Honorable John Scott
Agnes Irvine
Colonel George Washington Scott


Family Links

1. Rebekah Bucher

Colonel George Washington Scott 1 2

  • Born: 22 Feb 1829, Alexandria, Huntingdon, PA 2 3
  • Marriage (1): Rebekah Bucher on 19 Sep 1854
  • Died: 3 Oct 1903, Decatur, DeKalb, GA at age 74 2
  • Buried: Decatur: Decatur Cemetery, DeKalb, GA 2

   Another name for George was Geo W Scott.

  Noted events in his life were:

1. Fact: The Florida State Archives has a collection of papers, described at
as follows:
George Washington Scott Papers (M87-22). Correspondence of Scott, who commanded the Fifth Florida Cavalry Battalion during the latter stages of the war.

2. Fact: The DeKalb County Historical Society has a special collection of historical papers that researchers may review by appointment.

Scott, George Washington
Accession # 1982-170
Business Ledger; 1 box
George Washington Scott (1829-1903) was an entrepreneur, a Confederate soldier, and a philanthropist. He entered the mercantile business in 1850 when he established the firm of George Washington Scott and Company in Tallahassee, FL. During the Civil War he commanded the Fifth Florida Battalion (“Scott’s Cavalry”) and led these troops in the battles of Olustee and Natural Bridge. After the war he moved first to Savannah, GA and then to Decatur, GA were he founded the George Washington Scott Investment Company which was a real estate business. From 1889 until his death in 1903, George Washington Scott was a great benefactor to the newly formed Agnes Scott Institute (later Agnes Scott College), an institution named for his mother. This ledger is from the George Washington Scott and Company firm and it chronicles the later half of the 19th century with daily reports on the weather and the cotton crop. It begins in Tallahassee, Florida and later moves up to Savannah, Georgia. It includes information on bank drafts and trade reports.

Details at http://www.dekalbhistory.org/Collections/special_collections.htm.

3. Census in 1860 in Tallahassee, Leon, FL. 4 George Scott, planter, 34, has real estate valued at $4,000 and possessions worth $4,000. Living with him is Rebecka, 25; son G. B., 5; Anna, 2; and Mary, 5 months when the census was recorded on 21 Jul 1860.

Everyone was born in Pennsylvania, except Annie and Mary who were born in Florida.

4. Military from 1863 to 1865 in , , FL: Colonel for the Confederate Army in the Civil War. 5
Title: How Col. Scott Destroyed New Port

After Florida seceded from the Union on January 10, 1861 Confederate troops attacked Fort Sumter three months later on April 12, 1861 and the Civil War began. Even before the attack on Fort Sumter, North Florida citizens began to prepare themselves for hostilities with the Union.

George Washington Scott (1829-1903), a merchant-planter, lived on a 1,036 acre plantation south of Tallahassee.... Scott's plantation was one of 95 large pre Civil War plantations in Leon County. Scott constructed a dam that turned a 16 foot waterwheel which powered a cotton gin and corn grinding machinery. Reportedly, he developed his plantation into a model farm.

Attracted to frontier North Florida by opportunities in business and agriculture, George Washington Scott migrated to Leon County from his native Pennsylvania in 1852. even before Florida seceded from the Union, Scott joined the Florida Confederate force and became one of the top cavalry commanders in Florida.

In 1863, James A Seddon, Secretary of the War of the Confederacy, directed George Washington Scott to organize the fifth Florida Battalion, known as "Scott's Cavalry", with the rank of Lt. Colonel. In October 1864 Col. Scott made commanding officer of "Middle and West Florida and Southern Georgia". Scott served under Brig. General William Miller and Maj. General Sam Jones, Commander of the Florida District, headquartered in Tallahassee.

On February 28, 1865 a fleet of 15 Union ships began to assemble 13 miles offshore from the lighthouse in Apalachee Bay.

With his plantation located on the south side of Tallahassee, Scott was one of the first Confederates to learn of the impending threat.

Quickly, the news of the Yankees' arrival, a mere 25 miles south of Tallahassee, Florida's capital, traveled by telegraph to nearby towns and a Confederate defensive force began to assemble at "Old Still" (now Wakulla Station) four miles west of New Port in order to repulse the invaders and defend Tallahassee. They come by long trains via the Tallahassee-St Marks Railroad pulled by 3 steam locomotives.

