Charles Scott, Maj. Gen. (1739 - 1813)

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Maj. Gen. Charles Scott (Continental Army), Governor's Geni Profile

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Death: Died in Goochland County, Virginia, that is now Powhatan County, VA, USA
Occupation: 4th Governor of Kentucky
Managed by: Doug Robinson
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Charles Scott, Maj. Gen.

A Patriot of the American Revolution for VIRGINIA with the rank of BRIGADIER GENERAL. DAR Ancestor # A101436

Charles Scott (April 1739 – October 22, 1813) was an American soldier and politician who served as the fourth Governor of Kentucky from 1808 to 1812. Orphaned at an early age, Scott served under Edward Braddock and George Washington in the French and Indian War. He again served under Washington through the Revolutionary War; Scott weathered the winter at Valley Forge and, in later campaigns, servied as Washington's chief of intelligence.

After the revolution, Scott moved to Kentucky where he participated in a number of skirmishes with the Indians, including the decisive Battle of Fallen Timbers. He parlayed his military success into political gain, and served as a presidential elector in 1793, 1801, and 1809. Scott served as Kentucky's fourth governor from 1808 to 1812. As governor he prepared the state militia to participate in the War of 1812, and elevated William Henry Harrison to its command. During his first year in office, Scott sustained injuries after a fall and used crutches for the remainder of his life; consequently, he relied heavily on Jesse Bledsoe, his secretary of state, to perform the routine duties of the office. Scott retired to "Canewood", his home in Clark County, following his term as governor. He died there on October 22, 1813, and was buried in a family plot before being re-interred at Frankfort in 1854.

Early life

Charles Scott was born in April 1739 in Goochland County, Virginia, in the area that became Powhatan County. His father, Samuel Scott, and his grandfather, Captain John Scott, were both vestrymen of St. Peter's Parish. Samuel Scott, a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, died in 1755 and left the younger Scott an orphan. Charles Scott was educated by his parents and in the rural schools of Virginia, 1755 he was apprenticed to a carpenter.

On February 25, 1762, Scott married Frances Sweeney of Cumberland County, Virginia; the couple settled in Woodford County, Kentucky. With the help of slaves owned by his wife, Scott ran a mill on a large land plot near Muddy Creek and the James River. Scott had eight children, one of whom was a twin believed to have died in infancy.

As a young man, Scott was on his way home from the market with a beef when he heard a sergent recruiting soldiers. Enamored of the uniforms and military music, he immediately enlisted to serve in the French and Indian War. He was given the rank of corporal and participated in Braddock's Expedition in 1755. In October 1755, he was assigned to George Washington's Virginia Regiment and won acclaim as a scout and woodsman. He was assigned to Colonel William Byrd's command in 1760. During Byrd's expeditions against the Cherokee, Scott rose to the rank of captain.

Revolutionary War

At the outset of the Revolutionary War, Scott raised a company of Virginia militia and commanded them in the December 9, 1775 Battle of Great Bridge. Scott's company was the first raised south of the James River for service in the Revolutionary War. On February 13, 1776, Congress commissioned him as a lieutenant colonel in the 2nd Virginia Regiment. On August 12, 1776, he was promoted to colonel of the 5th Virginia Regiment.

In November 1776, Scott's unit joined George Washington in New Jersey. They remained with Washington through 1778, and Scott served as Washington's chief of intelligence toward the end of this period. He was promoted to brigadier general on April 2, 1777, and his unit weathered the winter of 1777–78 at Valley Forge. Scott's brigade participated in both the first and second battles of Trenton, but their major engagement was the February 1, 1777 Battle of Drake's Farm. Later, they fought in the battles of Germantown and Brandywine, and were the last unit to leave the field following the Battle of Monmouth. Scott also participated in General Wayne's victory at the Battle of Stony Point in 1779.[8]

Scott's brigade joined Benjamin Lincoln's army at Charleston, South Carolina on March 30, 1780.[7] Scott was captured by the British at Fall of Charleston later that year, and was held prisoner at Haddrell's Point for two years. He was paroled in March 1781 and exchanged for Lord Rawdon in July 1782. For his service, he was brevetted to the rank of major general in 1783.

