February 24, 2019

Pages 2601-2607
Whole Number 125


(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 a detailed explanation of these abstracts. It should be noted that they are not based on an examination of the total file of papers preserved in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., for each of the pensioners concerned, but rather on those documents pulled from each file by a searcher at the Archives that he or she believed to have genealogical significance. Xerox copies supplied by the Archives of these papers have been the basis of the abstracts given here.)

JAMES SPARKS son of William and Catherine (Huckley) Sparks, born ca. 1835 in Ohio and died on July 22, 1864. He married Sarah J. Shell on January 27, 1859, in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. He served in Company D, 40th Regiment Indiana Infantry. File Designation: Wid. Cert. No. 42,600; Minor Cert. No. 68,391.

On August 2, 1864, Sarah J. Sparks, age 32, a resident of Wabash Township, Tippecanoe County, Indiana, made application for a pension under the 1862 Act of Congress. She stated that she was the widow of James Sparks who had been a private in Company D, 40th Regiment Indiana Infantry, under the command of Lieut. FNU Coleman. On July 22, 1864, James Sparks had died at Nashville, Tennessee, from a wound received in the Battle of Kenesaw Mountain, Georgia, on June 27, 1864.

Sarah Sparks stated that she and James Sparks had been married on January 27, 1859, in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, and that after his death she had remained a widow. She and her husband had one child, a daughter, Olive Celestine Sparks, who had been born on September 8, 1860, and who was living with her. Levi J. Northcut and Page B. Severson attested to the application which was notarized by David P. Vinton. The application was accompanied by a copy of the marriage license confirming the marriage on January 27, 1859, of James Sparks and Sarah Jane Shell. in Tippecanoe County by John S. Allen, a justice of the peace.

On March 8, 1865, the Adjutant General's Office confirmed the military service of James Sparks to the Bureau of Pensions. When Sparks had enlisted on August 30, 1862, he was 26 years, 11 months of age; he was 5 feet, 10 inches tall; he had a dark complexion, dark hair and blue eyes. He was a brick mason by occupa tion. He died in a military hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, on July 22, 1864, from a gun-shot fracture of the inferior maxillary. The report was made by Lt. Samuel C. Wait. The application of Sarah J. Sparks was approved and she was placed on the pension rolls at $8.00 per month to be paid retroactively to July 22, 1864.

On September 2, 1865, Sarah J. Sparks married Robert A. Weathers in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. Three weeks later, on September 28th, the Common Pleas Court of Tippecanoe County appointed Page B. Severson the guardian of Olive Celestine Sparks, daughter of James and Sarah J. Sparks. Apparently Severson then made an application for a pension for his ward, for on November 10, 1865, Dr. David Jennings, a physician in Lafayette, Indiana, made an affidavit that he was present professionally at the birth of a female child, born to James and Sarah J. Sparks, on September 8, 1860, and who was afterwards named Olive Celestine Sparks. William R. Ellis, Clerk of Tippecanoe County, witnessed the affidavit. Although there is no document in the pension file of James Sparks, a Minor Certificate No. 68,391 was issued to Page B. Severson, guardian of Olive Celestine Sparks.

On April 26, 1915, the widow of James Sparks, now Sarah Wainscott, again applied for a pension based on the service of James Sparks. From the papers presented in support of this new application, we learn that Sarah-had obtained a divorce from her second husband, Robert A. Weathers, on December 23, 1865, in Tippecanoe County. On March 18, 1868, she was married in Tippecanoe County to her third husband, James W. Wainscott. Wainscott, who had been born on August 17, 1825, died in Coal Creek Township, Montgomery County, Indiana, on November 15, 1914. Apparently, Sarah and her third husband had lived in Montgomery County following their marriage in 1868 because the file contains statements by residents of Montgomery County (William E. Howard and Armilda Wainscott) that they had known Sarah since 1868. A pension of $12 per month was awarded to Sarah J. Wainscott (R.R. 4, Wingate, Indiana) and was paid until her death on February 20, 1916.

