October 6, 2017

Pages 2166-2172
Whole Number 108

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. Readers are referred to page 2110 of the June 1979 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 106, for an explanation of these abstracts.)

SAMUEL A. SPARKS, son of Samuel and Mary (Aaron) Sparks, born June 2, 1836, in Adair County, Ky. , died August 5,? 1889. He married Lucinda P. Ashley on August 21, 1870, in Rockcastle County, Ky. He served in Company A, 3'rd Regt. Kentucky Infantry. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 312,737. Wid. Cert. No. 300,523.

Samuel A. Sparks was living in Lincoln County, Ky. , when he filed an application for an invalid pension on September 8, 1879. He was 43 years old; 5 feet, 8/4 inches tall; and had a fair complexion, blue eyes and light hair. He stated that he had enlisted in Company A, 3rd Regiment Kentucky Infantry Volunteers, commanded "by Joseph Russell, on August 10, 186l, and he was discharged at Louisville., Ky. , on October 13, 1864, at the end of his term of service. On April 18th or 19th, he had received a gunshot wound in his right thigh at Corinth, Mississippi, and shortly thereafter he had contracted pneumonia because of exposure. In September or Oct,, 1863, at Chattanooga, Tenn., he contracted scurvy from having eaten improper food. At Atlanta, Ga., in August 1864, he contracted scrofula from the effects of the scurvy and was treated for the latter at Hospital No. 4, Louisville, Ky. Since his discharge he had practiced his trade as a carpenter in Adair, Rockcastle, and Lincoln Counties, Ky. John Haggard and William Haggard, both of Crab Orchard, Ky., attested to his statement which was witnessed by D. B. Edmiston and L. M. Pennington.

Apparently the application was approved and Samuel A. Sparks received a pension under Invalid Certificate No. 312,737. On August 13, 1883, the Adjutant General's Office confirmed his military service and stated that the company roster for March, April, May, and June 1862 was not on file, but added that the 3rd Regt. Kentucky Infantry was at the siege of Corinth, Miss., from May 1 to 30, 1862.

Samuel A. Sparks died on August 5, 1889, and on the 19th of that month his widow, Lucinda P. Sparks, made application for an Accrued Pension. She stated that her husband had been paid up to June 4, 1889? but that she was applying for that portion of his pension which had accrued from that date until the date he died. She said that she had married Samuel A. Sparks on August 21, 1870, under her maiden name of Lucinda P. Ashley. Laura Miller and Mollie Miller, both of Crocus, Ky., attested to her statement. On December 14, 1889, H. G. Howard, age 52 years, of Brodhead, Ky., and a former justice of the peace of Rockcastle County, Ky., made an affidavit that on August 21, 1870, he had married Samuel A. Sparks and Lucinda P. Sparks in Rockcastle County. J. G. Erith, a justice of the peace, attested to the affidavit and the Rockcastle County Clerk, M. C. Miller, recorded the affidavit.

Lucinda P. Sparks survived her husband fifty-one years and died on Christmas day, 1940, at Glens Fork, Adair County, Ky. According to the certificate of death, she was born in Rockcastle County, Ky., on February 6, 1849, and was a daughter of Uriah and Dianah (Newell) Ashley. She was buried in the Ragan Cemetery. On January 24, 194l, a son-in-law, Granville T. Aaron, made a claim for her burial expenses under her pension certificate No. 300,523? stating that the burial expenses were $160 and that the deceased had left only $60 in cash in the way of property. The Veteran's Administration asked for additional information which was supplied by Aaron on March 12, 194l. He stated that he was 63 years old and a resident of Glens Fork, Ky. His mother-in-law had been bedfast from December 1939 until her death and had been nursed by Mrs. May Aaron and himself with whom she had made her home. Her final expenses had all been paid except those of the undertaker in the amount of $160. William Cheatham attested to the correctness of the statement which was sworn to before L. W. Tabor, a notary public. Dr. W. J. Flowers completed a portion of the form reserved for the attending physician and stated that he had seen the deceased regularly for many months prior to her death which was a result of general arterioschlerosis. There is nothing in the file to indicate the action which the Veteran's Administration took on the application.

ADDISON R. SPARKS, son of Samuel and Mary (Aaron) Sparks, born ca. 1840 in Adair County. Served in Company C, 13th Regt. Ky. Cavalry. Apparently never made application for a pension.

Addison R. Sparks apparently did not apply for a pension based on his Civil War service, but the National Archives has provided copies of the few documents in his military file. He enrolled on June 24, 1863, in Adair County, Ky., in Company C, 13th Regiment Kentucky Cavalry for a period of one year. He was mustered into service on December 23? 1863 ? at Columbia, Ky. He was 22 years of age. He was present for duty on the company roster until he was mustered out with his company on January 10, 1865, at Camp Nelson, Kentucky. (See page 2159 of the present issue of the Quarterly.)

