September 14, 2017

Pages 3118-3123
Whole Number 139

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.)

COMFORT SPARKS, son of Kelsey and Elizabeth (Deal) Sparks, was born December 16, 1839, in Livingston County, N.Y. He died on February 18, 1925, in Kalamazoo County, Mich. He married (first) Charlotte P. Finlay in 1867 and (2nd) to Laura Collum in 1891. He served in Co. F, 3rd Regt. Mich. Cavalry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 503,783; Wid. Cert. No. 905,024.

On June 11, 1889, Comfort Sparks, aged 48 years, appeared before the clerk of the Kalamazoo County, Michigan, Circuit Court and made application for an invalid pension. He stated that he had enrolled on August 30, 1861, in Company F, 3rd Regiment Michigan Cavalry, commanded by Capt. McLoud, and had served until he was discharged at San Antonio, Texas, on February 12, 1866. He was 5 feet, 9½ inches tall, and he had a light complexion, hazel eyes, and brown hair.

Sparks said that while stationed near Holly Springs, Mississippi, on November 26, 1862, he had been thrown from his horse while making a charge, and had injured his right knee so severely that it was permanently crooked and enlarged. He had been treated by Surgeon Josiah Andrews, now deceased, but he had not been treated in any hospital. The injury made it impossible for him to earn all of his living as a farmer. He said that since his discharge he had lived in Van Buren County, Michigan. His post office was Kalamazoo. He appointed G. E. Foote of Kalamazoo as his attorney. Charles Goodrich and John L. Deal witnessed his signature.

Sparks's military service was confirmed by the War Department on August 8, 1889. He had enrolled on August 30, 1861, at Kalamazoo, Michigan, in Company F, 3rd Regiment Michigan Cavalry for three years. He had re-enlisted on January 19, 1864, and was mustered out with his company on February 12, 1866, at San Antonio, Texas, as a sergeant. Company reports showed him sick in quarters on May 4, 1862; sick to duty, October 3, 1862; duty to sick, August 25, 1863; duty to sick, August 31, 1863; duty to sick, December 11, 1863, and returned to duty, December 12, 1863.

Invalid Certificate No. 503,783 was issued to Comfort Sparks, and he was placed on the pension rolls. On June 4, 1898, he answered a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He said he had been married to Laura Collum on April 12, 1891, at Plainwell, Michigan, by the Rev. Rossiter. He had been previously married to Charlotte P. Sparks who had died on May 9, 1889. He and Charlotte had three children who were living: Marion Francis Sparks, born August 26, 1870; David Kelsey Sparks, born May 3, 1872; and Lydia Elizabeth Sparks, born March 4, 1883.

On September 5, 1910, Comfort Sparks, aged 70 years, a resident of Oshtemo, Michigan, asked for an increase in his pension under the 1907 Act of Congress. He said that he had been born December 16, 1839, in Livingston County, New York, and was now entitled to a pension of $15.00 per month. The Bureau of Pensions required proof of his age, and on March 11, 1911, Sparks made an affidavit to support his claim. He said that his father was Kelsey Sparks and his mother's maiden name had been Elizabeth Deal. The old original family Bible had been lost, and he only had a record from a Bible given to him by his mother on Christmas Day, 1870, together with an affidavit from a brother.

The family Bible was examined by George E. Foote on March 11, 1911. He certified that the book had many records of marriages, births, deaths, etc. and contained three pertinent entries which he believed to be genuine. These were: Comfort Sparks was born December 22, 1780; Comfort Sparks was born December 7, 1812; and Comfort Sparks was born December 16, 1839. [Editor's Note: the Comfort Sparks born in 1780 was the applicant's grandfather; the Comfort Sparks born in 1812 was his uncle; while he, himself, was the Comfort Sparks born in 1839.]

John K. Sparks, aged 69 years, brother of Comfort Sparks, made an affidavit that his parents [Kelsey and Elizabeth (Deal) Sparks] had been married on December 6, 1838. Their first child, Comfort Sparks, had been born December 16, 1839. He [John K. Sparks] was born next, on November 3, 1841.

