The last few articles I’ve written on Council Grove have generated some more great information. Carole Day walked into my shop last week and showed me a book that has quite a bit of history on B. R. Scott. She brought it in thinking I’d be interested in some more information on Scott, and she was quite right too. The book is titled “Family Records of Lemuel Snodgrass and Richard Scott and their related families.” Mrs. Day had no idea how very interested I was in this little book. My great, great grandfather was Dick C. Scott, he and his family lived north of Delevan a couple miles. In fact, their homestead is on the south end of the old air field. For years I have wondered if my Scotts were related to the Scotts of Council Grove. My suspicions were confirmed. Near the end of this book my eyes caught the name of Dick C. Scott. I’ll tell you more about that side of the family in time to come.
Right now, I want to tell you more about Benjamin R. Scott who did much of the building here in Council Grove. I believe the best way is to give you the obituary of Mr. B. R. Scott, in its entirety.
“B. R. Scott of Council Grove, Kansas, was born near Marietta, Washington county, Ohio, October 12, 1843, and died at his home in Council Grove, Kansas, November 10,1922. He was the last of a large family of brothers and sisters. He was married to Rachel Elizabeth Day, November 14, 1867, and November 9, 1869, they arrived in Council Grove where they have since resided. During the fifty-three years of his residence here the family has lived in the same house. Mr. Scott was the father of two children. His daughter Minnie, wife of Rev. W. H. Comer, was born in Ohio, and his son Earnest D. Scott, cashier of the Farmers and Drovers Bank, was born in the home where the family now lives.
“Mrs. Norma Comer Bates, Olin, Byron, Albertine, Robert and Betty Scott are his six grand children and two of Mrs. Norma Bates’ children are his great-grandchildren. Mr. Scott had many business associations in our city. He was a farmer, carpenter, and builder for many years. He built many homes now standing, among them the Clarence White home and the old Bradford house. He was a member of the lumber firm Scott and Anderson, later Scott and McGeorge, Scott and Estlin, (shoe store), Ridgon and Scott Groceries and B.R. Scott and Son lumber and hardware. He helped organize the Farmers and Drovers Bank, January 27, 1882, and was a stockholder and director for many years. He has been Vice-president of the bank since 1887. He was a member of the A. O. U. W. and since May 13, 1876, was a member of the I. O. O. F. During all the 46 years he has held membership in this lodge, this last year was the only time he was reported on the sick list. During the Civil War Mr. Scott served in the 77th Ohio Infantry and was a charter member of the first organization of the Wadsworth post of the G. A. R. in1874. The post was reorganized in 1878 and Mr. Scott was again active. Captain C. H. Finney and B. R. Scott were members of the first organization. Mr. Scott has been faithful to the memory of his comrades, and until his recent illness was always in line following the flag draped casket to its last resting place. He was devoted to his family and his grand children and great grand children were the pride of his life. To his friends he was true and loyal. Outside his home ties the church was nearest his heart. The M. E. South building was dedicated in July 1869 and when Mr. Scott and family arrived in November of the same year, they immediately became a part of the church. For 48 years the Scott family were active workers in the little church. Mr. Scott was Superintendent of the Sabbath School for 43 years, and was always leader of the choir. No department of the church was complete without his presence. His ministering to the church was always kindly, never officious, and the pastors always found him an inspiration. One of the most touching tributes to his memory was a beautiful floral piece representing the “Gates Ajar” from all the members of the old South Church now living in Council Grove. The song ‘’Gates Ajar” had been one of his favorite hymns, and each flower in that symbol of that portal through which he passed, spoke volumes of love for the man who had been their leader, and had shared their joys and sorrows for so many years. When the church disbanded, no one showed greater courage than Mr. Scott. No doubt his heart ached for severing old associations is hard. Faith, his talsman, led him to worship in another fold. He and his family joined the M. E. church and he was active until his illness began last January. The funeral at his home Sunday afternoon was attended by a large number of old friends. Rev. South of the M. E. church, his pastor, gave a beautiful tribute to his memory. Rev. G. H. Cotton of the Presbyterian church read favorite passages of scripture and an account of his life. The male quartet composed of Mr. McKenzie, Mr. E. M. Jones and the Scholes brothers sang a chant he had so often sung in days gone by, “Beloved, It Is Well With My Soul.” Miss Helen Snow sang another of his favorite songs, “No Night There.”
“Many of his friends will carry with them through life the picture of the tall upright man, who with W. H. White, W. F. Shamleffer, and R. M. Armstrong, wended his way through Greenwood that beautiful June morning in 1921 and paid silent tribute to the memory of the Old Settlers who rest there. The “Master of Human Destinies” has called another old settler home. Ben Scott, as he was called, had been a familiar figure in the community and we will miss his kindly smile and hearty hand shake. The home circle unbroken for 55 years has sustained a loss that is shared by many friends who will cherish the memory of this man whose great ambition was “Service.”
“But the call he had waited for came at the twilight hour, and when the shades of night were falling the “Gates Ajar” received his spirit to the abode eternal. To those whom sorrow has touched, we can only extend a hand of sympathy, knowing, “Love is ever Lord of death, and Love can never lose its own.”
The next few weeks I’ll continue with the Scott family, and share some early stories of Council Grove as related by those of the family who were here at the time. It will give us a little peek at what life was like in last half of the nineteenth century here.
Addenda: I have found an advertisement in the Council Grove Republican September 27th, 1879 for the Morris County State Bank. B.R. was listed as a director of that bank.
In Minnie Comer’s obituary, daughter of B.R., it is stated that B.R. purchased a three room log house with several acres on the east side of south Fourth Street. The house is still standing and Virgil Wigle currently lives there. Address is 214 South Fourth. Scott built around the log house and added to it to make an attractive home.