TRUELOVE SPARKS, son of Truelove and Nancy (Hall) Sparks, was born ca. 1830, died February 4, 1907. He married Julia Ann Slavens in Mercer County, Missouri., on June 3? 1858. He served in Company E, 7th Regt. lowa Cavalry. File Designation: Inv. Certif. No. 325,643 and Minor Child App. 1,613,741.

The pension file of Truelove Sparks does not contain his original application for pension, but apparently he was placed on the pension rolls by Invalid Certificate No. 325,643 issued June 30, 1880. On July 18, 1883, the Adjutant General's Office confirmed his military service as follows: He enlisted on April 19, 1863, at Ottumwa,, Iowa, as a private in Company E, 7th Regt. Iowa Cavalry Volunteers for a term of three years. He served in the Nebraska Territory until he was mustered out with his detachment at Springfield, 111., on July 29? 1865. He was hospitalized at Columbus, N. T. and also at Omaha, N. T., while in the service, but there was nothing on his service record to indicate any disability or injury. The regimental hospital records were not on file.

On September 2, 1891, Truelove Sparks, a resident of Mercer County, Missouri., amended his pension claim and stated that he was handicapped in earning a living because of an injury to his left arm and because of a disease of the heart brought on by his military service. Jesse Trap? and J. C. Mason were witnesses to this declaration. There is no indication in his file as to the action taken on this application, although from later records it is apparent that a pension was approved.

The Bureau of Pensions sent Truelove Sparks a questionnaire to which he responded on May 5? 1898, as follows: He married Julia Ann Slavens on June 3? 1858, at Ravanna, Missouri, by Thomas Linall, a justice of the peace. This was his first marriage. His living children were born as follows:

Albert J. Sparks November 15, 1863 twins
Delbert A. Sparks November 15, 1863 twins
Charles C. Sparks July 22, 1866
Nancy E. Sparks April 13, 1868
Rhoda E. Girdner October 31, 1871
Sarah J. Dragoo March 2, 1873
David W. Sparks March 5, 1876
Mary E. Sparks November 9, 1878

When Truelove Sparks died on February 4, 1907 ? he was receiving a pension of $12 per month. His death created a problem for his daughter. Nancy E. Sparks, for she had been a hopeless invalid from birth and unable to care for herself. Since she was over sixteen years of age when her father died, she was ineligible for consideration under the existing pension regulations. Her mother had died in January 1904. To solve the problem, a resolution was passed in the House of Representatives placing her on the pension rolls at $20 per month. She died on April 23? 19?7

(Editor's Note: For further information regarding Truelove Sparks, Jr. see the present issue of the Quarterly, page 2164.)

JAMES SPARKS, son of Truelove and Nancy (Hall) Sparks., was born ca. 1843 in Sangamon County, Illinois. He died near Atlanta, Georgia, on August 6, 1864, while in the service. He served in Company B, 27th Regiment, Missouri Volunteers. File Designation: Mother's Cert. No. 207,108.

According to a statement from the Adjutant General's Office, James Sparks was mustered into military service on September 12, 1862, at Ravanna, Missouri., as a private in Company B, 27th Regt. Missouri Volunteers to serve for three years or during the war. He was sick at Chillicothe, Missouri., in November 1862. He died of disease in the field hospital near Atlanta, Ga., on August 6, 1864.

Truelove Sparks, father of James and a resident of Sherman, 111., made claim under the Act of Congress;, 186l, for bounty money and pay arrears due to James Sparks and these were paid on May 27? 1865. Then, under the Act of Congress of 1866, Truelove and Nancy Sparks, as parents of the deceased soldier, made another claim for bounty money which was allowed on March 18, 1868. They stated in their claim application that their son had never married and had left no widow nor child. They were identified by Truelove Sparks, Jr. and Amos Camp.

Sometime prior to April 9, 1875, Nancy Sparks made application for a Mother's Pension., but there is no application document among the papers provided by the National Archives. The application was approved, however, and she was allowed a pension of $8.00 per month retroactive to the date of her son's death. Among the supporting documents was an affidavit from Jacob Herriman, a resident of Mercer County, Missouri., that Nancy Sparks, mother of James, was dependent upon her son for support. John Severn, a resident of Mercer County, Missouri., also made an affidavit that he was a member of the same military company as James Sparks and that he knew James had died on or about August 4, 1864. Both affidavits were witnessed by D. M. King and Edward Nudgett and were notarized by Wm. M. Casteel, Clerk of the Mercer County Circuit Court.

