August 18, 2017

Pages 2579-2586
Whole Number 124

UNION SOLDIERS, NAMED SPARKS WHO APPLIED,
OR WHOSE HEIRS APPLIED, FOR
PENSIONS FOR SERVICE IN THE CIVIL WAR



LEVIN DAVIS SPARKS , son of Elijah and Elizabeth (Davis) Sparks, was born ca. 1820. He died on June 7, 1864, in the Andersonville (Ga.) Prison. He married Christiana Righter on July 9, 1846. He served in Company D, 66th Regiment Indiana Infantry. File Designation: Wid. Cert. No. 82,308.

On July 20, 1865, Christiana Sparks, age 56, a resident of Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware, made an application for a widow's pension under the 1862 Act of Congress. She stated that she was the widow of Levin Davis Sparks who had been a private in Company D, 66th Regiment Indiana Infantry Volunteers, commanded by Capt. Payne and who had died a prisoner of war at Andersonville, Georgia, about June 5, 1864. She said she had been married to Sparks on July 9, 1846, at Marcus Hook, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, by the Rev. Joshua Humphrey. She stated that she had remained a widow and that the deceased had left only one child under the age of sixteen years, namely, Julia Ann Sparks, born August 11, 1850. Christiana Sparks signed the application by making her mark which was attested to by W. Y. McAllister and Agness A. Young who stated that they had known her for 25 years. G. W. Kelly, Prothonotary of the District Court, acknowledged the deposition.

The Adjutant General's Office verified the military service of Levin D. Sparks on May 17, 1866. He had enlisted in Company D, 66th Regiment Indiana Infantry Volunteers on August 19, 1862, at New Albany, Indiana, to serve for three years. He died on June 7, 1864, while he was a Prisoner of War at Andersonville, Georgia, from "exposure and suffering incident to prison life."

On September 26, 1865, the Rev. Joshua Humphreys, a Methodist minister, living in Somerset County, Maryland, confirmed the marriage of Levin Davis Sparks and Christiana Righter at Marcus Hook, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, on July 9, 1846. Christiana Sparks was issued Widow's Certificate No. 82,308 and placed upon the pension rolls.

On July 17, 1891, John H. Righter, a resident of Talleyville, New Castle County, Delaware, made an application for a pension as the trustee of a minor child of a Civil War veteran. He stated that he was trustee of a child of Levin D. Sparks named Julia E. Sparks, born August 11, 1849, who was deformed and mentally feeble at birth. He said the reason no pension had been claimed for her at the time her mother's pension was approved was that she was so near the age of sixteen years that a minor's pension was not considered worth the application. Robert C. Framm and Isaac A. Righter witnessed the application and also stated that the mother of Julia E. Sparks was still living aged about 80 years.

There is nothing in the pension file provided by the National Archives to determine what action was taken on the application for a pension for Julia E. Sparks. The last record in the file is a report to drop Christiana Sparks from the pension rolls because of her death on April 18, 1893.

[Editor's Note: See page 2568 of the present issue of The Sparks Quarterly for a record of the Sparks family to which Levin Davis Sparks belonged.)

CALVIN SPARKS,  probable son of William and Sarah Sparks, was born ca. 1832, probably in Kentucky. He died on November 4, 1895, in Claiborne County, Tennessee. He served in Company B, 1st Regiment Tennessee Light Artillery. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 625,265.

Calvin Sparks made an application for an invalid pension in the early part of 1863, but no copy of the original document was included in the material sent to us from his file at the National Archives. On July 5, 1883, the War Department confirmed his military service. He had enrolled on 1 April 1863, at London Kentucky, for three years in Company B, 1st Regiment Tennessee Light Artillery, and he served until July 20, 1865, when he was mustered out with his company at Nashville, Tennessee. There was no evidence of any disability in his record; however, he had been hospitalized at Knoxville, Tennessee, in June 1865.

On October 4, 1883, Sparks made an affidavit that while drilling with his battery at Camp Nelson, Kentucky, in July 1863, he had been run over by a cannon wagon-wheel and suffered a hip and back injury. He had received no military medical treatment, but he had been treated by a citizen doctor who was with the troops. After his discharge, he was treated by Dr.G. W. Rollins. Sparks stated that he lived at Capps Ford, Claiborne County, Tennessee. J. B. Gibbs and S. C. Redman witnessed his mark and the affidava it was sworn to before A. J. Francisco, a justice of the peace.

