September 14, 2017

Pages 3207-3211
Whole Number 141

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.)
 

WILLIAM J. SPARKS son of Solomon and Malinda Ann (Caudill) Sparks, was born October 21, 1837, in Wilkes County, North Carolina. He married (first) Jane Smith; (second) Mrs. Melissa Boiles; and (third) Mrs. Belle (Milner) Walker. He served in Company E, 12th Regiment Missouri Cavalry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 390,960; Wid. Cert. No. XC-2, 996, 257.

On September 25, 1879, William J. Sparks, a resident of Mercer County, Missouri, made application for an invalid pension. He stated that on October 26, 1863, he had enlisted in Company E, 12th Regiment Missouri Cavalry and had served until April 9, 1866. On or about January 15th, 1864, he took the typhoid fever at St. Louis, Missouri, and was hospitalized for three months. The fever settled in his left leg, and as a result he was now able to perform only a limited amount of manual labor. He said that at the time of his enlistment he had been 5 feet, 11 inches tall; he had blue eyes, light hair and a fair complexion; he was now 41 years of age; and he was a farmer. He appointed the firm of Giles & Parnell as his attorneys. E. J. Abraham and Solomon Sparks witnessed his signature and the application was sworn to before R. W. Steckman, Probate Judge of Mercer County. Nothing was included in the "selected papers" from his file that were sent to us by the National Archives to indicate what action was taken on this application.

On December 6, 1886, the War Department confirmed Sparks's military service. He had enlisted on October 26, 1863, as a private in Company E, 12th Regiment Missouri Cavalry at Princeton, Missouri, for three years and was mustered out with his company as a sergeant on April 9, 1866, at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. He had been absent-sick in June 1864, and he had been hospitalized at St. Louis, Missouri, in October 1864; however, the Regimental Hospital records were not on file. Sparks was issued Invalid Certificate No. 390,960, and he was placed on the pension rolls.

On June 21, 1921, Sparks made application for increased pension benefits under the 1920 Act of Congress. He said that he had been born October 22, 1837, in Wilkes County, North Carolina. Since leaving the service, he had resided at R.F.D. No. 4, Princeton, Missouri. He said that he was suffering from cancer of the eyelids and general disability because of old age. Jas. Brown and J. M. Perry witnessed his signature.

About a month later, William J. Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He stated that his wife was Belle Walker Sparks and that he had married her on July 9, 1902, in Mercer County, Missouri. She was the widow of John Walker who had died on January 2, 1902. He said that he had been previously married to Jane Smith in January 1867, and she had died on August 11, 1884. He listed their children as follows:

Israel Sparks born December 9, 1868
David Sparks born January 23, 1869
Solomon Sparks born February 6, 1870
Amy Sparks, born July 30, 1872
John Sparks, born January 5, 1873
William Sparks, born January 6, 1876
Asa Virgil Sparks, born February 26, 1878
Aramina Sparks, born August 16, 1880
Alie Sparks, born September 4, 1882
Millie Sparks, born August 11, 1884

William J. Sparks died on March 25, 1926, and on April 16, 1926, his widow, Belle Sparks, applied for a widow's pension. She stated in her application that she had been born January 10, 1860, in Mercer County, Missouri, and married Sparks on July 9, 1902. He left no children under the age of sixteen. W. L. Bearden and D. M. Wilcox witnessed her signature, and the application was sworn to before Charles I. Mullinax, a notary public.

On June 10, 1926, two children of William J. Sparks, Asa V. Sparks, age 48, and Millie Lowery, age 38, made an affidavit to support their step-mother's application. They said they were the children of William J. Sparks by his first wife whose maiden name had been Jane Smith. After the death of their mother in 1884, their father had married Mellissa Boiles about 1890, but they were divorced in March 1899. He then married Belle (Milner) Walker, widow of John Walker, on July 9, 1902, and they had lived together until his death on March 25, 1926. These three marriages were the only times their father had married. The affidavit was sworn to before Charles I. Mullinax, a notary public.

Belle Sparks was issued a pension under Widow Certificate No. X C-2 , 996 , 257 . She died on September 17, 1957, at the home of a daughter, Mrs. Sylvia C. Nish, in Waukee, Iowa.
(Editor's Note: See page 3187 of the present issue of the Quarterly for further biographical data on William J. Sparks.)