PETER SPARKS,   son of William and Catherine (Huckley) Sparks, was born November 13, 1837, and he died on January 1, 1910. He married Clara D. Hollon on April 14, 1878. He served in Company D, 40th Regiment Indiana Volunteers. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 525,700; Wid. Cert. No. 754,263.

Although there is apparently no copy of the original application in his pension file, Peter Sparks filed his first application for an invalid pension on November 2, 1885. A document dated December 25, 1885, and signed by two members of a medical examination board indicates that Peter Sparks was judged to be half disabled because of a double hernia. He was described then as 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighing 167 pounds. Sparks claimed that his double hernia was caused in June 1864 at Peach Tree Creek, Georgia. "I was detailed to carry ammunition across a branch, water waist deep, and it was hard to keep from slipping, and the severe strain caused my rupture on both sides. I was not relieved from duty, just worried it through till I got home at Lafayette, Ind. Dr. W. 0. Weyburn gave me attention and supplied me with truss."

The following March 24, 1886, the Adjutant General's Office confirmed Peter Sparks's military service. According to his records, he had enlisted in Company D, 40th Regiment Indiana Volunteers at Fafayette, Indiana, on August 22, 1862, for three years. He was mustered out with his detachment at Nashville, Tennessee, on June 14, 1865. The Regimental Hospital records were not on file, and there was no record of Sparks's disability which was an alleged rupture. He was placed on the pension rolls under Invalid Certificate No. 525,700.

On May 4, 1898, Peter Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions giving the following information: He had been married to Clara Adele Hollon on April 14, 1878, at California, Missouri, by the Rev. Grant. The marriage was the first for both of them. They had two children living: Clara Sparks, born on October 4, 1884, and Mary Ellen Esma Sparks, born on August 31, 1890. Peter Sparks then stated that "three years ago my wife eloped with another man, taking my children, and I have never heard from any of them since." He signed the questionnnaire by making his mark which was witnessed by John Connelly.

On April 16, 1902, the U.S. Pension Office received an application for a widow's pension from Clara Sparks, wife of Peter. In this application, which was not dated, Clara Sparks, age 43 of Portageville, Missouri, stated that her maiden name had been Clara Hollon and that she had been married to Peter Sparks on April 14, 1878, by James W. Grant at Moniteau County, Missouri. She stated that Peter Sparks had received a pension and that he had died in October 1895. She listed their children as Clara Arbela Sparks born in October 1884 and Mary Ellen Sparks born in August 1889. In support of her application, she arranged for an official record of her marriage to be sent. This document indicated that on May 14, 1902, the Rev. James William Grant, minister of the St. Louis Conference of the M.E. Church, certified that he had united in Holy Matrimony Peter Sparks and Clara D. Hollon of Moniteau County, Missouri. Charles C. Treiber, Moniteau County Circuit Clerk, certified that the marriage certificate was on file in his office in Marriage Book 3, at page 96.

Clara Sparks apparently arranged for another document to be sent in support of her application that would help to prove that Peter Sparks was dead. It is dated August 8, 1904, but it describes an event that had taken place several years earlier, probably in 1895. The writer of this statement was A. E. Woodrow of Shelby County, Tennessee; it was also signed by A. H. Andrews who is mentioned in the statement. To help understand the statement, it is of interest to note that a niece of Peter Sparks stated a number of years ago that Peter Sparks always "felt bad" about the death of his brother, James Sparks, because he had "talked James into joining the Array." Peter and James had served in the same company and Peter was probably with James when he was wounded. The statement of A. E. Woodrow follows; punctuation and capitalization have been added for clarity.