The Bureau of Pensions apparently did not approve Sparks's application, for on June 18, 1891, a neighbor, Green B. Smith, made an affidavit in which he stated that Sparks was sick, badly disabled and in destitute circumstances. He had no family physician because he could not afford one. Marion Moyers, a justice of the peace, notarized the affidavit. Sometime after that, the Bureau of Pensions issued Invalid Certificate No. 625-265 granting Sparks a pension.

On July 30, 1892, Calvin Sparks, age 63, a resident of Capps Ford, Tennessee, made application for increased pension benefits under the 1890 Act of Congress. He stated that he was suffering from a paralysis that caused him to have fits of convulsions. He appointed George E. Lemon, Washington, D.C., as his attorney. L. Robertson and F. H. Beeler witnessed the application.

There are affidavits from a large number of his neighbors in the file of Calvin Sparks, all of them undated. Henry Hunter testified that he had found Sparks in the woods in a helpless condition brought on by a convulsion. Sparks was paralyzed on his right side and his speech was scarcely understandable. J. T. Mason and G. W. Mayes said Sparks required constant aid and attendance at all times and was as helpless as a baby. T. S. Carey and W. H. Carey said that, in their opinion, Sparks was quite near death's door. James J. Moyers said Sparks was un able to get out of bed without help. In addition, he was destitute and had no means of support except the pension of $12.00 per month which was not enough to even pay his nurse. Thomas England said he had lived near Sparks for many years and knew him to be a "professor of religion" and strictly moral.

When Calvin Sparks died on November 4, 1895, he was receiving a pension of $12.00 per month.

(Editor's Note: The reader is referred to page 2578 of the present issue of The Sparks Quarterly for additional information regarding Calvin Sparks and his branch of the Sparks family.)

PRESTON SPARKS, probably a son of William and Sarah Sparks, was born June 25, 1827 in Harlan County, Kentucky. He died on December 26, 1862, in Louisville, Kentucky. He married Mary Ann Ely on January 25, 1849, in Claiborne County, Tennessee. He served in Company C, 81st Regiment Indiana Infantry. File Designations: Wid. Appl. No. 138,357; Minor Cert. No. 191,521.

Preston Sparks received a Certificate of Disability for Discharge on December 19, 1862, at Louisville, Kentucky. He had been enrolled by Captain Wheeler at Providence, Indiana, on August 22, 1862, in Company C, 81st Regiment Indiana Volunteers to serve for three years. He was born in Harlan County, Kentucky, and was 35 years of age. He had a light complexion, blue eyes and dark hair; and he was a farmer. Thomas W. Colescott, Acting Surgeon, certified that he had examined Sparks and found him to be incapable of performing the duties of a soldier because of chronic pneumonia and an abcess of the right lung.

Sparks died one week later, on December 26, 1862, in General Hospital No. 20, Louisville, Kentucky, of erysipelas.

On September 29, 1865, William H. King, aged 35, a resident of Clark County, Indiana, applied for pensions for the minor children of Preston Sparks. He stated that he had been appointed guardian of the minor heirs of Sparks on August 2, 1865, by the Clark County Common Pleas Court. His heirs were: John P. Sparks, born October 14, 1849; Henry H. Sparks, born July 7, 1851; George C. Sparks, born August 14, 1853; and William C. Sparks, born July 30, 1855. King said Sparks had died in Hospital No. 20, Louisville, Kentucky, of erysipelas and black tongue. Sparks had been married to Mary Ely on January 25, 1849, in Claiborne County, Tennessee, by William Turner, a preacher. After Sparks's death, Mary Sparks had married Harrison Miller on October 7, 1864, in Clark County, Indiana. King appointed Tucker & Sells, Washington, D.C., as his attorneys. Henry D. Dow and William Stone witnessed King's signature.

The following day, William Stone and German Trippel testified to records taken from the family Bible of Preston Sparks, deceased. The records read as follows:

(From the family Bible of Preston Sparks:)

Preston Sparks was born June the 25th day of 1827.
Mary Ely was born Decr. the 7th day 1827.
Preston Sparks married Mary Ely January 25, 1849, in the year of our Lord.
John P. Sparks born October the 14, 1849.
Henry H. Sparks was born July 7, 1851
George C. Sparks was born August 14, 1853.
Wm. C. Sparks was born July 30, 1855.
Mary Sparks was born February 6th day in the year of our Lord 1861.
Sylvester W. Sparks was born October 23, 1857.
Mary Sparks died September the 26th 1862.
Sylvester W. Sparks died September the 16th 1862.
Preston Sparks died December 26, 1862.

