September 14, 2017

Pages 3515-3525
Whole Number 148

UNION SOLDIERS NAMED SPARKS WHO APPLIED
OR WHOSE HEIRS APPLIED
FOR PENSIONS FOR SERVICE IN THE CIVIL WAR



[Editor's Note: Readers are referred to the Editor's note appearing on page 3388 of the March 1989 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 145, for an expla nation of these abstracts of pension records.]

JAMES THOMAS JEFFERSON SPARKS, son of William J. and Teressa (Hennings) Sparks, was born December 17, 1843, probably in Boone County, Kentucky. He served in Company H, 2nd Regiment Indiana Cavalry (41st Infantry) and in Company A, 78th Regiment Illinois Volunteers. File Designation: Mother's Cert. No. 203,182.

On February 25, 1880, Teressa Sparks, aged 57, a resident of Louisville, Kentuckymade a declaration for a Mother's Army Pension. She stated that she was the widow of William Sparks and the mother of James Thomas who was a private in Company A, 78th Regiment Illinois Infantry Volunteers. Her son had been killed in action while in the military service. Prior to his death, she had been dependent upon him for her support. He had left no widow or minor child. She could not remember exactly where he was killed, but she did obtain his bounty. His name was James J. Sparks, alias James Thomas. She appointed H. M. Carr of Louisville as her attorney. George H. Webb and Samuel G. Moore witnessed her make her mark.

A few months earlier, on December 19, 1879, Bela Herrick, a resident of Swit zerland County, Indiana, had appeared before John T. Huston, a justice of the peace, to make an affidavit in which he stated that he knew William Sparks quite well and that Sparks had obtained a $100 bounty from the government be cause his son, James T. J. Sparks, had been killed while in the military service. Herrick also stated that William Sparks was a cripple; was a resident of Switzerland County; and was 85 years of age.

On the following day, December 20, 1879, James H. Wade also appeared before John T. Huston to state that he personally knew James T. J. Sparks as he was a comrade in Company H, 41st Indiana Cavalry, and that Sparks drew his pay regularly and sent the same home to his mother, and that she depended largely upon him for support.

Dr. Rinaldo R. Ruter, a physician in Switzerland County, Indiana, made an affidavit on February 17, 1880, that he was personally acquainted with William Sparks during 1860 and 1861 and knew him to be an incurable cripple in very poor circumstances. His son, who was his only dependence, was killed in the War of 1861 and was a member of the 41st Regiment Indiana Cavalry.

Three days later, on February 20th, Henry H. Ferguson, Treasurer of Clark County, Indiana, certified that there was no assessment for taxation against William Sparks or Teressa Sparks from 1872 to 1880.

On October 1, 1880, the War Department confirmed the military service of James Thomas. He had enrolled in company A, 78th Regiment Illinois Volunteers at Bridgeport, Alabama, on September 12, 1863, and was killed in action near Marietta, Georgia, on June 27, 1864.

Apparently no affirmative action was taken on the application of Mrs. Teressa Sparks for a Mother's Pension and the case rested until the fall of 1882. On November 11, 1882, Robert S. Waters, aged 52, a resident of Patriot, Indiana, swore that James T. J. Sparks, late of the 78th Regiment Illinois Infantry, had worked for him in 1859 and 1860. Sparks was a strong man physically and always gave his wages to his mother. Waters also swore that William Sparks, father of James T. J. Sparks, could do no manual labor because of a crippled leg, and that he made baskets which he peddled for his family's support.

During the period from November 13, 1882, until August 10, 1883, more than a dozen persons made affidavits to support the request of Mrs. Teressa Sparks for a Mother's Pension. Among these were: B. W. Rice, Nancy Place, A. M. Woodward, Thomas Graham, Robert Waters, Angeline Foy, Charles Friend, George W. Finley, Thomas Calton, James L. Russell, William Wyatt, Annie Wyatt, C. R. McBride, Henry Ferguson, and James H. Wade. In the main, they testified to the following:

On October 12, 1883, the War Department responded again to a request from the Bureau of Pensions for the records of James T. J. Sparks. Records showed that Sparks had enrolled on September 12, 1861, at Patriot, Indiana, in Company H, 2nd Regiment Indiana Cavalry (41st Infantry) to serve for three years. He was present for duty until September 5, 1863, when he was reported as absent with out leave. The muster-out roll of that company on October 4, 1864, carried the remark that he had deserted at Sand Mountain, Alabama, on September 5, 1863, and had enlisted at Bridgeport, Alabama, on September 12, 1863, in Company A, 78th Regiment Illinois Volunteers under the name of James Thomas.

