Whole Number 183
[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, B.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 photocopies of the papers in an individual's "non-selected file" as well, but this separate collection can cost as much as $50.00 (or more), depending upon its size. In most in- stances, 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 when 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.]
THOMAS S. SPARKS was born April 22, 1836, at Rutland, Vermont, and was a son of Thomas and Patty (Bobbins) Sparks. He married Azetta M. Sparks on October 14, 1860, at Arcade, New York. He died on January 12, 1913, at San- dusky, New York. He served in Company B, 2nd Regiment New York Mounted Rifles. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 67,430; Wid. Cert. No. 756.504.
Thomas S. Sparks apparently applied for an Invalid Pension in early 1866, but no application was among the selected papers sent from his pension file by the National Archives. On May 8, 1866, the Adjutant General's Office sent the Commissioner of Pensions the following information taken from the muster-roll of Sparks: he had been enrolled as a private in Company B, 2nd Regiment New York Mounted Rifles Volunteers. For the months of July and August 1864, he had been reported as "Wounded July 30th, sent to Gen. Hosp." He had been discharged on August 10, 1865, by order of the War Department, dated July 21, 1865.
Invalid Certificate No. 67,430 was issued to Thomas S. Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll on April 20, 1866.
On March 13, 1885, the War Department sent the Commissioner of Pensions the military record of Thomas S. Sparks. He had been enrolled on 25 Jan, 1864, at Freedom, New York. as a private in Company B, 2nd New York Mounted Rifles to serve for three years. On the muster-roll for March and April 1864, he was reported as "absent—sick" in the Camp Stoneman Hospital, D.C., with mumps. On the roll for July and August 1864, he was reported as "Absent—wound fracture of face July 30, at the Battle of Petersburg, Va." He was so borne to December 30, 1864, when he rejoined his company in January 1865. He was mustered out with his company on August 10, 1865, at Petersburg, Virginia.
Thomas Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions on January 29, 1898. He stated that he had been married to Azetta H. Sparks on October 14, 1860, in Wyoming County, New York, by the Rev. A. J. Bowles. They had three children:
Anna Sparks, born October 24, 1861. George H. Sparks, born January 11, 1863. Bessie E. Sparks, born April 23, 1873.
Thomas Sparks was given a physical examination by a Board of Examiners on September 23, 1903, at Sandusky, New York. At that time, he was 67 years old; he had been born in Vermont; he was 5 feet, 11 inches tall; and he had a fair com- plexion, brown hair, and blue eyes. His occupation was that of gardener. The examining surgeons stated that Sparks's general appearance indicated that he was suffering greatly impaired health. He had a chronic discharge from an open sore caused by a gunshot to the head. He had atrophy of the testicles brought on by mumps. He had a double hernia which were so enlarged that they would admit three fingers. The doctors concluded that Sparks was entitled to a pension at a 21/24 rating, or $24.00 per month.
On April 24, 1911, Sparks made a declaration for a pension under the 1907 Act of Congress. He stated that he was now 75 years old and was a resident of Sandusky, New York. He was 6 feet, inch tall; he had a light complexion, grey eyes and brown hair; and he had been born at Rutland, Vermont, on April 22, 1836. He had lived at Sandusky, New York, ever since he had left the military service. W. H. Jones and F. S. Merrill witnessed his signature. Sparks's entitlement was set at $20.00 per month.
Mary M. Jones, 63 years old and a resident of Sandusky, New York, made an affidavit on January 17, 1913, stating that she was well acquainted with Thomas S. Sparks and his wife. She knew that neither of them had been married previous to their marriage to each other. He had been married to Azetta H. Sparks in 1860.
Thomas S. Sparks died January 12, 1913, at Sandusky, New York, and on January 22, 1913, his widow, Azetta H. Sparks, made a "Declaration for a Widow's Pen- sion." She stated that she had been married to Sparks at Arcade, New York, under the name of Azetta H. Sparks. They had been married on October 14, 1860, by the Rev. A. E. Bowles. Neither she nor her husband had been previously married. She appointed Elliott Waggaman as her attorney to aid her in obtaining a pension, and her declaration was witnessed by Rose M. Austin and Bessie E. Howard.
On January 29, 1913, H. C. Beebe, age 67, a resident of Sandusky, New York, swore that he was well acquainted with Thomas Sparks and his wife and had known them from the time they had come to Sandusky in 1860, and he knew that they had lived together continuously until Sparks's death on January 12, 1913.
Widow Certificate No. 756,504 was issued to Azetta H. Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension roll. When she died June 23, 1917, at Sandusky, New York, she was receiving a pension of $20.00 per month.
[Editor's Note: Thomas S. Sparks was quite likely a son of Thomas and Patty (Robbins) Sparks of Windham County, Vermont. Accordng to an account of them written by Raymond Taylor several years ago, this couple had a son, Thomas Sparks, who had been born in 1834 and who had gone to California in 1854. We believe that this Sparks is the same man who served in the 2nd Regiment New York Mounted Rifles during the Civil War as stated above. (See pp. 193-95 of the March 1957 issue of The Sparks Quarterly, Whole No. 17, for further details of this family.)
[According to Mr. Taylor, Thomas Sparks, son of Thomas and Patty (Robbins) Sparks, had a brother named Ebenezer Sparks who went to California in 1849. The Quarterly of the National Genealogical Society, September 1966, Vol. 54, No. 3, con- tains a record of marriages in Butte County, California, 1851-1860; on page 186 appears the following record: "Ebenezer W. Sparks m. Mary L. Edmonds, February 25, 1851, in Ophir Twp." Thomas Sparks had a sister, Sarah Sparks, who, also, went to California. In the same issue of the Quarterly of the National Genealogical Society there is a record of marriages in Yuba County, California, between 1850 and 1860. On page 182 there is the following marriage record: "Edward P. Wilson (30, Md.) m. Sally M. Sparks (22, Vt.) February 2, I860."