On May 10, 1883. Nancy Sparks, now at the age of 75 and a resident of Princeton, Missouri. , made application for an increase in her pension, stating that her husband, Truelove Sparks, was badly crippled by rheumatism and unable to support her. She said that in 1864 she had lived one mile east of Ravanna in Mercer County, Missouri., but that in August 1865 she had moved to Sherman Station in Sangamon County, 111. Then, on the last day of May 1874, she moved to Crowder in Saunders County, Nebr., where she lived until August 1876 when she moved near Princeton in Mercer County, Missouri. She said there was no one who was legally required to support her, but her husband. Her statement was witnessed by 0. H. Southworth and D. Stacy and was notarized by J. M. Alley, Clerk of the Mercer County Court. Nancy Sparks signed her statement by making her mark.

Nancy Sparks's application for an increase in her pension was supported by five affidavits made at various times within the next twelve months. The first of these was made on May 29, 1883, by James W. Kilgore, age 59, and John H. Thaxton, age 59, both of them residents of Sherman, 111. They stated that they had known Truelove and Nancy Sparks prior to 1865, and that at the time they had left Sangamon County to go to Nebraska, their personal property consisted on one horse and two acres of land. They said that Truelove was unable to support himself and could scarcely do one-half the work of an able-bodied man. The affidavit was notarized by B. F. Larkin, a justice of the peace.

The next supporting affidavit was made on September 12, 1883, by W. B. M. Cold, a resident of Saunders County, Nebr., who said that he was well acquainted with Nancy Sparks and her husband, Truelove Sparks, from 1871 to 1873, and knew them as being very poor and living in destitute circumstances on a Soldier's Claim which they had taken up. They stayed on the claim until the found they could not complete the requirements to get title because of the age and infirmity of Truelove Sparks and then they sold their claim and went to Missouri to live with relatives. Benjamin S. Hood notarized the affidavit.

On September 26, 1883, Mrs. Jane Wright, age 75? a resident of Springfield, 111., swore that she "was well acquainted with Nancy and Truelove Sparks, whom she had known all her lifetime. She said that she had lived as neighbors to the Sparkses in Saunder. County, Nebr., during 1871 to 1873 and knew they were very poor. They lived on a Soldier's Claim they had taken up, "but which they had to give up because they could not complete the requirements to perfect the title because of their age and infirmity. They had sold out and moved to Missouri to stay with relatives. Mrs. Wright made her mark which was witnessed by M. A. Crowder and J. H. Crowder and notarized by James E. Bowling at Springfield, 111.

On February 26, 1884, D. M. King, W. W. Holmes, and Jacob Herriman, ail of Ravanna, Missouri., appeared before L. E. Rowley, a notary public, and made an affidavit in support of the claim of Nancy Sparks. They stated that, at the time of the enlistment of James Sparks (l) he was about seventeen years of age; (2) his father, Truelove Sparks, was getting to be an old man and was broken down in health because of chronic rheumatism; and (3) the value of the property of Truelove Sparks could not have been more than five or six hundred dollars. The affidavit further stated that after the death of his son, Truelove Sparks had left Mercer County, but that about ten years ago he had returned and was almost wholly disabled and possessed no property. He was 84 years old and had no income at all.

The last supporting affidavit in the pension file of James Sparks was made on April 15, 1884, by J. M. Alley, Mercer County Court Clerk, who swore that in 1864 the only property owned in Mercer County by Truelove and Nancy Sparks was land assessed at $200 and personal property valued at $100. They owned no property in that county from 1864 to 1870. The affidavit was witnessed by J. H. Thompson, clerk of the Mercer County Circuit Court, and by H. C. Miller, deputy clerk.

The application of Nancy Sparks for an increase in her pension was approved on June 6, 1884, but there is nothing among the papers provided by the National Archiv from the file to indicate the amount nor the date of the termination of the pension.

(Editor's Note: A record of this family appears in the current issue of the Quarterly. See page 2166 for a reference to this James Sparks, son of Truelove and Nancy Sparks.)

OTHO SPARKS, son of James and Mary (Ellis) Sparks (Mary was called by her nick-name, "Polly"]. Otho Sparks was born ca. 1834 in Indiana. He died on March 2, 1897. He married (first) Mary Ellen LaMarch on April 7, 1856, in Martin County, Ind., and married (second) Sarah (Simpson) Collins on November 15? 1895 in Gibson County, Ind. He served in Company B, 97th Regt. Illinois Infantry and Company D, 37th Regt. Illinois Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 607,344; Wid. Application No. 675?576.

