January 23, 2018

Pages 5500-5510
Whole Number 193

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 poor health and/or financial need resulting from 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 and their families.

[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 service, identity, or relationship, and when neighbors, former army comrades, or relatives were called upon for depositions.

(In the Quarterly of September 1967, Whole No.59, we began publishing abstracts of the "selected files" of Union soldiers named Sparks. 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.]

JAMES ROBERTS POLK SPARKS was a son of James H. and Deborah (Hankins) Sparks. He was born ca. 1845 in Illinois; he died January 17, 1888,near Clapper, Missouri. He married Ellen Russell Mattison on May 22, 1869, in Pike County, Illinois. He served in Company G, 7th Regiment Illinois Infantry. File Designation: Wid. Cert. No. 480,986.

On May 11, 1891, Ella Sparks, age 37, a resident of Frankfort, Missouri, made an application for a widow's pension. She stated that she was the widow of James R. P. Sparks who had served in Company G, 7th Regiment Illinois Volunteers about 1863. She stated that she had been married to Sparks on May 22, 1869, in Pike County, Illinois, under her maiden name of Ella Mattison. Sparks had died January 17, 1888, near Clapper, Missouri. They had one child, Minnie, born January 5, 1878, who was under the age of sixteen at the time of her husband's death. Other children born to them, but who were now dead, included: Lula May Sparks, died February 4, 1873; Lizzie Sparks, died August 9, 1878; David Sparks, died September 6, 1878; and Eddie Sparks, died March 14, 1879. Mrs. Sparks appointed J. W. Morris, Washington, D.C., as her attorney to assist her in obtaining a pension, and her application was witnessed by Edwin Parrish and John Hawkins.

Shortly thereafter, the clerk of Pike County, Illinois, sent the Bureau of Pensions a certificate which showed that Ellen R. Matteson and James M. Sparks were married on May 22, 1869, by R. M. A. Atkinson, Judge of Pike County. At the same time, Ella Sparks sent the Bureau an affidavit that Minnie F. Sparks had been born January 5, 1878.

The War Department confirmed the military service of James R. P. Sparks on June 26, 1891. He had been enrolled as a private on February 1, 1865, in Company G, 7th Regiment Illinois Infantry, and had been mustered out with his company on July 9, 1865.

During the period from 1892 until 1899, eight affidavits were sent to the Bureau of Pensions from persons supporting the claim of Ella Sparks for a widow's pension.

1. March 15, 1892. J. T. Miller, age 47, and W. B. F. Hull, age 63, residents of Pike County, Missouri, testified that James R. P. Sparks left an orphan child, Minnie, who was under the age of 16 at the time of her fathers death.

2. March 28, 1892. William Coy, age 37, a resident of Hannibal, Missouri, testified that neither James R. P. Sparks nor Ella Mattison had been married before they were married to each other.

3. June 23, 1892. Elizabeth L. Wimsatt, age 57, and Clement A. Wimsatt, age 58, residents of Monroe County, Missouri, swore that they had been present when James R. P. Sparks died January 17, 1888, near Clapper, Missouri.

4. May 5, 1894. W. P. F. Hull, age 66, and Annie Miller, age 25, both residents of Pike County, Missouri, testified that James R. P. Sparks and James M. Sparks was the same person, and that Ellen R. Mattison and Ella Mattison was the same person.

5. January 11, 1895. John Long, a resident of Rails County, Missouri, swore that he was well acquainted with James R. P. Sparks, and also with Sparks's father who was living in Pike County, Illinois, in 1868. He knew that James R. P. Sparks was not in the army prior to February 17, 1865. (Apparently, there had been some confusion in the Civil War records of James R. P. Sparks with those of his father, James H. Sparks.]

6. October 13, 1897. John Long and Abbie Long, residents of Saverton, Missouri, swore that James R. P. Sparks was not in the military service prior to the "last call," and that he had been mustered out at the end of the war. His widow, Ella Sparks, had not remarried since his death.