On November 17, 1866, William H. King again filed a supplemental claim for the minor children of Preston Sparks under the 1866 Act of Congress. Apparently the claim was approved and Minor Certificate No. 191,521 was issued to the minor children of Preston Sparks, and they were placed upon the pension roll.

On December 5, 1866, Mary Sparks Miller filed Widow Application No. 138,357 for a widow's pension as the widow of Preston Sparks. Apparently her claim was not approved, probably because of her marriage to Harrison Miller.

On July 15, 1879, Bridger Lee and Elijah E. Miller, residents of Muddy Fork, Indiana, made an affidavit that they were well acquainted with Mary E. Miller, formerly Mary E. Sparks, widow of Preston Sparks, and mother of the children of the said Preston Sparks, claimants for Minor Pension No. 135,936. They stated that Mary E. Miller had died at Muddy Fork, Clark County, Indiana, on February 9, 1873.

[Editor's Note: Preston Sparks was in Claiborne County, Tennessee, when the 1850 census was taken. See page 1742 of the June 1975 issue of the Quarterly Whole No. 90. See also page 2577 of the present issue of the Quarterly for a further record of Preston Sparks and the branch of the Sparks family to which he belonged.)

WILLIAM H. SPARKS,  probable son of William and Sarah Sparks, was born ca. 1830 in Tennessee. He died on March 4, 1892. He married Elmira Goin on October 8, 1851, in Claiborne County, Tennessee. He served in Company M, 12th Regiment Missouri Cavalry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 339,202; Wid. Cert. No. 356,274.

William H. Sparks apparently made application for an invalid pension prior to March 1883 for on April 12, 1883, the War Department confirmed his military service to the Bureau of Pensions. He had enlisted on February 26, 1864, at Princeton, Missouri, in Company M, 12th Regiment Missouri Cavalry for three years. He was hospitalized on February 13, 1865, at Eastport, Mississippi, and was mustered out on an individual muster-out roll on July 8, 1865, at St. Louis, Missouri.

On May 5, 1886, William H. Sparks, a resident of Henderson, Webster County, Missouri, made a general affidavit to support his claim. He said that he had been transferred from the Jeffersonville (Indiana) General Hospital to the Jefferson Barracks (Missouri) General Hospital about 1 April 1865, and had entered Ward K where he was treated for his eyes and kidneys for two weeks.

He had been sent next to Ward D, where a Dr. Fricke treated him until sometime in July when he was discharged from the service. Charles R. Hughes witnessed the affidavit. Sparks was issued Invalid Certificate No. 339,202 and he was placed on the pension rolls.

On October 16, 1890, Sparks applied for increased pension benefits under the 1890 Act of Congress. He was now 62 years of age and a resident of Visalia, Tulare County, California. H. N. Denny and T. W. Holden witnessed his signature and the application was sworn to before A. H. Murray, Jr., Deputy County Clerk.

Sparks died on March 4, 1892, and on April 4th of the same year his widow, Elmira Sparks, age 62, made application for a widow's pension. She stated that she had been married to William H. Sparks on October 8, 1851, in Claiborne County, Tennessee, under her maiden name of Elmira Goin. She appointed Harrison White, of Visalia, California, to be her attorney. John Q. Bentley and Rankin R. Sparks witnessed her make her mark.

Supporting affidavits were made on April 11, 1892, by Mrs. Martha J. Barnes and Mrs. Elizabeth J. Howell, both of Visalia. They stated that Elmira Sparks had no property, income, or other means of support. She had not re-married since the death of her husband.

On September 15, 1892, A. J. Francisco, clerk of Claiborne County, Tennessee, sent a copy of the marriage record of William H. Sparks and Mirah Goin. They had been married on October 8, 1851, by George Ford, a Minister of the Gospel.

On November 19, 1892, T. D. Collins, age 67, a resident of Pixley, California, made an affidavit that he had known William and Elmira Sparks for over fifty years and from the time they had gone to school together. He said that Elmira Goin was generally known as "Mirah" Goin. She and Sparks had been married in Claiborne County, Tennessee, in October 1851, and it was the first marriage for both of them. Julius Levy notarized the affidavit.

Elmira Sparks was issued Widow's Certificate No. 356,274, and she was placed on the pension rolls. When she died on June 9, 1914, she was receiving a pension of $12.00 per month.

