September 14, 2017

Pages 3250-3259
Whole Number 142

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.)

18.1.2.7 PHILLIP SPARKS, son of Thomas and Mary Elizabeth (Pearce) Sparks, was born ca. 1842 in Butler County, Ohio. He enlisted on July 8, 1861, at Indianapolis, Indiana, in Co. H, 19th Regiment Indiana Infantry. He died on September 24, 1862, of wounds received during the Battle of Groveton, Virginia, which was fought on August 28, 1862. Although there is no pension file at the National Archives pertaining to Philip Sparks, we have included his record here--see the note following this abstract.

Philip Sparks enlisted in Company H, 19th Regiment Indiana Infantry on July 8, 1861, at Indianapolis, Indiana, under Capt. Kelley to serve a term of three years. He was born in Butler County, Ohio, and was eighteen years of age. He was 5 feet, 6 inches tall; he had a light complexion, blue eyes and dark hair; and he was a farmer. He was mustered into service on July 29, 1861, as a private and was present for duty until October 1861 when he was reported as "Absent - sick, in hospital, Washington, D.D."

Sparks rejoined his company and was present for duty until August 1862 when he was reported on the Company Muster-Roll as "Absent - wounded on August 28th and hospitalized at Washington, D. C." Records indicate that he was taken as a prisoner-of-war on the Groveton [Virginia] Battlefield, but was paroled on September 2, 1862. On the Company Muster-Roll for September 1862, he was reported as "Died on September 24, 1862. Buried on September 25, 1862, at 2 p. m."

(Editor's Note: The reader is referred to the article pertaining to the family of Phillip Sparks which begins on page 3226 of the Quarterly.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

18.1.2.3 WILLIAM SPARKS, son of 18.1.2 Thomas and Mary Elizabeth (Pearce) Sparks, was born ca. 1832 in Maryland. He married Nancy Parker on May 20, 1854, in Washington County, Indiana. He served in Company E, 52nd Regiment Indiana Infantry. File Desi nations: Inv. Cert. No. 452,946; Wid. Cert. No. 297,321.

On March 11, 1882, William Sparks, aged 49, a resident of Seymour, Indiana, made a declaration for an Invalid Pension. He stated that he had enlisted at Columbus, Indiana, on February 14, 1865, as a private in Company E, 52nd Regiment Indiana Infantry, commanded by Capt. Thompson, and had served until he was mustered out on September 10, 1865, at Montgomery, Alabama. He was 5 feet, 5 inches tall; he had a light complexion, dark hair and hazel eyes; and he was a farmer. On or about May 10, 1865, he contracted rheumatism for which he was treated by the Regimental Surgeon. He was now (1882) greatly disabled and unable to perform his work as a farmer. Since leaving the service, he stated that he had lived in Jackson County, Indiana. He added that he had first enlisted in the 50th Regiment Indiana Infantry, but it was consolidated with the 52nd Regiment. He appointed F. C. Woodburn as his attorney, and Stephen Story and Columbus Smith witnessed him make his mark.

Dr. James L. F. Garrison, Lebanon, Indiana, made a supporting affidavit for William Sparks on November 10, 1882. He said he was well acquainted with Sparks and had treated him for rheumatism while he (Garrison) had been surgeon of the 52nd Regiment of Indiana Infantry from May to September 1865.

The War Department confirmed the military service of William Sparks on March 17, 1888. He had enrolled on February 14, 1865, at Columbus, Indiana, in the 50th Regiment Indiana Infantry and was transferred to the 52nd Regiment on May 4, 1865, at McIntosh Bluff, Arkansas. He was present for duty until.. he was mustered out with his company on September 10, 1865. Regimental hospital records were not on file.

Invalid Certificate No. 452,946 was issued to William Sparks. Unfortunately, he had died on June 7, 1886, before he received any benefits.

On August 21, 1886, Nancy Sparks, aged 55, a resident of Columbus, Indiana, applied for a widow's pension. She stated that she was the widow of William Sparks who had served in Company E, 52nd Regiment Indiana Infantry during the Civil War, and who had died on June 7, 1886, at Rockford, Indiana, of disabilities contracted while in the service. She and Sparks had been married on May 20, 1854, in Washington County, Indiana, by Squire Davis. They had two children who were under the age of sixteen at the time of her husband's death, Cordie Belle Sparks, born December 12, 1870, and Lawrence B. Sparks, born February 18, 1873. She appointed John N. Maring of Columbus, Indiana, as her attorney, and Clinton Shields and Samuel R. Reus witnessed her make her mark. Her maiden name had been Nancy Parker.

