Whole Number 128
(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 (or their heirs) conconcerned, but rather on those documents judged by a researcher at the Archives to have genealogical significance. Xerox copies supplied by the Archives of these selected papers have been the basis of the abstracts given here.
|HENRY SPARKS,||son of James and Nancy Elizabeth (Gilman) Sparks, was born ca. 1836 in Lewis County, Kentucky. He died on June 10, 1863, in Clayton County, Iowa. He served in Company C, 3rd Regt. Iowa Infantry. File Designation: Mother's Certificate No. 198,491.|
Henry Sparks received a Certificate of Disability for Discharge on April 27, 1863, at Memphis, Tennessee. He had enlisted on May 28, 1861, at McGregor, Iowa, in Capt. S. R. Sladden's Company C of the 3rd Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry to serve for three years. Henry Sparks was born in Lewis County, Kentucky; he was 25 years of age at the time of his enlistment and was 5 feet, 10 inches tall. He had a dark complexion, blue eyes and brown hair; and he was a farmer. He became ill on October 7, 1861, and was hospitalized at Quincey, Illinois, but was sent to the hospital at St. Louis on November 20, 1861. He rejoined his company on March 6, 1862. He was left sick on board a transport at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, on March 20, 1862, and was sent to Evansville, Indiana; he rejoined his regiment on June 8, 1862. He was hospitalized at Memphis, Tennessee, on March 8, 1863; was returned to his regiment on April 2, 1863; but went back to the Memphis Regimental Hospital with a severe cough and severe pain in his right side. Surgeon B. F. Keables certified that Sparks had chronic bronchitis caused by exposure, and stated that if his life was to be prolonged, he should be discharged. The certificate was signed by Col. Aaron Brown, Commanding Officer.
Henry Sparks returned to his home at Farmersburg, Iowa, where he died a short time later, on June 10, 1863, of acute pneumonia.
On August 15, 1878, Nancy Sparks, aged 75, a resident of Pleasant Grove, Minnesota, applied for a Mother's Pension. She said she was the widow of James Sparks, and the mother of Henry Sparks who had served in Company C, 3rd Regiment Iowa Infantry. Her son had died on June 10, 1863, from disease incurred while in the service. She had been dependent upon him for support. She had been married to James Sparks on March 3, 1820, and he had died on March 6, 1852, leaving her dependent upon her son, Henry. She appointed William E. Preston, Cleveland, Ohio, as her attorney, J. D. Parks and John Collins witnessed her make her mark.
John Collins and Ellinor Burgan, residents of Pleasant Grove, Minnesota, testified on November 26, 1878, that they had been present when James Sparks, late husband of Nancy Sparks, had died at Giard, Iowa, in 1852. Nancy Sparks had moved to Minnesota in 1868. She had remained a widow. On the same day, John Sparks and Mary Stowe, both residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, testified that Henry Sparks, late son of Nancy Sparks, had contributed to her support after she became a widow and that while he was in the service, he had sent money to her by fellow soldiers who were on furlough.
On February 13, 1879, the War Department confirmed Sparks's military service just as it was stated on his Certificate of Discharge.
On June 14, 1880, J. M. Leach, Auditor of Clayton County, Iowa, certified that between 1863 and 1865, Elizabeth Sparks, widow of James Sparks, had sold land in Clayton County for $769. (It is apparent that Nancy Elizabeth Sparks was sometimes called Elizabeth.)
Mrs. Nancy Elizabeth Sparks returned to Clayton County, Iowa, in 1881 where she settled at McGregor. She was now 80 years old. On May 2, 1882, she made an affi davit to support her claim for a pension Here are pertinent portions from the affidavit:
"I, Elizabeth Sparks, will here testify that I am the mother of Henry Sparks who was a member of Co. C, 3rd Iowa Infantry. I have been a widow for 30 years. My actual residence in 1863 was Farmersburg, Iowa. I sold my little place in 1866 and moved to Olmsted, Minnesota. I remained there until a year ago, when I came back to Iowa. My postoffice since my return has been McGregor. I had at the time of my son Henry's death 12 children.
"My oldest daughter's name is Mrs. Patsey Yates. Her age in 1863 was 43 years. My next youngone was Allen Sparks who was married at that time. His age in 1863 was 41 years. He was a member of Co. C, 3rd Iowa Vols. The next one is Barton Sparks. He was also married. His age was 39 in 1863. James H. Sparks is next. He was a member of an Indiana regiment. Next is Cyrus Sparks. His age in 1863 was 33 years. He was married. The next one was Joseph Sparks, who was also married. In 1863, his age was 31 years. He was a member of a Minnesota regiment. He died while in the service at Helena, Arkansas in the year 1863. Next who died in the year 1856 was Mrs. Rebecca Moore. Her age in 1863 would have been 29 years.
