Chaplain Winfield Scott Statue
Winfield and Helen Scott
Winfield Scott was born in West Novi, Michigan on February 26, 1837. When he was 8 or 9 the family moved to Western New York State where he grew up helping on the farm. He attended college at the University of Rochester and then went on to Rochester Theological Seminary where he met and married Helen Louise Brown, a school teacher. Shortly after their marriage they moved to Farmer Village where the Seneca Baptist Association licensed him as a Baptist minister.
In July 1862, Winfield Scott recruited 98 men from Farmer Village and the surrounding area. They became Company C, 126th Regiment. Company C fought many battles during the Civil War and Scott was wounded several times. In 1864 he was again wounded and left the military. He then went on to become the pastor of Baptist Churches in Leavenworth, Kansas and Denver, Colorado.
The Scotts had four daughters: Minnie, born 1865, Helen, born 1868, Addie born 1877 and Florence, born in 1880. Addie died as a small child in 1878.
In 1881, Scott applied to the Secretary of the Army to become an Army Chaplain and was confirmed on July 27, 1882. Chaplain Scott's first post was in Fort Canby, Washington Territory. He then went to Ft. Stevens, Oregon and then to Angel Island in San Francisco.
In mid February of 1888, Winfield Scott was invited to the Salt River Valley in Arizona. Some residents of Phoenix had heard of Scott's reputation as a promoter and wanted him to help promote Phoenix and the surrounding area. Scott was impressed with the valley and on July 2, 1888 made a down payment of 50 cents an acre for a section of land in what is now Scottsdale. His brother, George Washington Scott, came at Winfield ScottÕs request to clear the land. He planted 80 acres of barley, 20 acres of vineyards and a 7-acre orchard.
Scott was then transferred to Ft. Huachucha, Arizona Territory in February of 1889. In 1892 after 10 years as an Army Chaplain, Winfield Scott took a leave of absence from the military and went to his farm in Scottsdale. His Civil War wounds bothered him greatly and in 1893 he finally retired.
The Scotts welcomed many people to live on their property whether they were ill, down on their luck or just looking for a fresh start. Many lived in tents in the orchard. During this time Scott became active in Arizona politics while promoting farming in the community.
Application was made to form a school district on July 13, 1896. The first one room school was built soon after. In September 1909, a new brick school building opened. It was dedicated on February 26, 1910. This building now houses the Scottsdale Historical Museum.
In early October 1910, Scott became ill. He died in Phoenix, Arizona on October 19.
Chaplain Winfield Scott spent half a century in service to his God, his country and his fellowman. He built churches, organized congregations, served as a soldier, was confirmed as an Army Chaplain and became an educator and active politician. But most of all we will remember him as the founding father of Scottsdale, Arizona.