THOMAS SCOTT JR., FREEMASONRY, AND MILLER CO., MO POLITICS / RACHEL JANE COULDN’T MAKE THE PHOTO OP
(1861). Journal And Proceedings Of The Missouri State Convention Held At Jefferson City And St. Louis March, 1861. St. Louis: George Knapp & Co., Printers And Binders.
Freemasons have a long and distinguished history in the United States. My 3rd great-grandfather Thomas Scott Jr. (1816–1897), son of Thomas and Sarah (Mahurin) Scott, was a player in Missouri politics. Scott was a member of Flatwoods Baptist church, and a member of Miller Co., MO Masonic Lodges in Linn Creek (Nos. 66 & 152), Mt. Pleasant (No. 139), and Tuscumbia (Nos. 169 & 437).
Thomas Scott Jr. and America (Stillwell) Scott had migrated to Miller Co., MO from Dubois Co., IN.
(“Thomas Scott Jur” means Thomas Scott Jr.)
[Tombstone for Richard Stillwell, probable father of America (Stillwell) Scott, located at Simmons Family cemetery near Holland in Dubois Co., IN. The tombstone is quite unusual in that it has no dates. The 1830 Greene Co., IN Federal census lists Richard Stillwell as aged 60–70, and thus born ca. 1760–1770. Although the tombstone claims Richard Stillwell was a Capt. in the PA militia during the Revolutionary War, according to DAR that service actually belongs to another Richard Stillwell. In the 1880 Miller Co., MO Federal census America stated both of her parents were born in NC. A search of NC troops showed no Richard Stillwell served there. Richard Stillwell is said to have died in 1836. This stone was probably erected at a much later date and is inaccurate.]
Thomas Scott Jr. was the son of Thomas Scott Sr. (“Thomas Scott Ser” means Thomas Scott Sr.) and wife Sarah Mahurin:
(Ancestry.com transcription of 1850 Miller Co., MO Census, District 13, p. 445a, Family 533.)
Miller County was in the 27th Senatorial District. Thomas Scott Jr. served as a Resident State Senator from 1858 to 1862. He was elected Justice of the Miller County Court on 2 Aug 1860, and also served as a Justice of the Peace for Equality Township.
Wilson Milton Vaughan family from a photo dated ca. 1895. On 11 Mar 1875 in Miller Co., MO, Wilson married Rachel Jane Scott, daughter of Thomas Scott, Jr. and wife America Stilwell. Rachel d. on 30 Mar 1894. Left to Right / Bottom Row: Lafe Vaughan, Floyd Vaughan; 2nd Row: Eric Lyman Vaughan, Wilson Milton Vaughan, Everett Vaughan; Top Row: Ethel Vaughan, Theron Vaughan, Teresa Vaughan. Wilson Milton Vaughan, my 2nd great-grandfather, was a well-known character in Tuscumbia, MO and lived to be nearly 100. He was the son of Joshua Vaughan and wife Betsy Birdsong.
In 1861 Scott was a representative to the Missouri State Convention and voted to keep Missouri in the Union. He’s listed in the official roster of the Convention (p. 7) as born in Kentucky, age 44, Farmer, of Tuscumbia (county seat of Miller Co.). In 1862 he was elected State Representative from Miller County and is listed in the Missouri House Journal.
Scott studied law and he and Jacob Gantt had a law office in Tuscumbia.
[Thomas Scott Jr., (1816–1897).]
Scott supported the Liberal Republican Party which in 1872 unsuccessfully opposed the reelection of President Ulysses S. Grant by nominating newspaperman Horace Greeley. Greeley, who is credited with coining the phrase “Go West, young man” (although he may not have used those exact words), died before the electoral votes were counted.
Scott tried his hand at gold mining in CA. There’s confusion as to when and where he located in CA. “Scott, Thomas” age 63 and b. in KY is found in the 1880 Placer Co., CA Federal Census, p. 42, SD 42, ED 72, Butcher Ranch Precinct, Household 527/527, residing as a boarder in the house of William Bennett. Placer Co. is in northern CA bordering NV.
I have the text of a letter Scott wrote from U.S. Ranch, Cal., to Wilson Milton and Rachel Jane (Scott) Vaughan, dated 11 Jan 1880, in which he said:
“We have had the hardest winter so far that has ever been known in the country. Ice has frozen two inches thick something never known before.”
According to a letter of Scott’s grandson, Everett Vaughan, dated 2 May 1952:
“Grandfather Scott also went to California…. He apparently had some trouble with his family, especially the boys. He deeded each of the boys a farm and left for California without telling anyone he was going. I recall his return, about 1886. He came to our place and stayed there for a few months. He then moved to Uncle Newt’s, where he died. Uncle Newt then lived on what later was known as the Fogleman place, where we lived for a while once.”
Since Scott’s wife, America (Stilwell) Scott was yet living, it’s inferred that the couple’s marriage had soured. That may have been the motive for his sudden departure to CA.
This symbol found on the $1.00 bill is a testament to the Founding Fathers’ association with Freemasonry. The “Eye” symbol and motto “Annuit Coeptis” are loosely translated as “Providence Favors Our Undertakings.” “Novus Ordo Seclorum” means “New Order of the Ages.” The use of the mottos and symbol reflect the Founding Fathers’ confidence in the new United States. “MDCCLXXVI” are Roman Numerals for “1776.”
Revised Dec. 23, 2016