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Posted April 29, 2010
"Scarlett" is a family name!
I loved this book, although I would like to set the record straight as to Mrs. Schwartz's assumption that Margaret Mitchell "made up" the names Scarlett and Rhett for her novel Gone With the Wind. Scarlett, is most certainly not a fictional name, my maternal grandfather's family's surname was Scarlett, and we can follow this name back in our genealogy to at least the 1500's, to an English ancestor who was a cloth dealer who dyed and sold scarlet red cloth, and therefore took his name from his occupation. My maternal ancestors moved to the southern coast of Georgia in the 1700's, and established several prosperous cotton and rice plantations, Fancy Bluff and Oak Grove, on which many of our Scarlett relations are buried. (I would like to state here, that while I hold my southern heritage in high regard, I also love the fact that we have come so far in term of rights and equality, and that our land is healing from the cruel practices of slavery, and we are leaving those ghosts behind). On our branch of the family tree, the surname was married out of the family, because naturally my great great grandmother Annabelle "Minnie" Tison Scarlett took her husband's name of Hillsman upon marriage, so the family began using Scarlett as a first and middle name. Furthermore, we know that Mrs. Mitchell knew of our family, and the name of Scarlett, because a cousin of my grandfather's wrote to Mrs. Mitchell inquiring why she felt the need to name "that hussy" Scarlett. This letter was later printed in the newspaper, much to my cousin's chagrin, as she knew a lady's name should only show up in the paper twice in her life, once when she's married, and once when she's buried. Mrs. Mitchell quickly wrote back "apologizing for any embarrassment the choice of name might have caused to a family, 'so well known in the records and old legends of our coast'".
I would like to say, that this is a convivial and entertaining coffee table book, but I do find it slightly tacky that Ms. Schwartz did not do more research on the name Scarlett before assuming, and then writing that there are no true blue Scarletts below the Mason-Dixon line, as I am one, as is my aunt, my great-aunt, my second cousin once removed, my second cousin twice removed, my great-grandmother, and so on and so forth. We, daughters of the South, were here long before the War of Northern Aggression, and God willing, will be here for many years to come, as the South is where our hearts are, and will continue to be.
Audrey Anne-Scarlett Marrow née Irwin
P.S.- my great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother were Tri-Deltas at the College of Charleston. Much to their chagrin I never pledged, as I went to a private girls college for the first 3 years of my college education.
P.P.S.- I inherited my silver pattern from my maternal great-grandmother, 1810 International. It was chosen because it has clean lines, is classic, and goes with everything, so if there is ever a divorce there will be no need to give back the in-laws silver!
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