Whole Number 198
[Editor's Note: From time to time we have been publishing abstracts of pension application files of Union soldiers (or their heirs) who had served in the Civil War. (Confederate veterans could not qualify for federal pensions.) A great many Union veterans, or their widows (sometimes their parents and their children), applied for pensions because of health and/or financial need resulting from their military service. Congress was increasingly generous in providing pensions for Union Army veterans and/or 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 the payment of a fee, one can obtain either a copy of "selected papers" or of the entire file for a given applicant. The "selected papers," usually not more than ten sheets, that have been selected because they are the papers considered to be most significant from a genealogical point of view. 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. The following abstracts are from "selected papers."
[It was in the Quarterly of September 1967, Whole No. 59, that we began publishing these abstracts. We have continued to use them as space permitted, adding editorial notes of any genealogical information that we may have regarding the veteran and his family. Below we continue this series of abstracts.
|WHITFIELD M. SPARKS,||son of Allen Sparks, was born in Yancey County, North Carolina, on April 29, 1842; he died in Mitchell County, North Carolina, on September 5, 1914. He married Elizabeth Buchanan on November 20, 1859. He served in Company C, 13th Regiment Tennessee Cavalry. File Designations: Inv.Cert. No 291,362; Wid.Cert. No. 788,652.|
[Editor's Note See page 5695 of the present issue of the Quarterly for further information regarding Whitfield M. Sparks; in earlier pages we gave a record of his Sparks ancestry. To better interpret the abstract of the pension file of Whitfield, we begin with noting documents from his earlier application for compensation for his loss of a horse that he had relinquished to a U.S. Army officer, with an unfulfilled promise of a voucher from the Federal Government.
[Following the end of the Civil War, a goodly number of individuals who had lived in the South during the conflict claimed that they had actually been loyal to the Union, often stating that as a result they not only had suffered insults and prejudice from their Confederate neighbors, some had been conscripted into serving in the Confederate Army and had even lost property taken by the U.S. Army for which they now sought reimbursement from the U.S. Congress. Hearing their appeals, Congress responded on March 3, 1871, by creating a Commission of Claims to determine the validity of these appeals and to recommend a fair compensation.
[Under this Act of Congress, not only was a claimant required to prove that he had actually lost the property he claimed, but also that he had, indeed, been loyal to the Union before and during the Civil War. A file number was assigned to each applicant's claim, and these applications and supporting documents are preserved at the National Archives. Among the applicants was Whitfield M. Sparks of Mitchell County, North Carolina, to whose claim the number 16,305 was assigned.
[Before submitting a claim for the loss of a horse, Whitfield M. Sparks had engaged the services of a law firm in Bakersville, North Carolina, called Rollins & Nichols to assist him in presenting his case to the Commissioners of Claims.
[Sparks's loss was "one first class cavalry horse ... valued at $140 that had been taken from him, for the use by the Army of the United States for which payment is claimed." This had occurred on September 15, 1863, at Strawberry Plain, Tennessee. (This date was altered later in Sparks's appeal.) To prove his loyalty, Sparks identified four individuals, all of Bakersville, who could testify on his behalf: George W. Emmert, James M. Sparks, George Sparks, and Starlin Buckhamm. For persons who could testify that the horse had been taken, he named Stephen Collins, William Pitman, and Robin Pitman, likewise living in or near Bakersville. As in all other instances that we have seen pertaining to Whitfield M. Sparks, he signed this document by making his mark, witnessed by his two attorneys.
[The above information, doubtless prepared for Whitfield by his attorneys, was incorporated in a statement signed by G. M. M.cDowell, who identified himself as the "Special Commissioner of the Commissioners of Claims & Notary Public for North Carolina." Dated July 9, 1873, this statement begins:
It is hereby certified, that on the 3 & 5th day of June 1873, at Bakersville, in the county of Mitchell and State of North Carolina, personally came before me the following persons, viz: Whitfield M. Sparks, Claimant; Rollins & Nichols, Council, or Attorney; and Oliver Burleson, C. C. McKinney & William Blalock, Claimant's Witnesses, for the purpose of a hearing in the above entitled Cause... the testimony of each deponent was written out by me, or in my presence, and as given before me and subsequently read over to said deponent, by whom it was subscribed in my presence.