At sunrise on Saturday, March 4, 1865, the Union fleet began to close upon the St Marks lighthouse under full sail and a full head of steam. Within hours about 1,000 infantrymen of the 2nd and 99th Colored Infantry regiments, their officers and equipment debarked from their ships and came ashore near the lighthouse. They quickly moved inland about two miles to an elevated spot of land and prepared their encampment and command post.

The Union invasion plan was to silence the Confederate batteries at Fort St Marks, land a naval force at Port Leon to pin down and neutralize St Marks, and thus protect their left flank and rear. Another group, an infantry force, was to cross the bridge at East River, march toward and cross the St Marks River bridge at New Port, destroy Daniel Ladd's foundry used to cast shot and shells for the Confederacy and other strategic facilities at New Port, then turn westward and capture St Marks from the rear, seize or destroy the Tallahassee-St Marks Railroad, and then march into Tallahassee and capture the Florida Capital.

Learning that the Union was advancing on New Port with 700 soldiers, along with a squad of Union Navy Artillerymen armed with two field cannons, Col. Scott and his cavalry rushed down to New Port. Immediately upon arrival, his men tore out a section of the St Marks River bridge and set the remainder of the bridge afire.

Because of its particular location on the St Marks River, New Port found itself trapped between the crossfire of the Union invasion forces and the Confederate defensive forces.

The next day, Sunday, March 5, 1865, Union forces marched form the lighthouse toward New Port arriving at 11 AM. Finding strong resistance from Col. Scott's cavalry and other Confederate units dug-in along the New Port side of the river -- a strong battle between Confederate forces and Union forces followed.

The Confederates defending New Port were comprised of 60 men of Col. Scott's Fifth Florida Battalion, 35 militia, 20 marines form the gunboat "Spray" and 25 artillerymen, a total defensive force of 140 men plus reserve forces at Old Still and Fort St Marks.

Meanwhile, on Col. Scott's orders, the Confederates set fire to the primary buildings in New Port including Daniel Ladd's foundry, sawmill, gristmill, turpentine still and warehouses to prevent them from falling into the hands of advancing Union forces. This destruction virtually wiped-out the town of New Port. With the St Marks River bridge ablaze and fire raging through the town feeding upon fat pine wood buildings, the battle continued until nightfall in a pall of stifling heat and smoke created from musket and cannon fire mixed with the smoke from the buildings burning at New Port.

Col. Scott's cavalry and infantry units quickly prepared their defensive positions with rifle pits entrenched in sand breastworks on the west side of the St Marks River bridge. Within a short time, three Union soldiers were killed and a number of them wounded. The Confederate firepower was so heavy against the advancing Union forces that they were compelled to abandon their plans of crossing the river, they retreated and retired for the day. The battle at New Port lasted about seven hours; from 11 AM to nightfall. Although outnumbered, the Confederates performed with valor.

The Battle Of New Port As Described By Union Commanders

Major Edmund C. Weeks, the Union officer leading the Union battalion advance from Lighthouse Island to New Port stated:

"Upon arriving at New Port, on Sunday at 11 AM (March 5, 1865), I discovered the bridge over New Port River on fire, and agreeable to orders I charged on the enemy for the purpose of saving the bridge -- all under heavy fire."

"Found the enemy strongly posted behind the entrenchments on opposite side, and found that the bridge was burned at one end and cut off at the other, and that the enemy had complete command of the approach to the bridge with their musketry. Having two pieces of artillery, I posted one to play directly across the bridge and the other on the right to enfilade their pits. I did not succeed in driving them out."

During Sunday morning of March 5, 1865, General John Newton, commander of the Union forces, further elaborates:

"When near New Port a heavy smoke indicated the probable destruction of the bridge. The battalion of the Second Florida Cavalry, under Major Edmund C. Weeks, was pushed on in advance to save the bridge. This was found to be impossible, one bay of the bridge being already gone and its whole length swept from the rifle-pits of the enemy on the other side. The conflagration was extended (to New Port) to include an iron foundry used by the enemy to cast shot and shell, one sawmill and on grist mill, and other property."

