Family stories about the origins of William Hazelton Scott (WHS) began soon after his death with the publication of his oldest son’s biography in a local history: “James T. Scott is the son of W. H. and Mary E. (Short) Scott, natives of New Castle, Del. and Cecil County, Md., respectively. Mr. Scott was son of William Scott, a Captain in the War of 1812. Mrs. Scott was daughter of David Short, a Lieutenant in same war and native of Maryland, where he lived.” Elsewhere WHS is said to have been born in Delaware and Mary Short in Maryland, and that her middle name was Ann.. Her father, David Short, served in the War of 1812 as a Private not a Lieutenant. Although “mug book” biographies such as that of James T. Scott are notoriously unreliable, the enhancement of David Short’s military status is only one of many examples of gradual status enhancement encountered in old correspondence.
Family stories, beginning with the early 1900s through the present day, include the following::
With two exceptions, all agree that WHS’s father was also named William, possibly William C., or William Covington Scott.
Two family lines suggest that WHS’s father was buried at West Point, New York, one giving a date of 29 May 1866. Another suggests that WHS’s father was born in Georgia, and that he was buried in New Jersey somewhere. A third gives his Maryland as his burial place.
There are suggestions that WHS’s father was a miller or millwright, possibly owning or building a mill on the Brandywine; or owning or operating a mill in Cowantown (Cecil County, Maryland) during the Civil War.
At least two different branches of the family agree that WHS had a sister named Emma (Covington) Scott. One family letter suggests that WHS had another sister named Helen. Family correspondence also suggests that William Hazelton Scott’s parents lived at least into the 1840s, and lived within visiting distance.
DNA – North Carolina and Georgia
DNA tests have identified four 36/37-marker matches. The provider of the first match has been unresponsive to contact. Providers of the other three matches have origins in Georgia, at least one by way of Anson County, North Carolina and Queen Anne’s County, Maryland. Research is on-going. (See Scott DNA Family in Georgia, Maryland, and North Carolina)
Family - Children, In-laws
Most of WHS’s children married in Missouri, and none of their families provide potential information regarding WHS’s parentage. The families of his wife, the Shorts and Segars, may be helpful in defining a community of associations. One of the people in the household of William Scott of Georgia in 1850, for instance, Gilbert Rut(t)er, is probably the son of Gilbert Rutter and Margaret Ann Short and grandson of Jonathon Short and Rebecca Shields. William’s daughter Amanda married a Stephen Grimes whose family was from Cecil County while Francis Segars, uncle of Mary Ann Short Scott, married a Mary Grimes. One of Mary Ann Short’s nephews, Reuben Segars, married a Margaret Alden, a potential relative of the wife of John Scott (auger maker), while another nephew became a successful miller in Baltimore City.
Associates – Richardsons, Church, Politics
Edward T. and Joseph Richardson, owners of a mill in Lewisville, Pennsylvania, came from a family of mill owners in New Castle County, Delaware, but have no known connection to WHS other than lending him money. WHS’s religious affiliation is unclear and needs to be sorted out. No attempt has yet been made to explore associations based on WHS’s political affiliations.
Neighbors – James Scott
With the exception of a James Scott in Lewisville, it is difficult to determine who WHS’s actual neighbors were, since it is not clear where, specifically, he actually lived. There is no indication that the James Scott of Lewisville is any relation.
Surnames as Middle Names – Hazelton, Covington
Two Hazelton/Haselton families of potential interest have been identified. No obvious connection has been found with William Hazelton/Haselton of Philadelphia and Kent County, Delaware. The other Haselton family apparently lived in or near Wilmington, Delaware and needs further research.
Covington is a common surname in early Queen Anne’s County, Maryland, although many moved to Anson County, North Carolina before the Revolutionary War, with at least two (John Covington in Washington County) moving from there to Georgia.
Searching for William's Parents
To date, the most likely candidate for WHS's father is William Scott of Georgia. His family, as reported in the 1850 Census in Cecil County, Maryland, is consistent with family stories regarding two of WHS's sisters, and with visits with and information from "cousins" among WHS's descendants. DNA evidence points to a possible connection with other Scott families from Georgia. Research by a descendant of one of those families points to a possible origin of the Scott family in Queen Ann's County, Maryland, where there were also numerous Covingtons. Many of these Covingtons, along with at least some Scotts, migrated to Anson County, North Carolina prior to the American Revolution, and from there at least some appear to have migrated to Georgia. If William Scott of Georgia is a member of one of those families, he would have been no more than one generation removed from relatives who remained in Queen Anne's County, Maryland and/or Kent County, Delaware.
Proving or dis-proving the relationship between William Scott of Georgia and WHS may ultimately depend on indirect evidence. If, as family stories suggest, he was a miller, he was unlikely to have owned the mill where he worked. According to at least one historian, millers often did not own the mill where they worked and lived most of their adult lives, making it difficult to trace them. An alternative approach to finding direct documentary evidence is to establish a tight web of associations between William Scott of Georgia and WHS and to show that there is no other alternative person who could fit the information that is known about the family of WHS.