Daughter ~ Catherine Ware
When Thomas Paine wrote the ‘trying times’ for the colonists, he could not have described 1777 any better. America was fully embroiled in war at this time, and for Caty, pregnant with another baby, it must have brought great concern over her husband who was serving in the military. George Washington had just recruited 8,000 men and it would not be long before these new recruits would be seasoned soldiers.
Into this historical time, little Catherine Ware was born on May 1, 1777. (Ref. 1099) In all likelihood she was named after her mother. Caty really had her hands full now; there were six children in her home, and the oldest child was only eight. Catherine was always called “Kitty,” although she also signed some of her letters as her mother did, with “Caty.”
In 1796, Catherine Ware married John Mitchell Scott, a physician who had quite an illustrious family background. His “grandfather was John Scott of the French and Indian War, and his father, Captain Matthew Scott, served in the Revolutionary War,” as did Catherine’s. (Ref. 2253) Military service for his country was a concept deeply ingrained in John Mitchell Scott.
Dr. John Mitchell Scott Catherine Ware
Before his marriage, “John studied medicine under his uncle in New Jersey, and when he qualified for the profession, he received, on September 29, 1789, the appointment of Surgeon’s Mate in the infantry regiment.” (Ref. 2220, 2253) He actually “was commissioned a Surgeon’s Mate by George Washington on Dec. 29, 1789 and served under the administration of George Washington as Chief Surgeon in the 2nd Sub-Legion.” (Ref. 484)
Commission for John Mitchell Scott from President George Washington
“When General Anthony Wayne took over command of the western army, Scott was promoted on April 11, 1792 to Surgeon of the 2nd U.S. Regiment. He served under both General Josiah Harmar and Anthony Wayne. It was in this capacity that he first met and became intimately acquainted with General William Henry Harrison, then Wayne’s aide-de-camp.” (Ref. 2220, 2253) The friendship between Harrison and Scott would be a deep and lasting one throughout their lives.
The Northwest Indian War ended with The Treaty of Greenville. “Dr. Scott returned to Kentucky where he practiced medicine, first in 1796 in Woodford County, the place where Catherine’s grandparents lived.” (Ref. 2253) Then, when the couple married, they settled in Frankfort, where he “became one of the leading practitioners of his day.” (Ref. 2253) It was a perfect location for the young couple.
Nestled right beside the Kentucky River, Frankfort quickly became a major hub for travelers and settlers. With rolling hills overlooking the picturesque landscape, it was a city destined for growth and prosperity. Nearly 255 miles long, the Kentucky River was one of the major reasons Frankfort was chosen as the capital of Kentucky in 1792. It provided not only transportation, but a means of livelihood for Native Americans and local pioneers. From the Frankfort Cemetery, located on a high hill, there is, even today, a commanding view of both the river and the capital building.
View of the capital from the
Old photo of Kentucky River winding through Frankfort
Photos courtesy of James & Judy Ware 2009
When they moved to Frankfort, Dr. Scott and Catherine moved into a home that had previously been owned by Daniel Weisiger, the first postmaster of the town in 1794. “About the latter part of the eighteenth century, Dr. Scott weather boarded the logs and constructed a larger and more modern two story dwelling out of the home.” (Ref. 2241) Weatherboarding is the ‘siding’ of a house consisting of long thin timber boards that overlap one another, either vertically or horizontally on the outside of the wall. Some June 1797 documents on file in Kentucky “show property holders in Frankfort included the name of John M. Scott.” (Ref. 2284) The records also show that “John M. Scott owned six slaves as of 1810.” (Ref. 2284)
The property that John and Kitty built their home on was later bought by Philip Swigert who built a lovely mansion there around 1848. His home, located at 319 Wapping Street, was covered in beautiful, hanging wisteria. It was known as The Terraces.
Information below written by the descendants of John M. Scott and kindly provided by Maunsel White.
Photo used with the kind permission of the Kentucky Historical Society
Catherine and John made quite a handsome couple. At the time of their wedding, Catherine was 19 years old and John was 32, making a 13 year difference in their ages. (Ref. 1099, 2253) In her transcription work, Cornelia Ware Anker wrote: “Catharine Ware married Col. John M. Scott. He must have been a splendid man; he is spoken of so many times with such admiration.” (Ref. 2) Indeed, both Dr. Scott and Catherine seem to have been greatly loved.
