Whole Number 184
[Editor's Note: For an explanation of the abstracts of Civil War pension applications by former Union soldiers, see page 5047 of the September 1998 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 183.]
JAMES A. SPARKS was born ca. 1838. He died July 16, 1893, in Claiborne County, Tennessee. He was married (Ist) to Mary -----; and (2nd) to Elizabeth Gibson on June 26, 1862, in Knox County, Kentucky. He served in Company K, 49th Regiment Kentucky Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 493,358; Wid. Cert. No. 412,219; and Minor Cert. No. 444,448.
James A. Sparks applied for an invalid pension prior to February 11, 1888, for on that date the Bureau of Pensions requested the War Department to furnish a record of his service in the Civil Frar, including any hospital treatment. The War Department responded on March 1, 1888. Sparks had been enrolled on October 15, 1863, in Knox County, Kentucky, in Company K, 49th Regiment Kentucky lnfantry for a period of one year and was mustered out with his company on December 26, 1864, at Lexington, Kentucky. There was no record of any disability; however, the Regimental Hospital records were not on file.
Sparks did not receive approval of a pension from his first application, and on July 10, 1890, he made another. He was now 52 years of age and a resident of Speedwell, Claiborne County, Tennessee. He claimed that in November 1863, he had developed piles while stationed at Somerset, Kentucky. He also was troubled with an attack of catarrh at Burnside, Kentucky, in July 1864 along with rheumatism while at Lexington, Kentucky, in September 1864. All of these ailments were brought on by exposure and hard service. Sparks stated that at the time of his enlistrnent, he had been 6 feet tall, and he had a light complexion, dark hair, and blue eyes. He appointed George E. Lemon, Washington, D.C., as his attorney to assist him in obtaining a pension. Jonathan Large and J. P. Kivett witnessed him make his mark, and the application was sworn to before A. J. Francisco, clerk of the Claiborne County Court.
Sparks's application was accompanied by three supporting affidavits. Joseph Gibson, age 66, a resident of Bell County, Kentucky, stated that he had been a corporal in Sparks's company during the War and knew that he had contracted catarrh and rheumatism while in the service. He said that while he was related to Sparks by marriage, he had no other interest in the prosecution of the claim. Thomas J. Ingram, age 64, also of Bell County, Kentucky, stated that he knew Sparks's statements were true for he had been his commanding officer during the term of his service. William M. Mason, age 31, of Speedwell, Tennessee, and a neighbor of Sparks, testified that Sparks's health was so poor that he was sometimes confined to his bed by the ailments and that at one time, Sparks had been unable to work for six months.
These affidavits apparently convinced the Bureau of Pensions, for James A. Sparks was issued a pension under Invalid Certificate No. 493,358. He died July 16, 1893.
On August 8, 1893, Elizabeth Sparks, age 53, a resident of Speedwell, Tennessee, and the widow of James A. Sparks, made application for a Widow's Pension. She stated that she and Sparks had been married on June 26, 1862. It had been her first marriage, but James A. Sparks had been previously married to Mary -----, (surname not known) who had been killed in a railroad wreck. There had been one child born to Elizabeth and James A. Sparks who was under the age of sixteen, namely, Louisa Sparks, born June 19, 1884. W. S. Wilson and J. H. Russell witnessed Elizabeth Sparks make her mark. She was issued a pension under Widow's Certificate No. 412,219.
Elizabeth (Gibson) Sparks married W. Henderson Tolliver on August 25, 1895, and Henry Keck was appointed guardian of Louisa Sparks, minor child of James A. Sparks. On September 29, 1896, Keck applied for a pension for his ward, and she was issued a pension under Minor Certificate No. 444,448. She continued to receive the pension until June 15, 1900, when it was dropped because of legal termination.
