Whole Number 173
[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 increasingly generous in providing pensions for Civil War veterans and their widows as the years went by, and as their numbers became smaller. The organization 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, D.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 possible 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 $50.00, 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, or his heirs, 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 begin- ning with the September 1967 issue. Whole No. 59. We plan to continue to use these in the Quarterly 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 veteran 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.]
JOHN SPARKS was born ca. 1824 in the state of New York. He married Charlotte Sprague on January 5, 1850, at Dansville, New York. He served in Company G, 184th Regiment New York Infantry. He died on August 2, 1890, in Montcalm County, Michigan. Inv. Cert. No. 262,305; Wid. Cert. No. 284,438.
John Sparks filed an application for an invalid pension on June 7, 1876, according to the index of the Civil War pension records at the National Archives. On December 21, 1876, the V/ar Department sent a record of Sparks's military service to the Commissioner of Pensions. This record showed that John Sparks had been enrolled on August 27, 1864, at Scriba, New York, as a private in Company G, 184th Regiment New York Volunteer Infantry to serve for one year. He was present for duty until he was discharged on June 29, 1865. He had no record of any disability during his term of service.
On March 8, 1877, Martin Trance, a resident of Scriba, New York, made an affi- davit to support Sparks's application. Trance stated that he had been well ac- quainted with Sparks prior to his enlistment in the army and that he had been a sound, healthy man capable of performing manual labor. During the spring of 1865, while stationed at Harrison's Landing, Virginia, Sparks had taken sick and his body was covered with painful boils so that he had been unable to perform any kind of duty. He had remained in this condition until his discharge in June 1865.
A similar affidavit was made by Thomas W. Smith on June 29, 1880. Smith was 41 years old and a resident of Oswego County, New York. He stated that he had been a 2nd Lieutenant in Company G, 184th Regiment New York Infantry during the late war and remembered well that when John Sparks joined Company G in September 1864, he had been a stout, able-bodied man in good health. He performed his duties as a soldier quite well until he was stationed on picket duty near Harrisons Landing, Virginia, and was exposed to a severe storm for a day and night without relief. Since the company was in the immediate presence of the enemy. Sparks could not build a fire or move around. Immediately following this exposure. Sparks took sick with an unusual cold and became afflicted with a large number of carbuncles or boils, mostly on his back. He continued to be plagued with these boils until he was released from the service. As fast as some would heal, others would come. Smith said that Sparks had been a man with good soldierly habits and had contracted his disabilities while in the line of duty. T. B. White and A. J. Shelley witnessed the affidavit, and it was sworn to be- fore Merrick Stewell, clerk of the Oswego County Superior Court.
A few weeks later, on July 31, 1880, Charles Stone, aged 58 years and a resi- dent of Scriba, New York, a boatman, testified before Clayton R. Parkhurst, a notary public, that he knew John Sparks to be a man of good moral habits and had enjoyed good health before he had gone into the army. Stone said his knowledge of Sparks came from his contact with him as a neighbor and fellow-worker.
On November 15, 1880, John Sigourney, aged 59 years and a resident of Crystal Township in Montcalm County, Michigan, made an affidavit to support Sparks's application. He said that during all of the time that Sparks lived in New York, from the time he had come out of the army until he had come to Michigan, he and Sparks had been close neighbors, and he saw him at least once each day. When Sparks arrived home from the army, he had a number of large boils on his back and was unable to return to his job as a steersman on the canal. He did make one trip and was gone thirty days, but he had returned in a worse condition than when he started. Sigourney said that he married a half-sister of Sparks, but that he had no further interest in the application.
The application for an invalid pension of John Sparks was approved, and he was placed on the pension roll under Invalid Certificate No. 262,305. He died on August 2, 1890.
On August 4, 1890, Charlotte Sparks, aged 64 years and a resident of Carson City, Michigan, made an application for a widow's pension. She said that her husband, John Sparks, who had been receiving a pension under Inv. Cert. No. 262,305, had died in Crystal Township, Montcalm County, Michigan, on August 2, 1890, from paralysis agitans incurred while serving in Company G, 184th New York Infantry. She had been married to Sparks on January 5, 1850, at Dansville, New York, under the name of Charlotte Sprague. They had no children (in 1890) under the age of sixteen. She appointed W. A. Sweet of Carson City, Michigan, as her attorney.
