Whole Number 180
[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 veterans 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 became 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 individuals 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 individuals "non-selected file" as well, but 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.]
EDWIN SPARKS, was born ca. 1835, probably in Connecticut. He served in Company 1, 8th Regiment Connecticut Infantry and In the 132nd Company, 2nd Battalion, Veterans Reserve Corps, from September 21, 1861, to September 21, 1864. File Designation: Inv. Appl. No. 296,075.
On June 26, 1879, Edwin Sparks, aged 44, a resident of Salisbury, Connecticut, applied for an invalid pension. He said he had been enrolled on September 21, 1861, at Hartford, Connecticut, in Company I, 8th Regiment Connecticut Infantry. He had been transferred to the 132rid Company, 2nd Battalion, Veterans Reserve Corps, commanded by Lieutenant James Drysdale, on March 18, 1864. He had been discharged on September 21, 1864, at Frederick, Maryland. At the time of his enlistment, he had been 25 years of age; he was 5 feet, ten inches tall; he had a light complexion, light hair, and light colored eyes; and he was a painter by trade.
While on duty on September 14, 1862, at Frederick, Maryland, he had been stricken by a paralysis brought on by an attack of malaria and which now was costing him the use of his arms and hands. He had been treated for this malady in the General Hospital at Frederick. He appointed Daniel Pratt, Salisbury, Connecticut, as his attorney. Theodore S. Russell and William H. Meach witnessed him make his mark.
Sparks made an affidavit on January 9, 1880, to support his application. He stated that, prior to his enlistment, he had been a painter in the Connecticut towns of Falls Village, Salisbury, Bridgeport, and New Milford. Since leaving the service, he had lived in Salisbury where he had continued to paint whenever he was able.
At times, he was unable to work because of the chronic dysentery which he had contracted while in the service. He also suffered from a paralysis caused by an attack of malaria fever while in the service. He had been treated for these disabilities by several physicians: Drs. Benjamin Welsh, Bradford S. Thompson, John H. Blodgett and Averill. W. G. Kellogg and 0. J. Sabin witnessed the affidavit.
The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service on May 31, 1881. He had been enrolled on September 21, 1861, at Hartford, Connecticut, in Company I, 8th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers. He had been detached to the Frederick [Maryland] General Hospital as a nurse in September 1862, and had been transferred to the Veterans Reserve Corps on January 29, 1864. He had been admitted to the Frederick Hospital on September 15, 1864, because of chronic bronchitis and general debility. He had been mustered out of the service on September 21, 1864.
In spite of affidavits from Dr. John H. Blodgett and Dr. Bradford S. Thompson, both practicing physicians of Salisbury, Connecticut, that Edwin Sparks was under their care for a paralysis of the left side of his body which rendered him incapable of earning his support, Sparks was not granted a pension. He may have died before becoming eligible for further consideration for a pension.
[Editor's Note: The above Edwin Sparks was probably the "Edwan, Sparks" appearing on the 1850 census of the town of Suffield in Hartford County, Connecticut, age 16, and a native of Connecticut. He was living in the household of Thomas and Mary Remington. Thomas Remington was a farmer; both he and his wife had been born in Connecticut. They lived quite near John Sparks, age 47, and Emma Sparks, age 37, whom we imagine were the parents of Edwin Sparks. John and Emma had both been born in England; he was a farmer with land valued at $200. The three children living in their household in 1850 were doubtless their own, all born in Connecticut. They were: Richard Sparks, age 14; Henry Sparks, age 6; and Elizabeth Sparks, age 3. (The record of Sparkses found on the 1850 census of Connecticut was published in the Quarterly of June 1981, Whole No. 114, pp. 2309-2316; the record of John and Emma Sparks on that census, as well as that of "Edwan Sparks," appears on p. 2309.)
HENRY L. SPARKS, son of Benjamin A. and Mary (Imhuff) Sparks, was born January 8, 1842. He died September 11, 1910. He married (first) Jennie Wade, and (second) to Mary McGee. He served in Company D, 72nd Regiment Indiana Infantry. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 398,129. Wid. Cert. No. 7,911,971.
