Will the Real Scarlett O'Hara Please Stand Up? -- Julia, the daughter of cotton baron Godfrey Barnsley, was named after her mother and is said to be the inspiration for Margaret Mitchell's tempestuous character Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind. Detailing her Reconstruction struggles to hold on to the Barnsley estate in a letter to a friend, Julia wrote, "With God as my witness, I will never go hungry again." Of course, that is one of the most famous lines in the film.
Mitchell had read a book called St. Elmo, which was written about Julia in the 1860s, and in the process of researching Gone With the Wind, the Atlanta novelist interviewed Julia's daughter, Addie. It turns out that Julia might not have gone hungry, but her family fortune didn't improve. In 1906, a tornado blew the roof off the manor, forcing the family to live in the kitchen wing. The final blow came in 1935, when Preston Saylor, great-grandson of Godfrey and a successful prizefighter, shot and killed his brother in the manor during a dispute over control of the property. He was convicted of murder and sent to prison.
Descendants of Godfrey and Julia continued to live on the estate until it was auctioned off in 1942. The manor fell into a state of disrepair, and it was in this ruinous state that Prince Hubertus Fugger of Bavaria and his wife, Princess Alexandra, found it when they decided to buy it in 1988.
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