October 6, 2017

Pages 5136-5144
Whole Number 185

UNION SOLDIERS NAMED SPARKS WHO APPLIED OR
WHOSE HEIRS APPLIED
FOR PENSIONS FOR SERVICE
IN THE CIVIL WAR



[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 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 instances, the papers in the "non-selected files" are of a rather routine nature, but sometimes they can be quite helpful, especially where the veteran or his widow had difficulty proving his/her service, identity, or relationship, and 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.]

WILLIAM J. SPARKS was born ca. 1845 in Missouri; he died in 1881, also in Missouri. He married Sarah E. Thomas in 1866. His widow claimed he had served in Company D, 9th Regiment Missouri Provisional Militia; her lawyer later said he had served Company H, 45th Missouri Volunteers. File Designation:Wid. Appl. No. 541,528.

On February 9, 1892, Sarah E. Sparks, age 53, a resident of Cooper County, Missouri, made a Declaration for Widow's Pension. She stated that she was the widow of William Sparks who had served in Company D, 9th Regiment Missouri Provisional Militia and who had died March 9, 1881. She stated that his military unit was subsequently designated as Company E, 10th Regiment Missouri Militia.

She stated that she had been married to Sparks on January 18, 1866, under the name of Sarah E. Thomas. They had been married by Sq. Fielden at the home of her father, David Thomas, but she did not give the location.

Mrs. Sparks went on to state that she and her husband, William Sparks, had had six children who were under the age of sixteen years when her husband had died. Their names and dates of birth were:

John A. Sparks, born September 2, 1865 (deaf and dumb).

Charley Sparks, born April 27, 1869. Susan D. Sparks, born October 3, 1870. James Sparks, born March 26, 1872. A. F. Sparks, born October 13, 1874.

Fannie Sparks, born October 19, 1877.

Mrs. Sparks appointed John Wedderburn, Washington, D.C., as her attorney to assist in obtaining a pension for her. David Decker and Jacob K. witnessed her make her mark on this document.

On March 32, 1892, the Treasury Department informed the Commissioner of Pensions that the name of William Sparks could not be found on the roll of Company D, 9th Prov. Regt. E.M.M nor on that of Company E, 10th Regt. E.M.M.

On August 17, 1892, John Wedderburn, attorney for Mrs. Sparks, advised the Commissioner of Pensions that William Sparks, husband of his client, had served in Company H, 45th Missouri Volunteers and had not served in Company D, 9th Regiment Missouri P.M. Volunteers. He requested that another search be made for a record of the soldier's military service.

On November 12, 1892, the War Department notfied the Commissioner of Pensions that the name of William Sparks had not been found on the roll of Company H, 45th Regiment Missouri Militia.

No Widow's Certificate was issued to Mrs. Sparks.

[Editor's Note: We have found only one other record that we can be sure relates to William H. and Sarah E. (Thomas) Sparks. They were enumerated on the 1880 census of Morgan County, Missouri. William was shown as 35 years old and a native of Missouri. Sarah was 40 years old and a native of Kentucky. Their children were all shown as having been born in Missouri. The 1880 census also provided for recording the place of birth of the parents of each person enumerated. That for William H. Sparks's father was reported as North Carolina, while that for his mother had been Tennessee. Both of Sarah's parents had been natives of Kentucky. Whereas Sarah Sparks stated in her pension application that she and William H. Sparks had been the parents of six children, seven were listed on this 1880 census, including a son named George W. Sparks, age two years. Since he was not included among the six listed by Sarah, we wonder whether he may have died between 1880 and 1892 when Sarah made her application.

The listing of the children on the census was as follows:

John A. Sparks, age 13 ("farm laborer").

Charles A. Sparks, age 12 ("at school"). He was called "Charley" in Sarah's application.

Susan D. Sparks, age 10 ("at school").

Wm. J. Sparks, age 8 ("at school"). Because he was called "James Sparks" in Sarah's application, it appears his name was probably William James Sparks but called by his middle name in the application.

Alfred F. Sparks, age 7 ("at school"). He was called "A. F. Sparks" in Sarah's pension application.

Nancy F. Sparks, age 4. In Sarah's pension application, she was called "Fannie," which appears to have been her middle name.

George W. Sparks, age 2. He was not named in Sarah's pension application in 1892; perhaps he had died between 1880 and 1892.

We hope that one of our readers may recognize this family and provide further information regarding William H. Sparks and his descendants.]

WILLIAM SPARKS was born ca. 1837. He served in Company C, 1st Regiment Missouri Volunteers. File Designation: Inv. Appl. No. 411,883.