He was reported as "killed in action" near Marietta, Georgia, on June 27, 1864. The report concluded with the following remark: "Enlisted in this company in violation of the 22nd Act. of War, he being a deserter from Co. H, 2nd Indiana Cavalry in which company he served under the name of James T. J. Sparks."

On November 2, 1883, Benjamin Rice, aged 74, and Albert W. Woodward, aged 52, testified that to their personal knowledge, James Thomas of the 78th Illinois Volunteers and James T. J. Sparks of the 41st Regiment Indiana Cavalry were one and the same man. They saw him while he was serving in both regiments and personally knew that he was a son of Teressa Sparks. To the best of their recollections, James T. J. Sparks had dropped a part of his name owing to some difficulty with his captain over the loss of a pistol.

On the same day, Leticia C. Rice, a resident of Bethlehem, Indiana, made an affidavit to support the claim of Teressa Sparks. Mrs. Rice stated that she was an aunt of James Thomas Jefferson Sparks who was the same man who had served under the name of James Thomas in the 78th Regiment Illinois Volun teers. She said that while he was in the service, she had received letters from him signed "James Thomas" and she was enclosing some of these letters. He had also visited her while in the service and had told her that he had dropped a part of his name because he had lost a pistol belonging to his company commander and was afraid of being court-martialed and punished. Mrs. Rice sent three letters which she had received from her nephew. One of these is reproduced here exactly as it was written:

On November 12, 1883, Teressa Sparks, aged 60, a resident of Jeffersonville, Indiana, testified as follows: (1) the reason her son enlisted in the 78th Regiment Illinois Volunteers under the name of James Thomas instead of James Thomas Jefferson Sparks "was that while in the 2nd Ind. Cav. he had a fuss with his Captain over a pistol and he did not want the Captain to know of his whereabouts"; (2) that her husband was 74 years old when he died; (3) her son 5 age at the time of his enlistment was about 20 years since he was born December 17, 1843; (4) that she had lived at Patriot, Indiana, until 1866 when she moved to Jeffersonville, Indiana; and (5) that the members of her family in 1864 were:

Thomas Bailey and W. W. Malone witnessed her make her mark.

On November 21, 1883, the application of Teressa Sparks was finally approved, and Mother's Pension Certificate No. 203,182 was issued to her. She was placed upon the pension roll at the rate of $8.00 per month to commence (retroactively) on June 28, 1864. She died in Clark County, Indiana, on January 9, 1896.

[Editor's Note: For more information on the parents and siblings of James Thomas Jefferson Sparks, see the present issue of the Quarterly, beginning on page 3502.]

JOHN ROBINSON SPARKS was born September 26, 1840, in Tioga County, New York, and was a son of William and Sarah L. Sparks, natives of England. He was married three times: 1st, to Melinda M. Edson on July 13, 1864; 2nd, to Mary E. Weaver about 1885; and 3rd to Hattie E. Jester on November 30, 1887. He served on the U.S. S. Sloop Brooklyn. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 32,301; Wid. Cert. No. 19,148.

On June 7, 1902, John R. Sparks, aged 62, a resident of Marshall, Missouri, made a declaration for an Invalid Pension. He said he had enrolled on August 19, 1862, at New York City as a seaman on the U.S.S. Sloop Brooklyn, commanded by Capt. George Dewey, and had served until he was discharged at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on August 31, 1863. At the time of his enlistment, he was 5 feet, 7 1/2 inches tall; he had a light complexion, brown hair and light eyes [sic]. He was now suffering from rheumatism and bronchitis that rendered him incapable of earning his full support. He appointed Chas. M. Hawley, Marshall, Missouri, as his attorney, and the declaration was witnessed by Dan. D. Duggins and J. V. Chase.

