February 5, 2019

Pages 5015-5021
Whole Number 182


[Editor's Note: From time to time, we have been publishing abstracts of pension 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 Grand Army of the Republic (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 not 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 "non-selected file" as well, but this separate file can cost as much as $50 .00 (or more), 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, orrelationship, and neighbors, former army comrades, or relatives were called upon for 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 in the September 1967 Issue, Whole No.59. We will continue to use these as space permits,adding editorial notes of any genealogical information that we may have regarding the soldier and his family. MERITT SPARKS, son of Hardy and Martha (Motley) Sparks, was born 1843/44 in Greene County, Indiana. He married Ellender Martindale on February 9, 1862, in Greene County. He died in 1873. He served in Company C, 97th Regiment Indiana Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 101,112; Wid. Cert No. 217,921.

On June 9, 1865, Merit (also spelled Merritt) Sparks received a Certificate of Discharge from Company C, 97th Regiment Indiana Infantry at Washington, D.C. He had enlisted on August 11, 1862, to serve for three years, or during the war. And he was discharged by reason of the expiration of his term of service. According to his commanding officer, Capt. Wiley E. Dittemore, he was nineteen years of age when he had enlisted; he was 5 feet, 10 inches tall; he had a fair complexion, dark eyes and light colored hair; and he was a farmer.

Two years later, on April 25, 1867, Sparks applied for an Invalid Army Pension. Was 24 years of age and a resident of Hobbieville, Indiana. He stated that he had enlisted on August 13, 1862, as a private in Company C, 97th Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry under the command of Capt. John W. Carmichael, and he had served until he was mustered out on June 9, 1865. While on duty in Atlanta, Georgia, and engaged with the enemy on July 28, 1864, he had been wounded in the left hand by a musket ball that passed through the knuckle of the little finger in such a way as to cause it to be permanently impaired. In addition, while stationed at Holly Springs, Mississippi, his left eye became infected, causing inflamation and permanent damage to his vision. He appointed Moses F. Dunn of Bedford, Indiana, as his attorney in obtaining a pension. His application was witnessed by John D. Alexander and Jas. R. Eash.

On February 28, 1868, the War Department confirmed the military service of Merit Sparks to be just as he had stated it to be. He had been carried on the muster roll as "Absent--wounded" from July 28, 1864, through August 1864, and he had been "Absent--sick" in New Albany, Indiana, in November 1864.

Invalid Certificate No. 101,112 was issued to Merit Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll on November 26, 1869, at the rate of $6.00 per month.

Dr. Dudley A. Murphy of Sullivan County, Indiana, made an affidavit to support Merit Sparks in 1871.He stated that he had been the Assistant Surgeon of the 97th Regiment on January 8, 1863. Merit's infected eye had gradually gotten smaller, and his sight had faded until he was almost blind in that eye when he had been mustered out of the service.

Merit Sparks applied for increased pension benefits on October 4, 1871, claiming that he was now totally blind in his left eye. He appointed John D. Alexander, Bloomfield, Indiana, as his attorney. Jesse Rainbolt and Daniel B. Hatfield witnessed his signature, and the application was sworn to before David S. Whitaker, clerk of Greene County Circuit Court.

Merit Sparks died June 17, 1873, and on September 26, 1873, his widow, Ellender Sparks, made application for a Widow's Pension; however, no copy of her application is included among the papers in this "selected file." She had sent the Pension Bureau a copy of the marriage record showing that she and Merit had been married in Greene County, Indiana, on February 9, 1862, byAugustine Carmichael, a minister of the Gospel.

Apparently, no action was taken on Ellender Sparks's application for a Widow's Pension for on June 6, 1883, she again filed a "Widow's Claim for Pension," with the Bureau of Pensions. She was now 40 years of age and lived in Stanford, Indiana.She stated that her husband had died of a disease of the head which had been caused by his military service. He had left her with three living children who had been under the age of sixteen years at his death. They were: James H Sparks born August 28,1866 Amanda Alice Sparks born September 11, 1868 John C. Sparks born February 23, 1871 Betsey J. Sparks had been born January 9, 1873. She died died April 5, 1875.