On October 16, 1913, William Sparks, age 76 years and living at 1062 Trumbull Ave., Detroit, Michigan, made a Declaration for an Invalid Pension. He stated that he had been enrolled as a private at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri, in Company C, 1st Missouri Volunteers, at the first call for volunteers in the spring of 1861 to serve for three years. At that time, he had been 21 years old and had dark hair and greenish-gray eyes. About six weeks after his enlistment, he stated that he had caught a cold which settled in his left eye and caused blindness. His eye began to pain him and when he got back to St. Louis, he had asked Lieut. Keymayer if he could see a private doctor since he had little faith in the young regimental doctor. He was granted permission to leave the post most every day for treatment, but he gradually went blind in that eye, and, although he tried to enlist several times after, they never would receive him.

Sparks went on to state that he was not sure of the name of the doctor, but thought it had been Dr. Sheldon. He was unsure about the date of enlistment, but believed it was in April 1861. He thought that he left his company for treatment in September 1861. A. Ruhl and Wm. Schwartz witnessed his signature.

On November 12, 1913, the War Department gave the Commissioner of Pensions a record of the military service of William Sparks. He had been enrolled on June 4, 1861, as a private in Company C, 1st Regt. Brig. Missouri Volunteers. At that time, he had been 23 years old. He had been present for duty until August 31, 1861, when his company became Company C, 1st Missouri Volunteers. It had been broken up again in September 1861, and the men had been transferred to other companies when the designation of their regiment was changed to 1st Missouri Light Artillery. No medical records for Sparks could be found nor was there any evidence of his discharge from the service. The War Department suggested that Sparks "submit his discharge certificate or a sworn statement setting forth the date, place and cause of his separation from the service."

Apparently, at this point Sparks decided to abandon his attempt to obtain a pension.

[Editor's Note: This is the complete pension file of William Sparks. It affords us little information about him. It is interesting to note that there was a William Sparks, who had been born ca. 1837 in Ohio, who was listed as heading a household on the 1880 census of Wayne County, Michigan. He lived at 61 Williams Avenue, Detroit, Michigan, with his wife, Elizabeth Sparks, age 30, who had been born in Virginia.

Four children were also enumerated in William Sparks's household:

Lorisa Sparks, age 8, born in Canada. (Her name may have been Louisa.)

William Sparks, age 5, born in Michigan.

Arthur Sparks, age 2, born in Michigan.

Frederick Sparks, age 6 months, born in Michigan.

[Also living in the household of this William Sparks, according to the 1880 census, was Joseph Sample, age 70, who had been born in Pennsylvania and under relationship to the head of the household, he was described as: "her F:" meaning probably that he was the father of Elizabeth Sparks. Also in this household was Rosa Einfield, age 19, born in Michigan, described as "Sister."

[We hope that one of our readers may recognize this family and provide further information regarding William Sparks and his descendants.]

WILLIAM G. SPARKS was born ca. 1839 and was a son of William G. and Nazey (Daffron) Sparks. He served in Company D, 79th Regiment Enlisted Missouri Militia and in Walker's Independent Company Fremont's Rangers, Missouri Home Guards. File Designation: Inv. Appl. No. 474,412.

On October 21, 1882, William G. Sparks, age 44 and a resident of Benton, Missouri, made a Declaration for Invalid Pension. He stated that he had been enrolled on August 1, 1864, in Company D, 79th Regiment Missouri State Militia, commanded by Capt. William W. Campbell and that he had served until he was discharged at Gayoso, Missouri, on February 4, 1865, while he was home on a sick furlough. On or about September 25, 1864, at Chalk Bluff, Arkansas, he had been injured when his horse fell on him after being shot in the line of battle. The injury had been to his left leg and prevented him from doing any manual labor. After leaving the service, he had resided in Scott County, Missouri, where he was a farmer.

The witnesses to William G. Sparks's pension application were James K. Cherrning [?] and Alexander Henderson.

On April 25, 1883, William W. Campbell, a resident of Scott County, Missouri, and formerly a captain and commanding officer of Company E, 79th Regiment Enrolled Militia, testified that, although he was well acquainted with William Sparks, he had no recollection in regard to his health because there had been no medical examinations. He thought that Sparks was troubled by a chronic diarrhea. The affidavit was sworn to before William Ballentine, a notary public.

A day later, on April 26, 1883, Wiley A. Hughes, age 47, and John Martin, age 45, both residents of Benton, Missouri, swore that William G. Sparks had been in Capt. Wm. W. Campbel's Company of Missouri Militia, and that he had been wounded or hurt while in the service. They knew this because they had served in the same company as Sparks.