(Editor's Note: The reader is referred to page 2577 of the present issue of the Quarterly for additional information regarding William H. Sparks and his branch of the Sparks family.)

WINRIGHT SPARKS, son of Jennie Sparks, was born October 3, 1826, near Tazewell, Tennessee. He died on January 20, 1887, in Clay County, Kentucky. He married Rhoda Miracle on December 31, 1847, in Harlan County, Kentucky. He served in the 24th Regiment Kentucky Volunteer Infantry and in Company D, 47th Regiment Kentucky Volunteer Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 359,743; Wid. Cert. No. 239,786.

On October 1, 1879, Winright Sparks, aged 53, a resident of Sextons Creek, Clay County, Kentucky, made application for a pension. He stated that he had enlisted on August 11, 1863, in Company D, 47th Regiment Kentucky Infantry, commanded by Capt. D. W. Clark, and was discharged on December 26, 1864, at Lexington, Kentucky. During November 1863, he became sick at Camp Nelson, Kentucky, and because of exposure, cold had settled in his lungs which led to chronic coughing, headaches, and swollen legs. He stated that he could scarcely do one-half the work necessary in his occupation as a farmer. He appointed P. H. Cooney, Washington, D.C., as his attorney. R. G. Potter and D. W. Clark witnessed his signature and the application was sworn to before Edward Parker, Deputy Clerk of Clay County Court.

The military service of Sparks was confirmed by the Adjutant General's Office on April 13, 1881. He had enrolled on August 11, 1863, at Irvine, Kentucky. In December 1863, he was promoted to corporal. He was mustered out with his company on December 26, 1864. No record was made of any disability while he was in the service.

Winright Sparks was placed on the pension roll on November 1, 1879, under Invalid Certificate No. 259,743. When he died on January 20, 1887, of lung disease, he was receiving a pension of $15.00 per month.

On April 9, 1887, Winright Sparks's widow, Rhoda Sparks, aged 56, a resident of Clay County, Kentucky, made an application for a widow's pension. She stated that she had been married to Winright Sparks in Harlan County, Kentucky, on December 31, 1847, under her maiden name of Rhoda Miracle. The marriage ceremony was performed by David Green, Esq. She had been informed that the court house of Harlan County had burned and the records destroyed. She and Winright had had only one child who was still under the age of 16 in 1887; this was Israel Sparks, born May 15, 1872. James Wood and A. B. Sparks, both residents of Clay County, witnessed her mark and the application was sworn to before Robert Wood, Deputy Clerk of Clay County.

The application of Rhoda Sparks was approved and in the pension file is a copy of the original certificate issued by the Bureau of Pensions. It bears Certificate No. 239,786 and reads as follows: "It is hereby certified that in conformity with the laws of the United States, Rhody Sparks, widow of Winright Sparks, who was a private in Company D, 47th Regt. Ky. Vol. Inf., is entitled to a pension at the rate of twelve dollars per month to commence on the 20th day of April 1887 and to continue during her widowhood unless she shall forfeit her right thereto. And she is also entitled to two dollars per month additional for each of the following named children while living and under the age of 16 years, towit: Israel Sparks, commencing April 20, 1887, to age sixteen on May 14, 1888." The certificate was dated January 11, 1888, and it was signed by John C. Black, Commissioner of Pensions.

Rhoda Sparks died on September 14, 1910, at the home of a daughter, Mrs. Fannie Kelley, and Mrs. Kelley applied for reimbursement of the cost of her mother's final illness and burial. Mrs. Kelley said she was 52 years of age and lived at Alger, Kentucky. Her mother owned no real estate, but she had $10.00 in cash and she claimed 4 sheep and 4 bee gums worth about $12.00. No disposal had been made of her belongings. There had been no physician's expenses since her mother had been treated by a son, Dr. H. C. Sparks, who had made no charge.

Mrs. Kelley said the funeral expenses were: coffin, $25.00; clothing, $4.42½; livery, $4.00. Nursing and care amounted to $10.00, making a total reimbursement request of $43.42½. She said that her mother had been buried in the family graveyard on Sextons Creek, Kentucky. A. B. Sparks and Frankie Bowman, both of Clay County, witnessed her signature and the application was sworn to before Nathan Sparks, Clerk of Clay County.

