Whole Number 200
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, have been selected because they are the papers considered to be most significant from a genealogical point of view. In most in- stances, the papers in the "non-selected files" are of a rather routine nature, but sometimes they can be quite helpful, especially where the veteran or his widow had difficulty proving his 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.
|Q.1 JAMES W. SPARKS,||son of Jesse B. and Sarah (Falkner) Sparks, was born ca. 1847 in Carter County, Kentucky. He died while in the military service on October 23, 1863. He served in Company A, 45th Regiment Kentucky Mounted Infantry. File Designation: Father's Certificate No. 230,841.|
On March 12, 1880, Jesse B. Sparks, age 55, appeared before Thomas A. Mitchell, Clerk of the Lewis County, Kentucky Court, to apply for a pension as a dependent father. He stated that his son, James W. Sparks, had enlisted in July 1863 at Clarksburg, Kentucky, in Company A, 45th Regiment Kentucky Infantry and had died while in the service on October 23, 1863, at Ashland, Kentucky. Sparks stated that he had been married to his son's mother on May 2, 1851, in Carter County, Kentucky. She had died in Greenup County, Kentucky, about May 1, 1871. His son had left no widow nor any children, but he had left the following brothers and sisters who were under the age of sixteen years when James W. Sparks had died:
Q.2 Sarah Elizabeth Sparks, born April 20, 1849
Q.3 Mary Ann Sparks, born May 29,1851
Q.4 John Mitten Sparks, born February 29, 1856
Q.5 Jesse Albert Sparks, born May 20, 1858
Q.6 Francis Marion Sparks, born March 27, 1860
Q.7 Alphius Devire Sparks, born February 10,1863
Jesse Sparks stated that he had been greatly dependent upon his son, James W. Sparks, for support. He appointed N. W. Fitzgerald of Washington, D.C., as his attorney to assist him in obtaining a pension. He gave his address as Vanceburg, Kentucky, in care of James Nalen of the same place. William McGlothlin, Samuel A. Agnew, and Michael Moore witnessed him make his mark on his application which was sworn to before Thomas A. Mitchell, Clerk.
The War Department confirmed the military service of James W. Sparks to the Bureau of Pensions on October 30, 1880. He had been enrolled on July 6, 1863, at Clarksburg, Kentucky, in Company A, 45th Regiment Kentucky Mounted Infantry on July 6, 1863, at Clarksburg, Kentucky, to serve for one year. He died in the General Hospital at Ashland, Kentucky, on October 23, 1863, of pneumonia.
Apparently the Bureau of Pensions required further proof of Jesse B. Sparks's dependency upon his son for during the summer of 1883, three "Neighbor's Affidavits" were filed. The first was a joint affidavit made by George W. Sparks, Sr. and his son, George W., Jr., on July 16, 1883. They stated that James W. Sparks had never been married and that he had "done hired work" to help support his father; and that Jesse B. Sparks owned no property, nor could he support his family because of a crippled ankle. This affidavit was sworn to before R. D. Wilson, Clerk of the Lewis County, Kentucky, Court.
The second affidavit was made jointly by Lewis and Sarah Jane Landes of Greenup County, Kentucky, on August 12, 1883. They stated that they were well acquainted with Jesse B. Sparks and his wife, Sarah Sparks, who had been the mother of James W. Sparks. They had been present on May 18,1871, when she had died. Henry McKee and Harriet Horner witnessed them make their marks on this affidavit, that was then sworn to before W. McKee, a notary public.
The third affidavit was made by A. F. Moore of Quincey, Kentucky, on August 25, 1883. He testified that James W. Sparks had worked for him for five years prior to entering the military service, and that Jesse B. Sparks, James's father, had drawn nearly all of the wages in meat and meal for his support. The affidavit was sworn to before R. D. Wilson, Clerk of the Lewis County Court.
