October 6, 2017

Pages 2812-2819
Whole Number 132

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



(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 chosen from each file by a searcher at the Archives that he or she has concluded have genealogical significance. Xerox copies of these papers sup plied by the Archives have been the basis of the abstracts given here. The abstracting has been done by the Association's president, Dr. Paul E. Sparks.)

WILLIAM PALMER SPARKS, son of Hamlet and Elizabeth (Cheesman) Sparks, was born 1 April 1843, at Moore's Hill, Indiana. He married Anna Minerva Harding on October 18, 1866, in Dearborn County, Indiana. He served in Co. I, 83rd Regt. Indiana Infantry. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 697,777.

On September 4, 1888, William Palmer Sparks, aged 45, a resident of Grant City, Missouri, appeared before W. F. Osman, Circuit Court Clerk of Worth County, Missouri, and made an application for an invalid pension. He swore that he had been enrolled on September 8, 1862, in Company I, commanded by Capt. William N. Craw, of the 83rd Regiment of Indiana Infantry Volunteers to serve for three years or during the war, and that he had been discharged on June 1, 1865, at Washington, D. C. On or about December 24, 1864, while stationed at Beaufort, South Carolina, he had incurred scurvy and rheumatism which had left him in such a helpless condition that he was sent to Davids Island, New York Harbor, on January 11, 1865, for treatment. Afterwards, he had been furloughed to his home, but by that time his eyes had become so badly diseased, and he had become so disabled by rheumatism, that he was unfit for manual labor. He appointed Norval G. Sparks, Moores Hill, Indiana, as his agent. J. W. Waltour and H. Lovelace witnessed his signature.

The military service of William Sparks was confirmed by the War Department on December 22, 1888: that he had been enrolled on July 30, 1862, at Wimington in Company I, 83rd Regiment Indiana Volunteers, and that he had been present for duty, except for periods of illness at LaGrange, Tennessee, in October 1863 and at Beaufort, South Carolina, in January 1865. He had been mustered out with his company near Washington, D.C., on June 1, 1865.

A comrade of Sparks, Richard Folsom, a resident of Osage, Iowa, testified on June 7, 1889, that he had been with Sparks at Beaufort, South Carolina, after the fight at Fort McCalaster [actually spelled McAllister and located in Georgia, this battle was part of Sherman's siege of Savannah] in December 1864, when Sparks had been taken ill and had to be sent to Davids Island in New York for treatment.

On March 24, 1891, Benjamin J. Harding, aged 43, a resident of Grant City, Missouri, said he had come from Indiana to Missouri with Sparks in 1877, and lived about three miles from him. Sparks was now so crippled with the rheumatism in his right leg that he was unable to do any manual labor.

W. W. Chisman, aged 50, a resident of Augusta, Kansas, made an affidavit on October 6, 1894, to support Sparks's claim. He said that he remembered when Dr. Isgrigg of Dearborn County, Indiana, had operated on Sparks's right eye just after Sparks had been discharged from the military service. F. H. Shannon and J. C. Walker witnessed Chisman's signature.

Invalid Certificate No. 697,777 was issued to William P. Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll. On February 16, 1897, he applied for additional pension benefits, claiming that he was now unable to earn his support by manual labor. He appointed Tabor and Whitman, Washington, D. C. , as his attorneys. His application was witnessed by Will E. Hotaling and Jehu Early [?].

Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions on May 4, 1898. He said that he had been married to Minerva Ann Harding [her name was actually Anna Minerva Harding] on October 18, 1866, at Moores Hill, Indiana, by the Rev. George P. Jenkins. They had seven children who were still living in 1898: (1) Lillie, born July 19, 1867; (2) Harry, born 17 Jan1869; (3) I da [ I da May] born May 30, 1875; (4) Willie [William Eugene], born March 4, 1877; (5) Mont [Albert Montgomery], born January 12, 1881; (6) Alice [Mary Alice], born May 4, 1884; and (7) Dorothy [Dorothy Helen], born July 12, 1894.

William Palmer Sparks applied again on May 7, 1900, for an increase in his pension benefits. He repeated his military record, but added that his company commander had been H. J. Bradford, who was on the staff of General W. B. Hazen. His personal description had been that he was 5 feet, 7 inches tall, and that he had a dark complexion, black hair, and black eyes. J. L. Dawson and W. H. McKinley witnessed this application.