Mrs. Sparks appointed Jas. H. Hunter, Washington, D. C., as her attorney, and Arthur Young and R. R. Breeden witnessed her make her mark.

On July 20, 1885, Elizabeth Martindale, aged 83, and J. R. Martindale, both residents of Stanford, Indiana, made affidavits to support the claim of Ellender Sparks.They stated that Merit Sparks had complained of pain in his head while home on a furlough and that after his discharge from the service, the pain had become so severe that he would "go out of his head" because of its intensity, and he would have to be restrained by his relatives and friends who attended him. Mrs. Martindale also stated that she had been present when all four of the children of Merit and Ellender Sparks had been born.She set their dates of birth down just as Mrs. Sparks had presented them. The affidavits of both Mr. and Mrs. Martindale were notarized by Thomas W. Sparks, a notary public.

On August 4, 1885, Capt. A. F. Phillips, Cincinnati, Ohio, swore that Merit Sparks had been a member of his company during the late war and had developed a disease of the left eye while in the service, and from which he never recovered. Phillips had visited Sparks while he had been ill, and he said that Sparks was suffering such great pain that he was "out of his mind."

Widow's Certificate No. 217,921 was issued to Ellender Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension roll.When she died April 6, 1920, she was receiving $25.00 per month.

On July 24, 1890, James H. Sparks, aged 23 years, a resident of Stanford, Indiana, applied for a pension on the basis of his being a disabled child of a Civil War veteran. He stated that he had been born on August 28, 1866, to Merit and Ellender Sparks, and was now so badly crippled that he was unable to earn his living.He appointed C. R. Worrail of Bloomington, Indiana, as his attorney.Nothing is included in the "selected papers" from Merit Sparks's pension to indicate what action, if any, was taken upon James H. Sparks's application.

[Editor's Note:See page 5002 of the present issue of the Quarterly, and the preceding pages, for a record of Merit Sparks and his Sparks ancestry.]

72.1.2 EDWIN C. SPARKS, son of 72.1 Edward C. and Mary (Cole) Barney Sparks, was born June 10, 1826, in Rhode Island. He died May 9,1911. He married Elizabeth MNU ca. 1858. He served in Company D,152nd Regiment Illinois Infantry.File Designation:Inv. Cert. No. 519,610.

On March 18, 1886, Edwin C. Sparks, aged 59, a resident of Ottawa City, Franklin County, Kansas, made a Declaration for an Invalid Pension.He stated that he had enlisted on January 13, 1865, in Company D (commanded by Capt. Wm. Morehead) of the 152nd Regiment Illinois Volunteers, and that he had served until he was discharged on May 25, 1865, at "Tallahassee, Fla." (sic.) At enlistment he had been 5 feet, 4 inches tall, and he had a fair complexion, auburn hair and grey eyes. While stationed at Nashville, Tennessee, in April 1865, he had been hit on the head by a bottle thrown by someone in a crowd.Also, about that time, his boot rubbed his left leg so severely that he was disabled.Prior to going into the service, he had been a tobacconist, but he was now a farmer.He appointed George E. Lemon, Washington, D.C., as his attorney to assist him in obtaining a pension.E. Boltwood and G. W. Farran witnessed his signature.

On January 21, 1887, the Surgeon-General's Office reported to the Pension Office that Edwin C. Sparks, Company D, 152nd Regiment Illinois Volunteers, had been admitted to the military hospital at Tullahoma, Tennessee, on March 24, 1865, with mumps and had been discharged from the service on May 25, 1865.

Three days later, the Adjutant General's Office also sent a report to the Commissioner of Pensions that Edwin C. Sparks had been enrolled on January 30, 1865, in Company D, 152nd Regiment Illinois Volunteers at Mount Hope, Illinois, to serve for one year.He was hospitalized at Tullahoma, Tennessee, from March to May 1865.He had been mustered out on an individual muster-roll on May 25, 1865, at Tullahoma, Tennessee, by a telegram from the War Department, dated May 25, 1865.

The request of Edwin C. Sparks for a pension was apparently denied, but on July 7, 1890, he reapplied for a pension under the provisions of the 1890 Act of Congress.This time his application was approved, and he began receiving a pension of $10.00 per month under Invalid Certificate No. 519,610.This amount was reduced for some reason (not given in the "selected papers" from his file sent to us by the National Archives) to $6.00 per month in 1893.