"The next in order was Henry Sparks who was a member of Co. C, Third Iowa Infantry Vols. His age when his death occurred in the year 1863 was 27 years. He was not married. Next is William Sparks whose age in 1863 was 25 years. He was not married. He was an invalid. He was afflicted with the white swelling in one leg which rendered him almost helpless. The next is Mrs. Mary Stowe. Her age in 1863 was 23 years. Next is Mrs. Elizabeth Kirk. Her age in 1863 was 21 years. Next is John Sparks whose age in 1863 was 19 years. He was an invalid also. He had white swelling in his ankle which made him almost helpless. He is my youngest child.
"I further state that no person has been legally bound to support me since the death of my son, Henry Sparks. He was my main support for he was the only able-bodied son, unmarried. I sold my little piece of land in 1866 to Horace Bagley. I received $500 for it. That small amount was used up in a short time."
Mrs. Sparks signed the affidavit as "Elizabeth Sparks" and her mark was witnessed by Isaac Matthews and Estella Sparks.
On April 21, 1882, Dr. Elias Hollingsworth, aged 58, and a resident of Clayton County, Iowa, testified that Henry Sparks had died of quick consumption.
Mother's Certificate No. 198,491 was issued to Nancy Elizabeth Sparks, and she was place upon the pension roll.
(Editor's Note: The reader is referred to page 2679 of this issue of the Quarterly for further information on the family of James and Nancy Elizabeth (Gilman) Sparks. Specific reference to Henry Sparks, for whose service his mother received a pension, is made on page 2682. Additional information on this family has appeared in the following previous issues of the Quarterly :December 1957, Whole No. 20 ----- Family of Albert Cyrus Sparks (1830-1915) December 1959, Whole No. 28 ----- Picture of James Sparks (ca.1798-1852)
June 1970, Whole No. 70 ---- Joseph Sparks (ca.1777-1838) of Lewis County, Kentucky.- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
December 1970, Whole No. 72 ----- Pension file of Allen Sparks (1822-1907)
|WILLIAM C. SPARKS,||was born ca. 1844 in New Jersey. He died on April 22, 1904, in Daytona, Florida. He served in Company I, 9th Regt. New Jersey Infantry. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 207,249.|
On August 30, 1879, William C. Sparks, aged 35, a resident of Woodbury, New Jersey, applied for an Invalid Pension. He said he had enrolled on October 8, 1861, at Trenton, New Jersey, in Company I, 9th Regiment New Jersey Infantry, commanded by Capt. Samuel Hufty, Jr. He was 5 feet, 7 inches tall; he had a light complexion, dark hair and blue eyes; and he was a farmer. On or about March 14, 1862, he had been wounded in the right leg by a minie ball. at New Bern, North Carolina. On or about December 16, 1862, he had been wounded in the shoulder by a shell at White Hall, North Carolina. He reenlisted in his company on January 18, 1864, and served until he was mustered out with his company on July 12, 1865. Since leaving the service, he had resided in Camden and Woodbury, New Jersey, where he had worked as a painter. He appointed 0. J. Belden, Camden, New Jersey, as his attorney. Geo. W. Allen and James M. Carpenter witnessed his signature.
On July 6, 1880, Samuel Hufty, Jr., aged 46, a resident of Camden, New Jersey, and late Lieutenant Colonel of the 9th Regiment New Jersey Volunteers, testified that Sparks had been disabled by a gunshot wound in the Battle of New Bern, North Carolina, on March 14, 1862, which injured his right leg below the knee. Sparks was also disabled by a piece of shell which struck him in the shoulder blade near the right shoulder point. Hufty stated that he (Hufty) was captain of Company I of the 9th Regiment.
James Allen, Examining Surgeon, Philadelphia, examined Sparks on September 28, 1881, and certified that Sparks had suffered a gunshot wound which destroyed a portion of the right fibula and caused twitching and numbness of the right leg. He had also suffered a shell wound in the right shoulder blade creating adhesions and weakening the tissue.
On January 28, 1882, the War Department confirmed Sparks's military service just as he had stated it to be in his application. He had enlisted on October 8, 1861, in Company I, 9th Regiment New Jersey Infantry at Trenton, New Jersey, and had served in that unit until he was mustered out with the company on July 12, 1865. He had been treated for a leg wound on March 14, 1862, at the General Hospital in New Bern, North Carolina, and was furloughed for 60 days. He was treated at the General Hospital at New Bern on December 20, 1862, and was again furloughed for 60 days in the Lady's Home in New York City.
On February 27, 1882, Henry F. Chew, aged 43, a resident of Camden, New Jersey, testified that when Wm. C. Sparks enlisted on October 8, 1861, in Company I, 9th Regiment New Jersey Volunteers, he (Chew) was present and Sparks was a sound healthy man. Chew signed the affidavit as "Late Captain of Company I."
Invalid Certificate No. 207,249 was issued to William C. Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll at the rate of $4.00 per month, commencing July 13, 1865.