Dr. John Mitchell Scott
Catherine Ware Scott
Dr. Scott proved to be a man of many talents. “In the early 1800’s, the most important governmental structure in the state was the county court system. It was the task of the court, to manage and regulate most of the public affairs and business that took place in each county. The responsibilities and powers of the county court were impressive in scope. . . .they appointed the county coroner, jailer, court clerk, attorney, constables, and other officials, as well as the most important political figure in the county, the sheriff, who was the chief executive officer of the county, of the circuit or judicial courts, and was, in addition, the highest acting election official.”
(Ref. 1054, 2265) Consequently, when “Dr. Scott was appointed Sheriff of Franklin in 1811,” it was quite an honor. (Ref. 484, 2220) “Of all the official county positions then, the job of sheriff was most coveted for its power as well as for the income from the fees and charges that were collected by this office.” (Ref. 2265) John also “served as a Justice on March 11, 1801 in Frankfort, Kentucky.” (Ref. 1033)
In addition to his civic duties, Dr. Scott also
maintained a very successful medical profession. One of his
regular patients was Henry Clay.
Scott would also travel great distances to treat his old friend, William Henry Harrison (and his family) and he
delivered many babies in his home town of Frankfort, including Catherine’s.
his old friend, William Henry Harrison (and his family) and he delivered many babies in his home town of Frankfort, including Catherine’s.
United States Senate, A.D. 1850
John was husband, father, doctor, sheriff, and, always a military officer. “Maintaining an active interest in the military, he was appointed Surgeon, 2nd infantry, Nov. 1, 1797, became captain in the 22nd regiment (Franklin County Militia), and on March 22, 1798, major of the 2nd Battalion of this unit.” As one writer put it, “He was a man of more than ordinary ability in his profession. Dr. Scott was decidedly military in his inclinations and in time became Colonel of a militia regiment at Frankfort.” (Ref. 2217)
Fortunately, it was at a relatively peaceful time in the country when Catherine and John first started out. Living in Frankfort brought many advantages to the newly married couple, and “Dr. Scott quickly became known as one of the original settlers of Frankfort, Kentucky.” (Ref. 2247) He felt strongly that the city needed “a good school of the seminary type, which, at that day and time, was equivalent to the combined graded and high schools of today, and in 1800, when a legislative act was introduced, passed, and approved for setting up the Kentucky Seminary, John M. Scott was named as one of the members of the self-perpetuating board of trustees.” (Ref. 2284)
The Scotts would eventually have five children, but Grandfather James only lived long enough to know about the first one. She was a baby girl, born in 1798, and they named her Elizabeth Thompson Scott. She went by many different nicknames in her life, but “Eliza” seemed to be the preferred one by family members. Kitty Scott was 21 years old at her birth.
“On December 17, 1818, on Thursday evening, Eliza married Col. Solomon Porcius Sharp.” (Ref. 974) Born in 1786, he was 32 years old and Eliza was 20. Solomon was an established politician by the time of his wedding, and in Hayden’s genealogy book, the author wrote, “Col. Solomon P. Sharp was a member of the U.S. Congress from 1813-1817. John C. Calhoun said ‘He (Sharp) was the ablest man of his age that had ever crossed the mountains.’” (Ref. 6) Solomon had already made a name for himself when he served as a major in Mounted Militia in 1812, under the command of Lt. Col. Young Ewing. (Ref. 1055) He later gained the higher rank of colonel. Politics was his first love though, and “when he served in the House of Representatives as a Congressman, Solomon developed an esteemed reputation for his work.” (Ref.462)
Sharp was considered to be a “star on the rise.” He was “twice elected to Congress and in 1820, was appointed Attorney General.” (Ref. 462) He had accomplished all of this before he was even 38 years old. “He discharged the duties of Attorney General to the perfect satisfaction of the country. This was the highest honor of the legal profession that a practitioner could enjoy, and there was but one step more of legal ambition and that was a seat upon the bench.” (Ref. 462)
The couple set up housekeeping in a home that was “located on Madison Street, facing the Old State Capitol.” (Ref. 2286) It was here that Eliza and Solomon raised their three children. It was also here where a devastating murder took away any dreams they had for the future. In 1825, after only seven years of marriage, Congressman Sharp was assassinated.