[If Thomas Sparks, Whose Civil War pension file abstract is given above, went to California, he returned east to New York where he married Azetta M. Sparks in 1860. (Many gold seekers who went to California in the 1850s soon returned home.) Azetta Sparks was born ca. 1838 in New York. She may have been closely related to William Sparks, a son of Lemuel and Bathsheba (dark) Sparks. (See pp. 3025-26 of the March 1987 issue of The Sparks Quarterly, Whole No. 137.)]
VIRGIL G. SPARKS, was born ca. 1840, probably in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, and was doubtless a son of Humphrey and Elsie (- - -) Sparks of Connecticut. He married Eliza - - - about 1867. He served in Company I, 47th Regiment Pennsylvania Militia. File Designation: Inv. Appl. No. 798,059.
On August 21, 1890, Virgil G. Sparks, age 48 years and a resident of Grover, Bradford County, Pennsylvania, made a "Declaration for an Invalid Pension." He stated that he had been enrolled as a private on June 27, 1863, in Company I, 47th Regiment Pennsylvania Militia, commanded by Capt. James H. Webb, and was discharged at Reading, Pennsylvania, on August 13, 1863. At that time, he had been 21 years old; he was 5 feet, 10 inches tall; he had a light complexion, light hair and blue eyes; and he was a farmer. On July 15, 1863, at Hagerstown, Maryland, he had contracted erysipelas and a partial sunstroke that had affected his head and spine ever since. He had been treated by the regimental surgeon and had been returned to duty. He appointed R. M. Manley, Canton, Pennsylvania, as his attorney to help him obtain a pension. W. G. Newman and W. H. Clayton witnessed him make his mark on his application.
Between 1890 and 1895, ten affidavits were made to support Sparks's application for a pension; hoWever, on May 13, 1895, the War Department informed the Commissioner of Pensions that its military records indicated that the 47th Regiment of Pennsylvania Militia had never been mustered into the service of the United States. For this reason, soldiers of that unit were ineligible for pensions.
It is interesting to review the ten affidavits leading up to the War Department's denial of Sparks's request for a pension.
The first of these affidavits was made by James H. Webb. He was 69 years of age and a resident of Towanda, Pennsylvania. He stated that he had been the commanding officer of Company I, 47th Pennsylvania Militia, when it had left Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on July 9, 1863, and had gone to Hagerstown, Maryland. Two days later, his company had been detailed to bury some dead horses. Sparks had gotten sick while a member of the detail.
Three former comrades of Virgil Sparks made affidavits to support his application. On October 4, 1892, John Bird, age 57, a resident of Smithfield, Pennsylvania, stated that he and Sparks had been detailed to bury some dead horses when Sparks got violently ill from the effects of the sun. He had gotten excused from duty, but was not well when the company had been mustered out in August 1863.
On February 19, 1894, another comrade of Sparks, James N. Pepper, age 54, a resident of Falls Creek, Pennsylvania, testified that Sparks had had a sunstroke while helping to bury some dead horses on or about July 15, 1863, at Hagerstown, Maryland.
On January 19, 1895, a third comrade of Sparks, John Fellows, age 48, a resident of Leroy, Bradford County, Pennsylvania, gave the same testimony as the other two had given.
Four of Sparks's neighbors also made affidavits between November 1893 and March 1895 to support his claim for an invalid pension. They were: Daniel S. Woodard, age 53; William Elliott, age 35; Aaron Coons, age 57; and George Terry, age 61. All of these men were residents of Canton, Pennsylvania, and were close neighbors of Sparks. They testified that after he had returned from the military service, he had been in poor health and could not endure the heat of the summer sun. He complained of pains in his head and had frequent dizzy spells. Because of his poor physical condition, he was unable to perform very much labor.
On April 29, 1895, Dr. Robert W. Brooks, age 45, a resident of Canton, Pennsylvania, swore that he had first treated Sparks in 1875 for dizziness and heart trouble. In spite of the treatment, Dr. Brooks stated that Sparks was still unable to do any manual labor to any extent.
As stated above, Sparks's claim for a pension was rejected by the Commissioner of Pensions in 1895. On April 28, 1897, Sparks made a final affidavit for an invalid pension. He appealed his case to the Secretary of the Interior, stating that his health had been destroyed by his military service, in the line of duty. Nothing appears among the "selected papers" from his file at the National Archives to reveal whether the Secretary of the Interior responded to the appeal.
[Editor's Note: Virgil Sparks was a son of Humphrey and Elsie (- - -) Sparks. He was enumerated in his parents' household when the 1850 census was taken of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. He was then 10 years old. His father, Humphrey Sparks, was 45 years old and a native of Connecticut. His mother, Elsie Sparks, was 42 years old and a native of Pennsylvania. Other children shown in Humphrey Sparks's household in 1850 were: David Sparks, age 20; Eurotus Sparks, age 18; Adaline Sparks, age 15; George Sparks, age 7; and Elizabeth Sparks, age 5. All had been born in Pennsylvania.
[It seems quite likely that Humphrey Sparks was a son of David Sparks, who was shown as head of his household when the 1800 and 1810 censuses were taken of Hartford County, Connecticut. Subsequently, David Sparks had moved to Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, where his household was enumerated on the 1820, 1830, and 1840 censuses.
[Virgil Sparks was enumerated with his family when the 1880 census was taken of Tioga County, Pennsylvania. He was then 40 years of age; his spouse, Eliza, was 28 years old. Six children were in their household in 1880. They were:
Delphine Sparks, age 12, thus born ca. 1868. Minnie Sparks, age 10, thus born ca. 1870. Winnie Sparks, age 8, thus born ca. 1872. Anne Sparks, age 6, thus born ca. 1874. Mary Sparks, age 4, thus born ca. 1876. Rosa Sparks, age 2, thus born ca. 1878.