The Battle Of New Port As Described By Confederate Commanders

In his report to Confederate General Samuel Jones, Brig. General William Miller describes their defense of New Port:

"On the 5th (March 5, 1865), assuming command of such forces as had reported, I proceeded to New Port, at which place I arrived at 5 o'clock PM and assuming command, relieved the over-fatigued men of Lt. Colonel G. W. Scott, placing a company of cadets and a company of militia at the breastworks. The enemy having driven in Col. Scott's pickets at the East River bridge on the night of the 3rd (March 3, 1865) inst., on the morning of the 4th (March 4, 1865) Major William H. Milton drove them back to the lighthouse. On the morning of the 5th inst., the enemy advanced on the east River bridge held by Lt. Col. Scott with 60 men of the 5th Florida Battalion and one piece of Denham's Artillery under Lt. Rambo. The development of a force of 1,500 by the enemy compelled Lt. Col. Scott to fall back towards New Port. The horses becoming unmanageable, Col. Scott was compelled to sacrifice the piece of artillery, though not without loss to the enemy, who left three of their dead unburied at the bridge and took positions behind the breastworks, from which place they adeptly opposed the enemy's passage. The force under Lt. Col. Scott at this place was composed of 45 militia, 20 marines from the gunboat Spray, 25 artillery men from Gambell's battery, besides the force from the East River Bridge."

General Miller further stated:

"Early on the night of the 5th, it became evident that the enemy had abandoned the design of crossing at New Port, and Lt. Col. Scott's scouts reported them moving up the (St Marks) river. I then ordered Col. Scott to move up the river to Tompkins' Mill and, subsequently, to Natural Bridge."

Confederate Soldier Gus H. West Describes the Defense of New Port:

"The battle began on Sunday afternoon at New Port, and we were compelled to burn the bridge across the river to keep the Federals from crossing. At the time this battle took place my father, Capt. G. C. West, an old sea captain, and his family were living in New Port. The Federals shelled the town of New Port, and the inhabitants, including women and children, had to fly to the forest to save their lives. My mother with her baby girl in her arms, and her little boy, Allen West, then five years old, were among those who found safety in flight. A number of bullets hit the house before they left it. In a neighbor's house a cannon ball went through the dresser in a room where the lady of the house was engaged in making preparations for flight."

Confederate Soldier James Willson Recorded His Combat Experiences at New Port
on That Sunday Afternoon, March 5, 1865:

"No sooner had they sallied from behind some few houses (on the east bank of the St Marks River) which partially obscured their line of approach and impetuously reached the foot of the bridge when we raised and emptied our muskets, squashing their enthusiasm. In that instance they were not over 150 yards from us. They retraced their steps quite as hastily as they had advanced taking refuge behind houses, trees -- squatted down behind stumps and prostrated themselves behind logs and in little pits in the earth barely sufficient to conceal them, from which, owing chiefly to the heat of the burning buildings, they insidiously changed their positions.

"Very soon the strife began -- they opened a desultory fire to which they found us not slow to reply, whenever we espied them at good range. I could easily discern the enemy's movements. The enemy was doubtless disappointed at not crossing the New Port bridge. A cessation ensued for a few moments, and then having brought and positioned their two pieces of artillery -- being all that they had with them, they paid us frequent, although harmless, salutes for a while, perhaps one hour, where upon it was apparent to them we had no artillery. Then, withdrawing theirs, by which it was thought by us, that it was done to attend another movement elsewhere, and deploying sharpshooters to protect the fight and deceive us till night fall, they concluded the day in our favor...

"The sun rose gorgeously that morning and shone vivid and warm through the day and we remained all that day and night unaltered in our position."

Re-grouping the next day, March 6, 1865, the Union forces were compelled to redirect their advance and move along the east side of the St Marks River, upstream along an old wagon road a distance of about eight miles from Natural Bridge -- a corridor of land where the St Marks River flows below its surface through a large natural underground limestone stream and sinkholes.

Well aware of this natural bridge location, and with New Port now laying in ashes, Col. Scott along with the other Confederate commanders moved the vanguard of their military forces from New Port via the Old Plank Road up to Natural Bridge and dug-in.

The Union forces continued their march to Natural Bridge and engaged a Confederate force of about 1,500 soldiers in the Battle of Natural Bridge.

For about 11 1/2 hours form 4:30 AM until about 4 PM on March 6, 1865, the Union forces challenged the Confederate line time after time. Each time they were repulsed. Finally, the Union forces ceased their fire, broke off the battle and began their retreat, and the Confederates were victorious. On the following day March 7, 1865, after Union Army Commander General John Newton conferred with Naval Commander Robert W. Shufelot, they agreed to end the military operation. The Union forces withdrew, reloaded infantry and naval forces on their ships and steamed away from Lighthouse island.

As he did at New Port, Col Scott and his cavalry again played an important military role in the Confederate victory at Natural Bridge.

