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THE SCOTT FAMILY OF RANDOLPH COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA
By David Armstrong
see credits and copyright notice at bottom of page
Few of the pioneer families of the Allegheny Region have been as extensively researched as the family named Scott who came to Randolph County in the late 1700's. Still, regardless or the level of scrutiny to which the early history of this family has been subjected, few family histories have ever been as confused and distorted as this one. Being by adoption a direct line descendant of George Hill Sr. (1782 - 1867) of the site of South Elkins, and his wife Rebecca Scott, I have long been interested in the history of the Scott families of the region. What follows is a brief outline of my findings after several years of research into the history of the family. I will present the facts as I believe they exist based on original documentation, and where my version of the family history differs from "the versions published in the past, I refer the reader to my footnotes which he or she may be to decide for themselves if my conclusions are valid.
While the ancestry of the family back of Randolph County John remains unknown I am quite convinced that his earliest American ancestor will turn out to be one Alexander Scott (c1690 -1751), the settlement of whose estate is in the records of Augusta County. This Alexander Scott was quite probably one of the thousands of Presbyterians from Northern Ireland .i. e. "Scotch Irish") who immigrated to the American Colonies in the 1700s. This Alexander Scott appears to have left several children, and of these the ones of most interest to our study were John (not John of Randolph), David, and Benjamin. The records of this family even down to this early generation are voluminous, and beyond the scope of this writing. The one of chief interest to the Scotts of Randolph County was John.
This earlier John Scott also died about 1751, and he also left several children.(1) He appears so have been born sometime around the year 1715, and the evidence might suggest that his wife's name was Judith Davis.(2) Among this earlier John Scott's sons were Jacob, John, and James, and these sons went with their uncle, David Scott, to Scott's Run in what is now Monongalia County, West Virginia, by the early 1770s (3). Again the history of this generation and their exploits on the Monongahela River near Morgantown could fill several articles, but the footnotes provided should be enough to make their connection to the Hardy County Scott, mentioned above It now remains to establish a connection between this family and John Scott of Randolph County.
John Scott first appears in Randolph County in the tax list of 1796. It is suspected, although not proven, that he may have been the John Scott "Jr" in the 1782 Monongalia County tax list, but more research is needed to prove that connection. IT he were then he may have been "he son of the John Scott "Sr" of the same 1782 tax list. This John Scott "Sr" is thought to be the John Scott, son of John Scott who died in 1751, but again more research is needed to establish the link.
One might wonder why I would want to deal so extensively with this Scott family of Hardy and Monongalia Counties if they cannot be proven as the ancestors of John of Randolph County. The reason is that there is a good deal of evidence, although circumstantial, that this Monongalia County Scott family was the family from which John Scott of Randolph County came.
As was stated above, John Scott appears in the tax list of Randolph County of 1796. He did not live long, however, as his wife Mary was listed in the tax list alone in 1800. The estate of John Scott was sold in October of that year, and his widow married Abraham Kittle Sr in 1805. Earlier that year she had leased a farm in her own name near the present day Elkins Airport from William B. Wilson.(4) One of her nearest neighbor at that location was one John Sproul, and the association between the Scott family and Sproul is key to placing John Scott of Randolph County in the Monongalia County Scott family. John Sproul first shows up in the tax lists of Randolph County in 1792. It is not certain where he came from or if he was married at the time of his coming to Randolph. He is known to have been a very close associate of the family of John Scott, having an association so close that it is almost certain that he was a relative. His name appears as a witness and in some other capacities on several documents relating to the Scott family, and he left the "heirs of John Scott" $1.00 in his will. He married Hester Dawson in Harrison County in 1813, and she had some very definite connections with Monongalia County and the Scott family there.
