April 8, 2018

Pages 2858-2865
Whole Number 133

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



(Editor's Note: From time to time we have been publishing abstracts of the pension files of Union soldiers who served in the Civil War. A great many Union soldiers and their widows (sometimes their parents and children) received Federal pensions for their service, and the papers comprising their files in the National Archives in Washington contain fascinating records of both historical and genealogical significance. We have an index of all of the pension files for persons named Sparks which was compiled for us a number of years ago by Carrie Grant Heppen (now deceased). There are over 600 names on this list. For $5.00 it is possible to request that a clerk in the National Archives select and xerox the papers in a given file that appear to that clerk to have genealogical importance. It is also possible to obtain xerox copies of all the papers in a file, but the cost can run as high as $30.00, depending upon the size of the file. Dr. Paul E. Sparks, President of our Association, has obtained many of these files (selected papers from them) and has abstracted them for publication. We shall continue to use these as space permits, but it will be many, many years before we can publish all of them. It must be remembered in reading these abstracts that we have been limited to those papers which a clerk in the National Archives has considered genealogically significant. They do not necessarily tell the complete story of the individual's attempt to obtain a pension.)
 

JAMES A. SPARKS,   son of James and Betsy (Wells) Sparks of Tipton County, Indiana, was born July 28, 1840,in Indianapolis, Ind. He married (first) Nancy Reams and married (second) Cordy Gibson. He served in Company C, 101st Regt. Indiana Infantry & in Company C, 58th Regt. Indiana Volunteers. File Designations Inv. Cert. No. 675,962; Minor Cert. No. 945,783.

James A. Sparks apparently applied for an invalid pension prior to July 3, 1885, for on that day the Pension Office requested his military history from the War Department. On October 23, 1885, the War Department responded. Sparks had enrolled on December 12, 1863, at Tipton, Indiana, in Company C, 101st Regiment Indiana Infantry to serve for three years. He was sick at Chattanooga, Tennessee, during February and March 1864. He was transferred to Company C, 58th Regiment Indiana Volunteers in April 1865, and he was mustered out with that company on July 25, 1865, at Louisville, Kentucky.

Invalid Certificate No. 675,962 was issued to James A. Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll.

On May 4, 1898, Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He said he was married, but his wife (unnamed) had died on June 6, 1866. They had had one child, George W. Sparks, born 1 April 1864.

On March 17, 1902, Cordie Sparks, aged 21, a resident of Barren Fork, Arkansas, filed a declaration in order to obtain one-half of the pension due her husband, James A. Sparks. She stated that Sparks had deserted her on August 19, 1901, and had never provided anything for her since that date. She said she and Sparks had been married on July 4, 1899, in Izard County, Arkansas. Alex Ray and W. D. Haynes witnessed her signature.

On May 7, 1902, the Izard County [Arkansas] Clerk, W. K. Estes, sent a copy of the marriage record of James A. Sparks and Miss Cordy Gibson to the Bureau of Pensions. The record showed that they had been married on July 4, 1899, by Alex Ray, a justice of the peace. Sparks was 50 years of age; Miss Gibson was 19. Both lived at Barren Fork, Arkansas.

James A. Sparks applied for increased pension benefits on August 29, 1910. He was now 70 years of age and a resident of Mammoth Spring, Arkansas. He said he was 5 feet, 10 inches in height; he had a fair complexion, blue eyes and light hair; he was a teamster and he had been born July 28, 1840, at Indianapolis, Indiana. Since leaving the service, he had lived in Indiana, Missouri, Indian Territory, and Arkansas. W. W. Wahlquist and Clyde Cannaday witnessed his signature.

