Climbing the Olinger and Yount Tree

Margaret Olinger’s ancestors are generations of Germans who, as I previously mentioned, have been in America since at least the Revolutionary War. While I have done some of the initial verification work, I am still working on most of this – use this line at your own risk. I am working on the verification and getting my own copies of the sources this summer. I have provided the sources I currently have and been clear about what is not sourced.

In order to tie the line together there needs to be some documentation that provides a parent/child relationship. Family stories are nice, but paperwork is best! So here’s what I started.

First and foremost, we need to remember that spelling is optional. Don’t think that a will or census records will provide the correct spelling. Wills and census records were recorded by individuals who may or may not have asked how something was spelled. They may have been asking people who could not read or write how to spell their names. Most of the entries were accomplished either based on the experience of the person doing the writing, or their best guess based on how the name sounded. Men who clerked or “scribed” had no special grasp of spelling. I have seen the same name spelled three different ways in a single document. Most names did not reach a finalized form until Social Security began. Once you spelled it a certain way with the federal government – that was pretty close to how it remained. Our family uses the spelling of Olinger, but there are many Ohlingers in the tree. So when searching for Olinger you need to flexible and search for Olinger, Ollinger, and Ohlinger, and try substituting an e for an i and the letter j for g. The Yount line is often found as Yont, Yunt, and Yundt. I have also seen it spelled Jundt in some trees.

I am sure of whom Margaret Olinger’s parents are for two reasons. First – Viola Lawton Scott gathered the initial information directly from Margaret Olinger when she was alive. This is why I’m comfortable with using the date of births that I have. Second – I have Margaret Olinger’s 1932 death certificate which names her parents are Daniel Olinger and Hannah Yount.1 This could get confusing as we work are way back since there are several Olingers who have married Younts.

Daniel Olinger was born 20 September 1811 in Armstrong County, the youngest known son of Adam and Anna Maria (Yount) Olinger. (Yes, Yount again. Daniel and Hannah are first cousins.) I have seen various locations listed for his birth including Kittanning and Elderton. Daniel’s family was enumerated on the 1820 census in Kittanning Twp., Armstrong, Pennsylvania. Elderton was not incorporated as a borough until 1859.

Daniel married Hannah Yount on 10 April 1830 in Kittanning Twp. The newspaper notice of their marriage reads “Mr. Daniel Ohlinger, to Miss Hannah Yundt, dau. of Jonathan Yundt all of Kittanning Twp.”2 Hannah is the fifth child of Jonathan and Maria Margaret (Riscinger) Yount. Jonathan is the brother of Daniel’s mother Anna Maria. More on Daniel and Hannah in the next post.

1. Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 73280 (1932), Margaret Scott; Division of Vital Records, New Castle, Pennsylvania.
2. Constance Louise (Leinweber) Mateer, Early Deaths & Marriages in Armstrong County, Pennsylavania (Kittanning, Pennsylvania: n.p., 1994), Kittanning Gazette Vol #V I.

Margaret (Olinger) Scott (1842-1932)

Stepping back a generation in the Scott family, my next series of posts will focus on the Olinger and Yount lines. The Olinger and Yount families have been in Pennsylvania since before the Revolutionary War and are (fortunately for me) reasonably well documented. I have provided a pedigree chart from Robert Clare Scott in case you’ve lost track – I constantly have to refer back to my notes and charts in this family. It’s simply a lot of people to keep track of.

Margaret Olinger was born 17 September 1842 in Plumcreek Township, Armstrong County.1 She was the fifth child of Daniel Olinger (20 September 1811 – 23 May 1878) and Hannah Yount (25 December 1807 – 22 November 1908).2 I did not find a baptismal record for her in the church records in Gastown. It is possible that she may eventually be found in another church in the area, but many of those records have not been filmed or transcribed. Nor did I find a marriage record for Margaret and Zachariah. It is probable that they were married in the home of a family member. The records of a minister belonged to him not to the church, and there were no requirements to record these events at the courthouse or in the minister’s home church documents.

After Zachariah’s death 14 October 1900, Margaret Olinger Scott continued to live in the home that she had shared with him. Her grandson, Savandus “Curly” Taylor Schall (1900-1988) moved in and is enumerated with her on the
1910, 1920, and 1930 censuses.3,4,5 Margaret outlived Zachariah by almost 32 years and died at the age of 89 on 28 July 1932 in Elderton of Chronic Aortic Insufficiency.6 89 years on a weak heart!!!