On March 14,1884, the War Department again responded to a request from the Bureau of Pensions for a military history of James W. Sparks. The response was as follows: "James --Sparks was enrolled on July 6, 1861, at Clarksburg, KY. in Co. A, 45 Regt. KY. Inf. and reported on that date, 18 years of age. No other description shown on rolls. Enlistment paper not on file. No Regt. Des. Book on file. Final Statement sigd. by Co. Comdr. shows him born in Carter Co., KY; age 18 years; 5 ft. 6 in. high. Dark complexion, Black hair, Black eyes. by occupation a farmer. Died in Genl. Hosp., Ashland, KY, October 23, 1863 of Pneumonia."
On October 18, 1884, Dr. Charles F. Maddy made a supporting affidavit for the claim of Jesse B. Sparks. He stated that he was practicing medicine in the summer of 1863 and knew that Jesse B. Sparks was a farm laborer who depend- ed upon whatever daily work he could get to maintain his family. Jesse had a son, James W. Sparks, who was a well developed, manly boy about 16 years old who also worked with his father to help support the family. This son had enlisted in the U.S. Army and had died in October 1863, and his remains were brought home under a U.S. Government escort and buried.
Dr. Maddy stated that he had continued to be the family physician to the family of Jesse B. Sparks even though he knew that Sparks did not have the means to pay for his services because of his destitute condition. Maddy added that after Sparks was deprived of the wages of his son, he doubted that he, Jesse B. Sparks, had an income of over $12.00 per month. With this limited income, he had to support seven children younger than his son, James W. Sparks.
Apparently it was about this time that the Bureau of Pensions issued Father's Certificate No. 230,841 to Jesse B. Sparks, and he was placed on the pension rolls.
On November 15, 1886, Dr. Maddy made another affidavit in which he stated that he had treated Sarah Sparks, mother of James w. Sparks, several years before her death, and she was under his care on May 18, 1871. This statement was sworn to before Thomas A. Mitchell, Clerk of Lewis County Court.
On November 13, 1890, Jesse B. Sparks made a request for increased pension benefits under an 1890 Act of Congress. He was now 65 years of age and a resident of Clay City, Powell County, Kentucky. 0. A. Lyle and Joe Johnson, both of Clay City, witnessed him make his mark; and the application was sworn to before Grant Green, Jr., a notary public of Powell County.
The last document included (in chronological order) in the "Selected Papers" from this pension file obtained from the National Archives, is a joint affidavit made by P. E. Hale and Joe Johnson, both of Clay City, Kentucky, supporting the provision of an increase in the pension of Jesse B. Sparks. They stated that Sparks was not able to work because of his advanced age and also because of a sore ankle. This affidavit was sworn to before James W. Liny, Judge of Clay City Court. Nothing was included among the "Selected Papers" from this file to indicate what action may have been taken by the Bureau of Pensions on this request.
[Editor's Note: The late Paul E. Sparks prepared the above abstract before his death in 1999. He also prepared the following notes to accompany the abstract.
[I am not sure whether Jesse B. Sparks belongs to the Lewis County, Kentucky, branch of Sparkses, or to the Carter County, Kentucky, branch. There is no doubt, however, that he is the Jesse B. Sparks who married Sarah Falkner on May 2, 1851, in Carter County. (See page 722 of the March 1960 issue of the SPARKS Quarterly, Whole No.41, for a list of marriage bonds for persons named Sparks between 1843 and 1876. ) There is also no doubt that he and his family were listed on the 1860 census of Lewis County, Household No. 917, as follows:
|Sparks, Jesse B.||33||Farm laborer||Kentucky|
|" James W.||12||"|
|" Sarah E.||10||"|
|" John M.||5||"|
|" Francis M.||1/12||"|
[Now look at the dates of birth of these children as given in the pension application. Note that James W. and Sarah E. were born prior to Jesse's marriage to Sarah Falkner, and that Mary A. was born just four weeks after the marriage. This is surely a puzzle, and I can offer no plausible explanation. Throughout the "Selected Papers" from this pension file, affidavits contain the statement that Sarah Sparks was the mother of James W. Sparks.]
son of Stephen and Mary ["Polly"] (Gobble) Sparks, was born in 1833 (possibly 1832) in Orange County. Indiana. He died at Abbey Dell. Indiana. on September 10.1892. On December 5. 1852. He married Eleanor A. Morris. He served in Company B. 24th Regiment Indiana Infantry. File Designations: Inv.Cert. No. 320.342; Wid.Cert. No. 379,635.