Colonel Sharp’s house
On a chilly November morning, about 2 o’clock in the morning, a man named Jereboam Beauchamp came “to the rear side door” of the house and knocked. (Ref. 2225) This door led into the family dining room. When Congressman Sharp, “clad in his night shirt,” opened the door to find out who was knocking, Beauchamp stabbed him with a knife. The thrust of the blade “severed the large aorta about two inches below the pit of the stomach.” (Ref. 2286) Eliza, who had followed her husband to the door, witnessed the whole thing. In a letter, dated December 25, 1825, from Thompson Ware to his niece Sally Stribling, he wrote:
“Your cousin, Betsy (Eliza) Sharp, lost her husband the 1st Sunday in November last by a midnight assassin. He was stabbed in the abdomen in his own house at 1 or 2 o’clock and expired without speaking a word in a few minutes in the midst of his family. The night before the Legislature was to meet (he was a member) a man was taken up on suspicion and sent for further trial. Poor Betsy was quite deranged for several days; she has since recovered and has come to her right mind. She has three children; a daughter and two sons. Mr. Sharp has left her a sufficient competency for her support; he had a very severe spell of sickness last summer which caused him to make a will and he left Betsy everything except two farms, as I am informed.” (Ref. 35E)
Photo of the Solomon Sharp home
The Solomon Sharp home – photo provided courtesy of Maunsel White
One author, H. Levin, also described the incident in great detail when he wrote that Solomon “was cut down in the dead hour of midnight! Mr. Beauchamp called him from his bed to the door, asking shelter for the night and using the name of an intimate friend to lure him and to shield his own identity. While extending one hand to his victim in simulating friendly greeting, with the other he thrust the deadly knife into Colonel Sharp's body and fled away into the darkness of the night, leaving him expiring on the threshold of his hospitable home! No event in the history of Kentucky had been more tragic, none had so stirred the state, nor indeed the nation, for Solomon P. Sharp was no ordinary man, and his service in Congress had given him a national reputation.”
It was, indeed, a devastating event for poor Eliza, who had witnessed the entire scene from the top of the stairs in the house. As the newspapers reported, “The peculiar atrocity of the deed created a thrill of horror throughout the land for it was attended with circumstances of most fiend-like barbarity. The legislature, being in session, offered a reward of three thousand dollars for the detection and apprehension of the murderer and passed resolutions testifying the public condolence and sympathy with the afflicted family and the great loss the State had sustained in his untimely death.” (Ref. 2240) Most people felt that Solomon Sharp, had he lived, would have definitely “been called to occupy a distinguished place in the highest court of judicature, at a little later period.” (Ref. 2240)
When Beauchamp was arrested and put in jail, he gave his own signed confession. That confession, along with the testimony of Eliza, provided all the evidence the court needed to sentence the murderer to hang. According to Dr. Harold D. Tallant of the Department of History, Georgetown College, Eliza’s “subdued and dignified demeanor and soft-voiced testimony added further to her credibility.” One can only imagine what a difficult time that was for the whole family.
The following is the written confession of
I replied John A. Covington. "I don't know you," said Colonel Sharp, "I know John W. Covington." Mrs. Sharp appeared at the partition door and then disappeared. Seeing her disappear, I said in a persuasive tone of voice, "Come to the light Colonel and you will know me," and pulling him by the arm he came readily to the door and still holding his wrist with my left hand, I stripped my hat and handkerchief from over my forehead and looked into Sharp's face. He knew me the more readily I imagine, by my long, bushy, curly suit of hair. He sprang back and exclaimed in a tone of horror and despair, "Great God it is him," and as he said that he fell on his knees. I let go of his wrist and grasped him by the throat dashing him against the facing of the door and muttered in his face, "die you villain." As I said that I plunged the dagger to his heart.” Confession of Jereboam O. Beauchamp
Eliza was understandably distraught. She decided to change the name of her youngest son from Thomas to Solomon, in honor of her husband. As her aunt wrote in a letter to James, “She’s a pretty sensible woman and has 3 fine children. They are Jean, John Scott, and Solomon (he was called Thomas but after the death of his father, they changed it (his name) to Solomon.” (Ref. 597)
Congressman Sharp was buried in Frankfort Cemetery. On the east side of his monument is written, “Solomon P. Sharp was assassinated while extending the hand of hospitality on the morning of November 7th 1825,” and beneath this is, "What thou knowest not now, thou shalt know hereafter.” (Ref. tombstone)
Last will & Testament of Congressman Solomon P. Sharp
Frankfort Cemetery – map of location of graves
Of course, Catherine and John had no idea of the sorrow that lay ahead of them with Eliza’s husband, but the next few years may have been difficult ones for them as well. Family records state that “there were four children born to John Mitchell and Catherine Ware Scott that died in infancy.” (Ref. 2227) Eliza was born in 1798 and it would be seven long years before another baby came into their home. It is possible that the four children who died in infancy were born during this seven-year gap. Catherine also lost her mother during this time, so it must have been a time of great sorrow.
