Scott, Thomas Morton (1824–1911)

By: David Minor

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 1, 1995

Thomas Morton Scott, soldier and college administrator, the son of James and Harriet Arnold Scott, was born in Cadiz, Ohio, on June 25, 1824. At the age of twenty he left Ohio and moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where he pursued the trade of silversmith. At the outbreak of the Mexican War he joined the First Kentucky Infantry and saw action in the fighting at Monterrey and Buena Vista. During the war he rose to the rank of sergeant major. In 1849 he joined the gold rush to California, and in May of 1851 he married Elizabeth Martin Sherley. The couple had four children. In 1852 Scott brought his family to Texas and settled five miles northeast of the site of present Melissa. For the next nine years he farmed and raised cattle. In 1861 he enlisted in the Confederate Army and helped raise Company I of the Ninth Texas Infantry. He became first lieutenant and was promoted to captain after the battle of Shiloh. From 1862 to the end of the war Scott served on the staff of Gen. Samuel B. Maxey. In 1865 Maxey was placed in charge of the District of Indian Territory, and Scott assisted him in drawing up treaties with Indian tribes who had spent the war years making raids into Texas. Scott subsequently returned to his farm in Collin County and from 1872 to 1873 served as an official meteorological observer for the Smithsonian Institution; he continued as a civilian observer from 1875 to 1881. From 1876 to 1886 he served on the board of directors of Texas A&M College and of Prairie View Normal School. In 1886 he was appointed business agent for the latter college, a position he held until 1890. Two years later he became a member of the board of trustees of Add-Ran College. Scott also served as a colonel on the staffs of governors O. M. Roberts and S. W. T. Lanham. He was vice president of the Texas National Association of Mexican War Veterans, and in 1906 he was elected brevet major general, United Confederate Veterans, Northeast Division of Texas. Scott died on March 6, 1911, at his home in Melissa.

S. W. Geiser, "Men of Science in Texas, 1820–1880," Field and Laboratory 26, 27 (October 1959- (January 1958). J. Lee and Lillian J. Stambaugh, A History of Collin County (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1958). Who Was Who in America, Vol. 1.
  • Education
  • University Presidents and School Administrators
Time Periods:
  • Civil War

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

David Minor, “Scott, Thomas Morton,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 17, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995

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