Whole Number 179
[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 that was compiled for us many years ago.Using a special form provided by the National 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 that 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 "nonselected 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 widow had difficulty proving his/her service, identity, or relationship, and neighbors or relatives provided depositions.
[Dr. Paul E. Sparks, President of our Association, has obtained many of the "selected files" for pensioners named Sparks and has abstracted them for publication in the Quarterly, beginning with the September 1967 issue, Whole No. 59.We will continue to use these as space permits, adding in editorial notes any genealogical information that we may have regarding the soldier and his family.]
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 RICHMOND/RICHARD SPARKS, son of John Wesley (1) and Nancy (Kozee) Sparks was born in Lawrence County, Kentucky.He married Polly Ann Oma Stephens on November 12, 1861, in Morgan County, Kentucky.He served in Company A, 68th Regiment Kentucky Militia.File Designation: Wid. Appl. No. 555,913.
On July 9, 1892, Oma Sparks, (as she was called) age 50, a resident of Blaine, Kentucky, applied for a widow's pension.She stated that she was the widow of Richmond Sparks, who had enlisted in Company A, commanded by David Sturgell, of the 68th Regiment Enlisted Kentucky Militia.She and Sparks had been married on November 12, 1861, in Morgan County, Kentucky, by John W. Carter.Her husband had died January 31, 1878, at Fielden, Kentucky, of a disease contracted in the military service of the United States.She and Richmond had had seven children, all under the age of sixteen years when her husband died.
These seven children of Richmond and Polly Ann Oma (Stephens) Sparks were:
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1 Martin Sparks born March 30, 1864
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.2 Daniel Sparks born October 9, 1865
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.3 Sarillda Sparks born January 17, 1868
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.4 George W. Sparks born July 25, 1870
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.5 Caney Sparks born May 19, 1874
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.6 William Sparks born May 16, 1876
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.7 John W. Sparks born October 25, 1878
Mrs. Sparks appointed C. C. Pennebaker, Washington, D.C., as her attorney.George W. Griffiths and John O'Bryan witnessed her make her mark, and the declaration was sworn to before H. C. Osborn, a notary public.
The War Department confirmed the military service of Richmond Sparks on August 30, 1892. He had been enrolled in Company A, 68th Regiment Kentucky Infantry (En. Mil.) on May 21, 1864, and he had served until he was mustered out on June 22, 1864.
On March 18, 1893, Jason Barker, aged 47, and James H. Barker, aged 40, both residents of Fielden, Kentucky, testified that they were well acquainted with Richmond Sparks since childhood and that he was a sound, able-bodied man prior to his military service, but after he had been discharged, he had been in a weakly condition, complained of breast trouble, and was so disabled that he could not perform manual labor as a farmer.
On the same day, Frances Barker, aged 67, a resident of Fielden, Kentucky, testified that she was a midwife and had attended Mrs. Oma Sparks when all of her seven children had been born.She then gave the names and birth dates of the Sparks children just as they were given by Mrs. Sparks on her application for a pension.The affidavit was sworn to before W. J. Crouch, a justice of the peace of Elliott County, Kentucky.
Affidavits concerning the marriage of Richmond Sparks and Oma Stephens were made on March 19, 1894, by Susan Barker, Jason Barker, and James H. Barker.They swore that (1) the marriage was the first and only marriage for both of them; (2) they were never divorced; and (3) Oma Sparks had not remarried since the death of her late husband.The affidavits were witnessed by Henry Griffith and Levi J. Webb at Webbville, Kentucky.
The last affidavit (in chronological order) sent from this pension file by the National Archives was made by John D. Boggs on June 15, 1895, at Blaine, Kentucky.He swore that he had served with Richmond Sparks in Company A, 68th Regiment Kentucky Infantry and had been with him when he took sick.Boggs stated:"I took him to the doctor of the 11th Michigan Regiment Cavalry and he pronounced him unable for duty and sent him home and he was never able to come back as a soldier.I don't remember the exact days of the month but it was in the spring or summer of 1865."
No pension was authorized for Oma Sparks, probably because of the short length of service by her husband.
[Editor's Note: See page 4852 of the present issue of the Quarterly for further details of the life and ancestry of Richmond Sparks.]
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 MARTIN SPARKS, son of John Wesley and Nancy (Kozee) Sparks, was born ca. 1845 in Lawrence County, Kentucky.He died May 18, 1879, at Fielden, Kentucky.He married Nancy Collier on October 25, 1865, in Lawrence County, Kentucky.
Martin Sparks served in Company C, 40th Regiment Kentucky Infantry.File Designation: Wid. Appl. No. 623,083.