Having fought with gallantry at Olustee in 1864 and now at New Port and Natural Bridge, Col. George Washington Scott became a Confederate hero throughout Florida and Georgia.

With Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, the South began its long and turbulent recovery from four years of Civil War.

On May 13, 1865, Col. Scott surrendered his command to Union Brig. General Edward M. McCook. He was paroled on May 23, 1865, and Florida was placed under Union Rule.

5. Fact: 1868, , , FL. He was the Democrat Candidate for Governor of Florida, losing the election in 1868 to Republican Harrison Reed.

6. Census in 1870 in Tallahassee, Leon, FL. 6 George Scott, planter, 41, has real estate valued at $30,000 and possessions worth $8,000. Living with him is Rebecka, 32; son Bucher Scott, 14; Annie, 11; Mary, 9; and Nellie, 5.

Everyone was born in Pennsylvania, except Annie and Mary who were born in Florida. This means in 1859, George was in Florida when Annie was born, but in 1865, Nellie is born in Pennsylvania, perhaps because her mother returned home during or after the Civil War?

Also in the household is Charlotte Proctor, 33, no occupation listed, and her children, Ellen, 11, and Toney, 8. Since Charlotte is black, she is likely a servant.

7. Census in 1880 in Decatur, DeKalb, GA. 3 George W. Scott, merchant, 51, is living with wife Rebecca, 46; George B., merchant, 24; Anne, 21; Mary, 20; Nellie, 14; and Bessie, 5. Everyone and their parents were born in Pennsylvania, except Anne and Mary were born in Florida, and Bessie in Georgia. Also, George W's mother was born in Ireland.

8. Fact: He purchased the majority of the shares of stock issued to create what became Agnes Scott College, 1889, Decatur, DeKalb, GA. 7 Agnes Scott College's first fund-raising campaign was the founding of the school itself. In a city of 1,000 residents, from a church with 300 families, one generation after the devastating effects of war, Frank Henry Gaines set forth the idea of a female seminary. To raise the money, shares of stock (at $50 par value) were issued. Thirty-six people bought a total of 107 shares. Among these was George Washington Scott who purchased 40 shares.

9. Fact: He was the principal founder of Agnes Scott College, 17 Jul 1889, Decatur, DeKalb, GA. 8 The roles that George Scott played in founding the college that bears his surname is explained at the Agnes Scott College website at http://www.agnesscott.edu :

Founder's Day Every Day

On a warm evening in July — July 17, 1889 — a small group of local leaders gathered in the pastor’s study of the Decatur Presbyterian Church “to [as they said] advise as to the need and feasibility of establishing in Decatur a school for young ladies and girls, to be of high order and under Presbyterian control and influence.”

Within slightly more than two months, on Sept. 24, 1889, the school opened with 63 students and four teachers. The organizing group was assembled by the Rev. Frank Henry Gaines, pastor of the church, and included nine prominent men of the town. The descendents of several organizers have maintained active relations with the College throughout its history and down to the present.

Today, we gather to honor our founders, and — as will become apparent later — to honor and challenge ourselves.

From a programmatic standpoint, the school our founders labored to establish bore little relation to the College we know today. It was an elementary school for girls — the “Decatur Female Seminary.” The organizers’ accomplishments within a short time were prodigious: they raised funds, secured a building, recruited students, hired faculty and a principal and refined their objectives. Early on, Dr. Gaines, the first chair of the Board, articulated what has been called the “Agnes Scott Ideal.” That ideal established the fundamental values of the institution and has guided the College through the years on a consistent basis.

Dr. Gaines stated them this way:

A liberal curriculum fully abreast of the best institutions of this country

The Bible as a textbook Thoroughly qualified and consecrated teachers

A high standard of scholarship

All the influences of the College conducive to the formation and development of Christian character

The glory of God, the chief end of all.

Some of these words may seem a bit strange as we hear them 113 years later, and some would doubtless provoke substantial controversy if put into the College’s materials today. But I submit that as the College has developed and evolved over those years the basic values represented by those words remain viable as the core of the institution. Even as the College works today to restate its mission in terms appropriate to the contemporary environment, it is guided by the same principles that guided the founders.

The first early development having a lasting impact was the conversion of the school from a stock “company” to an institution independent of its “stockholders.” In 1897, all of the stock still outstanding was repurchased, and the school was put under the control of a self-perpetuating board of trustees.