On September 22, 1903, Sparks applied for increased pension benefits under the 1902 Act of Congress. He was now 58 years of age and a resident of Daytona, Florida. He said he was now wholly unable to earn a support by manual labor be cause of the gunshot and shell wounds. He appointed J. Thomas Turner, Washington, D.C., as his attorney. Lawrence Thompson and Florence Caley witnessed his signature, which he wrote as "William C. Sparks."
The War Department again furnished additional information about Sparks's military service to the Bureau of Pensions on March 15, 1904. Sparks had suffered a rupture by charging over rebel breastworks at Wysis Fork before Kinston on March 10, 1865. As a result, he had been relieved of duty and was considered as unfit for the Veterans Reserve Corps.
On March 16, 1904, Mattie Sparks, daughter of William C. Sparks, wrote the following letter to her father's attorney, Maj. J. Thomas Turner:
Maj. J. Thomas Turner
Box 339, Daytona, Fla.
I received your letter yesterday and the day before that the order for my father to go to Orlando, Fla. for medical examination. It will simply be impossible in the time specified.
He has been sick more than sixteen weeks and in that length of time he has not at one time walked three blocks. We (my brothers and myself) have to care for him in every way and take turns about caring for him at nights. His trouble is what is commonly called creeping paralysis, and at first his mind was badly affected; in fact we do not know if he will ever be just right in that respect, although he is much better at times.
The care he requires is such that it would be impossible to travel with him, and also in our present circumstances we could not stand the expense. He now receives $6.00 per mo. or $18.00 every quarter. Enclosed you will also find proper dates of enlistment, discharge, date when wounded, etc.
Papa's physician here can certify to the above statement which I made that he is totally unfit to travel.
Hoping that it can be arranged in some other way here, I am,Yours Respectfully, Mattie Sparks
Dr. E. C. Stroud, Daytona, Florida, testified on March 26, 1904, that Sparks was "utterly unable to make a journey to Orlando, Fla. or any other town at any distance from Daytona."
When William C. Sparks died a short time later, on April 22, 1904, he was still receiving a pension of $6.00 per month.
(Editor's Note: For a discussion of this pension application by William C. Sparks and that of the following for another William C. Sparks (also known as William F. Sparks), see the remarks of Dr. Paul E. Sparks beginning on page 2701.)
|WILLIAM F. SPARKS,||(also known as WILLIAM C. SPARKS) was born May 4, 1842. He married Lizzie Evans on November 23, 1865, at Glassboro, New Jersey. He served in Company G (also Co. I) 9th Regiment New Jersey Infantry. File Designation: Wid. Appl. No. 498,702.|
On December 15, 1890, Lizzie Sparks, aged 48, a resident of Camden, New Jersey, applied for a Widow's Pension. She said she had been married to William C. Sparks on November 23, 1865, at Glassboro, New Jersey, under her maiden name of Lizzie Evans. Her husband had enlisted on January 18, 1865, in Company G, 9th Regiment New Jersey Infantry and had served until he was discharged on June 27, 1865. He died on May 27, 1875. It was the first marriage for both. They had no children living in 1890 who were under the age of sixteen. She appointed I. E. Rubenstein, Washington, D.C., as her attorney. Joseph N. Duffield attested to the application.
Earlier, on January 9, 1890, Dr. Henry C. Clark, aged 58, a resident of Woodbury, New Jersey, had made an affidavit that he had attended William F. Sparks from April 5, 1875, until his death on May 27, 1875. He said that Sparks had been brought home with consumption. Dr. Clark signed the affidavit as "Late Surgeon, 3 N. Jersey Infantry." (Note that he referred to Sparks as William F. Sparks.)
On December 29, 1890, Albertus S. Simmerman, aged 40, and Jacob Burroughs, aged 38, both residents of Cross Keys, New Jersey, swore that Lizzie Sparks had not remarried after the death of her husband, William F. Sparks. They also knew that neither the soldier nor his wife had been married previous to the time that Robert J. Andrews had joined them in wedlock.
On 1 April 1891, Robert J. Andrews, aged 59, a resident of Burlington, New Jersey, swore that he was the pastor of the Glassboro M: E. Church in 1865, and that, as such, he had married William F. Sparks and Lizzie Evans on November 23, 1865.
On June 26, 1891, the War Department informed the Bureau of Pensions that the "name of Wm. C. Sparks had not been found on the rolls of Co. G, 9 N.J. Inf." A few days later, however, the War Department confirmed that William C. Sparks had enrolled on October 8, 1861, in Co. I , 9th Regiment New Jersey Volunteers and had served until mustered out on July 12, 1865.
Lizzie Sparks made the following affidavit on August 27, 1891: "The late soldier, W. F. Sparks, came home from the War of 1861 in August or September 1865. I married him on November 23, 1865. After about 16 months when our child, John W. Sparks, was about 6 months old, W. F. Sparks left home and was gone some three years and when he came home he said that he had enlisted in the Regular Service and he did not say whether he had been in the Military or Naval Service. He did not stay home but a few weeks and went again and stayed away some three or four [sic, i.e., years] and came home and lived about six months and died May 27, 1875. I cannot say whether he was in the U.S. service after July 12, 1865 and know only what he told me and believe he told the truth about it." Richard Evans witnessed her affidavit.
