John Wesley Stark was born July 2, 1844 in Pimento, Vigo County, Indiana; son of John Arnold Stark (father) and wife, Sarah Ann Welch. He was married to Mary Jane Cooper on September 20, 1866, in Piatt County, Illinois. John Wesley Stark and his wife, Mary Jane Cooper had at least one child, Martha Evalina Stark, from which child descends this line to the member of Laura Belle Stoddard Tent 22, Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War 1861-1865. He died on July 2, 1894, at Jacksboro, Jack County, Texas. Buried in Oakwood Cemetery.
He was the fifth child of twelve living children born to John Arnold Stark and Sarah Ann Welch. His father was a farmer, born in Kentucky; his mother, keeping house was born in Ohio. They married in Indiana, owned property in Indiana, and were buried in Indiana.
John Wesley Stark and Mary Jane Cooper married in Illinois about a year after he was discharged on September 20, 1866. They had seven children; five of these were born in Illinois and the other two in Texas. His wife Mary Jane, died in 1889. John remarried in Texas in 1891 to Lenora Oliver; they had one child together. His occupations after discharge – were merchant, and farmer.
On August 5, 1862, he enrolled in the Regiment in Terre Haute Indiana at the age of 18. This Unit was organized at Terre Haute, Indiana, from July 21 to August 18 1862 and he mustered in at Indianapolis on August 18, 1862. The designation of the Regiment changed to 6th Indiana Cavalry on February 22, 1863 (See 6th Indiana Cavalry). He was honorably discharged at Pulaski, Tennessee on May 8, 1865.
Immediately after being organized, this regiment was sent to Kentucky to assist in repelling Kirby Smith’s invasion. It was engaged in the battle of Richmond where it lost 215 killed and wounded and 347 prisoners. Only 225 escaped capture. The captured were paroled, returned to Terre Haute, and exchanged late in the fall. It returned to the field on December 27 when 400 were sent to Muldraught’s Hill to guard trestle work and the following day was surrounded by 4,000 of Morgan’s cavalry and captured. The regiment was returned to duty and in February, l863 was changed from an Infantry regiment into a cavalry organization. Two additional companies were organized and added during the year. Battles in which the regiment was involved included the siege of Knoxville, Resaca, Dallas, New Hope Church, Allatoona, and Kennesaw Mountain. It took part in Stoneman’s raid to Macon GA – losing 166 and returned to Nashville where it took part in repelling Forrest’s invasion of middle Tennessee at Pulaski and the Battle of Franklin and Nashville. Throughout the war, the soldiers in the field endured extreme cold, deep mud, rain and snow, heat, and dust.
The 6th Cavalry Regiment Indiana fought battles in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia. John Wesley Stark’s pension record shows that between 1862 and 1865 he was present for duty except for the time between August 30 and October 31, 1862, when he was captured and then paroled. He was again captured in Kentucky by General Morgan on December 28, 1862, and again paroled prior to January 10, 1863. Medical records show him being seen twice in 1863 with no diagnosis listed.
Civil War Pension File #1132807, dated November 8, 1897.
ancestry.com – U.S., American Civil War Regiments, 1861-1866
wikipedia.org – 6th Indiana Cavalry Regiment