William Sparks

This information is contributed by Jeanette

Pension Application of William Sparks: William Sparks was my 4th great- grandfather - Mathew Sparks was his father -


Mathew Sparks - North Carolina - File No. S31385

William Sparks - North Carolina - File No. 9960 (rejected - probably for lack

of financial need)

Nacogdoches County, Texas - 14 September 1846 - Application of William Sparks,

"a resident of Spark's settlement in said county," aged 85 years the 3 day of

April last.  Shortly before this applicant entered the service his father

Matthew Sparks removed with him from the Yadkin River in the County of Wilkes

and State of North Carolina across the Blue Ridge to a place on New River in

the said County of Wilkes, with is now about two miles from the County seat of

Nash County, North Carolina.*    Also shortly before I entered the service the

Cherokee Indians had committed depredations and murdered five persons, I

think, three children and two women, near the head of the Catawba River, at

least, above John's River, at a place then, I think, in Burke County, North

Carolina.  In the part of the country in which I lived, after the war had

lasted several years, all of us capable of bearing arms were divided into four

classes, as well as I remember, by lot.  I fell into the fourth class.  About

this time it came to the turn of my class to enter the service; and while we

were making preparations to do so Capt. John Cleaveland (Nicknamed as Devil

John) son of Col. Benjamin Cleaveland, who afterwards fought at King's

Mountain, and who resided near our former residence on the Yadkin, come over

to our settlement on New River, and proposed to my class to volunteer to go

with him against the Cherokee Indians, saying that this tour would be

accounted the same as the same length of service against the British, against

whom we were then preparing to go.  Four of my neighbors of my class viz. John

Baker, Israel Campbell, John Waters, and George Humphreys, with myself

accepted John Cleaveland's proposition, and in obedience to his order

rendezvoused at Wilkes Court-House (Wilksboro) and entered the service under

the said John Cleaveland as our Captain on the 15th day of August -- from old

age and consequent loss of memory this applicant cannot state positively in

what year this was, but he does recollect, that it was when he had just

entered his seventeenth year, and several years before the battle of King's


"At Wilkesboro, which was the place of general rendezvous for the North

Carolina raised for this expedition.  Capt. Cleaveland's Company was filled to

the number of about sixty, and about one thousand in all rendezvoused here.

We were all mounted gunmen, and nearly all armed with Rifles, tomahawks, and

butcher knives, each man, and myself amongst the rest, furnishing his own

horse arms and equipment.  At the end of about two days we took up the line of

march by Pleasant Gardens on the Catawba, crossed John's River, then by

Cathey's Fort to Turkey Cove on the Catawba, a distance, I supposed, of about

one hundred miles in all from Wilkesboro.  At Turkey Cove we remained about

two weeks collecting Beef and other provisions for the Campaign.  Here we were

joined by the rest of the North Carolina forces, making our number from twelve

to fifteen hundred, and here the Command-in-Chief was take by Genl. Charles

McDowell of Pleasant Garden, Burkes County North Carolina, in which he

continued throughout the Campaign.  At this place my Capt. John Cleaveland was

informed by letter that his wife was dangerously ill, and went home, and did

not again return to us.  Myself and my New River neighbors, Baker, Campbell,

Waters and Humphreys, at the request of Capt. Cleaveland were then permitted

to join Capt. John Beverley's Company, in which we remained to the end of the

Campaign.   "I do not remember positively what disposition was make of the

rest of Cleaveland's company, but I believe that as Beverly had not before a

full company they all joined him.  My Regiment was commanded by Colo. Benjamin

Hiorn of Wilkes County*** The Captains under him were as far as I remember,

John Cleaveland and John Beverly and I think others whom I do not recollect.

Colo. Joseph McDowell brother of our Genl. commanded the Burkes County

Regiment.  There was also a Maj. McDowell in under Colo. Joseph McDowell.  I

think his given name was also Joseph, and that he was a cousin of the General

and the Colonel.  I do not remember any of the other North Carolina officers.