On November 21, 1890, John Brail, aged 72 years and a resident of Carson City, Michigan, testified that he had been present at Dansville, Livingston County, New York, on January 5, 1850, when Charlotte married John Sparks. The marriage had been performed by Elder Simpson, a regularly officiating clergyman. Elder Simpson had now been dead for many years.
On the same day, November 21, 1890, Sheldon H. Caswell, aged 44 years; a resident of Carson City, Michigan, and an undertaker, swore that he had attended the funeral of John Sparks on August 3, 1890. He said he had been an undertaker for ten years, and he knew that no public records were kept of deaths and burials.
A third affidavit was also made on November 21, 1890. John Burke, aged 66 years, and Amos Shaffer, aged 47, both residents of Crystal, Michigan, testified that they had been neighbors of Charlotte Sparks for twenty years and knew that she and John Sparks had lived together as man and wife during that period of time.
Widow Certificate No. 284,438 was issued to Charlotte Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension rolls. When she died February 11, 1912, she was receiving a pension of $12.00 per month.
On February 22, 1912, Asahel Sparks applied for reimbursement for the expenses incurred during the last sickness and death of Charlotte Sparks, widow of John Sparks, who drew a pension under Certificate No. 284,438. She had died February 11, 1912, at Matherton, lonia County, Michigan, leaving no assets whatsoever. He had paid the following:
A. E. Gunther burial $50.00
Arthur Shinabarger sexton 3.00
Henry Cook physician 11.50
Blanch Sparks nurse 99.00
The application by Asahel Sparks was witnessed by George Randolph and George A. Thayer, and was sworn to before Andrew B. Goodwin, a notary public.
On March 19, 1912, George McVeigh and his wife. Grace, residents of North Plains, lonia County, Michigan, made an affidavit to support the claim of Asahel Sparks. They stated that they had been "at Herman Sparks on the day Charlotte Sparks was taken sick and was there off and on through her sickness and knew that she was helpless on one side from November 4, 1911, until February 11, 1912, when she died and further knew that he bought [a] casket and paid the sexton."
[Editor's Note: We have no information regarding the parentage of John Sparks, nor have we found him on the 1850 census of New York. When the 1860 census of Oswego County, New York, was taken, John Sparks was shown as head of his household in the town of Scriba in Oswego County; he was 36 years old, was a native of New York, and his occupation was that of "Boatman." His wife. Char- lotte Sparks, was 33 years old; she was also a native of New York. They were shown with two children, John Sparks, age 9, and Maranda Sparks, age 8.
[Asahel Sparks, who applied to the U.S. Pension Office for reimbursement for ex- penses incurred during the last illness and death of Charlotte Sparks, was probably a son of John and Charlotte. Herman Sparks may, also, have been a son.]
THOMAS SPARKS was born ca. 1825 in Kentucky. On December 12, 1854, he married Elizabeth Mitchell in Ohio County, Indiana. He served in Company H, 146th Regiment Indiana Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 374,496; Wid. Cert. No. 452,482; Dependent Application No. 853,193.
On April 18, 1887, Thomas Sparks, aged 66, a resident of Rising Sun, Indiana, applied for an invalid pension. He said that he had been enrolled on February 2, 1865, at Greensburg, Indiana, in Company H (commanded by Capt. Benjamin F. Pate) of the 146th Regiment Indiana Volunteers and had served until he was mustered out with his company at Baltimore, Maryland, on August 31, 1865. He had been described at his enlistment as 5 feet, 6? inches tall; he had a dark complexion, brown hair, and blue eyes; and he was a laborer. During March 1865, he had contracted a severe cold while stationed near Halltown, Virginia, which settled in his eyes, and he was now so disabled that he could no longer earn his support. He appointed Will W. Williams, Rising Sun, Indiana, as his attorney. Rend W. Fugitt and George W. Franch witnessed him make his mark, and the application was sworn to before George P. Hall, clerk of the Ohio County, Indiana, Circuit Court.