7. February 6, 1899. David Mason of Brown County, Illinois, testified that he had been living in the house of James R. P. Sparks and his wife, Ella, when their daughter, Minnie F. Sparks, was born January 5, 1878.

8. February 6, 1899. Mamie Tapley, age 32, and Annie Miller, age 30, both residents of Pike County, Missouri, swore that they had been present when Minnie F. Sparks, daughter of Ella Sparks, had been born January 5, 1878.

Widow Certificate No. 480,986 was issued to Ella E. Sparks, and she was placed on the pension rolls at the rate of $8.00 per month.

On August 26, 1899, C. Leland, Jr., pension agent at Topeka, Kansas, notified H. Clay Evans, Commissioner of Pensions, that Ella R. Sparks has been dropped from the rolls because of her remarriage.

[Editor's Note: James Roberts Polk Sparks was a son of James H. and Deborah (Hankins) Sparks and a grandson of Elihu and Rosa (Bailey) Sparks. His father, James H. Sparks, also served in the Union Army in the Civil War and received a pension. For an abstract of the pension papers of James H. Sparks, see the Quarterly of June 1980, Whole No.110, pp.2215-16. We did not know about the service of James Roberts Polk Sparks when we drafted the Editor's Note following that abstract. See the December 1976 Quarterly, p.1873, for information on Elihu Sparks.]

JOHN THOMPSON SPARKS was a son of Joseph and Isabella (Ellis) Sparks; he was born September 6, 1839, in Lewis County, Kentucky. He married Chloe A. Calhoun on December 21, 1865, in Scotland County, Missouri. He served in Company E, 2nd Regiment Provisional Missouri Volunteers and in Company I, 39th Regiment Missouri Infantry. File Designation: mv. Cert. No. 975,066.

On January 1, 1898, John T. Sparks, age 58, a resident of Granger, Missouri, made a declaration for an Invalid Pension. He stated that he had been enrolled on March 14, 1863, in Company E, 2nd Regiment Provisional Missouri Volunteers, and that he had served until he was discharged on November 13, 1863. He had also enlisted in Company 1,39th Regiment Missouri Infantry on August 25, 1864, and had been discharged on March 25, 1865. He was now unable to earn his support because of rheumatism and a disease of the back. He appointed E. S. Matthews of Macon, Missouri, as his attorney to help him secure a pension.

On January 17, 18,and 19, 1898, three neighbors of Sparks made affidavits to to support his claim. They were A. D. Cline, age 52; J. T. Matlick, age 51; and A. W. Hamrick, age 40; all residents of Granger, Missouri. They testified that they saw Sparks two or three times each week, and that during the past ten years, he had suffered from severe rheumatism and had gradually gotten to the place where he was unable to do any farm work. He was a man of good character and had no bad habits which would cause his disability.

On February 4, 1898, the War Department informed the Bureau of Pensions that Sparks had served in Company I, 39th Regiment Missouri Infantry from August 25, 1864, until he had been mustered out with his company on March 25, 1864. When he had been enrolled, he was 24 years of age, having been born in Lewis County, Kentucky. He was then 6 feet, 1+ inches tall; he had a fair complexion, light hair and blue eyes; and he was a farmer. The following day a War Department auditor wrote that Sparks had also served as Company Sergeant "in Company E, 2nd Regiment Prov. En. Mo. Mil." from April 8, 1863, until November 13, 1863.

John T. Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions on February 14, 1898. He stated that he had been married to Chloe A. Calhoun on December 21, 1865, in Scotland County, Missouri, by the Rev. Reuben Turner. They had two living children: Bertie E. Sparks, born December 3, 1868, and Lutie A. Sparks, born December 29, 1881.

Invalid Certificate No.975,066 was issued to John T. Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll at the rate of $6.00 per month.

John T. Sparks applied for an increase in his pension on November 6, 1899, stating that he was now confined to his bed by paralysis of his left arm and leg, caused by a stroke on October 19, 1899. He requested a medical examination by a board of examining doctors.