"At the end of about two weeks we marched from Turkey Cove up the Catawba on

the East side along an old Indian Trace, and crossed the mountains through a

gap the name which I do not recollect -- struck the waters of Swano River,

went down the same and crossed French Broad River just above the mouth of

Swanano -- Here the foot company from Wilkes County in which was my uncle

James Sparks, and which marched behind us built a station, and remained to

guard the frontier until our return from the Indian Country.  (Here I saw my

uncle on return.)  From the mouth of Swanano we proceeded across Richland

Creek and the Hominy creek.  Here we met and were joined by twelve or fourteen

hundred mounted gun-men from South Carolina.  I do not remember their

commander, or any of their officers except a Maj. Lytle, and him I recollect

only form his afterwards in the course of the Campaign accidentally killing

one of his own men by the name of Morrison in and Indian skirmish.  The whole

Army the proceeded across another ledge of mountains and the crossed

Tuckasegea River.  The night of the day we crossed this River a scouting party

of thirty or forty of our men under Maj. McDowell were attacked by a party of

Indians of whom they killed two or three , and make prisoners of a woman and

child, an old man and two or three boys.  We then marched on to the Tennessee

river a distance of some 20 or 30 miles, here we found several Indian Villages

on the South East side of the River, which gave every indication of having

been but recently deserted.  We remained some two weeks destroying the houses,

corn, beans and everything of utility in and about the villages, we the

received orders one evening that on the next morning we were to march to the

Valley Towns some 70 or 80 miles further on, but in the morning these orders

were counter-manded, I have never known why.  We next proceeded about a day's

march up a River, the name of which I forget, on the South-East side of the

Tennessee, to a large town surrounded by villages where we spent several days

more in destroying the town and Villages and everything in and about them.

Rumor afterwards stated, and I believe truly, that the devastation committed

by us on this campaign was the cause of the death of many hundreds of Indians

from starvation.  After spending a week or two more in endeavoring through our

scouts in vain to find the Indians we commenced our return march, and retraced

the same route as well as I recollect.   When we repassed the station near the

mouth of Swanano the foot company was still there to protect the frontier, and

remained there for some time afterwards.  To the best of my recollection the

South Carolina troops parted from us at Hominy creek where they had joined us.

The North Carolina troops then marched on and returned to the Yadkin at or

near Wilkesboro where we were disbanded.  From this service I received a

written discharge from Capt. John Beverly which I kept for many years, but at

length not deeming it of any use it was long since lost or destroyed.  On this

tour we marched a distance which we deemed about five hundred miles and back;

and I served in it as a Private Mounted Rifle-man (furnishing my own horse and

equipments) at least four months, and I believe longer for I feel confident

that I did not return home untill after Arnstmess [Armistice], and I know I

returned home as soon as I was discharged.  On this expedition I know I

received no pay but to the best of my recollection the privates were promised

twenty Dollars pr months each, and the same remarks will apply with truth to

all my revolutionary services; for I received no pay for any of them.