Sparks died, intestate, on November 23, 1919, and on January 13, 1920, his son, George W. Sparks, made an affidavit before Louis W. Schreiner, Judge of the Probate Court of Cherokee County, Kansas. He stated that his father had left personal property valued at about $1200 and had left the following heirs:

George W. Sparks, son, aged 55
James H. Sparks, son, aged 19
Pearlie Ann Sparks, daughter, 13
Lester Sparks, son, 11
Charles Edward Sparks, son, 9
Edgar Lee Sparks, son, 9

On January 21, 1921, William H. V. Wahlquist, aged 51, a resident of Mammoth Spring, Arkansas, filed a declaration for a pension as the guardian, or best friend, of Charles Edward Sparks, who was a son of James A. Sparks. Sparks had died and had left no surviving widow, but he had left four children under the age of sixteen years. They were:
 

Pearl Sparks, born May 22, 1906, at Lunenburg, Arkansas
Lester Sparks, born February 26, 1908, at Walnut Ridge, Arkansas
Edgar Sparks, born April 18, 1910, at Mammoth Spring, Arkansas
Edward Sparks, born April 18, 1910, at Mammoth Spring, Arkansas

On February 18, 1922, Mrs. M. A. Granage, aged 68, a resident of Lunenburg, Arkansas, made an affidavit to support the pension application for the minor children of James A. Sparks. She stated: "I was acquainted with the soldier, James A. Sparks, from ca. 1898 till the time of his reported death, he having left my home only 20 days before said report where he was visiting with us. His death occurred on or about November 20, 1919. He married my daughter, Cordie Gibson, at my home near Barren Fork, Ark., by Alex Ray, J. P. I was present and saw them married. From that time until her death on June 3, 1910, they continuously lived together as man and wife except occasionally, as he would have a crazy spell and leave home for a short time soon after which he would return to his wife and children and continue as before. I further state that my said daughter had never married before. She and James A. Sparks continuously lived together from their marriage till her death. All of the four mentioned children, Pearl M., Lester, Edward, and Edgar, were born to them during the time they lived together as set forth above." Mrs. Grenage's affidavit was sworn to before W. K. McSpadden, a notary public.

On April 29, 1922, W. H. V. Wahlquist, 53, and Walter C. Greggs, 42, both residents of Mammoth Spring, Arkansas, made a joint affidavit as follows: "We are personally well acquainted with the four minor children of James A. Sparks. Their names, ages and residences are as follows:

Pearl Sparks, age 15, on May 22, 1921, lives at Thayer, Missouri., with W. G. Wooldridge Lester Sparks, age 14, on February 26, 1922, lives at Thayer, Missouri., with family of Carl Green
Edgar Sparks, age 12, on April 18, 1922, lives at Mammoth Spring, Ark., with family of W. C. Greggs
Edward Sparks, age 12, on April 18, 1922, lives with the family of of W. H. V. Wahlquist at Mammoth Spring, Arkansas

On February 26, 1924, M. Rice and R. D. Rush, legal reviewers of pension claims for the Bureau of Pensions, approved the pensions of the minor children of James A. Sparks at the rate of $30 per month commencing on January 24, 1921, and ending on their respective 16th birthdays. Children named were: Pearlie M. Watson, Lester Sparks, Edgar L. Sparks, and Charles E. Sparks.

(Editor's Note: For additional information regarding the branch of the Sparks family to which James A. Sparks belonged, see the present issue of the Quarterly (Whole No. 133, March 1986), pp. 2855-57.

JOHN ECKER NAILL SPARKS (30.2.5.2.5.6.9),   son of Joseph S. and Elizabeth (Naill) Sparks, was born August 26, 1839, in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. He married Anna E. Barber on May 13, 1862, in Bureau County, Illinois. He served in the 57th Regiment Illinois Infantry and in Company F, 151st Regiment Illinois Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 730,813; Wid. Cert. No. 751, 093.

John E. N. Sparks applied for an invalid pension on August 9, 1890. He was 51 years of age and a resident of Gordon, Nebraska. He stated that he was enrolled on October 1, 1861, in the Band of the 57th Regiment Illinois Infantry and had served until he was discharged on March 20, 1862. He said that during his military service he had contracted a catarrh which affected his back, he eyes and ears and had caused him to lose his teeth. He appointed James Tanner, Washington, D. C., as his attorney. S. W. Lysinger and Frank S. Sow witnessed his signature.