JOHN S. SPARKS son of Solomon and Malinda Ann (Caudill) Sparks, was born May 15, 1840, in Wilkes County, North Carolina. He married Nancy J. Sexton on February 18, 1864, in Mercer County, Missouri. He served in Company H, 4th Regiment Provisional Missouri Militia. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 1,099,338; Wid. Cert. No. 694,270.

On April 29, 1904, John Sparks, aged 63, a resident of Rt. 1, Cainesville, Missouri, made a declaration for an invalid pension. He stated that he had enrolled on May 18, 1863, in Company H, 4th Regiment Provisional Missouri Militia and had served until he was discharged at Missouri City, Missouri, on October 10, 1863. He said he had suffered a rupture on his left side by being struck by a plow beam, and a foot injury caused by stepping on a nail. He also suffered from a disease of the kidneys. He said that because of his advanced age, he was no longer able to earn his support. He appointed J. B. Ormsby, Princeton, Missouri, as his attorney. H. R. Spencer and W. W. Braffet witnessed his signature.

The Bureau of Pensions asked Sparks to respond to a questionnaire on May 19, 1904. He responded by stating that he had been born May 15, 1840, in Wilkes County, North Carolina. He had enlisted in Company H, 4th Regiment Provisional Missouri Militia on May 18, 1863, at Princeton, Missouri, and had been discharged on October 10, 1863, at Hamilton, Missouri. At his enlistment, he was 6 feet, 1 inch tall; he weighed 170 pounds; he had hazel eyes, sandy hair and a fair complexion; and he was a farmer.

Two months later, on July 21st, the Bureau of Pensions again asked Sparks to answer a questionaire. He stated that he had been married on February 18, 1864, in Mercer County, Missouri, by the Rev. Stephen Sexton. It had been his first marriage. He had eight living children.

W. T. Sparks, born January 15, 1865
Malinda E. Sparks, born September 24, 1866
Martha A. Sparks, born September 14, 1868
R. E. Sparks, born January 16, 1871
E. R. Sparks, born March 25, 1873
Lanora L. Sparks, born February 27, 1882
Sherman Sparks, born May 20, 1884
Frank T. Sparks, born April 22, 1887

On September 28, 1904, Sparks advised the Bureau of Pensions that his correct name was John S. Sparks.

Invalid Certificate No. 1,099,338 was issued to Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll. When he died on November 3, 1909, he was receiving a pension of $10 per month.

On November 9, 1909, Nancy J. Sparks, aged 64, a resident of Rt. 1, Cainesville, Missouri, applied for a widow's pension. She stated that she had been married to John S. Sparks under her maiden name of Nancy J. Sexton on February 18, 1864. He had died on November 3, 1909. They had no children under the age of sixteen at the time of her application. She appointed J. B. Ormsby as her attorney. W. T. Sparks and Lanora L. Foster witnessed her make her mark.

On November 29, 1909, Nancy J. Sparks asked the Bureau of Pensions to accept the testimony of witnesses in lieu of a public record of her marriage to John S. Sparks. She sent affidavits from the following neighbors: Isaac Sexton, aged 62; J. G. Odd, aged 68; Richard Cain, aged 81; Peter Hart, aged 78; Elizabeth Sexton, aged 64; W. H. Harper, aged 78; and W. P. H. Hart, aged 63. All of them testified that they were present when Nancy J. Sexton and John S. Sparks were married and that they knew that they had lived together as man and wife until his death.

Widow Certificate No. 694,270 was issued to Nancy J. Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension roll. When she died on July 30, 1916, she was receiving a pension of $12 per month.

(Editor's Note: See page 3189 of the present issue of the Quarterly for further biographical data on John S. Sparks.)

JOHN HENRY SPARKS   was born December 23, 1836, at Ashton, England. he married Catherine Reilly on August 19, 1865, at Port Chester, New York. He served in Company D, 6th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 1,109,954; Wid. Appl. No. 478,571.