[Eurotus F. Sparks, a brother of Virgil Sparks, also served in the Civil War; he had applied for, and received a pension for that service, which had been in the 106th Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry; he married Martha J. Rogers in 1854; he died on October 14, 1876, near Knoxville, Iowa. For an abstract of the Civil War pension papers of Erotus F. Sparks, see the Quarterly of June 1989, Whole No. 146, pp. 3430-32. Information about the branch of the Sparks family of which Virgil G. and Eurotus F. Sparks were, we believe connected, may be found on pp. 982-84 of the June 1966 issue. Whole No. 54; and pp. 3717-18 of the March 1991 issue, Whole No. 152, of the Quarterly.]
JOHN L. SPARKS, son of John and Hannah (Lawrence) Sparks, was born 3 February 1845, in Wilmington, Delaware. He died December 21, 1017, in Minnneapolis, Minnesota. He married (first) Cora Etta Rowe and, (second) to Emma Alice Rowe. He served in Companies E, G. and K, 1st Regiment Delaware Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 1,143,254; and Wid. Cert. No. 851,950.
John L. Sparks made application for an invalid pension on March 9, 1889, but no copy of this document is included in the "selected papers" from his pension file at the National Archives. The earliest document among his "selected papers" is a request dated June 18, 1889, by the Bureau of Pensions to the War Department for a record of his military service. In its reply, dated August 22, 1889, the War Department reported that Sparks had enlisted as a 2nd lieutenant in Company G, 1st Regiment Delaware Infantry Volunteers on October 4, 1861, to serve for the duration of the war. He was present until August 31, 1862, when he was mustered in as a 1st lieutenant. He was present until January 20, 1863, when he was mustered in as the captain of Company K.
In July and August 1863, he was absent in the hospital recovering from wounds received at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 2 (the second day of the battle). He returned to duty and was present until January and February 1864 when he was on detached service recruiting in Delaware. He Was present during March and April 1864, but Was wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness on May 5, 1864, and was hospitalized until June 25, 1864. He was on detached service performing special duties With headquarters of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Corps, until June 30, 1865, when he rejoined his old company to be mustered out on July 12, 1865.
The documents contained in the "selected papers" from his pension file that we received contain no specific statement that his application was approved; however, it is quite apparent that he was placed on the pension rolls under Invalid Certificate No. 1,143,254.
On May 20, 1906, Sparks responded to a two-part questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. On the first part, he stated that he had been married to Emma E. Rowe in Hennepin County, Minnesota, on April 2, 1884, by the Rev. Fred T. Gates. He had been previously married to Cora Etta Rowe who had died at Wilmington, Delaware, in June 1879. He had no children under the age of sixteen. He, also, had a record of his marriage to Emma Rowe sent to the Bureau of Pensions.
The second part of the questionnaire was sent by the Bureau of Pensions to "aid this Bureau in preventing any one falsely impersonating you, or otherwise com- mitting fraud in your name." Sparks stated that he had been born on February 3, 1845, in Wilmington, Delaware. He had been a student when he enlisted in the army on August 20, 1862, at Wilmington. He said that from 1866 to 1870, he had lived in Montana, and from 1870 to 1905, he had lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was a bookkeeper by occupation. He had been 5 feet, 6 inches tall when he enlisted; he had weighed 175 pounds; and he had black eyes and hair and a dark complexion.
On May 22, 1912, Sparks, now age 67, made application for an increase in his pension under the provisions of the 1912 Act of Congress. He lived at 3334 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis. He confirmed his military service and said that he had been discharged at Munson P.ill, Virginia, on July 13, 1865.
On March 22, 1915, John L. Sparks responded to another questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He confirmed the date and place of his birth, which he had furnished earlier, and stated that he was still married to the former Emma Alice Rowe, to whom he had been married on April 2, 1885. He said that he had been married previously to Cora Etta Rowe on May 24, 1880, and that she had died on November 12, 1883, at Wilmington, Delaware. He gave the names of all of his children, living or dead, with their dates of birth, as follows:
Carrie Rowe Sparks, born May 24, 1880. Lawrence Sparks, born July 16, 1882. Hannah Dorcas Sparks, born February 20, 1886. George P. Sparks, born May 22, 1890.
[See the final paragraph of this abstract regarding the fact that he gave the date of his first marriage and that of the birth of his first child as May 24, 1880.]
On January 6, 1918, Emma A. Sparks, age 66, a resident of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota, made application for a widow's pension. She stated that her husband, John L. Sparks, a Civil War veteran, had died December 21, 1917, while receiving a pension under Inv. Cert. No. 1,143,254. She appointed R. B. Hostetler of Minneapolis as her attorney to help her obtain a widow's pension. His mailing address was 4328 Crocker Avenue, Minneapolis.
The Minnesota State Board of Health sent a copy of the death certificate of John L. Sparks to the Bureau of Pensions. Sparks had died of acute nephritis. He was a son of John and Hannah (Lawrence) Sparks, both natives of Delaware, and he was the husband of Emma Sparks of Edina, Minnesota. He had been buried in Lakewood Cemetery.
The Delaware State Board of Health also sent proof of the death of the first wife of John L. Sparks. Cora Sparks had died October 26, 1880, at the age of twenty-two years. The cause of her death was consumption. [Note that in his statement on May 20, 1906, he had given her date of death incorrectly, as "in June 1879."]