The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service on May 19, 1891. He was enrolled as a musician in the 57th Regiment Illinois Infantry on October 1, 1861, and had served until he was mustered out on March 20, 1862. In addition, he was enrolled on February 21, 1865, as a 1st lieutenant in Company F, 151st Regiment Illinois Infantry and had served until he was mustered out with his company on January 24, 1866.

Invalid Certificate No. 730,813 was issued to Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll.

On July 7, 1898, Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He was a resident of Montrose, Missouri. He said he married Anna E. Barber on May 13, 1862, at Geneseo, Illinois, by the Rev. Cook; however, the license was issued in Bureau County, Illinois. They had seven children.

Frank E. Sparks, born May 29, 1867
Grace R. Sparks, born March 26, 1872
Harry L. Sparks, born June 5, 1874
Polney L. Sparks, born May 20, 1878
Forrest H. Sparks, born January 16, 1880
Edna E. Sparks, born July 19, 1882
Earl G. Sparks, born May 19, 1885

On February 19, 1907, John E. N. Sparks, aged 67, a resident of Pagosa Springs, Colorado, applied for increased pension benefits under the 1907 Act of Congress. He said he was enrolled at Quincy, Illinois, on February 21, 1865, as a 1st lieutenant in Company F, 151st Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry and had served until he was mustered out with his company on February 8, 1866. He had also served as a musician in the 57th Regiment Illinois Infantry from October 1, 1861, until March 20, 1862. He was 5 feet, 9 inches tall; he had a dark complexion, hazel eyes and dark hair; and he was a merchant. He was born August 26, 1839, in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Since leaving the service, he lived in Illinois until 1873, in Nebraska until 1894, in Missouri until 1900, and in Colorado until the present time. E. W. Lacy and M. J. Bayles witnessed his signature and the declaration was sworn to before Ephraim K. Caldwell, Judge of Archuleta County, Colorado.

John E. N. Sparks died on August 31, 1912, and on September 18, 1912, his widow, Anne E. Sparks, applied for a widow's pension. She stated that she and Sparks were married on May 13, 1862. It was the first marriage for both. She appointed Edgar T. Gaddis, Washington, D.C., as her attorney. Edna E. Sparks and Harry L. Sparks witnessed her signature.

On October 3, 1912, James Fletcher, Clerk of Bureau County, Illinois, sent the Bureau of Pensions a copy of the marriage record of John E. N. Sparks and Anna E. Barber. They were married on May 13, 1862, by J. T. Cook, Cong'l (Congressional?) Pastor.

Widow Certificate No. 751,093 was issued to Anna E. Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension roll.

On September 25, 1916, Anna E. Sparks applied for increased pension benefits stating that she was born July 16, 1842, at Batavia, New York.

On February 8, 1922, Earl G. Sparks, son of Anna E. Sparks and proprietor of the O. K. Feed and Fuel Company, Pagosa Springs, Colorado, notified the Bureau of Pensions of the death of his mother on November 15, 1921. At the time of her death, she was receiving a pension of $30.00 per month.

(Editor's Note: John E. N. Sparks was a grandson of Solomon Sparks (1760 -1832) of Bedford County, Pennsylvania. For further details of this family, see pages 585-587 of the September 1961 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 35, and pages 912-913 of the June 1965 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 50.)

JOSEPH H. SPARKS (1.2.5.2.1.8.1),   son of 1.2.5.2.1.8 John and Rebecca (Wareham) Sparks, was born February 9, 1841, in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. He was married (first) Mary Bussard and married (second) Georgia Etta Casteel. He served in Company K, 133rd Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 354,380; Wid. Cert. No. 827,430; Minor Cert. No. 792,453.

