COLEMAN SPARKS, was born about 1826 in South Carolina and he died on June 24, 1663 while in the military service of the United States. He married Louisa E. Goings (or Goins) on April 1, 1849 in Calhoun County, Georgia. He served in Co. D, 1st Regt. Alabama Cavalry. File Designations: Wid. Cert. No. 162,128; Minor Cert. No. 260,670.
On February 3, 1871, Louisa E. Sparks, age 38, a resident of Tuscumbia, Alabama, made application for a widow’s pension. She stated that she was the widow of Coleman Sparks who was a private in Company D, 1st Regiment Alabama Cavalry Volunteers and who had died on April 25, 1863, at Glendale, Mississippi, of chronic diarrhea. She and Coleman Sparks had been married on April 1, 1849, at Calhoun, Georgia, by Esquire Collier, a justice of the peace. Her maiden name was Louisa E. Goings. Children of this marriage who were under the age of sixteen were: Joseph Monroe Sparks, born October 11, 1855; Sarah Delia Sparks, born November 20, 1857; Sue Anna Sparks, born April 11, 1860; and Arty Missa and Julia Ann Sparks, twins, born February 15, 1862. A. L. Moody and William Dillard witnessed her make her mark and the application was sworn to before S. S. Anderson, Judge of the Franklin County Probate Court.
The military service of Coleman Sparks was confirmed by the War Department on July 11, 1871. He had enrolled on March 13, 1863, at Glendale, Mississippi., in Company D, 1st Regiment Alabama Cavalry for a period of three years. He was present for duty until he died in the hospital at Glendale on June 24, 1863, of chronic diarrhea.
On July 13, 1871, Louisa Sparks brought her family Bible to W. L. Gray, a justice of the peace, to prove the birth dates of her children. The Bible entries were as follows:
Joseph Sparks was born Jan. the 8th, 1850 died at about 9 months of age
General Washington Sparks was born Oct. 20, 1851
William Thomas Sparks was born Dec. 6, 1853
Joseph Monroe Sparks was born Oct. 17, 1855 Sarah Deliar Sparks was born Nov. 20, 1857
Suanner Sparks was born Apr. 17, 1860
Arty Misser Sparks
Julia Ann Sparks twins were born Feb. 15, 1862
James Osborn and Calvin Dillard witnessed Louisa Sparks make her mark and Abner J. Ligom, Judge of the Colbert County, Alabama, Probate Court, certified that J. L. Gray was a justice of the peace.
On September 30, 1871, Justice of the Peace‘ W. L. Gray made an affidavit that he had seen a family record of Louisa E. Sparks vrhich showed that she and Coleman Sparks were married on April 1, 1849.
A year later, on October 17, 1872, Sarah E. Goings went before Judge Abner W. Ligon and testified that she was the mother of Louisa E. Goings and that she was present in Georgia when Coleman Sparks and Louisa E. were married. She stated: “They started from home to be married and returned in a short time as man & wife, and I know they lived together as man & wife until the death of Coleman Sparks, and had a family of children, and that she never married since. I have made efforts & Louisa E. Sparks to obtain record evidence of her marriage in Georgia, but none can be found.” O. G. Wingo and Charles Womble concurred in her statement, and the affidavit was witnessed by S. B. Thornton and S. W. McCloskey and was sworn to before A. W. Ligon, Judge of Colbert County Probate Court.
An undated document (probably written about 1873) in the pension file of Coleman Sparks tells the circumstances surrounding his enlistment in the Union Army. Here it is in its entirety:
“Case of Mrs. Louisa E. Sparks, Widow of Coleman Sparks, Decd., Late of Co. D, First Regt. Alabama Cavalry, Col. Geo. E. Spencer, Commanding Regt. No. 197,467. Special, Jas. H. Stoss, Tuscumbia, Alabama.Coleman Sparks resided in Colbert (late Franklin) Co., Ala., and as he was known to be an uncompromising Union man, no notice of his conscription was Served upon him, but he was Seized by the conscript officer, backed by a Squad of Cavalry, as Mr. Sparks was on his way to the Mill with grain for the use of his Family as Breadstuff. He was taken from his Team just as he was & hurried to the Rebel Headquarters from whence he made his Escape in a few days & made his way as best he could to the Federal Headquarters at Glendale, Miss., near Corinth where he Enlisted as above & was Mustered into the Service and Died from Fever resulting from Exposure & cold contracted in the Swamp in making his Escape from the Confederate Headquarters, as his Family was informed by his comrades, some of their Neighbors. His Family consisted of his wife, now widowed, and their Seven children, the younges [sic] being infant Twin Daughters of but a few months old.
The Family was plundered to some extent by the Confederates, but the Federal Troops belonging to the command of Genl. Wilson & known as Wilson’s Raid took her Team from the plow where her son was plowing in the Field & stripped her Premises of almost everything in the way of Supplies of all kind even to her Poultry. We made application more than two years since for her Pension, Back Pay, etc., and in due time made application for her property, taken by the Troops, to the Court of Claims, but as yet get nothing. Coleman Sparks & his wife & now his widow, have been members of the Sand Lick Church (Babtist) [sic] ever since they have Resided in Ala. They joining by Letter from their former Residence in Georgia. We long since filed all the Evidence that her (or rather our) attys. stated was necessary, yet get nothing. As to standing & respectability it good, so considered by all classes. Her children all make their Home with their mother on their littel Home Farm where by their Industry, they make an Honest living but during the War especily [sic] after they was Robbed of their Team & Property by the Federal Troops, it was with great difficulty indeed. The attys. in your city are Messrs. Charles C. Tucker & Co.”