Two days later, on April 28, 1883, Sparks made a "Hospital Statement" claiming that he had received treatment from Dr. John D. Penderfield for a wound in his leg at the hospital of Company E, 79th Enrolled Militia at Commerce, Missouri, during September 1864, but that after he had left the company, he had received private treatment for chronic diarrhea from Jacob S. Sparks, Dr. R. Ray Wade, and Dr. Lynch.

Apparently, Sparks's application for an invalid pension was denied or, what is more likely, it became bogged down for a lack of unity in some testimony, for it was in 1888 that he again asked to be considered for a pension. In an affidavit made before A. J. Pigg, Judge of the First District, Scott County, Missouri, Sparks made the following statement:

I was a private in Capt. Campbell's Co. D,50th Regt. Vols. Missouri. State Militia at the time I received my injury. Company D had enlisted for six months, then Capt. Campbell raised a company of twelve months and the majority of Company D re-enlisted with him. I, with James Humphrey, Isaac Finley, Christ Schramm, John Robinson, John C. Rose, and Francis Harris, was transferred to Capt. Tocke's Co. B, of six months Vol. M. S. This company was then attached to the 2nd Regt. Vol. M.S.M., in the month of October 1864. Said company was mustered out of service in February 1865 term of service had expired. The reason I made my mistake and said I was in the 79th Regt. was that I forgot and did not remember which regiment I was in when I had my injury.

William G. Sparks filed a "new" Declaration for Invalid Pension on July 10, 1890, in which he explained the discrepancy in his earlier declarations. He appointed Patrick O'Farrel, Washington, D.C., as his attorney. The declaration was attested to by R. A. Sparks and A. P. Counselor.

On July 13, 1904, Sparks again made another declaration. He was now 66 years of age and a resident of Blodgett, Missouri. He reviewed his military service as follows:

On August 1, 1861, I was enrolled at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, as a private in Fremont's Rangers Missouri Volunteers to serve for three months. I was discharged by disbanding in the last of November 1861. I also served in Capt. Joe Andersen's Company and Capt. Campbell's Company 79th Regt. En. Missouri. Militia and was honorably discharged. While in Fremont's Rangers I participated in the Battle of Fredericktown, Missouri, and while in Capt. Campbell's Co. 79th Regt. Missouri was in the battle with Price and Marmaduke at Pilot Knob, Missouri. I was in the Battle of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, in 1864. I was transferred to Capt. H. Tocke's Co. B, 2nd Regt. Missouri. Cavalry with Col. Rogers. I was honorably discharged in December 1865.

Sparks went on to state that he had been badly injured when his horse was shot and fell on him, rupturing several leg veins. He also suffered from a chronic diarrhea and disease of the bladder. He appointed E. S. Weeden, Chicago, Illinois, as his attorney to try to obtain a pension for him.

On August 10, 1904, the War Department informed the Commissioner of Pensions that the name of William G. Sparks had not been found on the rolls of Company B, 2nd Missouri S. M. Cavalry.

[Editor's Note: 23.2.4 William G. Sparks was a son of 23.2 William and Nazey (Daffron) Sparks. The father may also have had the middle initial of "G." William G. Sparks, the application for a Civil War pension, was a grandson of 23. Richard and Anna (Smith) Sparks about whom an article appeared in the Quarterly of September 1962, Whole No. 39, pp. 661-65. A brother of William G. Sparks, whose pension application is abstracted above, was Dr. Jacob S. Sparks (born October 10, 1834, in Jefferson County, Tennessee). A biographical sketch of Jacob appeared in the History of Southeast Missouri (Chicago: Goodspeed Pub. Co., 1888), p. 948. It was stated in this article that there had been ten children in the family of William and Nazey (Daffron) Sparks, but we have identified only eight from census records.

These eight were shown on the 1850 census of Walker County, Georgia, as follows:

1. Owen D. Sparks, born ca. 1832 in Tennessee.
2. Jacob S. Sparks. (From the biographical sketch noted above, we know that he was born October 10, 1834, in Jefferson County, Tennessee.)
3. Susan J. Sparks, born ca. 1837 in Tennessee.
4. William G. Sparks, born ca. 1839 in Tennessee. (See the abstract for his Civil War pension application above.)
5. Martha Sparks, born ca. 1841 in Tennessee.
6. Cyntha S. Sparks, born ca. 1843 in Tennessee.
7. Richard Sparks, born ca. 1844, in Tennessee.
8. Joseph Sparks, born ca. 1847, in Georgia.

