The Far Left Branch, Ch.3

William Waller Scott 1795-1871

My third-great grandfather, William Waller Scott (who I’ll refer to moving forward as “WWS”) was born August 31, 1795 to Capt. William Scott and Anne Scott.

I know nothing of his childhood, but I can tell you that when he was five years old, in 1800 (fun fact ahead!);

The battery was invented! Alessandro Volta invented the voltaic pile and discovered the first practical method of generating electricity. Constructed of alternating discs of zinc and copper with pieces of cardboard soaked in brine between the metals, the voltic pile produced electrical current. The metallic conducting arc was used to carry the electricity over a greater distance. Alessandro Volta’s voltaic pile was the first “wet cell battery” that produced a reliable, steady current of electricity. 

There are a few references of WWS joining the War of 1812, but I also read that by the time he reached the front the war had ended. I guess 17-year olds don’t often have their s&^t together and the 1800s were no exception.

At 25 years old, in 1819, he married Elizabeth “Eliza” Pendleton and the two had three boys and four girls. According to this article here, WWS was considered a “true Virginia Gentleman.” While I’m sure that’s true according to some, he was also a slaveowner, so I guess it depends on who you ask.

And the men sported the fine fashions you see depicted here.

Also according to that article, “(WWS’s) children appear to have spent their days…upriver from tobacco town Lynchburg. (The children) would have observed commerce on the river, where cargos of seven tons were transported by boat to Richmond, then out to Eastern seaboards”

This is where I believe his property was located, according to the article I linked to above;

In this barely legible, current-day map, you can see where WWS’s plantation was likely located (as indicated by the haunted house I plopped in there). At top right is Union Christian Church, where he is buried with his wife Eliza and their daughter Emma. The Scott Cemetery where I visited in June with my family, is at bottom left. At the time of our visit I had no idea there were more Scotts buried over at the Union Christian Church.

When he was 55, WWS was likely living comfortably if the facts I could find are any indication. At this point, his youngest kid, Emma, is five years old, and Robert Garland Scott, who is my great-great grandfather and not the oldest of the kids in his family, is 20.

The Non-Population Schedules of 1850 recorded what people were growing on their land, how much land they had, how many animals, and so on. It starts to paint a clearer picture of their lives. He owned a lot of sheep, and forty pigs, for example, so his livelihood obviously included meat sales of come kind, (guesses the kid from the ‘burbs).

Below are the slave schedules from that same year. According to some sources, census-takers would occasionally add the names of the slaves in their note-taking. Unfortunately, it was a rarity and predictably was not done in this case either.

Other columns included “Fugitives from the State”, “Manumitted” (freed), and “Deaf and Dumb, Blind, Insane, or Idiotic”. I really wish there were some tic-marks in those first two columns.

Ten years later, when the 1860 Schedules were conducted, the results are much the same, but the number of slave cabins (4) is added.

In 1870, when he had been a widower for ten years and was one year away from his death, his daughter Eliza Adalaide (Scott) Stain (or Stein), 37, lived with him along with her family; husband Edward Stain/Stein, and their kids Edgar, 9, William, 4, and Eliza, 2.

Below is a collection of (creepy) toys that the children would have been playing with in 1870. I found them all from the Colonial Williamsburg historic site, so they’re legitimate, y’all.

In the census below WWS is listed as a farmer, Edward is a laborer at a rolling mill, and Adalaide “keeps house”. I do find it interesting that only WWS is marked down as not being able to read or write. On more than one occasion my ancestors are listed as not being able to read or write, which leads me to believe that the reading and writing column was marked in error. I find it hard to believe that they ran successful plantations without those basic skills.

Here’s a picture of WWS with Eliza, who by the way, I share a birthday with (the Resting Bitch Face Syndrome I suffer from is clearly inherited).

Eliza lived to 58 and died ten years before WWS. So, even if this photo was taken towards the end of her life, it’s an example of how hard life was, considering the oldest she could possibly be in this photo is 58. Of course the lack of detail in the image and her period clothes don’t help her cause.

I couldn’t find WWS’s grave among those I photographed while in Lynchburg, and after some digging I learned that he and Eliza are buried across the river from the Scott Cemetery at Union Christian Church. Their first son William Preston, born in 1820 is also buried there, but there is no death date listed. There is evidence on Ancestry that he was married though, so I don’t think he died as a child. Also, you’ll see in the next chapter that he is listed in the 1850 census. When he was 28, he was working as a “contractor on (the) canal”. Emma, their youngest daughter, who died at 36, was also buried there.

I speculate that they all attended that church, and when their youngest died in 1851, they had her buried there. Then later, wanted to be buried with her. Meanwhile, I have no idea how close their graves are to each other as I found these photos below online.

One Reply to “The Far Left Branch, Ch.3”

  1. Cydney! Well done.. you have a wry wit that is refreshing and reminiscent of my daughter Sara’s! In fact your writing style is like hers! Can’t wait for the next installment!


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