Margaret is buried with Zachariah in the Elderton Cemetery. Curly and his family are nearby.


A complication of disease caused the death in Elderton at 9:50 p.m., Monday of Mrs. Margaret (Olinger) Scott, aged 89 years, ten months and eight days. She had always lived in the vicinity of her death and was a member of the Presbyterian Church. She leaves two sons and a daughter. J. P. Scott of Idaho, D. G. Scott of Holton, Kansas and Mrs. Annie Schall of Elderton. She also leaves 16 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be conducted in the Elderton Presbyterian Church at 2:00 p.m. Thursday [28 Jul], with burial in Elderton cemetery.7

Margaret Scott with sons Frank and J.P

1. Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 73280 (1932), Margaret Scott; Division of Vital Records, New Castle.
2. ibid
3. 1910 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania population schedule, Elderton, enumeration district (ED) 37, p. 3B, dwelling 69; digital images, Ancestry (; citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 1310.
4. 1920 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania population schedule, Plumcreek, enumeration district (ED) 15, p. 7A, dwelling 3; digital images, Ancestry (; citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T625, roll 1508.
5. 1930 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 42, p. 1A, dwelling 4; digital images, Ancestry (; citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 1994.
6. Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 73280 (1932), Margaret Scott; Division of Vital Records, New Castle.
8. Obituary, “SCOTT,” The Indiana Weekly Messenger, 28 Jul 1938; digital images.

Climbing Nancy M. J. Beatty’s Family Tree

Keeping on track – Nancy M. J. Beatty is the mother of Anna M. Beatty Scott.

Nancy Margaret Jane Beatty was born 9 August 1853 in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. At least that’s the information her husband Peter Shaffer provided on her 1909 death certificate.1 She is a daughter of James Beatty and Rebecca Beatty. Yes, Beatty is her maiden name. According to the information Peter provided, her father James was from Canada and her mother Rebecca was from Ireland.

Some of the confusion for this woman comes with name changes. She was baptized Nancy Margaret Beatty in the Plumcreek Presbyterian Church, Indiana County on 4 Oct 1853, daughter of James and Rebecca Beatty,2 and she appears on the 1860 census as Nancy M. Beatty.

However, beginning with the 1870 census and continuing through the remainder of her life, she is Nancy J.3 It is probable that she took Jane in honor of her older sister Jane Isabella Beatty who appears to have died before 1860, as she does not appear on that census. Her tombstone states her middle initial as “J.” In Viola Lawton Scott’s and her son’s genealogy pages, they both refer to her as Nancy Jane Beatty. Both Viola and her son had a good relationship with her husband Peter and spent time in the household of her daughter Anna M.

Due to these documents, I have chosen to refer to her as Nancy M.J. to avoid any confusion with the numerous other Nancy Beatty’s in the area.

The other small wrinkle that appears is the middle name of Ellen. This one is provided in the 1976 obituary of her son Chrisopher Nesbitt Shaffer.4 In this obituary, it lists Nancy Ellen (Beatty) Shaffer. It also lists his father as Peter Levi Shaffer. Both of these are new middle names. The information for this obituary was no doubt given by Christopher’s wife Zula, who would have been about 82 at this time – or one of his children. One family researcher told me that she was told, Christopher’s daughter Nancy Ellen was named for his mother. All these lend weight, but I have found no document with the initial E. or the name Ellen except for this obituary. None of the other obituaries for Nancy’s children list a middle initial for their mother. Nor have I found any Beatty or Shaffer family members (of Nancy’s generation or prior) named Ellen.

Nancy married Peter Shaffer about 1873 or 74 in Armstrong County. I will cover her children with Peter in a later post about Peter and his family line. Nancy died of apoplexy in Elderton. She appears to be reasonably well documented by the census records, and I can establish a family based on those.

This may be one of the rare instances where tracing a family has been better accomplished through the women.

On the 1870 census Nancy J., age 16, is with her widowed mother Rebecca, who was born about 1826 in Ireland, and also in the home is Sarah Beatty born about 1779, along with Nancy’s siblings, Elizabeth A. age 18 and Wm J. age 9. (Missing from this record is Caroline age 11.)