[Among the documents included in this file (16,305) is the deposition of Whitfield M. Sparks consisting of his answers to questions put to him by McDowell. Unfortunately, the questions asked were not included, but from Sparks's answers, we can usually guess what the questions had been:
My name is Whitfield M. Sparks, my age is 31 years, my residence Bakersfield in the State of North Carolina and my occupation, a farmer. My home is in Mitchell County ...I have always lived on my own land which amounts to 65 acres which lyes in said county. I had about twenty acres in cultivation [when] I was conscripted into the Confederate army. I remained there about twelve months & then left & went to the U. S. Army & joined the 13th Tenn. Cav. & remained there until the close of the war. (He answered "no" to three of McDowell's next questions; without knowing the questions, we can only guess from his answers that they pertained to his conscription into the Confederate Army.) They theatened [sic] to Kill me, or send me off, if I did not go.
(Regarding his desertion from the Confederate Army, Sparks stated that after about a year he left, i.e., deserted, riding the horse that he owned.) I went through in September 1864 for the purpose of joining the U.S. army. At the close of the war I returned to my home in Mitchell County. I was arrested by Maj. Thomas Watson; he kept me under arrest for 8 days. I ran away from him; I was never arrested by the U.S. government. I was threatnened [sic] by Maj. Walton & Capt. Keebler who said they was going to burn my house down & kill me if they could find me. (These men named by Sparks were probably members of Mitchell County's Home Guards under the Confederacy who had not yet surrendered to the Union Army.)
[Apparently it was to a question regarding how he had succeeded in getting past the Confederate line to join the Union Army that Sparks responded:
I got passes to transact my own business from Capt. Wilson--I did not take any oath to get such passes. I sympathized with the Union cause & always voted the union ticket; used all my influence for the said cause [and] I never took the Bankrupt Law. I was borned (sic) in Yancy County N.C.
(signed) W.M. X Sparks
Sworn to & subscribed to the 3d of June 1873
(signed) G. M. McDowell
Special Commissioner & Notary Public for N. C.
[A second deposition was taken of Whitfield M. Sparks, also on June 3, 1873, consisting of his answers to questions put to him by McDowell. Again, we do not have the questions themselves, but it is obvious from Sparks's answers that they pertained to the horse that he lost and the circumstances of its being taken by the United States Army.
Second Deposition by Whitfield Sparks on June 3, 1873
I was present & saw my property taken at Johnson City, Tenn., by Capt. David Jenkins of Co. C, 13th Tenn. Cav. in the year 1864 in June, do not remember the day [or] time. Sergent Buckhoman & Capt. David Jenkins, Jenkins Co., were all present. I went to Join the U.S. Army & road [sic ] my horse. When I got there I told Capt. Jenkins I wanted to turn my horse over to the U. S. He told me all right, that I would get pay for it. He promised me a voucher which I never got. After I turned over the horse I saw him [the horse]. He was being used as a Cav. horse in the 13th Tenn. Cav. I knew the horse. A soldier was riding him. I was a soldier in the 13 th Tenn. Cav. I have never received any for this property. A good sorel [sic] mare 6 y's old, good condition-worth one hundred & fifty dollars, $150.00.
[Signed] Whitfield X Sparks
Sworn & subscribed to June 3rd 1873
[signed] G. M. McDowell
[The three witnesses present at the hearing on June 3, 1873, conducted by G. M. McDowell, Special Commissioner & Notary Public for North Carolina, all made depositions on behalf of Whitfield M. Sparks regarding his loyalty to the Union. Oliver Burleson stated that he was 28 years old and a resident of Yancey County, adding that
I have known the Claimant for 14 years & had frequent conversations with him during the war. He always expressed himself as a Union man, both privately & publicly. I reside within 4 miles of said Claimant. I regard the claimant as a loyal man and all his loyal neighbors regarded him as a loyal man. He regarded me a strong union man. If the Southern Confederacy had succeeded I know that the Claimant could not have lived in this country, or at least with any safty [sic]. I have no interest in this claim.
[signed] Oliver Burlesen.
[C. C. McKinney stated in his deposition that he was 33 years old and a resident of Mitchell County, and that he was a farmer. He stated that he had known Whitfield Sparks for 20 years and knew him as a loyal man, as did his neighbors, adding that he had heard him called "a Tory & Linconite." He indicated that he had lived within 6 miles of him, adding that "I have heard the claimant threatened in consequence of his union sentiments."
[In the deposition of William Blalock dated June 5, 1873, he gave his age as 35 and stated that, knowing Sparks's "general character, it is [such that] any statement he makes is worthy of belief."
