November 1, 2017

Pages 4277-4281
Whole Number 165


[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.) A great many Union veterans, or their widows (sometimes their parents and their children), received pensions from the U.S. government based on their military service. Congress was in- creasingly generous in providing pensions for Civil War veterans and their widows as the years went by and their numbers became smaller. The organiza- tion known as the GAR was a powerful lobby in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in obtaining benefits for its members.

[The papers comprising each applicant's file, including rejected applications, are preserved at the National Archives in Washington, B.C., and many of them contain fascinating information, not only about the nature of the individual's military service, but about his family as well.

[We have an index of all of the pension files for persons named Sparks which was compiled for us many years ago. Using a special form provided by the Archives, and for a fee of $10.00, one can request copies of what are called the "selected papers" from a given file. These are the papers in the file, usually no more than ten sheets, which have been selected because they are the papers thought to be most significant from a genealogical point of view. It is also pos- sible to obtain xerox copies of the papers in an individual's "non-selected file" as well, but this separate file can cost from $10.00 to $40.00, depending upon its size. In most instances, the papers in the "non-selected files" are of a rather routine nature, but sometimes they can be quite helpful, especially where the veteran had difficulty proving what his service had been.

[Dr. Paul E. Sparks, President of our Association, has obtained many of the "selected files" and has abstracted them for publication in the Quarterly, be- ginning with the September 1967 issue. Whole No. 59. We shall continue to use these as space permits, adding in editorial notes any genealogical information that we may have regarding the soldier and his family.

[It should be remembered when reading these abstracts, that Dr. Sparks has usually been limited to the items contained in the "selected papers" for the soldier under consideration. Anyone wishing us to obtain copies of all the papers in a given file, both "selected" and "non-selected," may request the editor to do this for the cost involved. It usually requires at least three months to obtain the copies, and, as noted, the cost can vary.]

GEORGE W. SPARKS, son of Isaac and Lucinda (Thomas) Sparks, was born January 18, 1846, in Buchanan County, Missouri. He married Sarah Woods on June 6, 1867, and, after her death in 1873, he married (second) Mary C. Wilson on January 2, 1879. He served in Company G, 43rd Regiment Missouri Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 66,748; Wid. Cert. No. 367,253.

George W. Sparks received a Certificate of Disability for Discharge from the Army of the United States on June 13, 1865, at the General Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. According to the certificate, he had enlisted on August 9, 1864, in Company G, commanded by Capt. Oscar Kirkham, of the 43rd Regiment Missouri Infantry, to serve for one year. He had received a gunshot wound in his right shoulder on October 15, 1864, in the Battle of Glasgow, Missouri, and had been hospitalized until his discharge. He had been born in Buchanan County, Missouri; he was described as 18 years of age; 5 feet, 8 inches tall; with a dark complexion, hazel eyes, and dark hair; he was a farmer.

Sparks applied for an invalid pension on March 17, 1866, and was issued Invalid Certificate No. 66,748 and placed upon the pension roll. A year later, on June 6, 1867, he married Sarah C. Wood in Buchanan County by John F. Barnes, a justice of the peace.

George W. Sparks died on January 21, 1881, at Hamburg, Iowa. On July 21, 1882, Henry J. Sparks, aged 29, a resident of Johnson County, Kansas, applied for a pension for the children of George W. Sparks. He stated that he was the guardian of Rosa A. Sparks, Sarah S. Sparks, and George L. Sparks, all child- ren of George W. and Sarah (Woods) Sparks. Rosa had been born on March 22, 1870; Sarah had been born on May 8, 1872; and George had been born on Decem- ber 26, 1873. Their mother had died when the third child (George) had been born. After her death, George W. Sparks had been married to Mary C. Wilson on January 2, 1879, in Jackson County, Missouri, but after his death in 1881, she had not taken care of the children by his first wife, nor contributed to their support. W. T. Carter and Susan Carter witnessed the signature of Henry J. Sparks. Apparently, no affirmative action was taken on the application of Henry J. Sparks for a pension for his wards.

On June 1, 1901, Mary C. Sparks, aged 56, a resident of Kansas City, Missouri, applied for a widow's pension. She stated that she had been married to George W. Sparks on January 2, 1879, in Jackson County, Missouri, by A. W. Alien, a justice of the peace. The first wife of her husband, Sarah Sparks, had died on December 26, 1873, near St. Joseph, Missouri, and had left her husband with three small children. She stated that she had not had their care since May 1879.

Widow Certificate No. 367,253 was issued to Mary C. Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension roll. When she died on April 28, 1902, she was receiv- ing a pension of $8.00 per month.

[Editor's Note: Additional information about the ancestry of George W. Sparks appeared in the June 1955 issue of The Sparks Quarterly, Whole No. 10. See also the present issue, page 4259.]