On the 1860 census5 I find Nancy M. age 6 with older sister Elizabeth A. and younger sister Caroline age 1. Caroline as you recall is listed with her mother Rebecca on the 1880 census next door to Peter Shaffer. Mother Rebecca is from Ireland and so is father James born about 1849 in Ireland. More on James and his birthplace to come in a later post.

I followed her mother Rebecca back to the 1850 census6 and located the family in Washington Township, Indiana County, and found a large family group of Baty[sic] people. [Just a reminder that when I cite a census records, I list the people as they appear on the record complete with misspellings.]

James Baty age 20 from Ireland,
Rebecca Baty age 24 from Ireland,
Avyaline age 10 months (December 1849). [Angeline]

This location of the family lends credence to the birthplace of Indiana County which Peter listed on Nancy’s death certificate.

Nancy M.J. Beatty’s family as I had found it based on the baptismal records, census records and her death certificate is:

James Beatty born abt 1830 in Ireland
Rebecca Beatty born abt 1826 in Ireland
Elizabeth Angeline Beatty born Dec 1849
Jane Isabelle Beatty born before 18 May 1851
Nancy M. J. Beatty born 9 Aug 1853
Caroline Beatty born about 1859
William J. Beatty born about 1861

My next post will deal with James and Rebecca Beatty, Betty, Batty, Baty, etc.

1. Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 12340 (1909), Mrs. Nancy Shaffer; Division of Vital Records, New Castle, Pennsylvania.
2. Treasures of the Past, “Plumcreek Presbyterian Church Baptism Records,” database, Ancestry ( : accessed 3 Mar 2011), Beatty, Nancy Margaret, baptized 4 Oct 1853.
3. 1870 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., p. 360, dwelling 153, family 153, Nancy Beatty; digital images, Ancestry (; citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M593, roll 1301.
4. Death Record, “Christopher N. Shaffer,” The Simpson Leader Times, 10 Jul 1976, p. 7, col. 8; digital images, NewspaperArchive ( : accessed 19 Dec 2011), Historic Newspapers.
5. 1860 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Burrell, p. 72, dwelling 258, family 251, Nancy Beaty; digital images, Ancestry (; citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll 1116.
6. 1850 U.S. census, Indiana, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Washington Twp, p. 220, dwelling 141, family 141, Rebecca Baty; digital images, Ancestry (http//; citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 785.

Anna Mary Beatty Scott

To bring us back on track now – we are going to discuss Anna M. Scott, wife of J.P. Scott. I’ll begin with Anna M. (2 Sep 1872 – 4 Mar 1950)

When I first began my research, Royden Blair Scott provided me a descendant list and he had listed the wife of J.P. Scott as Mary Ann Shaffer, born 2 September 1872 and listing her parents as Peter Shaffer and Nancy Beatty. Every census record that I found for J.P. listed her as Anna or Anna M. With all the available records listing her in this way, I have done the same.

Blair also told me Peter and Nancy Shaffer had six children – Anna, Minnie, Charles, Lee, Harry, George, and Christopher. As with all information that I receive, there is a verification process. Part of our job as genealogists is to find more evidence to back up the family document.

I started running into trouble when I began doing the verification work of Dad’s information. I had no problems locating Anna’s census records from 1900 through 1930 as she appears with her husband J.P. Scott on those records. (Those records may be seen on J.P. Scott’s posts) The trouble came when I was trying to go back further. I found her parents Peter and Nancy on the 1880 census in Plumcreek Township with children, Minnie, Charles and Leason [sic], but no Anna.1 (This is not a great image – Peter Shaffer is on line 13) Living with, or next door to, Peter and Nancy are Nancy’s brother William and his wife Martha, mother Rebecca, sister Caroline. Anna (who would be 7 at this time) is not with the Beatty family. I have not yet located Anna Mary or Mary Ann on the 1880 census records. I wonder if she might not be living with some other family member and be recorded under their last name. Sadly, with names such as Anna and Mary this one will be a tough slog until I investigate all of the extended families. There are, as you might imagine, literally dozens of Anna’s and Mary’s of the appropriate age.

I started working my way through the death and marriage certificates and the confusion deepened. Viola Lawton Scott was the informant when her husband Bob died, and she listed his mother as Anna M. Beatty. I honestly thought she had made a mistake – although that seemed unlikely since she had been working on the family genealogy for some time. As I started acquiring other death certificates, talking to the elderly family members, and more importantly, locating the obituaries, I soon found that she was absolutely correct.