On April 11, 1918, Emma A. Sparks made an affidavit to correct a mistake in her name which had been made on her marriage license dated April 2, 1884. She stated that her name was Emma Alice Rowe, but that her husband-to-be, John L. Sparks, had given her name as Emma E. Rowe on the marriage license. She stated that her husband had been married previously to her sister, Cora E. Sparks, and that he probably had given the initial of her sister's second name. Emma A. Sparks was issued Widow's Certificate No. 851,950,
The last document in the "selected papers" from the pension file of John L. Sparks is a letter dated November 22, 1930, from the Bureau of Pensions to the General Land Office. In this letter, notice was taken of the discrepancies in the statement made by John L. Sparks relative to the date of his marriage to Cora Etta Rowe, the date of her death, and the relationships of the dates of birth of his children to his marriages. The letter concluded with a statement that a tracing of the soldier's signature was enclosed, as requested. From this letter, it seems apparent that there was some suspicion that it had not actually been John L. Sparks who had furnished all of the information asked for in the questionnaire, and that someone else had given that information.
[Editor's Note: John L. Sparks, born 3 February 1845, appeared as a 5-year-old child in his parents' household, when the 1850 census was taken of the town of Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware. The census taker had called upon the household of John and Hannah Sparks there on September t, 1850. John Sparks was shown as 37 years of age, a native of Delaware, with the profession of "Merchant," and with real estate valued at $5,000. Hannah Sparks was 27 years of age, and her place of birth was given as Pennsylvania, although the death certificate of John L. Sparks indicated that his mother, like his father, was a native of Delaware. Be- sides their son, 5-year-old John Sparks, 8-year-old Caroline Sparks was listed as a member of the household of John and Hannah Sparks in 1850; she was doubtless their daughter.
[There were four other persons living in this household in 1850, but the census taker failed to list their professions. They were: Ellen Lawrence, age 21, a native of Pennsylvania; Jane Lee, age 18, also born in Pennsylvania; Kitty Stanton, age 32, born in Delaware; and Matilda Black, a black girl, age 19, also a native of Delaware. We have not searched Delaware census records later than 1850.]
GEORGE M. SPARKS, was born ca. 1835. On October 25, 1865, he married Lydia Cochran in Union County, Ohio. He died May 30, 1880, in Union County. He served in Company B, 32nd Regiment Ohio Infantry. File Designations: Wid. Cert. No. 253,796; Minor Appl. No. 368,869.
On June 4, 1887, Lydia Sparks, age 49, a resident of Richwood, a village in Union County, Ohio, applied for a widow's pension based on her late husband's service in the Civil War. She stated that she had been married on October 25, 1865, at Marysville, Ohio, to George M. Sparks by the Rev. Dove. It had been the first mar- riage for both. She was married under her maiden name of Lydia Cochran. George M. Sparks had served in Company B, 32nd Regiment Ohio Infantry and had contracted the measles while in the service; this disease had settled in his lungs, causing consumption. As a result of this disease, her husband had died on May 29, 1880, leaving her with a child, Mamie Sparks, born on March 13, 1869. Lydia Sparks appointed J. M. Kennedy of Marysville, Ohio, as her attorney. Clem Jenkins and Lafayette Miller witnessed her make her mark on her application.
The War Department confirmed the military service of George M. Sparks on October 17, 1887. He had enrolled at Mechanicsburg, Ohio, on August 9, 1861, in Company B, 32nd Regiment Ohio Infantry as a sergeant. He reenlisted on December 18, 1863, and served until he was mustered out with his company on July 20, 1865, at Louisville, Kentucky.
On March 5, 1888, Mamie Sparks, age 18, made application for a "Minor's Pension." She stated that she had been born on March 13, 1869, and was the only child of George M. and Lydia Sparks. Her father had served in Company B, 32nd Regiment Ohio Infantry. He had died May 29, 1880. She appointed J. M. Ken- nedy as her attorney to aid her in obtaining a pension.
The Bureau of Pensions issued Widow Certificate No. 253,796 to Lydia Sparks on April 17, 1889, and she was placed upon the pension roll at the rate of $8.00 per month, commencing on May 30, 1880. She was also entitled to receive $2.00 per month additional for her child, Mamie Sparks, commencing on May 20, 1880, and ending on March 12, 1885.
On September 3, 1916, Lydia Sparks applied for an increase in her pension under the 1917 Act of Congress. She stated that she had been born in July 1837 in Union County, Ohio, and had reached the age of 79 years. W. D. Caraeron and Mame Petty witnessed her make her mark. The pension was increased to $20.00 per month.
Lydia Sparks died February 9, 1918, and her daughter, Mary J. ["Mamie"] Petty, applied for reimbursement for expenses incurred during her mother's last illness and death. She said her mother owned no property when she died. Her unpaid expenses amounted to $203.50.
On May 18, 1934, Mrs. Mame Petty, 230 Grove St., Richwood, Ohio, received a letter from E. W. Morgan, Director of Widows and Dependents Claim Service, stating that the case of Widow's Certificate No. 253,796 was closed and that no claim was pending.
[Editor's Note: George M. Sparks appeared on the 1870 census of Clayborne Township, Union County, Ohio, as head of his household. His age was given as 36, which would place his year of birth as about 1834. He was shown as a native of Ohio; he was a painter by occupation, and his personal property was valued at $200. Living with him was his wife, Lydia, age 31, a native of Ohio. This would indicate that she had been born ca. 1839, but in 1916, when she applied for an increase in her pension, she stated, that she had been born in July 1837.
[Also living with George M. and Lydia (Cochran) Sparks when the 1870 census was taken was their one-year-old daughter whose name was given as Mary J. Sparks. From Lydia's pension application, we know that she was called by her nickname, "Mamie" (or "Mame"), and that she was born March 3, 1869. She was an only child.
[Also living in the George M. Sparks household in 1870 was a John Sparks, age 73, a farmer, who had been born in Kentucky. He may have been the father of George M. Sparks.