Louisa E. Sparks was issued Widow’s Certificate No. 162,128 and she was placed upon the pension rolls. On September 27, 1876, she married Calvin Dillard which apparently stopped her pension, whereupon she made application for a pension for her minor children. This required her appointment as the guardian of her two youngest children: Artimissa Sparks and Julia Ann Sparks. Her appointment was granted on February 23, 1878, and Minor Certificate No. 260,670 was issued and the children were placed upon the pension roll.
The last record (in chronological order) sent from the pension file of Coleman Sparks is dated May 2, 1887. From the evidence presented, it appears that Louisa E. Dillard (formerly Louisa E. (Goings) Sparks) was trying to get retroactive pension benefits for her children prior to their sixteenth birthdays, for again she presented the family Bible with the dates of birth of her children in it. The Bible was printed in New York in 1853. A new entry had been made on August 15, 1877, when one of the children, Susa A. Sparks (called “Suanner” when her birth was recorded in the Bible) had died. Nothing was sent from the National Archives to indicate whether she was successful in getting retroactive benefits or not.
(Editor’s Note: Coleman and Louisa L. (Goings) Sparks were living in the 12th Division of Gordon County, Georgia, when the 1850 census was taken; the census taker called on them on December 7, 1850. They had been married the year before (in 1849) and they were the only members of their household – – their first born son, Joseph, born January 8, 1850, had died in October, 1850. Coleman Sparks was listed as 23 years old (thus born about 1827) while Louisa was 20 (born about 1830); both were listed as born in South Carolina. The only other Sparks family listed on the 1850 census of Gordon County, Georgia, also in the 12th District, was that of Drury Sparks, age 55 (thus born about 1795) and his wife, Nancy, of the same age. With them were living Nancy Sparks, age 20; Caswell (or Carwell) Sparks, age 23; James Sparks, age 13; Mary Sparks, age 11; and Eliza J. Sparks, age 9. All members of this family were listed as having been born in South Carolina. Considering the ages of Drury and Coleman Sparks, Drury Sparks may well have been Coleman’s father.
Drury Sparks belonged to the Union County, South Carolina, branch of the Sparks family; he was listed there on both the 1830 and the 1840 census. It may be logically conjectured that Drury Sparks, with his family, including Coleman Sparks, moved from Union County, South Carolina, to Gordon County, Georgia, between 1840 and 1850. He was probably the Drury Sparks who purchased land on Sugar Creek in Union County, South Carolina, on November 8, 1821, from Zachariah Nancy (Book T, page 121).
There was another Coleman Sparks (which is an unusual name in the Sparks Family) living in Union County, South Carolina, when the 1860 census was taken. He was then aged 23 and appears to have been a son of John and Unicy Sparks (ages 60 and 50 respectively). It is probably this Coleman Sparks whose grave is in the Padgett’s Creek Church cemetery in Union County; his stone gives his date of birth as April 9, 1831, and his death as 1861.
The History of Gordon County, Georgia by Lulie Pitts published in 1933 states (page 89 that Coleman Sparks served on a grand jury before the Civil War. It is also stated (page 170) that Ruth C. Sparks was a widow of Carwell Sparks who served in the Confederate Army, Company F of the 4th Georgia Infantry, Dole’s & Cooke’s Brigade (Toombs’s Volunteers) in which a Samuel Sparks also served. The author states (page 138) that W. D. Sparks and J. T. Sparks of Gordon County served in Company E of the 8th Georgia Batttalion, Gist’s Brigade (Freeman’s Volunteers). She gives three Sparks marriages recorded in Gordon County:
W. C. Sparks & Miss M. M. McCaul, December 9, 1868
Geo. W. Sparks & Miss S. J. Turner, January 16, 1868
Geo. W. Sparks & Louisa J. Clarda, January 4, 1880
We have found only one further item pertaining to the Coleman Sparks of this pension file. His son, General Washington Sparks, is buried in the Crooked Oak Cemetery at Crooked Oak in Colbert County, Alabama, located about 12 miles from Tuscumbia and about 9 miles from Russellville. Tombstone inscriptions there were copied by a local historian named R. L. James of Russellville about 1930. The tombstone for General Washington Sparks gives his name as General W. Sparks with the birth date October 20, 1851, and the death date as November 2, 1921. A note which Mr. James wrote in 1930 reads: “Mr. Sparks was of a different family from those buried in Sparks Cemetery. His mother was a daughter of Sarah A. Goins (wife of J. B. Goins) born April 30, 1813, died June 11, 1892. The Goins family came from Georgia and I think his father and mother married there.” (See the QUARTERLY of December 1959, Vol. VII, No. 4, Whole No. 28, pp.431-33, for a record of the Sparkses buried in the Sparks Cemetery located near Russellville, Alabama.