment Arkansas Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 958,001; Wid. Cert. No. 497,498

Thomas E. Sparks apparently made application for an invalid pension late in 1887, for on January 24, 1888, the Bureau of Pensions asked the War Department to verify his military service. Sparks claimed that he had enlisted on February 12, 1863, in Company C, 1st Regiment Arkansas Infantry at Jasper, Arkansas, and had been discharged at Ft. Smith, Arkansas, on August 10, 1865. He said that in September 1863 he had a disabling heart disease while on duty at Van Buren, Ark., and that he also had another attack in January 1865.

On 4 February 1888, the War Department replied to the request. Thomas E. Sparks was enrolled on 1 Jul 1863, at Jasper, Arkansas, in Company C, 1st Regiment Arkansas Infantry for a period of three years and he was mustered out with his company on August 10, 1865, at Ft. Smith, Arkansas. The regimental hospital records showed a ----- Sparks admitted in Oct 1864 and returned to duty. On Nov 28, 1864, a ----- Sparks was admitted with an incis wound which kept him there until December 4, 1864, when he was returned to duty. On February 16, 1865, Thomas Sparks was admitted and given treatment and returned to duty. A ----- Sparks was admitted on April 4, 1865, and treated until August 9, 1865, and then returned to duty. Three other men named Sparks were carried on the company rolls, Jesse Sparks, George W. Sparks, and Balis E. Sparks.

Thomas E. Sparks was not issued a pension after his initial application, so on August 31, 1895, he re-applied. He was now 50 years of age and a resident of Hinds (?), Chicksha Nation, Indian Territory. He again claimed a disability of the heart caused by military service. He appointed George E. Lemon, Washington, D.C., as his attorney. J. B. Daggs and R. S. Floyd witnessed his signature. On April 26, 1898, Sparks was issued Invalid Certificate No. 958,001; however, he never received a pension payment because he had died on 7 January 1898, just a few months before the approval.

Margaret J. Sparks, widow of Thomas E. Sparks, apparently made application for a widow's pension immediately after his death, for on February 21, 1898, the Newton County, Arkansas, Clerk, W. L. Curtis, sent a copy of the marriage of M. J. Adams and T. E. Sparks on June 26, 1887, as recorded on page 275 of Marriage Book B. About the same time, E. W. Sparks, age 60, of Chancel, Arkansas, testified that she had been the midwife when three of Thomas Sparks's children were born. The first of these was Joseph Henry Sparks, born to Thomas and Martha Sparks, on April 20, 1886. The next child she delivered was Etta May Sparks, born to Thomas and Margaret Sparks, on 1 April 1888. The last child she delivered was Ben Harrison Sparks who was born to Thomas and Margaret Sparks on January 15, 1890.

On April 16, 1898, N. H. Burris, age 30, and R. J. Burris, age 22, residents of Newberry, Tobucksy County, Indian Territory, testified that they had known Margaret Sparks for eight years and knew that she now had no income except that which she received from her daily labor. They said she had five children dependent upon her, ranging in age from six to thirteen years.

On Oct 1, 1898, James B. Sparks and Rebecca Bures of New Berg, Indian Territory, swore that they had known Thomas Sparks and Margaret Adams before their marriage and that they had always lived together as man and wife after their marriage in 1888. George W. Sparks, Chancel, Arkansas, also testified that he was well acquainted with Martha Sparks, wife of Thomas E. Sparks, and was present when she died in the winter of 1887. He also was well acquainted with Margaret Adams and knew that she was never married before she married Thomas E. Sparks.

The last document (in chronological order) sent from the pension file of Thomas E. Sparks is an application for a widow's pension made on or about June 11, 1900, by Margaret Sparks. She was age 47 and a resident of New Berg, Coal County, Indian Territory. She said that she had been married to Sparks on June 27, 1887, by Thomas E. Bethall at Limestone Valley, Arkansas. Sparks had been previously married to Martha Curtis, but she had died. The children of Thomas E. Sparks who were under age of sixteen were: Joe Sparks, born July 27, 1886; Ettie Sparks, born on April 27, 1888; Harrison Sparks, born June 7, 1890; and Chester Sparks, born on February 28, 1892. She appointed Milo B. Stevens & Company, Washington, D.C., as her attorneys. C. W. Hardwick and Johnson Fryier witnessed her make her mark. She was issued a pension under Widow's Certificate No. 497,498.

