William Lawrence Scott

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people named William Scott, see William Scott (disambiguation).
William Lawrence Scott
William Lawrence Scott (Pennsylvania Congressman).jpg
10th Mayor of Erie, Pennsylvania
In office
Preceded by F. F. Farrar
Succeeded by Orange Noble
12th Mayor of Erie, Pennsylvania
In office
Preceded by Orange Noble
Succeeded by Charles Manning Reed
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 27th district
In office
March 4, 1885 – March 3, 1889
Preceded by Samuel M. Brainerd
Succeeded by Lewis F. Watson
Personal details
Born (1828-07-02)July 2, 1828
Washington, D.C.
Died September 19, 1891(1891-09-19) (aged 63)
Newport, Rhode Island
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Hampden-Sydney College

William Lawrence Scott (July 2, 1828 – September 19, 1891) was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania. His body is buried at Erie Cemetery.


William L. Scott (grandson of Gustavus Scott) was born in Washington, D.C. to Colonel Robert Scott (U.S. Army), of Virginia, who was detailed to the nation's capital at the time of his son's birth. Scott was orphaned as a boy.


He attended the common schools and Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. He served as a United States House of Representatives Page from 1840 to 1846.

Early employment[edit]

He returned to Erie, Pennsylvania with Charles Manning Reed at the end of Reed's term in the U.S. Congress and was employed as a shipping clerk at Reed's lakeside wharves for several years. He then spent some years traveling, working as a peddler, fisherman, and clerk until he was 23 years old.

Commercial career[edit]

Scott returned to Erie and became a prosperous land owner, investor, and businessman engaged in shipping, coal mining, iron manufacturing, banking, and railroad construction. One trade at the New York Stock Exchange was said to have earned him $2 million. His fortune was estimated at $15 million. He served as president of a number of railroad companies, including the New York, Pennsylvania, and Norfolk Railroad and the Erie and Pittsburgh Railroad.

Horse breeding[edit]

Scott was prominent in American horse breeding and racing throughout his life.

In June 1883, Scott bought the 2,650-acre (10.7 km2) Hollywood Farm on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia from the heirs of the late Governor Littleton Tazewell for $55,000. His purchase included the Tazewell house which became forever known as the Scott House after he renovated and enlarged it in 1886. Scott bought the land primarily to establish a terminus, a harbor and a town for the services of his railroad, the New York, Pennsylvania and Norfolk. Scott immediately deeded part of his 2,650-acre (10.7 km2) purchase to the railroad and the following year, in 1884, he laid out the Town of Cape Charles, Virginia on 135 acres (0.55 km2).

As a member of Congress and a close friend of President Grover Cleveland, Scott did a great deal of entertaining at Scott House, which overlooked Old Plantation Creek. Scott had a passion for race horses and his farm had facilities, including a one-mile (1.6 km) race track, to breed and winter 35 northern-owned race horses.[1]

He established the Algeria Stock Farm in Erie, purchasing for $30,000 the French champion Rayon d'Or (the leading sire in North America in 1889) and a stock of high bred broodmares. Scott maintained a farm for yearlings in St. Charles, Maryland. Scott's horse Chaos won the Futurity Stakes in 1889. Scott was a stockholder and member of the board of the racetracks owned by the Coney Island Jockey Club, the Monmouth Park Association, and the Brooklyn Jockey Club.

Political career[edit]

Scott was elected mayor of Erie in 1866 and again in 1871. He served as a member of the Democratic National Committee from 1876 to 1884, and was appointed again in 1886. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1868, 1876, 1880, and 1888. Scott was considered a possible choice for United States Secretary of the Treasury under Grover Cleveland.[2]

Scott was elected as a Democrat to the Forty-ninth and Fiftieth Congresses. He served as chairman of the United States House Committee on Expenditures in the Department of the Navy during the Fiftieth Congress. He was renominated in 1888 and again in 1890 but each time declined to be a candidate due to his health.


  • New York Times obituary, 21 September 1891

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Samuel M. Brainerd
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 27th congressional district

1885 - 1889
Succeeded by
Lewis F. Watson