Recall that the original objective of the organizers included the notion that it be “under Presbyterian control and influence.” This corporate “reorganization” refined that concept. While all trustees were required to be members of the Presbyterian church — today, only half — the new structure assured that while Presbyterian influence would still be felt, the school was to be independent of the church and not in any manner be subject to its ecclesiastical control.

The second event of enduring note is the creation of Agnes Scott College, which occurred on May 12, 1906. The school was begun as an elementary and secondary academy, but aspired to collegiate status. This was accomplished during a period of more than 10 years with the gradual elimination of lower grades combined with the addition of upper grades.

The College and the secondary school, now known as the Academy, coexisted for several years with an increasing strain on resources until May 1913 when the Academy was discontinued and the College became a stand-alone institution.

A third event significant in the College’s history causes us to be together on this particular day. Col. George Washington Scott died on Oct. 3, 1903. Wrong date you ask? Actually, Founders’ Day is celebrated on today’s date in honor of Col. Scott’s birth, not his death.

I mention this event partly because it prompts us to be here, but also to illustrate another point: George Washington Scott is undoubtedly one of the major figures in the history of the College. He was an original founder. He was the financial savior of the early school on multiple occasions. He served as the first chair of the reconstituted Board of Trustees (serving until his death), and he was profoundly committed to the creation of an institution of lasting value and values. But there were many, many others who could rightly be considered founders. To name two others: Dr. Gaines, who summoned the original organizers, and served first as Board chair, then as President from 1896 to 1923; Miss Nannette Hopkins who at age 29 was hired as principal of the newly founded school in 1889 and served for the first 49 years of its existence. As Dr. Walter E. McNair says in his history, Lest We Forget, “There would have been no Agnes Scott without Col. Scott, Dr. Gaines and Miss Hopkins.”.

10. He signed a will in Nov 1903 in Decatur, DeKalb, GA. 9 Deceased: Scott, George W.
Heir: Agnes Scott Institute
Heir: Bidwell, Carrie B. (daughter of sister Susan)
Heir: Bucker, Annie C.
Heir: Bucker, Hannah C.
Heir: Candler, Mary K. (daughter)
Heir: Candler, Nellie B. (daughter)
Heir: Cassessls, Clara M.
Heir: Cooper, Annie India (daughter)
Heir: Harmon, Bessie N.
Heir: Phillips, Susan
Heir: Rebecca Scott Memorial Fund
Heir: Scott, Carrie I. (niece, daughter of brother Alfred)
Heir: Scott, George B. (son).

11. Book: Copy not yet obtained, Oct 1979.
Lucas, Marion B. "Civil War Career of Colonel George Washington Scott." Florida Historical Quarterly v58 (Oct 1979): pages 129-149.

George married Rebekah Bucher, daughter of Honorable George Horter Bucher and Hannah Hough, on 19 Sep 1854. (Rebekah Bucher was born on 20 May 1834 in Harrisburg, Dauphin, PA,1 2 died on 12 Jul 1899 in Decatur, DeKalb, GA 2 and was buried in Decatur: Decatur Cemetery, DeKalb, GA 2.)

  Noted events in their marriage were:

1. They have conflicting marriage information of 9 Sep 1854. 1


1 Egle, William Henry, Pennsylvania Genealogies, Mainly Scotch Irish And German (1896, 798 pp.
Reprinted Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1969. Online via Google Book Search.), Page 127.

2 Decatur Cemetery, Decatur, DeKalb County, Georgia (http://www.dekalbhistory.org).

3 1880 United States Census, FHL Film 1254143; National Archives Film T9-0143; Page 348C.

4 1860 United States Census, Florida, Leon County, Tallahassee PO, Series: M653 Roll: 108 Page: 77.

5 Wakulla Digest (Wakulla Digest, 468 Hickory Wood Drive, Crawfordville, FL 32327. 850-926-9399), April, 2002 Edition: "How Col. Scott Destroyed New Port," by Mays Leroy Gray.

6 1870 United States Census, Florida, Leon County, Tallahassee PO, Series: M593 Roll: 131 Page: 671.

7 Agnes Scott College Website (http://www.agnesscott.edu
Decatur, DeKalb County, Georgia), http://www.agnesscott.edu/alumnae/p_alumnaearticle.asp?id=55.

8 Agnes Scott College Website (http://www.agnesscott.edu
Decatur, DeKalb County, Georgia).

9 DeKalb County Courthouse, Decatur, DeKalb County, Georgia (Online at: http://www.dekalbhistory.org), Wills: Book C, Page 143.

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