On July 14, 1890, Otho Sparks, aged 56, a resident of Union, Pike County, Ind., made application for an invalid pension. He stated that he had enlisted on August 16, 1862, at Neoga, Cumberland County, 111., in Company B, 97th Regt. Illinois Infantry, and had served until December 3, 1865, when he was mustered out with Company D, 37th Regt. Illinois Infantry at Houston, Texas. While in the service he had contracted "rheumatism, heart disease, constipation, indigestion and a disease of the stomach and bowels" which continued to exist to a permanent degree. He appointed John M. White, Petersburg, Ind., as his attorney. J. W. Brumfield and W. F. Hisgen witnessed his signature and the application was sworn to before Goodlett Morgan, Clerk of the Pike County Court.

Sparks Sparks's military service was confirmed by the War Department. He had been mustered into Company B, 97th Regt. Illinois Infantry at Charleston, Coles County, 111., on September 8, 1862, for a period of three years. He was present for duty until January 20, 1863. when he was captured at Napoleon, Arkansas. He was paroled the following day and returned to his home in Illinois. (Some Civil War historians say that most soldiers who were paroled after having been captured by the Confederates assumed that, under the terms of the parole, they were required to stay out of the war.) Otho Sparks remained at his home "some months" before he was arrested and set to his regiment in New Orleans on February 23, 1864, whereupon he was placed in confinement. On or about May 25? 1864, he was tried by a court-martial and sentenced to two years at hard labor at Ft. Jefferson, Fla. He remained away from his regiment until September 16, 1864, when his sentence was remitted and he was returned to duty by order of General T. W. Sherman.

Credit for the remission of Sparks's sentence must be given to the commanding officer of Company B, Captain J. G. Buchanan, who wrote a letter to the commanding general asking for Sparks to be returned to his command. He wrote: "I respecfully ask that he be released and restored to duty . . . feeling satisfied that ... he will discharge his duty faithfully."

Otho Sparks remained with his old company for the rest of the war, participating in the "siege of Blakely, Alabama." At the end of the war, he was transferred to the 37th Regiment Illinois Infantry where he "made good the time lost from the 19th Regiment." He was mustered out at Galveston, Texas , on January 5, 1866, "by reason of expiration of term of service." His medical records confirmed that he had a chronic problem of diarrhea accompanied by intermittent fever. He had also been hospitalized by an attack of mumps.

Sparks was placed upon the pension rolls under the provisions of the 1890 Act of Congress and he was issued Invalid Certificate No. 607,344. He died on March 2., 1897.

On March 20, 1897, Sarah C. Sparks, aged 53 years, a resident of Union, Indiana;, applied for a widow's pension. She said she was the widow of Otho Sparks whom she had married under the name of Sarah C. Collins on November 17, 1895, at Buena Vista, Ind. Both she and her husband had been previously married, but his wife had died on March 4, 1893, and her former husband had died on April 12, 1891. She said that she and Sparks had had no children. Vincent Frederick and A. F. Kine witnessed her signature and the application was sworn to before J. W. Coleman, a notary public.

Apparently no affirmative action was taken on the application of Sarah C. Sparks, for on June 22, 1899, she reapplied for a pension. She said she was the widow of Otho Sparks who had enlisted in Company B, 97th Regt. Illinois Infantry on August 16 1862, at Mattoon, 111,, and who had died from disease of the throat on March 2, 1897. The throat trouble was caused by an attack of the mumps which her husband had contracted at Nicholasville, Ky., during his military service and which had required surgery, and which ultimately caused his death. She said she had married Sparks on November 17, 1895, in Gibson County, Ind. She had been married previously to J. W. Collins and her late husband, Otho Sparks, had been married previously to Mary Lamar, but there had been no legal barrier to her marriage to Sparks.

The clerk of the Gibson County, Ind., Circuit Court substantiated the marriage of Otho Sparks to Sarah C. Collins. They had been married on November 17, 1895, by the Rev. Nathaniel Fouts.

No pension certificate was issued to Sarah C. Sparks, and apparently her application was denied.

(Editor's Note: Otho Sparks appeared on the 1850 census of Martin County, Ind., in the family of James and Mary Sparks. James Sparks and Mary Ellis were married in Nicholas County, Ky., on November 1, 1827. See the December 1959 and the December 1965 issues of the Quarterly, Whole Nos. 29 and 52, respectively, pages 448 & 946. Dr. Paul E. Sparks has noted: "All of the data I have accumulated about persons named OTHO SPARKS in and around the Nicholas County, Ky. , section point toward GEORGE SPARKS (ca.1767-ca.1835) as the father of the first Otho Sparks. See the June 1970 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 70, beginning on page 1319. For this reason, I believe that the father of James Sparks, father of the Otho Sparks whose pension file is abstracted above, was also GEORGE SPARKS of Nicholas County. I also believe thare was one other son of George Sparks "we can now name. He was CHARLES SPARKS, born ca. 1817 in Nicholas County, who married Mary A. Barnett in 1838 in Nicholas County. Of course, all of this should be considered as conjecture until we have better proof.")

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