I had been to Commerce, Missouri. one day. Going home I over took a man and asked him to ride, took him to my house. Kept him over night. He said his name was Sparks and he had a brother whose jaw was shot off at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain; he died from the wound. Sparks said he felt like he would not live long and he wanted to see his brother's grave and then he was going to go back to his family and go some place and take up a piece of land so when he died his family could get a pension and with the land they would be all right. He got Henry Johnson, a fisherman, to set him across the Mississippi River. He was going down in Tenn.
We for got about it, though all his talk was the war and his wife. On Thanksgiving morning I heard that a woman and 2 children had staid all night in a cabin on my place. It was a cold day so my wife said go get her. She said she was hunting her husband. She showed his picture. We knew it so we told her he had been there not quite 2 months before and we would help her find him. The next day I took Andrews, who was in ray employ, and went across the River but we spent 2 days and could find no one that had seen him nor any place where he had eat or staid all night. So we went to Johnson and asked about him. We noticed he seemed uneasy, but we did not think of foul play, so we told him we would come down the next day and wanted him to go and show us where he had left the man. When we went back next day, Johnson was gone. When we told her, she said he had killed my husband and so we all thought.

As noted earlier, this statement was signed by both A. E. Woodrow and A. H. Andrews, and it was notarized, although the signature of the notary is not legible. Since we know that Peter lived until 1910, his wife's belief that he had been murdered in 1895 was unfounded. We know also that Peter Sparks lived for many years with his sister, Catherine Widmer. Apparently his wife did not know his whereabouts.

Because Peter Sparks was known by the Bureau of Pensions to be still livin Clara's application seems not to have been processed.

Peter Sparks made application for increased pension benefits on May 21, 1908, under the provisions of a 1907 Act of Congress. He stated that he was now 70 years of age, having been born in Lafayette, Indiana, on November 13, 1837. He lived on Route 2, Lafayette, Indiana. He confirmed his military service and stated that when he enlisted on August 22, 1862, he was 5 feet, 6 inches tall and that he had a dark complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. He was a brickmaker by occupation. Since his discharge, he had lived at Tipton, Missouri, from 1868 to 1886, and on Route 2, Lafayette, Indiana, from 1886 to the present. Charles A. Dunwoody and Chester Robertson witnessed his application which was notarized by Harry N. Styner.

Peter Sparks died on January 1, 1910, according to a statement furnished by J.D. Hillis, Secretary of the Tippecanoe County, Indiana, Board of Health. He was buried in the Klondyke Cemetery.

On July 2, 1910, Mrs. Clara D. Sparks, age 53, a resident of Memphis, Tennessee, again made application for a widow's pension. She stated that she was the widow of Peter Sparks whom she had married at Tipton, Missouri, on April 14, 1878, under her maiden name of Clara D. Hollon. She stated that she had not been divorced from Peter Sparks, nor had she remarried since his death, which had oc curred on January 1, 1910, at Lafayette, Indiana. J. M. Petton and E. J. Bowman witnessed her application which was notarized by L. E. Anderson.

Clara B. (Hollon) Sparks qualified for a widow's pension which she continued to receive until her death in 1940. A letter dated February 16, 1940, from a Deputy Assistant Disbursing Officer to the Director of Finance of the Veterans Administration refers to a letter dated February 1, 1940, "from Mrs. Esma Pierson, c/o E. E. Threadgill, Route 1, Colt, Arkansas, advising of the death of Mrs. Clara A. Sparks, a Civil War widow, on January 18, 1940."

GEORGE SPARKS  was born ca. 1830 at Scriba, New York. On September 27, 1853, he married Melissa Austin in Oswego County, New York. He died on August 3, 1901. He served in Company K and Company C of the 9th Regiment New York Heavy Artillery, and in Company K, 2nd Regiment New York Heavy Artillery. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 339,762; Wid. Cert. No. 532,946.

On August 28, 1879, George Sparks applied for an Invalid Pension. He was 51 years of age and a resident of Volney, New York. He stated that he had enrolled on January 4, 1864, in Company K, 9th Regiment New York Heavy Artillery, commanded by Capt. Squires, and had served until he was discharged on July 15, 1865. He was 5 feet, 9 inches tall; he had a light complexion, brown hair and grey eyes; and he was a farmer. During October 1864, while serving in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, he contracted scrofula which came upon him after a long spell of diarrhea. He was treated in the Little York (Pennsylvania) Hospital, but the disease had affected him so much that he was now totally disabled from earning his support. He appointed Chester O'Case of Oswego, New York, as his attorney. A. W. Potter and Jerome Waugh witnessed his signature.

