April 7, 2018

Pages 2399-2402
Whole Number 117

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 C'iles 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. It should be noted that they are not based on the entire file of papers in the National Archives, but are based on only those documents considered by a searcher at the Archives to have genealogical significance.]

BENJAMIN F. SPARKS, son of Duncan and Rachel (Martin) Sparks, was born October 25, 1835, in Spencer County, Kentucky. He married Elizabeth Green on March 3, 1868, in Clark County, Illinois. He served in Co. F, 43rd Regiment Indiana Infantry. File Designation: Inv. Cert. 251,952.

Benjamin F. Sparks apparently applied for an invalid pension prior to December 12, 1881, for on that date the War Department furnished his military record to the Commissioner of Pensions. Sparks had enrolled on September 17, 1861, at Sullivan, Indiana, in Company F, 43rd Regiment Indiana Volunteers and had served until he was mustered out with his company on June 14, 1865, at Indianapolis, Indiana. The muster roll showed him "absent sick" at Evansville, Indiana, and at Helena, Arkansas, but the nature of the illness was not stated.

Sparks was issued Invalid Certificate No. 254,95 and he was placed on the pension roll.

On April 6, 1915, Sparks answered a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He stated that he had been born in Spencer County, Kentucky, on October 25, 1835. He had married Elizabeth Green on March 3, 1868, in Clark County, Illinois. It was the first marriage for both. They had no children and had been separated since August 23, 1868. There had been no divorce.

Sparks applied for increased pension benefits on February 2, 1921, under the provisions of the 1920 Act of Congress. He was now 85 years of age and a resident of Salina, Kansas. He said that he was generally disabled and nearly blind. Since leaving the service, he had lived in Pike County, Missouri, from 1868 to 1891, and then he had homesteaded in Saline and Lincoln Counties, Kansas, where he was a farmer. At the time of his enlistment, he was 5 feet, 6 inches tall; he had a light complexion, blue eyes and light hair; he was 26 years of age. W. H. Johnson and G. W. Taylor, residents of Salina, witnessed him make his mark, and the application was sworn to before C. W. Lynne, a notary public.

At the time of his death on September 16, 1927, Benjamin F. Sparks was living at Farmersburg, Indiana. He was receiving a pension of $90.00 per month.

[Editor's Note: Benjamin F. Sparks was a son of Duncan and Rachel (Martin) Sparks who were married in Spencer County, Kentucky, on December 2, 1834. Duncan Sparks was born ca. 1814, in that portion of Shelby County, Kentucky, which became a part of Spencer County when that county was formed in 1824. He was a son of Benjamin Sparks.

Benjamin Sparks was born July 1, 1778, in Pennsylvania, probably in what is today, Allegheny County. He may have been a son of James Sparks, a Revolutionary War veteran and pensioner. Benjamin came to Jefferson County, Kentucky, ca. 1785. He married and settled down on Plum Creek where he lived until ca. 1832 when he moved to Vigo County, Indiana. He died there on November 19, 1851. He was the father of eleven children. (See the September 1954, Whole No. 7, and the December 1971, Whole No. 76, issues of the Quarterly.)

The photograph of Benjamin F. Sparks which appears on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly was loaned to us for reproduction by Mrs. Amy A. Hanely, 7512 Alexandria Place, Stockton, California (95207). She is a great-great-granddaughter of Benjamin Sparks (1778-1851).

LOUIS CLARK SPARKS,  son of Josiah C. and Hannah (Henry) Sparks, was born October 19, 1845, at Carpenters Landing, New Jersey. He married Anna M. Batten on December 16, 1865, in Gloucester County, New Jersey. He served in Company B, 12th Regiment New Jersey Infantry. File designation: Inv. Cert. No. 813,083.

Lewis C. Sparks applied for an invalid pension on August 6, 1891. He was aged 46, and was a resident of Woodbury, New Jersey. He said that he had enrolled on August 22, 1862, in Company B, 12th Regiment New Jersey Infantry Volunteers as a musician and had served until he was discharged at Munsons Hill, Virginia, on June 4, 1865. During the war he had lost partial sight in both eyes and had contracted a kidney disease which now prevented him from earning his support. He appointed George W. Smith; Woodbury, New Jersey, as his attorney. Adin W. Cattell, Jr. and S. W. Graham witnessed his signature.

On March 23, 1892, Sparks made an affidavit to support his application. He stated that after the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 3, 1863, he had a "gathering in the right side of his head which broke and discharged matter from his right ear for some months" and as a result he was entirely deaf in his right ear.

On August 14, 1892, Lewis Sparks wrote a letter to the President of the United States, Benjamin Harrison, as follows: (the original spelling and capitalization have not been changed)

Dear Sir, I hope you will not think that I am Intruding on your valuable Time, but I think you are the Propper one to see it in Any Case. Now to Buisness. I am an solger of the late Rebelian. Inlisted when but a Boy in 62 and served in the Potomac army until June 4 65. Over One Year ago I made application for pension and not untill my Helth became so broken down that it is allmost imposble to Ern a livelyhood and not being able to hear from the Department I ask your Honerble service to help me in the matter. The number of my clame is 1046447. Plese write me if you Can help me. I remane your Obedant Servt.          Lewis C. Sparks.

Invalid Certificate No. 813,083 was issued to Lewis C. Sparks sometime between August and November 1892 and he was placed upon the pension roll at the rate of $8 per month.