When Catherine did have another baby, he was born in 1805. Dr. Scott was extremely busy with his local medical practice, and he also “frequently traveled to Indiana to act as personal physician to William Henry Harrison while he was Governor of the Indiana Territory and before he became the 9th President of the United States.” (Ref. 942) It was not always an easy trip. As family letters state, “As personal physician to his old friend, Scott on more than one occasion, made the long and perilous trip from his home in Frankfort to that of the Governor in Vincennes, Indiana to attend the latter’s wife, Anna.” As another descendant wrote; “On one occasion, when Harrison was Governor of the Northwest Territory quartered at Vincennes, Indiana, Catherine Scott accompanied her husband there. There was fear that Tecumseh and his Indian braves were going to attack the town, but fortunately they did not at that time.” (Ref. 2219A)
The deep friendship between Harrison and Scott had actually been born out of an equally deep rivalry. According to notes kept by the family, both men were suitors of Catherine at one time. She chose to marry John Scott over William Harrison, however. When Harrison later married Anna Symmes, the two couples forged a great friendship, with each promising to name one of their sons after the other. “When Governor Harrison’s third son was born Oct 4, 1804 on one of these long trips, he was named John Scott Harrison, and a son born to Mrs. Scott during the doctor’s absence was later christened William Henry Harrison Scott.” (Ref. 2253) The bond between the two men would forever be carried on in the names of their children.
Catherine and John named their son William Henry, but they usually called him Harrison. In a letter written by Lucy Webb, she mentioned at the time that “Harrison is living some distance from her (his mother, Catherine), I really do not know where. There was a report he was married.” (Ref. 597) Harrison had, indeed, gotten married. His bride was Elizabeth M. Wilkinson. One of their children was also named William Henry Harrison Scott, and he “became a physician like his grandfather and practiced in Danville, Illinois. He developed a friendship with Abraham Lincoln, and Brown University has some of their correspondence on record.” (Ref. 2219A, 2270) He “was a soldier with the 12th Illinois Volunteers.” (Ref. 487, 2033)
Grave marker for William Henry
Harrison Scott who died in 1861
** It is of interest to note the lineage of William Henry Harrison’s son, John Scott Harrison. He was the son of a president and served in Congress himself. When he had his own children, his only surviving son was also named John Scott. Ten years after his own passing, his son, Benjamin Harrison, was inaugurated as the 23rd president of the United States, making John Scott Harrison the only presidential son to have his own son become president.
At the age of 30, Kitty Scott gave birth to her third child. Her namesake, Catherine Ware Scott, was born in 1807, and she was sometimes called Kate. Her Aunt Lucy once described Kate as “very sensible and economical. She would make one of the finest wives for rich or poor.” (Ref. 597) On June 4, 1834, at the age of 27, Kate wed Mr. William Johnson. (Ref.1099) “He was a handsome man according to his portraits. He served in the Kentucky Legislature for a year, but was assassinated on the road between Princeton and Hopkinsville by hirelings of a politician supposedly named Davis, who shortly afterwards left the state.” (Ref. 2219A, 2247, 2270 ) The couple had three daughters: Catherine W. Johnson, Elisa S. Johnson, and Arabella W. Johnson. They were all eventually buried in the family section in the Frankfort Cemetery, along with Kitty’s daughter, Catherine who died on December 18, 1867 in her 60th year. (Ref. 487, 1099)
William Henry Johnson
Frankfort Cemetery records
Grave of Catherine W. Scott Johnson
It was four years before Catherine and Dr. Scott
added another daughter to their growing family. Eliza was 13
years old, Harrison was 6, and Kate was 4. On March 14,
1811, little Arabella Scott was born. “Both Eliza and Arabella were members of
the first Sunday school in Kentucky, which was established at Liberty Hall.”
(Ref. 2219A) Hayden wrote
in his book, “Eliza Scott was
a member of
the first Sunday school in Kentucky where, in five months, she committed 719
verses of the Bible and her sister, Arabella, 893 verses in six months.”
(Ref. 6, 2219A)
a member of the first Sunday school in Kentucky where, in five months, she committed 719 verses of the Bible and her sister, Arabella, 893 verses in six months.” (Ref. 6, 2219A) Quite an accomplishment!
Lucy Webb wrote in one of her letters, “Your Aunt Scott, with her two daughters, Catharine and Arabella, lives with Betsy Sharp. They are amiable girls. The latter [Arabella] thought handsome but of a very wild turn.” (Ref. 597) It is hard to imagine her being of such a “very wild turn” after memorizing all those bible verses!