"Upon my discharge from this campaign the militia company, in the bounds of

which I resided, was organized into a company of mounted minute men under

Andrew Baker as Captain and my Brother John Sparks as Lieutenant.  In this

company I served till the close of the revolution.  We furnished our own

horses arms and equipments.  Our part of the country was almost constantly

infested with robbing and murdering parties of tories, british and Hessians,

and I was constantly either out in pursuit of such parties, or, in obedience

to the orders of my Captain, held myself in readiness to march at a moment's

warning.  Of the many and almost constant scouting parties, pursuits, and

expeditions in which I was engaged during this period from my great age and

infirmities I can recollect but one, so as to be able to state the particulars

and that only from the personal interest of my family in it, - will proceed to

state it.  In less than a year after my return from the campaign against the

Cherokees above detailed a party of tories, about 150 in number, robbed my

Father, taking a horse saddle and bridle , six guns, all our pewter (we had no

delftware in those days)**** and whatever else they could carry.  My company

was immediately called out and others amounting in all to about one hundred

and fifty mounted Gun Men under the command of Colo. Benjamin Cleaveland.  We

pursued the above named tories a distance of between 60 and 70 miles and

overtook them in Boxe's settlement near the Virginia line.  They were

feasting, frolicing and many of them drunk.  We killed and wounded 25 or 30 of

them in a fight, made prisoners of nearly all the rest, of whom hung five or

six, the ballance of the prisoners were discharged by Colo. Cleaveland upon

their promise not to moles the patriots for the future.  In this expedition I

was engaged three weeks.  I received no written discharge during the ware

except the one from Capt. Beverly above mentioned.  I have no documentary

evidence of my service, and I know of no person whose testimony I can procure

who can testify to my service.  This applicant further state on oath that by

reason of old age and the consequent loss of memory he cannot swear positively

as to the precise length of his service, but according to the best of his

recollection he served not less than three years as a private volunteer

mounted Rifleman, always furnishing his own horse, Arms and Equipment, and for

service he claims a pension.  This applicant was born in Rowan County near

Sallisbury in the State of North Carolina on the 3rd day of April A.D. 1761.

He has no record of his age, but he believes his brother Jessee Sparks

residing in Hickman County in the State of Tennessee has a copy of the record

of his age, the original have been lost.  When called into service this

applicant lived in Wilkes County North Carolina, and remained there till the

close of the Revolutionary war then he removed with his father to what was the

Franklin County afterwards Jackson, and now Clark County in the state of

Georgia and settles about four mile from Athens in that State.  There this

applicant resided till the year 1811 when he removed to Laurence County

Mississippi, thence to Holmes County and vicinity, where he has ever since

resided.  In his service he was at all times a volunteer.  He hereby

relinquishes ever claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present;

and declares that his name is not on the pension Roll of the agency of any


						William his X mark Sparks

Sworn to & Subscribed before me this 14th September 1846

						R. Pannalu   CSC

						By H. Nelson Depty

William Sparks was further questioned regarding some of the facts in his


Question: "Where & in what year were you born?"

Answer:   "I was born within one mile of the town of Salsbury in the County of

Rowan, State of 	      North Carolina on the 3rd day of April, in the year


Question: "Have you any record of your age & if you have where is it?"

Answer:   "I have no record of my birth -- but my brother has who lives in

Hickman County 	      Tennessee he furnished me with a copy Severall years

Since with a trunk of papers near 	      Natchez Mississippi."

Question: "Where were you living when called into Service" "Where have you

lived Since the 	      revolutionary War -- and where do you now live?"

Answer:   "I was living in Wilkes County North Carolina.  My father emigrated

from Wilkes 	      County to Georgia Shortly after the revolutionary war, and

Settled in what was the 	      Franklin County, now Clark County, near Athens,

where I remained till about A.D. 	      1811 when I moved to the Territory of

Mississippi on Pearl River now Lawrence 	      County.  I remained there a

number of years the removed to Holmes County where I 	      remained until I

moved to the then Republic of Texas.  I stopped in Nacogdoches 	      County

where I have lived ever Since."

Question: "How were you called into Service were you drafted, did you

volunteer, or were you 	      Substitute, if a Substitute for whom?"

Answer:   "I volunteered and regret that I am not able to do so again.  I was

not a Substutt, nor 	      was I drafted."

William Sparks application for a pension was regrettably rejected for lack of

evidence of service, despite his good character and need of financial

assistance and being amply vouched for by several reliable citizens of


*He intended ASHE County, N.C.

** Since he was born on April 3, 1761, then it must have been the year 1778

when he joined up with Capt. John Cleaveland.  The Battle of King's Mountain

was in 1780.

***Probably Benjamin Herndon, of Wilkes Co. N.C.

****Delftware was a brown pottery covered with an opaque, decorated white

glaze, made in Delft, Holland and in England.  It was a common glazed pottery

for table use, etc.


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