On June 8, 1912, the pension of Comfort Sparks was increased to $25.00 per month. On March 23, 1815, he responded to another questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He repeated much of the same information he had given earlier relative to his marriages, but added the name of a son, now dead, Freddie J. Sparks, born June 26, 1877.

Comfort Sparks died on February 18, 1925, and his widow, Laura Sparks, completed a certificate of death. She gave his parents' names as Kelsey Sparks and Elizabeth Deal, both natives of New York. Comfort was buried in Genesee Prairie on February 21, 1925.

On March 9, 1925, Laura Sparks, aged 70 years, a resident of Oshtemo Township, Kalamazoo County, Michigan, applied for a widow's pension. She stated that she and Comfort Sparks had been married on April 12, 1891. She had been born November 20, 1850, at Sandusky, Ohio. She appointed Geo. W. Taylor, Otsego, Michigan, as her attorney, and Lydia Waugh and Clayton Waugh witnessed her signature. The application was sworn to before Anne E. Taylor, a notary public.

On the same day, Laura Sparks also filed an "Application for Accrued Pensions (Widows)." This application was attested to by Clayton Waugh and Lydia Waugh who said they knew that Laura Sparks was the lawful widow of Comfort Sparks. Mrs. Waugh stated that she was a daughter of Comfort Sparks.

The last document (in chronological order) sent from the pension file of Comfort Sparks was evidence that Laura Sparks had been divorced from her former husband prior to her marriage to Comfort Sparks. The divorce had been from Milo H. Casler on December 14, 1886, and Laura Casler had been given custody of their three children: Flora B. Casler, Addie M. Casler, and Freddie G. Casler.

Laura Sparks died on April 27, 1930, at which time she was receiving a pension of $30.00 per month.

(Editor's Note: See the present issue of the Quarterly, page 3109, for a record of the life of Comfort Sparks and an indication of his ancestry.)

NELSON SPARKS, son of Major and Caroline (Stowell) Sparks, was born ca. 1841 in Oswego County, New York. He died on July 8, 1889, at Onarga, Illinois. He married Mary Lampman on October 3, 1861, at Sandy Creek, New York. He served in Co. C, 110th Regt. N.Y. Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 923,966; Wid. Cert. No. 357,577.

 On May 12, 1880, Nelson Sparks, aged 39, a resident of La Hogue, Illinois, applied for an invalid pension. He stated that he had been enrolled on August 2, 1862, in Company C, 110th Regiment New York Infantry, commanded by Capt. Ebenezer Jerrett, to serve for three years or during the war, and had served until he was discharged at Albany, New York, on August 28, 1865. He was 5 feet, 5 inches tall; he had a light complextion, brown hair, and blue eyes; and he was a farmer. On or about August 15, 1862, while stationed at Algoma, Mississippi, he had lost his speech, a condition that lasted nearly two years, and which left him with weak lungs and a severe cough. Shortly after losing his speech, he was hospitalized at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for about three months with acute diarrhea. Since leaving the service, he had lived in Oswego County, New York, LaSalle County, Illinois, and Iroquois County, Illinois. He appointed Winslow Woods, Onarga, Illinois, as his attorney, and the application was witnessed by Noah Lampman and Stephen Lampman.

From March 1882 until December 1886, the War Department and the SurgeonGeneral submitted at least six records of the military service and medical records of Nelson Sparks to the Bureau of Pensions. A summary of these records is about as follows: Sparks was enrolled on August 2, 1862, at Sandy Creek, New York, in Company C, 110th Regiment New York Infantry and was mustered out with his company on August 8, 1865. He was hospitalized at Ft. Monroe, Virginia, during November and December 1862 with typhoid fever. He was hospitalized at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in April 1863 for phthisis. He was hospitalized at Ft. Jefferson, Florida, on October 27, 1864, with aphonia, and transferred to Key West, Florida, where he stayed until he returned to duty on November 18, 1864.

Invalid Certificate No. 923,966 was issued to Nelson Sparks and he was placed upon the pension roll. He died on July 8, 1889, from injuries received from the kick of a horse.