The Bureau of Pensions asked Sparks to respond to a questionnaire on June 17, 1902. He said he had been married to Hattie E. Jester on November 30, 1887, by Elder George Plattenburg in Saline County, Missouri, as recorded on page 77 of Marriage Book 3 in the Saline County Recorder's Office. He had been married twice before. His first wife was Melinda Edson of Union, Broome County, New York. She had died in Marshall, Missouri, on July 31, 1882. His second wife was Mary E. Weaver of Marshall, Missouri. She had died on January 10, 1887.

Sparks went on to say that he had three children:

The last named child was by his second wife. He had no children by his third wife.

On the same day (in order to prevent a false personation) the Bureau of Pensions sent a second questionnaire to John R. Sparks, perhaps in an effort to trap him. He answered the thirteen questions as follows: He had been born September 26, 1840, in Tioga County, New York. He had enlisted on August 19, 1862, in New York City. Prior to his enlistment, he had lived in Oswego, New York, where he was now employed. He was discharged on August 31, 1863, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York. Since leaving the service, he had lived at Campville, New York, for about two years, and the rest of the time he was at Marshall, Missouri. He was a carpenter and a joiner. He was 5 feet, 7+ inches tall; he weighted 160 lbs.; and he had light eyes [sic], grey hair and a light complexion. His full name was John Robinson Sparks. Dan D. Diggins and Wm. E. Rainey witnessed the questionnaire.

Invalid Certificate No. 32,301 was issued to John R. Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll. He died on May 8, 1907, in Saline County, Missouri.

On May 16, 1907, Hattie Sparks, aged 47, applied for a Widow's Pension under the provisions of the May 1900 Act of Congress. She said she was the widow of John R. Sparks who had enrolled on August 22, 1862, as an ordinary sea man and was discharged on August 31, 1863, having served 90 days or more during the late War of the Rebellion. She had been married to Sparks on November 30, 1887, under her maiden name of Hattie E. Jester, in Saline County, Missouri. He had been married twice before, the first time on July 13, 1864, to Melinda Edson in Tioga County, New York. She had died on July 31, 1882, in Saline County, Missouri. Sparks had married (2nd) Mary E. Weaver in Saline County. She died in Saline County on January 10, 1887. John R. Sparks died in Saline County on May 8, 1907. She was now without any other means of support than her own daily labor and an annual income not to exceed $250. She appointed Chas. M. Hawley, Marshall, Missouri, as her attorney, and Bessie Vawter and Leila Barber witnessed the declaration.

Apparently the Bureau of Pensions asked Mrs. Sparks to make a statement about her financial situation, and on September 4, 1907, she made an affidavit in which she listed her property and income. Her property consisted of (1) a life interest in ten acres of land; (2) a house and lot in the town of Marshall, Missouri, worth about $1600; and (3) $400 in bank certificates of deposit. Her income consisted of (1) about $10.00 per month from the ten acres of land; (2) about $10.00 per month if she rented her house instead of living in it; and (3) about $10.00 per month from the bank certificates. Her husband had no life insurance.

On September 25, 1907, 1. 0. Striker, aged 74, and H. G. Allen, aged 63, both residents of Marshall, Missouri, swore that they were well acquainted with Hattie E. Sparks ever since she was a child and that she had never been married until she married John Sparks. They also said that she and Sparks had lived together continuously until his death.

On October 8, 1907, Joseph W. Barnhill, aged 58, and James T. Fisher, aged 45, residents of Marshall, Missouri, made a joint affidavit to support Mrs. Sparks's estimation of her property and income. They estimated that the property would afford her an income of about $30.00 per month.

The last affidavit (in chronological order) made on February 6, 1908, sent to us as the "selected papers" from the pension file of John R. Sparks was made jointly by Mrs. W. B. Kirtley, aged 37, and Mrs. F. M. Metcalfe, aged 42, residents of Independence, Missouri, who swore that John R. Sparks was married only three times. His first wife had died on July 31, 1882, and his second wife had died on January 10, 1887. At the time of his third marriage, he had no living wife. [Mrs. Kirtley and Mrs. Metcalfe appear to have been the two daughters of John R. Sparks listed in the questionnaire which he had completed in 1902.]