Calvin Sparks, whose full name was thought by one descendant to have been James Calvin Sparks, although in all official records he was called simply Calvin, applied for a Civil War Invalid Pension on July 30, 1885. He stated in his application that he was then 52 years of age and a resident of Lick Creek, Orange County, Indiana. He stated that he had been enrolled on July 9, 1861, in Company B, 24th Regiment Indiana Volunteers commanded by Felix Wellman, and that he had been discharged at Algiers, Louisiana, on November 15, 1865. He added that at his enrollment he had been 5 feet, 10 inches in height, with dark hair, dark eyes, and a dark complexion.
On or about September 30, 1864, at Morganza Bend, Louisiana, he had contract- ed acute gastritis which had resulted in dyspepsia of the bowels. He had been treated by the regimental surgeon, Dr. Gray, who was now dead. He appointed Wm. B. Gilliard of Youngs Creek, Indiana, as his attorney to assist him in obtaining a pension. Alexander Marvin Alderson and Jonathan P. Rominger witnessed his signature, and his application was sworn to before William F. Hicks, Clerk of Orange County Circuit Court .
On December 15, 1885, the War Department confirmed Sparks's service. He had been enrolled on July 21, 1861, at Vincennes, Indiana, and assigned to Company B, 24th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers, for a period of three years. He had been present for duty except for a few absences when he had been on a hospital detail at Tipton, Missouri. He had reenlisted as a veteran volunteer on December 31, 1863, and had served as a hospital steward until he was mustered out with Field & Staff on November 15, 1865, at Galveston, Texas.
The Bureau of Pensions issued Invalid Certificate No. 320,342 to Calvin Sparks, and he was placed on the pension rolls. He died September 10, 1892, at Abbey Dell, Indiana.
On September 20, 1892, Eleanor M. Sparks, age 62, widow of Calvin Sparks, applied for a widow's pension. She stated that she and Calvin Sparks had been married on December 5,1852, at Paoli, the county seat of Orange County, Indiana, by Thomas Hunt, a justice of the peace. It was the first marriage for both. She stated that they had no children under the age of sixteen in 1892 when she made her application. She appointed William W. Dudley, Washington, D. C., as her attorney to assist her in obtaining a widow's pension. Mary M . Munger and Nora Coakley witnessed her signature, and her application was sworn to before Charles P. Munger, a justice of the peace.
A week later, Dr. C. L. Boyd, Secretary of the Orange County, Indiana, Board of Health, filed a "Death Report" for Calvin Sparks with the Bureau of Pensions. He stated that Calvin Sparks had died September 10, 1892 of chronic diarrhea and disease of the stomach and bowels, a condition he had had since the Civil War. He added that Calvin Sparks had been born in Orange County and was a son of Stephen Sparks and (Gobble) Sparks. John A. Lingle, Circuit Court Clerk, notarized the report. Lingle also sent the Bureau of Pensions a copy of the marriage record of Calvin Sparks and Ellenor Morris showing that they had been married on December 5, 1852.
The Bureau of Pensions issued Widow's Certificate No. 379,635 to Eleanor M. Sparks, and she was placed on the pension rolls. No record of the amount of her pension nor the length of time she received it was included in the "selected papers" provided by the National Archives from this file. (The name Eleanor was spelled in a variety of ways among the records quoted in this article.)
[Editor's Note: As seen above, in his application for a pension on July 30, 1885, Calvin Sparks gave his age as 52. His year of birth must, therefore, have been 1833, or possibly, 1832. He died in Orange County, Indiana, on September 10, 1892, according to the "death report" filed with the Bureau of Pensions by Dr. C. L. Boyd, Secretary of the Orange County, Indiana, Board of Health. Besides his giving notice that the payment of Calvin's pension should now (1892) cease, Dr. Boyd also stated that Calvin had been a son of Stephen Sparks; also that he had been born in Orange County, Indiana, and that the maiden name of his mother had been Gobble. This information regarding Calvin's parentage may have been given to Dr. Boyd by Calvin's widow who, perhaps, could not recall the mother's first name.