Settlement in Kentucky

In 1785, Scott visited the area that would become Kentucky with Peyton Short. He moved to Woodford County near Versailles in 1787. His first foray into the political arena came in 1789, when he served one term in the Virginia House of Delegates, representing Woodford County. In 1792, the same year Kentucky became a state, the state legislature created a new county from Woodford County and named it Scott County in honor of General Scott. He was also chosen as a presidential elector in 1793, 1801, and 1809. He dreamed of founding a settlement on his land called "Petersburg" and having it become the state capital.

In June 1782, Scott's son Samuel had been shot and scalped by Indians while fishing with a friend. In 1790, President Washington appointed Scott to a military board in Kentucky to investigate the need for armed frontier troops to quell Indian attacks. He and James Wilkinson were given charge of the Kentucky militia, and Scott participated in the Harmar Campaign against the Scioto during the Northwest Indian War. During that campaign, Merritt, another of Scott's sons, was killed. Charles Scott commanded the Kentucky forces in St. Clair's campaign in 1791, including the disastrous Battle of the Wabash. On June 25, 1792, he was appointed major general of the Kentucky Militia, 2nd Division. On August 20, 1794, he participated in the American victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers.

Scott's wife, Frances, died October 6, 1804, and on July 25, 1807, he married Judith Cary (Bell) Gist, widow of Nathaniel Gist — a cousin of General Mordecai Gist. They moved to her family's plantation in Bourbon and Clark counties.

Governor of Kentucky

In 1808, Scott was elected governor of Kentucky by a wide margin over John Allen and Green Clay. He was injured in a fall on the icy steps of the governor's mansion during his first year in office, leaving him on crutches for the rest of his life. His handicap forced him to rely heavily on Secretary of State Jesse Bledsoe throughout his term; Bledsoe often delivered the governor's messages to the legislature.

Scott attempted to improve the state's faltering economy by lowering taxes, encouraging economic development in the state, and pursuing sound financial policies, but many of his proposed reforms did not pass the General Assembly. He did secure passage of a replevy law that allowed debtors up to a year to repay their creditors if they offered bond and security.

As tensions with Britain increased in the lead-up to the War of 1812, Scott tried to pacify the General Assembly by pointing out that France had also violated American rights. When it became clear that war was inevitable, however, Scott brevetted William Henry Harrison to the rank of major general in the state's militia, and raised an additional 1,400 recruits to serve under him.

Following his term as governor, Scott retired from public life to "Canewood," his farm in Clark County. During his retirement years, he was dogged by rumors that he drank and used profanity excessively. He died October 22, 1813. He was originally buried in a private family cemetery, but was re-interred at Frankfort Cemetery in Frankfort on November 8, 1854. Besides Scott County and Scottsville in Kentucky, Scott County, Indiana and Scottsville, Virginia are named in his honor.

-------------------- Charles Scott (April 1739 – October 22, 1813) was an 18th-century American soldier who was elected the fourth governor of Kentucky in 1808. Orphaned at an early age, Scott enlisted in the Virginia Regiment in October 1755 and served as a scout and escort during the French and Indian War. He quickly rose through the ranks to become a captain. After the war, he married and engaged in agricultural pursuits on land left to him by his father, but he returned to active military service in 1775 as the American Revolution began to grow in intensity. In August 1776, he was promoted to colonel and given command of the 5th Virginia Regiment. The 5th Virginia joined George Washington in New Jersey later that year, serving with him for the duration of the Philadelphia campaign. Scott commanded Washington's light infantry, and by late 1778 was also serving as his chief of intelligence. Furloughed at the end of the Philadelphia campaign, Scott returned to active service in March 1779 and was ordered to South Carolina to assist General Benjamin Lincoln in the southern theater. He arrived in Charleston, South Carolina, just as Henry Clinton had begun his siege of the city. Scott was taken as a prisoner of war when Charleston surrendered. Paroled in March 1781 and exchanged for Lord Rawdon in July 1782, Scott managed to complete a few recruiting assignments before the war ended.

After the war, Scott visited the western frontier in 1785 and began to make preparations for a permanent relocation. He resettled near present-day Versailles, Kentucky, in 1787. Confronted by the dangers of Indian raids, Scott raised a company of volunteers in 1790 and joined Josiah Harmar for an expedition against the Indians. After Harmar's Defeat, President Washington ordered Arthur St. Clair to prepare for an invasion of Indian lands in the Northwest Territory. In the meantime, Scott, by now holding the rank of brigadier general in the Virginia militia, was ordered to conduct a series of preliminary raids. In July 1791, he led the most notable and successful of these raids against the village of Ouiatenon. St. Clair's main invasion, conducted later that year, was a failure. Shortly after the separation of Kentucky from Virginia in 1792, the Kentucky General Assembly commissioned Scott as a major general and gave him command of the 2nd division of the Kentucky militia. Scott's division cooperated with "Mad" Anthony Wayne's Legion of the United States for the rest of the Northwest Indian War, including their decisive victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers.