[At the close of the testimony before him, G. M. McDowell made his own statement to the Commissioners of Claims regarding Whitfield Sparks:
There is no question in my mind as to the loyalty of the Claimant, that is, his character among all of his neighbors. I think his claim has merit. What he states is entitled to belief.
(Signed) G. M. McDowell
Notary Public, N.C.
[Because Whitfield M. Sparks seems always to have signed his name by making a mark (an X) before a witness, we can assume that he could not write. His father, Allen Sparks, having died in 1849 when Whitfield was only seven years old, may account for his apparent lack of education, even though Allen had left property for that purpose. Whoever it was that wrote a statement in Whitfield's name, was usually also the witness to his making his mark to represent his signature. It later proved to be significant that, as shown on the following photocopy of the closing of Whitfield's first deposition (page 5701), G. M. McDowell wrote his name as W. W. Sparkes.
[It is not surprising that in 1876, when attention was finally given at the Washington headquarters of the Commission of Claims, a clerk named Charles F. Benjamin assumed that Whitfield's name was William M. Sparks. He also believed that, while there was sufficient proof of Sparks's loyalty to the Union, more was needed regarding his horse having been taken by the Union Army. Regarding this, Benjamin wrote on April 28, 1876, to John B. Brownlow who had served as a cavalry officer in Tennessee and was now, like McDowell, a Special Agent for the Claims Commission in Nashville. Benjamin asked Brownlow whether he might be able to locate Capt. David Jenkins, or any other officer, such as Sergeant Buckhouse mentioned by Sparks in his testimony, who had served with the 13th Tennessee Regiment, and who might remember "Wm. Sparks." Brownlow later returned Benjamin's letter with a response added by a man named Hendrix, known to both Benjamin and Brownlow. Note that both of these men thought that they were investigating a William Sparks. Hendrix wrote:
Learned from S. Phillips who was a member of 9th Pa. Cav. that Mr. Sparks died a few months ago in Mitchel Co., N.C. Saw Capt. Jenkins who remembers nothing about the circumstances of the Horse; says there was such a man in his Co. is all he can remember about it.
[In his covering letter for the return of Benjamin's letter to him, with the statement added by Hendrix, dated January 19, 1877, John B. Brownlow wrote:
... from the end endorsement on the memorandum by Hendrix, it will be seen that Capt. Jenkins remembered that claimant was in his Company. The Regiment to which Claimant belonged was in the Brigade with which I was connected as Lieut. Col. Commanding, the 9th Tenn. Cavalry and for a while was under my command.
I personally know that many of the men of that regiment, as well as the other Tennessee regiments, furnished their own horses. I think it probable that the Claimant did, though I have no recollection of him.
[Whitfield M. Sparks had not died in 1876, of course. From the abstract of his pension application that follows, we know that he lived until September 5, 1914.
Whitfield probably never learned the reason he received no compensation from the Quarter Master General for his horse, although an undated memorandum in his File 16, 305 explains the reason:
Whitfield M. Sparks - File No. 16,305
The Claimant testifies that he was conscripted and served twelve months in the Confederate army and then deserted, and enlisted in the Union Army. He says that he turned the horse into the Regiment and a Soldier rode him... We think it likely such was the case. If so, the Statute provides for compensation on satisfactory proof before the Q. M. General. At all events, we cannot recommend payment on the evidence before us. It seems the Claimant has died since filing the claim and that no administration has been substituted....
[signed] A. O . Aldis Com.
" J. B. Hansel of
" O. Ferris Claims
[Indeed, there was no administration to be found in Mitchell County for the estate of Whitfield M. Sparks in 1877--he did not die until 1914.]
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An abstract of the "Selected Papers" from Whitfield M. Sparks's pension file follows:
On May 28, 1912, Whitfield M. Sparks, a resident of Spruce Pine, Mitchell County, North Carolina, made a declaration for pension benefits under the 1912 Act of Congress. He stated that he had enlisted in the Union Army on September 1, 1864. [The U.S. Adjutant General's Office later corrected this date to October 2, 1864.] He had enlisted as a private but was soon promoted to the rank of corporal, in Company C, 13th Regiment of Tennessee Cavalry. He stated that he had been born on April 29, 1842, in Yancey County, North Carolina; that he was then 5 feet and 10 inches tall; that he had a fair complexion, brown eyes, and dark hair; and that he had been a farmer by occupation at the time of his enlistment. He stated that he was already receiving a pension under Invalid Certificate No. 291,363 under an earlier Act of Congress but was now applying for additional benefits under the most recent Act. J. M. Peterson and Bessie Sparks witnessed him sign the declaration by making his mark; the document was notarized by L. A. Berry, notary public.