The last document (in chronological order) contained in the "selected papers" from this pension file at the National Archives is a Declaration for a Remarried Widow's Pension, which was completed by Elizabeth Tolliver on July 23, 1919. She was now 73 years of age and a resident of Claiborne County, Tennessee. She stated that she had formerly received a pension under Widow Certificate No. 412,219, but that it had been terminated when she had been married to Henderson Tolliver in 1895. Tolliver had died December 1, 1918, and had left her a widow again; she was now applying for pension benefits under the 1916 Act of Congress. There is nothing among the "selected papers" from this pension file to reveal the action taken on Elizabeth's application.
[Editor's Note: James A. Sparks was probably a son of William, Jr. and Sarah (MNU) Sparks and a grandson of William, Sr. and Mary (MNU) Sparks. This branch of the Sparks family was the subject of an article on pp. 2574-2579 of the December 1983 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 124. At the time that issue of the Quarterly was published, we had no knowledge that William, Jr. and Sarah (MNU) Sparks probably had a son named James A. Sparks, whose pension application papers have been abstracted above.]
EPHRAIM E. SPARKS, son of Caleb and Rebecca (Wilson) Sparks, was born ca. 1815, probably in Highland County, Ohio. On August 6, 1837, he married Sarah Ann Reilley in Lewis County, Kentucky. He served in Company A, 146th Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 387,466.
Ephraim E. Sparks applied for an invalid pension in 1883. He was 68 years of age and a resident of Ripley County, Indiana. He stated that he had been enrolled in February 1865 in Company A, 146th Regiment Indiana Volunteers, commanded by Thomas P. Spillman, and had served until he had been discharged on August 31, 1865, at Baltimore, Maryland. In March 1864, he had been on a train with his company going from Indianapolis, Indiana, to Harpers Ferry, Virginia, when the train was derailed, throwing him against a bench and injuring his right breast. He stated that he had never fully recovered from the injury.
Sparks went on to state that, while moving from Stevenson, Virginia, to Baltimore, Maryland, in August 1865, he got a cinder in his right eye which injured the eye so severely that he eventually lost its sight. He said that he had been treated by the Regimental Surgeon, but had not been hospitalized. Since leaving the service, he had lived in Ripley County, Indiana. He appointed Hiram O'Connor, Jennings County, Indiana, as his attorney. Newton Dickerson and Andrew B. Bulitt witnessed him make his mark.
The War Department confirmed Ephraim Sparks's military service on November 23, 1883. He had been enrolled at Greensburg;, Indiana, on February 7, 1865, in Company A, 146th Regiment Indiana Infantry to serve for one year, and he had been present for duty until he was mustered out with his company on August 30, 1865. The morning report showed that on March 5, 1865, while enroute from Indianapolis, Indiana, to Harpers Ferry, Virginia, the train had run off the track near Hancock, and several members of the company had been injured, some severely.
Sparks's application was supported by affidavits from two former comrades, Jonathan Coon and John Laswell. Coon, age 53 and a resident of Osgood, Indiana, stated that he, too, had been present when Sparks was injured in the train wreck, and when he had gotten the cinder in his eye. Laswell, age 41, a resident of Versailles, Indiana, gave essentially the same testimony, stating that he had been an eyewitness to the train wreck and knew firsthand of Sparks's injuries.
On September 5, 1884, John Jackson, age 38, and Robert W. Loyd, age 62, both residents of Versailles, Indiana, testified that they were neighbors of Ephraim Sparks and had known him for nearly 30 years. Prior to his going into the military service, Sparks had been in good health, but he had returned from the service with the breast injury and the injury to his eye.
In spite of the affidavits, Sparks's claim was rejected on January 18, 1886. On March 18, 1886, he asked for another physical examination by another Board of Examiners. Apparently the examination was arranged, and his claim was then approved, for he was placed upon the pension roll at the rate of $17.00 per month.
On August 19, 1889, and in November 1891, Sparks applied for increased pension benefits, but both requests were denied. The last document (in chronological order) in the "selected papers" provided by the National Archives from his pension file, was dated June 3, 1895. Sparks, now age 78, a resident of Osgood, Indiana, asked for special consideration of his claim, stating that he was now partly dependent on the charity of others for his care and maintenance. Mary A. Pickett and John H. Elsbery witnessed him make his mark, and the request was sworn to before Adrian V. Pickett, a notary public. Nothing among the "selected papers" indicates what action, if any, was taken on this request.