Having previously served in the Virginia House of Delegates and as a presidential elector, the aging Scott now ran for governor. His 1808 campaign was skillfully managed by his step-son-in-law, Jesse Bledsoe, and he won a convincing victory over John Allen and Green Clay. A fall on the icy steps of the governor's mansion early in his term confined Scott to crutches for the rest of his life, and left him heavily reliant on Bledsoe, whom he appointed Secretary of State. Although he frequently clashed with the state legislature over domestic matters, the primary concern of his administration was the increasing tension between the United States and Great Britain that eventually led to the War of 1812. Scott's decision to appoint William Henry Harrison as brevet major general in the Kentucky militia, although probably in violation of the state constitution as Harrison was not a resident of the state, was nonetheless praised by the state's citizens. After his term expired, Scott returned to his Canewood estate. His health declined rapidly, and he died on October 22, 1813. Scott County, Kentucky, and Scott County, Indiana, are named in his honor, as are the cities of Scottsville, Kentucky, and Scottsville, Virginia.

Early life and familyCharles Scott was born in 1739, probably in April, in the part of Goochland County, Virginia, that is now Powhatan County.[1][2] His father, Samuel Scott, was a farmer and member of the Virginia House of Burgesses.[3] His mother, whose name is not known, died most likely around 1745.[4] Scott had an older brother, John, and three younger siblings, Edward, Joseph, and Martha.[4] He received only a basic education from his parents and in the rural Virginia schools near his home.[5]

Shortly after his father died in 1755, Scott was apprenticed to a carpenter.[3][6] In late July 1755, a local court was preparing to place him with a guardian, but in October, before the court acted, Scott enlisted in the Virginia Regiment.[2][6] He was assigned to David Bell's company.[6] During the early part of the French and Indian War, he won praise from his superiors as a frontier scout and woodsman.[3] Most of his fellow soldiers were undisciplined and poorly trained, allowing Scott to stand out and quickly rise to the rank of corporal.[7] By June 1756, he had been promoted to sergeant.[7]

Scott served under George Washington in the Braddock Expedition, a failed attempt to capture Fort Duquesne from the French.[2] For most of 1756 and the early part of 1757, he divided his time between Fort Cumberland and Fort Washington, conducting scouting and escort missions.[8] In April 1757, David Bell was relieved of his command as part of a general downsizing of Washington's regiment, and Scott was assigned to Captain Robert McKenzie at Fort Pearsall.[8] In August and September, Washington sent Scott and a small scouting party on two reconnaissance missions to Fort Duquesne in preparation for an assault on that fort, but the party learned little on either mission.[9] In November, Scott was part of the Forbes Expedition that captured the fort.[9] He spent the latter part of the year at Fort Loudoun, where Washington promoted him to ensign.[9]

Scott spent most of 1759 conducting escort missions and constructing roads and forts.[10] During this time, Virginia's forces were taken from George Washington and put under the control of Colonel William Byrd.[10] In July 1760, Scott was named the fifth captain of a group of Virginia troops that Byrd led on an expedition against the Cherokee in 1760.[10] Scott's exact role in the campaign is not known.[10] The expedition was a success, and Virginia Governor Francis Fauquier ordered the force disbanded in February 1762; Scott had left the army at some unknown date prior to that.[11]

Sometime prior to 1762, Scott's older brother, John, died, leaving Scott to inherit his father's land near the James River and Muddy Creek.[4] Having left the army, he had settled on his inherited farm by late 1761.[11] On February 25, 1762, he married Frances Sweeney from Cumberland County, Virginia.[2] With the help of approximately 10 slaves, Scott engaged in growing tobacco and milling flour on his farm.[12] In July 1766, he was named one of two captains in the local militia.[13] Over the next several years, Scott and his wife had four boys and four or five girls.[

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Maj. Gen. Charles Scott (Continental Army), Governor's Timeline

April 1739
Age 22
Ameria, Virginia, United States
- present
Age 68
October 22, 1813
Age 74
Goochland County, Virginia, that is now Powhatan County, VA, USA