During the period from August 1891 until August 1897, the attorney for Lizzie Sparks, I. E. Rubenstein, sent eight requests to the Commissioner of Pensions to furnish him the condition of his client's claim, and to tell him what evidence was needed to complete the claim. He said that he did not want to be held responsible for neglecting the case. To these requests, the Bureau of Pensions replied, on October 20, 1892, that there was a question of the identity of the soldier.
On August 20, 1891, Lizzie Sparks made an affidavit that her husband's name was William F. Sparks, but that when he enlisted in 1861, he enlisted under the name of William C. Sparks. A few months later, she made the following affidavit:
"To the best of my knowledge and belief, my husband, William F. Sparks, did not serve in the military or naval services of the United States subsequent to July 12, 1865. When my husband came home from the army, he stayed home about 16 months and left me for parts unknown and was gone about 5 or 6 years. I did not hear from him while he was away and when he came home the last time, he was sick and I could not learn from him where he had been. He died six months later.
My husband's name in the army was William C. Sparks. I married him by the name of William F. Sparks. I know of no one who can testify to the whereabouts of my husband during the time he was away from home."
On June 19, 1900, Henry F Chew, aged 62, a resident of Camden, New Jersey, made an affidavit to support the claim of Lizzie Sparks, He said that he had been the captain in command of Company I, 9th Regiment New Jersey Infantry from November 12, 1861, until March 9, 1862, and that William F. Sparks had been a member of that company, but that he was carried on the muster roll as William C. Sparks. Chew said that since the close of the war, he had talked with Sparks about the fact that the rolls of the company carried his name as William C. Sparks. Chew said that he knew that William F. Sparks, late husband of Lizzie Sparks, was the same person of William C. Sparks.
A month later, on July 20th, the War Department again confirmed the military service of William C. Sparks. He had been 19 years old when he enlisted in 1861. He was 5 feet, 7 inches tall; he had a light complexion, grey eyes, and brown hair; and he was a farmer. His medical records showed him as having been treated as follows: convalescing from typhoid fever, August 5 -13, 1862; wounded by shell in right shoulder at Battle of White Hall, North Carolina, December 20, 1862; wounded in right leg at Battle of New Bern, North Carolina, March 14, 1862; from July 5 to September 21, 1864, hospitalized for sunstroke; March 10, 1865, ruptured in charge over rebel breastworks at Wyses Fork before Kinston. On the list of discharges on Surgeon's Certificate May 1865 as unfit for Veterans Reserve Corps.
On the same day, Attorney Rubenstein was asked to respond to the following questions: (these questions were presented in abbreviated form probably because Mr. Rubenstein was an experienced pension attorney) "What divorce, widw, dependse: property etc. Prior service: further as to no prior marriage. Soldiers correct Christian name." There was nothing in the materials sent from this file in the National Archives to indicate whether the attorney responded to these questions, but stamped across the page is the word ABANDONED. No further material was sent by the Archives.
Notes by Paul E. Sparks regarding the pension application files abstracted above pertaining to William C. Sparks and William F. Sparks, both of whom were said to have served under the name WILLIAM C. SPARKS in Company I, 9th Regiment New Jersey Infantry (Volunteers) commanded by Captain Henry F. Chew.
There can be no doubt that the two pension files involving William C. Sparks and William F. Sparks, which were sent separately by the National Archives, are concerned with the same man.
In both files, reference is made to the wounds that he received in the Battle of New Bern, North Carolina, and the Battle of White Hall, North Carolina, as well as to the rupture that he received in charging the enemy's breastworks at Kinston. In addition, one of his former officers, Henry F. Chew, testified in support of both the application of William C. Sparks and the application of the widow of William F. Sparks, she claiming that he had served under the name William C. Sparks. In the case of the widow's application, Chew also stated that he knew that William C. Sparks was the same man as William F. Sparks.
From other sources, we know that William F. Sparks (his middle initial stood for Francis) was born at Wenonah (formerly called Dilk's Mill) in Gloucester County, New Jersey, on May 4, 1842. This information is given in Genealogical and Memorial History of the State of New Jersey compiled by Francis Bazley Lee and published by the Lewis Historical Publishing Company in 1910. (This material was included in an article in the Quarterly of September 1957, Whole No. 19, pp. 242-244, entitled "John Sparks (1717-1802) of Gloucester County, New Jersey. ") William Francis Sparks was a son of William C. Sparks who was born at Woodbury, Gloucester County, New Jersey, in 1809; he died on September 16, 1872. The mother of William Francis Sparks was Mary P. (Steen) Sparks who had been married to William C. Sparks in Gloucester County on January 1, 1833. Besides William Francis Sparks, William C. and Mary P. (Steen) Sparks had three other children: John Wesley Sparks, born ca. 1843; George W. Sparks, born ca. 1849; and Sarah Sparks, born after 1850.