[It was ten days following the death of Calvin Sparks that his widow applied for her own pension. Therein she stated that her and Calvin's marriage had been the first for each of them. Among the Orange County, Indiana, marriage bonds is that for Calvin R. Sparks and Ellen A. Norris dated December 2, 1852, recorded in Book C3, page 450. No other record has been found with "R" as a middle initial for Calvin, and we can only assume that Ellen was a nickname for Eleanor. They were actually married three days after the bond was obtained.
[Two earlier Sparks marriage bonds had been recorded in Orange County. A bond for a Thomas Sparks to marry Eveline Bledsoe was issued on September 30, 1831 (Book C2, p.38) and Robert Sparks to marry Louisa Prewitt dated April 17, 1847 (Book C3, p.120). Whether there was any family connection among Thomas, Robert, and Calvin Sparks is not known.
[When the 1850 census of Orange County was taken, Calvin Sparks was shown as living in Stephen Sparks's household in Greenfield Township, age 17. He was listed as a farmer and a native of Indiana. Stephen Sparks, his father, was shown as 44 years of age, a farmer, and a native of Virginia. Census takers in 1850 were instructed to record ages as they had existed on June 1, 1850, ~, the beginning of the 1850-51 "census year." This would place the year of birth for Stephen Sparks as 1806.
[Polly Sparks, Calvin's mother, was shown on the 1850 census as 54 years old (thus born in 1796); her place of birth was given as North Carolina. Also shown in the household of Stephen and Polly Sparks in 1850 were Caroline Sparks, age 17 (which was also Calvin's age), and Laura Sparks, age 15, both natives of Indiana. (On page 467 of the March 1960 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No.29, where we published this census record copied by Paul E. Sparks, we reported that the name of the 15-year-old appeared to be "Thursa Sparks." We have since found that her name was actually "Laura.") Also living in Stephen Sparks's household in 1850 was a 2-year-old boy named James Goble (or Gobble), also shown as a native of Indiana. He must have been a relative of Polly (Gobble) Sparks, Stephen's wife.
[A decade later, when the 1860 census was taken in Orange County, Indiana, Calvin Sparks, age 27, was shown as head of a household in French Lick Township. He was a farmer with real estate valued at $100; he was a native of Indiana. His wife, Eleanor Sparks, was shown as age 29 (thus born in or about 1831) and, also, a native of Indiana. Their three children at that time were Edgar Sparks, age 7; Mary A. Sparks, age 5; and Elmore D. Sparks, age 2, all born in Indiana. Edgar and Mary A. were shown as having attended school in the previous year. Also living in Calvin's house- hold in 1860 was 12-year-old Rachel Morris, doubtless a relative of Eleanor whose maiden name had been Morris.
[On the 1870 census for Orange County, Calvin's household was listed there as follows, in French Lick Township :
|123-123||Sparks, Calvin||38||Indiana||School teacher|
|" Ellen||40||"||Keeping house|
|" Edgar D.||17||"||Farm laborer|
|" Mary A.||15||"||At school|
|" Elwood D||12||"||Farm laborer|
|" Alonzo D.||9||"|
|Dixon, Mary S.||5||"|
|Sparks, Calvin E.||4||"|
|" Ruth E.||11/12||"|
[It is interesting to note that Calvin's wife in the above census record was called "Ellen. " This was the same nickname given for her on Calvin's and her marriage bond in 1852. Who Mary S. Dixon in their household in 1870 was, we have no clue.
[We know from his pension papers abstracted earlier, that Calvin Sparks was still a resident of Lick Creek Township in Orange County, Indiana, in 1885, and it was there, apparently, where he died September 10, 1892. Our proof that Stephen Sparks was the father of Calvin Sparks is found in the record supplied to the Bureau of Pensions by Dr. C. L. Boyd, as well as in the census records of Orange County, Indiana.