The maiden name of this Hester Dawson was Hester Foggy. She was a sister of John Foggy, a merchant of Philadelphia, who had immigrated from Ireland (probably Northern Ireland) and who owned land in Monongalia County. (5) It is not known who the first husband of Hester Foggy Dawson was but the Dawson family were early settlers on Scott's Mill Run in Monongalia County, and were early neighbors of the Monongalia County Scots. The names of Thomas Charles, and William Dawson are frequent on the records there.(6) Hester Dawson was raising the orphan son of John Foggy, named William Foggy, and in 1813 he was apprenticed by the Harrison County Court to Forbes and Alexander Britton.(7) This gave Hester Sproul yet another connection to the Monongalia County Scotts, as Forbes Britton was married to Elizabeth Pindle, daughter of Thomas Pindle, and Thomas Pindle had married for a second wife Judith Scott, a probably granddaughter of the John Scott who died in 1751.(8) Foggy Family
So while the ancestry of John Scott remains unproven, we have enough information to make some hypothetical connections. He appears to have had only one relative in the area, John Sproul, and we can definitely connect Sproul's wife to the Scott family and Monongalia County. It is known that Mary, wife of John Scott, was born in Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania borders Monongalia County. In fact, it would not be unreasonable to assume that she may have been born a Dawson, as she and John Scott named sons, Thomas Charles, and William and these are names know in the Dawson family of Monongalia County and Pennsylvania. Finally, at about the time John Scott shows up in Randolph County, John Chenoweth, the namesake of Chenoweth Creek, also shows up in the area. He settled on a farm very near the one rented from Wilson by Mary Scott, and Chenoweth's relatives are known to have been on Scott's Mill Run with the Scotts in Monongalia County in the 1770's.(9) So regardless of what unfounded genealogical connections have been advanced over the years for the origins of John Scott of Randolph County, The EVIDENCE clearly suggests that he cam out of the Scott family in Monongalia County, and that he was a descendant of the earlier Scott family in Hardy County. More research is needed to strengthen and prove this assumption.
As much as the ancestry of John Scott has been subject to some misunderstanding, so has the subject of the identity of his children. Some effort was made many years ago to disassociate part of the descendants of John and Mary Scott from the other members of the family, and some have mistakenly placed other Scotts in the family when they do not in fact belong. Hu Maxwell wrongly listed the name of Henry Scott for the bride's father in the marriage record of George Hill and Rebecca Scott, when no such name appears in the actual marriage record. It has also been traditionally thought that Thomas Scott of the area of Haddix Road was a nephew and not a son of John Scott, and this also has been discounted. So it is left to deal with the authentic record of who the children of John Scott were, based on their own paper trail.
As I have stated, John Scott died between 1796 and 1800, and his widow Mary married Abraham Kittle 8r. in 1005. At the time of that marriage Kittle was about 75 years old and Mary was about 39. It is known that he lived on his land grant at what today is known as Sullivan's Crossing near Elkins, as his family members have marked graves in the graveyard there, one dating back to 1801!. So Abraham and Mary (Scott) Kittle were living there during the War of 1812, and he died in 1816. That would have left Mary on the Kittle farm as the senior member of the family. So who was there with her? That question can be answered for certain by one document at the Randolph County courthouse: Chancery File 2 Case 23. In the papers of that court case, in which George H. Scott is asking the court for a deed to the Kittle farm, he states that his father William Scott had lived on the Kittle place for 30 years at the time of his (William's) death in 1844. So that document conclusively places William Scott on the Kittle farm in 1814, eight years before he married!
William Scott's brother Charles was older, and it appears that he became the head of household. The 1820 census show him with a female born before 1775, and I believe this to be Mary Scott Kittle. Proof that Charles Scott lived on the Kittle farm can be found in Randolph County Deed Book 10 at page 345 when in 1830 he lost his title to he farm due to debts. His life seems to have been falling apart about that time. His wife Agnes died about then, and given Charles' financial problems it appears that William Scott mentioned above, who had married Ann Clark from the farm next door, took over as head of household on the Kittle farm.
William Scott died in 1844, and so did Rebecca (Scott) Hill, wife of George Hill. She and Hill lived on a neighboring farm at what is now Riverview Addition to the City of Elkins. These farms and the Clark farm are all in sight of each other. So William's death left his wife Ann living on the Kittle place with several minor children. She then remarried to George Hill, and moved over to his farm, leaving Mary Scott Kittle probably still on the Kittle farm alone. At the time Charles Scott appears to have been living in a common law marriage with Jane Kittle, his deceased wife's sister, and Mary Scott Kittle appears to have moved out to the Haddix Road farm of her other son, Thomas Scott.