On November 23, 1865, William Francis Sparks married Elizabeth ["Lizzie"] Evans at Glassboro, New Jersey. She had been born ca. 1843 and was a daughter of Richard and Elizabeth (Humphries) Evans. William F. and Elizabeth (Evans) Sparks, according to the Lee volume quoted above, had only one child, John Wesley Sparks born at Cross Keys in Gloucester County on September 22, 1866. This corresponds with statements regarding her son contained in Lizzie Sparks's pension application. If she was correct that William F. Sparks disappeared six months after his son was born, this would mean that he went away in March or April 1867. Note that the son was obviously named after his uncle.
It is curious to note that when the 1870 census was taken of Gloucester County, William F. Sparks was reported as then living with his parents, William C. and Mary P. (Steen) Sparks. His name was given on the census simply as "William Sparks," 27 years old and, by occupation, a "farm laborer" without property. Neither his wife, Elizabeth ["Lizzie"] nor his 4-year-old son, John Wesley Sparks, appear on the 1870 of Gloucester County. (This is the only New Jersey county that we have had searched for the 1870 census.)
The two pension files under discussion here have different file designation numbers. The file which is based upon information given in the Widow's Application for a pension bears the number 498,702. The other file is based upon information given to support the issuance of Invalid Certificate No. 207,249. While there is nothing in the materials sent by the National Archives to suggest that the Pension Bureau compared them as the Widow's Application of Lizzie Sparks was being considered, the fact that an Invalid Pension had already been awarded for the same service was surely the principal reason for the long delay and eventual abandonment of her application in 1890. She was never able, of course, to explain why, as Captain Chew acknowledged, her husband had served under the name William C. Sparks - - which was his father's name.
Although the two files supplement each other in many respects, there are two areas in which they differ dramatically. The first of these is the date of the soldier's death. According to the Widow's File, her husband died on May 27, 1875, in Gloucester County, New Jersey. This is the same date given by the attending physician, Dr. Henry C. Clark, and by the undertaker, Albertus Simmerman, who buried William F. Sparks on May 30, 1875, in the Bethel Cemetery in Gloucester County. This date is also given by Francis Bazley Lee in the Genealogical and Memorial History of the State of New Jersey quoted earlier.
This is, of course, contrary to information contained in the Invalid's File for William C. Sparks which gives the date of death as April 22, 1904, in Daytona, Florida. Just a month earlier, he had been asked to go to Orlando, Florida, for a medical examination, but the Bureau of Pensions was informed by Sparks's physician that he was unable to make the trip. Sparks was at that time receiving a pension of $6.00 per month based upon an application which he had made in 1879 in Woodbury, New Jersey.
The second striking difference in the two files pertains to the family of the two individuals. According to the Widow's File, she and William F. Sparks had only one child, a son; this is also clearly stated by Francis Bazley Lee in the volume mentioned above. According to Mr. Lee, John Wesley Sparks, born September 22, 1866, was the only child of William F. and Elizabeth (Evans) Sparks. John Wesley Sparks was married on June 7, 1894, to Charlesanna Sickler, only child of Benjamin Franklin and Mary Elizabeth Sickler. The marriage took place at Chew's Landing, New Jersey. An entry in a volume entitled Who's Who in New York published in 1924 reveals that John Wesley Sparks was a successful banker and broker in Philadelphia and founded the firm then called J. W. Sparks & Company.
The Invalid's Pension File of William C. Sparks contains no reference to a wife. A daughter, Mattie Sparks, however, cared for this pensioner prior to his death. In her letter to the Bureau of Pensions in March 1904 (given on page 2697) also referred to her brothers who also helped care for her father. This would indicate that the pensioner had at least one daughter and two sons who were with him in Florida when he died.
There appears to be ample evidence that William F. Sparks whose widow, Elizabeth ["Lizzie"], was unsuccessful in her attempt to obtain a pension did, indeed, die in Gloucester County on May 27, 1875. From Captain Chew's affidavit of June 19, 1900, it would appear that he had, indeed, served in Chew's company in the Civil War (Company I, 9th Regiment New Jersey Infantry). The captain knew him following the war and remembered that he had talked with him about the fact that he had served under the name William C. Sparks. But why did he serve under his father's name? His father seems to have been a prominent man (his property was valued at $10,000 in 1850, a very large amount then). Was a simple error made by an officer (Chew himself?) when the son's name was entered into the roster? Did the son, then only 19, simply not bother to correct it?
Why did Elizabeth (Evans) Sparks claim to know so little about her husband's life after their marriage? We know that he was living with his parents when the 1870 census was taken. Were they divorced? Noting his severe wounds and illnesses during his four years of service (including a sunstroke), plus the fact that he died only ten years following his discharge, might one wonder whether he could have been mentally affected by his war experiences?