[While a thorough search among Orange County, Indiana, records might reveal more regarding Stephen Sparks, we know from census records that he was living there at the time the 1830 census was taken. Only heads of households were recorded by name on any U.S. census prior to 1850, with the ages of members as well as the head shown in categories. Stephen's household in 1830 was comprised of one male (himself) age 20 to 30; one female, doubtless his wife, age 30 to 40; 2 boys and one girl between 10 and 15; one girl between 5 and 10; and one boy under 5. We have reference to a deed preserved in Orange County by which Stephen Sparks and his wife, Polly Sparks, sold on September 11, 1839, 10 acres of land to Jonathan Lomax for $12.50; Stephen signed the deed while Polly made her mark. The witnesses were Alfred Lomax and Martin A. Wood. Polly, of course, is a common nickname for Mary. Her maiden name was Gobble (or Goble); it appears that she died prior to 1856.
[On November 16, 1856, Stephen Sparks was married, second, to Charlotte Gobble in Orange County, ndiana, as recorded in Book C4, page 142. She may have been a widow. [Your editor would be pleased to hear from any reader who may have further information on this Stephen Sparks and his family.]
|126.96.36.199 JOHN WILLIAM SPARKS,||son of Samuel and Letty (Bonney) Sparks, was born November 13, 1841, in Estill County, Kentucky. He died September 24, 1924. He married (first) Nancy Berry and (second) to Mary Mill (Vaughn) Horn. He served in Company A, 14th Regiment Kentucky Cavalry. File Designations: Inv.Cert.No. 454.593; Wid. Cert. No. 956,336.|
On January 16, 1882, John W, Sparks, age 37, a resident of Woodwards Creek, Estill County, Kentucky, applied for an invalid pension. He stated that he had entered the Union Army on August 15, 1862, as a private in Company A, 14th Regiment Kentucky Cavalry Volunteers, commanded by Capt. F. Finnel, and had been discharged at Maysville, Kentucky, on September 16, 1863. At that time he was 5 feet, 7 inches in height; he had a fair complexion, black hair, and dark eyes; and he was a blacksmith. On June 13, 1863, at Mud Lick Springs, Kentucky, his horse fell on him and injured his left leg, and while recovering from the accident, he had taken a cold that settled in his eyes, and from this he had lost the sight of his left eye. He had been treated in the hospital at Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. Since leaving the service, he had lived in Arkansas and Kentucky. He appointed George E. Lemon, Washington, D.C., as his attorney to assist him in obtaining a pension. John S. Williams witnessed his signature.
The War Department confirmed Sparks's military service on May 8, 1882. He was enrolled in Company A, 14th Regiment Kentucky Cavalry on August 15, 1862, and he was mustered out with his company on September 16, 1863. He was captured at Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, on March 22, 1863, and was paroled and sent to Camp Dennison, Ohio. He rejoined his unit on April 30, 1863.
On May 13, 1889, William D. Rucker made an affidavit to support Sparks's claim. He stated that he had been a comrade of Sparks and that at Mud Lick Springs in Bath County, Kentucky, in June 1863, he had seen Sparks's horse fall on him and hurt his leg. Sparks had been sent to the hospital at Mt. Sterling, where he had remained for several weeks. While there, Sparks had taken a cold that settled in his eyes so severely that he was now nearly blind . Rucker stated that he had been an eyewitness to all he had stated. William Benton, a justice of the peace, notarized Rucker's affidavit.
Invalid Certificate No. 454,583 was issued to John W. Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension rolls. On May 4, 1898, he answered a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions in which he stated that he had been married to Mary Mill Vaughn on June 20, 1893, in Madison County, Kentucky, by the Rev. Simmons of the Methodist Church. It had been his second marriage, his first wife,Nancy Berry, having died May 29, 1891. He had three children by his second wife at that time: Julia Sparks, born May 14, 1894; Samuel Sparks, born November 7, 1895; and Gertrude Sparks, born January 20, 1898.