The claim of Nancy Sparks was rejected upon the grounds that her husband had died of typhoid fever and that his death was not due to the rheumatic effect on his heart brought on by his military service.

On November 20, 1889, Nancy Sparks asked that her case be re-opened, and on Febrary 15, 1890, Dr. James M. Shields, aged 35 years, a resident of Seymour, Indiana, made an affidavit to support her claim. Dr. Shields said that the terminal illness of William Sparks "at no time during his treatment of the case [had it] resembled Typhoid Fever ... [and] at no time had [there been] any elevation of temperature or symptoms resembling Typhoid Fever."

Several affidavits were made during the period from June 1890 until January 1891 to support the claim of Nancy Sparks. Awildia McIntire testified that Nancy Sparks had not remarried since her husband's death. Elizabeth Montgomery testified that she was present when Cordie Belle Sparks, daughter of William and Nancy Sparks, was born in December 1870. Celia Cox testified that Nancy Sparks had no property except a small house and lot and that she depended upon her own efforts for her support.

Widow Certificate No. 297,321 was issued to Nancy Sparks and she was placed upon the pension roll. Her pension was terminated on November 12, 1902, with the notation: "Failure to claim for 3 years."

(Editor's Note: A record of William Sparks's parentage and family appears in the present issue of the Quarterly, beginning on page 3225 . )

18.4.3.8 LABAN SPARKS son of Thomas and Jincy (Harwood) Sparks, was born September 11, 1838, in Montgomery County, Indiana. He married (first) Mary J. Koonce and (2nd) Flora Helen (Smith) Decker. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 370,701; Wid. Cert. No. 792,138.

Laban Sparks, a resident of Lafayette, Indiana, made an application for an invalid pension on October 22, 1884; however, no copy of this application was included in the "selected papers" from his file sent to us by the National Archives. Among the papers sent, however, there is a copy of his Discharge Certificate that had been prepared by Capt. M. L. Miner on March 31, 1864, showing that he had been enrolled at Indianapolis, Indiana, on March 13, 1862, in the 17th Battery of Indiana Light Artillery to serve for three years. He had been discharged on March 31, 1864, as a sergeant to accept a commission as a lieutenant. At that time he was 26 years old and it was stated that he had been born in Montgomery County, Indiana. He had a light complexion, blue eyes, and dark hair; he was 5 feet, 8 inches in height; and when he was enrolled he was a merchant.

The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service as stated on his Discharge Certificate. Additional information given by the War Department indicated that he had been shot by a gun in his right foot at the Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia, on October 19, 1864. He had been present for duty until July 8, 1865, when he was mustered out of his unit.

Invalid Certificate No. 370,701 was issued to Laban Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll.

On October 30, 1913, Laban Sparks wrote to the Commissioner of Pensions as follows: "I was born in Ripley Township, Montgomery County, Indiana, on September 11, 1838. My father's name was Thomas Sparks; my mother's name was Jincey Sparks. She died when I was a child. I lived at home until I joined the army in 1861."

Laban Sparks died on February 24, 1915, at Lafayette, Indiana. On March 4, 1915, his widow, Flora H. Sparks, applied for a widow's pension. She said she had been married to Sparks on January 24, 1889, by the Rev. S. A. Hoyt at Watertown, New York. She had been previously married to James Decker under her maiden name of Smith. Sparks had also been previously married to Mary J. Koonce who had died on July 21, 1888. James Decker had died on October 3, 1887.

Widow Certificate No. 792,138 was issued to Flora Helen Sparks, and she was placed on the pension roll. On January 20, 1937, she informed the Veteran's Administration that she had been born in Salem, Massachusetts, on December 25, 1866; she was thus now (1937) 70 years old. She died sometime after January 8, 1942, at Lafayette, Indiana.