In 1905 Solomon Scott died. He was a son of William and Ann (Clark) Scott, and he lived on his grandfather John Clark's farm, directly across the river from Elkins' present day Riverview Addition. In Solomon Scott' obituary in the Randolph Enterprise(10) it clearly states that his father William, and Charles, and Thomas Scott were brothers, and this evidence when considered with the circumstantial evidence in the preceding three paragraphs clearly proves who three of the children of John Scott were. Further circumstantial evidence will show that there were others.
Rebecca Scott married George Hill in 1812. Charles Scott (above) married Agnes Kittle in 1813, and Elizabeth Scott married Alexander McQuain in 1815. All three of these weddings were performed by the Reverend John Rowan. He lived on what is now Georgetown Road across the river from the Abraham Kittle farm, so this implies that these persons were in the vicinity of the Kittle place at the time of their marriages. Elizabeth McQuain named a son George Hill McQuain, and William Scott (above) named a on George H. Scott! So two of the Scotts named sons after George Hill, husband of Rebecca Scott! This evidence will place Elizabeth Scott McQuain as a sibling of Rebecca Scott Hill and William Scott, and since we know "from the Solomon Scott obituary that William was a brother of Thomas and Charles, we have three girls placed as probable sister's in this family.
In 1984, when Bill Rice wrote his book, "THE ANCESTRY AND DESCENDANTS OF BENJAMIN THIXTON SCOTT, he became so far as I know the first historian to deal in any detail with the family of John and Mary Scott. Mr. Rice stated that based on circumstantial evidence the above persons were children of John and Mary Scott, but he did not present such evidence in any detail. I in turn set out to test his theory, to see if I would arrive at the same conclusion, independently. Based on the above and other evidence I have decided that the chapter in Bill Rice's book dealing with John Scott is accurate in it's dealing with who the children of Scott were. In addition to the children presented above, Bill Rice and I have decided independent of each other that Prudence Scott, who married Henry Hardman, and John Scott, who begins to show up in the records of Randolph County about 1813 are also children of John and Mary Scott. I cannot present such solid evidence to plead the case for Prudence Hardman, but this younger John Scott was a constant associate of the Kittle family, witnessing their wills and buying at their estates, etc. Where he went I do not know.
In addition to dealing in some detail with the "family of John Scott, Bill Rice's Scott history also discounts the assumption, first advanced by Hu MAXWELL, that Benjamin Thixton Scott, a resident of Randolph County contemporary with John Scott, was a son of John Scott. Rice presented credible evidence that Benjamin Thixton Scott was actually born Benjamin THIXTON, and that Benjamin Thixton did not even begin to go by the name of Scott until adulthood, when he married. Since the publication of Mr. Rice'; book new evidence has come to light that proves conclusively that his conclusions about Benjamin Thixton Scott were correct. An affidavit book in the Randolph county courthouse shows two affidavits dated May and June 1847 in which John Light and Levi Coberly appeared in court and testified that Benjamin Thickson Scott was:
"the identical person to who Scythman Homan ... willed two certain tract'.. ... in the name of Benjamin Thickson only .... "
The Rice publication together with the above documentation prove that Benjamin Thixton Scott was born Benjamin Thixton and took the name of Scott later in life, and was NOT a son of John and Mary Scott as his sketch in Maxwell's History of Randolph County says.
So in conclusion, John Scott of Randolph county appears to have been from the Scott family who were in the Hardy County area in the 1750s, although his connection to that family is based on some circumstantial evidence. He seems to have came to Randolph from the Monongalia County vicinity about 1796, died by 1800, and left a widow named Mary who married Abraham Kittle Sr. Solid evidence will show that he left four sons: Thomas, Charles, John, and William. Further circumstantial evidence will show that in addition to theme sons John Scott left three daughters, namely Prudence, wife of Henry Hardman; Rebecca, wife of George Hill Sr.; and Elizabeth, wife of Alexander McQuain. I hope that the above will serve to discount a persistent family tradition that the John Scott family come from an Alexander Scott family in Pennsylvania.(11)
Perhaps the above will provide a basis for further study by more thorough and competent researchers. Much work is needed to document or disprove both John Scott's connection to the Hardy County Scotts and his removal to Randolph from (or through) the Monongalia County area. Perhaps the maiden name of his wife Mary can someday be learned, and perhaps we will someday know the connection between John Sproul and John Scott. These persons were antebellum residents at the site of Elkins, West Virginia, and hopefully their contribution to the development of the area can be remembered by interested persons in the future.
