Whole Number 157
[Editor's Note: From time to time we have been publishing abstracts of pension application files for Union soldiers who served in the Civil War. (Confederate soldiers could not qualify for federal pensions, although some received pensions from their respective states.) These abstracts have been prepared by Dr. Paul E. Sparks, president of our Association. They are based on copies of the "selected" pension papers provided to us by the National Archives in Washington, D. C., from the individual files. For a more detailed description of these records, the reader is referred to page 3730 of the March 1991 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 153.]
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 NATHAN SPARKS, son of Matthew and Alsey (Osburn) Sparks, was born January 22, 1840, in Lawrence County, Kentucky. He died on August 31, 1919. He married Elizabeth Craft on June 1, 1861. He served in Company B, 14th Regiment Kentucky Infantry. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 639,537.
Nathan Sparks made an application for an invalid pension on November 1, 1869. He was then 28 years of age and a resident of Hood Creek, Johnson County, Kentucky. He said he had enlisted in Company B, 14th Regiment Kentucky Infantry, commanded by Capt. J. M. Atkinson, on August 5, 1863, at Louisa, Kentucky, and had served until he was mustered out with his company on September 15, 1865, at Louisville, Kentucky. He said that while on duty in Georgia, he had contracted hepatitis which had rendered him incapable of doing any work except that of light labor on the farm. He appointed A. Hart & Co., Washington, D.C., as his attorneys. Tillman Craft and James M. Green witnessed him make his mark.
Apparently Sparks was not issued a pension at once for the War Department did not confirm his military records until September 3, 1877. He had enlisted in Company D, 14th Regiment Kentucky Infantry on August 30, 1863, to serve for three years, according to the War Department, and he had been present for duty until he had been mustered out on September 15, 1865.
On September 1, 1883, John Caudill, age 69, a resident of Flat Gap, Johnson County, Kentucky, made an affidavit on behalf of Sparks's claim. He said that prior to going into the service, Sparks had been a strong, healthy man, but that after he had returned home" he complained of trouble with his liver and kidneys, and had been unable to do a full day's work. Two months later, on November 20, 1883, another neighbor of Sparks, George M. Murry, made a similar statement on his behalf.
Nothing was included in the "selected papers" from Nathan Sparks's file by the National Archives to show what effect these affidavits had upon his claim, but by January 29, 1894, he was receiving pension benefits under Invalid Certificate No. 639,537. He was then living at Lowmansville, Lawrence County, Kentucky.
On February 1, 1915, Nathan Sparks asked for increased pension benefits under the 1912 Act of Cori'gress. He was now 75 years of age and lived near Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky. He said that he had been born on January 22, 1840; and at the time of his enlistment, he had been 5 feet, 7 inches tall; he had a dark complexion, blue eyes, and dark hair; and he was a farmer by occupation. After leaving the service, he had lived in Johnson, Lawrence, and Boyd Counties, Kentucky. John W. Woods and Nellie Donta witnessed him make his mark.
Sparks answered a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions on April 14, 1915.
He said that he had been married to Elizabeth Craft on June 1, 1861, at the home of Tillman Craft, near Flat Gap, Kentucky, by the Rev. Dan Lewis. It had been the first marriage for both, and to this marriage ten children had been born.
William H. Sparks, born March 18, 1863
Amanda Sparks, born March 18, 1865
Alice Sparks, born March 15, 1867
Jesse Sparks, born May 18, 1869
Rose A. Sparks, born February 8,1871
Melvin H. Sparks, born ca. 1873
Levi Sparks, born ca. 1875
Fernando Sparks, born December 18,1877
Mary Etta Sparks, born June 20, 1881
U. S. Sparks, born June 14, 1883
Of these ten children, Nathan Sparks said that six of them were dead at the time he completed the questionnaire (April 14, 1915). They were Jesse, Rose, Melvin, Levi, Mary Etta, and U.S. Sparks.
On December 10, 1917, Sparks entered the National Home for Disabled Veterans, at National Military Home, Ohio. He died on August 30, 1919. On October 21, 1919, his son, Fernando Sparks, a resident of Ashland, Kentucky, applied for reimbursement for his father's funeral expenses, which amounted to $124.00. J. F. Stewart and Sam Rothchild witnessed his signature, and the application was sworn to before Kit C. Elswick, a notary public.