[From Lydia Sparks's pension application, we know that her maiden name had been Cochran and that she had been married to George M. Sparks in Union County, Ohio, on October 25, 1865. We know that her husband died May 30, 1880. From information found on the 1880 census of Claiborne Township, Union County, Ohio, taken on June 11, 1880, it appears that, following her husband's death, she and her daughter (now nine years old) had gone to live with her Cochran relatives. The head of this Cochran household in 1880 was shown as "A. Cochran," a male, age 84, and a native of Pennsylvania. Called "Lida Sparks," Lydia was shown as widowed (as was also A. Cochran), and she was called "House keeper." Her age was given as 37, although, based on the date of her birth given in her pension papers, she was actually 42 in 1880. Also shown as members of this household were "H. Cochran," age 26, and "C. Cochran," age 23. Both were single males born in Ohio; the occupation of each was recorded as "Farm Labor." There was also a 22-year-old female in the household named Cochran—her first name is illegible, although the first four letters appear to be "Mall." She was single, but no occupation was given for her. (The census taker for this portion of Union County in 1880, named James Hughes, was extremely careless in filling out the forms and his handwriting is difficult to read. Although there was a column for filling in each person's relationship to the head of the household, he left it blank for the Cochran household.)
[Circumstantial evidence suggests that possibly George H. Sparks was the "Geo. Sparks," age 20, a native of Ohio, who appears on the 1850 census of Licking County, Ohio, in the household of John Sparks, age 60, a farmer who was a native of Kentucky. The Elizabeth Sparks, age 45 and a native of Virginia, shown as the other member of this household in 1850 was doubtless the wife of John Sparks. The household of a William Sparks, age 28, immediately following that of John Sparks on the 1850 census of Licking County, was probably closely related to that of John Sparks. by 1860, this William Sparks was also living with his family in Claiborne Township in Union County, Ohio. His wife's name was Mary A. Sparks, and, from these census records, it appears that their children were: John Sparks, born ca. 1842; Ezekiel Sparks, born ca. 1844; Nancy Sparks, born ca. 1845; James Sparks, born ca. 1848; Susan Sparks, born ca. 1850; and George Sparks, born ca. 1852.
[QUERY; Does anyone among our readers recognize this branch of the Sparks family?]
GODFREY J. SPARKS, son of Thomas and Anastasia Sparks, was born in Ireland, about 1830. He served in Company C, 88th Regiment, New York Volunteers, and died in the Andersonville [Georgia] Prison on August 5, 1864. File Designation: Mother's Cert. No. 118,968.
On January 29, 1866, Anastasia Sparks, age 60, a resident of New York City, applied for a mother's pension. She stated that she was the widow of Thomas Sparks to whom she had been married in Ireland on 3 February 1823. Her husband had died October 4, 1858, and had left her dependent upon their son, Godfrey J. Sparks. Godfrey had served in Company C, 88th Regiment New York Volunteers until his death on August 5, 1864, in the Andersonville [Georgia] Prison. He had never been married, and he was her sole support. She appointed Henry Greenfield, Secretary of the Protective War Claim Association of New York, as her attorney. E. P. Brooks and James Burnett witnessed her make her mark on her application.
On the same day, Thomas Neary and Catherine Eagin testified that, from personal knowledge, they knew Anastasia Sparks had been dependent upon her son, Godfrey J. Sparks, now deceased. During the time that he was in the service, he had sent her about $170. Her only other means of support was her married daughter with whom she lived.
On February 15, 1866, Joseph Kirwan and Lawrence Mooney made an affidavit. Kirwan stated that he had served in Company B, 63rd New York Volunteers, and Mooney said that he was in Company C, 88th Regiment New York Volunteers. Both had been taken prisoner by the enemy in front of Petersburg, Virginia, and had been sent to Andersonville Prison. There they had met Godfrey J. Sparks. Sparks had died August 5, 1864, from dysentery, and they had seen his body after he died.
The War Department had difficulty in establishing the military service of Godfrey J. Sparks, but finally, on May 4, 1867, they found an entry on the muster roll of Company C, 88th Regiment New York Volunteers for the period May-June 1864. The entry read as follows: "Godfrey J. Sparks, private, taken prisoner in front of Petersburg, Va., on June 23, 18 64." This entry, together with the testimony of Joseph Kirwan and Lawrence Mooney, was given to the Bureau of Pensions.
Mrs. Sparks was issued Mother's Certificate No. 118,968, and she was placed upon the pension roll, effective August 5, 1864, at the rate of $8.00 per month.
[Editor's Note: No further information has been found regarding this Sparks family. ]
EDWARD SPARKS (alias EDWARD PARKS), was born August 18, 1837, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He married Hannah Louisa Engles there on September 4, 1861. He served in Company D, 119th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 346,649; Wid. Cert. No. 643,011.
[Editor's Note: As will be seen in the following abstract, this soldier actually had the name EDWARD PARKS, and he was a son of David and Hannah (Young) Parks. For some reason, however, he had been enrolled in the 119th Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry under the name EDWARD SPARKS, and when he applied for a pension, he did so under the name Sparks. In filling out a questionnaire for the Bureau of Pensions in 1890, however, he identified himself as EDWARD PARKS.]
On October 28, 1885, EDWARD SPARKS, age 48, a resident of Philadelphia, Penn- sylvania, applied for an invalid pension. He stated that he had been enrolled on August 23, 1862, in Company D, 119th Pennsylvania Volunteers, commanded by Capt. Moss, and had served until he had been discharged on June 19, 1865. At that time he Was 5 feet, 9 inches tall; he had a sandy complexion, light hair and blue eyes; and by occupation he was a moulder. On or about May 10, 1864, while in action against the enemy at Spottsylvania, Virginia, he had received a gunshot wound in his left foot. He had been treated in the Mount Pleasant Hospital in Washington, D. C., for about one week; then he was sent to the Chestertown Hospital, in Pennsylvania, where he stayed until about May 30, 1864. He was then sent to the Turner Hospital in Philadelphia. He appointed William R. Wooters, Philadelphia, as his attorney. Jos. B. Thackara and Wm. B. Wharton witnessed his signature, which he signed as "Edward Sparks."