Although a copy of Whitfield M. Sparks's original application was not included in the "selected papers" from his file that we received from the National Archives, it appears that he made his first application about 1882, for on February 27, 1883, the adjutant General's Office had confirmed his military service for the Bureau of Pensions.
According to the 1883 report from the Adjutant General's Office to the Bureau of Pensions, Sparks had enlisted on October 2, 1864, in Carter County, Tennessee, as a private in Company C, 13th Regiment Tennessee Cavalry, for a period of three years, He had been mustered out with his company as a corporal on September 5, 1865, at Nashville, Tennessee. While there was no evidence in his military record of any injury or disability, the Adjutant General's Office noted that the 13th Regimental Hospital Records were not on file. A pension had been approved for Whitfield.
Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions on August 13, 1912, as follows: he stated that he had been married to Elizabeth Buchanan on November 20, 1859, in Mitchell County, North Carolina, by James Collis. It had been a first marriage for both. His wife was still living in 1912, and they had five living children: Nancy M., age 53; Jane, age 51; Delia, age 49; Eli, age 46; and Susie, age 40. Whitfield, himself, had been born in that part of Mitchell County that was then Yancey County, North Carolina. He had served in the Confederate Army for a short while. He had two identifying marks on his body, a dislocated wrist and a scar about the size of a dollar. He lived at Spruce Pine, a village in Grassy Creek Township, Mitchell County, North Carolina. He stated that he had never been known by any name other than Whitfield Sparks. J. M. Peterson and Belle Peterson signed as witnesses to Whitfield's making these statements.
Whitfield Sparks died on September 5, 1914, and was buried in the Bear Creek Baptist Church Cemetery where there is a monument for his father, Allen Sparks. There is a tradition that it had been erected by the Church long after Allen's death because he had been the first member buried there. Elizabeth Sparks, Whitfield's widow, made application for a widow's pension on October 12, 1914. She stated that she lived at Spruce Pine; that she had been married to Whitfield on November 20, 1859; and that they had had five children. W. McWilson and Retta B. Tappan witnessed her application which was sworn to before David H. Tappan, a notary public. With her application was an affidavit by Jonathan W. Duncan, 82 years of age, stating that he had known Whitfield and Elizabeth Sparks for more than sixty years; that they were never married except to each other; and that they had never been divorced.
Elizabeth Sparks died on October 20, 1918, and she was buried beside her husband in the Bear Creek Baptist Church cemetery. At the time of her death, she was receiving a pension of $25.00 per month under Widow's Certificate No. 788, 652. Eli Sparks, her and Whitfield's only son, age 54, applied for reimbursement for expenses paid during her last illness and burial. There is nothing among the "selected papers" from her pension file to reveal whether or not this claim was allowed.
[Editor's Note: Whitfield M. Sparks, born April 29, 1842, was the tenth and last child of Allen Sparks, a resident of that portion of Yancey County, North Carolina, that had been part of Burke County until Yancey's creation in 1833. Whitfield died in Grassy Creek Township, Mitchell County, North Carolina, on September 5, 1914. His death certificate, recorded in Book 1, p.393, in Mitchell County, gives the names of his parents as Allen Sparks and Susan Buchanan. On page 5691 of the present issue of the Quarterly, in a sketch of the life of Allen Sparks, we noted that the identification of Whitfield's mother as Susan Buchanan on his death certificate, in the opinion of this writer, is probably in error. In his will, see page 5692, Allen Sparks referred to his wife as "Basheba Sparks," Basheba probably being a nickname for Beersheba. When the 1850 census of Yancey County, North Carolina, was taken, she was shown as Beersheba Sparks, age 54, and as head of her household. Living with her were Allen's four youngest sons, George, Allen, Reuben, and Whitfield, whom this writer is certain were Beersheba's sons as well. Hopefully, there is a record somewhere that will provide documentary proof whether or not Beersheba was a second wife of Allen Sparks.
