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Rudolph Bowman Scott


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"Spokane and The Spokane Country - Pictorial and Biographical - Deluxe Supplement." Vol. II. The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912. (No author listed.) pgs. 170-174.


       The spirit of enterprise must be the dominant factor in the life of an individual who makes his way into a new and undeveloped country, willing to meet the difficulties and hardships incident to its uphuilding in order to enjoy the opportunities and advantages, there offered. Such a spirit was possessed in large measure by Rudolph Bowman Scott, who became one of the best known and most prominent men of the northwest. He possessed marked force of character and left the impress of his individuality upon all public movements or business concerns with which he became in any wise closely connected. He therefore did much for the benefit of the Spokane country through his activities in farming, real estate, mining, and fire and life insurance. He arrived here in 1883, having made his way from Denver, Colorado, to Coeur d'Alene three years before. His labors were therefore an effective force in shaping the history of not only the western part of Washington but of the state in general. He was an American of Indian, African and Scotch extraction. His birth occurred in New Haven, Connecticut, November 16, 1846, and he came of New England ancestry. His maternal grandfather was a Pequot Indian chief, who married a Scotch woman and fought on the side of liberty throughout the war of the Revolu-tion. His paternal grandfather was a West Indian African of the Toussaint l'Ouverture stock and the son of a Barbadoes planter sent to New Haven, Connecticut, to be educated at Yale College.
       Rudolph B. Scott pursued a course of study in the Lancasterian School of New Haven, Connecticut, where among his class-mates were four who afterward became governors. He learned the trade of a wood carver in Chauncey Jerome's clock manufacturing establish-ment in New Haven, Connecticut, but at the time of the Civil war put aside all business and personal considerations to espouse the cause of the Union. Already he had become deeply interested in political questions and in the situation of the country prior to this time. He was a boy when in 1859 Abraham Lincoln made campaign speeches throughout Connecticut and in the celebration Mr. Scott carried a torch in the procession in New Haven. He and a brother enlisted for service in the Civil war. He was in the North Atlantic Squadron on board the United States gunboat Chicopee and was one of the men that volunteered to accompany Lieutenant Cushing when he blew up the rebel ram Albemarle. At the capture of Plymouth, North Caroline [sic], Mr. Scott was severely wounded. Following the close of the war he engaged in mining in Colorado, New Mexico and Washington and was at one time connected with the United States mail service, being United States mail agent from Chicago, Illinois, to Danville, at the time of the historic republican convention held in Chicago in 1880. While the three hundred and five delegates stood solid for U. S. Grant for president Mr. Scott held back forty thousand copies of the Cincinnati Enquirer which were full of abuse for General Grant and were intended to flood Chicago and defeat Grant's nomination. The copies did not arrive until the day after the convention, too late to harm his old comrade.
       Mr. Scott had an extended acquaintance among prominent men throughout the country and was one of the leading representatives of the Grand Army of the Republic, in the work and activities of which he took a very helpful part. He served on the staff of Commander Cosgrove of the department of Washington and Alaska, and was an aid-de-camp of the staff of Russell A. Alger, commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic. He also served as chief mustering officer of the department of Washington and Alaska and in 1893 was a member of the council of administration while in 1894 he was a delegate from Washington and Alaska to the twenty-fourth national encampment at Boston. He served as inspector of the de-partment in 1890 and five years later as chief mustering officer. At Seattle, he was elected junior vice commander of the department of Washington and Alaska at the department encampment, on the 22d of June, 1889. Mr. Scott was also a delegate from Spokane county to the state convention that organized the state of Washington held at Walla Walla in September, 1889, and was a delegate to the state convention held at Seattle to elect delegates to the national convention at Minneapolis.
       Mr. Scott came to the northwest in 1880 and spent three years in the Coeur d'Alene mining country. In 1883 he arrived in Spokane and was one of the first men to establish a fire and life insurance agency here, his company paying all claims in the great fire of 1889. For several years he was manager of the Pequot Mining & Milling Company of Spokane. He continued actively in business until after the outbreak of the Spanish-American war, when he enlisted at Seattle on the 25th of April, 1898, as a private of Company B, First Washington Veteran Artillery, continuing with that command until November 1, 1898, when by reason of the close of the war he was honorably discharged at Seattle with the rank of first lieutenant. He was called to public office in 1902 when appointment of President Roose-velt made him United States Chinese inspector, which position he filled for four years, when in 1906 he resigned on account of ill health. It was three years later that he passed away, his death occurring March 23, 1909.
       Mr. Scott was survived by a widow and three children. On the 4th of September, 1883, in Denver, Colorado, he had wedded Miss Adele A. Wagner, a daughter of H. 0. and Susan (Lyons) Wagner. The father was a well known character in the anti-slavery days in connection with his service in the operation of the underground railroad. At one time at his home in Chicago he entertained John Brown, the martyr of Harper's Ferry, and twelve fugitive slaves, all of whom he assisted on their way to freedom in Canada. H. 0. Wagner, Jr., a brother of Mrs. Scott, was for five years United States consul at Lyons, France. Mrs. Scott was born in Chicago and by her marriage has become the mother of two sons and a daughter: Rudolph B., a civil engineer in the city service; Henry W., who is spending his time in Mexico and Panama; and Addie S., at home. Mrs. Scott has been quite prominent in the Woman's Relief Corps and was the patriotic instructor for the department of Washington and Alaska which was installed June 22, 1899. She is also widely known in connection with her work in the Independent Order of Foresters, being the first vice chief ranger in the first companion court organized in the state of Washington. For the past twelve years she has been its financial secretary and in 1904 and 1905 was the department inspector.
       In addition to Mr. Scott's connection with the Grand Army of the Republic he was also prominent in various fraternal organizations. In Masonry he attained the thirty-third degree of the Scottish Rite and he was also widely known as a leading representative of the Independent Order of Foresters being deputy supreme chief to Oronhyateka. the Mohawk Indian, who is the supreme chief of the order. Mr. Scott represented Spokane in the high council of the Independ-ent Order of Foresters in 1897, 1898 and 1899. He was a personal friend of Chief Joseph, the great Indian chief of the Nez Perces tribe, and went to Washington, D. C., in 1897, with Chief Joseph and his chiefs to present their cause before the Indian commission and the president. Again he accompanied them in 1900 and he did much to formulate public opinion in favor of Chief Joseph during the past few years. He was major general of the department of the northwest of the Union Veterans Union. His religious faith was indicated by his membership in All Saints cathedral. He died March 23, 1909, and thus passed from the scene of earthly activities one who had been a most unique and interesting figure on the stage of action in the north-west. His character and reputation were alike above reproach. He was a great reader and possessed a remarkable memory so that he could call to mind at almost a moment's notice any of the important historical events which have had to do with molding the department of the northwest. He was himself a great lover of outdoor life and of nature. One of his marked characteristics was his loyalty to his friends who could count upon him under any and all circumstances. He ever held to the highest ideals yet was charitable in his opinions of others and was always ready to extend a helping hand to uplift a fellow traveler.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton

* * * * Notice: These biographies were transcribed for the Washington Biographies Project. Unless otherwise stated, no further information is available on the individuals featured in the biographies.


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