[Editor's Note: In the September 1966 issue of The Sparks Quarterly, Whole No. 55, page 1006, we published an abstract of a Report of the Adjutant General of Kentucky, 1866, which reported persons serving in the United States Army during the Civil War. Our readers were reminded that the report warned the reader to make allowance for the word "deserted", pointing out that in many instances men joined another command without the formality of a transfer. In other instances, men were cut off from their command by the enemy and could not return to their own units. On page 1006 of the issue cited above, the name of Winright Sparks appears in the 24th Regiment Kentucky Volunteer Infantry with the notation: "Deserted January 8, 1862, at Lexington, Ky."

There seems little doubt that Winright Sparks did, indeed, serve in the 24th Regiment Kentucky Infantry, although he made no mention of that service when he applied for a pension. It is also quite probable that he left his unit and returned to his home in Clay County without a discharge. According to a descendant, Winright visited his home while in the service, but it was at the time a child (probably an infant) had died. Subsequently, as reported above, he reenlisted in the unit described in his pension application.

The reader is referred to page 2577 of the present issue of The Sparks Quarterly for additional information regarding Winright Sparks and his branch of the Sparks family.]

OLIVER SPARKS,  son of George H. and January Ann (Davidson) Sparks, was born May 20, 1842, probably in Highland County, Ohio. He married Rebecca Jane Sitton on January 1, 1868, in Montgomery County, Missouri. He served in Company C, 14th Regiment Missouri Cavalry and in Company H, 3rd Regiment Missouri S. M. Cavalry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 919,582; Wid. Cert. No. 713,714.

On December 3, 1894, Oliver Sparks, aged 53, a resident of Norwalk, California, applied for an Invalid Pension. He said he been enrolled on September 24, 1864, as an Orderly Sergeant in Company C, 14th Regiment Missouri Volunteers and had served until he was discharged at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, on October 26, 1865. He was now suffering from catarrh of the bowels and he was no longer able to earn a support by manual labor. He had also served in Company H, 3rd Regiment Missouri S. M. Cavalry from March 8, 1862, until he had been discharged to re-enlist in the 14th Regiment Missouri Cavalry on September 23, 1864. He had applied for an invalid pension on October 10, 1892, but the application had been lost. J. C. Kendrick and B. M. Sitton witnessed his signature.

The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service as he had stated it to be. He had held the rank of First Sergeant from March 8, 1862, until he was mustered out with his company on October 26, 1865. Invalid Certificate No. 919,582 was issued to him and he was placed upon the pension roll.

He responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions on June 4, 1898, while he was living in Highland Park, California. He said that he was married to Rebecca J. Sitton on January 1, 1868, in Montgomery County, Missouri, by the Rev. Jesse Rogers. It was the first marriage for both. They had had two children: Bertha A. Sparks, born July 8, 1869, and Phillip M. Sparks, born November 13, 1871.

Oliver Sparks died in the National Home for Disabled Soldiers, Los Angeles, on June 29, 1910, and on July 28, 1910, his widow, Rebecca J. Sparks, applied for a Widow's Pension. She was 62 years of age and lived at 417 York Blvd., Los Angeles. W. T. Page and Missouri A. Page witnessed her application. Accompanying the declaration was a copy of the death certificate of her husband, Oliver Sparks. He had died on June 29, 1910, at the age of 68 years, 1 month, and 8 days. The declaration was also supported by a joint affidavit from Chitister M. Lewis, aged 54, and Mary E. Lawrence, aged 73, both of whom stated that they had been present at the marriage of Oliver Sparks and Rebecca J. Sitton on January 1, 1868, in Montgomery County, Missouri.

Widow Certificate No. 713,714 was issued to Rebecca Jane Sparks and she was placed upon the pension roll. She died on March 29, 1940. According to information given by her son, Phillip M. Sparks, she had been born January 1, 1848, in Pike County, Illinois, and was a daughter of Brice Martin and Rebecca J. Sitton.

On June 25, 1940, Bertha A. McCurdy, aged 71, a resident of Glendale, California., applied for reimbursement for expenses incurred in the last illness of her mother, Rebecca Jane Sparks. She stated that her mother had left no property and that her final expenses had amounted to $465. William A. Pierce and Elsie L. Teel testified to the accuracy of Mrs. McCurdy's statement.

[Editor's Note: Oliver Sparks was a son of George Hillegas and Jane (Davidson) Sparks. For further details about this branch of the Sparks family, see the June 1963 and September 1963 issues of the Quarterly, Whole Nos. 42 and 43.]

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