(Editor's Note: A record of Laban Sparks's parentage and family appears in the issue of the Quarterly, beginning on page 3228 . )

THOMAS J. SPARKS, son of Samuel and Frances (Kitchens) Sparks, was born ca. 1845, probably in Walker County, Alabama. He married Mary E. Shirley there on January 8, 1867. He died on July 24, 1874. He served in Company H, 1st Regiment Alabama Cavalry and in Company H, 7th Regiment Illinois Cavalry. File Designations: Minor Appl. No. 295,836.

On July 15, 1882, John W. Sparks, aged 32, a resident of Kansas, Alabama, prepared an Application of Guardian of Minor Children in order to obtain a pension for his wards. He stated that he was the guardian of the children of Thomas J. Sparks who had served in Company H, commanded by Capt. Uriah Grant, of the 7th Regiment Illinois Volunteers, commanded by Col. Fords. Thomas J. Sparks had died at Kansas, Alabama, on July 24, 1874, leaving four minor children: Mary F. Sparks, born November 10, 1867; Samuel S. Sparks, born January 8, 1869; Sarah L. M. Sparks, born February 18, 1871; and Thomas Jesse Sparks, born December 30, 1872. Thomas J. Sparks's death was caused by an attack of measles which had settled in his lungs while he was in the military service. He and the children's mother were married in Walker County on January 8, 1867, by Edd William Perry. After her husband's death in 1874, Mrs. Sparks had married again on February 14, 1875. John W. Sparks appointed the firm of H. W. Fitzgerald & Co., Washington, D. C. , as his attorneys, and Jesse Kitchen and Henry Ferguson witnessed his signature.

On February 17, 1883, John W. Sparks made an affidavit to support the claim of his wards for minor pensions. He said that he could not furnish any medical evidence of the illness of his wards' father, since the soldier had treated himself with patent medicines and would not use the services of a doctor. He also stated that there were no records showing the marriage of Thomas J. Sparks to Mary E. Shirley, the mother of his wards, but neither of them had been married previously. They had four children: Mary, Samuel, Sarah, and Thomas. Mary E. (Shirley) Sparks had died on November 9, 1878. The affidavit was sworn to before F. A. Gamble, Judge of the Walker County Probate Court.

Jiles C. R. Webb, aged 42, and James B. Bochell, aged 52, both residents of Walker County, testified on March 26, 1883, that Thomas J. Sparks took a great deal of patent medicine after he returned from the service and that he would not see a physician. Sparks was finally compelled to quit work and call a doctor in the winter of 1873-4, but it was too late and he died on July 24, 1874.

Apparently the claim of the minor heirs of Thomas J. Sparks was not approved, and ten years went by before the claim was re-opened in 1893 by Sarah (Sparks) Castlebury, a daughter of Thomas J. Sparks. She had married R. B. Castlebury on July 11, 1885, in Fayette County, Alabama. She presented several affidavits to support her claim.

The first of these affidavits was made by Franklin H. Alvis and Jonathan Hendon on February 9, 1893. They testified that they had been comrades of Thomas J. Sparks and knew that he took the measles on May 1, 1864, and that he was hospitalized until about May 20, 1864. A short time later, on a march to Rome, Georgia, Sparks had a relapse, and they had helped to carry him to a hospital at Dalton, Georgia.

On August 25, 1894, James Smith, aged 50, a resident of Talihina, Choctaw, Indian Territory, testified that he had been a comrade of Thomas J. Sparks in the 1st Regiment Alabama Cavalry and was well acquainted with him. Sparks had a relapse of the measles about May 15, 1864, while on a march from Decatur, Alabama, to Rome, Georgia, and was hospitalized at Dalton, Georgia. After the war ended, Smith said that he and Sparks returned home and were close neighbors. It was here that Sparks broke down with the consumption caused by the exposure during the war and which caused his death. Smith said that he had waited on Sparks during his last illness and was with him at his bedside when he died.

The War Department reconfirmed Sparks's military service on June 11, 1895. He had been enrolled in Company H, 1st Regiment Alabama Cavalry on September 29, 1863, and had served until September 29, 1864, when he was discharged at the expiration of his term of service. During this time, he was hospitalized from March 1, 1864, until May 24, 1864, with the measles, but he was returned to duty. He had re-enlisted in March 1865 in Company H, 7th Regiment Illinois Cavalry and had served until he was discharged in November 1865.

