Maj. Gen. Charles Scott (Continental Army), Governor

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Charles Scott, Maj. Gen.

Birthdate: (74)
Birthplace: Goochland, Virginia
Death: Died in Clark , Kentucky, United States
Place of Burial: Franklin, Frankfort , Kentucky, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Samuel Scott and NN Scott
Husband of Francis Howard Scott and Judith Cary Scott
Father of Hannah Elizabeth Mosby; Mary Postlethwaite; Daniel Scott and Charlotte Estes
Brother of Martha Mosby
Half brother of Edward Scott

Occupation: Brig. General Rev War & Governor of Kentucky
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Maj. Gen. Charles Scott (Continental Army), Governor

Charles Scott

  • Birth: Apr., 1739 - Goochland County, Virginia, USA
  • Death:  Oct. 22, 1813 - Clark County, Kentucky, USA
  • Parents: Samuel Scott
  • Wives: Frances Sweeney, Judith (Bell) Gist

Revolutionary War Continental Brigadier General, Kentucky Governor. He served throughout the Revolutionary War, and was brevetted Major General for his services. He served as Governor of Kentucky from 1808 to 1812. Originally buried in Clark County, Kentucky, he was reinterred in Frankfort in 1854. 

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

Taken from Wikipedia

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.


  1. U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970 Name: Charles Scott Snead SAR Membership: 21979 Birth Date: 29 Mar 1820 Death Date: 25 Feb 1903 Father: John Scott Snead Mother: Martha Ann Postlewaite Spouse: Martha Ann Raphael Children: Francis B Snead Source Citation: Volume: 110; SAR Membership Number: 21979.
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Maj. Gen. Charles Scott (Continental Army), Governor's Timeline

April 1739
Goochland, Virginia
Age 22
Amelia County, Province of Virginia
Age 33
October 10, 1788
Age 49
Wilmington, DE, USA
Age 68
October 22, 1813
Age 74
Clark , Kentucky, United States
Franklin, Frankfort , Kentucky, United States