Sometimes You Just Have to Jump In – S.W. Scott

A new line of research has to begin somewhere, doesn’t it? Samuel W. Scott of Howard County, Missouri is beginning to remind me a lot of Johannes Jensen of Copenhagen, Denmark. Johannes’s origins were a complete mystery until pieces fell into place indicating he was born in the Unwed Mothers’ Hospital and given up to be apprenticed a few days after his birth in 1810.

Samuel W. Scott is another huge mystery. He married Sarah Thompson in Howard County, Missouri in 1821. The Thompsons are another sticky wicket about whom I’ve written, but I am quite certain at this point that she was a daughter of Ephraim Thompson of Washington County, Kentucky. The Thompsons migrated to Missouri before 1820.

Samuel left precious few crumbs to follow in Howard County. He died before 13 August 1835 when Elmore Thompson began the administration of his estate. Census records indicate that he and Sarah had a handful of children, but I’ve only been able to identify two likely candidates – Eramanthus Elizabeth Scott who married James Hollon and Robert J. Scott, who married Elizabeth Jane Massey/Maxey and died before 3 March 1866 when his wife remarried. Robert’s given name may or may not be a clue to Samuel’s Kentucky origins, as we will see.

Although there are other Scotts – Davis and William – in the 1830 census of Howard County, Samuel has no known ties to them.

Davis Scott was also from Kentucky, born c1795, and he died in 1886 in Monroe County, Missouri. He apparently didn’t stay long in Howard County.

William Scott was born c1776 in Virginia, but both he and his wife left wills and there is no mention of any ties to Samuel or his family. Based on the fact that William owned 11 slaves, he was a relatively wealthy man for his time.

Based on the 1830 census, Samuel Scott was born between 1790-1800.

While gathering data on the Thompson family in Washington County, Kentucky, I came across a court minute entry (Volume D:93):

9 March 1812 noted the apprenticeship of Samuel Scott, aged 15 on 1 January 1812, natural son of Alley Scott, deceased, to George Thompson to learn the art of draper.

It was signed by John Reed, clerk, and George Thompson.

I touched on this in a previous post, but it is time to delve further into Scott records in Washington County, Kentucky. Unfortunately, the 1800 census is lost, so there are no family formations in households to examine. However, there is a list of males appearing on tax lists or land record lists, compiled as a census substitute.

There are only four Scott men on that 1800 list: Absolem, George, James and Robert. Absolem is gone by 1810, having removed to Cumberland County, Kentucky.

In 1810, we find the following men: George, James, John, John again, Richard, Robert and Samuel Scott.

George is likely the George Thompson in the 1812 court minutes who accepted Samuel Scott, aged 15, as an apprentice. However, Samuel wasn’t living with George in 1810 because there is no male in his age range (10-15 years old).

Richard and one John Scott, who is young himself, don’t have a male in that age range, either, so while they might still be related to Samuel, he isn’t living with their families.

Likewise, Samuel Scott has no male living with his family who is 10-15 years old, but he himself is aged 26-44, married Jane Sutton on 6 June 1809 and has one female under 10 in the home. This Samuel could be an uncle or cousin of Samuel W. Scott.

Lastly, we have an older John Scott, over 45 plus a Robert Scott, 26-44, who have one male each aged 10-15 living with them.

I believe Samuel W. and the Thompsons had already left Kentucky for Missouri by 1820, but the following Scotts were enumerated in Washington County in that year: Benjamin, Benjamin again, Elia, James, James again, John, Richard and Robert Scott.

The title of this post references having to jump in somewhere to get a start. This is my jumping in point. None of these Scotts has a female who is old enough to be Alley Scott, named as Samuel’s mother in the 1812 minutes, except for females that appear to be their wives. The court record says she was dead, but it doesn’t say when.  As no likely candidate has been found living in any Scott household, I am going to assume for the moment that Alley might have died giving birth to Samuel and that he has no siblings.

It is certainly possible that Samuel Scott was living with a female relative – a married aunt – and not with a male Scott family member.

However, I am going to investigate John and Robert Scott to see what can be found out about their lives. Robert, in particular, interests me because Samuel’s presumed son in Missouri is Robert J. Scott. It would make sense that he might name his son for a (presumed) uncle who took him in and cared for him, at least for some period of his life.

Beginning with Robert, he was 26-44 years old in 1810, so born 1766-1784. He married Nancy Clifton on 7 August 1795 in Washington County, Kentucky. There were two females aged 10-15 in addition to the one male aged 10-15 in the 1810 household.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a single probate or will for any Scott in Washington County between 1793 and 1831. That leaves court minutes, land records and tax lists. Thankfully, Washington County has many extant records for its early history.

Let’s see what we find in them, beginning with tomorrow’s post.

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