INDIGNANT, DISAGREEABLE, & VINDICTIVE
We have waited here long in the dust; we are tired & hungry; but the triumphal procession must appear at last.
- Margaret Fuller
In 1840, Charlotte Scarbrough Taylor began pursuing rightful ownership of the Scarbrough House. A journey which took 10 years and led her all the way to the United States Supreme Court.
The disparaging quotes on this panel were written by Godfrey Barnsley’s (Charlotte’s brother-in-law) autobiographers. Barnsley had occupied the Scarbrough House since the early 1830's and opposed Charlotte’s attempt to regain her inheritance. While the authors found Charlotte’s actions “vindictive,” the Supreme Court felt differently (see remaining quotes).
Scarbrough House, Late 19th Century, Courtesy of Historic Savannah Foundation
Following her father’s death in 1838, Charlotte discovered that the deed she had signed, sharing ownership of the Scarbrough House with her mother and siblings, exempted her children from inheriting the home should she die before them. This final insult proved to be the impetus she needed to restore what had been lost. In 1846, Charlotte appealed to the Circuit Court, for the 6th Circuit and District of Georgia, seeking ownership of Scarbrough House. The Court denied her request. Unfazed, in 1850, Charlotte’s case reached the United States Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court found that the transfer of ownership from Charlotte to her family was “not a fair and voluntary transaction; but was drawn from her by means and under influences that render that conveyance void.” They therefor ruled, “. . . That the real property conveyed by that deed should be re-conveyed to the said Charlotte Taylor. . .”