February 24, 2019

Pages 2426-2432
Whole Number 118


(Editor's Note: For a number of years 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. It should be noted that they are not based on the entire file of papers in the National Archives for each of the pensioners concerned, but rather on those documents pulled out by a searcher at the Archives in Washington which he or she believes to have genealogical significance.)

1815-1904   1822- ca. 1900  
Son of Jesse R. Sparks   Wife of Nathan B. Sparks  

Photographs taken ca. 1885

(see pages 2426-28)

(Picture)   (Picture)  

NATHAN B. SPARKS,   son of Jesse R. and Margaret (Burris) Sparks, was born April 2, 1815, in Belmont County, Ohio. He married Harriet E. Skaats on June 3, 1838, in Dearborn County, Indiana. He served in the 6th Regiment Indiana Infantry. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 425,633.

On September 27, 1886, Nathan B. Sparks, aged 71, a resident of Monroe City, Indiana, made a declaration for an invalid army pension. He stated that he had enlisted as assistant surgeon in the 6th Regiment Indiana Infantry in September 1861 at Madison, Indiana, and had served until he was discharged on January 10, 1862, at Green River, Kentucky. He had also served as a special surgeon with Stone's Battery at Vicksburg, Chattanooga, and Chickamauga. At the time of his service he was 5 feet, 6 inches tall and he had a dark complexion, dark eyes and dark hair. He said that while stationed at Camp Sixth Ward, Kentucky, in November and December 1861, he had contracted rheumatism from exposure and fatigue which had now become so severe that he was unable to earn his support. He appointed John N. Maring, Columbus, Indiana, as his attorney. Conrad Scheefers, H. W. Fremd, James H. Welton, and Harvey Baldwin witnessed his signature and the declaration was sworn to before George R. Alsip, Clerk of the Knox County, Indiana, Circuit Court.

During the next four years (1887-1891) at least one dozen affidavits (including a petition by 27 of Dr. Sparks's neighbors) supporting his application were filed with the Bureau of Pensions. Typical of these is the following affidavit from John McEntire, aged 59 years, a resident of Monroe City, Indiana, who said: "I have been acquainted with Nathan B. Sparks for 18 years. I have lived most of that time in the same town with him. He has been my family physician all that time except when he was not able to attend my calls. I lived one year three miles from him, yet I retained him as my family doctor and have sent for him to come to my house. Sometimes he could not come because of his disability from rheumatism of which he complained all the years I knew him. I now live a close neighbor to him and see him daily and know he is suffering from rheumatism from the fact that he calls on me and my boys to perform the most trifling jobs of work for him while he goes on limping on his cane if he is able to leave his room at all. He is a man of good moral character."

Among the many persons who testified on behalf of Dr. Sparks were: Stephen J. Henning, Dr. Edward C. Van Tress, John S. Dukate, George R. Snyder, D. P. Coonrod, John R. R. Snyder, Dr. J. H. Barnett, William D. Myers, James M. West, William Alton, Dr. J. T Williams, W. S. Sandin, H. M. Paris, John L. Hogue, W. H. Snyder, Alexander Goldman, George B. Hess, Mailand A. Claycomb, John F. Myers, Melton M. Landers, L. R. Van Kirk, J. T. Wolf, E. C. Van Kirk, Samuel Campbell, Harvey Baldwin, Eldridge Anderson, John Monroe, and Dr. Gilbert W. Edmonson.

The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service on March 1, 1887, just as he had stated it to be in his original application. The Department went on to state, however, that there were no books or hospital records of the 9th Regiment Indiana Infantry on file.

Invalid Certificate No. 425,633 was issued to Nathan B. Sparks and he was placed upon the pension roll. When he died on February 23, 1904, he was receiving a pension of $30.00 per month.

(Editor's Note: A photograph of Nathan B. Sparks taken ca. 1885 appears on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly along with one of his wife, Harriet E. (Skaats) Sparks, taken at about the same time. The original tintypes from which these prints have been taken are owned by Mrs. Leslie T. White (Helen D.) of Montross, Virginia, who is a great-great-granddaughter of Nathan B. Sparks.

In the Quarterly of December 1972 (Vol. XX, No. 4, Whole No. 80), we published an article on Jesse R. Sparks (born ca. 1780, died 1865) in which (page 1527) we noted that one of his sons was Nathan B. Sparks who was born April 2, 1815, in Belmont County, Ohio. Nathan B. Sparks attended the Eclectic Medical School in Cincinnati, Ohio, and began the practice of medicine in 1848 in Brooksville, Indiana. He was married on June 3, 1838, in Dearborn County, Indiana, to Harriet E. Skaats, daughter of Jacob and Hannah Skaats. She was born November 29, 1822. At the time we published this article in 1972, we were aware that Dr. Sparks had served in the Civil War, but we did not have access to his pension application which we have abstracted above. In 1867, Dr. Sparks moved to Knox County in which Monroe City is located. He died in 1904 and was buried in Mt. Zion Cemetery, Monroe City.