On September 13, 1920, John W. Sparks, age 78, a resident of Iron Mound, Kentucky, applied for increased pension benefits under the 1920 Act of Congress, claiming that, because of his blindness, he required someone to wait on him. He stated that he had been born in Estill County, Kentucky, on November 13, 1841. V. R. Combs and M. B. Fix witnessed him make his mark.
A month later, Sparks answered another questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions. He stated that he had been married to Nancy Berry on September 23, 1868, in Clark County, Kentucky. She had died in 1891, and he had then been married to Mary M. (Vaughn) Horn. She had been divorced from William C. Horn about September 1890. Sparks stated that he had had six children by his first wife and five by his second, as follows:
Children by first wife :
188.8.131.52.1 Maud Sparks, born March 27,1870
184.108.40.206.2 Emma Sparks, born October 21,1873
220.127.116.11.3 Ellen Sparks, born May 13, 1875
18.104.22.168.4 Nelly Sparks, born July 10, 1877
22.214.171.124.5 Babe Sparks [son], born in October 1879
126.96.36.199.6 Lucy Sparks, born June 14, 1883
Children born by second wife :
188.8.131.52.7 Julia Sparks, born May 14, 1894
184.108.40.206.8 Samuel Sparks, born November 7,1896
220.127.116.11.9 Gertrude Sparks, born January 20, 1898
18.104.22.168.10 Steven Sparks, born in February 1900
22.214.171.124.11 Vernetta Sparks, born 2 Jan1907
John W. Sparks died September 24,1924, at Palmer, Kentucky. According to his death certificate, he had been born on November 13, 1841; he was a son of Samuel and Lettie (Bonney) Sparks. Three weeks later, his widow, Mary M. Sparks, made application for a widow's pension. She stated that she had been born on August 27,1869, and had been married to Sparks on June 20,1893, under the name of Mary Horn. She stated that she had been divorced from William C. Horn on December 4,1890. She added that her son, Samuel Sparks, had served in the U.S. Army from August 31, 1918, until November 14, 1918. Mariah Matherly of Log Lick, Kentucky, and Caroline Eubank of Ravenna, Kentucky, witnessed her signature. Her application was sworn to before John M. Matherly, a notary public.
On December 11, 1924, A. D. Powell, Clerk of the Estill County Circuit Court, sent a copy of the divorce judgment by which the marriage of William C. Horn and Mary M. Horn had been dissolved on December 4, 1890. W. B. Turley, Clerk of the Madison County, Kentucky, Court, sent to the Pension Bureau a copy of the marriage record of John W. Sparks and Mary M. Horn. They had been married on June 20,1893, at Steve Vaughn's house by J. W. Simmons.
Widow's Certificate No. 956,336 was issued to Mary M. Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension rolls. On May 15, 1937, J. H. Matherly, of Log Lick, Kentucky, wrote to the Veterans Administration and asked whether a pension could be granted to Miss Maud Sparks, the invalid daughter of John W. Sparks. He stated that Miss Sparks was 67 years of age and had been an invalid (deaf and dumb) for many years. Nothing was included with the "selected papers" from this pension file obtained from the National Archives to indicate whether or not this query was answered.
[Editor's Note: A brief reference to 126.96.36.199 John W. Sparks's military service was mentioned in the article (page 1632) entitled "44. Isaac Sparks, Sr., of Estill County, Kentucky, born ca. 1740, Died about 1815, and His Descendants" by Paul E. Sparks in the Quarterly of March 1974, Whole No.85, pp.1619-1637. John William Sparks was a great-grandson of Isaac Sparks, Sr. His grandfather was Isaac's son, 44.2 William Sparks (ca.1770-ca.1820) whose wife's name was Polly Rogers. Their son, 44.2.3 Samuel Sparks (born ca.1810) who was married in Estill County, Kentucky, in 1837 to Letty Bonney (daughter of John D. and Lucy Jane Bonney) was the father of 188.8.131.52 John William Sparks (1841-1924), pensioner of the Civil War. ]
son of Robert W. and Amy (--?--) Sparks, was born in Gloucester County, New Jersey, about 1835. (He lived later in Camden County, New Jersey, which was created in 1844 from the northeast half of Gloucester County.) Robert Sparks married Beulah W. Stow in Camden County on April or May 20,1854. He served in Company H, loth Regiment of New Jersey Infantry. File Designations: Inv.Cert. No. 948,581 and Wid.Cert. No.506, 399.
