Whole Number 174
[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. The papers com prising each applicant's file are preserved at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. For a detailed explanation of these records, see the Quarterly of March 1996, Whole No. 173, page 4621.]
DAVID LANDFORD SPARKS,son of Garrett and Elizabeth (Boggs) Sparks, was born ca. 1844 in Lawrence County, Kentucky. There, on May 14, 1865, he married Thursa Curnutte. He served in Company B, 14th Regiment Kentucky Infantry. File Designation: Wid. Appl. No. 573,006.
On March 13, 1893, Thursa Breeding, aged 49, a resident of Leon, Carter County, Kentucky, applied for a widow's pension. She stated that she was the widow of David L. Sparks who had been a corporal in CQmpany B, 14th Regiment Kentucky Infantry, commanded by Capt. G. W. Green. She had been married to Sparks on May 14, 1865, at Blaine, Kentucky, under her maiden name of Thursa Curnutte. Sparks had died at Martinsburgh, Kentucky, on October 16, 1878, of paralysis or heart trouble. She had remained a widow until April 10, 1887, when she had re-married. She appointed C. D. Pennebaker, Washington, D . C., as her attorney. A copy of the marriage record of David L. Sparks and Thursa Curnutte, prepared by Robert Dixon, Lawrence County [Kentucky] Clerk, accompanied the application.
J. H. Vansant, a resident of Elliott County, Kentucky, made an affidavit on April 6, 1893, to support the application of Thursa Breeding. He said he had been well acquainted with David L. Sparks and Thursa Curnutte and knew that they. had been married and lived together as man and wife until October 16, 1878, when Sparks had died. After his death, his widow had been married to Jasper Breeding.
On April 7, 1893, Dr. J. C. Rabbe, aged 77, a resident of Stark, Kentucky, testified that he had been the family physician for David L. Sparks for several years; and that Sparks had had attacks of paralysis for several years prior to his death.
On the same day, J. M Vansant, secretary of the Hepburn Masonic Lodge No. 576 at Martinsburgh, Kentucky, certified that the lodge records showed that the lodge was called into a special communication on October 16, 1878, for the purpose of making arrangements for the funeral of David L. Sparks, late master of the lodge. The records further showed that the lodge was convened again on October 19, 1878, at the Forks of Blaine when the body of David L. Sparks was interred.
The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service on February 17, 1894. He had been enrolled on October 10, 1861, in Company B, 14th Regiment Ken tucky Infantry and had served until he was mustered out with his company on January 31, 1865. He was wounded in the left shoulder on August 6, 1864, and hospitalized near Marietta, Georgia, but had been returned to duty. On November 30, 1894, Joel Sparks, aged 53, a resident of Stephens, Kentucky, testified as follows: "I was well acquainted with David L. Sparks and was with him on business the day he died. I heard him say before he died that he was not right and that he felt numb all over. I was with him the day he died till a few minutes before he died and was near enough to him when he died to hear them hollowing at the house where he died. I got there a few minutes after he died, and the lady of the house that was present said he fell over dead off of his seat and that is the general opinion of everybody that knows him that he died of heart failure." The statement was witnessed by Lina Hillman and E. J. Sparks.
On December 11, 1894, Dr. Levi J. Sparks, a resident of Blaine, Kentucky, prepared a Physician's Affidavit to support the application of Thursa Breeding. He said he had known David L. Sparks all of his life and was with him in the army. Prior to going into the service, David had been a stout, healthy young man, but in the autumn of 1878 he took with a fever and partial paralysis from which he never recovered. Dr. Sparks said he had practiced medicine for twenty-nine years. He signed the affidavit as "late Hospital Steward, 14th Kentucky Volunteers."
Affidavits were made on July 9, 1895, by D. T. Curnutte, aged 60, and H. H. Gambill, aged 50, both residents of Blaine, Kentucky, in which both men stated that they knew David L. Sparks and Thursa Breeding, his widow, were never divorced and had lived together as man and wife until Sparks's death in 1878.
On November 5, 1896, Lewis R. Swan and Allen Sanders stated that they. had served in the same military company with David L. Sparks and knew he had been hospitalized for measles in November and December 1861 at Louisa, Kentucky, and at Catlettsburg, Kentucky. The measles had settled in Sparks's lungs and he developed a chronic cough.
Despite the number of affidavits and the testimony, no widow's pension was ever granted to Thursa (Curnutte) Sparks Breeding.
[Editor's Note: David Landford Sparks was a son of Garrett and Elizabeth (Boggs) Sparks and a grandson of Levi and (Walsh) Sparks. See page 100 of the December 1955 issue of the SPARKS Quarterly, Whole No. 12, and page 4645 of the present issue of the Quarterly for additional information about him and his family.]
GEORGE WASHINGTON SPARKS, son of Wiley and Cynthia (Holbrook) Sparks, was born September 3, 1845, in Lawrence County, Kentucky. He married Linnie Grizzell on April 2, 1873, in Carter County, Kentucky. He served in Company A, 68th Regiment Enlisted Militia. File Designation: Inv. Appi. No. 1,201,847.