Was the William C. Sparks who died in Florida in 1904, having applied for a pension in 1879 (four years following the death of William F. Sparks) an impostor? (When the 1850 census of Gloucester County was taken, only William F. Sparks was shown as a boy with the name William.) If so, why did Captain Chew support his claim with an affidavit in 1882. He wrote on behalf of Lizzie Sparks, widow of William F. Sparks, in 1900 knowing that William C. Sparks and William F. Sparks were the same person.
Does any reader happen to have knowledge of this branch of the Sparks family?
|JOHN SPARKS||was born ca. 1827 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On November 18, 1848, he married Sarah Ann Ferrell in Philadelphia. He served in Company E, 10th Regt. New York Infantry and in Company A, 3rd Regt. U.S. Veterans Volunteers. File Designation: Wid. Cert. No. 357,170.|
On March 20, 1889, Sarah Ann Sparks, aged 61, a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, made a declaration for a Widow's Pension. She said she married John Sparks on November 18, 1848, at Philadelphia by the Rev. Wm. Barnes. It was the first marriage for both. Her maiden name had been Sarah Ann Ferrell. Her husband had enlisted on April 30, 1861, in New York in Company E, 10th Regiment New York Infantry and while serving in that organization contracted chills, fever, and colds which led to consumption and which caused his death on March 3, 1872. Matthew Anson and George W. Morrison witnessed her make her mark, and the declaration was sworn to before T. W. South, Magistrate of Court 21.
The War Department confirmed the military service of John Sparks on November 27, 1889. He was enrolled on April 30, 1861, in Company E, 10th Regiment New York Infantry as a musician, and he had served until he was mustered out with his company on May 7, 1863. He was present for duty except from October 31, 1862, to April 10, 1863, when he was carried on a special roster as "Absent sick." He was treated at St. Elizabeth General Hospital in Washington, D.C., from September 23, 1862, to October 7, 1862, and was then returned to duty.
The Philadelphia Health Office sent a copy of the Death Certificate of John Sparks to the Bureau of Pensions on December 5, 1890. He had died on February 3, 1872, of phtisis pulmonaus. He was 45 years of age and a machinist. He was buried in the Hanover Street Ground by John A. Franke, undertaker.
Sarah A. Sparks applied again for a Widow's Pension on September 21, 1891. She said that in addition to her husband's service in the 10th Regiment New York Infantry, he had also served in Company A, 3rd U.S. Veteran Volunteers from February 15, 1865, until he had been discharged on February 15, 1866. She appointed James B. O'Neill of Philadelphia as her attorney. Harry C. Piper and P. E. Costello witnessed her make her mark.
Andrew Ribble, aged 76, and Charles Ribble, aged 43, both residents of Philadelphia, made a joint affidavit on October 7, 1891, to support the claim of Sarah A. Sparks. They stated that, as neighbors to John and Sarah A. Sparks, they knew that (1) this couple were never married before they married each other; (2) Sarah A. Sparks had not remarried since the death of her husband; and (3) she owned no real estate and had no income other than that which came from her own daily labor.
A few days later, on October 23rd, Sarah A. Sparks executed an Inability Affidavit in which she stated that "when she and John Sparks were married on November 7, 1848, by the Rev. Wm. H. Barnes there was no law for the public record of marriages, hence there was no record made of her marriage, and several years ago, the sanctuary of the M. E. Church on 5th Street below Girard Avenue in Philadelphia where she was married, had been sold and she cannot acertain who has the books of said church. Her marriage certificate was destroyed several years ago by accident." Wm. Miller and P. E. Costello witnessed her make her mark.
A week later, the pastor of the Tacony Methodist Church, G. G. Rakestraw, sent a copy of an extract from the Record of Deaths of the church, showing that John Sparks, son of John and Sarah Sparks, had been baptized on October 1, 1882. He was born November l, 1850.
On November 9, 1891, the pastor of the 7th Street Methodist Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, William Charles Webb, sent a church record to the Bureau of Pensions showing that Mary Ann Sparks, daughter of John and Sarah Ann Sparks, had been baptized on May 2, 1869. He was born November 1, 1850.
On December 23, 1891, the War Department sent a supplement to the record of John Sparks's military service. He was shown to have enlisted on February 15, 1865, in Company A, 3rd Regiment U.S. Volunteers and had served until he was mustered out on February 14, 1866. From November 18, 1865, until November 23, 1865, he was treated for bronchitis and returned to duty.
Widow Certificate No. 356,170 was issued to Sarah A. Sparks and she was placed upon the pension roll. When she died on March 3, 1918, she was receiving a pension of $25.00 per month.
On May 24, 1818, Mary Scank, aged 66, a resident of Philadelphia, applied for reimbursement for expenses incurred during the last sickness and death of her mother, Sarah A. Sparks, who was a pensioner. She said her mother's medical expenses were $25.00 and the burial expenses had been $214.00. All of the expenses had been paid. Nothing was sent by the Archives from this file to indicate the action taken by the Bureau of Pensions on this request.