[Whitfield M. and Elizabeth (Buchanan) Sparks are believed to have been the parents of six children. When Whitfield responded to a questionnaire from the U.S. Bureau of Pensions in 1912, he stated that he and Elizabeth then had "five living children:" Nancy M. Sparks, age 53; Jane Sparks, age 51; Delia Sparks, age 49; Eli Sparks, age 46; and "Susie" (Susan) Sparks, age 40. Not included in this list, however, was a sixth child, Buna V. Sparks, who was identified as a daughter of Whitfield on the 1880 census, the first U.S. census to identify each household member's relationship to the household head.
[Children of Whitfield M. and Elizabeth (Buchanan) Sparks:
1. Nancy Marine Sparks, born August 11, 1860, died in Grassy Creek Township, Mitchell County, North Carolina, on April 20, 1915, age 54 years. Her father gave Nancy's age as 53 in response to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions on August 13, 1912. She had been shown as age 11 and "at home" in the household of Whitfield Sparks on the 1850 census of Snow Creek Township. She was still a member of her parents' household when the 1880 census was taken, age 21. When she died in 1915, she was buried in the Bear Creek Baptist Church Cemetery with the gravestone engraving: "Nancy, daughter of Whitfield Sparks, died April 2, 1915, age 54 years." It appears that she did not marry.
2. Jane M. Sparks, born April 11, 1862, died March 18, 1918. Her father gave her age as 51 in his sworn statement to the Bureau of Pensions on August 13, 1912. Her age on the 1870 census of Snow Creek Township, Mitchell County, North Carolina, was 9 years. She married David English on July 23, 1878, in Mitchell County - - on the marriage record preserved there, her name was spelled "Jain Sparks." Although she was shown on the 1880 census of Whitfield Sparks's household as Jane M. Sparks, age 18, "daughter," the "D. English, s.l. [i.e., son-in-law"] also living in Whitfield's household in 1880, was Jane's husband, while 1-year-old "Hanah English, g.c. [i.e. grandchild]" was doubtless Jane and David's first child. Jane's death certificate (No. 83 in Mitchell County's records of death), gives her name as "Jane English, daughter of W. M. Sparks and Elizabeth Buchanan, born on April 11, 1862, died March 18, 1918.
3. Delia Amanda (or Amanda Delia) Sparks, born ca. 1863, was called simply "Delia, age 49," by Whitfield Sparks in answering the questionnaire of the Bureau of Pensions in 1912. On both the 1870 and 1880 census of Whit field's household, however, her name appeared as "Mandy C. Sparks." We have found no other record pertaining to her.
4. Eli Stephen A. Sparks, born January 12, 1866, died January 26,1922. On the 1870 census of Snow Creek Township, Mitchell County, North Carolina, he was shown in his father's household as "Stephen Sparks," age 4. On the 1912 Questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions, Whitfield gave Ira's age as 46. On the 1880 census, however, his name was given as "Eli S. A. Sparks," age 12. He was living in Grassy Creek Township when he died. On his death certificate (Book 3, page 383), his name was given as Eli A. Sparks, age 56. He had been married to Allis Duncan in Mitchell County on December 28, 1885.
5. Susan Sparks, born in 1872, was called by her nickname "Susie" on the questionnaire submitted by Whitfield to the Bureau of Pensions in 1912. She died on November 28, 1930, in Snow Creek Township, Mitchell County, North Carolina (Book 8, p.133). It appears that she did not marry.
6. Buna V. Sparks, born in 1879. Although she was not listed among his five "living children" by Whitfield Sparks in responding to the 1912 questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions, Buna V. Sparks was shown as a daughter, age one year, of Whitfield Sparks on the 1880 census of Snow Creek Township, Mitchell County, North Carolina. We have found no other record pertaining to her.
[Your editor will welcome any additions or corrections to the record given here of Whitfield M. Sparks and his family.]
|JOSEPH SPARKS,||son of Isaac and Comfort (Shuster) Sparks, was born in Sandusky County, Ohio, on April 9, 1846. He died as a soldier in the Union Army on August 20, 1864. He did not marry. He served in Com pany B, 169th Regiment of the Ohio National Guard. File Designation: Mother's Cert. No. 244, 929.|
On July 8, 1887, Comfort Sparks, age 62, a resident of Clyde, Sandusky County, Ohio, appeared before the county clerk of Sandusky County to make application for a Mother's Pension. She stated that she was the mother of Joseph Sparks who had been a private in Company B, 169th Regiment Ohio National Guard in "the War of 1861," and who had died in the Mt. Pleasant Hospital, District of Columbia, on August 20, 1864, of typhoid fever. She stated that she had been dependent upon her son for support. She appointed Charles & William King of Washington, D. C., as her attorneys to assist her in obtaining a Mother's Pension. Comfort Sparks submitted two affidavits to support her claim. The first was a statement that she was unable to earn a living for herself and her blind husband. Her second affidavit stated that at the time of her son's death in 1864, the members of her family had been as follows:
Isaac Sparks, husband, age 44.