(Editor's Note: See the note regarding the family of Thomas E. Sparks under the abstract of the pension application of Balis E. Sparks, page 1212. Jesse Sparks, Balis E. Sparks, George W. Sparks, and Thomas E. Sparks, all sons of Isaiah Hale and Sarah (Clayborn) Sparks, served in the same company.)

ISAAC SPARKS,  was born in Mathews County, Virginia, about 1827. He served in Company J, 77th Regiment, U.S. Colored Troop. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 1,064,627.

On August 18, 1890, Isaac Sparks, aged 62 years, a resident of 188 Clouet Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, applied for an invalid pension. He stated that he had enrolled on September 1, 1864, in Company J, 77th Regiment United States Colored Infantry and served until mustered out on September 30, 1865. He said he suffered from a double rupture and rheumatism of the legs brought on by his service. He appointed Dedrick & Co. of New Orleans as his attorneys. L. Reissmith (?) and E. A. Populies (?) witnessed him make his mark.

The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service on May 6, 1891; he had served in Company J, 77th Regiment U.S.C.T. from September 1, 1864, til he was mustered out with his detachment on September 30, 1865. He was born in Mathias (i.e. Matthews) County, Virginia, and was 42 years of age at the time of his enlistment. He had a dark complexion, black eyes and hair, and was a laborer by occupation.

The next document in chronological order from Sparks's pension file was written for him on May 24, 1898. In it he said that he could not furnish any affidavits about his disability from his commissioned officer or regimental surgeon because he did not know where they were. He said he could not pay for a medical examination nor could he furnish any evidence of medical treatment since he left the service because he could not read or write and it was impossible to keep the dates in.his head. M. E. Hennison and A. Doriocount, Jr. witnessed the document.

A few days later, Sparks returned a questionnaire to the Bureau of Pensions. His address was now 1318 Clouet Street and his nearest post office was at Dauphin and Louisa Streets. He said that since his discharge he had worked at hard labor. He had always been known as Isaac Sparks. His wife's maiden name was Pauline Blakemaden. They had been married on December 25, 1869, in the 4th Justice Court, New Orleans, by the Rev. Esau Carter. This was the only time either one had been married. He said he and Pauline "have been together since August 11, 1856." They had four children:

1. Philemon Sparks, born May 15, 1858
2. Rachel Sparks, born December 29, 1864
3. Isaac Sparks, Jr., born May 14, 1870
4. Mary Sparks, born May 11, 1872

On Nov 22, 1900, George Branch, aged 34 years, and Rebecca Eden, aged 28 years, of 1320 Clouet St., New Orleans, made a joint affidavit to support the case of Isaac Sparks. They said they had lived as neighbors to Sparks for six years and knew he suffered from rheumatism and heart trouble which confined him to his home and prevented him from working. They had heard him say his disabilities were due to exposure during the war.

On the same day, Sparks again appealed to the Bureau of Pensions as follows: "I am unable to furnish any further testimony about my disabilities. My physical condition is and has been very bad for many years and I have been unable to earn $5.00 in two years. If it was not for my wife, I would be in want of food many a day. I humbly beg that my claim be given favorable consideration. My wife is old and her strength is failing very fast. If anything serious happens to her before I obtain financial relief, I do not know what will become of me. My wife has been so patient and worked so hard I would be glad to know she could obtain some rest. Just a little rest before her earthly trials are over would surely be appreciated by her and I." The statement was witnessed by Sparks's neighbors, George Branch and Rebecca Eden.

On April 20, 1901, Sparks again appealed to the Bureau of Pensions. He stated that he had done no work for ten years except saw wood for families. Within the past two years, he had sawed and split wood so slowly that the people had gotten someone else to do the work. He couldn't saw and split a cord of wood in a week's time. A. Landry and Geo. Perez witnessed his mark.

