February 2, 2021

Pages 3351-3352
Whole Number 144


[Editor's Note: From time to time over the past several years, we have been publishing abstracts prepared by Dr. Paul E. Sparks of the pension files of Union soldiers who served in the Civil War. For an explanation of these records on file in the National Archives in Washington, D. C., see the Quarterly of March 1986, Whole No. 133, page 2858.]

WALTER C. SPARKS was born ca. 1819 in New York City. He was married twice. His first marriage was to Sarah Jane Fry on July 3, 1842, in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and his second was to Amanda O. Stearns on April 21, 1881, in Fairfield County. He served in Company B, 1st Regiment Connecticut Heavy Artillery. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 399,739; Wid. Cert. No. 268,234.

Walter C. Sparks, aged 67, a resident of Danbury, Connecticut, applied for an Invalid Pension on March 1, 1887. He stated that he had enrolled in the service on February 4, 1862, as a private in Company B, 1st Regiment Connecticut Heavy Artillery commanded by C. R. Bannan, and had served until he was discharged at Washington, D. C., on September 25, 1865. At that time, he was 5 feet, 6 inches tall; he had a light complexion, light hair, and blue eyes; and he was a hatter by trade. Sometime during June 1862, he contracted malaria fever from exposure while stationed at Chickahominy Swamp, Virginia. He was treated by the Regimental Surgeon and returned to duty, but the effect of the disease had remained with him after he left the service. He was now so weakened by the intermittent chills and fever that he was unable to earn his support by manual labor. He appointed George E. Lemon, Washington, D. C., as his attorney, to assist him in obtaining a pension. Egbert W. Gilbert and Henry H. Purdy witnessed his signature.

The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service on July 13, 1887. He had enrolled in Company B, 1st Regiment Connecticut Heavy Artillery at New Haven, Connecticut, on February 4, 1862, to serve for three years. He reenlisted in the same company and regiment on February 5, 1864. He was present for duty until he was mustered out with his company on September 25, 1865, at Washington, D. C. The muster-roll furnished no evidence of any disability.

During the latter part of 1887, four affidavits were made to support the claim of Walter C. Sparks. They were made by Edward H. Dann, Charles H. Lamb, Charles McDermott, and Daniel M. Andrews, all residents of Danbury, Connecticut. All of them testified that prior to his military service, Walter C. Sparks had been an able-bodied man, but after he came home from the service, he suffered intermittent attacks of chills and fever of such severity, that he was unable to earn his support.

Invalid Certificate No. 399,739 was issued to Walter C. Sparks, and he was placed on the pension roll. He died on September 13, 1889, at Danbury.

On November 1, 1889, Amanda Sparks, aged 55, a resident of Danbury, Connecticut, applied for a Widow's Pension based on her husband's service. She stated that she had been married to Walter C. Sparks, on April 21, 1881, by the Rev. J. Hubbell, under her maiden name of Amanda O. Stearns. It had been her first marriage, but her husband had been married previously to Sarah J. ------ He had no children under the age of sixteen years at the time of his death. She appointed George E. Lemon, Washington, D. C., as her attorney to help secure a pension for her.

On December 5, 1889, George Wakeman, Registrar of Fairfield County, Connecticut, made an affidavit that he had custody of the record of a marriage between Walter C. Sparks, aged 62, born in New York City, his second marriage, and Amanda O. Stearns, aged 51, born at Hartford, New York, her first marriage. They had been married on April 21, 1881, by the Rev. James N. Hubbell.

A month later, on January 2, 1890, Registrar Wakeman also certified that he was custodian of the record of the death of Sarah J. Sparks, aged 60 years and 4 days, married, who had died of consumption on March 20, 1878.

Widow Certificate No. 268,234 was issued to Amanda Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension roll. On September 19, 1916, she applied for increased pension benefits under the 1916 Act of Congress. She stated that she had been born at Hartford, New York, on March 31, 1830. When she died on February 5, 1918, she was receiving a pension of $25.00 per month.

[Editor's Note: From other sources, we know that Walter C. Sparks married Sarah Jane Fry on July 3, 1842, in Fairfield County, Connecticut. When the 1850 census was taken of that county, this couple was listed on page 124, House No. 694, in the Town of Danbury. He was then 32 years old and a farmer; she was 33 years old. Living with them were four children:

James H. Sparks, 7 ;
Caroline F. Sparks, 5 ;
John J. Sparks, 2 ; and
Walter Sparks, 1.