[Editor's Note: Ephraim E. Sparks should not be confused with his nephew, Ephraim Ellis Sparks, who also served in the Union Army during the Civil War. The latter served in Company I, 39th Regiment Missouri Infantry and also received a pension for his service. For further details of thesef amilies, see the September 1970 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 71, and the September 1971 issue, Whole No. 75.]
HENLEY A. SPARKS,was born January 5, 1835, in Georgia. He was probably married twice; His second marriage was to Laura A. Mangum on March 20, 1875, at Perry in McLennan County, Texas. He served in Company K, 2nd Regiment United States Volunteer Infantry. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No., 344,456; Wid. Cert, No. 587,861.
On March 21 (probably 1871), Henley A. Sparks, age 36, a resident of Moody, McLennan County, Texas, made an application for an invalid pension. He stated that he had been enrolled on October 10, 1864, in Company K, 2nd regiment of United States Volunteers commanded by Capt. Burkley and had been discharged at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on November 6, 1865. He stated that: "On September 1865, at Fort Zero, Kansas, I was taken with sore eyes. We had no surgeon then and when we reached Ft. Leavenworth, I was discharged and had no time to be sent to the hospital. I have never recovered my eyesight so that I can do much work not more [than] one-third of my time." Sparks went on to say that he had lived in Georgia and Texas since leaving the military service. He appointed N. W. Fitzgerald & Co., Washington, D.C., as his attorneys to assist him in obtaining; a pension. R. W. Hillis and J. n. Cherry witnessed his signature.
The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service to the Bureau of Pensions on August 18, 1882. He had been enrolled on October 13, 1864, at Rock Island, Illinois, in Company K, 2nd Regiment U.S. Volunteers for one year. He was present for duty except during September 1865 when he was on detached service as a scout for the Indian Commissioner. He was mustered out with his company on November 7, 1865. The military record also contains the following statement: "This man at date of his enlistnent was a Rebel prisoner of war in the hands of the U.S. Mil. Authorities."
The Bureau of Pensions issued Invalid Certificate No. 344,456 to Henley Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension rolls. He died August 7, 1897. On September 2, 1897, his widow, Laura A. Sparks, a resident of McGregor, Texas, made application for a widow's pension. She stated that she had been married to Sparks on March 20, 1875, at Perry, Texas, under her maiden name,'Laura A. Mangum. Neither she nor her husband had been married previously according; to her application (but see below). T. A. Mangum and S. E. Hanna witnessed her application, which was notarized by W. C. O'Bryan, a notary public.
The application of Laura Sparks did not receive immediate approval, and during 1903, six affidavits were made to support her claim. J. F. Gulledge, age 50, and A. S. Davis, age 41, both residents of McGregor, Texas, testified that she had not remarried after Sparks's death. S. R. Lindsey, age 56, City Assessor and Tax Collector for McGregor, testified that she owned two lots in McGregor on which there was a small, dilapidated, one-story, shingle-roof house which was valued at $275.00. Thomas A. Mangum, age 75, and Sadie E. Hanna, age 54, stated that they had known Laura A. Sparks many years before she married Henley Sparks, and that they had never been divorced. His death had left Mrs. Sparks without any support other than her own manual labor. They also said that if Henley Sparks had been married before his marriage to Laura Mangun, they were not aware of it.
On September 25, 1903, Mrs. Sparks made an affidavit to support her claim. She stated that she owned a small residence which had been built in 1872, and which was filled with the usual household furnishings worth not more than $35.00. Her only means of making a living; was by washing, ironing:, and handweaving, for which she received not more than fifty cents a day. There was no one bound legally to support her.