On May 31, 1901, the Bureau of Pensions asked Sparks to complete a questionnaire "to aid the Bureau in preventing any one falsely impersonating you, or otherwise committing fraud in your name." Sparks responded as follows: He was born in Mathews County, Virginia, as a slave and was owned by George Armstead. Armstead sold him in 1849 to Mrs. Mary Alonzo of New Orleans who resold him to Augustin Truehill of Donaldsville, Louisiana. Sparks was working for Truehill when the U.S. troops entered New Orleans. He said he was 5 feet, 6 inches tall and had black skin. He had a scar on his left index finger caused by being thrown from a horse when he was about 14 years old. Lizzie Faurie and Virgie Faurie witnessed him make his mark.

On September 2, 1902, Sparks again asked for help. He said, "For the past six years my health has been very bad. I have not been able to do hard work for years. During the past six years I have carried bundles and baskets of washed and ironed clothes to and from my home for my wife who is my only support. I pick up rags, bones, in fact anything about the streets in the early morning hours that can be sold to junk and rag dealers." Celestin Claprion and Auguste Pierre witnessed him make his mark.

Sometime prior to March 18, 1907, the Bureau of Pensions issued Invalid Certificate No. 1,064,627 to Isaac Sparks, entitling him to a pension of $12.00 per month. He died on September 9, 1907. On 20 January 1908, the Bureau of Pensions sent an elaborate certificate stating that because of his service as a Sergeant in Company J, 77th Regiment United States Colored Volunteer Infantry, he was entitled to a pension of $20.00 per month.

(Editor's Note: When the 1820 census was taken of Mathews County, Virginia, Albert G. Sparks was the head of a household there. Included in the census report was a statement that he owned 33 slaves, 17 males and 16 females. It would appear to be quite possible that the parents of Isaac Sparks, born ca. 1827, were owned by Albert G. Sparks.)

SOLOMON SPARKS, son of Solomon and Rachel (Nixon) Sparks, was born September 8, 1824, and died on Nov 3, 1894. He served in Co. G, 15th Regt. W. Va. Infantry. File Designation: Inv. Application No. 912,612.

On July 30, 1890, Solomon Sparks, age 66 years, a resident of Boothsville, Marion County, West Virginia, made an application for an invalid pension. He stated that he had served in Company G, 15th Regiment West Virginia Infantry in 1865 under the command of Capt. Shaw, but he had received no discharge. Since leaving the service he had lived in Marion County and his occupation was that of a day laborer. He appointed Joseph H. Hunter, Washington, D.C., as his attorney. Jelina D. Cooper and Linnie P. Boggess, both of Clarkson, West Virginia, were attesting witnesses to his mark and the application was notarized by James W. Boggess, a notary public of Marion County.

A week later, on August 8, 1890, Solomon Sparks appeared before James W. Boggess and amended his application by making an affidavit that he had served at least 90 days in the War of the Rebellion and was honourably discharged. He said that he was unable to earn a living because of the loss of a thumb and rheumatism. He signed the affidavit by making his mark which was witnessed by Linnie P. Boggess and Thomas A. Watkins.

On April 24, 1891, the War Department responded to a request from the Bureau of Pensions which had asked for verification of Sparks's military service in the 15th Regiment of West Virginia Infantry. The War Department wrote, "The rolls show that Solomon Sparks ... was enrolled August 30, 1862, and deserted December 15, 1864."

Five days later, on April 29, 1891, Solomon Sparks made another affidavit as follows: "I served in Co. G, 15th W. Va. in 1865 until I became sick of disease contracted in the service. After that, or being sick and disabled, I was not with my regiment when it was disbanded being under the care of friends at home, and never have since that time been able to do but very little labor and getting less able every year as my disabilitys are becoming greater. I am now not able at times to labor for sustinence. As to the loss of my thumb, I did that after the close of the War with an ax while making a wooden wedge to split a log which disabled me for many months and had to become a county charge." Linnie Boggess and Jelina Cooper witnessed his mark, and the affidavit was notarized by James W. Boggess.

Apparently the application was denied for no pension certificate was issued to Solomon Sparks.

(Editor's Note: Solomon Sparks was a son of Solomon and Rachel (Nixon) Sparks. For further details about this family, see the September 1963 issue of The Sparks Quarterly, Whole No. 43, pages 757-58.)

