Vintage Girl Scout Online Museum
Juliette Low's Grave
(on the cross)
Founder of Girl Scouts
of the United States.
(on the lower area)
Wife of William W. Low
William W. and Eleanor Kinzie Gordon
Born October 31,1860
Died January 17, 1927
At Savannah Georgia
Now Abideth Faith, Hope and Love,
But the Greatest of These is Love.
The Trefoil Tombstone Mystery
In Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond Virginia, there is a tombstone with a Girl Scout trefoil on it. The woman buried here was the second Executive Director of the Richmond Girl Scout Council. Her name was Isabel Fuller Matthes.
Isabel had been the daughter of a state senator in Richmond [Edward Fuller, was responsible a bill giving free textbooks to students in public schools]. She had graduated from Vassar College in 1918 with a major in French. She attended Columbia University for graduate work, but did not complete her graduate work.* She returned to Richmond to teach high school at John Marshall High School. She was an athlete, playing basketball, tennis, and swimming. At the age of 12, she had saved a man from drowning and was awarded the Carnegie Medal of Bravery. She swam the Chesapeake Bay with only a rowboat to accompany her at one point in her life. She was active in social work, playground work, and the local Girl Scout movement.
According to the Roll Call, Vassar College’s alumni newsletter, the first year after graduation in 1918, Isabel taught school full-time, complaining about the unruly students. The following year, she taught part-time and was learning stenography. Then in 1921, the Roll Call revealed her new job with the local Girl Scouts in Richmond as the Executive Director. Isabel wrote how proud she was of her girls marching along in their khaki uniforms, saluting her. However, she then stated that she was ‘playing the invalid and that she must go away to a dry climate.’ Sadly, it was at this time she at contracted tuberculosis. According the Richmond Dispatch, Girl Scouts grew in numbers under Isabel’s direction during the six months she was Executive Director; nevertheless, due to her illness, she was only able to serve in that position for a few short months. Her health would decline from that day on. She married in 1922 and had a son in 1923. In 1925 at the age of 27 years, Isabel died from tuberculosis.
The Richmond Girl Scout office later would discover an old record of Isabel's mother asking for permission to use the Girl Scout trefoil on her daughter’s tombstone. She thought other Girl Scouts would like to see it, and to tell the world of Isabel’s devotion to the Girl Scout movement only thirteen years old at the time of her death.
*One part of the mystery, I still have not answered, but suspect is true. Isabel may have been in the group of young women that were recruited by Edith Macy at Columbia University in the early 1920’s. She attended Columbia University after graduating Vassar College, but never finished. Why? Because she became the Executive Director of the Girl Scouts of Richmond. The timing would be right. I’ve tried to research this part of the puzzle without success. It may just have to remain in our imaginations.
Photo of the tombstone & newspaper photo taken one year after Isabel death with Girl Scouts placing wreath on her grave.
3/13/07 Linda Mathis found this additional information:
With additional funds from the Beavercreek Township Trustees, a large parking lot was built to accommodate about 50 cars.
In recent years, the site has been improved with a pond that includes a fountain, benches, lights and a walking path, all built with money secured from another Natureworks grant and local money. There are 3 primitive campsites carved out that will have access to water and electricity. A connector through the park to the Dayton Xenia Road bike path is currently under construction.
A comfort station was constructed in 2004 and funded by the Beavercreek Township Trustees. There is a gazebo and a small bridge at the front of the park. The Girl Scouts use the bridge for their bridging ceremonies. As a community service, the Girl Scouts are in charge of planting flowers and weeding the circle around the Memorial. They also plan and deliver the annual Holiday in the Park for the community in December.
Sunnyside Cemetery 5300 19th Street North
HPC #99-01 - Designated June 2000
Gravesites of Walter J. Hoxie and Mary Russell Day
Hoxie was a recognized as a naturalist and ornithologist, Civil War veteran, surveyor, educator. In his spare time he held a girl's nature study group. This group went on to become one of the first two Girl Guides of America patrols in 1912 with his friend Juliette Low. He was the author of the first handbook for the renamed Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. in 1913.
Day was the daughter of Hoxie and a well accomplished woman in her own right, including bringing Girl Scouting to Pinellas County, FL. She rests next to her father. Her marker reads: Mary Russell Day, Daughter of Walter J. Hoxie, Founder of Girl Scouting in Pinellas County, Cappy Day to all her scouts.
Patch from Suncoast Girl Scout Council
On the island of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts there is a kind of historical Girl Scout marker on the gravestone of Doris Hough. Doris , as you all know, was a good friend of Juliette Low's and one of the pioneers of this great organization. I must admit it is kind of eerie to see the trefoil on a gravestone.
Submitted by "julietteinsema"
Also at Sunnyside Cemetery, next to her father, is Mary Russell Day who brought Girl Scouting to Pinellas County, FL
Rest In Peace "Cappy Day"