Peter Shaffer was definitely not the father of Anna Mary Beatty. According to several family members including a daughter-in-law, and two granddaughters, Anna Mary Beatty was the illegitimate daughter of Nancy J. Beatty and an unknown father. Anna told all three of these women on separate occasions that she was illegitimate, and while they were a close-knit family, and Peter referred to her as his daughter, he was not her father. None of the woman ever recalled hearing any discussion concerning who her biological father might be. None could provide any insight as to why Anna is not listed with the family in 1880 as they all believed she was raised in Peter’s household. Yet another one of those odd mysteries that occurs in families.

When Anna married John Pettigrew Scott on 11 June 1890 in Elderton, the information, which she provided at the courthouse, reflected her true name as Anna M. Beatty.2

Anna died 4 March 1950, and her death certificate shows her father as Peter Shaffer, but the informant was her youngest son Paul.3 The obituary for Anna M. Scott once again states her father is Peter Shaffer, but it says she is survived by four half brothers. Paul’s widow confirmed that Paul was also responsible for the obituary information. This makes it clear that he was aware Peter was not her biological father.

ANNA M. SCOTT, 77, of Shelocta R. D., died Saturday, March 4, at 1:00 a.m. at her late home in Idaho Pa., from a cerebral hemorrhage.
Born September 2, 1872 in Plumcreek Township, Armstrong County, she was a daughter of Peter and Nancy (Beatty) Shaffer. She was the widow of John P. Scott, and was a member of the Lutheran Church, South Bend.
Surviving are a daughter, Mrs. Wade (Gladys) Rose of Mineral Ridge, Oh., and two sons, Frank Scott of Sagamore and Paul Scott, of Shelocta R. D., with whom she made her home. Mrs. Scott was preceded in death by two sons, Howard and Robert, and one daughter, Ella.
She is also survived by four half brothers and 20 grandchildren.
Services will be held Monday, March 6 at 2:00p.m. in the Clark Funeral Home, Elderton, with the Rev. Howard Amlek officiating. Burial will be in Elderton cemetery.
Respect may be paid at the Funeral home after 7:00 p.m. today and from 1 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday.<sup4

All of the obituaries for her half-siblings simply refer to her as a sister with no reference to the term half. For convenience on the family trees, I have left Peter K. Shaffer listed as her father while noting that he is not her biological father.

I believe that the odds of figuring out who Anna’s biological father actually was are somewhere between slim and none. Unless I luck into a church record that declares her father, or someone unearths a document demanding support, this is a dead end. I am researching the Shaffer family, as our family ties remain so close with them. There will posts to follow on the Shaffer line, after I finish with the post on the very confusing Beatty family.

Anna M. Beatty Scott’s family as I have it documented currently.
Father – unknown
Peter Shaffer (1849-1934) – stepfather.
Nancy J. Beatty (1853-1909) – Mother
Anna M. Beatty (1872-1950) – dau. of Nancy J.
Minnie Elizabeth Shaffer (1875-1944)
Charles Wilmer Shaffer (1877-1939)
Leason J. Shaffer (1880- ?)
Harry Oliver Shaffer (1882-1960)
George Addison Shaffer 1887-1967)
Christopher Nesbitt Shaffer (1889-1976)
(Documentation on Peter and his children will be in a future post)

My next post will be about the work to clearly define the family of Nancy J. Beatty.

1. 1880 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 5, p. 124, dwelling 283, family 301, Peter Shaeffer; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 6 Mar 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 1096.
2. Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, Marriage Books, Book 5: Page 183, #1616, John P. Scott-Anna M. Beatty, 11 Jun 1890; Armstrong County Courthouse, Kittaning, Pennsylvania.
3. Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 18894, 4 Mar 1950, Anna M. Scott; Division of Vital Records, New Castle, Pennsylvania.
4. Obituary, “Anna M. Scott,” The Indiana Evening Gazette, 4 Mar 1950

The Search Begins for James Scott

In researching the ‘declared father’ of Zachariah Scott I had hit a bit of a dead end. The only James Scott in Plumcreek Township was quite old by the time Zachariah was born. On the 1850 census James Scott of Plumcreek Township had a declared age of 77 and his wife Ann was 83. At the time of Zachariah’s birth he would have been about 70 – not unheard of for fathering a child.