Widow Certificate No. 19,148 was issued to Hattie E. Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension roll. When she died on January 5, 1911, she was receiving a pension of $12.00 per month.

[Editor's Note: John R. Sparks was shown as a 9-year-old boy living in the household of his parents, William and Sarah L. Sparks, when the 1850 census was taken of Tioga County, New York. It was about 1866 that he settled in Saline County, Missouri. According to a History of SalineCountyMissouri, pub lished in 1881, he was a successful fruit-grower in that county.

John R. Sparks also had a brother, Edward Franklin Sparks, (called Franklin) born in 1843, who was in the household of his parents when the 1850 census was taken of Tioga County, New York. He also received a pension for service during the Civil War in the 1st and 50th Regiments New York Infantry. An abstract of his pension application papers follows. A listing of Sparkses found on the 1850 census of the state of New York appeared in the Quarterly of March 1982 (Vol. XXX, Whole No. 117); that for Tioga County appears on page 2395.]

EDWARD FRANKLIN SPARKS (he was called Franklin), was born in January 1843 in Tioga County, New York, and was a son of Wil liam and Sarah L. Sparks, natives of England. He married Elizabeth Edwards on January 1, 1866, in Tioga County. He served in Company G, 1st Regi ment New York Infantry and in Company M, 50th Regiment New York Engineers. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 831,373; Wid. Cert. No. 482,924.

On January 16, 1892, Franklin Sparks, aged 49, a resident of Binghamton, New York, applied for an invalid pension. He said he had enlisted on January 15, 1862, in Company 0, 1st Regiment New York Infantry Volunteers. His second enlistment was on January 4, 1864, in Company M, 50th Regiment New York Engineer Volunteers. He was discharged on June 13, 1865, at Fort Barry, Virginia. He now suffered from a rheumatic condition so severe that he was unable to earn his support. He appointed James F. Pettit, Binghamton, New York, as his attorney. The declaration was witnessed by Jack Chidester and Milo R. Smith.

The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service on May 10, 1895. He was enrolled on December 31, 1861, as a private in Company G, 1st Regiment New York Infantry and served until he was mustered out of the sernce on May 25, 1863. He re-enlisted on January 4, 1864, in Company M, 50th Regi ment New York Engineers and served until he was mustered out on June 13, 1865, with the rank of corporal.

Invalid Certificate No. 831,373 was issued to Franklin Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll. When he died on June 23, 1899, he was receiving a pension of $8.00 per month.

On June 28, 1899, Elizabeth Sparks, aged 54, a resident of Binghamton, New York, applied for a Widow's Pension. She said she was the widow of Franklin Sparks who was a pensioner under Certificate No. 831,373. He had died on June 23, 1899. She married him on January 1, 1866, at Apalachin, New York, by the Rev. G. D. Johnson. It was the first marriage for both. They had no children under the age of sixteen years at the time of his death. She appointed James E. Burleigh as her attorney.

Elizabeth Sparks's application was supported by a joint affidavit, dated July 5, 1899, from Ira Edwards, aged 74, a resident of Binghamton, New York, and Nancy C. Travis, aged 58, a resident of Apalachin, New York. They testified that they had known Franklin and Elizabeth Sparks before they were married and knew that they had never been married prior to their marriage to each other on January 1, 1866, at Apalachin, New York. They also said that Franklin and Elizabeth Sparks had remained married to each other until Franklin's death on June 23, 1899. The affidavit was sworn to before Wallace Hill, a notary public.

On July 19, 1899, James H. Kidder, rector of St. Pauls Church, Owego, New York, sent a copy of a marriage record from his church to the Bureau of Pensions. The record stated that on January 1, 1866, Edward F. Sparks, aged 23, a resident of Campville, New York, and Elizabeth Edwards, aged 20, a resident of Apalachin, New York, were married in the church by the Rev. G. D. John son. Witnesses were F. J. and Frances E. Durphy.