[William Sparks, father of the above children, was born ca. 1809, a son of Richard and Ann (Smith) Sparks. He was a farmer and also a Methodist preacher. He died in Georgia in 1857; his wife, Nazey (Daffron) Sparks, mother of the above children, died in 1887.

[23. Richard Sparks, father of William, had been born ca. 1770-80, probably in North Carolina or Virginia; he married Anna Smith (born ca. 1785) in Franklin County, North Carolina, on June 1, 1805; she died in Wright County, Missouri. Richard Sparks served in the War of 1812 and his widow, Anna, applied for bounty land based on his service in 1854. An abstract of her application, with information about their family, appeared in the Quarterly of September 1962, Whole No. 39, pp. 661-65. An article about Richard and Anna's daughter, Senith Sparks, whose husband was Wade P. Bradshaw, appeared in the Quarterly of June 1965, Whole No. 50, pp. 898-904.

[An article about Richard and Anna (Smith) Sparks's son, George W. Sparks, born ca. 1806 in Iredell County, North Carolina, and his family appeared in the Quarterly of September 1965, Whole No. 51, pp. 925-27. His wife's name was Nancy --; he died in Wright County, Missouri, on October 8, 1870.]

SAMUEL SPARKS was born ca. 1840 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and died there on May 16, 1905. It is quite probable that he was a son of Samuel M. and Sarah (---) Sparks. He served in Company F, 109th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, and in Company E, 99th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. File Designation: Inv. Cert. No. 123,874.

On January 10, 1871, Samuel Sparks, age 30, living at 2067 South 9th St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, made a Declaration for an Invalid Pension. He stated that he had enlisted on March 13, 1861, at Philadelphia as a private in Company E, 99th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers and had served until he was discharged on March 22, 1865, at Philadelphia. In October 1864, in front of Petersburg, Virginia, he had received a shell wound in his left shoulder. He was now unable to earn his subsistence by manual labor. He appointed F. B. Jackson, Philadelphia, as his attorney to assist him in obtaining a pension. John D. Willis and Harry McFaull witnessed him make his mark on his declaration.

Two months later, on March 14, 1871, Samuel Sparks made an affidavit stating that he had been treated in the U.S. Prince St. Hospital at Alexandria, Virginia, from October 1864 until January 1865, when he was sent to the Sickles Barracks Hospital from January 1865 until March 15, 1865. He had then been sent to Philadelphia where he was discharged on March 22, 1865. John M. Dingwell and Mm. M. McKnight witnessed him make his mark.

On the same day, March 14, 1871, Edwin R. Biles, a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, also made an affidavit to support Sparks's declaration. He swore that he was well acquainted with Samuel Sparks, late of Company E, 99th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, and knew that he had received a shell wound in his left shoulder at the Battle in front of Petersburg, Virginia, about October 15, 1864. Biles went on to state that he had been a colonel of the 99th Regiment at that time. He further stated that Sparks had been a good and faithful soldier.

On January 2, 1873, the War Department sent the Bureau of Pensions a "Statement of Service" of Samuel Sparks. He had enlisted as a private in Company F, 109th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers on March 13, 1862, to serve for three years. The muster roll of that company indicated that in May and June 1862, he had been reported as a deserter, but the July and August muster roll reported him as "present" and as transferred from Company F, 109th Regiment to Company E, 99th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers on August 3, 1862, by order of General Birney. He had been wounded on October 11, 1864. His company had participated in action on October 2, 1864, near Ft. McPeay [?] and on October 5, 1864, it had occupied Ft. Sedgwick near Petersburg, Virginia. Sparks had been reported "absent-wounded" up to February 28, 1865. On his Individual Muster-Out roll, dated March 22, 1865, he was mustered out with the remark: "was wounded at Ft. Sedgwick near Petersburg, Va., on October 11, 1864."

On March 28, 1873, Sparks was examined by two surgeons, Thos. H. Sherwood [?] and James Godman [?]. At that time, he was 34 years old; he was 6 feet, 1 inches tall; he weighed 213 pounds; and he had brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. He lived at 720 South 9th Street, in Philadelphia. The surgeons stated that he was one-half incapacitated for earning his living.

Invalid Certificate Ho. 123,874 was issued to Samuel Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension rolls at the rate of $4.00 per month. When he died May 16, 1905, he was receiving a pension of $8.00 per month.