On September 28, 1903, C. P. Money, age 52, and J. T. Money, age 52, residents of Canyon, Texas, made a joint affidavit. They stated that they were formerly citizens of Georgia where they had gotten acquainted with Henley A. Sparks in 1866, He had been a single man who had left Georgia and had gone to North Carolina where he was reputed to have been married, and his wife had died. He had returned to Georgia about 1868 and had admitted that he had been married and that his wife had died when she gave birth to their first child. The child had died shortly thereafter.
The Bureau of Pensions issued Widow Certificate No. 587,861 to Laura A. Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension rolls. When she died February 18, 1928, she was receiving; a pension of $30.00 per month.
[Editor's Note: We have found no reference to Henley A. Sparks in our collection of Georgia records, nor have we found in what Confederate military unit he had been serving when he was taken prisoner by the Union Army. Note that among the War Department's records shared with the Bureau of Pensions in this case, there was the information that, while he had been a "Rebel prisoner" at Rock Island, Illinois, Henley Sparks had agreed, on October 13, 1864, to serve in the Union Army. It was not unusual for a prisoner of the Confederate Army to be "recruited to serve in the Union Army in exchange for his freedom.
[Henley A. Sparks was shown on the 1880 census heading his family in Coryell County, Texas. With him was his wife, Laura, and two children. Henley, according to this census, had been 38 years old on June 1, 1880; he was a farmer. He had been born in Georgia, as had his father; his mother had been born in North Carolina. (The names of one's parents were not shown on the 1880 census, only an indication of their places of birth.) Laura Sparks was shown as 29 years old; she had been born in Tennessee, as had her mother. Her father was a native of North Carolina. They had two children according to the 1880 census: a daughter, Maggie M. Sparks, was three years old; a son, Harley L. Sparks, was one year old. Both had been born in Texas.
[Coryell County adjoins McLennan County, and in McLennan County there is a record of the marriage of H. A. Sparks and Laura Mangum on March 20, 1875, the marriage having been performed by R. W. Woods, Minister of the Gospel. This date is the same as that given by Laura A. Sparks in her affidavit.
[Both Henley and Laura Sparks were buried in the McGregor City Cemetery in McLennan County, Texas; the following information appears on their gravestones: "H. A. Sparks, born January 5, 1835, died 7 August 1897" and "Laura A. Sparks, wife of H. A. Sparks, born May 28, 1851, died 18 February 1928." On the same lot in this cemetery, there is a gravestone for Henley and Laura's son, Harley L. Sparks; his birth and death dates are: "28 October 1878 - 4 December 1912." There are two other gravestones in the same lot for apparent relatives of Henley and Laura: "Mrs. Sadie Hanna, 23 August 1849 - 2 June 1932," and "Russell Daly, 25 November 1900 - 5 February 1902, son of J. C. & Maggie M. Daly." It seems apparent that "Maggie M. Daly" was the daughter of Henley and Laura Sparks, whose name and age appeared on the 1880 census. Note that Sadie E. Hanna, age 54, was one of those making an affidavit on behalf of Laura A. Sparks in 1903.
[The records on the Sparks gravestones in the McGregor City Cemetery were copied for us a number of years ago by Anita V. Eakin, a member of the Association who lives in San Antonio, Texas. She is not a descendant of Henley Sparks.]
SAMUEL M. SPARKS, was born ca. 1835 in Pennsylvania. He married Elizabeth Graham on May 2, 1856. He served in Company I, 17th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, and in Company B, 72nd Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. He died February 26, 1897, at Chicago, Illinois. File Designation: Wid. Cert. No. 464,547.
On April 26, 1897, Elizabeth Sparks, age 57, a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, made a Declaration for a Widow's Pension. She declared that she was the widow of Samuel M. Sparks, who had enlisted on April 18, 1861, in Company I, 17th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. He reenlisted on August 10, 1861, as the 1st sergeant of Company B, 72nd Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. When he was discharged on August 24, 1864, he held the rank of 1st lieutenant. He died February 25, 1897, at Chicago, Illinois. She stated that she had been married to Sparks under the name of Elizabeth Graham on May 2, 1856, by the Rev. William Ramsey of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It had been the first marriage for both of them'. She appointed James B. O'Neill of Philadelphia as her attorney to assist her in obtaining a pension. Elizabeth Mulcahey and Samuel D. Sparks witnessed her make her mark on the application.