Arabella married her first husband, William Milton Davis, on December 29, 1831. They had one daughter together, Catherine (probably named after her grandmother) who married Major J. Alexander Grant. (Ref. 488,2219A)
Catherine Davis Grant – daughter of Arabella and William Davis
Arabella Scott Welch
After Major Grant died, Arabella remarried on November 13, 1838, to Sylvester Welch. “He was a Civil Engineer working for Allegheny Portage railroad, but he later became the Chief Engineer of Kentucky from 1837-1842.” (Ref. 488, 2219A, 2270) The couple had five daughters altogether, counting Catherine from Arabella’s first marriage.
The additional girls were: Mary, who married Edward Hensley;
Louisa, who married Leopold Labrot; Elizabeth, who married Torbett Coryell (no photo available) ; and Arabella, who married Edward Payson Bryan. (Ref. 2219A, 2241)
Arabella Welch Bryan. (Ref. 2219A, 2241)
The interesting photo of the sisters, shown below, was taken at the Labrot House on Main Street. Sitting from left to right are: Louisa Labrot, Catherine Grant, Arabella Bryan, and Mary Hensley. Eliza Coryell was not present.
Photo kindly contributed courtesy of Maunsel White
The Labrot house, a Greek revival residence, was located at 421 West Main Street. It was owned by Kenner Taylor after Leopold and Louisa Labrot no longer lived there.
Catherine’s granddaughter, Arabella, and her husband Edward Payson Bryan, “built a large brick house which was called Glen Tara.” (Ref. 2219A, 2241) Below is a charcoal portrait of Arabella Welch Bryan with her sons, John, Edward, and Scott, which was done by Robert Burns Wilson.
Owned by Liza Page Miller & provided courtesy of Maunsel White & Albert Bruns
Portrait of Arabella Welch Bryan
and her sons
There were two more sons that were born after this charcoal portrait was made, Ashbel Welch Bryan and Sylvester Griswold Bryan.
Arabella In her later years
One of Arabella’s sons had great artistic talent. “William Scott Bryan, who possibly went by Scott, painted the miniature of her below with a single hair brush. It was watercolor on porcelain and was last known to be in the possession of Scott Bryan Bruns.”
Arabella Welch Bryan
Photo of William Scott Bryan (probably in his late teens) with another miniature he was painting; this one of his younger brother, Sylvester. Again, he was using just a single hair brush. Courtesy of Maunsel White
William Scott Bryan also painted the beautiful portrait of his grandmother, Catherine, in her youth (see below). He actually used another portrait painted by a famous artist of the period, Matthew Harris Jouett, as a model for his work. Joett’s painting was of an older Catherine, but William Scott Bryan was able to “edit” it to make it appear like what he imagined his grandmother must have looked like as a young woman.
The new country that had fought so hard to win its’ independence soon found itself again on the brink of war. Despite losing the colonies to the American revolutionaries 25 years earlier, England, like many European countries, did not take the United States very seriously yet. Great Britain was desperate to find sailors to man their naval fleet of over one thousand ships. Arrogant British captains did not hesitate to stop and search American vessels in hopes of recovering seaman who had deserted. They felt free to board American ships at will - - a practice very galling to the new nation. Grumblings were getting louder and louder.
In this middle of all of this, Catherine found herself expecting a baby once again. By the time Dr. Scott was “heading Scott’s Regiment of Kentucky Militia with the rank of Lt. Col. on August 15, 1812,” his wife was about four months pregnant with what would be their last child. (Ref. 1055)
War Record for John M. Scott
Born a few days after the New Year on January 8, 1813, their son was appropriately named John Mitchell Scott. (Ref. 1032) This baby must have been especially dear to Kitty because John would die before ever even getting the chance to see him.
John Mitchell Scott, Jr. grew up to carry on the proud family tradition of military service by attending West Point. (Ref. 587, 602) In a letter Lucy Webb wrote back to Virginia, she stated, “Your aunt’s (Kitty’s) son, John, started three weeks ago to West Point; there to finish his education.” (Ref. 597) He studied as a cadet at the military academy from July 1, 1830 to July 1, 1835. “He graduated as a Second Lieutenant, in the 1st Infantry. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant July 7, 1838 and Captain on June 18, 1846. His promotion to Major on September 29, 1846 was ‘for gallant and meritorious conduct in the several conflicts at Monterey, Mexico on the 21st, 22nd, and 23rd of September 1846.’” (Ref. 2253) There is no doubt that his father would have been very proud of him, just as Catherine surely was.
