April 4, 2018

Pages 3034-3039
Whole Number 137

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 over the past several years, we have been publishing abstracts of the pension files of Union soldiers who served in the Civil War. For an explanation of these records, see the Quarterly of March 1986, Whole No. 133, page 2858.)
 

STEPHEN SPARKS, son of Nehemiah and Lucy (Starkweather) Sparks, who was born November 5, 1822, in Cattarugus County, New York. He died on June 22, 1864, in a Confederate Prison camp of gunshot wounds received in the Battle of the Wilderness. He never married. He served in Company G, 7th Regiment Wisconsin Infantry. File Designation: Father's Appl. No. 197,866.

On May 13, 1870, the Treasury Department sent Nehemiah Sparks a certificate for $259.12 which was for the pay due his son, Stephen Sparks, who had been a private in Company G, 7th Regiment Wisconsin Infantry. The draft was for services performed from February 28, 1864, to June 24, 1864, plus a $300 bounty and $12.25 rations, less $100 paid for clothing and $7.40 overdrawn.

On June 15, 1871, Nehemiah Sparks, aged 79, a resident of Eagle in Wyoming County, New York, made application for a Father's Pension. He stated that he was the father of Stephen Sparks who had enlisted on January 5, 1864, at La Crosse, Wisconsin, in Company G, 7th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers. He had served until his death on June 24, 1864, in a Confederate Prisoner of War Hospital in Gordonsville, Virginia, from wounds received in the Battle of the Wilderness. He had left no wife nor children, and his mother had been dead upwards of twelve years. Nehemiah Sparks went on to state that he was more than 78 years old and unable to perform any manual labor. Prior to his death, his son had supported him. He appointed Abraham P. Sherril as his attorney. Alanson G. Wilcox and Beriah W. Sparks witnessed his signature.

Four days later, on June 19, 1871, George Briggs, Town Clerk of Brandon, Vermont, completed a certificate which stated that he had searched the marriage records of his office and had failed to find a record of the marriage of Nehemiah Sparks and Lucy Starkweather on January 1, 1815.

On July 11, 1871, Thomas Hathaway, aged 59, and Beriah M. Sparks, aged 56, made a joint affidavit to support the declaration of Nehemiah Sparks. They stated that they had known Sparks and his family when they had resided in Brandon, Vermont, and knew that Sparks had moved his family to Eagle, New York, many years before. They had seen Sparks's family Bible, and in it were two pertinent records, namely: "Stephen Sparks was born November 5, 1822" and "Lucy Sparks died on July 14, 1858, aged 68 years and 10 months." They said that Nehemiah Sparks was almost entirely dependent upon his son, Stephen Sparks, for his support. The affidavit was sworn to before S. Chaddock, a justice of the peace.

The Adjutant General confirmed the military service of Stephen Sparks on July 27, 1871. He had been enrolled at La Crosse, Wisconsin, on January 5, 1864, in Company G, 7th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers to serve for three years. Records on file reported him "Died June 24, 1864, at Gordonsville, Virginia, of gunshot wound while a prisoner of war."

On August 9, 1871, Nehemiah Sparks responded to certain interrogatories from the Commissioner of Pensions, as follows:

1. He married Lucy Starkweather on January 1, 1815, at Brandon, Vermont, and they were the parents of Stephen Sparks, deceased, who had served as a private in Company G, 7th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers. Lucy Sparks, mother of Stephen, had died at Eagle, New York, on July 14, 1858. He had not re-married.

2. Stephen Sparks, his son, had commenced assisting him with financial support while they lived at Freedom, New York, about 1843, and had continued to help him until his death.

3. He had 50 acres of land at Freedom, New York, which he had been forced to sell because of a heavy mortgage. He then bought 25 acres of wild land at Eagle, New York, with a small log cabin on it, but the land was so poor and marshy that it was not too productive. It was not worth more than $300 and he could find no buyer.

4. He was 79 years of age on March 14, 1871 [thus born March 14, 1792], and was now so old that he could not perform any manual work except tending a small garden. In addition, he had lost most of his vision when a wedge flew out of a rail he was splitting and hit him in the eyes.