A week later, on April 27th, Benjamin F. Pate, aged 52, a resident of Rising Sun, executed an "Affidavit of a Commissioned Officer" for Thomas Sparks. He stated that he was well acquainted with Sparks who, at the time of his enlistment, had been a stout, able-bodied man and free from any disease of the eyes. Pate said that Sparks had suffered from a severe eye disease from March 1865 until his dis- charge in August 1865. Pate added that he had been the commanding officer of Company H, 146th Regiment Indiana Volunteers from March 1, 1865, until August 31, 1865.
The application of Thomas Sparks was also supported by an affidavit from James H. Hayman who stated that he and Sparks slept and bunked together during the time they were in the service, and he knew that Sparks had been constantly disabled by an eye disease during his service in the army.
The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service on August 19, 1887. He had been enrolled on February 2, 1865, to serve for one year and had been mustered out on August 31, 1865. Invalid Certificate No. 374,496 was issued to Thomas Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll. He died December 6, 1893.
On December 12, 1893, Elizabeth Sparks, aged 60, a resident of Rising Sun, ap- plied for a widow's pension. She said that she and Thomas Sparks had been married on December 12, 1854, in Ohio County, Indiana, by the Rev. William Gilles- pie, a Christian Church minister. She had been married under her maiden name of Elizabeth Mitchell. It had been the first marriage for both. Her husband had died December 6, 1893, leaving her without any means of support other than her own daily labor. They had no children under the age of sixteen when she made her application in 1893. She appointed Will W. Williams, Rising Sun, Indiana, as her attorney. Will A. Fisher and Lon K. Clore witnessed her make her mark.
Three years later, on December 18, 1896, Mrs. Sparks filed a general affidavit to support her claim. She stated that she had no property except a life interest in a small, one-story house where she lived and a small lot of household goods. She had no income except from her daily labor as a "wash woman" to support herself and her blind adult son, John Sparks. He had lost his sight in 1884 by the premature explosion of a cannon while he had been engaged with others in firing a salute over the election of President Cleveland.
Mrs. Sparks was supported in her claim by affidavits from Frank F. Espey and Oscar Jones who swore that she had no income other than that from her daily labor of washing and ironing. They added that she was not a strong woman, but "wonderfully industrious and possessed of excellent character and habits and [that she was] a meritorious claimant."
William Wingate, aged 54, and Elizabeth Akin, 73, both residents of Boone County, Kentucky, testified on December 19, 1896, that they had known Mrs. Sparks since she was a girl and lived in Boone County. She had been married only one time, and that was to Thomas Sparks. Daniel Hall, 68, and Louisa Hall, 67, both residents of Rising Sun, testified in the same manner.
Widow Certificate No. 452,482 was issued to Elizabeth Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension roll. When she died November 16, 1901, she was receiving $8.00 per month.
On August 1, 1906,John Sparks, aged 40, a resident of Decatur County, Illinois, applied for a pension under the 1890 Act of Congress. He said that he was a child of Thomas and Elizabeth Sparks, and had been born November 4, 1866. His father had drawn a pension until his death on December 6, 1893, and then his mother had drawn a pension until her death on November 16, 1901. John Sparks said that he was totally disabled because of his blindness, and he also had a dis- abled left hand. He was dependent upon the charity of his friends and neighbors. Bertha Sparks and Clara Martin witnessed him make his mark.
Nothing was included among the "selected papers" from the pension file of Thomas Sparks to indicate whether any action was ever taken on the application of his son, John Sparks.
[Editor's Note: A Thomas Sparks, whom we are certain was the same Thomas who made application for a Civil War pension (see above), appeared on the 1850 census as a resident of Rising Sun in Ohio County, Indiana. He was described there as a "Laborer" and was living in the household headed by Huiston Masefield, a 46- year-old "Carriage maker." Thomas Sparks was described as 30 years old and a native of Indiana. From later census records, however, we believe that his age should have been 25 in 1850, and that his place of birth had actually been Kentucky. In all probability, it was not Thomas Sparks who gave the census taker information about himself-a member of the Masefield family probably answered the census taker's questions and simply guessed regarding Sparks's age and the state where he had been born. Another "laborer" in the same household. Henry Cory, was also reported on this census as 30 years old, with "Unknown" as his place of birth.