On January 11, 1901, Sparks made an affidavit about his stroke. He stated:

On the afternoon of October 19, 1899, 1 was at the Christian Church fixing it for a dedication and we were moving the organ from the house of W. B. Evans up to the church and I took sick. I was taken in a buggy to my home a mile west of Granger in a totally helpless condition, and since that time I have been totally dis abled.

On February 20, 1901, Dr. W. M. Munsell made an affidavit that Sparks was now totally unable to perform any manual labor of any kind.

When John T. Sparks died February 20, 1905, he was receiving a pension of $12.00 per month.

[Editor's Note: For further information about this branch of the Sparks family, see the September 1970 and the September 1971 issues of the Quarterly, Whole Nos. 71 and 75.]

WILLIAM M SPARKS was born ca. 1843 in the state of New York and was a son of Aurey (or Aurie, or Aury) and Nancy (------ ) Sparks. He married Lillie L. Stebbins in 1865. He served in Company A, 105th Regiment New York Infantry; in Company H, 94th Regiment New York Infantry; and in Company L, 1st Regiment New York Light artillery. File Designation: mv. Cert. No. 451,574.

On December 11, 1879, William M. Sparks, age 36 years and a resident of Canaseraga, New York, made a Declaration for Invalid Pension before the clerk of Allegany County, New York. He stated that he had been enrolled on October 18, 1861, in Company A, 105th Regiment New York Volunteers commanded by Captain Richard Whiteside and was discharged at Elmira, New York, on June 17, 1865. He was now 36 years old, 5 feet and 5 inches tall; he had a light complexion, dark eyes and brown hair, and he was a farmer. On or about August 20, 1862, at or near Rapidan, Virginia, he had been sickened by a chronic diarrhea brought about by exposure during the retreat from Rapidan to Bull Run, being compelled to sleep on the ground in wet clothes. He had been treated by Dr. Chamberlain, the regimental surgeon.

Sparks went on to state that while he had enlisted in Company A, 105th Regiment New York Volunteers, on October 18, 1861, he had been transferred to the 9th Regiment New York Infantry on March 18, 1863. Then on January 4, 1864, he was with Battery L, 1st New York light Artillery. Horatio Raynevel and W. H. Crandall witnessed him sign his declaration.

The War Department sent a record of Sparks's military service to the Commissioner of Pensions on July 14, 1881. He had been enrolled on October 18, 1861, at Portage, New York, in Company A, 105th Regiment New York Volunteers. He had been hospitalized on October 31, 1862. He had been transferred to Company H, 94th Regiment New York Volunteers on February 28, 1863, and on June 30, 1864, he had been transferred to Battery L, 1st New York Light Artillery. He had re enlisted as a Veteran Volunteer at Culpeper, Virginia, and had served until he was mustered out as a corporal with his company on June 17, 1865, at Elmira, New York. The regimental hospital records prior to March 1863 were not on file.

On September 7, 1883, George Austin, age 43, a resident of Lima, Lagrange County, Indiana, swore that he had been a close neighbor to Sparks and there had been times when Sparks was unable' to perform any manual labor because of chronic diarrhea.

William M. Sparks informed the Bureau of Pensions on March 18, 1884, that he had received word from the Regimental Surgeon and his assistant, that they had no record of the treatment he had received in the service, and they had insufficient in- formation to make an affidavit.

On May 16, 1884, Samuel A. Spencer, age 60, and Albert H. Spencer, age 36, both residents of Nunda, Livingston County, New York, made a joint affidavit to support Sparks's request for a pension. They stated that they had been close neighbors to Sparks from 1865 to 1880, and during those years he had been an invalid suffering from chronic diarrhea and rheumatism. He was now so disabled that he could do very little manual labor.

On August 20, 1884, the Surgeon General sent the Commissioner of Pensions a record of the hospital treatment of William M. Sparks. While he had been a member of Company A, 105th New York Volunteers, he had been admitted to the Convalescent Hospital near Alexandria, Virginia, on September 6, 1862, because of general disability, and he had been returned to duty. He had been admitted to the General Hospital at Fairfax Seminary, Virginia, on September 18, 1862, but no diagnosis was given, and he was returned to duty on November 7, 1862. No other hospital records were on file.