On September 15, 1883, Joseph H. Sparks, aged 35, a resident of Everett, Pennsylvania, applied for an invalid pension. He stated that he had enlisted in Company K, 133rd Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry on August 9, 1862, and had served until he was discharged on January 8, 1863. On or about October 20, 1862, while marching from Virginia to Antietam, Maryland, he was taken sick and as a result he had a paralysis of his left leg from which he had never fully recovered. He was treated in the hospital at Frederick City, Maryland, and at Turners Lane Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was 5 feet, 9 inches tall; he had a dark complexion, dark hair and hazel eyes; he was a hotel clerk. John E. Eicholt witnessed his signature.

The War Department confirmed the military service of Joseph H. Sparks on December 9, 1886. He had been enrolled on August 9, 1862, at Bloody Run, Pennsylvania in Company K, commanded by Capt. Samuel B. Tate, of the 133rd Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry Volunteers to serve for nine months. He was reported sick on October 31, 1862, and hospitalized in camp at Sharpsburg, Maryland. He was transferred to the General Hospital, Frederick, Maryland, on November 4, 1862, and then sent to the General Hospital, Turners Lane, Philadelphia, with typhoid fever. He was sent to a convalescent hospital near Alexandria, Virginia, and was discharged on January 8, 1863.

Invalid Certificate No. 354,380 was issued to Sparks and he was placed upon the pension roll. On July 4, 1898, he replied to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions in which he stated that he had been married to Georgia Etta Casteel on June 4, 1898, by the Rev. W. C. Guteline, pastor of the Reformed Church of Cumberland, Maryland. When Joseph Sparks died on October 13, 1912, he was receiving a pension of $50 per month.

On July 7, 1914, Georgia E. Sparks, aged 35, a resident of Clearville, Pennsylvania, applied for a widow's pension. She said that she had been married on June 28, 1898, at Cumberland, Maryland, under the name of Georgia Etta Casteel. It had been her first marriage. Her husband had been previously married to Mary Bussard who had died many years before. She said her husband had left her with four children under sixteen years of age. They were:

John Sparks, born June 11, 1899
William Sparks, born March 17, 1901
Mary Sparks, born February 17, 1904
Bertha Sparks, born August 21, 1909

Harvey Grubb and Mary C. Stayer witnessed her signature.

Aaron D. and Mary C. Stayer, aged 61 and 58 years, respectively, made an affidavit in February 1915 to support the application of Georgia E. Sparks. They stated that they were present at the funeral of Joseph H. Sparks who had died on October 13, 1912. He had never been married but one time prior to his marriage to Georgia E. Casteel and that was to Mary Bussard who had died many years before. The children of Joseph H. and Georgia Sparks were: John A. Sparks, William S. Sparks, Mary E. Sparks, and Bertha J. Sparks, all of whom were living. Thomas J. Tewell and Sarah R. Grubb witnessed their signatures.

Widow Certificate No. 827,430 and Minor Certificate No. 792,453 were issued to the widow and children of Joseph H. Sparks, and they were placed upon the pension roll.

(Editor's Note: Joseph H. Sparks 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 greatgrandson of Joseph, Sr. and Mary (McDaniel) Sparks. See pages 529-530 of the March 1961 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 33, and pages 585-587 of the September 1961 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 36.)

SOLOMON C. SPARKS (1.2.5.2.5.6.2),   son of 1.2.5.2.5.6 Joseph S. and Elizabeth (Naill) Sparks, was born December 3, 1820, in Bedford County, Pennsylvania; he died after 1898. He married (first) Mary Maria Ramsey and married (second) Sarah Jane Householder. He served in Company C, 93rd Regiment Illinois Infantry Volunteers. File designation Invalid Cert. No. 259,303.