Sparks applied for increased pension benefits on September 10, 1896, claiming an inability to earn his support because of ulcerated varicose veins; a hernia on his right side; and his advanced age.He was now 70 years of age. W. R. Dean and Francis C. Herr witnessed his signature, and the declaration was sworn to before G. G. Wharton, a notary public. Apparently his request was denied, for on July 30, 1897, he made another affidavit to support his request. He stated that his hernia had suddenly appeared as a lump which was sore and that he had consulted a doctor.The doctor had pronounced it as a hernia and had fitted him with a truss. He was now unable to lift or strain himself. John O'Neal and G. G. Wharton witnessed his signature.His pension was increased to $8.00 per month.

On February 14, 1907, Edwin Sparks applied for increased pension benefits under the February 6, 1907, Act of Congress.He stated that he was now 80 years of age, having been born June 10, 1826. He asked for a pension of $20.00 per month. George Bolton and F. A Waddle witnessed his signature.

When Edwin C. Sparks died May 9, 1911, he was receiving a pension of $20.00 per month.

[Editor's Note:The paternal grandparents of Edwin C. Sparks were Joseph and Charity Sparks, residents of the colony of Rhode Island.(See pp. 2106-08 of the June 1979 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 106, for information about Joseph and Charity Sparks and also for Edwin's parents, Edward C. and Mary (Cole) Barney Sparks.)

(Edwin C. Sparks (the "C" was probably for Cole) was enumerated on the 1850 census of Warren County, Rhode Island, and was a member of the household of his parents. He went to Illinois prior to 1860, and when the census was taken that year, he was in McLean County. It was probably there that he married Elizabeth MNU. She had been born ca. 1831 in Indiana. Edwin probably enlisted in the Union Army from McLean County.]

ALFRED SPARKS, son of Sanford and Emily (Redman) Sparks, was born ca. 1842 in Hamilton County, Indiana.He served in Company G, 69th Regiment Illinois Infantry from June 1862 until September 1862, and in Company C, 10th Regiment Illinois Cavalry from January 1864 until August 1865.

On June 14, 1862, Alfred Sparks, a resident of Fairbury, Livingston County, Illinois, was mustered in as a private into Capt. Vincent's Company of the 69th Regiment Illinois Infantry at Camp Douglas, Chicago, Illinois, to serve for three months. (This unit subsequently became Company G.) At that time, he was 18 years of age; he had blue eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion; and he was 5 feet 8 inches tall. He had been born in Hamilton County, Indiana, and he was a farmer. He was mustered out of this unit on September 27, 1862.

On January 5, 1864, Alfred Sparks, now 20 years old and a resident of Fairbury, Illinois, volunteered to serve in the Army of the United States for three years. He was mustered into Company C, 10th Regiment Illinois Cavalry at Springfield, Illinois. He was given a $300 bounty for enlisting, but he actually received only $60.00 at that time. On January 4, 1865, he was transferred to Company M at Brownsville, Arkansas. He was sick at Shreveport, Louisiana, as shown on a report dated July 7, 1865. He was discharged at St. Louis, Missouri, on August 23, 1865. At that time, he still had not received $180 of his bounty.[It was for this remaining bounty that he applied, rather than for a pension.] We have no further record of this man's attempt to collect his bounty.

[Editor's Note: Alfred Sparks was born ca. 1842 in Hamilton County, Indiana, and was a son of Sanford and Emily (Redman) Sparks. Sanford Sparks had been born ca. 1808 in Ohio. He had been married there in Brown County on December 4, 1828, to Emily Redman. She had been born ca. 1814 in Ohio.Sanford Sparks was enumerated on the 1830 census of Brown County, Ohio. When the 1850 census was taken, he was in Livingston County, Illinois, but he had apparently died there before the 1860 census was taken; Emily was shown on that census as head of the family. With her were three children. According to these census records, Sanford and Emily Sparks had six children:

1. James T. Sparks was born ca. 1830 in Brown County, Ohio.

2. Charlotte ["Lottie"] Ann Sparks was born ca. 1833 in Ohio. She married William DeMoss on September 16, 1851, in Livingston County, Illinois. When the 1860 census was taken, this couple had two children,