William M. Sparks was issued Invalid Certificate No. 451,574, and he was placed upon the pension rolls.

Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions on April 5, 1898. He stated that he had been married to Lillie L. Stebbins on October 29, 1865, at Portage, New York, by Hiram Smith. He had not been previously married. He had no children.

When William M. Sparks died December 19, 1914, he was receiving a pension of $30.00 per month.

On January 9, 1915, Moses Burgamon, a resident of Red House, New York, applied for reimbursement for expenses incurred during the last illness of William M. Sparks. He stated that he was related to Sparks, but had cared for him during his last illness. Sparks's wife, Lillie L. Sparks, had died January 13, 1911. Burgamon asked to be reimbursed in the amount of $134 .45 which included nursing and care, as well as doctor's fees and funeral costs.

[Editor's Note: William M. Sparks was a son of Aurey and Nancy L. (Stebbins) Sparks. "Aurey," also spelled "Aurie" and "Aury," may have been a nickname for Aurelius, a name found among early Sparkses in New England. We have not found this family on the 1850 census, but we have on the 1860 census.

[When the 1860 census of New York was taken, William M. Sparks was living with his parents, "Aurey" and Nancy Sparks, in the town (township) of Canealea, Allegany County, New York. He was shown as 17 years old, thus born ca. 1843. The census record of this family is as follows, on page 158 or 444, taken July 31, 1860:

[Dwelling #1273, Family #25.

Aurey Sparks,

age 45

Born in Massachusetts

 

Nancy Sparks,

" 49

Born in New York.

 

William "

" 17

Born in New York

 

Horace "

" 14

Born in New York

 

Harriet "

" 12

Born in New York

 

Clarissa "

" 3

Born in New York

 

Alma "

" 1

Born in New York

[Aurey Sparks was shown on this census as a Farm Laborer with real estate worth $450 and personal property worth $250. The three oldest children were shown as having attended school within the year.

[When the 1860 census of Allegany County, New York, was taken, William M. Sparks was shown as a farm laborer with $800 worth of personal property in the town (township) of Grove. His age was given as 26 and that of his wife, Lilly, was 25, both being natives of New York.

[by 1870, however, William's parents were living near Lima in Lagrange County, Indiana. On that census, the father's name was written as "Aury"--his age was 53 and his place of birth as Massachusetts. Nancy, his wife, was 48 years old, a native of New York. Their daughter, Harriet Sparks, was still living at home, now 21 years of age. Julia E. Sparks, age 13, was also living at home. In a letter written by William M. Sparks in 1883 (see below), he referred to his "sister Julie." Perhaps she was the 3-year old called Clarissa on the 1860 census. Living also in the household of Aury Sparks in 1870 was Harvey Sparks, age 52, whose birthplace was given as Massachusetts, like that of Aury. Were they brothers? We may wonder whether this Harvey Sparks, mariner, shown on the 1850 census of Barnstable County, Massachusetts, age 32, with a wife named Clarissa, age 30, and a son age 4 named Harvey. There was also a 6-year-old male in Aury's household in 1870 named Francis Sparks. His name followed that of Harvey Sparks.

[As seen in 1860 census record on page 3504, William M. Sparks had a younger brother named Horace. A descendant of Horace (Sarah Ward Dunham of Salisbury, New Hampshire) has reported that Horace had a middle name, Vail. He was born according to family records on October 16, 1846, in the state of New York. He apparently served in the Civil War because Ms. Dunham has a tintype photo of him in uniform. He married Lelia Smith in June 1863, and they were the parents of Grace Ada Sparks, born April 25, 1865. She later married James Harvey Westwood.