On November 29, 1886, the War Department confirmed the military service of Edward Sparks. He had been enrolled on August 23, 1862, at Philadelphia for three years in Company D, 119th Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry. He had been reported as "absent, wounded in action" on May 12, 1864, near Spottsylvania, Virginia, and had been placed in the U.S. General Hospital. He had been hospitalized during July and August 1864, but in September and Oct, he had been present for duty and was detailed in the Division Ambulance Corps. He was so reported on subsequent reports until he was mustered out with his company on June 19, 1865, at Philadelphia.
Sparks (or Parks) was issued Invalid Certificate No. 346,649, and he was placed upon the pension roll.
On March 5, 1898, EDWARD PARKS, a resident of 2342 Sargeant St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He stated that he had been married to Hannah Louisa Engles on September 4, 1861, in Philadelphia, by the Rev. G. D. Carrow, pastor of the Wharton M. E. Church. It had been the first marriage for both. They had one child, ALBERTA LOUISA PARKS, born on 1 April 1866, at Philadelphia, whose married name was now (1898) Wiley. He signed the questionnaire on March 11, 1898, as EDWARD PARKS.
On January 16, 1907, Hannah L. Parks, age 64, a resident of Philadelphia, made an affidavit in which she requested that she be recognized as the guardian of her husband, Edward Parkes, alias Sparks, since he was now mentally unfit to collect his quarterly pension as it became due. Her husband was now an inmate of the Philadelphia Hospital. Mrs. Parks went on to state: "On or about December 14, 1867, Mr Parks and I were divorced, but on December 28, 1871, we were again united in wedlock."
When Edward Parks died February 28, 1908, he was receiving a pension of $12.00 per month. According to his Death Certificate, he had been born on August 18, 1837, in Philadelphia, and he was a son of David Parks and Hannah Young.
Subsequent to the death of Edward Parks, his widow applied for and received a pension under Widow Certificate No. 643,011. When she died January 7, 1919, she was receiving a pension of $25.00 per month.
ELI J. SPARKS, son of Jefferson and Esther Sparks, was born ca. 1847 in the state of New York. He married Sarah M. Brink in 1868 in Wayne County, New York. He died May 20, 1891. He served in Company C, 160th Regiment New York Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 590,411; Wid. Cert. No. 317,166.
On August 2, 1890, Eli Sparks, age 44 years and a resident of Phelps, New York, appeared before Lyman L. Dickerson, a notary public of Ontario County, New York, and made a Declaration for Invalid Pension. He stated that he had been enrolled on August 16, 1864, in Company C, 160th Regiment New York Infantry commanded by Capt. Robert R. Seeley, and had served until he was discharged on June 1, 1865, at Washington, D.C. When he was enrolled, he was 18 years old; he was 6 feet tall; had a light complexion, light hair, and blue eyes; and he was a farmer. While stationed near Winchester, Virginia, in October 1864, he had been injured by lifting a tree to build breastworks. He also caught a cold in November 1864 from ex- posure. It was now causing rheumatism. Further, he suffered from chronic diarrhea and piles caused by exposure near Summitt's Point, Virginia, in January 1865. He appointed Irvin A. Whitman, Lyons, New York, as his attorney, and his Declaration was witnessed by George W. Knowles and James H. Pell.
The War Department sent the Bureau of Pensions a record of the military service of Eli Sparks on January 14, 1891. He had been enrolled on August 16, 1864, in Company C, 160th Regiment New York Infantry as a private and was mustered out on June 1, 1865. Records showed him at Elmira, New York, on October 5, 1864, and at Baltimore, Maryland, on October 9, 1864. No other record had been found.
Invalid Certificate No. 590,411 was issued to Eli Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll. He died May 20, 1891, at Phelps, New York.
On May 26, 1891, Sarah M. Sparks, age 44 years and a resident of Wayne County, New York, made a Declaration for Widow's Pension. She stated that her husband, Eli Sparks, had died May 20, 1891. She had been married to Sparks by the Rev. Samuel B. Bell on October 21, 1868, in Wayne County, New York. She had been married under the name of Sarah M. Brink. They had no children under the age of sixteen years at the time of her husband's death. She appointed Irvin A. Whitman, Lyons, New York, as her attorney, and H. F. Zimmerham and H. L. Forsyth witnessed her signature.
During the next few months, Sarah M. Sparks sent the following undated records to the Bureau of Pensions:
1. A statement from Charles A. Noble, clerk of the Town of Lyons, New York, that his office had a record of the death of Eli J. Sparks on May 20, 1891, caused by a disease of the stomach and bowels.
2. An affidavit from John Creager, age 66, and Rachel Creager, age 64, both resident of Lyons, New York, that they were present when Eli J. Sparks and Sarah M. Brink had been married on October 21, 1868.
3. An affidavit from Samuel B. Bell, age 74, a resident of Santa Barbara, California, that on October 21, 1868, officiating as a minister, he had married Eli Sparks and Sarah M. Brink at Lyons, New York.
4. An affidavit from Henry Stoetzel, age 44 and a resident of Phelps, New York, that he had served in the same military unit with Eli Sparks and knew that he had contracted chronic diarrhea, piles, and rheumatism while in the military service. These disabilities had been so severe that for sometime be- fore his death. Sparks had been unable to retain any food.
Widow's Certificate No. 317,166 was issued to Sarah M. Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension roll. When she died July 31, 1923, she was receiving a pension of $30.00 per month.