ELISHA B. SPARKS was born ca. 1834 at Guilford, Chenango County, New York and was probably a son of Elisha and Eliza Sparks. He married Eliza LNU on January 1, 1855, at Columbus, Warren County, Pennsylvania. He served in Company A, 18th Regiment Wisconsin Infantry. File Designations: Wid. Cert. No. 643,512; Minor Cert. No. 143,686.
On April 28, 1862, Elisha B. Sparks was granted a 20-day furlough to return to his home at Gravesville, Calumet County, Wisconsin. He was a private in Capt. J. C. Millard's Company of the 18th Regiment Wisconsin Infantry, having joined that organization on October 4, 1861, at Gravesville to serve for three years. He was 27 years of age; he was 5 feet 9 inches tall; he had a fair complexion, blue eyes, and dark hair; he was a carriage-maker; and he was a native of Guilford, New York. Surgeon J. C. Hughes, Post Hospital, Keokuk, Iowa, certified that Sparks was suffering from dysentery and rheumatism and would be incapacitated for duty during the period of the furlough.
Many years later, on April 25, 1908, the War Department informed the Bureau of Pensions that "Medical Records have been indexed or discovered since July 5, 1870, and the following additional information is furnished about this Elisha B. Sparks. He was treated on March 15, 1862, for catarrh and in April 1862 he was treated for a wound in his arm. He was reported on the Company Roll for May-June 1862 as having died in Hospital on May 21."
There is other evidence in this file to suggest that Sparks actually died at home during his furlough rather than in a military hospital, but the date of his death appears to have been on May 21, 1862, in any case.
Besides leaving his wife a widow, Elisha B. Sparks also left two small daughters: Ella D. Sparks, whose nickname seems to have been "Annie," born on October 24,1855, and Eva E. Sparks, born on February 23, 1859.
Eliza Sparks, widow of Elisha B. Sparks, apparently returned to the state of New York following her husband's death where, on March 26, 1863, she married (second) Martin A. Gleason at Sherman, Chautauqua County. They were married by the Rev. Henry M. Hazeltine.
On February 12, 1866, Martin A. Gleason, aged 32, a resident of Sherman, New York, applied for a pension for minor children. He said that he was the guardian of Ella D. Sparks and Eva E. Sparks, the only surviving children of Elisha B. Sparks, deceased, who had served in the 18th Regiment Wisconsin Infantry. He said that Sparks had been married to Eliza Sparks, mother of the minor children, on January 1, 1855, at Columbus, Warren County, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Sparks had been married to himself, Martin A. Gleason, on May 26, 1863. George W. Hall and A. o. Griffin witnessed Gleason's signature, and the application was sworn to before C. S. Nortin, clerk of Chautauqua County, New York.
On March 12, 1866, Dr. Ziba Colgrove and Mrs. Charlotte Smith made a joint affidavit that they had been present when a daughter had been born to Elisha B. and Eliza Sparks on October 24, 1855, in Warren County, Pennsylvania.
The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service on April 28, 1866. He had been mustered into Company A, 18th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers on February 10, 1862, to serve three years. No files of the company could then
be found that dated earlier than those of September -October 1862, and no evidence could be found of Sparks's death. (Note the War Department's report cited at the bottom of page 3930 making a correction, dated April 25, 1908.) Dr. Henry E. Zielley, Calumet County, Wisconsin, made an affidavit on August 11, 1868, in which he stated that he had been well acquainted with Elisha B. Sparks and had attended him professionally during his last sickness on his return home from the army on furlough. At that time, Sparks was suffering from chronic diarrhea which he had acquired in the service, and from which he died on May 21, 1862. Dr. Zielley signed the affidavit as "Late Surgeon, 48th Wisconsin Vol. Infantry." .
Minor Certificate No. 143,686 was issued for the daughters of Elisha B. Sparks, and they were placed upon the pension roll.
On March 12, 1908, Eliza Gleason, aged 77, a resident of Sherman, New York, applied for the restoration of her pension, as a widow of Elisha B. Sparks, under the provisions of the 1901 Act of Congress. She said that while her children had received pension benefits, her own pension had been terminated because of her marriage on March 26, 1863, to Martin A. Gleason. Gleason had died on November 26, 1898, leaving her without any means other than her daily labor. She said her actual income amounted to less than $250 per year. George W. Card and Eva E. Hardinger witnessed her make her mark.