The Commissioner of Pensions received the military records of Samuel M. Sparks from the War Department on June 14, 1897. He had enlisted on April 13, 1861, in Company I, 17th Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry, but that unit's designation had been changed to Company B, 72nd Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry sometime between August 10, 1861, and October 3, 1861. He had held the rank of Ist sergeant until July 15, 1864, when he was promoted to Ist lieutenant. He was wounded at Fredericksburg, Maryland, on December 13, 1862. He was mustered out with his company on August 24, 1864, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
On November 22, 1897, Harriet Cochran, age 67, and Abigail S. Dunn, age 64, both residents of Philadelphia, made a joint affidavit to support the declaration of Elizabeth Sparks. They swore that they had known Elizabeth and her deceased husband since their childhood, and neither of them had been previously married, nor had Elizabeth Sparks remarried. They went on to state that Elizabeth owned the house at 5559 Hancock Street in Philadelphia in which she lived. She received no income from the house, neither did she have any money invested in a mortgage, rental property, or stocks. All her income came from her own personal labor.
On November 23, 1897, William A. Bosler, the records clerk for the Philadelphia Board of Taxes, informed the Bureau of Pensions tbat during the years 1896 and 1897, the property owned by Bessie Sparks at 5559 Hancock Street had been assessed for $900.00. No other property had been assessed to Samuel M. Sparks for these years. The tax bill for the house at 5559 Hancock St. in 1897 was for $16.02.
On the same day, the Rev. Willard M. Rice, D.D., age 80 years and a resident of Philadelphia, swore that he was well acquainted with the signature of the Rev. William Ramsey, D.D., and to the best of his knowledge, Dr. Ramsey had affixed his signature to the marriage certificate of Elizabeth Graham and Samuel M. Sparks. The certificate also had the imprint frequently used by Presbyterian ministers.
The Department of Health of Chicago, Illinois, sent the Bureau of-Pensions a copy of the death certificate of S. M. Sparks, who had died in Chicago on February 25, 1897, at the corner of Staite & Randolph Streets of aortic insufficiency and pulmonary emphysemia [sic]. He was 62 years of age.
On December 1, 1897, Elizabeth Sparks explained why her giiven name was written as "Bessie" on a property deed. It was a nickname given to her by her husband, and he had used it when she and her husband had purchased the property at 5559 Hancock Street, several years earlier. Martin Donahue and Marie Hayes witnessed her make her mark.
Widow Certificate No. 464,547 was issued to Elizabeth Sparks on May 18, 1898, and she was placed upon the pension roll at the rate of $8.00 per month, retroactive to May 1, 1897. When she died June 25, 1908, she was receiving a pension of $12.00 per month.
[Editor's Note: We have been unable to find this Samuel Sparks on the 1850 or 1880 census of Pennsylvania. He should not be confused with Samuel Sparks who also served from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during the Civil War.]
JAMES RICHARD SPARKS,was born July 24, 1841, in Laclede County, Missouri, and was a son of James and Elizabeth (Matthews) Sparks. He was married twice, the first being to Sarah Barnett and the 2nd to Susan Abshere. He served in Company K, 24th Regiment Missouri Volunteers. File Designations: Inv. Cert. No. 259,070, Wid. Cert. No. 419,342.
James Richard Sparks made a Declaration for Invalid Pension on June 7, 1878; however, a copy of his declaration is not among the "selected papers" provided by the National Archives from his pension file. On November 20, 1878, the War Department sent the Commissioner of Pensions the records of Sparks's military service. He had been enrolled on May 4, 1862, at Salem, Arkansas, in Company K, 24th Regiment Missouri Volunteers to serve for three years or during the war. He had been present for duty except for the following: (1) Nov-December 1863, sick in hospital; (2) May-June 1864, absent sick in Washington General Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee; (3) Nov-December 1864, absent sick in Jefferson Barracks, Missouri; (4) April 16, 1865, Smallpox Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri. He had been promoted to the rank of corporal in September 1864; he was mustered out of the service on June 9, 1865.