In the Quarterly of September 1971 (Vol. XIX, No. 3, Whole No. 75), we published an abstract of the Civil War pension application filed by the mother of Amos Hibin Sparks, Harriet (Skaats) Sparks. From these papers, we know that Amos Hibin Sparks was the oldest child of Dr. Nathan B. and Harriet (Skaats) Sparks and that he died on June 8, 1864, in Virginia from wounds received in the war. With our abstract of these papers, we published a sketch of the life of Nathan B. Sparks that appeared in an 1886 History of Knox County, Indiana, published by the Goodspeed Company (page 513). Still more material appears in the Quarterly of September 1969 (Vol. XVII, No. 3, Whole No. 67), pages 1248-55.

The children of Dr. Nathan B. and Harriet (Skaats) Sparks were:

1. Amos Hibin Sparks, born ca. 1842, died from wounds received as a Union soldier on June 8, 1864. He was unmarried.

2. Miltiades Miller Sparks, born ca. 1845. He also served in the Civil War, in the same company and regiment as did his father. An abstract of his pension application follows.

3. Laura V. Sparks, born ca. 1847. No further information.

4. James W. Sparks, born ca. 1849. No further information.

5. Missouri Rosella Sparks, born in 1851. She married A. C. Falls.)

MILTIADES MILLER SPARKS son of Dr. Nathan B. and Harriet E. (Skaats) Sparks, was born ca. 1845 in Ripley County, Indiana. On January 26,1867, he married Hannah Ellen ["Ella"] Taylor in Jackson County, Indiana. He served in Company C, 6th Regiment Indiana Infantry and in Company B, 132d Regiment Indiana Volunteers. File Designations: Wid. Appl. No. 363,842; Minor Cert. No. 256,852.

Miltiades Miller Sparks received a Certificate of Disability for Discharge on October 1, 1862, at Louisville, Kentucky. He had enlisted in Company C, 6th Regiment Indiana Infantry on September 10, 1861, at Elizabethtown, Indiana. He was 18 years of age; 5 feet, 4 inches tall; he had a light complexion, blue eyes and brown hair; and he was a laborer. Assistant Surgeon Finley C. Lattimore certified that Sparks had a "partial paralysis of the muscles of the legs owing to a disease of the spine, the spinal affliction is one of long standing" which rendered him incapable of performing the duties of a soldier.

Miller Sparks, as he was called (he was also called Milt), died on January 19, 1886, at Monroe City, Indiana. On November 10, 1887, his widow, Ella Sparks, aged 40 years, applied for a widow's pension. She stated that she and Sparks had been married on January 26,1867, in Jackson County, Indiana, and that they had had three children, all under 16 years of age in 1887. They were: Stella Sparks, born March 3, 1869; Charles Sparks, born January 30, 1872, now deceased; and James H. Sparks, born June 4, 1876. She appointed John N. Maring of Columbus, Indiana, as her attorney, and H. L. Griffith and W. C. Willmore witnessed her signature.

On February 7, 1888, the War Department confirmed the military service of Miltiades M. Sparks. He had enlisted in Company C, 6th Regiment Indiana Infantry on September 15, 1861, for three years. The Company's muster roll was dated January 2, 1862, at Camp Wood near Green River, Kentucky. Sparks was present for duty until October 1, 1862, when he was reported as absent-sick at Louisville, Kentucky. There he was given a discharge furlough by the Post Commander and he returned home.

Apparently this military order was never received by Sparks's regiment and he was reported for several months as a deserter. When Sparks learned of this, he reported to the Provost-Marshal at Columbus, Indiana, on August 6, 1863. He was sent to Louisville, Kentucky, where he was hospitalized and was treated for
chronic diarrhea from August 9th to August 25th. He was discharged on August 25, 1863, from the General Hospital at Louisville. The charge of desertion was removed from his record.

On May 2, 1864, Miltiades M. Sparks enrolled as a private in Captain Joseph F. Draper's Company, Company B, 132nd Regiment Indiana Volunteers to serve for 100 days. He was discharged on September 7, 1864, at the expiration of the term of service. Captain Draper described him as follows: Miltiades M. Sparks was born in Ripley County, Indiana; is nineteen years of age; is 5 feet, 5 inches tall; has a dark complexion, blue eyes and dark hair; and is a clerk by occupation.

Ella Sparks, widow of Miltiades M. Sparks, died on September 28, 1888, and shortly thereafter, on November 23, 1888, the Bartholomew County, Indiana, Court appointed David Stobo as the guardian of Stella Sparks and James H. Sparks, minor heirs of Miller and Ella Sparks. Stobo immediately applied for a Minor Children's army pension for his wards. He appointed Maring, Slusher & Co., Columbus, Indiana, as his attorney.

