Florence Johnson Scott, educator, writer, and historian, was born in Frost, Texas on February 5, 1890, to Sara Ellen (Sanders) and Ben Herndon Johnson. She was privately educated by E. J. L. Wyrick from 1897 to 1904. In September 1904 she enrolled at North Texas Female College (later Kidd-Key College), receiving her B.A. degree in literature in May 1909. In June 1913 she married Owen Emory Scott of San Antonio, and after their honeymoon they moved to Mission, Texas, where he worked as a banker. The Scotts and their two sons then moved from Mission to Brownsville around 1917 and to Rio Grande City in 1919. Between 1919 and 1927 Scott became active in community service and established the first Rio Grande City library, various women's clubs, and edited the English section of the town's newspaper. In 1926 she was named trustee of the Rio Grande City Common School District No. 4 and in November ran as a write-in candidate in that year's election for the office of county superintendent, which she won. Scott became increasingly interested in the educational needs of Starr County and consequently enrolled at Texas College of Arts and Industries, receiving her B.A. in education in August 1932. Between 1929 and 1935, while serving as superintendent, she reorganized the Starr County schools and verified that all teachers were certified. She also standardized bilingual education and obtained a grant from the Public Works Administration to build two new schools in the county. She received her M.A. degree in Latin American history in August 1935 from the University of Texas at Austin. Her thesis was titled "Spanish Royal Land Grants in the Lower Rio Grande Valley." In 1935 she also established the Starr County Student Loan Fund. Scott served as the Roma School Superintendent from 1950 to 1957, when she retired from the field of education. In September 1956 Florence J. Scott Elementary School was completed and dedicated.
Aside from her work in education Scott continued to write and do research; in 1937 her Historical Heritage of the Rio Grande Valley was published by the Naylor Company of San Antonio. Two years later "Letters and Papers of Governor David Johnson and family, 1810–1855," which she edited, appeared in the Proceedings of the South Carolina Historical Association. Governor Johnson was her great-grandfather. Among Scott's other works were Old Rough and Ready in the Rio Grande Valley (1935), "The Mier Expedition," "The Last Battle of the Civil War," and Royal Land Grants North of the Rio Grande, 1777–1821 (1969). Scott was also involved in local, regional, and state women's organizations. She served as president of the Rio Grande Valley Federation from 1929 to 1931 as well as vice president and as second vice president of the Fifth District of the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs between 1942 and 1947. She was president of TFWC from 1945 to 1947 and was a member of the board of directors of that organization from 1947 to 1949. Scott founded and was president of the Starr County Historical Society, the Rio Grande City branch of the American Association of University Women, the Rio Grande City Woman's Club, and the Pan American Round Table. She was also a member of the Texas State Historical Association, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Hidalgo County Society. She was an honorary member of the Brownsville Historical Society and president of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Society. Scott died in San Antonio in 1981.
Is history important to you?
We need your support because we are a non-profit organization that relies upon contributions from our community in order to record and preserve the history of our state. Every dollar helps.
The Handbook of Texas Women project has its own dedicated website and resources.
Isaura Barrera, "Florence Johnson Scott," Junior Historian, January 1964. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
School Principals and Superintendents
Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Alicia A. Garza,
“Scott, Florence Johnson,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 28, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
January 1, 1996
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: