JOHN WILSON SCOTT
REVOLUTIONARY WAR SOLDIER
From the DeWitt County Genealogical Society Quarterly
Contributed by Dorothy (Strange) Martin and Marie (Strange) Hastings,
both descendants of John Wilson Scott.
From the time John Wilson Scott was born in York County, Pennsylvania
in 1763 to the time of death on 13 March 1847 in DeWitt County, Illinois,
he had fought in the Revolutionary War, been married twice, lived in six
states, and fathered fifteen childrend.
He was of Scottish ancestry, the son of John and Anna (Wilson) Scott, who
owned land on the Holstein River in Washington County, Virginia. His
grandfather was Andrew Scott, whose will was proved 29 January 1794,
Colrain Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Family tradition says that John Wilson Scottís first marriage was to Ann
Crayton (or Clayton) and that their daughter, Elizabeth, married John
Matson (or Maston). Nothing else is known of this line.
His second marriage was to Nancy Keith, Daughter of Daniel and Elizabeth
(Liddell) Keith, about the year 1786. It is easy to trace the migration
of this family of John and Nancy Scott by noting the birthplaces of their
children. The first, Andrew was born in NC; John Jr., Alexander, Anna,
James K., Wm. L., and Ruth were born in S.C. 1788-1799; Martin was born
in Crawford County, Indiana in 1818. From there the family came to
Sangamon County, Illinois about 1820. The next move was to what was then
Tazwell County, Illinois in 1827. By a change of county boundary lines,
they became residents of McLean County in 1830; and by the same process
they became citizens of DeWitt County in 1839, all without having moved
from the land they had located on in present-day Wapella Township.
John Wilson Scott saw his sons become productive citizens. They were
farmers. James Keith Scott made on of the first land entries in what is
now DeWitt County, when he located in section 27, Waynesville Township.
John Jr., James K., Martin, and Andrew were ministers of the Christian
Church. James K. preached the first sermon in the township in the cabin
of one of the settlers. Later he helped establish the first church, Rock
Creek. Built in 1837, it was the first frame building in Waynesville
Township. The lumber for it was hauled from Atlanta, IL. James K. Scott
also served as a state legislator for two terms (1842-1846).
The final resting place for John Wilson Scott, his wife, and several of
his children and other descendants is Rock Creek Cemetery, located in
section 26, Waynesville Township. On 3 December 1970, the DeWitt Clinton
Chapter D.A.R. placed a marker on the grave of the old soldier. Twelve
members of the chapter have traced their lineage to him.
One of the many descendants of the soldier, Abbie Lane Whitaker, wrote a
play, "Out Beyond Middletown," which described the life of the early
Scott pioneers in the Waynesville area. The play won the one-act play
competition sponsored by the Arts Committee of the Illinois Sesquicentennial
Commission in 1968.
Because so many of her ancestors were buried there, Mrs. Whitaker often
visited Rock Creek Cemetery. Accompanying her on many of the visits was
her daughter, Frances Moriearty, who was inspired to write the following
sonnet about the significance of the visits:
We go each spring--again when winter nears
To pay our fond respects. We donít take tea,
But it is quite like that. There are no tears
But glad reunion of a family.
My motherís voice is soft, "Hereís Uncle Will,
And Great Aunt Nan--her jams would never set.
The first John Scott survived at Bunker Hill
And lived to bring his family through to get
A foothold here. This slender shining stone
Is Cousin Franklinís wife; she was a Lane.
The Bayless Boys! The ten once weighed a ton!
Rode off with Grant and all came home again."
Her gentle fingers trace the letters deep,
Gathering identity and strength from those who Sleep.
Mrs. Abbie Whitaker, a Chapter Member of the DeWitt County Genealogical
Society, passed away last September.