[Editor's Note: We believe that Samuel Sparks was a son of the Samuel and Sarah (--) Sparks who were enumerated on the 1850 census of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This belief is based on the age of Samuel Sparks. Consistently, in the selected papers sent us from his pension file at the National Archives, he and others gave his age such as to indicate that he had been born ca. 1839-1841. The only Samuel Sparks enumerated on the 1850 census of Philadelphia who fits this age was a son of Samuel and Sarah Sparks shown as living in the section of the city called Moyamensing, 4th Ward. This elder Samuel Sparks was shown as 50 years of age, as was also his wife, Sarah; both were natives of Pennsylvania. We assume the five children living in this household were Samuel and Sarah's. All were born in Pennsylvania.

They were:

1. Charles Sparks, age 17 in 1850.

2. Samuel Sparks, age 10 in 1850; we believe he was the Samuel Sparks whose Civil War pension papers are discussed above.

3. Mary L. Sparks, age 8 in 1850.

4. Hannah Sparks, age 7 in 1850.

5. Zachariah Sparks, age 2 in 1850.

[Editor's Note: This Samuel Sparks of Philadelphia should not be confused with another Civil War pensioner who also entered the military service from Philadelphia. That Samuel M. Sparks was born ca. 1835 and married Elizabeth Graham in 1856. For an abstract of his pension application file see the Quarterly of December 1998, Whole No. 184, pp. 5101-02.]

LEONARD SPARKS married Sarah Clark on May 25, 1855, in Gloucester County, New Jersey. He served in Company D, 38th regiment New Jersey Infantry. File Designation: Wid. Cert. No. 311,964.

Leonard Sparks may have applied (or intended to apply) for an invalid pension in 1884, for on April 8th of that year, two of his army comrades swore to a Proof of Disability certificate. Edward H. Black, age 41, and George Uron, age 48, both residents of Logan Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey, testified that Sparks had served in Company D, 38th Regiment New Jersey Volunteers and had been discharged at Trenton, New Jersey, on June 30, 1865, by reason of the end of the war. While stationed at Fort Powhatan, Virginia, on December 23, 1864, Sparks had been injured while on picket duty by a stump striking him in his left side which caused him a spell of sickness which ended with a case of typhoid fever. They knew this to be true for they belonged to the same company and were in the same command. Sparks had been treated by the Regimental Surgeon.

Leonard Sparks died March 6, 1885, and on April 10, 1890, his widow, Sarah Sparks, applied for a widow's pension. She was 52 years of age and a resident of Bridgeport, New Jersey. He was injured by a fall while on picket duty on December 23, 1864, and the injury had remained with him until his death. She had been married to Sparks under her maiden name of Sarah Clark on May 24, 1855, by John J. Gray, M.G., at Barnsboro, New Jersey. They had one child, Frank S. Sparks, who was under the age of sixteen years when his father died. She appointed Charles E. Fairman & Co., Washington, D.C., as her attorneys to assist her in obtaining a pension. Alien Clark and James Pedrick witnessed her signature.

On May 14, 1890, John R. Sparks appeared before 1. S. Ryland, a justice of the peace of Queen Annes County, Maryland, and swore that he had been present at the wedding of Leonard Sparks and Miss Sarah Clark on May 24, 1855. On May 22, 1890, Joshua W. Corson also testified that he had been present as a witness to the marriage of Leonard Sparks and Sarah Clark.

On June 26, 1890, Rachel Clark, age 45, a resident of Bridgeport, New Jersey, stated that she had been present on October 22, 1871, when Dr. J. S. Wagner delivered a son, Frank Sparks, to Leonard and Sarah Sparks.

On September 25, 1890, Alien dark, age 50, and George H. Pedrick, age 42, both of Bridgeport, New Jersey, testified that Leonard Sparks had been disabled.

A Widow's Certificate was issued to Sarah Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension roll. When she died March 13, 1907, she was receiving $12 monthly.

On April 28, 1910, Clara H. Moore, a resident of Cumberland County, New Jersey, applied for reimbursement for expenses paid by her during the last sickness and burial of her mother, Sarah Sparks. Two months later, on June 29, 1910, the Commissioner of Pensions advised her to give a complete list of all expenses of the pensioner's last sickness and burial. To this, Mrs. Moore replied that the undertaker's bill and burial expenses had all been paid by the administrator of her mother's estate, but that nothing had been left to reimburse her. The amount claimed was $24.50, but if she was "not entitled to anything...kindly advise me without so much red tape." Nothing was sent to us from this pension file to indicate what action, if any, was taken of her request.

[Editor's Note: Leonard Sparks's household appeared on the 1870 census of Gloucester County; he was a "Waterman," age 45; his wife, Sarah W., was 32. Children: Charles C., 14; William C., 10; John C., 5; and Clara H., 2.]

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