On April 22, 1863, John H. Sparks was issued a Certificate of Disability for Discharge which stated the following: "He was enlisted by Lorenzo Meeker on September 5, 1861, at New Haven, Conn. into Co. D, commanded by Capt. Charles H. Nichols, of the 6th Regt. Conn. Volunteer Infantry to serve for three years. At that time he was 21 years of age; he was 5 ft. 6 in. tall, and he had a dark complexion, blue eyes and dark hair. He was born at Manchester, England, and he was a sailor by occupation. He had been unfit for duty for over two months because of a nervous debility and rheumatism. Surgeon
N. L. Dibble said that he was incapable of performing the duties of a soldier." The certificate was signed at Beaufort, South Carolina, by "Brig. Gen. R. Saxton. "

(John H. Sparks married Catherine ["Kate"] Reilly on August 19, 1865, at Port Chester, New York. They were divorced in 1876.)

On September 27, 1890, Catherine Sparks, aged 42, a resident of Stamford, Connecticut, applied for a Widow's Pension under the 1890 Act of Congress. She stated that she had been married to John H. Sparks at Port Chester, New York, on August 19, 1865, by the Rev. Mr. Hatfield. Her husband had served in Company D, 6th Regiment Connecticut Infantry from August 22, 1861, until he was discharged on April 22, 1863. She also stated that he had "died at New York City in the year 1882 or thereabouts." They had no children under the age of sixteen in 1890 nor had she remarried. She appointed N. Stanley Finch, Stamford, Connecticut, as her attorney. Norman Provost and George Hoyt witnessed her make her mark.


No widow's certificate was issued to Kate Sparks. (John Henry Sparks had not died in 1882 as she claimed.)

On May 16, 1891, John H. Sparks wrote to the Commissioner of Pensions from New South Wales, Australia, as follows:

I see by the Act of 27th of June 1890, that I am entitled to a pension. I joined the 6th Conn. Regt., Co. D, commanded by Capt. Meeker and was discharged by the Board of Surgeons at Beauford Hospital in 1863. Dr. Dibble was the hospital surgeon. I was disabled for service on the field the day that Col. Chatfield and Maj. Spidell were wounded. When the war was over I was told that we would be entitled to a bounty, the 61 and 63 men. I gave my Discharge Certificate to a man in New Haven doing business in that line who wrote that I was not entitled to a bounty on that call but would get it in time.

I left New York in 1878 in the ship Lucelle, but had to leave her in Sydney on account of not being able to work. I stayed ashore thinking that I could cure myself, but my side got bad again and I could not go to sea in the ship. I have been knocking about Australia ever since. If you will be good enough to attend to this, you will favor an old man and a volunteer of Co. D, 6th Conn. Regt. and put me on the pension roll, as I would like to get home if I could do so.

On June 26, 1891, the War Department confirmed the military service of John H. Sparks just as he had stated it to be; however, no Invalid Certificate was issued to him. Then on October 11, 1902, the Record and Pension Office sent Sparks's medical record to the Commissioner of Pensions showing that Sparks had received a Disability Discharge on April 22, 1863.

On February 18, 1903, John Henry Sparks, aged 63, a resident of Walbundrie, New South Wales, Australia, re-applied for an Invalid Pension. He said he had enlisted in Company D, 6th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry on September 5, 1861, and was discharged at Beaufort, South Carolina, on April 22, 1863. While stationed at James Island, South Carolina, in the early part of 1863, he had been injured by a tree which fell on him after it was shot down during a skirmish for the Pocketalogo Railroad bridge. He was treated in the Beaufort Hospital until he was discharged. He appointed W. H. Edmondson, Solicitor, of Corona, Australia, as his attorney.

Invalid Certificate No. 1,109,954 was issued to John H. Sparks on March 24, 1903, and he was placed upon the pension roll. On May 21, 1912, he applied for increased benefits under the 1912 Act of Congress. He was now 75 years of age and a resident of the Soldiers Home, Noroton Heights, Connecticut. He stated that he had been born at Ashton, England, on December 23, 1836. He had lived in the Soldiers Home since 1911. His pension was increased to $27.00 per month on December 23, 1914.

Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions on March 11, 1915. He address was Stamford, Connecticut. He said that he had been married to Catherine Riley on March 13, 1866, by the Rev. Hatfield at Port Chester, New York. They had been divorced in 1876. Five children had been
born to them:

Sarah E. Sparks (now Royce) born August 17, 1867
John H. Sparks, Jr., born June 1, 1869
Henry Sparks (now deceased) born 1870
Louise Sparks (now Marsden) born July 7, 1873
Mary Sparks, born March 31, 1875

When John H. Sparks died on July 20, 1917, at the National Soldiers Home, Maine, he was receiving $27.00 per month.

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