SOLOMON SPARKS, a son of Jesse and Nancy (-) Sparks, was born ca. 1820 in Virginia, probably in Lee County. He died in August 1873. He married (first) Nancy Skaggs and (second) to Helen Birchfield. He served in Company I, 22nd Regiment Kentucky Infantry. File Designation: Minor Application No. 561,258.

On August 3, 1892, Linzy D. Sparks, age 29, a resident of Scaggs, Lawrence County, Kentucky, completed an application for a pension for minor children of a deceased soldier. He stated that he was a son of Solomon Sparks who had en- listed at Oak Hill, Ohio, as a private in Company I, 22nd Regiment Kentucky In- fantry, in the spring of 1862 and who had died after his discharge from the ser- vice as a result of a disability brought on by military service. Solomon had died in Elliott County, Kentucky, on August 2, 1873, leaving seven minor children. The maiden name of the children's mother had been Helen Birchfield; she had died prior to the death of her husband, Solomon Sparks. The children's names and dates of birth were:

Amanda Sparks, born April 4, 1859 Linzy D. Sparks, born October 5, 1862 John J. Sparks, born July 9, 1864 Solomon Sparks, born October 14, 1866 Rosa M. Sparks, born May 30, 1868 Ulysses G. Sparks, born January 12, 1870 William F. Sparks, born August 18, 1872.

The last child listed above, William F. Sparks, who was under the age of sixteen at the time of the soldier's death, had died in January 1890.

Jacob McDowell and Millard Barker, both residents of Gimlet, Kentucky, witnessed Linzy Sparks sign the application, and they also appeared before J. E. Sparks, a notary public of Elliott County, to swear that they had seen Linzy D. Sparks sign his name to the document. Sparks appointed George E. Lemon, Washington, D. C., as his attorney to prosecute the claim.

The War Department verified the military service of Solomon Sparks. He had been enrolled in Company I, 22nd Regiment Kentucky Infantry on October 14, 1862, as a private and had been discharged on January 16, 1863, at Memphis, Tennessee, by reason of a Surgeon's Certificate. No medical records could be found.

The remaining documents in the pension file relating to Solomon Sparks's service pertain to his marriage and the number of minor children he had left when he died in 1873. In spite of the evidence, however, the application was not approv- ed, and no pension certificate was issued.

A general affidavit was made by F. M. Mauk, age 66, a resident of Gimlet, Ken- tucky, on February 7, 1894, in which he stated that he was a brother-in-law of Solomon Sparks [his wife was Solomon's sister, Sarah Jane Sparks], and that he had gone with Solomon Sparks to get the license for Solomon to be married to Helen Birchfield and had signed the bond. He stated that Sparks had been pre- viously married, but that his first wife was dead. Sparks's last wife had also died before Sparks did, but he did not know the date. Sparks had left no children under the age of sixteen by his first wife. [The children by his first wife had been named Peter, Annanias, Nancy, Jesse, and Mary.] On Decem- ber 14, 1897, the War Department searched the military file of Solomon Sparks, but no new information was found. There was no certificate of disability nor medical record.

On October 29, 1898, Linzy D. Sparks, now living at Sandy Hook, Kentucky, made an affidavit that his father, Solomon Sparks, died "between midnight and day Saturday night before the first Monday in August 1874. I cannot give the day of the month. The reson I know this is the Monday following was the election." He also stated that he had made "all effort that I know for the proof or evidence of the disability of my father in the service and have not found it." William Skaggs, a notary public of Lawrence County, Kentucky, executed the affidavit.

On February 22, 1915, Mary S. Middleton, age 64, New Boston, Scioto County, Ohio, made an affidavit that she had been appointed guardian of Lindsey Sparks, John Sparks, Margaretta Sparks, and Lester Sparks on January 1, 1915, and as the guardian of these children of Solomon Sparks and Helen Birchfield, she was reopening the prior claim for them as minor children of a deceased soldier. The application was received by the chief of the Law Division of the Bureau of Pen- sions, but there is nothing in the "selected papers" from this file to show what disposition was made of it.

On September 10, 1915, Armelia R. Mauk, age 75, of Bruin, Kentucky; Elizabeth ^ Sparks, aged 82, of Ibex, Kentucky; and Ben Cox, age 60, of Gimlet, Kentucky, made a joint affidavit that they were personally acquainted with the pension claim of the heirs of Solomon Sparks, a Union soldier under Col. Lenzy, namely, John Sparks, Margaret Sparks, Lester Sparks, and Linzy Sparks, all of whom were now living and who were minor children at the time of death of Solomon Sparks, which was about forty-two years ago. They said they belived the claim was true. The affidavit was witnessed by A. F. Skaggs and Henry Sparks, and it was notarized by Walter Leadingham.