Jere F. Files, aged 59, a resident of Townley, Alabama, made three affidavits in 1894, 1895, and 1896 to support the claim of Sarah L. M. Castlebury. In each of these affidavits, he swore that he was well acquainted with Thomas J. Sparks who had served in Company H, 1st Regiment Alabama Cavalry and Company H, 7th Regiment Illinois Cavalry. Sparks had first enlisted in the Confederate Army in the summer of 1863 and had been assigned to Capt. E. D. Kelley's Company of P. D. Roddy's command. Files indicated that in September 1863, he and Sparks and others left that company and went to Corinth, Mississippi, where they had joined the U.S. Army. He said that he and Sparks had only enlisted in the Confederate Army to avoid conscription, and that they had served there only a short period of time. After serving in the 1st Regiment Alabama Cavalry for one year, he and Sparks had re-enlisted in the 7th Regiment Illinois Cavalry in March 1865 and had served until they were discharged in November 1865.

The last document (in chronological order) among the "selected papers" in the pension file for Thomas J. Sparks supplied by the National Archives is an affidavit from Dr. Albert L. Hendon who testified that he was the attending physician during the last illness of Mary E. Sparks, widow of Thomas J. Sparks, and that she had died on November 9, 1878. The affidavit was sworn to before James W. Shepherd, Judge of the Walker County Probate Court.

Nothing appears among the papers provided us by the National Archives to indicate what action was taken on the application of Mrs. Sarah (Sparks) Castlebury, but apparently it was not approved.

(Editor's Note: Thomas J. Sparks was a son of Samuel and Frances (Kitchens) Sparks, and he was a grandson of Thomas and Rutha (White) Sparks of the Lawrence-Walker Counties area of Alabama. Information regarding the family of Thomas J. Sparks appears in an article by Paul E. Sparks entitled "Thomas Sparks of Early Lawrence and Walker Counties, Alabama" in the June 1987 issue of the Quarterly; he is mentioned specifically on page 3050. Information on this branch of the Sparks family also appeared in the June 1966 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 54, as well as that of September 1978, Whole No. 103.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

WALTER PERDUE SPARKS, son of Thomas and Jincey (Harwood) Sparks, was born March 29, 1842, at Alamo, Indiana. He married (first) Martha J. Lisman and (2nd) Rebecca Jennie Curl. He served in Company B, 10th Regiment Indiana Infantry. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 545,502.

On June 18, 1889, Walter P. Sparks, aged 48, a resident of Merom, Indiana, applied for an invalid pension. He swore that he had been enrolled on September 1, 1861, in Company B, 10th Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Capt. Frank Goben, and had been discharged at Indianapolis, Indiana, on September 17, 1864. He was 5 feet, 8 inches tall; he had a dark complexion, light hair, and grey eyes; and he was a farmer. While on the march from Corinth, Mississippi, to Perryville, Kentucky, during September 1862, he developed an inguinal hernia. He was treated for this disability in the regimental hospital but was returned to duty. Since leaving the service, he had resided at Alamo, Indiana, and at Merom, Indiana. William Willis and Henry French witnessed his signature, and the declaration was sworn to before P. R. Jenkins, Sullivan County [Indiana] Court.

Invalid Certificate No. 545,502 was issued to Sparks, and he was placed upoii the pension roll at the rate of $8.00 per month.

On September 8, 1917, Sparks replied to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He said he had been born March 29, 1842, at Alamo, Indiana. He had married Martha J. Lisman in 1864, but she had died on June 19, 1870, at Merom, Indiana. They had two children:

David Lovell Sparks, born December 12, 1866
Thomas Sparks, born June 8, 1869

Sparks went on to state that on January 26,1871, he married Rebecca Jennie Curl by the Rev. T. C. Smith of the Newlight [or Christian] Church. They had four children:

Carman Guy Sparks, born February 1, 1873
Helen May Sparks, born April 15, 1875
Clara Sparks, born August 9, 1880
Lula Sparks, born September 17, 1886

Walter P. Sparks died on April 29, 1931, at Merom, Indiana. According to the Certificate of Death, he was a widower and the son of Thomas Sparks and Jennie Harwood. He was buried in the Merom Cemetery. Thomas Sparks, his son, and Clara Pinkston, his daughter, made a claim that they were nurses in their respective homes for their father after he became helplessly paralyzed on January 1, 1927. Nothing was provided from the National Archives file for Walter Perdue Sparks to indicate what action was taken upon these claims.