But if he was the father than why wouldn’t Polly/Mary or her family have applied for support. If you have named a father in the church record, than it would no longer be a secret, so why not demand financial aid. I researched this particular James Scott, but found no will or documents that would lend any support to his being Zachariah’s father. The only thing in his favor was opportunity based solely on location.

There was another James Scott in the region who was younger, but the distance from Elderton did not make him a logical candidate.

On a recent trip to Salt Lake City, I was working my way through a book of extracted materials from the Armstrong Democrat. These extracted births, marriages and deaths are often the only records that document familial relationships pre 1850. As I always do, I scanned the index for the name Scott in hopes of finding another James Scott in Armstrong County. I was very excited to find and entry and then the following item.

The Armstrong Democrat Thursday, May 19, 1842
Death—On Saturday last, the 14th inst. At the residence of his father in Kittanning, Mr. James SCOTT aged 20 yrs, 2 mo, 14 da.

Backing up nine months from Zachariah’s birth would make his conception about March 1842. Two months prior to this man’s death. This James Scott was born 28 February 1822. This fits ever so much nicer than the “old guy next door” which felt more than a little icky. It also would provide the explanation as to why there was no request for support.

While I can build several solid scenarios around this situation, this does not prove that this James is in fact the father of Zachariah. This is merely the start of the search. I’ll now focus my research on the Anthony and Scott families in Kittaning. Papers for that era are not online and information is sketchy at best, but we’ll see what (if anything) we come up with that might tie these families together. The items I will focus on will be land, taxes, and cemetery and church records.

1. Constance Leinweber Mateer, Early Deaths and Marriages in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania from Kittanning Area Newspapers (Apollo, Pennsylvania: Closson Press, 1997), Death 14 May 1842 James Scott: p.73.

Final Conclusions – Zachariah T. Scott

The case for Zachariah Anthony/Smail/Scott.

1. The only Zachariah of the correct age in the area on the 1850 and 1860 censuses is Zachariah Smail.
2. Zachariah Smail disappeared from records at the same time that Zachariah Scott appeared in records.
3. The baptismal record shows that Zacharia [sic] Anthony was born on 2 December 1842, only one day different from Zachariah Scott’s 3 December 1842 tombstone birth date.
4. The baptismal record states, “Declared father James Scott.”
5. Polly/Mary and George Smail had children baptized in the same church as Zachariah Anthony.
6. Zachariah was baptized in the same church Margaret Olinger’s family attended.
7. There are no wills in Armstrong County for James Scott.
8. Bastard bonds were not required by Armstrong or Indiana County, and no records concerning guardianship or contracts for child support were found for the time period from 1842 through 1864.
9. Neither Zachariah Smail nor Zachariah Scott appears in any court records from 1842 through 1864 in either Armstrong County or adjoining Indiana County.
10. No will has been located for George or Mary Smail in Armstrong or Indiana County.
11. No death record exists for Mary Smail that would indicate her parentage.

My basic research indicates that it was not an unusual practice for a father to be declared at the time of a child’s baptism. With no bond required for support of an infant, the church or family would attempt to solicit support from the declared father by publicly naming him. I have not yet found any extant records that indicate support was demanded or paid for Zachariah Anthony.

Initial research on the line of John A. Anthony suggests he remained in the area, but I have not yet located any records that show his death or parentage. The census records for 1840 in the area have many Anthony families with children that would match the ages for John and Polly/Mary and their exact relationship is still unclear.

My next post will detail the search for James Scott.

Finding Zachariah T. Scott

I was in the process of doing a random search on Margaret’s father, Daniel Olinger, when my spelling accident occurred. I typed in “’Daniel Ohlinger’ Armstrong Co. PA” and hit enter for my Google search. As soon as I did it, I realized that I had misspelled Olinger and was ready to start over when a single item came up in the results. The word “GASTOWN” in the description caught my eye. Gastown is less than three miles from Elderton and many of the Olingers are buried in the small cemetery there. The entry was a transcription of records for the Reformed and Lutheran Churches in Gastown with baptismal entries from 24 September 1840 through 26 January 1889. I was pretty excited about the record as it might document the birth or baptism of Margaret who was born in 1842, so I began to skim the pages looking for Olinger/Ohlinger. The pages had been translated from the original German, so I expected some spelling variations and possibly even different names based on the German version. I did not find a record for Margaret, but what I did find on page 3 of the transcript was a baptism record that stunned me:

Zacharia b. 2 Dec. 1842, Bapt. 16 Sept. 1844,
Parents: Polly Anthony,
Declared Father: James Scott,
Sponsor: John Anthony

Could it be as simple as an illegitimate child? The birth date was only a day off from his tombstone and the date listed on his death record. But how many children named Zachariah could have been born in the opening days of December 1842 in the Elderton/Gastown area? More importantly, how many Zachariahs could there be with a declared father named Scott?