[We know from the pension application of Elizabeth Sparks that her maiden name had been Elizabeth Mitchell, and that she and Thomas Sparks had been married in Rising Sun on December 12, 1854. As noted in the affidavit by William Wingate and Elizabeth Akin, they stated that Elizabeth had lived in Boone County, Kentucky, in her youth, yet on the 1860 census, Indiana was given as her birthplace while on the 1870 census it was given as Ohio. [In her pension application on December 12, 1893, Elizabeth gave her age as 60, which would place her birth in about 1833. On the 1860 census her age appeared as 29 and in 1870 as 39, both of which suggest that she had been born two or three years earlier than 1833. Whichever was correct, however, it is probable that she was closely related to 73-year-old Martin Mitchell and wife, Elizabeth (age 68) who appeared on the 1850 census of Rising Sun in Ohio County, Indiana. While we have not found Elizabeth Mitchell there on the 1850 census, there was a William Mitchell in Rising Sun shown as 39 years old in 1850 to whom Elizabeth must have been closely related. With William Mitchell on that census was 23-year-old Ann Mitchell whom we imagine was a second wife. (The one-year-old WilliamMitchell in their household was surely their child.) Living in this William Mitchell's household, also, were two Mitchell boys, Martin (age 13), and John R. (age 8); we wonder whether they may have been children by a first wife of William Mitchell. When the 1860 census was taken, Martin and John R. Mitchell were living with Thomas and Elizabeth (Mitchell) Sparks. Were they Elizabeth's brothers? (The name Mitchell was spelled "Mitchel" on the 1850 census of Rising Sun.)
[On the 1860 census of Rising Sun, Thomas Sparks was called a "Skiff maker." He was shown as 35 years old and a native of Kentucky. Elizabeth, his wife, was 29; a native of Indiana. They had two children by 1860, Sarah (age 4) and James G. (age 2). As noted above, Martin Mitchell (age 20) and John Mitcgell (age 19), were living with Thomas and Elizabeth; both were called "Day laborers." Whereas they had been shown as born in Indiana on the 1850 census, these two young men were identified as natives of Ohio in 1860. Although their ages recorded in 1860 are at variance with what one would expect from those shown for them in 1850, we are certain that they were the same individuals.
[On both the 1870 and the 1880 censuses, Thomas and Elizabeth Sparks, with their family, were shown as residents of Rising Sun. Thomas was called a "Caulker." He was 45 in 1870 and 55 in 1880, and on both of these censuses, his place of birth appeared as Kentucky. Elizabeth's age appeared as 39 in 1870 and as 50 in 1880, with her place of birth as Ohio, whereas it had been given as Indiana in 1860. Based on these census records, it appears that Thomas and Elizabeth Sparks's children, all born in Indiana, were: (1) Sarah, born ca.1856; (2) James, born ca.1858; (3) Oscar, born ca.1861; (4) Martin, born 1864; (5) John, born ca. 1866; and (6) Ellen, born ca.1870. On the 1880 census, Sarah was called "Sarah Long"; James was no longer living in his parents' household in 1880.
[A great-granddaughter of Martin and Elizabeth Sparks is Mrs. Suzanne L. Wagner of Seminole, Florida, who has reported that their son named Martin had the full name of Martin Parkinson Van Buren Sparks and that he had been born in Rising Sun, Indiana, on September 22, 1864. Besides his three brothers, named James, Oscar, and John, Mrs. Wagner has stated that he had a sister named Ella (apparently a nickname for Ellen) who had been married, first, to -- Jones and, second, to --- Doyel, as well as a sister named Sally "who died quite young." Sally must have been the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth named Sarah on census records.]
BENJAMIN F. SPARKS, son of Benjamin A. and Mary (Imhuff) Sparks, was born October 24, 1844, at Shelbyville, Indiana. On May 2, 1868, he married Martha Adaline Cunningham in Montgomery County, Indiana. He served in Company B, 116th Regiment Indiana Infantry. File Designations:
Inv. Cert. No. 743,112; Wid. Cert. No. 830,899.