On January 24, 1892, Robert Sparks, age 56, a resident of Camden, New Jersey, applied for an invalid pension based on his service in the Union Army in the Civil War. He stated that he had been enrolled on October 21, 1861, in Company H of the 10th Regiment New Jersey Infantry and had served until he had been discharged on July 1, 1865, at Halls Hill, Virginia. He was now unable to earn his support by manual labor because of a lame back and the effect of a partial sunstroke he had received while in the service. He appointed James Tanner of Washington, D. C., as his attorney to assist him in obtaining a pension. William C. Mansell and W. Frank Gaul witnessed him make his mark.
The War Department informed the Bureau of Pensions on September 26, 1896, that Robert Sparks had served in Company G, 1st Regiment Delaware Infantry from May 7, 1861, until August 16, 1861, but that no other records could be found for that military organization. This statement of the War Department is quite confusing; Robert Sparks seemed certain that he had served in a New Jersey regiment. The War Department appears to have confused him with a different Robert Sparks.
On September 14, 1896, Robert Sparks testified that he was unable to furnish proof concerning his back injury, which had occurred "in front of Petersburg," because he could not find any members of his military organization.
Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions on September 27, 1897. He stated that he had been married to Beulah M. Stow on May 20, 1854, at Camden, New Jersey, by a minister named Goodwin. He and his wife had one child, John W. Sparks, born on September 22, 1855.
Invalid Certificate No. 948,501 was issued to Robert Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll. On December 12, 1899, Dr. E. R. Tullis, age 61, a resident of Camden, swore that he was the family physician of Robert Sparks and that Sparks was suffering from softening of the brain and a general breaking down of his entire system. He was no longer able to do any work.
On May 18, 1900, William H. Auble made an affidavit that he knew Robert Sparks and his wife quite well; that Sparks was now confined to his bed, and it appear- ed that his death was only a question of a few days. He added that Mrs. Sparks had been making a living by selling provisions from a stall, but on May 13th a fire had swept everything away from her. She had no insurance.
Robert Sparks died a few days later on or about May 30, 1900, and on June 7th, his widow, Beulah M. Sparks, applied for a widow's pension. She was 63 years of age. She stated that she had been married to Robert Sparks on May 20,1854, by the Rev. Thomas Goodwin, a Baptist clergyman. It was the first marriage for both. Martha A. Roseman and Caroline Harris witnessed her signature.
A copy of the marriage record of Robert Sparks and Beulah M. Stow was sent to the Pension Office showing that they had been married on April 20, 1854, Sparks had been 21 years of age and a son of Robert Sparks. Miss Stow had been 18 and a daughter of Mary Stow. It had been the first marriage for both.
Beulah Sparks made an affidavit on September 27, 1900, to support her application for a widow's pension. She stated that she owned her house at 110 South 4th St., Camden, New Jersey. The house had been bought for $1400 from the Franklin Building & Loan Company, but there was still a mortgage of $600 on it. Her husband had an insurance policy with Prudential Insurance Co. which had paid $600 at his death, but the money went for his funeral and other expenses of his last illness.
Widow Certificate No. 506,399 was issued to Beulah M. Sparks, and she was placed upon the pension roll. She applied for an increase in her pension on March 16, 1904, stating that her husband had been born in Gloucester County, New Jersey. At the time of his enlistment, he had been 5 feet, 4 inches tall; he had a light complexion, hazel eyes, and dark hair; and he was a carpenter . Susan S. Ware and William L. Skinner attested to Beulah's declaration.
When Beulah M. Sparks died July 8, 1913, she was receiving a pension of $12 per month.