GEORGE W. SPARKS, son of Mahlon and Mary Catherine (Clingerman) Sparks, was born on Nov 6, 1845, in Bedford Co., Penn. He married (1st) Orpha Amelia Scranton on December 27, 1869, and (2d) Olive Bender on May 17, 1903. He served in Co. C, 163rd Regiment Ohio Natl. Guards. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 777,943.

George W. Sparks, aged 46, a resident of Trenton, Grundy County, Missouri, made application for an invalid pension on Oct 17, 1891. He stated that he had enrolled on May 2, 1864, in Company C, 163rd Regiment Ohio National Guards and was discharged at Camp Chase, Ohio, on September 10, 1864. He was not unable to earn his support because of the results of a broken right wrist, total deafness in his left ear, constipation and rheumatism, and a general breaking down of his entire system. He appointed J. W. Conduit, Trenton, Missouri, as his attorney. P. Burkholder and Geo. W. Francis witnessed his signature.

The Bureau of Pensions required further proof of Sparks's disability and on December 23, 1891, he made a further affidavit in which he said his deafness was caused by scarlet fever when he was four years old; his wrist had been broken when he was sixteen years old; his constipation was caused by the chills and fever contracted in 1864 on the James River; and his rheumatism was caused by the breaking of his wrist.

On August 19, 1892, Dr. A. B. Barnes made a Physician's Affidavit to support Sparks's claim. He said that he had treated Sparks for acute inflammation of his right knee which was so severe that Sparks was unable to do any manual labor. Dr. Barnes said that he had been a physician for twenty-one years.

George W. Sparks was issued Invalid Certificate No. 777,943 and he was placed upon the pension roll.

On Nov 30, 1907, he applied for increased pension benefits under the provisions of the 1907 Act of Congress. He was now 62 years of age and a resident of Hennessey, Kingfisher County, Oklahoma. He repeated his military service and said that at the time of his enlistment, he was 5 feet, 10 inches tall; he had grey eyes, light hair and a fair complexion; and he was a farmer. He was born in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, on Nov 6, 1845. He said he had left Mansfield, Ohio, in Oct 1869 and had gone to Trenton, Missouri, where he lived until March 1901. At that time he went to Hennessey, Oklahoma, where he lived ever since. J. H. Elliott and F. S. Cashion witnessed his signature and the application was sworn to before H. E. Van Trees, a notary public.

Sparks's birth date was confirmed on March 7, 1908, by H. E. Van Trees, a notary public, who stated that he had examined an old family Bible belonging to Mahlon Sparks, father of George W. Sparks, and had found an entry stating that George W. Sparks had been born on Nov 6, 1845. The writing of the entry was the same as the other entries and there had been no erasures or changes. The Bible was printed by the American Bible Society in 1842.

On April 5, 1915, Sparks answered a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He said that he had been married to Orpha Amelia Scranton on December 29, 1869, at Trenton, Missouri, by the Rev. Lockhart. Two children had been born to that marriage:

1. Minnie Sparks was born April 9, 1871
2. Mary Ione Sparks was born December 26, 1873.

Orpha Sparks had died on April 3, 1898, and he had married, second, Olive Bender on May 19, 1903. No children had been born to this marriage and Olive Sparks was now deceased.

On February 14, 1916, George W. Sparks called attention to the fact that he was now 70 years of age, and was entitled to an increase in his pension. He was now back in Trenton, Missouri. The Commissioner of Pensions responded on March 21, 1916, that Sparks's pension had been increased to $18.00 per month.

On February 24, 1932, Dr. Wm. A. Fuson, of Trenton, Missouri, notified the Bureau of Pensions that George W. Sparks now required the constant services of an attendant to dress, bathe, and further attend him. George W. Sparks died on Nov 2, 1933. He was receiving a pension of $90.00 per month.

(Editor's Note: An abstract of the military service of George W. Sparks was published on page 671 of the September 1962 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 39. The family of Mahlon and Mary Catherine (Clingerman) Sparks was listed on the 1850 census of the county of Richland, Ohio, which was published on page 1956 of the December 1977 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 100.)

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