[Ms. Dunham is a great-great-granddaughter of Grace Ada, and she has shared with us a letter written to Grace in 1883 by her uncle, William M. Sparks, whose pension papers have been the subject of this sketch. From this letter, it is evident that his brother, Horace Vail Sparks, was the parent of another daughter named Floria (or Flora) Sparks before his early death In 1865. A transcript of this letter follows, in which spelling has not been corrected:

Canaseraraga, Alle [gany] Co., NY
April 20th 1883

Dear Neace Grassie

You will be surprised to hear from me and wonder who I am. My name is William M. Sparks. You will not remember me your Father and myself was brothers. When I last saw you you was a little girl of 4 years old or their abouts. I have held you many a time My Sister Julie put your letter in one of hers and sent it to us. Your aunt Lillie (as you used to call her that is My Wife) and my Self have talk a great deel of you and Wonder Whare you and Floria was. Floria was a baby when I saw her last. oh how I would lik to see you & your Sister

I am thinking when I think of you girls of those little Girls that I ust to know. I will not write much this time. Aunt Lillie [will] write Some my love to you both and kiss the Baby for me Write as soon as you get this Good bye from uncale

William M. Sparks

addres Canaseraga
Alle[gany] County

New York

-5506-

1883 Letter of William M. and Lilly L. Sparks, continued:

Dear Niece

As there is so little room left I will only say I well remember you and was pleased to hear from you plesse send your pictures to us we have a little baby boy over seven weeks old its mother is dead and We have taken it we have none of our owen alive I wish we could see you and flora

good night Lillie L Sparks

[We will welcome any additional information on this branch of the Sparks family that a reader might provide.]

MOSES SPARKS was a son of Eli and Sarah (----- ) Sparks. He was born ca. 1834 in Kentucky, and died while in the Union Army at Memphis, Tennessee, on January 28, 1863. He married Louisa Jane Malcolm on March 19, 1857, in Madison County, Illinois. He served in Company B, 117th Regiment Illinois Infantry. File Designations: Wid. Cert. No., 10,569; Minor Cert. No. 105,060.

On April 20, 1863, Louisa Sparks, age 25, a resident of Montgomery County, Illinois, made a declaration for a widow's pension. She stated that her husband, Moses Sparks, had enlisted at Hilisboro, Illinois, on April 15, 1862, in Company B, 117th Regiment Illinois Volunteers, commanded by Captain R. M. Williams, to serve for three years. While stationed at Memphis, Tennessee, he died of smallpox on January 28, 1863. She had been married to Sparks on March 19, 1857, in Madison County, Illinois, by J. T Lusk, a justice of the peace. She was married under her maiden name of Louisa Jane Malcolm. She and her husband had only one child, Thomas Eli Sparks, born August 27, 1861. She appointed John W. Kitchell as her attorney to aid her in. obtainng a pension. Ira Millard, Julia Crosby, and Hulda Sparks witnessed her signature. In addition, Julia Crosby and Hulda Sparks stated they they had been present at the marriage of Moses Sparks and Louisa Malcom. The application was accompanied by a copy of the marriage record of Moses Sparks and Louisa Jane Malcom.

Widow Certificate No. 10,569 was issued to Louisa Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension roll at the rate of $8.00 per month.

On November 30, 1864, Louisa Sparks married (second) John Forsythe, and her pension was discontinued. On March 19, 1867, the Montgomery County Court appointed William Wood as the guardian of Thomas Judson Sparks, a minor heir of Moses Sparks, deceased. On April 12, 1867, Dr. W. P. Marshall and Eliza Malcolm swore that they had been present at the birth of Thomas Sparks, son of Moses and Louisa Sparks, on August 27, 1861. Dr. Marshall said that he had been the family physician of the Sparks family, and Mrs. Malcolm said that she was the mother of Louisa Malcolm Sparks.

On November 4, 1867, William Wood, guardian of Thomas Eli Sparks, said that his ward was the identical Thomas Eli Sparks mentioned in his mother's claim for a pension; however, a month later, Wood said that he was in error and the the name of his ward was Thomas Judson Sparks. On December 12, 1867, the Bureau of Pensions issued Minor Certificate No. 105,060 to Thomas J. Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll at the rate of $8.00 per month, commencing December 1, 1864, and ending on August 26, 1877. [He would then reach his 16th birthday.]