[Editor's Note: When the 1850 census was taken of Camden County, New Jersey, Robert Sparks, age 14, was living in the household of his parents, Robert W. and Amy Sparks, ages 58 and 57 years, respectively. They were shown as natives of New Jersey. They then lived in the Middle Ward of the City of Camden. Their household was recorded as follows by the census taker in 1850:
City of Camden, New Jersey, Middle Ward
|Sparks, Robert W.||58||New Jersey|
There was one other Sparks household shown the Middle Ward of Camden County:
|Sparks, Abner||58||New Jersey|
[The son of Abner and Hope Sparks, Charles Sparks, shown on the above census as age 6 in 1850, also served in the Union Army and received a pension that was abstracted in the Quarterly of December 1984, Whole No.128, pp. 2703-04. Whether there was a family relationship between these two Sparks families, we do not know. There were a number of other Sparks households, in addition to those shown above on the 1850 census of Camden County, New Jersey. See the Quarterly of September 1982, Whole No.119, for a record of all Sparkses living in New Jersey when the 1850 census was taken. ]
|EDWARD SPARKS,||was born ca. 1831 in Scott County, Indiana. He served in Company H, 28th Regiment Illinois Infantry. File Designation: Inv.Appl. No.1875 .|
On July 25, 1862, Edward Sparks was issued a "Certificate of Disability for Discharge" from the Union Army at St. Louis, Missouri. He had been enrolled on August 8, 1861, at Vermont in Fulton County, Illinois, in Company H, 28th Regiment Illinois Infantry, commanded by Capt. H. Rhodes. He had been born in Scott County, Indiana; he was 31 years of age, 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a dark complexion, blue eyes, and black hair, and he was a cooper by occupation. He had received a gunshot wound which had fractured his left arm causing a loss of the rotary motion of his forearm. This had rendered him unfit for military duty. The "Certificate of Disability" was signed by Levi Munn, Colonel, Commanding St. Louis Division.
Six days after his discharge, Edward Sparks applied for an invalid pension. He was 31 years of age and a resident of Schuyler County, Illinois. He stated in his application that he had enlisted in Company H, 28th Regiment Illinois Infantry, and had been discharged on July 25, 1862. While in the service, on April 6, 1862, he had received a gunshot wound at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee.
The ball had entered the left side of his left arm below the elbow and had shattered the bone badly. Because of this wound, he was now "rendered totally useless of means to earn a living."
Edward Sparks's application was sworn to before Edward Berthoff, deputy for Dewitt C. Johnston, Clerk of the Schuyler County Court. John Tucker and Lewis H. Icenagle, residents of Bainbridge, Illinois, witnessed him make his mark. Sparks named L. C. Topping as his attorney to assist him in obtaining a pension.
On December 15, 1863, in response to a request from the Bureau of Pensions, the Adjutant General's Office sent the Bureau a record of Sparks's military service. His name was on the muster roll of Company H, 28th Regiment Illinois Volunteers for March/ April, 1862. "Pvt. Edward Sparks was reported as Absent at hospital of wounds received in the Battle of Pittsburg, Tenn., on April 6, 1862; nature of wound not stated."
The only other document included in the pension file of Edward Sparks is the cover page of his application. Following is a transcription:
No.1875 Act 14 July 1862 Vol. 3, Page 533 Edward Sparks War of 1861 Schuyler Co., Illinois Private Co. H, 28th Regt. Illinois Volunteers
Suspended 25 Jan/65 Rejected Mch.26/68 C. D. Gould Examiner
Avare [?] August 6, 1862 Received August 6, 1862
L. C. Topping
St. Louis, Missouri
Stamped across the upper half of this cover page is the word ABANDONED
[Editor's Note: An index to Illinois soldiers in the Civil War gives a middle initial for Edward Sparks: Edward B. Sparks.
[No other record has been found pertaining to Edward Sparks. It appears that no pension was ever granted to him, but his application was not officially "Rejected" until March 26,1868. The word "Abandoned" was used by the Bureau of Pensions to mean that correspondence with an applicant had ceased without action. After 5 or 6 years had passed in this case, the application of Edward Sparks finally rejected. It would seem most probable that Edward had died after making his application, but that the Bureau had not been informed. [Any reader having knowledge of this Edward Sparks is urged to write to the Editor.]