George Scot of Pitlochie

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George Scot or Scott (died 1685) of Pitlochie, Fife was a Scottish writer on colonisation in North America.


He was the only son of John Scot of Scotstarvet by his second wife, Margaret, daughter of Sir James Melville of Halhill.[1] Scot was a Covenanter, and was fined and imprisoned in 1674. In 1676 further charges were laid against Scot and his wife; and in 1677, having failed to appear when summoned by the Scottish council, he was declared a fugitive. He was arrested in Edinburgh. Imprisoned on Bass Rock, he was released later in the year on bond.[2]

In 1679, Scot was questioned about John Balfour of Kinloch, involved in the murder of James Sharp. He spent time in London, where he made contact with Scots planning colonial projects; and was imprisoned again. Released in 1684, he put together a colonisation scheme, involving the preacher Archibald Riddell who was one of his wife's relations, and lacking other support, a group of Covenanters being held in Dunnottar Castle.[2] In recognition of his services as a writer, Scot received from the proprietors of East New Jersey a grant, dated 28 July 1685, of five hundred acres of land in the province.[1]

On 1 August Scot embarked in the Henry and Francis with nearly two hundred others, including his wife and family; but he and his wife died on the voyage.[1]


In 1685 Scot published at Edinburgh The Model of the Government of the Province of East New Jersey, in America; and Encouragement for such as design to be concerned there. It was, says the author, the outcome of a visit to London in 1679, when he met "several substantial and judicious gentlemen concerned in the American plantations". Among them were James Drummond, 4th Earl of Perth, to whom the book is dedicated, and probably William Penn. The work included a series of letters from the early settlers in New Jersey.[1]

The Model was plagiarised by Samuel Smith (1720–1776) in his History of New Jersey (1765), and is quoted by George Bancroft; James Grahame (1790–1842) author of the Rise and Progress of the United States, emphasised it. It was reprinted for the New Jersey Historical Society in 1846, in William Adee Whitehead's East Jersey under the Proprietory Government (2nd edition 1875). In some copies a passage (p. 37) recommending religious freedom as an inducement to emigration is modified.[1]


Scot married in 1663 Margaret, daughter of William Rigg of Aithernie.[2]

A son and a daughter survived the Atlantic voyage. The latter, Euphaim, married in 1686, John Johnstone, an Edinburgh druggist, who had been one of her fellow-passengers on the voyage to New Jersey. To him the proprietors issued, on 13 January 1687, a confirmation of the grant made to Scot.[1]

Scot's descendants occupied a position in the colony until the American Revolution. At that point most left as Loyalists, but some remained.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g  "Scott, George (d.1685)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  2. ^ a b c Handley, Stuart. "Scot, George, of Scotstarvit". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/24868.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Scott, George (d.1685)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.