[From the catalogue-in-progress for “Landscapes & Livestock”, a loan exhibition for Agincourt Homecoming in the Fall of 2015]
SCOTT, Eldred Merriweather [1902–1939]
oil on panel / 12 inches by 8 inches
Is anything ever straightforward?
Eldred Scott’s rendering of the Gnostic Bridge seems naïve, untutored; worth little more than a passing glance. “My six-year-old could do that.” Her trees are twisted pipe cleaners; the bridge built of pick-up sticks. Her “snow” an application of thick sugar glaze. But product ought not be divorced from purpose, which is attested by a news clipping glued to the back of the frame:
Auto Mishap at the Gnostic Bridge—Agincourt, Ia., Friday, February 29th, 1924— Benjamin Hosmer, 22, and Miss Eldred Scott, 21, were returning to Agincourt from the Schütz farm Friday night when they became disoriented in the storm. Hosmer’s car left the road at Gnostic Bridge, tumbling into Crispin Creek. Miss Scott was thrown from the car but managed to reach the Walden Clinic and telephone the sheriff’s office for assistance. Young Hosmer was in the frigid water for twenty minutes before being rescued and taken to hospital, where he remains in critical condition. Miss Scott was treated for cuts and broken wrist. Hosmer and Scott had attended an engagement party at the Schütz place and were on route home at about 11 p.m.
Born at Fahnstock and a graduate of Agincourt high school, Eldred Scott became an operator for the Lincoln Telephone Co. Her fiancée Hosmer died from his injuries, and Scott never married. She died fifteen years later at the age of thirty-seven. This painting of the bridge that changed the course of her life was acquired from her family in 1940.