Markwel Scott

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Markwel Scottwas born April 6, 1778 Virginia, and died March 13th 1843 Williamsburg, Virginia. Scott was born into a family of traveling gymnasts, with which he was constantly on the move never staying in one place longer than a few days. His birthplace is unknown and it is commonly believed that he was born on the road between shows. During Scotts birth his mother Louise Marie Scott is said to have been bitten by a rattle snake, which caused her to contract a rare form of cholera and in turn caused her death. His father Hugo Marttecello Scott, who was minister and founder of the Virginia national circus, blamed Markwel for the death of his wife and sent Markwel to be a coal miner in southern Virginia at the age of seven. Markwel worked as a miner for four years until he had caught word of a dance troupe that would be passing by nearby bland county, Scott saw this as his only chance to escape his life of manual labor to be involved in the arts. Scott followed the troupe throughout Virginia and eventually joined them in 1792 at the age of fifteen. After three years of performing Scott had earned enough money to open his own dance studio in Richmond in 1795. Scott taught dance at his studio "Der tanz Haus" for the next six years as he wrote his first book Sun rising, God setting in 1801. The book was published by the Wedinworth Brothers publishing CO. of Richmond Virginia, but after two years of publishing Scotts work Wendinworth Brothers publishing CO. filed for bankruptcy. Scott returned to his dance studio and taught for another two years while he finished his controversial novel Path Unseen. Path Unseen was not as great of a success as Scott had hopped for as it was interpreted more literally than metaphorically, causing readers to see it more as a fictional coming of age story rather than a political novel. Though Scott saw his novel as a failure it still grossed him a small fortune which he used to retire from writing early and return to instructing dance until the day of his death.

Notable Work

  • Path Unseen; Only of Scotts books to be republished after the twentieth century.

Fun Facts

  • Markwel Scott had seven different wives and twenty three children but was never titled a bigamist.
  • Scott never left Virginia during his life, but his body was stolen during the American civil war and brought to Maryland, eventually being returned to its original resting place in the late 1890s.
  • Scott is the creator of the Virginia two step, a dance which gained publicity during the first world war.