William Palmer Sparks died on April 25, 1915, and on May 21, 1915, his son, William Eugene Sparks, aged 38, and a resident of Grant City, Missouri, applied for reimbursement for the final expenses of his father's illness and funeral. He stated that his father was a widower, and that his wife, Anna Minerva (Harding) Sparks, had died on March 14, 1910. He stated that his father had died in the Ida Grove, Iowa, Hospital where his expenses (now paid) amounted to $284.50. His father's funeral expenses amounted to $85.50, so that the total amount of the last illness and burial was $390.00. Nothing was sent to us by the National Archives from this file to indicate what action was taken upon this request for reimbursement.

(Editor's Note: Photographs taken of William Palmer and Anna Minerva (Harding) Sparks at the time of the marriage in 1866 appear on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly. Biographical data appear on page 2811.)

DAVID W. SPARKS (1.2.5.2.5.6.7) son of Joseph S. and Elizabeth (Naill) Sparks, was born July 15, 1833, in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. He married Evaline Pomeroy on June 28, 1863, in Bureau County, Illinois. He served in the 12th and 93rd Regiments Illinois Infantry. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 859,342.

On August 5, 1878, David W. Sparks applied for an invalid pension. He was 45 years of age and a resident of Wyanet, Illinois. He stated that he had enrolled on October 13, 1862, as a 1st Lieutenant and Adjutant of the 93rd Regiment Illinois Infantry commanded by Holden Putnam, and had served until he had been discharged on December 29, 1862, at Memphis, Tennessee. He said he had been 6 feet tall; that he had a light complexion, light hair, and dark eyes; and that he had been a commercial agent at the time he entered service.

Sparks went on to state that on November 9, 1862, while stationed at Camp Douglas, Chicago, Illinois, he had been ordered to go into Chicago to arrange for transportation for his regiment, and while on his way, he had been thrown by his horse which had fallen on him and ruptured his left side. The injury had been so severe that he had been forced to resign and return to his home where he had been treated by the family physician, Dr. Swanzy, in Bureau County, Illinois. Dr. Swanzy was now dead. The rupture had left him (Sparks) disabled and unable to earn his subsistence. He requested that he be placed upon the the pension roll. He appointed Samuel V. Niles, Washington, D. C. , as his attorney. George W. Stone and Matthew Gramer witnessed his signature, and the application was sworn to before L. W. Paddock, Clerk of Bureau County, Illinois.

On July 5, 1880, Sparks made an affidavit in which he stated that he had forgotten the name of the officer who had examined him when he was mustered into the service, but the officer who had treated him for the injury was Capt. John Hopkins, a physician and surgeon of Company B, 93rd Regiment Illinois Infantry. Capt. Hopkins was now dead, and he (Sparks) could furnish no other medical evidence to support his claim.

Sparks's application was apparently rejected, for on August 22, 1891, he reapplied for a pension. He was now 58 years of age and a resident of Phoenix, Arizona Territory. He said that he was now unable to earn his support because of the hernia on his left side caused by the horse falling on him while he was a member of the 93rd Regiment Illinois Infantry. He went on to say that he had been first enrolled in Company H, 12th Regiment Illinois Infantry on May 1, 1861, and had been mustered out on August 8, 1861, at Cairo, Illinois. He had reenlisted on July 12, 1862, in Company C, 93rd Regiment Illinois Infantry and had been appointed Regimental Adjutant on October 25, 1862. He had held that post until he was discharged because of his injury on December 29, 1862. He appointed Chas. W. Dorsey, Washington, D.C., as his attorney. Eugene Graham and William E. Thomas witnessed his signature.

On February 8, 1892, the War Department confirmed Sparks's military service in the 12th Regiment Illinois Infantry. He was issued Invalid Certificate No. 859,342 and placed upon the pension roll.

Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions on June 6, 1898. He said that he had been married on June 28, 1863, to Evaline Pomeroy by the Rev. Aultman at Princeton, Illinois. They had had three children, all of whom were living. They were:

1. Ione Sparks, born November 21, 1869.
2. Joseph Lyman Sparks, born January 25, 1872.
3. Ralph Waldo Sparks, born August 18, 1875.

Sparks applied for increased pension benefits on July 16, 1908. He was now 75 years of age and a resident of Phoenix, Arizona. He said that he had been born July 15, 1833, at Rays Hill, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. After leaving the service, he had lived in Bureau County, Illinois, until 1889 when he had moved to Phoenix.