[Editor's Note: Eli J. Sparks was born ca. 1847 in the state of New York; he was a son of Jefferson and Esther M. Sparks. Jefferson Sparks was a son of George and Margaret (Ostrander) Sparks. They had been enumerated on the 1850 census of Ontario County, New York. George Sparks had been a soldier in the War of 1812 and had received bounty land for his service. (See the December 1960 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 32, for an abstract of his bounty land file.) Living in George Sparks's household when the 1850 census of Ontario County Was taken were his son, Jefferson Sparks, age 31; his son's wife, Esther M. Sparks, age 31; and their son, Eli Sparks, 3 years old.]
ZEBULON GARFIELD SPARKS, son of John and Mary Sparks, was born July 3, 1829, in Ohio; he died January 2, 1900. He married Ruth Macamen (or Maughiman) in 1864. He served in Union County, Ohio, Light Guard Cavalry Volunteers. File Designation: Inv. Appl. No. 1,150,310.
On April 28, 1893, Zebulon Sparks, age 64, a resident of Mineral City, Tuscarawas County, Ohio, applied for an Invalid Pension. He stated that he had been enrolled on December 15, 1863, as a private in Union County, Ohio, Light Guard Cavalry Volunteers, and that he had served until he was discharged on December 20, 1864. He stated that this company had been organized as a body guard of President Lincoln and had not been attached to any regiment. He was now unable to earn a full sup- port because of a hernia; and infection of the lungs; and disease of the heart. He appointed George H. Hildt, Canal Dover, Ohio, as his attorney to assist him in obtaining a pension. A. D. Gribble and G. T. Goudy witnessed his signature.
A few days later. Sparks appeared before J. H. Banks, a notary public in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, and gave a brief history of his disabilities. He stated that his hernia was caused by an accident while in the military service. He had been clean- ing his barracks at Columbus, Ohio, when he fell from the second floor to the ground Where he struck the corner of a stove box with his groin, which caused a rupture. The disease of his heart and lungs was contracted in 1887 from some unknown cause. He had been treated by Dr. William Cams until Cams died in 1889. He was then treated by Dr. J. D. Herron to the present time. He was now totally disabled for manual labor.
On May 6, 1893, John Harper, age 54, and Isaac Dilley, age 48, residents of Tuscarawas County, Ohio, testified that they had known Zebulon Sparks all of their lives and knew that he suffered from a hernia as well as from a disease of the heart and lungs. He had now reached that place where he had done no manual labor since 1890 and was unable to get about.
On the same day. Dr. J. D. Ilerron, New Cumberland, Ohio, made an affidavit that he was treating Sparks for hypertrophy of the heart as well as for rheumatic pleuritis on the left side of the left lung. Sparks was unable to do any manual labor.
On November 17, 1893, William Lochren, Commissioner of Pensions, asked the postmaster of New Cumberland, Ohio, to give him "the standing in the community and general reputation for truth" of Dr. J. D. Herron and John Harper. To this request, Postmaster Alvin Waltz wrote that the statement was true, and that both men were considered as good reputable citizens, reliable and honest.
On November 20, 1893, the War Department gave a record of the military service of Zebulon Sparks to the Bureau of Pensions. He had been enrolled on December 10, 1863, in Capt. Bennett's Independent Company Union Light Guards, Ohio Cavalry and was mustered out on D.M.O.R. on December 21, 1863. No medical records were found.
The last document (in chronological order) contained in the "selected papers" of the pension file of Zebulon Sparks is a letter written on April 7, 1894, by Sparks's attorney, George H. Hildt, to William Lochren, Commissioner of Pensions. Here is a transcription of the letter:
Canal Dover, Ohio, April 7th 1894 Hon. Wm Lochren, Commissioner of Pensions
Enclosed find application for Original Invalid Pension of Zebulon Sparks, Union Light Guards (Independent Co. Ohio Cavalry) rejected claim no disability under Act of June 27th 1890. -
This application is supported by his family physician, also another physician & his neighbors, John Harper & Isaac Dilley who have been well acquainted with him some of them for 34 years.
He is very much disabled by Heart disease & also by affection of both of his lungs & he also has a terrible hernia contracted in the service. He should be pensioned at rate of $12.00 per month on the honor of a soldier.
[signed] Geo. H. Hildt.
No Invalid Pension Certificate was issued to Zebulon Sparks. In all probability, the rejection of his request was based upon the 1890 Act of Congress which required a minimum of 90 days military service during the Civil War for pension eligibility. Apparently, Zebulon Sparks served for about one month.
[Editor's Note: Zebulon G. Sparks was born July 24, 1829, in Ohio, and was a son of John and Mary (-- - -) Sparks. He died January 2, 1900, in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. Zebulon and Ruth Sparks were shown with a daughter named Udala Sparks, age 7, and a son, unnamed, born in April 1870, on the 1870 census of Tuscarawas County. His paternal grandparents were Isaac and Anna (Lloyd) Sparks. Isaac Sparks's will, dated October 31, 1819, in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, was published in the September 1962 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 39, pp. 674-76. Further information on this branch of the Sparks family may be found in the Quarterly of December 1964, Whole No. 48, pp. 865-72.]
HENRY A. SPARKS was born July 31, 1834, at Poultney, Vermont. He married (first) Mary P. Kidder on September 7, 1867, and (second) to Myra Andrus on October 18, 1888. He served in Company E, 13th Regiment Vermont Infantry. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 373,699.
Henry A. Sparks apparently made an application for an invalid pension in 1886, but no copy of the application is included among the "selected papers" in his pension file at the National Archives. From other documents, however, we know that he was then 52 years of age and a resident of East Hebron, New Hampshire. Seven affidavits, all undated (but probably prepared in or about 1886), were sent to the Bureau of Pensions to support his claim. One of these, made by Sparks, himself, stated that while a member of Company E, 13th Regiment Vermont Volunteers, which was stationed at Wolf Run Shoals, Virginia, he contracted a chronic diarrhea during December 1862, which developed into piles. In addition, in May 1863, while stationed at Occoquan Creek, Virginia, he had a severe fever for which he was treated by the Regimental Surgeon. He went on to say that while lifting a dead horse from Colonel F. V. Randal on July 2, 1863, at the Battle of Gettysburg, he suffered a severe hernia on his right side. All of these disabilities had continued after he left the service, and he had been treated for them by Dr. Albert Barrow and Dr. Marcus Ide, both of Stowe, Vermont, and Dr. John F. Milley of Warren, New Hampshire.