West Point Program
Provided courtesy of Maunsel White
Major John Mitchell Scott, Jr., died on October 26, 1850 at the age of 38. Catherine had to bear the death of yet another child before her own demise. She must have felt an almost unbearable sense of loss.
Military Record of Major John M. Scott, Jr., – courtesy of Maunsel White
Photo taken by James & Judy Ware 2009
Card kindly provided by the Frankfort Cemetery
Grave of Major John Mitchell
miniatures below of Catherine and John Scott were the ones painted by Matthew
Kentucky's most famous
portraitist. Jouett was the
son of Revolutionary War hero, Jack Jouett, and he studied
under Gilbert Stuart, early America's most famous portrait painter.
The oval of Dr. Scott
is truly an exquisite work of art. The
“miniature is solid gold and the features
are hand painted on ivory.”
portraitist. Jouett was the son of Revolutionary War hero, Jack Jouett, and he studied under Gilbert Stuart, early America's most famous portrait painter. The oval of Dr. Scott is truly an exquisite work of art. The “miniature is solid gold and the features are hand painted on ivory.” (Ref. 2224)
Catherine Ware Scott Dr. John Mitchell Scott
Such lockets can trace their roots back to the 16th Century. In addition to portraying the physical likeness of the person on the front, it was also common to see such pieces with an “enclosure” on the back that would hold locks of the beloved one’s hair. There was an entire industry built around the craft of using hair to create an actual piece of art. Most people recall such items as “mourning lockets” specifically worn in remembrance of a departed loved one. While that, indeed, was one of the common practices, the custom of giving and receiving “hair work” was also done for purely sentimental purposes. It was a grand statement of affection between two people, and trading locks of hair between family members was common.
With this understanding, the back of the miniature portrait of John Scott is fascinating. It has “a solid gold rim and the brown hair from his head is made up like a sheaf of wheat and bound together by a circulet of pearls.” (Ref. 2224) The detailed work is amazing and it must have been something his wife, Catherine, treasured.
There were several portraits made of both Catherine and John before 1812. Some were simply watercolor copies of the originals and, therefore, have subtle changes. The artist who painted the following military portrait of John was a man with an interesting background. Samuel Dearborn was “probably the first artist west of Pittsburgh, certainly the first to arrive in Cleveland. Originally from Boston, he came to the village about 1807, remained long enough to paint a few watercolor profiles, and then headed south toward Lexington and Frankfort, Kentucky. By 1818 he was back in Boston.” (Ref. 2271) It would seem that he had a little bit of trouble with the law, and this portrait of John Mitchell Scott was thought to be painted by him after he was put in jail.
Original painting of John Mitchell Scott done before 1812 by Samuel H. Dearborn - held in custody by Scott who was first Sheriff of Franklin County. (Ref. 603)
Courtesy of Maunsel White
The original portrait of Catherine was painted by Matthew Jouett
Catherine Ware Scott
Catherine Ware Scott “Kitty”
Both portraits provided courtesy of Maunsel White & Albert Bruns
Without a doubt, John and Catherine were a handsome couple. Their time together was, unfortunately, not going to be long though. After only 15 years of marriage, Catherine Scott would have to watch her husband head off to war again in 1812.
Courtesy of Maunsel White
John Mitchell Scott had always maintained his keen interest in the military, and his previous years of service in the militia provided him much valuable experience. In 1809, a treaty was signed with the local Indians concerning appropriation of land. “The tribes involved were the Delaware, Eel River, Miami tribe, and Potawatomi in the initial negotiations; later Kickapoo and the Wea, who were the primary inhabitants of the region being sold. The negotiations did not include the Shawnee.” (Ref. 2272) Due to this Treaty of Fort Wayne, signed in 1809, Miami tribes ended up selling land that was inhabited by the Shawnee. Tecumseh, a Shawnee leader, was naturally outraged by this. Opposed to any American westward expansion, Tecumseh and his brother, Tenskwatawa (The Prophet), demanded that the treaty be terminated in 1810. When they were refused, the brothers began working to form a confederation to block white expansion. To oppose this, General Harrison was authorized by the Secretary of War to raise an army as a show of force. “Under Harrison, John Mitchell Scott participated in the 1810-1811 campaign against the Indians in the Ohio Valley and took part in the engagement on the Wabash River in 1811.” (Ref. 484)
It wasn’t just the problem with Tecumseh which heightened the tension in the country, however. The fact that England, which had been a thorn in the American side for several years, was supporting the Shawnee chief was simply adding fuel to the fire.