(Editor's Note: In all probability, the John Sparks whose Civil War service is described above was the same John Sparks who was listed on the 1850 census of the City of Philadelphia in Ward 7 of Northern Liberties. He was described as 22 years of age; with him was his wife, Sarah, also aged 22, and their one-year old son, Albert. His occupation was given as "Comb maker" and Pennsylvania was given as his place of birth as well as that for his wife and child. See page 2415 of the June 1982 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 118.)
|CHARLES SPARKS,||son of Abner Sparks, was born May 1, 1841 or 1843, probably in Maine. On January 30, 1868, he married Martha A. Brown at Camden, New Jersey. He served in Company E, 1st Regiment New Jersey Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 904,859; Wid. Appl. No. 1,558,324.|
On January 28, 1893, the Bureau of Pensions requested the War Department to furnish the military records of Charles Sparks. The War Department responded three days later. Sparks had enlisted at Camden, New Jersey, on May 23, 1861, in Company E, 1st Regiment New Jersey Infantry. He had been taken prisoner on August 27, 1861, at Manassas, Virginia. He was paroled on October 3, 1862, and returned to his company on April 7, 1863. He was reported as deserted on July 2, 1863, near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, but the charge was later removed. He was placed on recruiting duty from February 17, to March 24, 1864, and was discharged on May 5, 1864, at Washington, D.C. While on the march to Gettysburg, he was disabled by sunstroke and hospitalized at Baltimore, Maryland. Medical records also showed him as absent sick in April 1862.
Invalid Certificate No. 904,859 was issued to Charles Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll.
On May 3, 1898, Martha A. Sparks, wife and guardian of Charles Sparks, responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. She said that she and Sparks had been married on January 30, 1868, at Camden, New Jersey, by the Rev. Henry Baker, Jr.
She stated that she had been married under her maiden name, Martha A. Brown. It was the first marriage for both. They had two children: George C. Sparks, born March 31, 1872, and Alice B. Sparks, born September 6, 1874.
Martha A. Sparks applied for inceased pension benefits for her husband on May 17, 1912, under the provisions of the 1912 Act of Congress. She said she was the guardian of her husband, who was insane. He was now 71 years of age, having been born on May 1, 1841, in Maine. He was 5 feet, 5 inches tall; he had had a light complexion, blue eyes and light hair, and he had been a tobacconist when he enlisted. Since their marriage, they had lived in Wilmington, Delaware, until 1878; in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to 1881; in Cape May, New Jersey, until 1885; in Woodbury, New Jersey, until 1894; and in Washington, D.C., Laurel, Maryland, and Landover, Maryland, where they presently lived.
Apparently Charles Sparks recovered from his mental disorder for on June 21, 1920, he applied for increased pension benefits under the 1920 Act of Congress. He was now 77 years of age and a resident of Landover, Maryland. He said he suffered from arterio-schlerosis, chronic nephritis, including two attacks of uremia with convulsions, and general debility. Jennie Rowe and Annie Bailey witnessed his declaration which was sworn to before John Coyne, a notary public.
Charles Sparks died at Columbia Park, Maryland, on October 16, 1926, of apoplexy. His son, George C. Sparks, gave the information to complete the Certificate of Death. He said his father was born May 1, 1843, in Maine, and was the son of Abner Sparks. He did not know the birthplace of his father's father nor the name of his father's mother. Charles Sparks was buried in the Arlington National Cemetery.
On October 22, 1926, Martha A. Sparks applied for a widow's pension. She said she had been born on September 20, 1848, at Blackwood, New Jersey. Mrs. C. C. Cagley and William C. Brown witnessed her signature. Nothing was sent by the National Archives from this file to indicate whether Martha A. Sparks ever received a pension; she may have died before a certificate could be issued.
(Editor's Note: Whereas the wife of Charles Sparks gave his date of birth as May 1, 1841, in response to a questionnaire in 1898, his son gave the date as May 1, 1843, for his death certificate in 1926. Both wife and son stated that Charles had been born in Maine. The son stated that the father of Charles Sparks was Abner Sparks. No Abner Sparks appears on the 1850 census of Maine, however. We believe that on the 1850 census, Charles appeared on that for the city of Camden, New Jersey, in the family of Abner and Hope Sparks. Note that it was in Camden that Charles Sparks enlisted in 1861. (See page 2435 of the Quarterly for September 1982, Whole No. 119, for this census record.) While New Jersey was given on the census as the birthplace of Charles Sparks, errors of this nature are not unusual. Abner Sparks was 34 years old in 1850 (thus born ca. 1816) according to this census record, with his place of birth as New Jersey. Hope Sparks was 28, thus born ca. 1822, also in New Jersey. The age of Charles was given as 6, which is more in keeping with the birth date (1843) given for him by his son on his death certificate. From the 1850 census, it appears that Abner and Hope Sparks also had a son named Alfred, born ca. 1842, and a son named David, born ca. 1848.)