5. He had six living children: Beriah, 56, of Pike, New York; Lorinda, 54, of Pike, New York; Lucy, 51, of Wales, New York; John C., of Grand Rapids, Wisconsin; Harvey, 42, of Wales, New York; and Fanny, 41, of Wales, New York. All of them were married with families of their own and were unable to help him.

6. Stephen Sparks, his deceased son, was 41 years old on November 5, 1863, and had lived at home until about 18 months before his enlistment when he went to Wisconsin. He was a farm laborer and his total earnings would not average over $10.00 per month. He had worked for various neighbors who paid him with some cash, but also with some produce which he brought home for his father's support.

On August 12, 1871, the declaration of Nehemiah Sparks for a Father's Pension was returned to Attorney Abram P. Sheril and was marked with a stamp "ABANDONED." Nothing was sent from the National Archives file to indicate why the case had been abandoned.

(Editor's Note: The branch of the Sparks family to which Nehemiah and his son, Stephen, belonged is the subject of the major article appearing in the present issue of the Quarterly. See page 3029 where Nehemiah is mentioned as a son of Stephen and Sarah (Holt) Sparks.)

HENRY KIRK SPARKS son of John and Selinda [or Celinda] (Field) [or Fields] Sparks, was born July 17, 1837, at Danielson, Connecticut. He married Mary F. Burdick on August 15, 1858, at Preston, Connecticut. He served in Company K, 18th Regiment Connecticut Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 1,085,563; Wid. Cert. No. 646,614.

Henry K. Sparks applied for an Invalid Pension on May 14, 1904, but no copy of the application (No. 1,315,853) was included in the file provided us by the National Archives. The first documents (in chronological order) sent are two questionnaires sent to him by the Bureau of Pensions on June 8, 1904. Both were addressed to Henry K. Sparks, Co. K, 18th Regt. Conn. Inf., Mystic, Connecticut. He responded to both of them on June 9, 1904.

To one of these questinnaires, Sparks responded as follows: He stated that he had been born July 17, 1837, at Danielson, Connecticut. He had enlisted there on August 5, 1862, in Company K, 18th Regiment Connecticut Infantry and had served until he was discharged on June 27, 1865, at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. He had been 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weighed 200 pounds, had a dark complexion, black hair and eyes, and he had been a baker. Since leaving the service, he had lived at Preston, Connecticut, for eight years and the rest of the time at Mystic, Connecticut. Robert A. Stanton and Albert E. Wheeler witnessed his signature.

To the other questionnaire, Henry Sparks responded as follows: He had been married to Mary F. Burdick on August 15, 1858, at Preston, Connecticut, by the Rev. J. G. Gould, pastor of the M. E. Church. It had been the first marriage for both him and his wife; his wife was still living [in 1904]. They had had three children: Bertha E. Sparks, born December 19, 1859, and now married to Joseph Noble; Henry I. Sparks, born August 6, 1867; and John E. Sparks, born August 17, 1872.
The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service. He had enlisted in Company K, 18th Regiment Connecticut Infantry on August 5, 1862. He was then 26 years old. This record gave his height as an inch shorter than had Henry, himself - - as 5 feet, 7 inches. He had been mustered out of the service with his company on June 27, 1865. Under remarks, it was noted that he had been carried as a deserter on August 20, 1863, and had been arrested on August 31, 1863. The muster-roll of March-April 1864 bore the remark, "Deserter. Cook at Camp Parole, Annapolis, Maryland."

Invalid Certificate No. 1,085,563 was issued to Henry K. Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll. On July 20, 1905, he applied for increased pension benefits under the 1890 Act of Congress. He was now 68 years of age and a resident of Groton, Connecticut. He stated that he was now unable to work because of advanced age. J. A. Rathburn and John B. Guernsey witnessed the declaration. When he died on August 31, 1906, he was receiving a pension of $10.00 a month.