On May 7, 1908, the Bureau of Pensions issued Widow Certificate No. 643,512 to Eliza Gleason, formerly' widow of Elisha B. Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension roll at the rate of $12.00 per month.
Eliza Gleason died on March 25, 1910, in the home of her son, Chester B. Gleason, at Sherman, New York. Her daughter, Eva E. (Sparks) Hardinger, applied for reimbursement for her mother's last illness and burial. She said that there was an unpaid balance of $51. 33. In response to a stated question, Mrs. Hardinger said that she had been married, but was now divorced. Nothing was sent from this file by the National Archives to indicate the disposition of this request. "..
[Editor's Note: Elisha Sparks was shown on the 1860 census of Calumet County, Wisconsin (p. 916), his post office being the town of Charlestown. His age was given as 26 and he was a native of New York; his occupation was given as "carriage maker"; his real estate was valued at $500 and he owned $200 worth of personal property. Living with Elisha Sparks in 1860 was his wife, Eliza, aged 30 and a native of Pennsylvania. Their daughter, "Annie," (this must have been a nickname for Ella), was five years old and had been born in Pennsylvania. Their daughter named Eva was shown as one year old and born in Wisconsin. Living quite near Elisha Sparks in 1860, according to the census, was George Sparks, age 28, and his wife, Mary, also 28; both were natives of New York. No children were shown in their household. Nathan Sparks, age 34, a native of New York, was shown as living on property that apparently adjoined that of George; living in Nathan's household was Catherine Sparks, doubtless his wife, age 20 and a native of Michigan. There were four children in their household according to the census: Mary, age 7, who had been born in Pennsylvania; Lydia, 5; John, 3; and Annie, 1. The latter three children had been born in Wisconsin. If Catherine was only 20, as this 1860 census indicates, she was probably Nathan'-s second wife, since his oldest child was shown as 7 years old.
Elisha B. Sparks was, we feel certain, the same Elisha Sparks shown on the 1850 census of Carroll Township, Chatauqua County, New York, as 16 years old, a native of New York, and a farmer. He was living in the household of Elisha and Eliza Sparks who were doubtless his parents. The elder Elisha Sparks was shown as 52 years old in 1850, a native of New York, with $700 worth of real estate. His occupation was given as fiB. Clergyman"; we assume that "B" stood for Baptist. Eliza was 49 years old, also a native of New York. Living in this household, also, were Manassa Sparks, age 14, and Harvey Sparks, age 12, both born in New York. They were surely siblings of 16-year-old Elisha.
Also living in Chatauqua County, New York, in 1850, in the town of Sherman, were George Sparks, aged 18, and Nathan Sparks, aged 24. We are quite certain that they were the same George and Nathan Sparks who, like Elisha, appeared on the 1860 census of Calumet County, Wisconsin. It seems quite possible that all three were brothers. On the 1850 census, George and Nathan were shown as farmers, both were natives of New York, and both were living in the household of Joseph and Elizabeth Bowman. They were probably employed by the Bowmans. We believe it is significant that Eliza Sparks, widow of Elisha, went to live in Sherman in Chatauqua County, New York, following Elisha's death in 1862. It was also in Sherman that Eliza married (second) Martin A. Gleason.
There were other Sparks families in Chatauqua County, New York, in 1850 who may well have been related to the same Sparks family under discussion here. The 1850 census shows a William Sparks, age 35 and a native of New York, living near the elder Elisha Sparks's family in Carroll Township. Living with William was Semantha, 30, who was surely his wife, with children named John, Matilda, Isadore, and Mary. Also in Carroll Township in 1850 was Ichabod Sparks, age 43, a native of New York; with Ichabod was Catherine, 42, who was doubtless his wife, and children named Hannah, Eliza, Nancy, Sarah, and Ichabod. P. Sparks, age 36, with Mary, 26, and a daughter called by her initials, "M. G," were living in the town of Ellington in Chatauqua County in 1850. In the town of Sherman, besides George and Nathan Sparks, there was a Thomas Sparks, 27, with Charlotte, 26, and one child, Adelia. There was also a Charles Sparks, age 18, who was living in the household of Melville and Lucy Philips in Ellicott Township, Chatauqua County, in 1850. For a complete record of the Sparkses found on the 1850 census of Chatauqua County, the reader is referred to the Quarterly of March 1982, Whole No. 117, pp. 2381-82.
