William P. Scott is a self-made man who without any special family or pecuniary
advantages has gained a creditable place in the business world as one whose
success has been honorably achieved and whose possessions are the visible
evidence of a life of thrift and industry. He lives in Dallas Center and
for many years has made his home in Dallas county, where for a long period he
has bean classed with the progressive farmers of Sugar Grove township. He yet
owns two farms, one of one hundred and ten acres and the old home place of
eighty acres, the latter being pleasantly situated within two miles of Dallas
Center. For almost forty years he has made his home in this locality and
is therefore well known to the citizens of Dallas county, with the history of
which he has been closely identified, especially in its agricultural progress.
Mr. Scott is a native of Scotland and possesses many of the sterling
characteristics of the people who claim nativity in the land of the hills and
heather. He was born on the first of January, 1830, and is a son of Samuel
and Mary (Philips) Scott, who were also natives of that country. The
father devoted his attention to farming in his native country. Fourteen
children were born unto them there and one died in the old world. In the year
1853 the parents crossed the Atlantic to the United States and joined their son
William in the state of New York. One son, Samuel Scott, the eldest of the
family, was a sailor on the high seas and met death by drowning. The mother died
in New York and the father, with some of his children, afterward came to Iowa,
where he joined his son William. The family numbered seven sons and seven
daughters. Six sons reached mature years, of whom three are yet living:
William P. and Robert, of Dallas Center; and James Scott, who makes his home in
Waukee. Four of the sisters yet survive, two being residents of New York
and two of this county. Mrs. Julia Dinsmore, now a widow, makes her home
in Dallas Center; Mrs. Mary Jackson, a widow, is living in Orleans county, New
York, as does her sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Fuller, who is also a widow; and Miss
Jessie Scott resides in Beaver township, Dallas county, and also owns a
residence in Dallas Center.
William P. Scott was reared to the age of eighteen years in his native
country and received fair school advantage there. He emigrated to the new
world in 1848, taking ship at Liverpool. The vessel on which he embarked was
propelled by sails and after a slow voyage he landed in New York. For some time
he lived in Orleans county, that state, working as a farm hand, but after
sixteen years spent in the east he journeyed westward to Wisconsin. For four
years he was engaged in the lumbering business in Pierce and Polk counties, and
in 1868 he came to Dallas county, Iowa., where he purchased his first land,
becoming owner of eighty acres on section 22, Sugar Grove township. This
he broke and fenced, built a good frame house and opened up an excellent farm.
He and his brother bought the land together and were partners in its cultivation
for seven years, when they divided their interests.
On the 4th of March, 1875, William P. Scott was married to Miss Jennie R. Scott,
who was born and reared in Ohio. In that state she lost her father, John Scott,
and her mother and the family afterward came to Iowa, where the wife of our
subject engaged in teaching for a time in the schools of Dallas county.
Following their marriage the young couple began their domestic life upon a farm
which he had secured, but on the 2d of August, 1876, the wife was called to her
final rest, the interment being made in the Dunkard cemetery at Dallas Center.
Mr. Scott has one daughter, Josephine M., who acts as her father's housekeeper.
After cultivating his original purchase for some time Mr. Scott purchased
another tract of land of one hundred and ten acres on section 3, Sugar Grove
township, which he used for a pasture for a few years. He then tiled and
drained the land, broke the sod and fenced the fields. Later he rented
this property. In connection with the work of raising the cereals best
adapted to soil and climate he raised and fed stock and continued in active
farming until 1893, when he rented his land and removed to Dallas Center, where
he has since made his home. He is practically living retired, yet gives
his supervision to his farming interests, and although he started out in life a
poor boy he is now a prosperous citizen with valuable property, from which he
derives a good annual income. In all his dealings he has been strictly
honorable and straightforward.
In politics Mr. Scott is a republican but has never sought office, although he
did serve for one term as township trustee. His wife was a member of the
Presbyterian church and his daughter belongs to the same church, in the work of
which she takes an active and helpful part. Great changes have come since
Mr. Scott took up his abode in this county. Many of the now thriving towns
and villages had not yet sprung into existence. The railroads had not been
built and much of the land was still uncultivated but the prairies have been
converted into rich and productive farms and all of the evidences of a modern
civilization have been added. This result has not been accomplished by one
man or even by a few, but is the result of the combined effort of many
enterprising and reliable citizens, to which class William P. Scott belongs.
The hope that led him to seek a home in America has been realized, for he found
that in this country labor was unhampered by caste or class and that success was
the reward of persistency of purpose and of diligence.