Margaret Elizabeth Scholl Hood was born on July 7, 1833, the only child of Daniel and Maria Susan Thomas Scholl. A lifelong resident of Frederick County, Margaret was raised and lived most of her life at Manchester Farm on New Design Road.
Her formal education began in a school operated by Hiram Winchester on North Market Street. She later attended Thorndale, a boarding school in Carroll County, Md. From 1847 to1849 she attended the Frederick Female Seminary as a boarding student, graduating in 1849 at age 16.
After graduation, she lived with her parents, helping with household affairs and farm activities, and carrying on an active social life with many friends. Although she had many suitors in her younger years, she did not marry until she was 40 years old, and only after both parents’ deaths in 1873. On October 21, 1873, she married James Mifflin Hood, a native of Baltimore who was a carriage maker by trade. Mr. Hood had moved to Frederick in the 1840s. He had three children by his first wife, Sarah Ann Boggs from Philadelphia, who died in 1869 at age 45. James and Margaret had no children.
Mr. Hood was regarded as one of the most enterprising and successful men in Frederick County. He owned a carriage-making firm, Hane and Hood, on South Market Street. He died at the City Hotel in Frederick in April 1894, following a long illness.
Interested in civic affairs, her church and education, Mrs. Hood was a charter member of several local organizations, including the Art Club, the Historical Society of Frederick County, Inc., the Home for the Aged, and the Ladies Auxiliary of the Home for the Feeble Minded in Owings Mills, Md. She was vice president and a member of the Executive Bard (and later named honorary president for life) of the Frederick City Hospital Association; a member of the Board of Managers of the Home for the Aged; president of the Mite Society; and a longstanding and devoted member of the Frederick Female Seminary Alumnae Club. In her will she gave land to the City of Frederick to be used to help her aunt, Mrs. C. Burr Artz, establish a public library.
A believer in responsible stewardship, she prided herself in being well-informed on all the activities of her church, now the Evangelical Reformed Church, United Church of Christ. The schools, colleges, theological seminaries, and orphan’s homes sponsored by her church, and the church’s home and foreign missionary operations were all objects of her philanthropy.
She was particularly generous in her support of Franklin and Marshall College (which has an observatory named after her father); Mercersburg Academy; the Boards of Home and Foreign Missions of the Reformed Church; Lancaster Theological Seminary; and the Woman’s College of Frederick, which now bears her name.
To help with the establishment of Hood College she gave initial funds ($25,000) to institute the College’s endowment and made provisions for the purchase of the land on which the College is now built. In her will she gave an additional $30,000, which was the impetus for President Joseph Henry Apple to begin building Shriner Hall and Alumnae Hall. On October 31, 1912, a ceremony was held to announce the renaming of the College to Hood College in recognition of her support and generosity.
Mrs. Hood was characterized by those who knew her as joyous, lively, generous-hearted, simple in her taste, thoughtful in the use of her wealth, interested in others, intelligent, discriminating in her philanthropy, proper, kind, sympathetic, a good friend and co-worker, cheerful, and earnest and zealous in her wish to support good works.
She died in Baltimore on January 13, 1913, and is buried with her husband and her parents in Frederick’s Mount Olivet Cemetery. Today, Hood College prospers as a testament to her constant faith and unwavering support.