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Old Timers 1893

(Glimpses of prominent Frackville citizens from the borough's early days)

ALEXANDER SCOTT, late of Frackville, was the leading merchant of that borough throughout the most important period of its development, in which, indeed, he was an influential factor. The enterprise which brought about the expansion of his own business had also far-reaching results in its effect on the general prosperity, and he was always looked to for progressive action in local affairs. His activities covered all of the territory in this section of Schuylkill county and were not confined to any one branch of trade, his uniform success in the diverse interests which engaged him betokening a rare gift for management and unusual insight into business principles.

Mr. Scott was a member of a respected Schuylkill county family, being a son of George and Agnes Scott. His father, during his latter years a merchant at Glen Carbon, this county, was one of the best known men in the coal fields here, where his long and varied experience brought him into contact with hundreds of colliery employees. He was the first of this family to come to America, his father, John Scott, following him. The latter was a native of the County of Northumberland, England, and was a miner by occupation, finding work in that capacity at Mine Hill Gap, Schuylkill Co., He died at Germantown, near Ashland, where he is buried. By his marriage to Ann Shatton John Scott had four children: Robert, who died at Minersville, George; James, who died at Mount Carmel, and John, who died at Locust Gap.

George Scott, son of John and Ann (Shatton) Scott, was born July 5, 1817, in the County of Northumberland, England, and spent his early life in that country, coming to the United States in the year 1837. He settled at Mine Hill Gap, Schuylkill Co., and like his father was a miner. His skill brought him responsible work and an enviable reputation. From Mine Hill Gap he removed to Heckscherville and thence to Llewellyn, becoming inside foreman for Marcus Heilner in 1850. After two years he was changed to Coal Castle, as inside foreman for two years, and then became superintendent for Mr. Heilner, until 1806.

He was engaged during the following year at the Beaverdale colliery, and subsequently for two years at the Hazel Dell colliery, Centralia, from the latter place going to Yorktown, Carbon county, to take the position of superintendent of mines for George Smith & Co. Later for about five years he was superintendent for Heckscher & Co., at Heckscherville, transferring to the Otto colliery, where he was inside foreman for nine years. During the two years following he was at the Beachwood colliery, at Mount Laffee at the end of that time retiring from mine work. Thereafter he was in the mercantile business, having a general store at Glen Carbon to the close of his life.

He passed away Aug. 17, 1884. His wife, Agnes (Govan), born May 23, 1825, in Ayrshire, Scotland, died May 29, 1902. Mr. and Mrs. Scott had a large family, namely: John G., born Nov. 25, 1884, is now living at Girardville; Jane, born June 28, 1846, died July 4, 1846; Alexander, born April 16, 1848, died April 8, 1915; George, born Dec. 15, 1850, a coal operator in Center County at Philipsburg; James born Dec. 24, 1852, is living at Minersville; Jane Ann, born April 26, 1855, died Feb. 13,1907; Agnes born Aug. 23, 1857, the widow of Richard Moore and lives at Alden Station, Luzerne Co.; Winfield, born Nov. 13, 1857, died June 27, 1910; Grace, born Oct. 4, 1861, died Oct. 15, 1861; Annie S., born Aug. 2, 1863, living at Girardville, Hannah Deiter, born April 1, 1866, died Oct. 28, 1908.

Alexander Scott, the second son of the above family, was born April 16, 1848, and was associated during almost all of his active and successful career with Schuylkill county and her enterprises. He made his home at Frackville, where he conducted the principal general store and also carried on the grain and hay business, being president of the Scoff Grain & Hay Company. A branch of the general store was located at Gilberton. In 1890 he bought the interest of C. H. Haeseler in the shoe firm of Kepner, Haeseler & Co., of Orwigsburg, and the firm became Kepner, Scott & Co., under which style the business was continued until it was incorporated as the Kepner Scott Shoe Company. They had a three-story frame factory 40 by 90 feet in dimensions, well equipped In every department, and a large operative and selling force was occupied in the production and disposal of the goods, which were in popular demand wherever known. They were marketed chiefly in the Southern and Western States. Mr. Kepner was president of the business until his death, March 24, 1913, after which Mr. Scott filled the office during the remainder of his life.

Many other equally important undertakings claimed his attention. He had coal mining investments at Minersville, and was interested with other substantial citizens of Schuylkill and adjoining counties in the lumber industry in the South, being president of the Scott Lumber Company. He was a director of the First National Bank of Frackville and of the Merchants' National Bank of Shenandoah, and connected as a director or in an executive capacity with other enterprises. Mr. Scott's prominence was not limited to his association with business affairs. He was a zealous politician, having on more than one occasion attended national conventions as delegate.

He served as sheriff of Schuylkill county for one term, being elected in 1894 and holding office in 1895-96-97. He was well known in the Masonic fraternity, belonging to Swatara Lodge, No. 267, F. & A.M., at Tremont, to Constantine Commandery, No. 41, K. T., of Pottsville. But the power of his means and position were only one feature of the influence he possessed among his associates. Far more to him and to his family was the high regard in which he was held for his personal qualities, for his unselfish citizenship, his ungrudging friendship, his helpfulness to those less fortunate than himself, and an exemplary domestic life. It was for these that the grief manifested at his death was so universal. He died April 8, 1915, after an attack of pneumonia, at his home in Frackville.

Mr. Scott is survived by his wife, Elizabeth and two sons, Harry and Robert of Frackville, and one daughter, Mrs. W. R. Trautman. There are also four grandchildren.

The sons Robert S. and Harry B. Scott are now conducting the mercantile business at Frackville which their father established and carried on until his death. They have the largest and best stocked general store in their section of Schuylkill county, and are operating it in accordance with the high standards set up by the original owner.

John Scott, brother of Alexander Scott, was born at Mine Hill Gap Nov. 25, 1844, and is now a resident of Girardville. He became a reliable stationary engineer, and after some work at the mines in that capacity was entrusted with an executive position at the mines, being outside foreman for twelve years, at the Courier colliery and the workings of Lantz, Lillie & Co., at Park Place, this county. Then for two years he was engaged as superintendent for the Buck Mountain Coal Company in Schuylkill county; was next superintendent for the York Farm colliery for a similar period; of the Sidney Coal Company, of Maizeville, one year; and of the Ebervale Coal Company for six years, in charge of three collieries. His next location was at Girardville, where he was with the W. R. McTurk Coal Company for nine months.

After several years as traveling salesman for a Philadelphia and New York City house he turned his attention to the manufacturing business which he has since operated so successfully. On Dec. 31, 1907, he obtained the patent for the Scott Rivetless Transmission Manila Rope Socket, his own invention, for which he has created a wide market by judicious salesmanship with a most desirable product.

Mr. Scott has been twice married. His wife, Elizabeth (Briggs), a native of England, born Dec. 14, 1848, died Jan. 29, 1879, the mother of four children: George, who is a resident of Minersville; Mary Jane, married to George Johnson and living in Philadelphia; Thomas, also of Philadelphia; and Robert, who died in infancy. Mr. Scott's second marriage was to Margaret Griffith, of Tamaqua, born Dec. 3, 1852, by whom he had three sons: Winfield W., now of Tamaqua; Alexander H., deceased; and John G. an artist, of Philadelphia.

[This article can be found in "1893 History of Schuylkill County" by J.H. Beers]

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