Agnes Irvine


Family Links

1. Honorable John Scott

Agnes Irvine 1

  • Born: 13 Jun 1799, Ballykeel, County Down, IRL 1
  • Marriage (1): Honorable John Scott on 12 Oct 1821 in Alexandria, Huntingdon, PA 1
  • Died: 23 Oct 1877, Alexandria, Huntingdon, PA at age 78 1
  • Buried: Alexandria: Alexandria Cemetery, Huntingdon, PA

  Noted events in her life were:

1. She immigrated in 1816.

2. Census in 1870 in Alexandria, Huntingdon, PA. 2 Agnes Scott, age 71, is living with Mary I., 34, and a domestic servant, Mary Milseed, born in Ireland. Agnes was born in Ireland, while Mary I. was born in Pennsylvania, her father in Pennsylvania. Agnes has real estate valued at $700 and possessions worth $1000. The post office was Huntingdon.

3. Fact: Her son George Washington founded Agnes Scott College in her honor., 1889, Decatur, DeKalb, GA. 3 From the Agnes Scott College website:
The Agnes Scott Legacy
Agnes Irvine Scott's Values Unite Our Past and Future

The story of Agnes Irvine Scott and the College that bears her name, is one of faith, courage and independence. The College's late-19th century beginnings, rooted in the generosity, faith and progressive thinking of a small group of Presbyterians, very much reflect the values and ideals of Agnes Irvine, mother of one of the College's original founders, who was born to an impoverished family in Ballykeel, Ireland, in 1799.

Agnes departed her homeland in 1816 at age 17 with her twice-widowed mother, leaving behind a beau and a home in Newry. Buoyed by the works of Burns, Shakespeare and the Bible, and hoping for a better life with family members, she journeyed to Alexandria, Pennsylvania. There she married John Scott, a widower with five children. Together they had seven more children.

Agnes Irvine Scott lived long enough to see her family divided by the Civil War. One son, John Scott, became a U.S. senator from Pennsylvania. Another, George Washington Scott, became a successful businessman in Florida and Georgia. He, along with the Rev. Frank Henry Gaines and a group of Presbyterian leaders, founded an institution of higher learning for women in Decatur, Georgia, in 1889.

By helping begin the institution that eventually bore his mother's name, George Washington Scott created a dynamic memorial to a woman who valued family as well as faith and learning, first in her native Ireland and then as an immigrant mother in America.

Agnes Irvine Scott's courageous life and independent spirit spanned two centuries and two cultures; they continue to serve as an inspiration for Agnes Scott College today.

4. Newspaper: Athens Banner Herald, 4 Mar 2003.
Agnes Scott DNA obtained from descendant

Agnes Irvine left Ireland for America in 1816 at age 17. She married John Scott, a widower with five children, and together they had seven more children.

One of her sons, George Washington Scott, became a successful businessman in Florida and Georgia. He and a group of Presbyterian leaders founded Agnes Scott College in 1889.

When Agnes Scott opened its new $36.5 million Science Center on Jan. 23, faculty and alumnae debated how to adorn the facility's atrium front wall. They decided on a depiction of a DNA molecule's ''double helix,'' the most important molecule of the recent era in science. But not just any DNA would do. An alumna suggested jokingly that perhaps it could be Agnes Scott's DNA.

After giving it some thought, college leaders decided to pursue the idea. Agnes Scott biology professor Harry Wistrand knew only females pass the mitochondrion, a cell needed for many processes utilizing oxygen in structurally complex organisms, to offspring. If a woman has only sons, her mitochondria are not passed to her grandchildren. Thus, if there were an unbroken line of female descendants from Agnes Scott in the extended family, it might be possible to get Agnes Scott's DNA.

With the assistance of the Scott family, Wistrand discovered that Lisa Harvey Lepovetsky, who attended ASC in the 1970s, is a direct female descendant of Agnes Scott and she agreed to have her mitochondrial DNA sequenced. The college reports it is able to state with virtual certainty that the DNA sequence obtained is identical to that of Agnes Irvine Scott, 203 years after her birth.

Agnes married Honorable John Scott on 12 Oct 1821 in Alexandria, Huntingdon, PA.1 (Honorable John Scott was born on 25 Dec 1784 in Marsh Creek, Adams, PA,1 died on 22 Sep 1850 in Alexandria, Huntingdon, PA 1 and was buried in Alexandria: Alexandria Cemetery, Huntingdon, PA.)


1 Register of the General Society of the War of 1812 (Washington, D.C.: The Society, 1972, 710 pgs.), Page 566.

2 1870 United States Census, Pennsylvania, Huntingdon County, Alexandria Township, Series: M593 Roll: 1349 Page: 744.

3 Agnes Scott College Website (
Decatur, DeKalb County, Georgia),

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