On April 27, 1908, Mary F. Sparks, aged 69, a resident of Mystic, Connecticut, applied for a Widow's Pension under the 1908 Act of Congress. She stated that she was the widow of Henry K. Sparks, who had served in Company K, 18th Regiment Connecticut Infantry. She and Sparks had been married on August 15, 1858, by the Rev. J. B. Gould. She appointed Reuben Lord as her attorney, and Letitia C. Maxson and Edmund D. Barker witnessed her signature.

The following month, on May 19, 1908, J. A. Rathburn, an undertaker at Mystic, Connecticut, sent a certified copy of the death certificate of Henry K. Sparks to the Bureau of Pensions. It stated that Henry Kirk Sparks had been born July 17, 1837, at Killingly, Connecticut. His father was John Sparks. His mother's maiden name was Celinda Fields. She had been born at Mansfield, Massachusetts. Henry Kirk Sparks was a baker. He had died on August 31, 1906. The informant was John Sparks.

On May 26, 1908, Annie A. Dean, aged 61, and Sarah A. Spalding, aged 68, both living at 442 Main Street, Norwich, Connecticut, testified that they were sisters of Mary F. Sparks and that they had known her husband since he was a school boy. They knew that neither of them had been married before they married each other, and that they had lived as man and wife until his death and had never been divorced.

On May 1, 1908, G. V. Shedd, Registrar of the Town of Preston, Connecticut, sent a certified copy of the marriage record of Henry K. Sparks and Mary F. Burdick. They had been married on August 15, 1858. He was 21 years old; a clerk; and born at West Killingly, Connecticut. She was 19 and had been born at Hopkinton, Rhode Island. It was the first marriage for both. The minister was the Rev. J. B. Gould.

Widow Certificate No. 646,614 was issued to Mary F. Sparks, and she was placed on the pension roll. When she died on January 25, 1913, she was receiving a pension of $12.00 per month.

(Editor's Note: The branch of the Sparks family to which Henry Kirk Sparks belonged is the subject of the major article appearing in the present issue of the Quarterly. See page 3013.)

LYMAN E. SPARKS,   son of Asaph W. [or William Asof] and Betty R. (Fuller) Sparks, was born May 11, 1832, in the state of New York. He died on October 26, 1899, at Jackson, Michi gan. He married Lovisa E. Baker on November 1, 1857, in Huron County, Ohio. He served in Company K, 20th Regiment Indiana Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 198,899; Wid. Cert. No. 502,997.

Lyman E. Sparks applied for an invalid's pension on June 2, 1869, but no copy of the application was included in the materials from his pension file provided by the National Archives. The Adjutant General's office confirmed his military service on September 5, 1870. He had been enrolled on October 20, 1862, at Indianapolis, Indiana, in Company K, 20th Regiment Indiana Infantry to serve for three years. He was wounded in action on May 5, 1864, at Wilderness, Virginia. He was mustered out with his company on July 12, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

On September 17, 1872, Dr. George L. Whitford, a practicing physician in Branch County, Michigan, testified that he had treated Lyman E. Sparks from the fall of 1869 until the fall of 1871 for general debility to his system caused by a disease known as dyspepsia.

Two years later, on September 5, 1874, Lyman Sparks, a resident of Pleasant Lake, Ohio, wrote to the Bureau of Pensions protesting the rejection of his application for a invalid pension. He asked to be examined by another surgeon. Apparently his case was reviewed, and he was placed upon the pension roll under Invalid Certificate No. 198, 899.

Lyman E. Sparks died on November 12, 1899, at Jackson, Michigan, of peritonitis. According to the record of his death, he had been born May 11, 1832, in the state of New York, and was a mechanic. His parents were William A. Sparks and Betty R. (Fuller) Sparks, both natives of Connecticut. [From other records, we know that his father usually went under the name Asaph W. Sparks.]

Apparently Lovisa Sparks applied for a widow's pension prior to November 23, 1899, but no copy of the application was included in the selected papers provided by the National Archives. On November 23, 1899, Frances E. Edmonds, age 40, and Roxie E. Perkins, age 34, residents of Jackson, Michigan, made an affidavit to support the claim of Mrs. Sparks. They stated that they were daughters of Lyman E. and Lovisa Sparks. Their parents were married on November 1, 1857, as shown in the family records. Frances E. (Sparks) Edmonds was born February 9, 1859. They stated that their parents were never separated or divorced.