On October 7, 1895, Nancy Gambill aged 53, a resident of Blaine, Kentucky, applied for a widow's pension.She stated that she was the widow of Martin Sparks who had enlisted at Lexington, Kentucky, on January 1, 1864, in Company C, 40th Regiment Kentucky Volunteers.Her husband had contracted a disease while in service, from which he had died May 18, 1879, at Fielden, Kentucky.She had been married to Sparks on October 25, 1865, by Walter Osburne.Children born to the marriage, who were under sixteen years of age at the time of the death of their father, were:
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1 Richmond Sparks born October 5, 1866
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.2 Robert Sparks born August 28, 1868
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.3 Polly Sparks born August 26, 1870
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.4 Rena Sparks born 2 February 1872
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.5 Alien Sparks born July 3, 1874
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.6 Margaret Sparks born January 5, 1876
Mrs. Gambill went onto state that she had filed an application for a widow's pension seven or eight years earlier, but she could not remember the number.She appointed C. D. Pennebaker &Son, Washington, D.C., as her attorneys.Henry Griffiths and Nathaniel Slone witnessed her make her mark, and the application was sworn to before G. W. Griffiths, a notary public.
On December 7, 1895, the War Department confirmed the military service of Martin Sparks.He had been mustered into Company C, 40th Regiment Kentucky Mounted Infantry on December 27, 1863, at Grayson, Kentucky, to serve for one year.He had been 18 years of age; 5 feet 9 inches in height; had a fair complexion, light hair, and black eyes; and he had been a farmer.He had been present for duty until December 30, 1864, when he was mustered out with his company at Catlettsburg, Kentucky.
On January 6, 1896, Robert Dixon, clerk of Lawrence County, Kentucky, sent a copy of the marriage record of Martin Sparks and Nancy Collier showing that they had been married on October 23, 1865.He also sent a copy of the marriage record of Nancy Sparks and Martin Gambill, showing that they had been married on January 2, 1889.
During the early part of 1896, four of the neighbors of Nancy Gambill, formerly Nancy Sparks, testified on her behalf.They were: G. W. Stephens, age 58; William Stephens, age 30; J. W. Sparks, age 31; and Daniel Sparks, age 30; all of them residents of Fielden, Kentucky.They stated that (1) Martin Sparks and Nancy (Collier) Sparks had lived together as man and wife from the time of their marriage until his death on May 18, 1879, and (2) that Martin Sparks had been sick when he came out of the service and complained that his back and his eyes hurt him continually.
On March 2, 1896, Nancy Gambill swore that she was unable to furnish medical evidence of the treatment of her late husband, Martin Sparks, had received while in the service.She said that Dr. N. T. Rice had already testified as to her husband's physical condition when he came out of the service.
On July 29, 1896, two men who had served in the same military company with Martin Sparks made affidavits to support the claim of his widow.They were: George Fraley, age 58, of Isonville, Kentucky, and James H. Sexton, age 52, a resident of Cherokee, Kentucky.Both men stated that they knew that Martin Sparks had been hospitalized at Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, during December 1864 with a fever, after which time he had complained of pains in his eyes and back.
In spite of these affidavits, no Widow Certificate for a pension was ever issued to Nancy Gambill, widow of Martin Sparks, probably because of her remarriage.
[Editor's Note: See page 4853 of the present issue of the Quarterly for further details of the life and ancestry of Martin Sparks.]
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 JOEL DENVER SPARKS son of William and Mary (Polly) (Lyon) Sparks, was born August 6, 1842, in Carter County, Kentucky.He married Eliza Jane Adkins on July 16, 1863, in Lawrence County, Kentucky.He served in Company A, 68th Regiment Kentucky Enrolled Militia.File Designation: Inv. Appl. No. 1,163,084.
Joel D. Sparks applied for an invalid pension on December 17, 1894, staling that he had served as a sergeant in Company A, 68th Regiment Kentucky Enrolled Militia from May 21, 1864, until June 22, 1864. His military service was confirmed by the War Department on February 12, 1895, just as Sparks had stated. Probably it was because of the short time of his service that his case appears not to have been considered further.He had enlisted at the age of 31 years.
Sparks's case was apparently reopened in the fall of 1899, when, on October 13th, the War Department again sent a record of his military service to the Bureau of Pensions.In addition to his Federal Army service.Sparks had enlisted in Company A, 5th Regiment Kentucky Infantry, Confederate States Army, on December 29, 1861, at Camp Huger, Kentucky.He was reported as the 3rd Sergeant in Ratliffs Company and had been present for duty until the company had been mustered out at Hazel Green, Kentucky, on October 20, 1862.
On November 14, 1899, Sparks answered a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions.He stated that he had been married to Eliza J. Adkins on July 16, 1863, at Blaine, Kentucky, by Walter Osburn.Their children were:
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1William Wallace Sparks born April 24, 1864
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.2James Washington Sparks born January 2, 1866
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.3 America Virginia Sparks born March 26, 1867
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.4 Milton Elliott Sparks born May 5, 1868
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.5 Ellen Sparks born January 29, 1871
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.6 Verlina Sparks born November 25, 1873
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.7 Robert Nelson Sparks born January 1, 1876
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.8 Nancy V. Sparks born May 13, 1877
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.9Emma Lee Sparks born November 5, 1878
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.10 Minnie E. Sparks born June 17, 1880
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.11 Bertha May Sparks born October 29, 1885
On the same day, Joel Sparks made an affidavit to support his case.He stated that he was 58 years of age and his post office was Stephens, Kentucky.He indicated that he had lived in this community ever since his return from the service.He said that in June 1864, as a sergeant in Company A, 68th Regiment Kentucky Militia, at Louisa, Kentucky, he had been exposed to hot and sultry days and damp and cool nights and had had an attack of chronic pneumonia.He had been treated by three physicians: Dr. White, Louisa, Kentucky, now dead; Dr. Levi J. Sparks, Blaine, Kentucky, now dead; and Dr. T. W. Hudgeon, Bruin, Kentucky, now dead.As a result of the pneumonia attacks, he could not perform one half of his usual manual labor from 1864 until 1882, and since 1882 to the present, he had been unable to perform any manual labor.The affidavit was sworn to before John M. Johnson, a notary public.