(1). For a better look at these children see Augusta Co Will Book 1 page 405, and Book 3 page 310, 369; Augusta Co Order Book 8 page 389; These records also establish a connection to Jonathan Arnold, a fellow Pennsylvanian who was a neighbor and associate of George Hill and the Scotts in the area of Elkins, West Virginia.
(2). ACWB 3 page 310, 369 ibid; ACWB 8 page 161 the later of which connects the Davis family with the Sproul family see section of article dealing with John Sproul
(3). Zinn, Melba P. MONONGALIA COUNTY RECORDS OF DISTRICT AND SUPERIOR COURT, Bowie, Md, Heritage Books, 1990, page 29: Jacob and James Scott "of Augusta County but residents of Monongalia" 1774; Hardy County Deed Book 2 page, 181 179l David Scott of Monongalia County, heir of James Scott, who was heir of John Scott in land Lunice Creek, Hardy County
(4). Randolph County Deed Book (Wilson to Scott lease)
(5). Monongalia County Deed Book 0S9 page 179 William Worth to John Foggy of the City of Philadelphia, trader, 1000 acres land Hunsacres Glade; 1828, 1856 Monongalia County Land Books William Foggy of Randolph County 1000 acres; Monongalia County Deed Book 6 page 312; This property was on the line of present day Monongalia and Preston Counties; John Foggy's immigration documented in 1870 Randolph County census, William Foggy's listing shows both parents as foreign born, and also in Philby's PHILADELPHIA NATURALIZATION RECORDS which shows a John Foggy naturalization record in 1799; a 1992 letter from Donalyn S Dowman of Bay Village, Ohio, to this writer quotes an old piece of paper in the hands of Foggy descendant Ilene White which paper quoted an administration paper in the name of Hester Dawson on the estate of John Foggy.
(6). Monongalia County Deed Book 1 page 125 William Dawson of Washington County, PA appoints Charles Dawson attorney; Monongalia County survey Book 1 page 192, 194, 216, 395 William and Thomas Dawson 1770's surveys on Scotts Mill Run
(7). Harrison County Minute Book 1813
(8). Coontz, Violet G., THE WESTERN WATERS, Denver, Stephen P. Coontz, 1991 pg 206, 207, 392, 393; Zinn, ibid., pg 29, 97
(9). Record of Commissioners of Unpatented Lands 23 April 1781 Thomas Chinnoth certified for 400 acres Scott Mill Run including his settlement in 1774; Randolph County Deed Book 2 page 131 April 1800 William Wilson to John Chenoweth. Not only does Chenoweth arrive about the same time as John Scott, but he had land dealings with the same family!
(10). RANDOLPH ENTERPRISE June 1905
(11). A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SCOTT FAMILY by James Richard Scott, unpublished manuscript. While this manuscript is unpublished, so many copies have been circulated that we will probably never be rid of it. It claims to trace the Scott family from Samuel Scott from Scotland to a Thomas and Eunice Scott of 1790s Washington County, Pennsylvania, and finally to an Alexander Scott who married a Rebecca Crawford in Lancaster County. These family connections are pure fiction. It would seem that James Riddle Scott was a victim, for it apparently was the late Mary Genevieve Ward, herself a Scott descendant and researcher, who first advanced these connections based on "research in Pennsylvania". It also was apparently Ms. Ward who worked pretty hard to disassociate Thomas Scott's descendants from those of his brothers William and Charles. Ms. Ward claimed that Thomas was a COUSIN of William and Thomas, but the Solomon Scott obituary mentioned above proves the error of that Statement. Further, research trips into Washington, Greene, and Fayette Counties in Pennsylvania have satisfied me that the Alexander Scott and Thomas Scott of the Scott manuscript never existed there. While the names of Thomas and Alexander Scott do appear there, the details bear NO resemblance to the persons described in the Scott manuscript. Interested persons would do well to remember that the ancestry of the Scott family back of John remain unknown.
and is presented here as educational, genealogical and historical research only in our efforts to establish a central location for information pretaining to the Families of Arnold Hill Cemeter. ALL rights still belong to the author
David Armstrong, 201 Graham St., Elkins, WV, 26241
(Based on research completed as of March 1995)