Benjamin F. Sparks apparently applied for an invalid pension prior to April 30, 1890, for on that date the War Department confirmed his military service to the Bureau of Pensions. He had enlisted on July 8, 1863, in Company B, 116th Regiment Indiana Volunteers and had served until he had been mustered out with his company at Lafayette, Indiana, on March 1, 1864. At the time of his enlistment, he had been eighteen years of age. He had also been listed (by error) on the muster roster as Benjamin Shanks. Sparks was issued Invalid Certificate No. 743,112, and he was placed upon the Pension roll.
On March 31, 1900, the Bureau of Pensions sent Sparks a questionnaire. A resi- dent of Lebanon, Indiana, Sparks stated that he did not know whether his wife was living because he had not heard from her for six years. Her maiden name had been Adeline Cunningham. They had been married on May 2, 1868, at Crawfordsville, Indiana, and they had three children: Frank Sparks, about 32 years of age [thus born ca. 1869]; Carrie Sparks, about 28 [thus born ca. 1872]; and Perry Sparks, about 25 [thus born ca. 1875].
Again, on November 6, 1909, the Bureau of Pensions asked Sparks to respond to a questionnaire. Now a resident of the National Home, Danville, Illinois, Sparks said that he had been born in Shelbyville, Indiana, on October 24, 1844. He had enlisted on July 8, 1863, at Thorntown, Indiana. At that time, he had been 5 feet, 7^ inches tall; he had weighed 145 pounds; he had blue eyes, light colored hair, and a medium complexion; and he was a plasterer. Since leaving the service, he had lived at Crawfordsville, Indiana, until 1874; Vincennes, Indiana, until 1881; Shelbyville, Indiana, until about 1883; and at various towns in Indiana and Illinois until the present.
Benjamin Sparks died August 1, 1914, at Kingman, Indiana, and on September 8, 1914, his widow, Martha Adaline Sparks, applied for a widow's pension. She was aged 61 years and a resident of St. Louis, Missouri. She said that she and Sparks had been married on May 2, 1868, at Crawfordsville, Indiana. It had been the first marriage for both. Carrie B. Sparks and Perry C. Sparks, both residents of St. Louis, Missouri, witnessed her signature, and the application was sworn to before Jesse W. Barrett, a notary public. The clerk of Montgomery County, Indiana, Thomas E. Matthews, provided a copy of the marriage record of Benjamin Sparks and Martha A. Cunningham.
Martha Adaline Sparks was issued Widow Certificate No. 830,899, and she was placed upon the pension roll. She died October 27, 1936, at Urbana, Illinois. Her daughter, Carrie B. Sparks, gave information to complete the death certifi- cate. Martha Adaline Cunningham had been born January 1, 1852, in Marion County, Indiana, and was a daughter of James M. and C. A. (Kermodel) Cunningham. She was buried in the Valhalla Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri, on October 29, 1936.
[Editor's Note: Benjamin F. Sparks was a son of Benjamin A. and Mary (Imhuff) Sparks and a grandson of Amos and Nancy (Burough) Sparks. See page 4443 of the March 1995 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 169, for the record of this family on the 1860 census of Boone County, Indiana. See pages 617-621 of the March 1962 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 37, for further details about this branch of the Sparks family.]
Richard J. SPARKS, son of Jonas and Paulina T. (Polleweight) Sparks, was born August 7, 1832, probably in Shelby County, Ken- tucky. He married Mildred Ann Pearce on March 2, 1858, in Shelby County, Kentucky. He served in the Oldham County [Kentucky] State Guard Militia and in the 86th Regiment Kentucky En. Mil. File Designation: Wid. Appl. No. 514,027.