Sparks was supported in his claim of illness while in service by his wife, Eliza J. Sparks, who, on February 8, 1900, made an affidavit that she had sent a horse on which to bring her husband home from the service, and that after he arrived at home, he continued to be attacked by pneumonia, with severe and painful coughs which brought on hemorrhaging of the lungs.He had not responded to any treatment by the physicians in attendance.
Joel Sparks's final request for an invalid pension was made on July 12, 1901. He was now 59 years of age and a resident of Elliott County, Kentucky.He appointed J. B. Cralle &Co. of Washington, D.C., as his attorneys.A. T. Johnson and J. I. Waddell witnessed his signature, and the declaration was sworn to before John M. Johnson, a notary public.
Joel Sparks died March 26, 1906, and was buried in the Johnson Cemetery on the Little Fork of the Little Sandy River in Elliott County, Kentucky.He never received the pension that he sought.
[Editor's Note: See page 4868 of the present issue of the Quarterly for further details of the life and ancestry of Joel Denver Sparks.]
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 REUBEN R. SPARKS, son of William and Mary (Polly) (Lyon) Sparks, was born April 5, 1837, in Lawrence County, Kentucky.He married Mary J. Wellman about 1858.He served in Company A, 68th Regiment Kentucky Enrolled Militia.File Designation: Inv. Appl. No. 1,073,102.
On November 18, 1891, Reuben R. Sparks, aged 62, a resident of Lawrence County, Kentucky, completed a Declaration for an Invalid Pension.He stated that he had been enrolled on May 21, 1864, in Company A, 68th Regiment Kentucky Enrolled Militia, and had served until he had been released at Louisa, Kentucky, on June 22, 1864.He was now unable to earn his support because of a disease of the right lung and because of ruptures on both sides.He appointed B. H. Harris, Flat Gap, Kentucky, as his attorney.H. H. Gambill and George Salyer witnessed his signature.
The War Department confirmed the military service of Reuben R. Sparks on January 11, 1892.He had been enrolled on May 21, 1864, in Company A, 68th Regiment Kentucky Enrolled Militia and had been mustered out with his company on June 22, 1864, at Louisa, Kentucky.
On January 27, 1892, the Bureau of Pensions rejected the claim of Sparks because he had served less than 90 days; thus, he had no entitlement to a claim under the Pension Act of 1890.
On December 17, 1892, Reuben Sparks again submitted a Declaration of an Invalid Pension to the Bureau of Pensions.This time, he named C. D. Pennebaker, Washington, D.C., as his attorney.John H. Curnotte and David T. Curnotte witnessed his signature.
On the same day, Levi J. Sparks, a practicing physician in Lawrence County, Kentucky, testified that he had known Reuben R. Sparks all of his life and knew that Sparks was troubled with a chronic lung disease and with hernias on both sides of his inguinal region.These conditions had left Sparks unable to do any manual labor.
Also on December 17, 1892, Isaac Lester, aged 56, and James Liming, aged 59, both residents of Lawrence County, Kentucky, made a joint affidavit that Reuben R. Sparks had been a healthy man prior to his military service, but that he was now so disabled that he was unable to do any manual work.The affidavit was sworn to before G. W. Griffith, a notary public.
On February 9, 1893, Green B. Raum, Commissioner of the Bureau of Pensions, notified Dr. E. P. Gould of Catlettsburg, Kentucky, to examine Reuben R. Sparks for possible lung disease and ruptures.Accordingly, on April 5, 1893, Sparks appeared before an examining board of physicians consisting of J. D. Kincaid, E. P. Gould, and W. F. Bruns.The board found Sparks to be suffering from a 20-year-old rupture on one side and a 5-year-old rupture on the other side.He wore a truss, which only partially retained the ruptures. In addition, Sparks had pains in his right breast from which he coughed frequently and from which he expectorated yellow phlegm streaked with blood.The board concluded that he was entitled to a 14/18 rating for these disabilities.
On November 26, 1894, Attorney C. D. Pennebaker was informed by the Bureau of Pensions that the claim he had filed for Reuben R. Sparks on December 17, 1892, "had been found to be a duplicate & consolidated with a rejected claim.That no further action can be taken in this case."The case was marked in large letters, "ABANDONED".
[Editor's Note: See page 4864 of the present issue of the Quarterly for further details of the life and ancestry of Reuben R. Sparks.]