The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service to the Commissioner of Pensions on April 9, 1886. He had joined Company K, 9th Regiment New York Artillery Volunteers from a depot on February 7, 1864. He was present for duty except during October 1864 when he was hospitalized. He was mustered out from detached service into Company C on June 15, 1865, from the U.S.A. General Hospital in York, Pennsylvania.

George Sparks was issued Invalid Certificate No. 339,762, and he was placed upon the pension roll. On February 25, 1889, his pension was increased to $8.00 per month.

Sparks returned a questionnaire to the Bureau of Pensions on April 16, 1898. He stated that he had been married to Melissa Austin in 1854 at New Haven, New York, by a justice of the peace. They had six children:

George Sparks, age 42 in 1898 (thus born ca. 1856)
Alden N. Sparks, age 39 in 1898 (thus born ca. 1859)
Eudora Sparks, age 35 in 1898 (thus born ca. 1863) married FNU Beeler
Elsie Sparks, age 29 in 1898 (thus born ca. 1869) married FNU Fredenburg
Edith Sparks, age 20 in 1898 (thus born ca. 1878)
Charles Sparks, age 18 in 1898 (thus born ca. 1880)

George Sparks applied for increases in his pension benefits on March 20, 1891, and again on March 25, 1901, claiming that his physical condition had gotten so bad that he was unable to do any kind of labor. He died on August 3, 1901.

On August 6, 1901, Melissa Sparks, aged 64, a resident of Volney, New York, applied for a Widow's Pension. She said she had been married to George Sparks under her maiden name of Melissa Austin on September 27, 1863, by I. N. Goodsell, J.P. It was the first marriage for both. They had no children under the age of sixteen years.

Three weeks later, William P. Hillick, Registrar of Vital Statistics for Volney, New York, stated that his records showed that George Sparks had died on August 3, 1901, of cancer. Sparks was aged 73, a laborer, and was born at Scriba, New York.

On December 11, 1901, Fred M. Bishop, Clerk of Oswego County, New York, sent a copy of a docket record written by Naaman Goodsell, a Justice of the Peace. Goodsell wrote, "I certify that on September 27, 1853, George Sparks and Melissa Austin, both of Scriba, New York, were married by me. Andrew Doe and Richard Easton were witnesses."

Widow Certificate No. 532,946 was issued to Melissa Sparks and she was placed upon the pension roll.

(Editor's Note: George Sparks was 18 years of age and living in the household of Hannah Williams, aged 42, when the 1850 census was taken of Oswego County, New York. Also living in the same household in 1850 were Samuel Sparks, age 22; William Sparks, age 17; Martha Sparks, age 15; Polly Sparks, age 13; and Betsy Sparks, age 10. (See the Quarterly of March 1982, Whole No. 117, pp. 2392-93, for this census record and note the other Sparks families living at that time in Oswego County who were probably related to George Sparks.) Perhaps Hannah Williams was the mother of these children, having remarried following her husband's death ca. 1840.

When the 1860 census was taken of Oswego County, George Sparks, age 30, was listed as a "cooper." Samuel Sparks, age 33, was living with him and Melissa along with their two eldest children.)

FRANCIS H. SPARKS son of Henry and Nancy Ann (Taylor) Sparks, was born at Scriba, New York, on August 20, 1833. He married (first) Ann Elizabeth Alton, ca. 1855, and (second) Adeline (DuBois) Congdon on July 29, 1890. He served in Company B, 81st Regiment New York Infantry and in Company E, 10th Veterans Reserve Corps. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 328,964; Wid. Cert. No. 677,462.