On January 28, 1916, John J. Sparks of Limestone, Kentucky, and James Sparks, of Olive Hill, Kentucky, both in Carter County, Kentucky, made an affidavit that they had both been acquainted with the soldier, Solomon Sparks, and also with his children. At the time of the death of Solomon, his children who were then under the age of sixteen years were:

Lindsey D. Sparks

Amanda Sparks, died April 11, 1898

John J. Sparks

Margaret Sparks, sometimes called Roseman Margaret Sparks

Solomon Sparks, died April 22, 1910, in Lawrence County, Kentucky

Lester Sparks, known as Ulysses G. Sparks

William Sparks, died February 1890

The affiants further stated that there were no records kept by the family of Sol- omon Sparks except in a Bible which could not be found or had been lost or des- troyed. No doctors or nurses were living who were at the births of the children, and none of the churches kept records of this nature. They said the youngest "###^ child was about one year old when Solomon Sparks died in August 1873. L. D. Kennard and William Scuans [?] witnessed the affidavit which was notarized by B. P. Cassady.

[Editor's Note: See the present issue of the Quarterly for a record of the an- cestry of Solomon Sparks (ca. 1820-1873), page 4275. It will be noted that the original spelling of Linzy D. Sparks's name had been "Lindsey."]

BENJAMIN F. SPARKS, son of James and Elizabeth (Maddox) Sparks, was born ca. 1840 in Missouri. He married Nancy Jane Jenkins on December 18, 1860, in Pike County, Missouri. He served in Company D, Pike County Missouri Home Guards. File Designations: Inv. Appl. No. 636,790;Wid. Appl. No. 634,222.

On July 5, 1890, the Secretary of War issued a certificate to Benjamin F. Sparks which read as follows: "Know ye, that under the provisions of the Act of Con- gress, approved May 15, 1886, BENJAMIN SPARKS, a private in Co. D, Pike County, Missouri Home Guards, who was enrolled July 17, 1861, is hereby dis- charged the service of the United States to date September 3, 1861. Given at Washington City, the fifth day of July 1890, by authority of the Secretary of War. (Signed) F. E. Ainsworth, Capt. & Asst. Surgeon, U.S.A."

A short time later, on July 29, 1890, Benjamin F. Sparks, aged 50 years, a resident of McGuire Station, Pike County, Missouri, reapplied for an invalid pension. He stated that he was unable to earn his support because of heart and lung trouble brought on by his military service. He said that he had previously applied for a pension under Claim 636,790 for services in Company D, 5th Regiment Missouri Volunteers (Capt. Flagg's Regiment). He appointed James D. Kincaid, Bowling Green, Missouri, as his attorney. A. J. Ferrel and J. S. Briner, both of Bowling Green, witnessed his signature, and the application was sworn to before J. S. Edwards, clerk of the Probate Court of Pike County.

The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service in the Pike County Home Guards, but denied the existence of a military organization known as Flagg's Regiment. Apparently the application of Benjamin F. Sparks for an invalid pension was denied. He died on May 29, 1895.

On April 28, 1896, Nancy Jane Sparks, aged 53 years, a resident of Bowling Green, Missouri, applied for a widow's pension. She stated that she was the widow of Benjamin F. Sparks, who had enlisted in Company D, Pike County Mis- souri Home Guards, on April 3, 1861. Her husband had died on May 29, 1895. She had been married to him on December 18, 1860, in Pike County, Missouri. It had been the first marriage for both of them. They had three children who were under the age of sixteen years at the time of her husband's death. They were: Minnie Pearl Sparks, born June 10, 1880; Orie E. Sparks, born June 29, 1882; and William C. Sparks, born March 27, 1884. She appointed James D. Kincaid, Bowling Green, Missouri, as her attorney. John J. Kincaid and Alex Owens witnessed the application.

Nothing is included in the "selected papers" from this pension file to indicate what action was taken upon this application of Nancy Jane Sparks, but it was apparently denied.

[Editor's Note: The rather unusual discharge granted to Benjamin F. Sparks by the office of the Secretary of War in 1890, which followed a special act of Congress, must have been to enable him to apply for a pension. Apparently, he had never received a proper discharge. It was probably Benjamin's Congressman who initiated this action.

[In the Quarterly of June 1976, Whole No. 94, pp. 1826-27, we published an abstract of the pension application of James Sparks, father of Benjamin F. Sparks. James Sparks had applied for and received a "father's pension" based on the service of David L. Sparks, brother of Benjamin F. David L. Sparks, born July 30, 1844, had died on November 13, 1864, from typhus fever at Glasgow, Missouri, while a soldier in Company C, 39th Regiment Missouri Infan- try Volunteers. James Sparks had been able to prove that he and his wife, Elizabeth (Maddox) Sparks, had been dependent on their son, David L. Sparks, for a portion of their support.

[The family of James and Elizabeth (Maddox) Sparks had appeared on the 1850 census of Peno Township, Pike County, Missouri, page 258, as follows:

19-19 Sparks James
Kentucky Farmer
  " Elizabeth
  " Mary A.
  " Benjamin F.


  " Margaret
  " David
  " James
  " Susan S.