Henry L. Sparks, age 45, a resident of Shelbyville, Shelby County, Indiana, made application for an invalid pension on December 7, 1886. He stated that he had enlisted on July 21, 1862, at Thorntown, Indiana, as a private in Company D, 72nd Regiment Indiana Infantry Volunteers, commanded by Capt. Robert Lafollet, and had been discharged at Nashville, Tennessee, on June 30, 1865. He stated that he had then been 5 feet, 8 inches tall; he had a light complexion, light hair and brown eyes; and he was a blacksmith by occupation.
Sparks stated that while he had been on detached service with the First Battalion of the Pioneer Brigade near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on March 7, 1863, he suffered an accidental blow on his right leg from an ax while cutting cedars to make breast works for fortification. He was treated by a surgeon whose name he did not know. In addition, in September 1863, at the Battle of Rock Springs near Chattanooga, Tennessee, his horse fell on him causing a severe injury to his right leg for which he was treated by his comrades, and he had not gone to a hospital. The effects of these injuries had become chronic and rendered him incapable of obtaining his subsistence by manual labor.
On May 6, 1887, the War Department confirmed Sparks's military service; however, there were no records to furnish evidence of any disability. The Department went on to report that the records of the Pioneer Brigade were not complete.
Apparently Henry L. Sparks was placed on the pension rolls for on September 1, 1891, he requested an increase in the pension he was receiving under Invalid Certificate No. 398,129. He said that on March 17, 1863, at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, his regiment had voted to become mounted infantry. After being mounted, Col. A. 0. Miller ordered them to draw cavalry uniforms and Spencer rifles, after which they were "brigaded" with the 17th and 72nd [Regiments] of Indiana, the 98th and 123rd [Regiments] of Illinois, and Nicklins 18th Indiana Battery, and so they served until the end of the war. On March 26, 1863, they were reviewed by General Reynolds, and on March 31st they were reviewed by General Rosecrans. Sparks went on to say that, since the 72nd Regiment Indiana Infantry was ordered to be mounted by the War Department, the War Department was responsible for the wound to his right leg when his horse fell on him. E. H. Chadwick, a notary public of Shelby County, notarized his application. There is nothing in the "selected papers" from his pension file to indicate what action was taken on his request.
Henry L. Sparks died at Shelbyville, Indiana, on September 11, 1910, according to a certificate from the Indiana State Board of Health. The certificate showed that he had been born January 8, 1842, and that he was a son of B. A. and Mary (Emhuff) Sparks, both natives of Pennsylvania. (In this instance, his mother's maiden name was spelled "Imhauff".) This information was given to the health officer, Bayard G. Keeney, by Lyda Sparks, 827 Broad Street, Indianapolis, Indiana.
On September 15, 1910, Mary Sparks, widow of Henry L. Sparks, age 50, made an application for a widow's pension. She stated that she had been married to Sparks on August 30, 1880, by the Rev. W. T. Jolly at Shelbyville, Indiana. She stated that this had been her first marriage, but that Sparks had been married previously to Jennie Wade in 1867. Jennie (Wade) Sparks had died February 13, 1879.
Lyda Sparks and Fred Sparks witnessed Mary Sparks make her mark, and the application was accompanied by a copy of the record of her marriage to Henry L. Sparks on August 30, 1880, which had been prepared by J. H. Deitzer, clerk of the Shelby County Circuit Court.
At the same time, Fred Sparks, age 35, and Lyda Sparks, age 37, both residents of Shelbyville, Indiana, made a joint affidavit that Jennie Sparks, former wife of Henry L. Sparks, had died 3 February 1879, and that they had attended her funeral.
Mary (McGee) Sparks was placed on the pension rolls, and she continued to receive a pension until her death on August 12, 1937, at Santa Monica, California. According to her death certificate, she had been born on March 24, 1861, and she was a daughter of Eli McGee of New York City. On August 29, 1938, her son-in-law, Benjamin H. Ervin, age 61, of Indianapolis, Indiana, requested reimbursement for the expenses incurred during her last illness and burial. There is nothing in the "selected papers" from her pension file to indicate the action taken on this application for reimbursement.