On November 22, 1897, Washington Sparks, aged 54, a resident of Martha, Kentucky, appeared before John N. Johnson, a notary public in Elliott County, Kentucky, to make a declaration for an Invalid Pension. He stated that he had been enrolled on May 21, 1864, in Company A, 68th Regiment Kentucky Enlisted Militia, commanded by Capt. D. Sturgell, and had served until he had been discharged on June 22, 1864, at Louisa, Kentucky. At the time of his enlistment, he had been 6 feet in height; he had a fair complexion, black hair, and blue eyes; and he was a farmer. On or about June 1, 1864, he was stricken with a chronic diarrhea and piles from which he had suffered ever since, so that he was now almost totally unfit for manual labor. He had been treated by Dr. Hamilton Sweatman, a private physician. Since leaving the service, he had lived in Lawrence County. He appointed T. R. Walburn, Ironton, Ohio, as his attorney, and E. E. Johnson and W. A. Dobyns, both of Stephens, Kentucky, witnessed his signature.
On January 6, 1898, the War Department confirmed Sparks's military service. He had been enrolled in Company A, 68th Regiment Kentucky Infantry Enlisted Militia on May 21, 1864, and had served until he was mustered out on June 22, 1864. No medical records were on file for him.
Only one other document is contained in the "selected papers" comprising his file obtained from the National Archives. This is a summary of his military service prepared by his attorney, T. R. Walburn. Stamped across the top of the page in bold letters is the word "Abandoned."
[Editor's Note: Washington Sparks (as he was called) was a grandson of Levi and Sarah (Lyon) Sparks who came from Wilkes County, North Carolina, to Lawrence County, Kentucky, about 1821, and settled near the fork of Big Blaine Creek. See the December 1955 and September 1957 issues of the SPARKS Quarterly, Whole Nos. 4 and 19, respectively, for further details of this family; also pp.4656-4657 of the present issue of the Quarterly.]
LEVI J. SPARKS, son of Garrett (or Garred) and Elizabeth (Boggs) Sparks, was born February 19, 1831, in Lawrence County, Kentucky, and he died January 14, 1897. He married (first) Mary Gambill on January 15, 1859, and (2nd) to Emily Boggs on July 26, 1890. He served in Company B, 14th Regiment Kentucky Infantry. File Designations: mv. Cert. No. 728,326; Wid. Cert. No. 853,898.
Levi J. Sparks, aged 59, a resident of Martha, Kentucky, made application for an invalid pension on September 1, 1890. He stated that he had been enrolled on March 4, 1863, in Company B, 14th Regiment Kentucky Infantry as a hospital steward and had served until he had been discharged on September 15, 1865. He was now unable to support himself by manual labor because of a "rupture of both sides and disease of leg." He appointed H. C. Osburn of Blaine, Kentucky, as his attorney. T. D. Johnston and Edburd Osburn attested the declaration.
The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service to the Bureau of Pensions on June 22, 1891. Sparks had been enrolled at Louisa, Kentucky, on March 4, 1863, in Company B, 14th Regiment Kentuqky Infantry and had been mustered out on September 15, 1865, at Louisville, Kentucky. He had also served in the Field & Staff of the 14th Regiment Veteran Infantry to which he had been transferred on February 28, 1865, as a hospital steward. The Bureau of Pensions issued Invalid Certificate No. 728,326 to Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension rolls. When he died January 14, 1897, he was receiving a pension of $12.00 per month.
Emily Sparks, widow of Levi, applied for a widow's pension under the 1890 Act of Congress; her application was rejected, however, on May 17, 1897, because she had not been married to Levi Sparks until after the passage of the act.
On January 18, 1917, Emily Sparks now a resident of Kendall, Washington, re-applied for a Widow's pension under the provisions of the 1916 Act of Congress. She stated that she had been born March 19, 1853, at Louisa, Kentucky, and that she had been married to Levi Sparks on July 26, 1890, at Blairje, Kentucky, by David Sturgill. She had never been married before, but her husband had been married to the former Mary Gambill who had died in April 1887. Emily Sparks stated that she and her husband had no children. Mrs. Ida Baxter and Miss Verna Boggs witnessed the declaration, which was notarized by E. C. Baxter, a justice of the peace.
On November 8, 1918, the Bureau of Pensions issued Widow Certificate No. 853,898 to Emily Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension tolls at the rate of $25.00 per month. She died July 13, 1939, at Bellingham, Washington. On September 11, 1939, Mrs. Adda Stark applied for reimbursement in the amount of $19.50 for expenses paid during Mrs. Sparks's last illness. Accompanying the request was a copy of the death certificate of Emily Sparks. She was 86 years of age at death, and had been born in Lawrence County, Kentucky; she was a daughter of James and Matilda (Lyon) Boggs.
On August 11, 1940, Florence M. Hardi, Los Angeles, California, a representative of the Daughters of the Union Veterans of the Civil War, asked the Veterans Administration for the military records of Levi J. Sparks, which would be used in admitting his granddaughters into that organization. The grand daughter who was interested in joining was a daughter of Dennis and Regina (Sparks) Lyon, of Fielden, Kentucky. The Veterans Administration sent Mrs. Hardi a resume of Sparks's military service on August 22, 1940.
[Editor's Note: Levi J. Sparks was a son of Garrett and Elizabeth (Boggs) Sparks. See pp.4634-4647 of the present issue of the Quarterly for additional information about him and his family.)