On December 6, 1873, Elizur Southworth, Litchfield, Illinois, was appointed to be guardian of Thomas Judson Sparks, in place of William Wood, deceased. On March 25, 1874, the pension for Thomas Judson Sparks was increased to $10.00 per month.

[Editor's Note: There can be little doubt that Moses Sparks was a son of Eli and Sarah Sparks, who appeared on the 1850 census of Madison County, Illinois. Eli's age was given as 59 and Sarah's as 49. Both were shown as natives of South Carolina. Their children were given as: William Sparks, age 18, born in Kentucky; Moses Sparks, age 15, also born in Kentucky; Rebecca Sparks, age 12; Dolly Ann, age 11; and Huldah, age 7. All three of the girls were shown as born in Illinois. Dr. Paul E. Sparks, late President of our Association, believed that this Eli Sparks was "the Eli Sparks who appeared on the 1820 census of Trigg County, Kentucky; on the 1830 census of Calloway County, Kentucky; and on the 1840 census of Edgar County, Illinois."

[When the 1860 census was taken, Moses Sparks, age 26, a farmer, and Louisa, age 22, were living in Montgomery County, Illinois. Montgomery and Madison Counties adjoin for a short distance. It appears that Eli Sparks had died by 1860 and that his widow, Sarah Sparks, was the 60-year-old woman living in the household of her son, William Sparks, age 28, farmer, living quite near his brother, Moses, in Montgomery County. William's wife's name was Elizabeth, age 32, and they had two children when the 1860 census was taken, a daughter named Silence, age 3, and a son named William F. Sparks, age 11 months. Hulda Sparks, youngest daughter of Eli and Sarah Sparks, age 18, was also living in the household of her brother William, according to the 1860 census.

[Although the widow of Moses Sparks, Louisa (Malcolm) Sparks, was reported as remarried to John Forsythe in 1864 when her widow's pension was canceled, by 1870 she married William Bradford (he was then 25 and she was 32), and they had a daughter named Ida Bradford, age 2. Louisa's son, Thomas J. Sparks, although a ward of William Wood, was living in the William Bradford household with his mother; he was 8 years old on this 1870 census. On the 1880 census of Montgomery County, William Bradford appears in the town of Litchfleld, age 37, a house painter. Louisa's age was reported as 39, and living with them was Frank Sparks, age 18. The 1880 census required the relationship of each member of a household to the head of that household to be reported, and Frank Sparks was identilied as a "step-son" of William Bradford. Was this Frank Sparks actually Thomas J. Sparks, son of Moses and Louisa (Malcolm) Sparks?]

PETER SPARKS was born ca. 1827 in Henry County, Kentucky. He married Nancy Jane List (or Yates) in September 1852, at Pleasureville, Kentucky. He served in Company 1, 101st Regiment Colored Infantry. File Designations: mv. Cert. No.462,443; Wid. Cert. No. 531,785.

On June 13, 1887, Peter Sparks, age 59, a resident of New Albany, Indiana, applied for an invalid pension. He stated that he had enlisted on July 11, 1864, in Company I, 101st Regiment U.S. Colored Infantry at Louisville, Kentucky, and that he had served until he had been discharged at Vicksburg, Mississippi, on March 21, 1866. He had then been described as 5 feet, 8 inches tall, with a dark complexion, black hair, and black eyes, and he had been a laborer. On or about June 1, 1865, he contracted chronic diarrhea while stationed near Vicksburg, Mississippi, which had resulted in a disease of the rectum. He appointed John Jackson, New Albany, Indiana, as his attorney to assist him in obtaining a pension. Herman Kuirhm and James H. Meekin witnessed him make his mark, sand the application was sworn to before Henry P. Meyer, clerk of the Floyd County, Indiana, Court.

The military service of Peter Sparks was confirmed by the War Department, and he was issued Invalid Certificate No. 462,443 and was placed upon the pension roll.

On April 30, 1898, Sparks responded to a circular from the Bureau of Pensions. He stated that he had been married to Nancy Jane List (or Yates) in September 1852 at Pleasureville, Kentucky, by the Rev. Jesse Ditto. He was married again under Indiana Law to Nancy Jane List (or Yates) on April 24, 1873, by the Rev. E. J. Slider. They had the following children:

Willis Sparks, born February 13, 1858
Edward ["Edmond"1 Sparks, born January 22, 1860
Milton Sparks, born September 6, 1861
Charles M. Sparks, born 2 February 1864
Fannie D. Sparks, born November 17, 1871
Peter T. Sparks, born November 16, 1874
Emma B. Sparks, born March 2, 1879

Peter Sparks died September 26, 1901, at New Albany, indiana, and on September 30th his widow, Nancy Jane Sparks, made application for a widow's pension. She was 70 years of age. She appointed S. W. Daugherty & Company, Columbus, Indiana, as her attorney to assist her in obtaining a pension. Oliver P. Anderson and Libbie Caye witnessed her signature, and the request was sworn to before Edmund Caye, a notary public.

Widow Certificate No. 531,785 was issued to Nancy J. Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension roll. When she died October 19, 1916, she was receiving a pension of $12.00 per month.

On August 8, 1917, Willis Sparks, age 59, a resident of New Albany, Indiana, made an affidavit that his mother, Nancy J. Sparks, had made a will before her death, in which she gave her three sons, Willis, Charles M., and Peter Sparks, her cottage on Gait Street in New Albany.

LEONARD G. SPARKS, son of William and Nancy (Martin) Sparks, was born ca. 1842 in North Carolina. He married (first) Nancy Jane Nellron on May 10, 1866, in Monroe County, Indiana, and (second) to Nancy Margaret Barrett on May 19, 1900. He served in Company C, 97th Regiment Indiana Infantry and in Company K, 17th Regiment Veteran Reserve Corps. File Designations: mv. Cert. No.271,090; Minor Cert. No. 767,290; Wid. Cert. No. 834,088

Leonard G. Sparks apparently had applied for an invalid pension prior to September 20, 1879, for on that day seven of his neighbors had made a joint affidavit to support his claim. Hiram Burch, William H. Burch, William D. Burch, Malden Baker, and R. H. Baker, all of Monroe County, Indiana, and Arthur S. Young and Jesse E. Carter, both of Greene County, Indiana, swore that they knew "well and intimately" Leonard Sparks, late a private in Company C, 97th Regiment Indiana Infantry. They said that after he came out of the army, his legs, feet and arms were so badly swollen that he could hardly walk. This condition had continued to exist until the present.

The Adjutant General's Office furnished a statement of Sparks's military service to the Commissioner of Pensions on March 11, 1884. He had been enrolled in Company C, 97th Regiment Indiana Volunteers on August 12, 1862. He had been transferred to Company K, 17th Regiment Veteran Reserve abrps on October 31, 1863, at Camp Morton, Indiana. He had been mustered out with that detachment on June 30, 1865. Regimental Hospital records were not on file.

Invalid Certificate No. 271,090 was issued to Leonard Sparks, and he was placed up on the pension roll. On June 16, 1890, Sparks, age 48, a resident of Greene County, Indiana, applied for increased pension benefits. He testified, however, that he was unable to furnish proof of his service-connected disability because his officers, including the Regimental Surgeon, were all dead. He applied again on February 23, 1892, reminding the Bureau of Pensions that his claim was now over three years old, and he had received no reply. He stated that during this time, he had had severe family illness, and that his personal health was also bad, so that he was unable to provide for his family and, in fact, he was destitute. He asked for special consideration be given to his claim.