[Editor's Note: Henry L. Sparks was shown with his parents and siblings on the 1860 census of Sugar Creek Township, Boone County, Indiana. His age was given as 18, and he was called a "day laborer." His father, Benjamin Sparks, age 40, was a native of Ohio and his trade was that of tailor. His mother, Mary Sparks, was shown as a native of Kentucky; she was 40 years old in 1860, according to the census. (For the entire household of Benjamin and Mary Sparks in 1860, see the Quarterly of March 1995, Whole No. 169, p. 4443.)
[Henry L. Sparks's paternal grandfather was the Rev. Amos Sparks whose obituary from the Western Christian Advocate is reproduced, with notes, in the present issue of the Quarterly, p. 4907. Henry was a cousin of Granville Moody Sparks, son of Jeremiah and Sarah (Hughes) Sparks, whose pension file for service in the Civil War appears below, in abstract form.]
GRANVILLE MOODY SPARKS, son of Jeremiah and Sarah (Hughes) Sparks, was born October 26, 1845, in Indiana. He married Harriet F. Morgan on November 8, 1871, in Holmes County, Ohio. He served in Company B, 60th Regiment Ohio Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 246,487 and Wid. Cert. No. 909,898.
Granville Sparks apparently applied for an invalid pension during the summer of 1882 for on September 26th of that year, the War Department confirmed his military service. He had been enrolled on July 26, 1864, at Wooster, Ohio, in Company B, 60th Regiment Ohio Volunteers for three years and had served until mustered out with his company on July 28, 1865, at Delaney House, D.C. He had been reported as "absent - sick" during July and August 1864, but the nature of his sickness was not stated.
Sparks was issued Invalid Certificate No. 246,487, and he was placed upon the pension rolls. On November 4, 1890, he applied for an increase in his pension under the 1890 Act of Congress. He was 44 years of age and was living at Reading, Lyon County, Kansas. He claimed that he was unable to earn his support because of chronic diarrhea, rheumatism, and a spinal irritation caused by a sunstroke while in the service. He appointed James Tanner of Washington, D.C., as his attorney. L. D. Morgan and A. 0. Morgan witnessed his signature.
On May 4, 1898, Granville Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He stated that he had been married to Harriet F. Morgan on November 18, 1871, at Nashville, Ohio, by the Rev. E. Shrieve. He and his wife had six children:
1. Olive M. Sparks, born October 25, 1874.
2. Victoria B. Sparks, born September 1, 1876.
3. Arminta Sparks, born January 19, 1878.
4. Alvah C. Sparks, born July 8, 1882.
5. Edith O. Sparks, born March 11, 1885.
6. Vera Z. Sparks, born October 15, 1895.
On May 6, 1916, Sparks applied for pension benefits under the 1912 Act of Congress. He was now 70 years of age and a resident of Emporia, Kansas. He stated that at the time of his enlistment, he had been 5 feet, 5 inches tall; he had a fair complexion, blue eyes and light hair. He had been born on October 26, 1845, at Pretty Prairie, Indiana. He had moved with his father to Ohio and had lived in Holmes County until 1888, when he had moved to Kansas. Cleta Henry and 0. T. Atherton witnessed his signature.
The Bureau of Pensions requested proof of Sparks's date of birth, and on June 7, 1916, he made an affidavit that there was no church or public record of the date of his birth. There had been a Bible record in his father's home in Nashville, Ohio, but after his father's death in 1881, his stepmother took the Bible with her to Huron County, Ohio, where she died in 1886. He did not know what had happened to it.
Sparks went on to state that in the summer of 1850, he had lived with his father, stepmother, and sister, Ariel Sparks, in Wooster, Ohio. In the summer of 1860, he had lived with his father, stepmother and sister in Nashville, Ohio. In addition, two half-sisters, Lois Sparks and Altha Sparks, had been born and were in the family. His father's name was Jeremiah Sparks and his stepmother's name was Arial Sparks. He had no brothers or half-brothers. His sister was now dead, and he had no knowledge as to the whereabouts of his half-sisters. He ended his affidavit by stating that he was unable to furnish any record of his birth date.