No fully authenticated portrait of Tecumseh
A newspaper article in the “Louisville Courier” containing a report by Col. John Mitchell Scott on the Vincennes campaign. Courtesy of Maunsel White Ref. 974, 2244)
Great Britain, who was at war with France, had been irritating the Americans for some time. In 1807, using what Americans felt was arrogant and misplaced authority, Britain had introduced a series of trade restrictions to interfere with on-going American trade with France. America was not at war with the French, and the United States hotly contested these restrictions as illegal under international law. Congress, under the administration of James Madison, now had a group of politicians in control called the ‘War Hawks’ who were zealous in their desire for America to be treated as a sovereign nation. Great orators like Henry Clay and John Calhoun were hard to ignore. The audacity of Great Britain in siding with the American Indians and demanding trade limitations with France was ‘one more straw’ on the back of resentment that was rampant among the Americans.
To make matters worse, Great Britain continued to “push the envelope” with her impressment of American sailors on the high seas. This aggressive campaign not only involved the right for the British to search an American vessel, but it also gave any British officer the authority to make an “on-the-spot” decision concerning a seaman's nationality. Many of those targeted as deserters during these raids claimed American citizenship - a claim that was ignored by the British. American anger at impressments grew when British frigates arrogantly stationed themselves in U.S. territorial waters and searched ships in full view of American shores.
There was also the hot topic of Florida, which the War Hawks in Washington wanted to annex. Florida was held by Spain, a British ally. Things were on a collision course and, “in a move that surprised many, congress declared war on Britain on the 18th of June in 1812.” (Ref. 2254)
The country quickly got ready for another fight with England. State militias were called into action, and “even the women of Kentucky were busily engaged with spinning wheels and looms in order to supply the military with clothing.” (Ref. 2254) John, as always, was ready to take command of his men even though he had been battling some health issues for quite a while. “For some time prior to the outbreak of the war of 1812, Dr. Scott had been in poor health and fears were entertained for his recovery. It was not Governor Charles Scott’s intention, therefore, to appoint the doctor to an active role in the forthcoming campaign. Dr. Scott insisted on his right as Major of the 22nd Regiment though and on August 7, 1812, was officially appointed Lieutenant Colonel, Commandant, of the 1st Regiment, Kentucky Volunteer Militia.” (Ref.1032, 2253)
During his time in service, Dr. Scott “was with both Generals William H. Harrison and Winchester.” (Ref 2247) According to family records, “since the early part of May, General Winchester, with headquarters at Lexington, had been recruiting troops . . . among the troops in the field were three Kentucky regiments under Cols. John M. Scott, William Lewis, and John Allen, and the 17th United States Regiment under Colonel Wells. They were ordered to rendezvous at Georgetown, Kentucky on August 15th where they were addressed by Governor Scott, Henry Clay, and other distinguished citizens. These troops, about 2,200 in number, formed afterwards the left wing of the northwestern army, and a part of them were led by General Winchester to the River Raisin.”
Back at home, Kitty was probably worried sick about her husband. “Much to the surprise and delight of his family and friends, who did not expect him to survive the rigors of the campaign, the return to army routines and interests, together with the attendant exercise in the open air, restored his health. When Scott’s regiment was ordered to move out . . . at Elk Hart, his officers recommended that he stay behind and avoid unnecessary fatigue. Even the commanding general asked him to remain in the main camp, assuring him there would be no fighting in that quarter.” (Ref. 2217, 2253) Showing both determination and bravery, “Colonel Scott made no answer to this, but as he approached his horse he was heard to mutter, ‘as long as I am able to mount you, none but myself shall lead my regiment either to fight or not to fight.’” (Ref. 2253)
The expedition, which lasted three days and nights, was strenuous to say the least. It “had exacted much from the Colonel and his men. Col. Scott was barely able to make it back to camp, and despite continued rest and medications, he could accompany the army only until it reached Fort Defiance during the night of September 30, 1812. From this camp he was sent back to Frankfort in a litter.” (Ref. 2253) His men, knowing that death was imminent, “carried him on a litter, swimming the Ohio River, and down though the trackless forest they brought him, where no road had yet penetrated.” (Ref. 2241) These actions spoke volumes of how highly the soldiers regarded their leader. “The long trip home ended in November.” (Ref. 2253) John, thankfully, was reunited with his loving wife who, although very far along in her pregnancy, tried her best to make his last days comfortable. “Colonel Scott died Sunday evening, on December 20, 1812.” (Ref. 942) Catherine went into labor eight days later and delivered their last child. James Ware wrote to her brother in Virginia, “I almost hate to go to Frankfort to see poor Kitty.” (Ref. 298)