On December 27, 1897, Sparks answered a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He stated that he was now a widower, his wife having died November 27, 1897; they had been married on May 10, 1866, in Monroe County, Indiana, by Martin C. Fulk. Names and birth dates of their living children were:

Charles Sparks, born July 30, 1868
Cora Sparks (now Underwood), born September 17, 1872
Emma Sparks (now Silvester), born September 28, 1874
Raymond Sparks, born January 2, 1878
Homer Sparks, born April 18, 1880
Walter Sparks, born May 5, 1882

Leonard G. Sparks died December 8, 1911, and on December 18, 1911, his widow, Nancy Margaret Sparks, applied for a widow's pension. She stated that she and Sparks had been married on May 19, 1900, at Smithville, Indiana. It had been her first marriage, and she had been married under her maiden name, Nancy Margaret Barrett. John M. Sparks and Andrew Barrett were her witnesses.

On August 4, 1913, Nancy M. Sparks, age 48, a resident of Bloomington, Indiana, and widow of Leonard G. Sparks, applied for a pension for her son, Hershel A. Sparks. She said that he had been born to her and to Leonard Sparks on April 9, 1901. Charles H. Springer and Georgia Baldridge were her witnesses. Minor Certi ficate No. 767,290 was issued to Hershel A. Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll.

On September 28, 1916, Nancy Margaret Sparks reapplied for a widow's pension under the provisions of the 1916 Act of Congress. She stated that she had been born August 21, 1865, in Monroe County, Indiana. She had been married to Leonard G. Sparks on May 19, 1900, at Smithville, Indiana, by John Bowler, J.P. It had been her first marriage, but her husband had been previously married to Nancy Jane Nellron who had died November 27, 1897. Leonard G. Sparks had left one child who was under the age of sixteen at the time of his death. He was now receiving a pension. Widow Certificate No. 834,088 was issued to Nancy M. Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension roll. When she died April 1, 1929, she was receiving a pension of $30.00 per month.

[Editor's Note: Leonard G. Sparks was a son of William and Nancy (----- ) Sparks; his paternal grandparents were Hardy and Susannah (Brown) Sparks. William Sparks, Leonard's father, was born in Wilkes County, North Carolina, on September 3, 1819, according to his tombstone in the Burch Cemetery in Monroe County, Indiana; he died August 17, 1866. William grew to manhood in Wilkes County and was married about 1840 to Nancy ; some descendants believe that Nancy's maiden name had been Hanks, a name that did exist in Wilkes County then. Her tombstone in the Burch Cemetery gives her birth date as March 31, 1819, and her death date as August 24, 1902.

[Three children were born to William and Nancy Sparks in North Carolina: Leonard G. Sparks and his twin brother, Jehew P. Sparks, and their younger brother, JamesH. Sparks. William brought his family to Monroe County, Indiana, in or about 1846. by the time the 1850 census was taken, two daughters had been added to the family, both born in Indiana: Elizabeth J. Sparks, age 3, and Nancy W. Sparks, age one. Another daughter named Susan was shown as 6 years old when the 1860 census was taken.

[Hardy Sparks, father of William and grandfather of Leonard G. Sparks, was born November 30, 1796. He was married In Wilkes County, North Carolina,to Susannah Brown in 1815. Their marriage bond was dated January 9, 1815; the bondsman was James Sparks whom we believe was Hardy's father. Hardy and Susannah Sparks were the parents of seven children, William being their third child. Sometime during the 1830s Susannah died and Hardy married (second) Martha Motley, by whom he had eight more children. by the time their son Andrew was born, Hardy had moved his family to Indiana, settling over the line from Monroe County in Greene County. A record of Hardy's fifteen children by his two wives can be found in the Quarterly of March, 1969, Whole No.65, beginning on page 1204.

[There can be little doubt that Hardy Sparks was a son of James Sparks (1768-ca. 1835), who was one of the eleven sons of Matthew and Sarah (Thompson) Sparks. See the Quarterly of June 1998, Whole No. 182, pp.4998-5003, for an article by the later Paul E. Sparks setting forth our evidence of this father/son relationship.]

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