Agnes Scott of
Scott (1799-1877), Namesake of Agnes
and her Ocracoke
June 21, 2014
Gravemarker for Agnes
Agnes Scott Garrish was just 21 years old when she was laid to rest
in one of the many graveyards along Howard Street.
She died in Galveston,
in 1919, likely as a result of the Spanish Influenza, the deadliest
human history, which killed 50 million people worldwide.
indicates that she was born at Kirkwood,
(according to a nineteenth century tour book, “an area of
villas” on the east side of Atlanta)
in 1898. Her marker reads:
Wife of Capt. M. A. Garrish
Born May 8, 1898
At Kirkwood, Ga.
Died Aug. 30, 1919
At Galveston, Tex.
Closed are thy
From this world of
But we trust in God
To meet thee again.
to Ocracoke have occasionally
asked if she is related to the
person for whom Agnes
is named. Oral
suggested that there was a connection, but details were sketchy.
2004 I contacted Agnes
information that might solve the puzzle. I received a prompt reply
no connection with the college’s namesake. The clear message
that I had
been misled. “Unfortunately, your Agnes Scott may not be
to our college' namesake. It seems there are hundreds of Agnes Scotts
country,” I was told.
soon discovered that, to the
contrary, Agnes Scott of
Ocracoke was, indeed, the great-granddaughter of the woman for whom the
college was founded in honor of
Agnes Irvine Scott, a
Scots-Irish immigrant wholly dedicated to her Presbyterian church and
to its values “who upheld a strong sense of integrity and
curiosity. Her son Col. George Washington Scott was the
February 22, 1951 the city of Decatur,
homeplace as a memorial park. In his address on that occasion, Wallace
Alston, Vice President of Agnes Scott College, outlined the
Irvine was born June 5, 1799 in
Ballykeel, County Down,
to devout Presbyterians.
When she was seventeen years old Agnes and her sister Susanna sailed to
their mother, Mary Stitt. 1816 has been described as the
Summer.” Much cooler temperatures, combined with heavy rains,
crop failures in Ireland
and elsewhere in the northern hemisphere. Famine and poverty followed.
their sea passage Susanna fell
ill and died.
on American soil, Agnes Irvine
and her mother continued
over land to Alexandria,
where relatives had previously
settled. There, Agnes met and fell in love with John Scott, a widower
children. They were married in 1821. Agnes and John Scott had seven
children – Susan
(b. 1822), John (b. 1824), James Irvine (b. 1826), George Washington
William (b. 1831), Mary Irvine (b. 1836), and Alfred McIlvaine (b.
Scott, Sr. (1784-1850) was a
tanner and shoemaker who
served as a major in the War of 1812. He was a member of the
of Representatives from 1819-1820, and served as a member of the 21st
US Congress from 1829-1831.
Scott, Jr. (1824-1896), a lawyer,
followed in his
father’s footsteps and served in the Pennsylvania House of
1862. He was later elected US
Senator from Pennsylvania,
and served from 1869-1875.
Washington Scott (1829-1903)
in 1850. He traveled through Georgia
on his way to Florida,
seeking a cure for ill health. In 1852 he established a mercantile
business in Tallahassee,
after purchased a plantation there.
returning to Alexandria,
in 1854 to visit
family and friends, G.W. Scott met and married Rebekah Bucher.
returned to Tallahassee.
During the War Between the States, G.W. Scott “shouldered his
musket with a
saddened heart, but with a resolute front, and went with the
to the battle line.” He
served with distinction, and advanced to
1870 George Washington Scott moved
with his brother Alfred, where he made and lost a fortune in cotton.
later Alfred, also a veteran of the Confederate Army, contracted yellow
and died, leaving behind his wife, Clare Maria, and two children, Ralph
(b. 1868) and Carrie Irvine (b. 1870). In 1877 G.W. Scott left Savannah
and settled in Decatur,
There he founded the
George W. Scott Fertilizer Company.
1889, concerned for the education
of young women, G.W.
Scott offered a resolution among members of his church to
“establish at once a
school of high character.” Thus the Decatur Female Seminary
September of that year.
following year Col. Scott donated
$40,000 “to provide a
home for our school.” The school’s charter was
the name of the
school was changed from Decatur Female Seminary to Agnes Scott
honor of the donor’s mother, a woman “who upheld a
sense of integrity
and intellectual curiosity.” During the first fourteen years
Scott donated more that $175,000 to support the school.
1906 the college was chartered as Agnes
and became the first institution of higher education in Georgia
to receive regional
to their official web site,
in 1889 with a distinctive mission: to educate women for the betterment
their families and the elevation of their region. Today, that mission
following mission statement was
adopted by the Board of
Trustees, August 2002, and reaffirmed by the Board of trustees, May
educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the
social challenges of their times.
provides a dynamic liberal arts and sciences curriculum of the highest
standards so that students and faculty can realize their full creative
fosters an environment in which women can develop high expectations for
themselves as individuals, scholars, professionals and citizens of the
strives to be a just and inclusive community that expects honorable
encourages spiritual inquiry and promotes respectful dialogue across
probably before the turn
of the twentieth century, Clare Maria Scott (b. 1846 in Cumberland,
– d. 1926), widow of Col.
(1839-1876) relocated to Wake
County, North Carolina.
Her son, Irwin,
appears to have died young. She brought with her one surviving son,
Bucher Scott (1868-1929), and one daughter, Carrie Irvine Scott (b.
Carrie discovered Ocracoke
in the early twentieth century.
In 1913 Carrie Scott purchased thirteen acres of sound front land.
Scott (Mr. Scott to
islanders) and his wife, Jennie Law Mallard, had seven children,
Billie, Clare, Agnes, Elizabeth, Carol Louise
married Ocracoke sea
captain, Myron A. Garrish (1888-1929). Unfortunately, Agnes Irvine
Garrish died in Galveston,
was just twenty-one years
old. She was survived by her husband and one son, Irvin Scott Garrish.
least nine direct
descendants of the Irish-born Agnes Irvine Scott, namesake of Agnes
Ocracoke home. Several others visit the island frequently and/or own
on the island.