Mary Sparks, daughter, age 16, now  dead.
John Sparks, son, age 14.
Jane Sparks, daughter, age 11, now  dead.
W. C. Cook Sparks, son, age 8.
Francis Sparks, age 8 months, now  dead.
Comfort Sparks also stated that her deceased son, Joseph Sparks, had been her "main dependence" from the time he had been ten years old until he died in 1864.
On July 30, 1887, John Colvin, age 55, a resident of Clyde, Ohio, signed an affidavit that Joseph Sparks was never married and left no widow or children. He added that in June 1863, Joseph Sparks had worked two weeks for him on his farm at the rate of fifty cents per day. Again, in April 1864, Sparks had worked for him for one month for $14.50 which Colvin paid to Joseph's father, Isaac Sparks. Colvin stated further that Isaac Sparks, father of Joseph Sparks, had become blind about 1867 and had been able to contribute little for the support of his family.
A similar affidavit was made by Robert Jackson, age 75, of York Township, Sandusky County, Ohio. He stated that he had become acquainted with Joseph Sparks in 1855 when they both lived in York Township. From that time until Joseph moved to Clyde in 1859, his work on a farm had been his main occupation, worth at least $10.00 per month. Jackson stated that Sparks gave money to his mother, Comfort Sparks, toward the family's support.
On August 11, 1887, John McMartin, age 58, a resident of Clyde, Sandusky County, testified that he had been well acquainted with Isaac Sparks, father of Joseph, and that he lived only about fifty rods from him. He added that Isaac Sparks's health had failed to the degree that he was unable to perform any manual labor. Furthermore, his eyesight had failed so rapidly that by 1867 he had become nearly blind.
Mary Mallernee, age 51, and Jonathan Adare, age 62, both residents of Clyde, made similar affidavits supporting the application of Comfort Sparks.
Comfort Sparks's application was approved and the Bureau of Pensions issued Mother's Certificate No. 244,929 to Comfort Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension rolls.
On April 16, 1912, the Commissioner of Pensions was informed that, because of old age, Comfort Sparks had been adjudged to be incapable of managing her affairs, and the Probate Court of Sandusky County, Ohio, had appointed Jesse R. Beard as her guardian.
On January 10, 1920, the Clerk of the Probate Court of Sandusky County, Ohio, responded to a query from the Bureau of Pensions reporting that Jesse R. Beard had filed his final account as guardian of Comfort Sparks on March 6, 1916; she had died on January 26,1916. The Bureau of Pensions issued a "Pensioner Dropped" order on January 19, 1920, for Comfort Sparks. When she had died at the advanced age of 91 years, she was receiving a pension of $12.00 per month.
[Editor's Note: As stated in the application for a "Mother's Pension" by Comfort Sparks based on the Civil War service and death of her son, Joseph Sparks, we know that Joseph had not married. His father, Isaac Sparks, had been in poor health even before Joseph had entered military service. The fact that Comfort did not apply for a Mother's Pension until July 1887, suggests that it was about then that Isaac Sparks died.
[In the Quarterly of December 1964, Whole No. 48, beginning on page 865, we published an article on the branch of the Sparks family to which Joseph Sparks belonged. Isaac Sparks, Joseph's father, had been born in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, on February 16, 1820. He had been married in October 1844 to Comfort Shuster; she had been born on March 29, 1825.
[Isaac Sparks's father, Ephraim Lloyd Sparks, a native of New Jersey, had been born January 1, 1790. As a young man, Ephraim had moved from New Jersey to Fayette County, Pennsylvania, where he had been married on August 10, 1813, to Sarah Cook, a daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth (Cope) Cook. The Cope and Cook families were Quakers.
[When Ephraim Sparks, with his older brother, John Sparks, came to Ohio about 1817, they had settled in that part of Tuscarawas County that was considered to be the western frontier, now Warren Township. Sarah (Cook) Sparks, Ephraim's first wife, died in 1828 leaving seven children. Ephraim Sparks was married, second, to a widow, Mrs. Comfort Lappin, who thereafter bore five Sparks children. Comfort Sparks died in Tuscarawas County on March 24, 1871.]