(Editor's Note: A record of Walter Sparks's parentage and family appears in the present issue of the Quarterly, beginning on page 3228.)

WILLIAM RUSSELL SPARKS, son of Beriah and Roxana (MNU) Sparks, was born July 4, 1841, at Eagle, New York. He married (first) Ellen Ostrander and (2nd) Mary Kiley. He served in the 12th Battery Wisconsin Light Artillery. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 527,717; Wid. Cert. No. 624,379.

 William R. Sparks apparently applied for an Invalid Pension based on his service in the Union Army in the early part of 1886, but a copy of that application was not provided by the National Archives in its "selected papers" obtained from his file. On December 14, 1886, the War Department sent Sparks's military record to the Commissioner of Pensions. Sparks had been enrolled on November 30, 1863, at LaCross, Wisconsin, in the 12th Battery of Wisconsin Light Artillery to serve for three years. He was present for duty until he was mustered out at Madison, Wisconsin, on June 7, 1865. His medical record was not on file. No Invalid Certificate was issued to him at that time.

Sparks re-applied for a pension on July 8, 1890, under the 1890 Act of Congress for Civil War veterans. He was then 50 years of age and a resident of Warsaw, New York. He stated that he had enlisted on November 30, 1863, as a private in the 12th Battery of Wisconsin Light Artillery, commanded by Capt. William Zachariah and had served until the close of the war. At that time he was 23 years old; he was 5 feet, 8 inches tall; he had a dark complexion, brown hair, and hazel eyes. He was now (1890) suffering from a kidney disease with accompanying nausea and was unable to earn his support. He appointed George E. Lemon, Washington, D. C. , as his attorney, and Fred Lester and Jefferson L. Smith witnessed his signature.

Invalid Certificate No. 527,717 was issued to William Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll at the rate of $6.00 per month.

On July 4, 1898, Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He said that he had been married to Mary Kiley at Grand Rapids, Wisconsin, sometime in 1868. Prior to that marriage, he had been married to Ellen Ostrander, but they had been divorced in 1866. He had nine children by his second marriage, but only two of them were under the age of sixteen years (in 1898), Mabel, aged 14, and Frances, aged 9.

William Russell Sparks died on February 8, 1903, at Warsaw, New York, from bronchi pneumonia. According to his death certificate, he had been born July 4, 1841, at Eagle, New York, and was a son of Bryer [Beriah] and "Roxany" Sparks, natives of Vermont and New York, respectively. He had lived in Warsaw for the past 14 years.

On February 11, 1903, Mary Sparks, aged 52 years, a resident of Warsaw, New York, applied for a Widow's Pension. She said that she and William R. Sparks had been married at Grand Rapids, Wisconsin, in November 1868 by a Congregational minister. Sparks had died on February 8, 1903, leaving her with one child, Frances E. Sparks, under the age of sixteen, since she had been born June 11, 1887. She appointed Homer E. Holly, Warsaw, New York, as her attorney. Mary E. Jennings and Louise Webster witnessed her signature.

Mary Sparks made an affidavit before E. M. Jennings, Clerk of the Wyoming County, New York, Court on August 15, 1905, to support her claim for a Widow's Pension. Here are some abstracted portions of her statement:

I am the widow of William R. Sparks who died at Warsaw, N. Y. on February 8, 1903 to whom I was married at Grand Rapids, Wise. by the Rev. Mr. Webster, a Congregational minister in November 1868. Witnesses to the marriage were my sister, Catherine Houghton, Kickbush, Wisconsin, and John Starr, now deceased. My maiden name was Mary Kiley and I had not been previously married. We had nine children.

At the time of my husband's death, we had no real or personal property except our household furniture and clothing. There was no insurance on my husband's life nor any inheritance or source of income. All I have now is what I can earn from my own labor and some small assistance from relatives and friends.

I have no knowledge of my husband's previous marriage but was told that he had been married and had obtained a divorce from a court at Grand Rapids, Wisconsin. I applied to the clerk of Wood County, Wise. , Circuit Court for a copy of the divorce but was informed that in 1872 the records of that court were destroyed by fire. The Rev. Mr. Webster who performed that marriage is dead, and I have been informed that my husband's alledged former wife died many years ago in Missouri."

