February 14, 2021
Whole Number 71
THE SPARKS PLACE, NEAR BLENHEIM, SOUTH CARLINA
THE SPARKS PLACE
In April 1970, Marlboro County, South Carolina, celebrated its Tricentennial and arrangements were made for twenty-seven of the county's most interesting homes to be opened to the public. One of the homes chosen was that known as "The Sparks Place", located one mile from Blenheim on state highway 38. This famous house is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Frank B. Rogers, Jr., who kindly furnished the photographs which have been reproduced on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly. Mr. Rogers is a great-grandson of 184.108.40.206.2 Alexander Doddridge Sparks who received this house as a gift from his father, 220.127.116.11 Samuel Sparks, in 1856. A sketch of this branch of the Sparks family appeared in the Quarterly of December 1962, Whole No. 40, pp. 689-696). (Note: In this article, the name is spelled Dottridge).
The Sparks Place was built in 1837 by Robert Adair McTyer. Mr. McTyer sold it in 1857 to Samuel Sparks (1787-1878) who gave it as a wedding present to his son, Alexander Doddridge Sparks (1829-1894). The latter, a wealthy planter, served in the Mexican War and prior to the outbreak of the Civil War he held a commission in the United States Navy. Later he served as an officer in the Confederate Army.
The army coat of Alexander Doddridge Sparks is preserved in the Confederate Museum at Columbia, South Carolina, with the inscription: "This coat worn by Capt. A. D. Sparks, who volunteered and equipped his own Company I, South Carolina Volunteers (Cavalry)."
At the time the Sparks family came into possession of the house, it was called "Fight Hungry" because the land on which it stands was considered of little value in comparison to the rich river land. The main body of the house remains unchanged today, however a breezeway and kitchen were torn away a number of years ago as were the two front porches which have been replaced with a one-story porch. Otherwise, the house is unchanged since its purchase in 1857 and it has been in continuous possession of some member or descendant of the Sparks family for 113 years. The Rogers family do not live in the house today, but have partially restored it to use for recreational purposes and for family reunions.