Granville Moody Sparks died November 18, 1920, at Emporia, Kansas, and the next day his widow, Harriet Sparks, completed a Certificate of Death in which she stated that Sparks had been born on October 26, 1846, in Indiana. His parents' names were Jeremiah Sparks, a native of Indiana, and Sarah Hughes, a native of Ohio. Sparks had been receiving a pension of $50.00 per month. On the following January 14th, Harriet Sparks, age 66 years, applied for a widow's pension. She stated that she and Sparks had been married at Nashville, Ohio, on November 8, 1871. Neither of them had been previously married. Widow Certificate No. 909,898 was issued to her, and she was placed upon the pension rolls. She died on February 24, 1946.
[Editor's Note: Granville Moody Sparks's paternal grandfather was the Rev. Amos Sparks (1785-1867) whose obituary that had been published in the Western Christian Advocate has been reproduced, with notes, in the present issue of the Quarterly, see pp. 4907-08. His cousin, Henry L. Sparks, also received a Civil War pension; -an abstract for the papers pertaining to his application appears above, pp. 4926-28.1
K.8 DAVID R. SPARKS, son of Baxter and Elizabeth (Gwin) Sparks, was born October 15, 1823, near Lanesville, Indiana. He died November 10, 1907, at Alton, Illinois. He served in Company I, 1st Regiment Illinois Volunteers during the Mexican War and in Company L, 3rd Regiment Illinois Cavalry during the Civil War. File Designations: Certificate No. 10,027.
On March 21, 1887, David R. Sparks, age 63, a resident of Alton, Illinois, applied for a pension for his service during the Mexican War. He stated that he had served as a corporal in Company I (Capt. J. M. Adams's) of the 1st Regiment (Col. Newby's) Illinois Volunteers from June 2, 1847, until he had been mustered out with his company on October 17, 1848. He had received a Certificate of Discharge which was on file in Washington, D.C., where he had sent it when he received a land grant-bounty. He also stated that he had served as a captain in Company L, 3rd Regiment Illinois Cavalry from August 1861 until November 1863. John A. Ryrie, 59, and Henry R. Phinney, 44, both residents of Alton, Illinois, witnessed his signature, and the statement was sworn to before Patrick Ward, city clerk of Alton, Illinois.
The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service as he had stated it, and he was issued Certificate No. 10,027 and placed upon the pension roll at the rate of $8.00 per month. The amount was increased to $12.00 per month on April 17, 1903.
On March 9, 1907, David R. Sparks, age 83, a resident of Alton, Illinois, applied for an increase in his pension benefits under the 1907 Act of Congress. He stated that he had enlisted in 1847 in the 1st Regiment Illinois Volunteers during the Mexican War and had served until he had been mustered out in October 1848 at, Alton, Illinois. He had also served as a captain in Company L, 3rd Regiment Illinois Cavalry from August 1861 until November 1863 during the Civil War. He stated that he had been born on October 15, 1823, near Lanesville, Indiana. He had been 5 feet, 10 inches in height; he had a light complexion, blue eyes and light hair; and his occupation was that of milling. N. I. Jones and R. G. Huskinson witnessed his signature.
The War Department again confirmed Sparks's military service on June 27, 1907. He had been enrolled on May 20, 1847, in Company I, 1st Regiment (Newby's) Illinois Infantry and had served until he had been mustered out with his company on October 17, 1848. During this period of time, he had been stationed at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, in June 1847; in Secora, New Mexico, in December 1847; in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in February 1848; and in Zuni, New Mexico, in June 1848. He had also served as a captain in Company L, 3rd Regiment Illinois Cavalry from August 2, 1861, until he had been discharged on November 11, 1863, upon tendering his resignation.
On July 3, 1907, the pension of David R. Sparks was increased to $20.00 per month. He died November 10, 1907.
[Editor's Note: David R. Sparks was a son of Baxter and Elizabeth (Gwin) Sparks who left Pittsylvania County, Virginia, about 1805 and went to the Indiana Territory where they settled in Harrison County. In 1836, they moved westward again to Illinois, where they settled in Macoupin County. For further details on this branch of the Sparks family, see the following issues of the Quarterly: September 1955, Whole No. 11; March 1946, Whole No. 13; March 1972, Whole No. 177; June 1976, Whole No. 94; and September 1977, Whole No. 99]