When David W. Sparks died about two months later, on September 2, 1908, he was receiving a pension of $15.00 per month.

(Editor's Note: Joseph S. Sparks (1794 -1868), father of David W. Sparks, received bounty land for his military service during the War of 1812, details of which were published on pages 585-587 of the September 1961 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 35. The grandfather of David W. Sparks was Solomon Sparks (1760-1842), who served during the Revolutionary War and whose pension file was abstracted and published on pages 59-61 of the March 1955 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 9. Proof of the parentage of Joseph S. Sparks was published on pages 912-913 of the June 1965 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 50.)

JAMES SPARKS (1.2.5.2.2.1.1), son of William and Susan (--?--) Sparks, born March 12, 1831, in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. He married Margaret Stuckey on September 15, 1859, at Clearville, Pennsylvania. He served in Company K, 208th Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 192,892.

On February 18, 1879, 1.2.5.2.2.1.1 James Sparks, aged 47, a resident of Everett, West ProvidenceTownship, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, applied for an invalid pension. He stated that he had been enrolled on August 18, 1864, in Company K, 208th Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry, commanded by Col. McCalvett, and had served untill he was discharged at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on June 5, 1865. At the time he was 5 feet, 10 inches tall, he had a fair complexion, sandy hair and blue eyes, and he was a farmer. On April 2, 1865, he had received a gunshot wound in his left arm while charging a fort in front of Petersburg, Virginia. He had been treated in the hospitals at City Point, Virginia, and at Washington, D. C. He was now disabled so that he could not earn his subsistence. He appointed Hayes Irvine, Bedford, Pennsylvania, as his attorney. J. N. Alsip and Joe W. Tate witnessed his signature.

The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service on April 14, 1881. He had been enrolled on August 18, 1864, at Bloody Run, Pennsylvania, as a private in Company K, 208th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. He had been hospitalized on April 2, 1865, for a gunshot wound in his left lower arm which he had received in front of Petersburg, Virginia. He was mustered out with his company on June 5, 1865.

Invalid Certificate No. 192,892 was issued to James Sparks, and he was placed on the pension roll.

On February 19, 1886, Wilson W. Sparks, late Lieutenant of Company K, 208th Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry, completed an Officer's Certificate of Disability to support a request of James Sparks for increased pension benefits. Lieut. Sparks stated that in the fall of 1864, while stationed near Bermuda Hundred, Virginia, James Sparks had been afflicted with a severe swelling of the legs and had been unfit for duty for several days. Prior to this affliction, Sparks had been a sound man free from any disability. Lieut. Sparks said he was well acquainted with James Sparks since boyhood days since they were raised about two miles from each other. [The abstract of the pension file for Wilson W. Sparks was published in the Quarterly of June 1977, Whole No. 98, pp. 1914-15.]

On September 25, 1886, the War Department again reported to the Bureau of Pensions on the military records of James Sparks. With the exception of the gunshot wound, Sparks had been in the General Regimental Hospital only one other time and that had been on December 21, 1864.

Affidavits concerning the general health of James Sparks prior to and after returning from the military service were made in his behalf for several years after 1886. Among those making affidavits were: Elizabeth Foor, aged 54; Charles Mortimer, aged 43; James Avey, aged 67; Thomas Weaverling, aged 43; and John Clark, aged 56; all residents of Everett, Pennsylvania. Other affidavits were made by William H. Gates, aged 59, a resident of Yellow Creek, Pennsylvania; James H. Everhart, aged 52, a resident of Tatesville, Pennsylvania; and Abram Stuckey aged 57, a resident of Clearville, Pennsylvania. Nothing was sent from the pension file of James Sparks to indicate whether or not these affidavits had any effect on his request for increased pension benefits.

On July 4, 1898, James Sparks returned a questionnaire to the Bureau of Pensions. He stated that he had been married to Margaret Stuckey on September 15, 1859, near Clearville, Pennsylvania, by the Rev. B. A. Cooper. She had died on February 12, 1879, near Everett, Pennsylvania. Children born to the marriage were:

1.2.5.2.2.1.1.1 Matilda Sparks, born September 26, 1860. She was now Matilda Mortimer.
1.2.5.2.2.1.1.2 Maria Ann Sparks, born December 6, 1862. She was now Maria Ann Koontz.
1.2.5.2.2.1.1.3 Jonas Sparks, born April 13, 1865.
1.2.5.2.2.1.1.4 Ruth Sparks, born September 24, 1867. She was now Ruth Weimer.
1.2.5.2.2.1.1.5 Daniel Sparks, born February 17, 1870.
1.2.5.2.2.1.1.6 Henrietta Sparks, born January 18, 1873. She was now Henrietta Horton.
1.2.5.2.2.1.1.7 William Sparks, born in 1876, now deceased.