On January 11, 1882, Solomon C. Sparks, a resident of Wyanet, Illinois, appeared before S. G. Paililva [?], County Clerk of Bureau County, Illinois, and made application to be placed on the pension roll of the United States. He stated that on August 13,1862, he had enlisted in Company C, 93rd Regiment Illinois Infantry Volunteers, under the command of Capt. Brown, and had been discharged at Louisville, Kentucky, on June 23, 1865. He stated that he was 61 years of age; that when he enlisted he was 5 feet, 9 inches tall; that he had dark hair, dark eyes and a dark complexion. He claimed that on October 5, 1864, at the fight for Altoona [Allatoona], Georgia, he had been lying under a battery and lost his hearing because of the firing of the cannon. He said he had not gone to the hospital for treatment. He appointed J. H. Herron, Washington, D. C., as his attorney to prosecute his claim. James Batchelder and N. A. Lathrop witnessed his signature.

On January 31, 1883, the Surgeon General's Office informed the Bureau of Pensions that no information bearing on the claim of Solomon Sparks could be found in his military records; however, his military service was confirmed. He had enlisted at Wyanet, Illinois, on August 16, 1862, for a period of three years. He had been absent on a sick furlough of thirty days in August 1863 and also in September 1864, but was present for duty until he was mustered out with his company on June 23, 1865, at Louisville, Kentucky.

Dr. F. C. Robinson, a physician in Wyanet, Illinois, confirmed Sparks's claim by an affidavit on March 20, 1883. He said that he was aware of the hearing loss of Sparks, but had never prescribed a remedy because he was satisfied that there was no treatment which could benefit him. He said that the hearing disability had caused Sparks to lose several jobs which would require him to depend upon good hearing. He stated that Solomon was an honest, reliable, and temperate man.

Sylvanus Baxter, age 43, a resident of New Bedford, Illinois, also made an affidavit on November 14, 1883, in support of Sparks's claim. He said that he was a military comrade of Sparks from 1862 to 1865 and that after the Battle of Allatoona Pass, Georgia, he had noticed that Sparks was quite deaf. The affidavit was notarized by James H. Small, a notary public.

Solomon C. Sparks was placed on the pension roll effective January 17, 1882, but there is nothing in his file provided to us by the National Archives to indicate the amount of the pension.

The last document (in chronological order) in the pension file is a response by Solomon C. Sparks to a questionnaire on August 4, 1898. At that time he was a resident of Montrose, Henry County, Missouri. He stated that his wife, whose maiden name was Sarah Jane Householder, was dead and that he had not remarried. They had been married on November 29, 1849, at Camelstown, Pennsylvania, by the Rev. A. Hight, and the marriage had been recorded in the family Bible. He said he had been previously married to Mary Maria Ramsey who had died on August 2, 1845, in East Providence Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Sparks said that he had one child by his first marriage, Mary Elizabeth Moshier, born August 2, 1845. by his second marriage, he had five children: Anna Maria Houghton, born November 25, 1851; Emma Lysinger, born July 29, 1855; Albert Sparks, born May 8, 1857; Jessie Clark, born March 18, 1862; and William Sparks, born May 29, 1864.

(Editor's Note: From records previously published in the Quarterly, we know that Solomon Christian Sparks was born December 3, 1820, and was a son of Joseph S. and Elizabeth (Naill) Sparks who moved to Bureau County, Illinois, from Bedford County, Pennsylvania, between 1851 and 1855. Joseph S. Sparks (1794 -1868) was a son of Solomon and Rachel Sparks; Solomon Sparks (1760 -1838) was a son of Joseph Sparks (who died in 1809). Joseph Sparks had moved with his family from Frederick County, Maryland, to Bedford County, Pennsylvania, ca. 1778. When the 1850 census of Bedford County was taken, Solomon C. Sparks was living with his parents in East Providence Township. With him was his four-year-old daughter, Mary E. Sparks.

(Solomon C. Sparks was a brother of John Ecker Naill Sparks whose application for a pension has been abstracted and appears in the present issue of the Quarterly, pp. 2860-61. For additional information on this family see the Quarterly of March 1955 [Whole No. 9], pp. 59-61; also the Quarterly of September 1961 [Whole No. 351, pp. 585-87; also the Quarterly of December 1960 [Whole No. 321, pp. 529-30; also the Quarterly of June 1965 [Whole No. 50], pp. 912-13; and also the Quarterly of September 1967 [Whole No. 59], pp. 1098-99.)

