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 George Washington Scott

George Washington Scott

Birth
Death 10 Jun 1922 (aged 87)
Burial Belton, Cass County, Missouri, USA
Memorial ID 23436 · View Source
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The founder of Belton, Missouri, George Washington Scott was orphaned at the age of 11 when his mother, Frances Stanfield Scott, died in 1846. His father, Johnathan Scott, had died two years earlier in 1844 - only eight years after moving the family to Florida, Missouri from Virginia by covered wagon.* With no relatives nearby, young George Scott and two of his siblings were taken into the home of 33-year-old Sebastian Percell Clapper and his wife Rachel Waltman Clapper in whose home they were raised along with the Clappers' nine children.

Scott stayed with the Clappers until 1852** when, at the age of seventeen, he went out on his own to spend the next three years working in a wagon and carriage lumber business. By the time he married Susan Eleanor March on January 14, 1858, Scott had been working for two years in the mercantile business at New Santa Fe in Jackson County, Missouri. By 1860, Scott and his new wife were living on a farm just north of where Scott would ultimately found Belton. The Scotts soon moved to a farm near Lee's Summit, Missouri, however, and it was here that Scott befriended William H. Colbern, a lumberman and banker who would ultimately partner with Scott to buy the land on which Belton would be founded. Before that plan would come to pass, however, there was the matter of a Civil War to be decided.

When the Civil War broke out, Scott moved his family to the Independence area and enlisted in the Confederate Army. By war's end, Scott had fought in several battles, including Cane Hill, Prairie Grove, Pea Ridge, and Westport. After the war, the Scotts returned to the Lee's Summit area where Scott renewed his friendship with W.H. Colbern. Upon return from a trip to Kentucky where he met with Manzy Q. Ashby, Scott persuaded Colbern to partner with him in buying from Ashby the land on which Belton would be founded.

Not long after Belton*** was founded and dedicated on December 20, 1871, Scott moved his family to their new home at the corner of what is today Scott and Spring Streets in Belton. More than founder and resident, Scott continued to foster the growth of the community by serving a term as mayor of Belton and by becoming a member and leader in several local organizations. And, when the need arose, Scott also donated the land to build City Hall and the first school. His new civic role notwithstanding, Scott was still very much an entrepreneur**** who would continue to seek new opportunities.

In June of 1880, Scott and his brother-in-law, Wallace March, formed the firm Scott and March. Over the next decades, that new enterprise shipped hundreds of carloads of various grains from their Belton farms. Another Scott enterprise, for a time at least, was banking. Much more than just an entrepreneur, however, Scott invented several farm implements, including a corn planter that was ultimately sold to John Deere.

In the end, Scott, it seemed, never retired - at least not in his own mind. In the 1920 Census, at the age of 85, he was still calling himself a farmer, eschewing the word "retired" entirely. Two years later in 1922, however, Scott would finally rest in Belton Cemetery next to his wife Susan who had died in 1901.

Sources: The United States Census and The First Hundred Years, published by the Belton Historical Society in 1972

* Scott family lore states that as Johnathan and Frances Scott neared the town of Florida in Monroe County, Missouri, they saw a very small boy walking by the side of the road. The boy appeared to be lost so they gave him a ride in their covered wagon. When they arrived in Florida, they quickly located his parents, the Clemens, who were relieved at the return of their two year old son Samuel. Today we are more likely to associate Samuel Langhorne Clemens with his boyhood home in Hannibal, Missouri but this youngster who would later become famous as the writer Mark Twain, had been born in Florida, Missouri, about two years before the Scotts arrived.

** Tragically, Sebastian Percell Clapper died only three years later in 1855 at the age of 42. Yet another child had been born to the Clappers the year of his death.

*** The prevailing view is that Scott chose the name "Belton" in honor of Captain Marcus Lindsey Belt, his commander during the Civil War.

**** Scott's entrepreneurial instincts were evidently inherited by his granddaughter, Grace Wilson Van Brunt, who founded "The Grace Company" in the middle of the Depression. With customers like Princess Grace of Monaco, the King of Thailand, and the Queen of the Netherlands, the Grace Company's rapid growth as makers of quality children's clothing would help pull Belton out of the Depression. Their success would later become the subject of a 1980's AP news article printed nationwide.

Bio by: Belton Remembers


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 26 Jul 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 23436
  • Belton Remembers
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for George Washington Scott (11 Apr 1835–10 Jun 1922), Find A Grave Memorial no. 23436, citing Belton Cemetery, Belton, Cass County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave (contributor 8) .