Widow Certificate No. 624,379 was issued to Mary Sparks on 1 April 1907, and she was placed upon the pension roll at the rate of $8.00 per month to commence on February 13, 1903. She was also entitled to an additional $2.00 per month until her child, Frances E. Sparks, reached her sixteenth birthday on June 10, 1903.

Mary Sparks died on May 1, 1921, at Rochester, New York, and was buried at Warsaw. On May 14, 1921, her daughter, Frances E. Sparks, aged 33, and a resident of Rochester, applied for reimbursement for expenses paid during her mother's last sickness and burial. She stated that her mother's funeral expenses amounted to $229.00 and that the Monroe County [New York] Court had agreed to pay $75.00 of that amount. Her brother, William Sparks, of Little Falls, New York, had paid for the services of the undertaker at Warsaw, New York, which were $27.00. Nothing was sent by the National Archives from this file to indicate what disposition was made of the claim of Frances E. Sparks.

(Editor's Note: Beriah Sparks, father of William Russell Sparks, was a son of Nehemiah and Lucy (Starkweather) Sparks. See pages 3034-36 of the March 1987 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 137.)

45.5.y GEORGE W. SPARKS, son of 45.5 Ozias and Wilthe [?] B. (Burnett) Sparks, was born July 9, 1841, in Potter County, Pennsylvania. He married Grace Crandall on November 2, 1871, at Central City, Colorado. He served in Company A, Denver City H. G. ; Company D, 2nd Regiment Colorado Infantry; and Company F, 1st Regiment Colorado Cavalry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 1,033,004; Wid. Appl. No. 1,080,378.

George W. Sparks applied for an Invalid Pension on April 15, 1901, but no copy of his application was sent from his pension file at the National Archives. The War Department confirmed his military service on May 2, 1901. He had been enrolled on September 23, 1861, in Company A, Denver City Home Guards and was mustered out on 1 April 1862, with his company. At that time he was 21 years of age; he was 6 feet tall; he had blue eyes, brown hair, and a fair complexion; and he was a miner by occupation. He had been born in Potter County, Pennsylvania. He re-enlisted on April 30, 1862, in Company D, 2nd Regiment Colorado Infantry and served until January 1865 when he was transferred to Company F, 1st Regiment Colorado Cavalry. He was mustered out with his company on April 30, 1865, with the rank of corporal.

On May 10, 1901, Sparks responded to two questionnaires from the Bureau of Pensions. He said that he had been born July 9, 1841, at Henron, Pennsylvania. He had been married to Grace Crandall on November 2, 1871, at Central City, Colorado, by S. D. Bowker, a Baptist minister. They had one child, 45.5.y.1 Frank W. Sparks, born September 15, 1873. It was the first marriage for both.

Invalid Certificate No. 1,033,004 was issued to George W. Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll at the rate of $8.00 per month.

Sometime prior to June 1914, George W. Sparks became an inmate of the Colorado Soldiers & Sailors Home at Monte Vista, Colorado, which provoked complaint from John Tormay, Adjutant for the Thornbury Post, G.A. R., at Georgetown, Colorado. On June 29, 1914, Tormay wrote to the Commissioner of Pensions that George W. Sparks was giving most of his pension to his son who was an able-bodied young man, while Sparks's wife was in need and more deserving. He sent the Commissioner a copy of the marriage record of George W. Sparks and Grace Crandall.

On September 22, 1914, Grace Sparks, aged 63, a resident of Georgetown, Colorado, applied for one-half of the pension due her husband, George W. Sparks. She said she had no real or personal property and no wages other than that from her own daily labor, which consisted of her board and lodging as a housekeeper for a family. Fred P. Dewey and James T. Garrett witnessed her signature.

Mrs. Sparks was supported in her request by two joint affidavits. The first, made on October 5, 1914, was by Mrs. Louise Berg and Mrs. Pauline B. Noone, residents of Georgetown, Colorado. They testified that Mrs. Sparks was of good moral character and of "necessitous circumstances." The second affidavit was made on October 19, 1914, by Arthur W. Hunt and Arnold G. Walther who swore that Mrs. Sparks's only means of making a livelihood was as an inmate in the home of Arthur W. Hunt.