[Editor's Note: Although one cannot be certain, Lewis C. Sparks's letter to the President of the United States apparently disturbed the Bureau of Pensions and his pension record seems to have come under closer scrutiny thereafter according to the records sent from his pension file.]

Lewis C. Sparks applied for an increase in his pension on November 15, 1892, because of lumbago, a total deafness in his right ear, and a partial loss of vision. He asked for a re-rating of his pension. He said he applied for an increase, not only under the body of the pension laws, but also under each specific act granting pensions and applicable to his case. Tesse C. Read and Frank Brewer witnessed his signature.

On August 8, 1898, R. W. Morris, Special Examiner, wrote to the Commissioner of Pensions that at the request of Gen. Mulholland, U.S. Pension Agent at Philadelphia, he had investigated whether Lewis C. Sparks had executed his payment voucher without showing his certificate as required by regulation. The investigation proved that such was the case. The voucher was executed while Sparks's certificate was still at his home. He said Sparks was an old man and confined mainly to his room, sick. Sparks had promised to be unusually careful in the future.

On March 3, 1898, Lewis C. Sparks, Sr. replied to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He said he married Anna M. Batten at Clarksboro, New Jersey, by the Rev. Joseph Stiles. The names and birthdates of their children were as follows:

Elizabeth L. Sparks, September 24, 1865
Carrie B. Sparks, February 1, 1869
Katie T. Sparks, 3 February 1871
George B. Sparks, December 22, 1872
L. C. Sparks, October 26, 1874 
Gertrude M. Sparks, September 14, 1876
Jessie S. Sparks, March 22, 1878
Jane R. Sparks, February 12, 1880
Elijah Edward Sparks, September 4, 1882
Richard E. Sparks, September 18, 1884
Charles F. Sparks, February 18, 1887
William G. Sparks, December 30, 1888

On December 9, 1898, Sparks again replied to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He said he had been married to Annie M. Batten on December 16, 1865, by Jesse Stiles, Jr. at Clarksborrow, Gloucester County, New Jersey. She had died on January 10, 1896. Their living children and their dates of birth were:

Katie T. Sparks, 3 February 1871
George B. Sparks, December 22, 1872
Lewis C. Sparks, Jr., October 26, 1874
Jessie S. Sparks, March 22, 1878
Elijah Edward Sparks, September 4, 1882
Richard Ellsworth Sparks, September 18, 1884
William G. Sparks, December 30, 1888

On the same day, December 9, 1898, the War Department sent the military records of Sparks to the Commissioner of Pensions. According to these records, Sparks had enrolled in Company B, 12th Regiment New Jersey Infantry on August 22, 1862, at the age of sixteen years. He had held the rank of musician until he was mustered out on June 4, 1865. He was present for duty except as follows: June 30, 1863, absent without leave; June 5, 1864, absent sick since January 12, 1864; April 3, 1865, absent sick; August 31, 1863, absent under arrest; same to December 31, 1864.

Sparks's medical records showed him as Lewis C. Sparks, drummer. His records show the following: May 11-16, 1864, anemia; May 16-June 16, 1864, gastritus, returned to duty; March 29-April 4, 1864, scrofula; April 4-7, 1865, scurvy; April 57, 1865, Eczima; April 8-26, 1865, impetigo; April 26, 1865, deserted; May 2, 1865, re-admitted; May 28, 1865, again deserted.

On December 14, 1898, Sparks swore that he had not served in the military service of the United States prior to August 22, 1862. On October 21, 1907, Sparks applied for increased pension benefits. He was 62 years of age. He said when he enlisted he had been 5 feet, 3½ inches tall; he had a light complexion, blue eyes and light hair; and he was a musician. He stated that he had been born October 19, 1845, at Carpenters Landing, New Jersey. Joshua Dawson and Walter C. Ridgway witnessed his application.

On February 12, 1908, Lewis C. Sparks declared that his father's Bible contained a record of his birth and that written in the Bible in his father's hand was the following; notation: "Lewis Clark Sparks, son of Josiah C. and Hannah his wife was born October 19, 1845 at Carp. Landing, N.J." The date of publication of the Bible was 1836.
Lewis C. Sparks applied for increased pension benefits on June 10, 1912, under the provisions of the 1912 Act of Congress. He was now 67 years of age. Since leaving the service he had lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Camden, New Jersey, and Woodbury, New Jersey.

On April 2, 1915, Sparks again responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He stated that he had been married only one time and that was to Anna M. Batten. It was her first marriage. He again listed his children by name, date of birth, and whether living or dead. The list was as follows:

Elizabeth L. Sparks, September 24, 1866, now dead
Carrie B. Sparks, February 1, 1869
Katie T. Sparks, 3 February 1871, now dead
George B. Sparks, December 22, 1872
Gertrude M. Sparks, September 14, 1876, now dead
Jessie S. Sparks, March 22, 1878
Jane R. Sparks, February 12, 1880, now dead
Elijah Edward Sparks, September 4, 1882
Richard E. T. Sparks, September 18, 1884
Charles F. Sparks, February 18, 1887, now dead
William G. Sparks, December 30, 1888.

When Lewis C. Sparks died at Woodbury, New Jersey, on April 7, 1921, he was receiving a pension of $50 per month.

[Editor's Note: Lewis Clark Sparks was listed on the 1850 census of Gloucester County, New Jersey, in the household of his parents, Josiah C. and Hannah Sparks. He was then five years of age. The census-taker recorded his name as Lewis Cass Sparks, probably thinking that he had been named for the United States senator and presidential candidate of that name.]

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