I am not going to act the lady among you, for fear I should starve. - Emily Bronte


Another critic of Julia’s was a friend of Godfrey Barnsley’s (Julia’s son-in-law) who tried in vain to keep Barnsley from marrying daughter Julia Henrietta Scarbrough. His letters to Barnsley are full of concocted ways to get out of the marriage, along with exaggerated descriptions of "Mother Scarbrough" to amplify his point. Combined with the accounts by Robert Mackay, the overall historical depiction of the determined and unceremonious Julia Scarbrough is a portrait of a woman with little substance and questionable reasoning.   

Vulgar & Outspoken, Julia Scarbrough



Julia Bernard Scarbrough, Ships of the Sea Collection

Following the death of her daughter Julia Barnsley, Julia Bernard Scarbrough traveled to Godfrey Barnsley’s estate in Adairsville, Georgia (currently known as Barnsley Gardens) to care for her grandchildren. In a letter to Barnsley, who was away for business, she perceptively describes the characteristics of her grandchildren providing insight into her own nature:

“Julia (Godfrey’s daughter) is the smartest and made for the ups and downs of life. . . She is such a saucy little independent & is forever in some scrape or other— just like her grandmother.”

Julia Scarbrough, Ships of the Sea


According to family stories, Julia Scarbrough was not the only one to find her granddaughter “saucy.” In the early 1930's, Margaret Mitchell is said to have met with a member of the Barnsley family who regaled her with stories of granddaughter Julia’s tribulations during the Civil War. These included defending the Barnsley property against Union soldiers and trying to keep the estate afloat. Today, some researchers believe that the character Scarlett O’Hara was based in-part on granddaughter Julia.