Invalid Certificate No. 259,070 was issued to James R. Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll.
Sparks applied for -increased pension benefits on September 13, 1890. He was 49 years old, and a resident of Hartville, Missouri. He stated that he had been a victim of malarial poisoning and a resulting disease of the liver and nervous system. When he died March 8, 1894, he was receiving a pension of $12.00 per month.
On March 24, 1894, Susan A. Sparks, age 45, and a resident of Hartville, Missouri, made a Declaration for Widow's Pension. She stated that she was the widow of James R. Sparks who had enlisted on May 4, 1862, in Company K, 24th Regiment Missouri Infantry and had served until he was discharged on June 9, 1865. He had died March 8, 1894. She and Sparks had been married on October 7, 1876, by James Sparks, a justice of the peace, at Hartville, Missouri. James R. Sparks had been married previously to Sarah L. Barnett, who had died March 7, 1875.
Mrs. Sparks went on to state that she and James Sparks had five children, all under the age of sixteen years at the time of her application. They were:
John A. Sparks, born December 28, 1878.
Sarah L. Sparks, born December 28, 1881.
Brady G. Sparks, born June 26, 1883.
Melissa Eveline Sparks, born August 31, 1888.
Rosetta Sparks, born 4 February 1890.
A.B. Sparks and Samuel Coday witnessed Susan A. Sparks make her mark on her application.
On the same day, Fred E. Townsley, Wright County, Missouri, recorder, sent the Commissioner of Pensions a copy of the record of the marriage of James R. Sparks to Susan Absher [sic]. They had been married on October 7, 1877, by James Sparks, a justice of the peace.
A few days later, William H. Bradshaw, clerk of the Wright County, Missouri, Circuit Court, testified that Susan Sparks, widow of James R. Sparks, possessed the following property:
|3 cows and 4 calves||
|8 head of hogs||
|55 acres of land valued at||
Affidavits by John M. Forrest, age 43, a resident of Norwood, Missouri, on July 28, 1894, and by James Sparks, age 78, a resident of Hartville, Missouri, on March 29, 1895, were made to support Mrs. Sparks's claim. They testified that (1) Susan A. Sparks had not been married before her marriage to James R. Sparks, and (2) Mrs. Sparks had an annual income of less than $100.00 per year.
On September 18, 1894, Margaret J. Barnett, 71 years old and a resident of Hartville, Missouri, testified that she was the mother of Sarah L. Barnett, the first wife of James R. Sparks. She stated that she had been present when they were married on October 25, 1860, and that she was also present when her daughter died March 7, 1875. A. B. Sparks and Hosey Sparks witnessed her make her mark. Widow Certificate No. 419,324 was issued to Susan A. Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension roll. 'When she died January 19, 1923, she was receiving a pension of $30.00 per month.
[Editor's Note: James Richard Sparks was born July 24, 1841, and was a son of James and Elizabeth (Matthews) Sparks. This branch of the Sparks family has been the subject of two articles in the Quarterly: September 1961, Whole No. 34, and March 1963, Whole No. 41. Biographical data for James Richard Sparks and his eleven children (five by his first wife and six by his second) may be found on pp. 709-712 of the March 1963 issue. See the photograph of his first wife, Sarah Louisa (Barnett) Sparks below.]
(picture of Sarah Loisa (Barnett) Sparks (1845-1875)
Sarah Louisa (Barnett) Sparks (1845-1875)
This faded tintype was loaned to the Association for reproduction in 1963 by William F. Arnall (1895-1972), of Hartville, Missouri. Mr. Arnall was a grandson of James Richard and Sarah Louisa (Barnett) Sparks.