On April 27, 1891, Mildred Sparks, aged 54, a resident of Todds Point, Shelby County, Kentucky, applied for a Widow's Pension under the June 1890 Act of Congress. She stated that she was the widow of Richard J. Sparks who had served during the War of 1861 as a captain in the Oldham County [Kentucky] State Guard Militia Proper and as a colonel in the 86th Regiment Kentucky E.M. He had enlisted at LaGrange, Kentucky, on September 17, 1862, and had died June 29, 1864. She and Sparks had been married on March 2, 1858, in Shelby County, Kentucky; her name before the marriage had been Mildred Pearce. She appointed P. H. Fitzgerald of Indianapolis, Indiana, as her attorney. Emma Hinkle, Thomas Bryant, Charles C. Sacrey, and W. J. Boulwar witnessed her signature.
On May 19, 1891, Richard and M. J. Pearce of Long Run, Kentucky, made three affidavits to support the claim of Mildred Sparks. They testified that: (1) they had been present when Richard J. Sparks and Mildred Pearce had been married by the Rev. Jackson VVillis of the Christian Church in 1858; (2) neither she nor her husband had been previously married; and (3) she had no property nor in- come except that derived from her own daily labor.
On July 7, 1891, the War Department informed the Commissioner of Pensions that it could find no record to indicate that the Oldham County, Kentucky, State Guard Militia or the 86th Regiment Kentucky En. Mil. had ever been in the ser- vice of the United States.
The claim of Mildred Ann Sparks was rejected on September 19, 1891, on the grounds that the military organizations in which her husband was alleged to have served were not in the service of the United States out of the state.
[Editor's Note: Mildred Ann Pearce was a daughter of John M. Pearce; she and Richard J. Sparks had two children: (1) John Sparks, born ca. 1861; and (2) Emma Sparks, born in November 1863.
[The parents of Richard J. Sparks were Jonas and Paulina F. (Polleweight) Sparks; they had been married in Shelby County, Kentucky, on April 5, 1827. Jonas Sparks died in Louisville, Kentucky, on January 11, 1843, and after his death, his widow, Paulina F. Sparks, had moved her family to Jessamine County, Kentucky, probably to be near the family of her husband, for he had two and possibly three brothers there: Isaac Sparks, Jerome B. Sparks, and perhaps William Sparks. (See pages 1222-1223 of the March 1969 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 65, in which Paulina Sparks was erroneously named as the widow of William Sparks. There is also a brief biography of Jonas Sparks.)
[A brother of Richard J. Sparks was Henry C. Sparks who served in the Union Army as a private in Company A, 15th Regiment, Kentucky Infantry Volunteers. He had been killed during the Battle of Perryville on October 8, 1862. His mother, Paulina F. (Polleweight) Sparks, claiming that she had been partly dependent on her son, Henry, applied for and was granted a Mother's Pension (182,677). See the Quarterly of June 1992, Whole No. 158, pp. 3967-69, for an abstract of Paulina's application, with further notes regarding her family.]
DAVID E. SPARKS, son of Norval and Eliza (Johnston) Sparks, was born July 27, 1828, in Dearborn County, Indiana. On October 29, 1863, he married Josephine Beckel. He served in the 7th Regiment Indiana Volunteers, and in the U.S. Quartermaster Corps. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 791,318; Wid. Cert. No. 529,670.
On January 2, 1889, David E. Sparks, aged 62, a resident of Lawrenceburg, In- diana, applied for an invalid pension. He stated that he had been enrolled on April 18, 1861, in the Quartermaster Company, 7th Regiment Indiana Infantry, and had served until he had been discharged at Indianapolis, Indiana, in August 1861. At that time he was 5 feet, 9 inches tall; he had a dark complexion, black hair and black eyes, and he was a merchant. While stationed at Garricks Ford, Virginia, on July 13, 1861, he had contracted chronic diarrhea which resulted in blood poisoning; however, he had not been treated in a hospital. He stated further that from the spring of 1862 until the spring of 1865, he had been in the Quartermaster Department of the U.S. Naval Service. He appointed Charles F. Hayes, Lawrenceburg, Indiana, as his attorney. Charles W. Stapp and Hezron Hayes witnessed his signature.
On May 2, 1890, the War Department confirmed Sparks's military service. He had served in the 7th Regiment Indiana Volunteers from April 27, 1861, until August 2, 1861, as Quartermaster. No other record could be found.