THOMAS SPARKS son of Thomas and Jennie ["Jincey"] (Harwood) Sparks, was born ca. 1831 in Montgomery County, Indiana. He married Harriet Shafer there on August 11, 1853. He served in the 9th Battery Indiana Light Artillery. File Designation: Wid. Cert. No. 82,408.

On March 13, 1865, Harriet Sparks, aged 37, a resident of Alamo, Indiana, appeared before the Montgomery County Circuit Court Clerk and made application for a Widow's Pension. She said that she was the widow of Thomas Sparks who was a corporal in the 9th Battery Indiana Light Artillery, commanded by George R. Brown, and who was killed while returning to Indiana. She had been married to Sparks on August 11, 1853, in Montgomery County under her maiden name of Harriet Shafer by Reuben J. Fink, J.P. Her husband had left her with two children, Evaline Sparks, born May 5, 1854, and Laura Sparks, born July 16, 1857. She appointed Fitch, Hine & Fox, Washington, D . C ., as her attorneys. David Shafer and Henry Shafer witnessed her signature and the application was sworn to before William K. Wallace, Clerk.

On November 8, 1865, the Adjutant General's Office confirmed the military service of Thomas Sparks. He had been enrolled on December 11, 1861, at Alamo, Indiana, in the 9th Battery Indiana Artillery Volunteers to serve for three years or during the war. He had been mustered into the service as a corporal on February 25, 1862, at Cairo, Illinois. On the Muster--Out Roll, dated March 6, 1865, he was reported "Killed by explosion of U.S. Transport Eclipse, January 27, 1865."

On' July 28, 1866, Samuel G. Calfee, Late Lieut. 9th Indiana Battery, certified to the following: "On January 26,1865, the steamer Eclipse, a U.S. Transport, left Eastport, Miss., bound for Paducah, KY. having on board the 9th Indiana Battery who were enroute home to be mustered out of the service, when sounding out from the landing at Johnsonville, Tenn., on the morning of January 27th, exploded one of her boilers killing and wounding a great many men belonging to said Battery and among the killed was Thomas Sparks, a Corporal of said Battery."

Widow's Certificate No. 82,408 was issued on September 3, 1866, to Harriet Sparks (commencing January 27, 1865) and she was placed upon the pension roll at the rate of $8.00 per month.

On May 7, 1867, Harriet Sparks applied for an increase in the pension for her two children who were under sixteen years of age when their father was killed. Dr. Iral L. Brown swore that he had been the attending physician at the birth of both of the children of Thomas and Harriet Sparks. Eva Sparks (earlier called "Evaline") was born May 5, 1854, and Laura Sparks was born July 16, 1857.

Mrs. Sparks's pension was increased by $2.00 per month for each of her two children. She remained a widow until her death on April 14, 1915. At that time she was receiving a pension of $12.00 per month.

(Editor's Note: Thomas Sparks was a son of Thomas and Jennie (Harwood) Sparks; he was a grandson of Thomas and Rachel (Perdue) Sparks; and he was a great-grandson of Josiah and Penelope (Brown) Sparks of Baltimore County, Maryland. An article about this branch of the Sparks family was published on pages 293-307 of the June 1958 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 22. Since the publication of that article, additional records have been found which prove that the article contained some errors. One of these errors is on page 296 and shows that Thomas Sparks, who married Jennie Harwood, was a son of Francis and FNU (Wright) Sparks. This is incorrect. He was a son of Thomas and Rachel (Perdue) Sparks, thus he was a nephew of Francis Sparks. The Thomas Sparks who was a son of Francis and Cassandra (Wright) Sparks married Mary Elizabeth Pierce on December 24, 1824, in Baltimore County, and they lived in Butler County, Ohio, and Jackson County, Indiana.

See also page 818 of the June 1964 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 46, for bounty land file of Thomas Sparks who married Jennie Harwood. )

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