|JOSEPH BARNES SPARKS,||son of Samuel and Rachel (Gladding) Sparks, was born October 30, 1838, in Bristol, Rhode Island. He married Isabel M. Gladding on September 25, 1861. He served in Company G, 2nd Regiment Rhode Island Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 283,982; Wid. Cert. No. 739, 3142.|
A copy of the application for an invalid pension made by Joseph B. Sparks was not included in the packet of documents provided from his pension file by the National Archives, but apparently he made application ca. 1882. Two physicians testified in his behalf. Dr. George B. Crane testified that he had treated Sparks for a chronic bronchitis without much success. It was his understanding that Sparks had contracted this disease while in the service, and it had gotten so severe that Sparks had had to change his occupation. Dr. George W. Cass, Providence, Rhode Island, formerly Surgeon of the 2nd Regiment Rhode Island Infantry, also testified that he had treated Sparks while they were in the service together in November 1863.
William H. Buffington, a pharmacist of Bristol, Rhode Island, made an affidavit stating that he had known Sparks since they were school-boys together and, that after Sparks returned from service, he had suffered from a disease of the lungs. At the time, he (Buffington) was a clerk in the office of Dr. Samuel S. Drury who had prescribed a medicine for Sparks which was supposed to help him with a bad hacking cough. The cough had gotten so bad that Sparks had had to change jobs.
The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service on January 8, 1884. He had been enrolled in Company G, 2nd Regiment Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry at Providence on June 5, 1861, for a term of three years. He was reported as sick in September 1862 and was sent to the Portsmouth Grove Hospital where he stayed until April 1863 when he was sent to Harewood Hospital in Washington, D.C. He remained there until he was restored to duty on August 30, 1863. He was present for duty until he was mustered out with his company on June 17, 1864.
On November 15, 1887, Joseph B. Sparks was issued Invalid Certificate No. 283,982 and he was placed upon the pension rolls at the rate of 15.00 per month for "Disease of throat and resulting slight deafness of both ears."
Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions on June 4, 1898. He stated that he had been married to Isabell M. Gladding on September 25, 1861, at Warren, Rhode Island, by the Rev. L. D. Davis. They had six living children:
Samuel O. Sparks, born December 28, 1861
Emma B. Sparks, born December 12, 1868
Grace L. Sparks, born in August 1870
Rosa E. Sparks, born October 12, 1873
Nathaniel W. Sparks, born May 14, 1879
Rachel Sparks, born June 14, 1881
Joseph Sparks died on January 9, 1912 at the age of 73 years, 2 months, and 9 days. According to his death certificate, he was a son of Samuel and Rachel (Gladding) Sparks, natives of Bristol, Rhode Island.
On January 23, 1912, Isabel M. Sparks, widow of Joseph, aged 66, a resident of Bristol, Rhode Island, made application for a widow's pension under the provisions of the 1908 Act of Congress. Annie E. Bowler, aged 74, and Mary E. Montress, aged 68, witnessed her signature and the application was sworn to before George N. Peck, a notary public. The application was accompanied by a copy of the marriage record of Joseph B. Sparks and Isabel M. Gladding. They were married on September 25, 1861, at Bristol, Rhode Island. He was 22 years of age and a rope maker. He was a son of Samuel and Rachel Sparks. Isabel was 16 years of age and a daughter of Nathaniel and Sarah A. Gladding.
Widow Certificate No. 739,342 was issued to Isabel M. Sparks and she was placed upon the pension rolls.
(Editor's Note: As indicated in the above documents, the parents of Joseph Barnes Sparks were Samuel and Rachel (Gladding) Sparks. Samuel Sparks, whose middle name was Cole, was born in Warren, Rhode Island, on September 2, 1796. On December 3, 1818, he married Rachel Gladding, daughter of John and Rachel Gladding. She was born ca. 1800. Samuel died in Bristol, Rhode Island, on September 13, 1872; his wife, Rachel, died on March 12, 1863. The children of Samuel Cole and Rachel (Gladding) Sparks were: (1) Samuel Sparks, born ca. 1830, died June 22, 1852; (2) Albert M. Sparks, born ca. 1830, died November 11, 1922; (3) Lydia Sparks, born ca. 1831, married James Francis Stoughton; (4) Susan Sparks, born ca. 1834; (5) Joseph Barnes Sparks, born October 30, 1838; and (6) John C. Sparks, born ca. 1841, died May 22, 1889. The grandfather of Joseph Barnes Sparks was also named Joseph Sparks - - he died at sea on January 8, 1795, on a homeward voyage. His wife was named Charity Hicks. Following the death of Joseph Sparks, his widow was married on March 30, 1778, to Thomas Champlin. In 1837, Charity applied for a pension based on her second husband's service in the American Revolution. A reproduction of those papers, along with other notes on the Sparks family, appeared in the Quarterly for June 1979, Whole No. 106, pp. 2106-2108.)