Sparks made an affidavit on March 2, 1892, to support his pension claim. He said that in the latter part of April 1862, he had reported to Capt. E. Greene Durbin, attached to General Shield's Division at Alexandria, Virginia. About a month later, they had been ordered to St. Louis, Missouri, where they had remained about four weeks, and then they had been ordered to Helena, Arkansas. From Helena they had been ordered to Memphis, Tennessee, on a Government Transport, but had spent several days aground in the Mississippi River below Memphis before returning to Helena. On September 1, 1862, he had been appointed Master of Transportation in charge of dispatching boats, coal boats, etc., and had served until January 1, 1863, when he had again been ordered to St. Louis. There he had been attached to General Eugene A. Carr's 14th Division of General John A. McClernand's 13th Corps.
From St. Louis, they had been ordered to Lake Providence, Louisiana, where they had remained a short time before going on to Millikens Bend, Louisiana. They had then gone to Youngs Point where they had remained until the army began to advance to surround Vicksburg. Sparks had then gone to Jackson, Mississippi, Champion Hills, Mississippi, and finally to near Vicksburg where he had stayed until the fall of that city. About July 15, 1863, he had returned to St. Louis with a requisition for horses and mules upon General Parsons. On September 1, 1863, he had reported to Capt. John Stewart, Department of U.S. r.Iilitary R.R., Nashville, Tennessee, where he had stayed until the spring of 1864 when he had been transferred to Capt. W. A. Wainwright in charge of Quartermaster supplies. There he had remained until March 1865 when he had returned home. Sparks's affidavit was sworn to before John H. Russe, clerk of Dearborn County [Indiana] Circuit Court.
David E. Sparks was issued Invalid Certificate No. 791,318, and he was placed upon the pension roll. When he died June 17, 1901, he was receiving a pension of $17.00 per month.
On June 22, 1901, Josephine Sparks, aged 60, a resident of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, applied for a widow's pension. She said that she had been married to David E. Sparks on October 29, 1863, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by the Rev. L. E. Albert. It had been the first marriage for both. She had been married under her maiden name of Josephine Beckel. She appointed Charles F. Hayes as her attorney. Elizabeth Givan and Ellen C. Miller witnessed her signature.
Dr. A. T. Fagaly, secretary of the Dearborn County Board of Health, sent a copy of the death certificate of David E. Sparks to the Bureau of Pensions on July 10, 1901. Sparks had died June 17, 1901, at the age of 72 years, 10 months, and 20 days. He was a son of Norval Sparks, born in Kentucky, and Eliza Johnston, born in New York. David E. Sparks had been buried in the Greendale Cemetery.
On September 5, 1901, the Rev. Luther E. Albert, aged 73 years, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Germantown, Pennsylvania, sent a copy of the marriage record of David E. Sparks and Miss Josephine Beckel to the Bureau of Pensions. They had been married on October 29, 1863.
Widow Certificate No. 529,670 was issued to Josephine Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension roll. When she died in the Hamilton County [Ohio] Home, Hartwell, Ohio, on December 27, 1926, she was receiving a pension of $30.00 per month.
[Editor's Note: David E. Sparks (1828-1901) was a son of Norval and Jane (Johnston) Sparks and a grandson of 58.1 Elijah and Elizabeth (Weaver) Sparks. A photograph of Elizabeth (Weaver) Sparks appeared on the cover page of the June 1973 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 82. Biographical data for Elijah Sparks (ca. 1770-1815) were also included in that issue, pp. 1556-1563, and for Norval Sparks (1800-1877) on page 1566. We also included biographical data for David E. Sparks (1828-1901), pp. 1566-1567.
[A biographical sketch of David E. Sparks appeared in the History of Dearborn and Ohio Counties, Indiana ... published by F. E. Weakley & Co. in Chicago in 1885, pp. 915-916. In this sketch, appears the statement that his wife was "Miss Josephine Beckel of Philadelphia, daughter of Prof. J. C. Beckel, a music publisher and teacher for many years in that city, where he still lives. Her mother was Charlotte Eicholz ..." David E. and Josephine (Beckel) Sparks had no children. ]