On October 31, 1914, George W. Sparks responded to his wife's petition. He said that he objected to her claim for any portion of his pension for the following reasons:

1. That she was not of good moral character.

2. That she was not in necessitous circumstances.

3. That she was an able-bodied woman, able to take care of herself and had regular employment and sufficient wages to support herself.

4. That on or about November 11, 1883, she, Grace Sparks, deserted him and since that day has lived and resided in adultery with William Hunt, a saloon-keeper.

On March 17, 1915, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Pensions wrote to George W. Sparks that the claim of Grace Sparks for one-half of his pension had been rejected on the grounds that she was no longer the lawful wife of the pensioner, he having obtained a divorce from her in the Rio Grande County Court, Colorado, on January 7, 1915.

When George W. Sparks died on March 13, 1916, he was receiving a pension of $30.00 per month. On September 12, 1916, Grace Sparks applied for a Widow's Pension. She said that Sparks had died in March 1916 and that she was divorced from him after she had applied for a share of his pension. John J. White and Fred A. Dewey witnessed her declaration. Apparently the declaration was rejected, for no Widow's Certificate was issued to her.

(Editor's Note: George W. Sparks was a grandson of John and Lovina (Brewster) Sparks of New Jersey and New York. John Sparks had served in the Revolutionary War and had received a pension for his services. For further details about his family, see pages 251-260 of the December 1957 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 20.) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

JAMES R. T. SPARKS, son of George W. and Rachel (MNU) Sparks, was born in Wright County, Missouri. He married Matilda Jane Moody on February 30 [sic] 1867, in Wright County.
He served in Morehouse's Provisional Company, Laclede County Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia. File Designations: Wid. Appl. No. 526,680; Minor Appl. No. 622,660.

 On September 8, 1891, Matilda J. Luton, aged 45, a resident of Hartville, Missouri, made a declaration for a Widow's Pension. She said that she was the widow of James R. T. Sparks who had served in the Provisional Company commanded by D. A. W. Morehouse of the Laclede County Enrolled Missouri Militia from September 7, 1864, until December 1, 1864. She had been married to Sparks under the name of Matilda J. Moody on February 30, [sic] 1867, in Wright County, Missouri, by the Rev. Jonathan Owens, a minister of the Gospel. Her husband had died on December 10, 1869, of consumption leaving her with one child, Amanda L. Sparks, born December 25, 1867. After her husband's death, she married James Kelly on May 30, 1876, and then she married John Luton. She appointed the firm of Charles and William B. King, Washington, D. C. , as her attorneys. Fred E. Townley and Samuel Coday witnessed her make her mark.

The War Department confirmed the military service of James R. T. Sparks on December 10,1891. He had served in Capt. D. A. W. Morehouse's Company, Laclede County Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia from September 7, 1864, until December 1, 1864, when he was relieved. His term of service totaled 84 days. The Laclede County Provisional E.M.M. had been called out under General Order #107.

On November 19, 1894, the law firm of Charles and William B. King wrote to the Pension Office to say it had heard nothing from this case since October 1, 1892, and they thought that perhaps their client was dealing directly with the Pension Office. The firm was informed that, according to word received from Samuel Coday of Hartville, Missouri, Mrs. Matilda J. Lewton [sic] had died.

On August 24, 1895, Amanda L. Sparks, now Smith, applied for a Pension for Children under Sixteen. She stated that she was the only child of James R. T. Sparks and Matilda J. Moody who had been married on February 30, [sic] 1867, and believed that she was entitled to a pension from that date until December 24, 1883. She appointed Charles and William B. King, Washington, D . C . , as her attorneys.

On December 26, 1895, the law firm of Charles and William B. King was notified that the claim of their client, Amanda L. Smith, had been rejected because "the organization in which the soldier served was a State organization and was not mustered into the service of the United States."

(Editor's Note: For further information about this branch of the Sparks Family, see pp. 661-65 of the September 1962 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 39; pp. 705-718 of the March 1963 issue, Whole No. 41; pp. 898-904 of the June 1965 issue, Whole No. 50; and pp. 925-27 of the September 1965 issue, Whole No. 51.)

top