On July 24, 1899, Bert Severson, aged 69, and Sabrina Morton, aged 70, both residents of Binghamton, New York, made a joint affidavit to support the claim of Elizabeth Sparks. They said that were well acquainted with Franklin and Elizabeth Sparks and knew all about their financial circumstances. They had no real or personal property nor any investments except for a house worth about $2500 and household furniture worth about $200. Franklin Sparks had left no will, but he had two children, Jennie P. Sparks, aged 23, and Emma R. Chaffee, aged 21, who were entitled to two-thirds of the value of the house according to the law. Mrs. Sparks had no income except that from her daily labor nor did she have anyone legally responsible for her support.

On the following day, Bert Severson and Sabrina Morton made a modifying affidavit to go with their affidavit made on July 24, 1899. They said that Franklin Sparks had a small store which he was trying to close at the time of his death. It was not worth more that $300 and was covered by complete indebtedness. They also said that Franklin Sparks's complete name was Edward Franklin Sparks and that Franklin Sparks and Edward Franklin Sparks were one and the same person.

On July 29, 1899, the Commissioner of Pensions received a Certificate & Record of Death from the City of Binghamton, New York, which showed the death of Edward F. Sparks on June 23, 1899, at the age of 56 years and 5 months. He was a white, married male born in Owego, New York. His parents' names were William and Sarah L. Sparks, both born in England.

On August 12, 1899, 5. D. Kane, Clerk of Binghamton, New York, certified that in 1898 he could find no property assessed for either Franklin or Eliza beth Sparks. He did find an E. F. Sparks who was assessed for that year for one-half house and lot on the west side of Front Street and for one lot on the east side of Front Street. The assessments were for $2500 and $600, respec tively.

On February 26, 1901, Ira Edwards, aged 74, and Calista Green, aged 77, both residents of Binghamton, New York, made a joint affidavit to support the claim of Elizabeth Sparks. They said they had known Franklin Sparks for many years and at the time of his enlistment in the military service, he was a sound and healthy man. When he returned from the service, he constantly complained of pains in his stomach, particularly while he was eating. Often he would have to stop eating before he had finished his meal. Emma R. Cha fee and Jennie P. Sparks witnessed the declaration.

Elizabeth Sparks was issued Widow Certificate No. 482,924, and she was placed upon the pension roll. When she died on January 11, 1911, she was receiving a pension of $12.00 per month.

[Editor's Note: Franklin Sparks was a 7-year-old boy living in the household of his parents, William and Sarah L. Sparks, when the 1850 census was taken of Tioga County, New York. After his marriage to Elizabeth Edwards in 1866, they had five children, all daughters. Two daughters were mentioned in the pension file, Jennie P. Sparks, born ca. 1876, and Emma R. Sparks, born ca. 1878. According to the records of the Riverside Cemetery, Apalachin, New York, the other three daughters died when quite young, apparently dur ing an epidemic. They were Hattie C. Sparks, born in May 1867, died on De cember 11, 1875; Nellie D. Sparks, born in 1868, died on December 6, 1875; and Sarah H. Sparks, born in June 1872, died on December 12, 1875.

Franklin Sparks also had a brother, John Robinson Sparks, born in 1840, who was in the household of his parents when the 1850 census was taken of Tioga County. He also received a pension for service during the Civil War in the United States Navy. For an abstract of the "selected papers" found in his pension file at the National Archives, see pages 352-22 of the present issue of the Quarterly. A listing of Sparkses found on the 1850 census of the state of New York appeared in the Quarterly of March 1982 (Vol. XXX, Whole No. 117); that for Tioga County appears on page 2395.]

EDWIN SPARKS, son of Levi and Zulima Craig (Moore) Sparks, was born October 26, 1829, in Adams County, Ohio. He married Priscilla Spurgeon on March 31, 1851, at Dubuque, Iowa. He served in Company C, 21st Regiment Iowa Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 118,653; Wid. Cert. No. 576,823.