James Sparks died on January 23, 1904. A check payable to him for his pension, in the amount of $12.00, was returned to the Bureau of Pensions on January 4, 1904, and marked as "Unclaimed."

(Editor's Note: James Sparks was a grandson of James and Nancy ["Ann"] (Rogers) Sparks. See pages 585-87 of the September 1961 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 35, for further details about this branch of the Sparks family.)

1.2.5.2.2.3.2 JAMES H. SPARKS son of 1.2.5.2.2 Absalom and Mahala (Grubb) Sparks, was born June 2, 1841, at Everett, Pennsylvania. He married Elizabeth Gibson on April 12, 1864, in Bedford County, Pennsylvania.He served in Company K,133rd Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry and in Company K, 208th Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 419,679; Wid. Cert. No. 840,153.

On March 26, 1879, James H. Sparks, aged 35, a resident of West Providence Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, applied for an invalid pension. He said that he had been enrolled on August 18, 1864, in Company K, 208th Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry and had served until he was mustered out with his company on June 1, 1865, at Alexandria, Virginia. He was 5 feet, 6 inches tall; he had a fair complexion, sandy hair and blue eyes; and he was a farmer when he entered the Union Army.

Sparks went on to state that on December 11, 1864, while stationed at Petersburg, Virginia, he had contracted rheumatism from exposure to the cold and wet weather. His command made frequent marches during the night and on one occasion he had been so tired from supporting a comrade that he went to sleep in the mud and nearly froze to death. As a result of this exposure, his left leg was now "drawn up and much shorter than my right leg." He had remained with his company on light duty which he preferred rather than going to the Regimental Hospital. He said he had also served in Company K, 133rd Regiment Pennsylvania Infan try, but that he had been discharged on May 26, 1863. He appointed D. Stewart Elliott, of Everett, Pennsylvania, as his attorney. J. N. Alsip and Joe W. Tate witnessed him make his mark.

On June 29, 1882, Sparks made an affidavit that he had enlisted in Company K, 133rd Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry on August 29, 1862, and that his name had appeared on the roll of that company without the second initial letter, but simply as "James Sparks." After his discharge on May 26, 1863, he had afterwards reenlisted in Company K, 208th Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry, but had been carried on the roll of that company as "James H. Sparks" since there had been another James Sparks in that said company. [This other James Sparks was the one whose pension papers have been abstracted beginning on page 2815 of this issue of the Quarterly.]

[Note: Both were grandsons of James Sparks (1755-1841), the other was a son of William Sparks, and this James was a son of Absalom Sparks.] It was while he was a member of the latter company that he had incurred his disability.

On December 11, 1882, the War Department sent a report to the Bureau of Pensions which obviously confused the military service of the two James Sparkses in Company K, 208th Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry. Both men had been enrolled at Bloody Run, Pennsylvania; both had similar physical descriptions; and both had been stationed at Petersburg, Virginia. Apparently because of the confusion of the two records, no action was taken on the application of James H. Sparks.

On January 5, 1885, Joseph Williams, aged 55, and a resident of Everett, Pennsylvania, testified that as a former comrade of Sparks in Company K, 208th Regiment, he had been present when Sparks contracted rheumatism in his left hip. Sparks had been lame until he had been mustered out of the service, but his injury was much worse now.

Williams was supported by testimony from James W. South, aged 46, and a resident of Masonville, Iowa. South said Sparks had been so severely affected by the forced marches that he had had great difficulty in simply walking around the company area.

Apparently the testimony of Sparks's comrades was successful, for Invalid Certificate No. 419,679 was issued to him and he was placed upon the pension roll.

Sparks returned a questionnaire to the Bureau of Pensions on December 30, 1897. He said that he had been married on April 12, 1864, to Elizabeth Gibson by the Rev. Pollsgrove in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. They had had three children:

1. Mary A. Sparks, born June 3, 1867.
2. Sarah J. Sparks, born August 2, 1869.
3. Curtis G. Sparks, born September 21, 1873.