We hope that this record may come to the attention of a member of this branch of the Sparks family who can give us further information on this family.]
CORNELIUS SPARKS was born September 23, 1846, at Niles, Berrien County, Michigan, and died on August 16, 1919, in California. He married Melissa Ellen Easton on April 18, 1872. He served in Company A, 7th Regiment Michigan Cavalry. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 441,767.
On July 31, 1888, Cornelius Sparks, aged 42, a resident of Berrien County, Michigan, applied for an invalid pension. He said that he had been enrolled on February 8, 1864, in Company A, 7th Regiment Michigan Cavalry commanded by Capt. Fisher, and that he had been discharged at Salt Lake City, Utah, on March 10, 1866. He said that he was then 5 feet, 9 inches tall; he had a light complexion, light hair, and blue eyes; and he was a farmer. In August 1864, near Shepardsville, West Virginia, he contracted a disease of the stomach and bowels brought on by exposure to the rough army life. He had been treated at Patterson Park, Maryland, at Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, and at Camp Stone, Washington, D.C., but that he still suffered from the effects of the disease. He appointed English, Bliss, and Chapman, St. Johns, Ohio, as his attorneys. W. P. Harmon and Stephen Crane witnessed his signature.
The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service on November 30, 1888. He had been enrolled on February 13, 1864, at Niles, Michigan, in Company A, 7th Regiment Michigan Cavalry for three years. He had been present for duty until April 3, 1864, when he had been admitted to the hospital. He had been reported as "absent-sick" in Washington, D.C., in August 1864; as "absentsick" in November 1864 at Mower Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland; and as "absent-sick" in the hospital at Washington, D. C., in January 1865.
The Bureau of Pensions issued Invalid Certificate No. 441,767 to Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll. On August 9, 1889, he applied for an increase in his pension benefits, claiming that he had suffered an increase in his disability. He said he was suffering from a disease of the stomach with a resulting dyspepsia. He appointed W. R. Bliss, S1. Johns, Ohio, as his attorney. S. L. Randell and H. E. Trowbridge, both residents of Benton Harbor, Michigan, witnessed his signature.
On November 2, 1897, Sparks again applied for an increase in his pension and asked for a physical examination. He was supported in the request by William G. Graham, aged 45, a resident of Buchanan, Michigan. Graham said that he had been a duty sergeant of Company A, 7th Regiment Michigan Cavalry and was well acquainted with Sparks. Sometime in August 1864, while stationed near Shepherdstown, West Virginia, Sparks had become so ill that he had had to be hospitalized for a considerable period of time, and when he returned to duty, he had been so disabled that he had "not been mounted" during the rest of the war.
On June 4, 1898, Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He said that he had been married to Melissa Ellen Easton on April 18, 1872, at Niles, Michigan, by the Rev. D. H. Ritter. It had been the first marriage for both. They had two children: Lora May Sparks, born September 15, 1873, and Cora Bell Sparks, born September 3, 1876.
Sparks applied for increased pension benefits again on May 21, 1912. He was now 65 years of age and a resident of Lodi, California. He stated that he had been born on September 23, 1846, at Niles, Michigan. Since leaving the service, he had lived in Marin County, California, from 1866 to 1870; in Berrien County, Michigan, from 1870 to 1901; and since 1901 he had lived at Lodi. S. W. Hopkins and M. W. Whittaker witnessed his signature. Sparks answered another questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions on March 22, 1915. He said his wife had died on May 4, 1912. His two daughters were now married. Lora May was now Mrs. Waddel, and Cora Bell was now Mrs. .Linn. When Cornelius Sparks died on August 16, 1919, he was receiving. a (pension of $40.00 per month.
[Editor's Note: Cornelius Sparks was a son of David and Harriet (Webster) Sparks and a grandson of Cornelius and Susannah (Stevens) Sparks. For further details about this family, see the March 1978 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 101, page 1979.]