On July 16, 1900, Lovisa Sparks, a resident of Jackson, Michigan, reapplied for a widow's pension. She said she had been married to Lyman E. Sparks on November 1, 1857, in Huron County, Ohio. It was the first marriage for both of them. Her husband had died on October 26, 1899. She appointed R. D. Knowles, Jackson, Michigan, as her attorney. A copy of the marriage record of Lyman Sparks and Lovisa Baker accompanied the application. They had been married at Norwich, Ohio, on December 1, 1857, by Jonathan Croninger, a justice of the peace. [Note that the actual marriage record gave the date as December 1, not November 1.]

On August 20, 1900, Buell I. Webster, Register of Deeds of Mecosta County, Michigan, swore that Lovisa Sparks had a piece of property in that county assessed at $375.00. On August 25, 1900, George Keebler, Treasurer of the City of Jackson, Michigan, swore that Lovisa Sparks owned a lot assessed at $750.00.

Widow Certificate No. 502,997 was issued to Lovisa Sparks, and she was place upon the pension roll. When she died on August 19, 1908, she was receiving a pension of $12.00 per month.

(Editor's Note: Lyman E. Sparks, whose Civil War Pension application papers have been abstracted above, beginning on page 3037, belonged to that branch of the Sparks family that is the subject of the major article appearing in the present issue of the Quarterly. See page 3018.)

NATHAN J. SPARKS son of Chauncey and Elizabeth Sparks, was born ca. 1838 in Connecticut. He married Martha A. Richards on January 23, 1866, at Farmington, Connecticut. He served in Companies G and K of the 16th Regiment Connecticut Infantry. File Designation: Wid. Cert. No. 354,434.

On July 5, 1890, Martha A. Sparks, aged 45, a resident of Westfield, Massachusetts, appeared before the clerk of the District Court of Western Hampden County, Massachusetts, to apply for a Widow's Pension. She stated that she was the widow of Nathan J. Sparks who had enlisted on August 13, 1862, at New Brittain, Connecticut, in Company G, 16th Regiment Connecticut Infantry and had served until he was discharged on June 3, 1865. He had died on October 29, 1880, at Dover Plains, New York. She and Sparks had been married at Farmington, Connecticut, on January 23, 1866, by the Rev. Levi L. Paine. It had been the first marriage for both. Clara Fitzpatrick and Bertha Rathbun witnessed her signature.

The War Department confirmed the military service of Nathan J. Sparks on March 15, 1891, just as Mrs. Sparks had stated it to be on her application for a pension.

On May 21, 1891, Mrs. Sparks filed an affidavit to support her claim. She appointed Asa P. Rand, Westfield, Massachusetts, as her attorney. She said that she had a piece of rental property in Plainville, Connecticut, which produced about $50.00 per year. Her other income came from her position as matron of the Westfield State Normal School boarding house for which she had received $250 & $375 during the past two years. She had a 17-year-old son to provide for and she was trying to fit him for a college course.

On the same day, Jacob L. White, aged 66, and George E. Squire, aged 42, both residents of Westfield, Massachusetts, made a similar affidavit to support Mrs. Sparks's claim.

Widow Certificate No. 354,434 was issued to Martha A. Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension roll at the rate of $8.00 per month.

On September 25, 1916, Mrs. Sparks, now a resident of Dobbs Ferry, New York, applied for increased pension benefits because of her age. She said she was 71 years of age and had been born August 23, 1845, at Bristol, Connecticut. Her pension was increased to $20.00 per month. She died on January 4, 1917.

(Editor's Note: Nathan J. Sparks was a son of Chauncey and Elizabeth Sparks whose family was listed on the 1805 census of Hartford County, Connecticut. Chauncey Sparks was a son of Nathan Sparks, according to early records of Connecticut. See pages 340-46 of the December 1958 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 24, for further information regarding this branch of the Sparks family.)

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