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SOCIALLY AMBITIOUS

. . . above all things; to remember that hypocrisy is the most hopeless as well as the meanest of crimes. . . - Margaret Fuller

CHARACTERIZATION

Julia Scarbrough was famed for the extravagant parties she held at the Scarbrough House on West Broad Street and at their former home on the corner of Broughton and Price Streets. Quotes for this image highlight the gaiety of attending a “blow out” at the Scarbrough’s. Savannah’s elite flocked to Julia’s “splendid entertainments” to feast and dance. Nevertheless, Julia was often criticized as an outsider in Savannah (she was from North Carolina) whose parties were an attempt to curry favor with Savannah society and whose social ambitions knew no bounds.  

CONTEXT

The Scarbrough House (A reconstructed drawing of the home’s appearance in 1819.)

Julia Bernard and William Scarbrough were married in North Carolina on 18 April 1805. As part of their wedding agreement, William Scarbrough deeded this property to Julia and their future children. While the agreement was recorded in North Carolina, it was never transferred to Chatham County, Georgia—which may have saved the property from being sold in 1820, when William Scarbrough was declared an “insolvent debtor.”

“The Castle,” as William referred to the home, was built in 1819, and designed by noted architect, William Jay. The commanding mansion served as a manifestation of the Scarbrough’s wealth and aspirations.

William Scarbrough (c. 1815-1819)

William Scarbrough (1776-1838) arrived in Savannah in 1802, at the age of twenty-six. As a “young man of fashion” and ambition he soon prospered as a shipping merchant, bank director, manager of elections, member of the Board of Health, Vice Consul of Denmark and Sweden, and Consul General of Russia. In 1805, he married Julia Bernard, daughter of a physician, whose ambitions equaled his own. While William has been vastly praised for his aspirations, Julia has been maligned for hers. 

 

William Scarbrough Ships of the Sea
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