1.2.5.2.2.3.2 James H. Sparks was receiving a pension of $30.00 per month when he died on October 13, 1917, at Everett, Pennsylvania. According to the Certificate of Death filed by Alice M. Leonard, he had been born June 2, 1841, and was a son of Absalom and Mahala (Grubb) Sparks. He was buried in the Sparks Graveyard at Everett, Pennsylvania. It was also stated that he was "widowed," but this was an error.

On October 17, 1917, Elizabeth Sparks applied for a widow's pension. She stated that she had been born December 18, 1840, in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, and that she had been married to James H. Sparks on April 12, 1864, in Bedford County by the Rev. J. B. Polsgrove. It had been the first marriage for both. She asked for the accrued pension of her late husband and for a pension as his widow. Frank D. Leonard and Harry E. Leonard, both residents of Everett, Pennsylvania, witnessed her make her mark.

On October 24, 1917, Jacob Gogley, aged 75, William W. Whisel, aged 77, George W. Gibson, aged 62, and L. H. Peck, aged 73, all residents of Everett, Pennsylvania, made affidavits that they had been present when James H. Sparks and Elizabeth Gibson were married, and that they had lived together as man and wife until his death on October 13, 1917.

On January 28, 1918, Robert J. Allen, pastor of the Everett Methodist Episcopal Church, sent the Bureau of Pensions a church record showing that on April 12, 1864, James Sparks of West Providence Township and Elizabeth Gibson, Snake Spring Township, had been married in the bride's home by the Rev. J. B. Polsgrove. Witnesses had been George Gibson, Sr. and Elizabeth Amick.

Widow Certificate No. 840,153 was issued to Elizabeth Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension roll. When she died on January 2, 1927, she was receiving a pension of $50.00 per month.

(Editor's Note: James H. Sparks was a grandson of James and Nancy (Rogers) Sparks. See pages 584 -7 of the September 1961 issue of THE SPARKS Quarterly, Whole No. 35, for further details about this branch of the Sparks family.)

1.2.5.2.1.8.1.3 JOHN CLAY SPARKS son of 1.2.5.2.1.8.1 John and Rebecca (Wareham) Sparks, was born April 25, 1844, at Indian Springs, Pennsylvania. He served in Company K, 133rd Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry; in Company I, 194th Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry; and in Company C, 82nd Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 856,575.

On August 2, 1890, John C. Sparks, aged 46, a resident of Everett, Pennsylvania, applied for an invalid pension. He stated that he had enlisted on August 29, 1862, in Company K, 133rd Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry and had served until he was discharged at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on May 26, 1863. He was now unable to earn his support because of rheumatism and a disease of the eyes caused by his military service. Lewis M. Piper and W. W. McDaniel witnessed his signature.

The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service on February 20, 1891, exactly as he had stated.on his application, however, no pension certificate was issued.

On July 15, 1892, Sparks made a general affidavit to support his pension claim. He stated that in addition to his military service from August 1862 until May 1863, he had served in Company I, 194th Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry from July 1864, until November 1864 for a term of 100 days and was then discharged. He had also served in Company C, 82nd Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry from November 1864 until July 13, 1865, when he had been discharged by the general order from the War Department at the end of the war.

On April 26, 1897, the War Department again confirmed Sparks's military service as he had stated it to be. The Bureau of Pensions issued Invalid Certificate No. 856,575, and he was placed upon the pension roll.

John C. Sparks applied for increased pension benefits on February 18, 1907, under the 1907 Act of Congress. He said that he had been born April 25, 1844, at Indian Springs, Pennsylvania. He had been 5 feet, 10 inches tall, with a fair complexion, dark eyes and black hair, and that he had been a farmer when he entered the Union Army. He stated that he had never been married. Since he left the service, he had lived in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, except for a period (1876 to 1882) when he had lived in Butte County, California. J. M. VanHorn and L. M. VanHorn witnessed his signature.

When John C. Sparks died on November 24, 1924, at Everett, Pennsylvania, he was receiving a pension of $50.00 per month.

(Editor's Note: John C. Sparks [relatives say that the "C" was for "Clay"] was a son of John and Rebecca (Wareham) Sparks who appeared on the 1850 and 1870 censuses of Bedford County, Pennsylvania. He was a grandson of Joseph, Jr. and Elizabeth (--?--) Sparks and a great-grandson of Joseph, Sr. and Mary (McDaniel) Sparks. See pages 529 - 30 of the March 1961 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 33, and pages 585 - 7 of the September 1961 issue of the Quarterly, Whole. No. 36.)

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