Unlocking the Past: An analysis of the Scott Family History through material objects

One way to look into the past is to study objects left behind by our ancestors. In this new section of the website, we will explore various Scott family members and the interesting objects they have left behind.

The Scott Family has lived in North Carolina since the 1700s. In the late 1700s, Samuel Scott and his wife Nancy Bryan Scott settled on a farm at what is now the town of Haw River. They raised a family of seven children: Jane, Fanny, Hannah, John, Calvin, Henderson, and James. Unfortunately, both Calvin and James did not survive to maturity.

The mid 1800s were a busy time for brothers John Scott (1798-1856) and Henderson Scott (1814-1870).

John Scott was appointed by the Governor as one of the nine commissioners to form the new county of Alamance in 1849 and to select the site and name for the new county seat. When the town was laid out he bought the second largest amount of land within its bounds. When the town was named Graham he was appointed magistrate by the General Assembly. John was an elder in the Graham Presbyterian Church when it was organized in December of 1850.

Henderson established a number of businesses including a general store, a blacksmith shop, and a tannery. The image below is of the lock and key to the house Henderson built after her married Margaret Graham Kerr Glass Scott in 1849. The house was sturdy and well built, and was used by the Scott family for four generations.



This lock and key were brand new in the 1850s when Henderson Scott built a beautiful home for his new bride, Margaret Graham Kerr Glass Scott. The house was the home of several generations of Scotts. It still stands today.


Eyeglasses and Sunglasses Owned by Margaret Graham Kerr Glass Scott (1822-1892)

Margaret had beautiful handwriting, so it came as a surprise that she had a lot of problems with her eyesight. Here are a few of her eyeglasses. Of special interest are the tinted glasses. 



Henderson and Margaret had nine children: Samuel, Alice, Fannie, David, Margaret, James Edwin, Robert, Sue Lizzie, and Mamie. Only Robert was interested in farming. He started managing the family farm while in his teens. Robert learned all he could about modern agricultural practices at Houghton Farm in Mountainville, New York. He and Lizzie created two successful businesses, Melville Farm and the Alamance Stock Farm. Butter made on Melville Farm was so sought after, the Scott family sold all that they made and bought butter for their household from a neighboring farm. This butter mold stamped “MELVILLE” on each pound of butter made on the farm. 

Butter Mold Used by Robert W. Scott and Lizzie Hughes Scott on Melville Farm.

This is a pin, or brooch, made from a painting (on porcelain or glass) backed with silver metal. Early 1900s.



Here are a set of three pieces of jewelry owned by the Scott Family. Women often wore pins or brooches on their blouses. They are still popular today.



A stereoscope is a device that gives the viewer a three-dimensional impression of a scene.