Both branches of the Kentucky Legislature unanimously adopted a resolution that as a public testimony all members would attend his funeral. He was buried Monday, December 21st with full military honors. His obituary from the “Kentucky Gazette” reads as follows:
“Died on Sunday evening last, Col. John M. Scott, of this place. He accompanied the troops at the head of his regiment on the late expedition against the Indians under General Harrison, but owing to increasing debility he was forced to leave his regiment and return home about three weeks since. In the death of Col. Scott, his family is deprived of an affectionate husband and parent – his country of a brave officer, and society, a loss not to be repaired. His military acquirements were conspicuous; as a physician he was eminent. On the knowledge of this melancholy event, the following resolution was unanimously adopted by both branches of the Legislature: “Resolved, by the senate and house of representatives of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, that as a public testimony of the high respect and estimation in which they hold the memory of Col. John M. Scott, who departed this life on the night of the twentieth instant, they will attend his burial this day at four of the clock.” (Ref. 484, 485)
The “Kentucky Gazette” of Lexington also printed the following report on his funeral. “The corpse was interred with military honors on Monday the twenty- first instant. The military preceding the corpse, which was followed by the Governor, Lieut. Governor, Members of each branch of the Legislature, and a large concourse of the inhabitants of the place. The tears of the citizens shed over the silent tomb, and the respect shown to his memory by the Councils of the State, portray the merits of the deceased more forcibly than any eulogy from us.” (Ref. 484, 485)
Photo taken by James and Judy Ware 2009 - Courtesy of Frankfort Cemetery
Older photo courtesy of
Maunsel White -
James and Judy Ware 2009
Poor Catherine Scott was left a widow at 35 years of age. In a letter written to his niece in Virginia, Thompson Ware wrote:
“Your Aunt Polly Webb and Aunt Kitty Scott are both widows and I suppose will never marry again.” (Ref. 35E) This letter was written on December 25, 1825, 13 years after John’s death. Thompson was right; Kitty never married again. Sometime after her oldest daughter, Eliza, was married, Catherine and her two younger daughters went to live with her. When Eliza died, the house went to Eliza’s son, Solomon Sharp. Kitty purchased the house from him, and it was there that she spent her remaining days. “On December 11, 1861, Kitty Scott died at the age of 84.” (Ref. 942) In her will, she specified that the house then be given to her daughter, Catherine. Kitty Ware Scott was buried close by her husband in the Frankfort Cemetery.
Photos taken by James and Judy Ware 2009
In looking back over the life of Kitty Ware Scott, it is hard not to think of words like ‘perseverance’ and ‘fortitude.’ She suffered the death of four children in infancy, mourned with two of her daughters at the loss of their husbands from assassinations, endured the death of, not only her firstborn child, but also her last born child who was delivered just weeks after the death of her husband. She raised her children alone and lived 49 years as a widow!
Supporting Documents for Chapter 10
Courtesy of Frankfort Cemetery
Old photo of the Scott section
of the Frankfort Cemetery
Last Will & Testament of Catherine Ware Scott
Chart showing the location of family graves provided by the Frankfort Cemetery
CHILDREN OF: CATHERINE WARE & Dr. JOHN MITCHELL SCOTT
B. May 1, 1777 B. 1764
D. Dec. 11, 1861 D. Dec. 20, 1812
(1) Elizabeth T. (Eliza) Thompson Scott
Henry Harrison Scott
(3) Catherine W. (Kate) Scott
(5) John Mitchell Scott
(Ref. 484, 1764, 2219, 2220, 2247, 2253)
* It is interesting to note that President William Henry Harrison had a truly unique presidency. At age 68, Harrison was the oldest president to be sworn in prior to Ronald Reagan and he served the shortest term – 32 days. He was the first president to die in office, the last president to be born before the writing of the Declaration of Independence, and the president who gave the longest inaugural address in American history. It took him nearly two hours to read it. He took the oath of office on a cold, wet day, and since he wore neither an overcoat nor a hat, he caught a cold that resulted in his death.
** Interesting fact:
The first Sunday School west of the Allegheny Mountains was started in the Liberty Hall gardens by Margaretta Brown and her friend Elizabeth Love. Margaretta’s husband was Senator John Brown, one of the two first U.S. senators to represent Kentucky after it joined the Union in 1792. It was at Liberty Hall that Catherine and Arabella Scott learned their Bible verses.