2.1 Arthur DeMoss
2.2 Otis DeMoss.

3. Saler Robe Sparks (a daughter), was born ca. 1839 in Indiana, probably in Hamilton County.
4. Alfred Sparks was born ca. 1842 in Hamilton County, Indiana. His military record is given above.
5. Thomas Wiley Sparks was born ca. 1845 in Indiana. He married Emma DeMoss on April 8, 1866, in Livingston County, Illinois. When the 1880 census was taken of Livingston County, he and Emma appear to have had five children:

5.1 Carrie Sparks
5.2 Offie J. Sparks
5.3 Clara M. Sparks
5.4 Eva Sparks
5.5 Orvil Sparks.

6. Mary A. Sparks was born ca. 1848 in Indiana. She married D. M. Hanneman on March 26, 1867, in Livingston County, Illinois.]

GEORGE T. SPARKS (or PARKS),was born July 19, 1839, at Windsor, Maine. He married Bridget McNamara on June 9, 1874, at Jackson, Michigan. He served in Battery B, 1st Maine Light Artillery. File Designation:mv. Cert. No. 645,044.

On August 23, 1889, George T. Sparks, alias George T. Parks, age 50, a resident of Jackson County, Michigan, made application for an invalid pension. He stated that he had been enrolled on August 16, 1862, in the 1st Regiment Maine Light Artillery (Capt. Charles E. Stubbs) under the name of George T. Parks, and that he had been discharged at Augusta, Maine, on June 16, 1865.He was six feet tall; he had a light complexion, brown hair and blue eyes; and he was a blacksmith. While stationed at Manassas Gap, Virginia, in the summer of 1863, he suffered from a disability which left him with fever sores which had stayed with him ever since and had settled in both legs.He had not been hospitalized. The sores now rendered him incapable of earning a living. Since leaving the service, he had lived in Maine, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Michigan. He appointed Robert D. Knowles of Jackson, Michigan, as his attorney. He signed the application as"George T. Sparks"; however, underneath his signature, someone wrote "Alias George T. Parks." P. B. Butterfield and Fred Seamon witnessed him sign the application.

A year later, on August 17, 1890, George T. Parks, aged 51, of 301 New York St., Jackson, Michigan, made another application for an invalid pension. He repeated most of the same statements he had made the previous year; he appointed L. Lee of Jackson as his attorney. John L. Dennison and A. W. Honsinger, both of Jackson, witnessed him sign the application as "George T. Parks." Invalid Certificate No. 645,044 was issued to him, and he was placed upon the pensionrolls.

On February 22, 1895, Parks made an affidavit to support his claim for an increase in his pension.He stated that he was unable to get a medical statement from his physician, Dr. McLaughlin, because the doctor had moved to California and could not be located. Parks said that he was now unable to perform any manual labor. The affidavit was sworn to before Frederick W. Kerner, a notary public.

On July 31, 1909, the War Department responded to a request from the Bureau of Pensions for a personal description of George T. Parks. War Department records showed him at the time of his enlistment as 24 2/12 years of age; six feet tall; with light complexion, brown hair and blue eyes. His occupation was that of a blacksmith. He had been born at Windsor, Nova Scotia.

On March 25, 1915, Parks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He stated that he had been born July 19, 1839, at Windsor, Maine, and that he lived at Demariscotta, Maine, when he had enlisted in Battery B, 2nd Maine Light Artillery. He had been married to Bridget McNamara on June 9, 1874, at St. Johns Church, Jackson, Michigan, by Father Buyse. His wife had died March 21, 1914.They had one child, James A. Sparks, born on March 18, 1875; he was still living.

When George T. Parks died September 1, 1929, he was receiving a pension of $65.00 per month.On December 27, 1929, James H. Sparks, age 54, a resident of Jackson, Michigan, made application for reimbursement for expenses incurred in the final illness of his father, George T. Sparks. He stated that his father had been married only one time, and that had been to Bridget McNamara. During his father's last illness, he had been nursed by Mrs. Anatasia Sparks and Miss Helen Sparks. His father had left only some personal property, including a 1925 Chevrolet coupe, worth about $25.00. Funeral expenses, unpaid, amounted to $208. Sparks signed his application as "James H. Sparks," In the presence of John Puffing and Frank J. Maloney.