Fifteen affidavits were filed with the Bureau of Pensions between October 1888 and May 1889 to support the claim for a pension for the children of Miller and Ella Sparks. These can best be viewed by separating them into the following categories:

1. Physical Condition of Miltiades Miller Sparks. Two comrades of Sparks, William E. Crippen, 57 and John Barr, 43, both residents of Elizabethtown, Indiana, testified that Sparks was attacked by acute diarrhea near Bowling Green, Kentucky, in September 1862, but that he had remained with his regiment until it got to Louisville about the first of October There, Sparks got a permit to go home because of the disease. Both men also testified that after they returned from the service in 1864, they found Sparks to still be suffering from chronic diarrhea and from lung trouble. George Dickey, 67, of Columbus, Indiana, testified that he had known Sparks from boyhood and that when Sparks entered the service, he was a stout, able-bodied man, but that when Sparks came home on a furlough, Dickey had to help carry Sparks into his father's house. Dickey said that Sparks ultimately became bedfast with chronic diarrhea and lung trouble.

In the winter of 1888 -1889. Dr. R. H. Roape, 65, and Dr. K. D. Hawley, both of Columbus, Indiana, stated that Sparks was an able-bodied man before he entered the service, but when he returned on furlough, he was suffering from lung trouble and diarrhea. It was probably the lung trouble or "galloping consumption" that caused his death. They were supported in their judgment by Dr. Edward C. Von Tress, 27, Monroe City, Indiana, and Dr. Thomas J. Hung, 34, of Pond Creek, Indiana.

2. The Sparks Marriage. In January 1889, George E. Finney, 55, Columbus, Indiana, and Charles Taylor, 48, Elizabethtown, Indiana, swore that they were wellacquainted with Miller M. Sparks and Ella Taylor and that they were married only one time and that was to each other. The clerk of the Jackson County (Indiana) Circuit Court also filed a record of the marriage of Miller M. Sparks and Miss Ella Taylor on January 28, 1867, by John Swengle, a justice of the peace.


Son of Nathan B. and Harriet E. (Skaats) Sparks


3. The Births of the Sparks Children. Dr. Samuel Linton, 79, Columbus, Indiana, testified that he was the family doctor of Miller and Ella Sparks for many years and that he delivered twin boys to that couple on March 28, 1874. He had also delivered a son, James H. Sparks, to them on June 4, 1876. Nathan B. Sparks (father of Miltiades Miller Sparks and Rachel Hicks, both of Monroe City, Indiana, said that they were present when Stella Sparks, a daughter, was born March 3, 1869, at Monroe City.

4. Deaths of Miller and Ella Sparks. Dr. Edward C. Von Tress, 37, Monroe City, Indiana, said that he was present at the death of Miller M. Sparks on January 19, 1886, and that he was also present when Ella Sparks died on September 28, 1888. Nathan B. Sparks presented the same testimony.


(ca. 1847-1888)

Wife of Miltiades Miller Sparks


Minor Certificate No. 256,852 was issued to David Stobo, guardian of Stella Sparks and James H. Sparks and they were placed upon the pension roll commencing January 19, 1886, and continuing until each had reached his or her sixteenth birthday.

(Editor's Note: It is not surprising that a name like "Miltiades" should have been misspelled on many occasions, and that the middle name "Miller" came to be preferred by Miltiades Miller Sparks. As noted following the abstract of the pension application of Dr. Nathan B. Sparks (pages 2426-28), material on this branch of the Sparks family has appeared in earlier issues of the Quarterly. On page 1527 we gave the name of Miltiades incorrectly as "Methadese" as we had earlier on pages 1250 and 1428. On page 1427, however, it was spelled correctly.

Miltiades Miller Sparks and his father, Dr. Nathan B. Sparks, both served in the same unit in the Civil War and both were buried in the same plot in the Mt. Zion Cemetery in Monroe City, Indiana.

A great-granddaughter of Miltiades Miller Sparks is Helen D. White as noted on on page 2427. Mrs. White informs us that he was a druggist in Monroe City. Ms children, by his wife Hannah Ellen "Ella" (Taylor) Sparks, were:

1. Etrnna Estella Sparks, born March 3, 1869, died July 9, 1941. She was buried
in the City Cemetery of Sikeston, Missouri. She married Morton Jesse Thomas and they had two daughters:
(1) Mary Jane Thomas who married Harry Elliot Dudley, and
(2) Helen Thomas who married Robert C. Barnhizer.
2 & 3. Twin boys born March 28, 1874. They apparently died as infants.

4. James H. Sparks, born June 4, 1876 (or 1877). He married Effie Long and they had the following children:

(1) Ella Sparks married FNU Thornton and had a son named James;
(2) William Sparks;
(3) Helen Sparks married Guy T. Moore; and
(4) Mary Sparks, married FNU Cooper.