On August 14, 1890, Mary L. Sparks, widow of Nelson Sparks, applied for a widow's pension. She was 48 years of age and a resident of Onarga, Illinois. She said that she and Sparks had been married on October 3, 1861, at Sandy Creek, New York, by Almon Chapin. She had been married under the name of Mary Lampman; however, she had been married previously to Hiram E. Taylor who had died on July 12, 1861. She and Nelson Sparks had no children under the age of sixteen years in 1890. She appointed George E. Lemon, Washington, D. C. , as her attorney. Benjamin N. Durham and Edwin L. Wheeler witnessed her signature.

Mrs. Sparks's application was accompanied by an affidavit from Dr. Ira F. Palmer who said he was the attending physician when Nelson Sparks had died on July 8, 1889. The cause of Sparks's death was an injury received from the kick of a Texas pony, and Sparks had died within twenty minutes after receiving the injury in his stomach.

Mrs. Sparks made an affidavit on May 28, 1892, that her maiden name had been Mary Lampman. She had been married under that name to Hiram E. Taylor on March 21, 1861. Taylor had died on July 12, 1861. She was then married to Nelson Sparks on October 2, 1861, by an old local preacher at Sandy Creek, New York, who had always known her as Mary Lampman, and he so made his record.

James H. Chapin, aged 55, a resident of Decatur, Nebraska, made an affidavit which helped to clear up the marriage record of Mary L. Sparks. He stated that he was a son of Almon Chapin, now deceased, who had been a minister of the Gospel at Sandy Creek, New York. His father always kept a record book and that one of the entries made by his father as as follows: "1861 October 3. Nelson Sparks to Mary Lampman, Sandy Creek."

This explanation apparently satisfied the Bureau of Pensions and Widow Certificate No. 357,577 was issued to Mary L. Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension roll. When she died on December 21, 1915, she was receiving a pension of $12 per month.

(Editor's Note: See the present issue of the Quarterly, page 3095, for a record of the life of Nelson Sparks and an indication of his ancestry.)

WILLIAM E. SPARKS, son of Major and Caroline (Stowell) Sparks, was born April 13, 1833, at Orwell, New York. He married Orilla M. Myers on January 1, 1854, in Oswego County, New York. He served in Co. K, 147th Regt. New York Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 401,741; Wid. Cert. No. 726,051.

On November 25, 1881, William E. Sparks, aged 48, a resident of Orwell, New York, applied for an Invalid Pension. He stated that he had enrolled on August 9, 1862, in Company K, 147th Regiment New York Infantry and had served until he was discharged on June 7, 1865, at Arkington Heights, Virginia. While stationed on picket duty near Bell Plain, Virginia, in April 1863, he took a cold which settled in his head, and which he carried with him to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. On July 3, 1863, at the Battle of Gettysburg, the cannon fire was so heavy that it rendered him almost completely deaf, and as a consequence, he did not hear the order to withdraw, and was wounded in the right foot. Afterwards, he had a partial blindness in both eyes. Because of these circumstances, he was now unable to earn his support, and he asked to be placed upon the pension roll.

The War Department confirmed the military service of William E. Sparks just as he had stated it to be. Invalid Certificate No. 401,741 was issued to him and he was placed upon the pension roll.

On July 4, 1898, Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He said that he had been married to Orilla M. Myers on January 1, 1854, at Orwell, New York, by John A. Hollins, a justice of the peace. It was the first marriage for both of them. They had three living children in 1898: Eva, born December 8, 1854; Carrie, born June 27, 1858; and William P. , born January 8, 1873.

William E. Sparks died on May 14, 1911, at Orwell, New York. According to his death certificate, he had been born April 13, 1833, at Orwell, New York, and was a son of Major and Caroline (Stowell) Sparks, natives of Vermont and Connecticut, respectively.

On May 23, 1911, Orilla M. Sparks, aged 73, applied for a widow's pension. She said that she had married William E. Sparks on New Year's Day of 1854 in Oswego County, New York, and that he had died on May 14, 1911. She appointed W. H. Cox, Sandy Creek, New York, as her attorney.

Orilla M. Sparks was issued Widow Certificate No. 726,051, and she was placed upon the pension roll. When she died on April 14, 1917, she was receiving a pension of $100 per month.

(Editor's Note: See the present issue of the Quarterly, page 3095, for a record of the life of William E. Sparks and an indication of his ancestry.)

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