On February 15, 1932, Ollive McManus, deputy clerk of Jackson County, Michigan, sent the Bureau of Pensions a copy of the death record of George S. Sparks. He had died September 1, 1929, at the age of 90 years, 1 month, and 12 days.He had been born in Nova Scotia. His father's name had been Geo. Sparks [sic].

JAMES P. SPARKS. son of David and Elizabeth (MNU) Sparks, was born ca. 1810 in Salem County, New Jersey. He married Mary C. Vanneman on February 9, 1862, in Salem County. He served in Company K, 4th Regiment New Jersey Infantry and died while in the service at Mechanicsville, Virginia. File Designation:Wid. Cert. No. 3,448.

On October 21, 1862, Mary C. V. Sparks, age 18, a resident of Salem County, New Jersey, applied for a widow's pension. She stated that she was the widow of James P. Sparks who had served in Company K, 4th Regiment New Jersey Volunteers; he had died while in the service at Mechanicsville, Virginia, by reason of typhoid fever. She and Sparks had been married on February 9, 1862, at Pennville, New Jersey, by the Rev. William Magerum.She had been married under her maiden name of Mary C. Vanneman. She appointed Thomas V. F. Rusling of Salem, New Jersey, as her attorney, and her application was sworn to before R. Newell, clerk of the Salem County Court.

On the same day, Samuel Plummer and James Wells made an affidavit that they had known James P. Sparks, orderly of the Colonel, of Company K, 4th Regiment New Jersey Volunteers, who had died June 7, 1862, at Mechanicsville, Virginia. They also knew his widow, Mary C. V. Sparks.

On October 23, 1862, Robert Newell, clerk of the Common Pleas Court of Salem County, sent the Pension Office a copy of the marriage record of James P. Sparks and Mary C. Vanneman, both of Salem County, who had been married at Pennville, New Jersey, on February 9, 1862, by the Rev. Wm. Margerum, pastor of the Methodist Church of Lower Penns Neck in Salem County.

On January 24, 1863, the Adjutant General's Office sent the Commissioner of Pensions a record of the military service of James P. Sparks.He had been enrolled on August 19, 1861, at Trenton, New Jersey, in Company K, 4th Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers to serve for three years.He had been present for duty until his death on June 7, 1862, of typhoid fever.

On June 1, 1863, Mary C. V. Drummond made an affidavit in Sagadahoc County, Maine.She swore that she was the widow of James P. Sparks who had served in Company K, 4th Regiment New Jersey Volunteers until his death on June 7, 1862.

No children had been born to the marriage.Since the death of her husband, she had been married to Eugene A. Drummond of Bath, Maine, on May 1, 1863.They had been married by the Rev. H. S. Norris, minister of the M . E. Church of Salem, New Jersey.

Widow Certificate No. 3,448 was issued to Mary C. Sparks on June 25, 1863, and she was placed upon the pension roll at the rate of $8.00 per month.The pension began as of June 7, 1862; it ended on May 1, 1863, with her second marriage.

On August 16, 1901, Mary C. Sparks, age 57, a resident of Pennsgrove, New Jersey, asked for her name to be restored to the pension roll under the 1901 Act of Congress which made provision for a pension to be paid to a remarried widow. She stated that her marriage to Eugene A.Drummond had been terminated on August 24, 1864, at Bath, Maine, by a divorce.He was divorced from her upon her own demand of him and without any fault on her part.Henry A. Flanagin and Emma Cook witnessed her signature.

The request of Mary C. Sparks was rejected on January 13, 1902, with the following statement:"No title-divorce from second husband was not secured on claimant's own application and without fault on her part."

Mary C. Sparks made application again for a Remarried Widow's Pension on October 7, 1916, but her request was again denied for the same reason as before.

[Editor's Note:When the 1850 census of Salem County, New Jersey, was taken, James P. Sparks was shown as a 10-year-old boy living with his parents, David and Elizabeth Sparks, in Lower Penns Neck Township.(For the complete transcription of this census record, see p. 2439 of the September 1982 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No.119.)]