Edwin Sparks received a Certificate of Disability for Discharge on April , 1863, at Memphis, Tennessee. He was a sergeant in Capt. Jesse M. Harrison's Company C, of the 21st Regiment Iowa Infantry. He had enlisted in the com pany on August 20, 1862. at Dubuque, Iowa, to serve for three years. He had been born in Adams County, Ohio; was 32 years of age; was 6 feet tall; had a fair complexion, blue eyes and light hair; and he was a farmer. Surgeon Wm. L. Orr certified that Sparks was incapable of performing the duties of a soldier because of the loss of all the fingers of his right hand by amputation as the result of a gunshot wound.

On April 17, 1871, Sparks applied for an invalid pension stating that the loss of his fingers prevented him from earning his support. He said that he lost his fingers as the result of an accidental gunshot wound which he received while preparing to march from Houston, Missouri, to West Plains, Missouri. Since leaving the service, he had lived at Delaware County, Iowa, and Kossuth County, Iowa. He appointed H. S. Vaughn as his attorney, and Thomas Hen derson and Gillespie M. Parsons witnessed his signature.

Invalid Certificate No. 118,653 was issued to Edwin Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll. Sometime about 1875, he moved to the state of Washington where he died at Vancouver on February 19, 1891.

On March 21, 1891, Sparks's widow, Priscilla Sparks, applied for a widow's pension. She said she married Sparks on March 31, 1851, at Dubuque, Iowa, by Elder Mobley. She was married under her maiden name of Priscilla Spurgeon. It was the first marriage for both. James Snodgrass and William Cahill witnessed her make her mark.

Apparently the pension application of Priscilla Sparks was not approved, for on February 23, 1901, she re-applied under the provisions of the 1900 Act of Congress. She was now 68 years of age, and stfll a resident of Vancouver, Washington. She appointed Milo B. Stevens & Co., Washington, D.C., as her attorneys. Sarah J. Sharp and E. M. Green witnessed her make her mark.

On June 10, 1901, the War Department confirmed Sparks's military service. He had been enrolled on August 19, 1862, in Company C, 21st Regiment Iowa Infantry and was discharged on April 9, 1863, on a Surgeon's Certificate of Disability. He had been wounded in the right hand at the Battle of Houston on January 8, 1863, and the injury necessitated the amputation of all fingers.

Three affidavits were made on June 7, 1901, to support Priscilla Sparks's claim. Arthur H. Nichols, aged 56; Roxy Cramer, aged 70; and Mary Dean, all residents of Vancouver, testified that Edwin Sparks and Priscilla Spurgeon had been married in 1851 and had lived together as man and wife until his death in 1891. Since his death, she had not re-married. On the same day. Dr. J. R. Smith testified that he was the family physician of Edwin Sparks and had treated him during his last fllness and that Sparks had died from a siege of grippe which lasted about one month.

Widow Certificate No. 576,823 was issued to Priscilla Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension roll. When she died on January 15, 1919, she was receiving a pension of $25.00 per month.

[Editor's Note: Edwin Sparks was a son of Levi and Zulima Craig (Moore) Sparks of Adams County, Ohio, and Dubuque County, Iowa. His paternal grandparents were Solomon and Catherine (Hillegas) Sparks, also of Adams County, Ohio. He was a great-grandson of George and Mary Sparks of Washington County, Pennsylvania. For further details of these people, see the June and September 1963 issues of the Quarterly, Whole Nos. 42 and 43, respectively; also the issue for March 1971, Whole No. 73, and that for March 1984, Whole No. 125.

From other sources, we have learned that Edwin and Priscilla (Spurgeon) Sparks had twelve children. Their names, birthdates, and the names of their spouses (if any) are given below:

The above information on the children of Edwin and Priscilla (Spurgeon) Sparks appears in a photostat copy of 25 hand-written charts prepared by Lieutenant Commander Dean Brooks. He presented these to the Institute of American Genealogy on November 14, 1949; he was then living in Los Angeles. This collection of charts has the title "Revolutionary Veteran Solomon Sparks of Pennsyl vania and Some of His Descendants to 1925." The Institute of American Genealogy ceased to exist many years ago, and your editor was able to purchase this copy of Lt. Comdr. Dean Brooks's charts when its collection of records was sold.]

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