On or about June 18, 1880, Francis H. Sparks applied for an Invalid Pension, but no copy of his application was included in the materials sent from his file at the National Archives. The first document (in chronological order) in this file was a request from the Pension Office for a report of his military service made on September 5, 1882. On January 19, 1883, the War Department sent the following report. Sparks had enrolled on September 26, 1861, as a private in Company B, 81st Regiment New York Volunteers at Oswego, New York, to serve for three years. He was present for duty until July 1863 when he was transferred to the Invalid Corps. He was then transferred to Company E, Veterans Reserve Corps on September 8, 1863, at New York City. He continued to serve there until he was mustered out on September 26, 1864, at Baltimore, Maryland.

Invalid Certificate No. 328,964 was issued to Francis H. Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll.

On November 7, 1899, Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He stated that he had been married to Adeline DuBois on July 29, 1890, at Oswego, New York, by the Rev. F. H. Beck, pastor of the First Methodist Church. They had one child, William Henry Sparks, born July 6, 1893. Prior to this marriage, he had been married to Ann Elizabeth Alton who had died in Oswego, New York, on January 13, 1884.

Sparks applied for an increase in his pension on May 5, 1904, because of his age. He was now over 70 years of age, having been born on August 20, 1833. He applied again on August 22, 1908, under the provisions of the 1907 Act of Congress. He said he was 5 feet, 9 inches tall; he had a light complexion, blue eyes and brown hair; and he was a carpenter. The Bureau of Pensions granted him an increase in his pension from $15 to $20 per month, commencing on August 31, 1908. He died a month later, on October 3, 1908.

On October 12, 1908, Sparks's widow, Adeline Sparks, applied for a Widow's Pension. She said her maiden name had been Adeline DuBois, but she married Francis Sparks on July 29, 1890, as Adeline Congdon. Her first husband, Hamilton Congdon, had died on April 6, 1887, and Francis Sparks's first wife, Anna Alton, had died on January 7, 1884, so there was no reason why they couldn't get married. She and Francis had one child, William Henry Sparks, born July 6, 1893.

During January and February 1909, Adeline C. Sparks sent the following materials to the Bureau of Pensions:

1. Certificate and Proof of Birth. This was a certificate that the child of Francis and Adeline Sparks, named William Henry Sparks, was born July 6, 1893.
2. Record Proof of Death of Soldier. A certificate that Francis H. Sparks died on October 3, 1908. He had died of cancer. He was buried in a rural cemetery by John Davis & Son, undertakers.
3. Certificate and Record of Marriage. A certificate that Francis H. Sparks and Adeline Congdon were married on July 29, 1890. She was aged 40 and was a daughter of Daniel and Susan (Morrow) DuBois. He was aged 57 and was a son of Henry and Ann (Taylor) Sparks.

Widow's Certificate No. 677,462 was issued to Adeline C. Sparks and she was placed upon the pension roll.

(Editor's Note: When the 1850 census was taken, the family of Henry and Nancy Sparks was listed as residents of the city of Oswego. Henry Sparks's age was given as 41 and his occupation as "Laborer," and New York as his state of birth. Nancy's age was given as 39 and her state of birth as New Hampshire. See the Quarterly of March 1982, Whole No. 117, p. 2392, for a transcript of this census record. Francis Sparks is listed there as 16 years old. Other members of his parents' family were: Martha, 20; Alphenis, 13; Cynthia, 15; Franklin, 11; Lydia, 9; Napoleon, 7; Nancy, 5; and Betsey, 3. by 1860, the family was living in the town of Scriba; the wife of Henry was given as Anna and there were two additional children: Daniel, born ca. 1854, and Hulbart (or Herbert) born ca. 1859. by 1870 there was also a child named Frances (female) born ca. 1860, as well as a boy named George, born ca. 1866.

Francis H. Sparks, as noted in his pension application, married, first, Ann Taylor. by 1860, according to the census of that year, he and Ann appear to have had two children, Henry Sparks, born ca. 1856, and Ann Sparks, born ca. 1858. by 1870, they appear to have had an additional child, a daughter named Emma, born ca. 1862.

While it would seem probable that Francis H. Sparks and George Sparks, whose pension abstract begins on page 2604, were related, we have no proof of such a relationship.)