Orlo S. Judson, age 52, Amos W. Towne, age 57, and William Goodell, age 65, all residents of Stowe, Vermont, made affidavits that they had known Henry A. Sparks prior to the time that they had all enlisted in the same military company in September 1862. They gave essentially the same account of Sparks's disabilities from the service, and stated that he was now unable to perform any manual labor.
Samuel Reed, Jr., age 57, and George S. Wade, age 64, both residents of Stowe, Vermont, testified that, prior to going into the service. Sparks had been an ablebodied man, but that after his return from the service, he suffered so much from a hernia and chronic diarrhea that he was able to do only about one-fourth of a day's work. These affidavits were supported by two of Sparks's neighbors, Edward Barnard, age 73, and Anthony Cilly, age 75, both residents of East Hebrun, New Hampshire .
The War Department furnished a record of Sparks's military service to the Commissioner of Pensions on February 25, 1887. He had enlisted on September 8, 1862, at Morrisville, Vermont, for a period of nine months, and had been mustered out with his company at Brattleboro, Vermont, on July 21, 1863.
Henry A. Sparks was placed upon the pension rolls under Invalid Certificate No. 373,699. On January 13, 1898, he returned a questionnaire to the Bureau of Pensions in which he stated that he had been married to Mary P. Kidder on September 7, 1867, and that they had two children:
Lillian M. Sparks, born May 16, 1868 [married to - - - Sulham] Mary E. G. Sparks, born April 3, 1870 [married to - - - Ayers]
He had been divorced from Mary P. (Kidder) Sparks on May 10, 1884, and he had been married (second) to Myra Andrus by the Rev. S. J. Vail. He had no children by his second wife. He was now  living at Warren, New Hampshire.
In the fall of 1915, twenty-four of Sparks's neighbors swore that he was now wholly unable to perform any manual labor. On December 11, 1920, Sparks, now 86 years of age and living at Stowe, Vermont, made a declaration for increased pension benefits under the 1920 Act of Congress. He stated that he had been born at Poultney, Vermont, on July 31, 1834. At the time of his enlistment, he had been 5 feet, 6 inches tall; he had a light complexion, blue eyes, and brown hair; and he was a farmer. He now suffered from senile debility. S. W. Brush and Howard Smith witnessed his signature.
A few weeks later. Sparks completed another questionnaire for the Bureau of Pensions. He stated that his wife had died October 6, 1905. He named his two children as:
Mrs. Lillian May Sulham and Mrs. E. Gertrude Ayers. At the time of his death on August 15, 1923, Henry A. Sparks was receiving a pension of $72.00 per month.
[Editor's Note: We have found no proof of the parentage of Henry A. Sparks. He stated in 1915 that he had been born July 31, 1834, at Poultney, Vermont. Poultney is in Rutland County. No Sparks family has been found living in Rutland County, Vermont, on the 1850 federal census, at which time (June 1, 1850) Henry would have been 15 years old. There was a Henry Sparks, age 14, however, living in a Sparks household in 1850 in nearby Windham County, Vermont. This household was headed by Aaron Sparks, age 50, a native of Vermont; Mary Sparks, doubtless Aaron's wife, age 47, had also been born in Vermont. The Sparkses enumerated in this household, who were probably the children of Aaron and Mary, were: Charles Sparks, 25; Ellen Sparks, 23; Mary Sparks, 22; George Sparks, 17; Henry Sparks, 14; Harriet Sparks, 11; Emma Sparks; 9; Aaron Sparks, 7; and James Sparks, 6. All were natives of Vermont. (See the Quarterly of June 1991, Whole No. 114, pp. 2314-16, for a listing of all Sparkses found on the 1850 census of Vermont.)]
JOHN SPARKS of New Jersey married Emeline V. Turner on 5 February 1864. He served in Company I, 9th Regiment New Jersey Infantry from October 8, 1861, until his death on November 15, 1864. File Designation: Wid. Cert. No. 79,880.
Emeline V. Sparks apparently applied for a widow's pension prior to November 15, 1865, for on that date the Pension Office requested the Adjutant General's Office for official evidence of the military service of her husband, John Sparks. (Her original application is not among the "selected papers" from her pension file at the National Archives.)
On May 21, 1866, the Adjutant General confirmed Sparks's military service. He had been enrolled on October 8, 1861, at Trenton, New Jersey, in Company I, 9th Regi- ment New Jersey Volunteers, to serve for three years or during the war. On the muster-out roll of that company, dated July 12, 1865, he was reported as "A Vet. Vol. Died at Florence, N.C., November 15, 1864, while a prisoner of war."
On July 26, 1866, Emeline V. Sparks stated that she had been informed as to the death of her husband by members of his company, and she had every reason to believe the date set first in her declaration was correct. She also furnished an affidavit from the pastor of her church which showed that she and John Sparks had been married on 5 February 1864. Her maiden name was Emeline V. Turner. They had no children.
On July 28, 1866, Emeline V. Sparks was issued Widow Certificate No. 79,880, and she was placed upon the pension roll at the rate of $8.00 per month. She was then a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
On September 30, 1880, H. G. Sickel, pension agent at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, notified the Commissioner of Pensions that Emeline V. Sparks, who had been paid last to June 4, 1877, had been dropped from the pension roll because of "Unclaimed."