According to the index, this was the only Scott listed in the record, but I still went through every page and looked at every name. I marked all the Anthonys and found that John A. Anthony and his wife Phebia had two children baptized in the church in 1848 and 1849 respectively. Based on their ages, it is probable that John was a brother or a cousin to Polly. These were the only baptismal records with the surname of Anthony.

On Ancestry, I did an advanced search for Zachariah, born 1842, Armstrong, Pennsylvania, with a mother named Polly. I was rewarded with Zachariah and Polly Smail on the 1850 census in Plumcreek Township. This was the same family I had looked at previously, but now the possibility that my Zachariah Scott and this Zachariah Smail could be one and the same, had “legs.” The household consisted of:

George Smail, age 25, a farmer born in PA
Polly, age 28, PA
Zachariah, age 10, PA, attending school
Elisa Jane, age 2
Canann, age 6 mo. Female

The 1860 census placed the family in Cowanshannock Township, which abuts the northern end of Plumcreek Township. The family now consisted of:

George Smail, age 40
Mary, 26
Zacharias, 17
Eliza J., 15
Catharine A., 9
Margaret, 8
James, 5
Mary, 4
Sarah, 3

Back in the church records I looked for Smails and quickly found them under the German spelling of Schmehl. There was a baptismal record on page 5 for Elisa Jane, born 27 July 1848, baptized 16 October 1848, parents George Schmehl and wife Polly. This entry is a mere dozen entries below the entry of John A. and Phebia Anthony’s first child, Elisabeth Anna. Catharine’s 11 December 1849 birth and 4 May 1851 baptism are recorded on page 7 with the parents listed as George Schmehl and wife Maria. Since Polly is a pet name for Mary, I had no trouble accepting that this was the same woman using the more mature name of Mary in the census records and being referred to as Maria in the German church record.

I spent the next couple of weeks trying every search method that I could think of to locate records for Zachariah Smail after 1860, but it seems that Zachariah Smail disappeared at the same time Zachariah Scott appeared. I have not found Zachariah Smail on any census record, burial, or cemetery record, nor did he enlist in the military or die in the Civil War. There are no tax or draft records for him in the appropriate places or times. I conducted the same searches for Zachariah Anthony – he does not exist beyond the church record of his baptism.

1. Gastown Reformed and Lutheran Churches (Gastown, Pennsylvania, Armstrong County), Combined Church Records, “Church Book of the Reformed and Lutheran Churches of Plumcreek,” Baptism Zachariah Scott p3; digital images, Candy McCain, U S. GenWeb ( : accessed 10 Jul 2008).
2. 1850 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp, p. 354, dwelling 291, family 291, Zachariah Smail; digital images, Ancestry (; citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 749.
3. 1860 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Cowanshannock, p. 124, dwelling 1325, family 1325, Zachariah Smail; digital images, Ancestry (; citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll 1069.

Searching for Zachariah

After five long years of diligent work, I felt that I finally had the real answer about my husband’s great-great-grandfather Zachariah T. Scott. He was an alien! Just like E. T., he had obviously been left behind when the space ship took off. He wandered out of the woods in western Pennsylvania and married a well-documented girl, and then they had well-documented children, but while he was born in 1842, he just did not exist in any solid source documentation I could locate before 1864. It was the only reasonable solution.

The earliest record I had been able to find was a draft notice in the Indiana Register of 28 June 1864. This notice listed Zachariah’s residence as Washington Township in Indiana County. Washington Township abuts Plumcreek Township and is less than four miles from Elderton. The first census record I was able to locate was the 1870 census for Plumcreek Township, which listed Zachariah Scott, age 28, with his wife Margaret, age 25, and sons Jonah P., age 5, and Daniel G., age 4. I was unable to locate an 1850 or 1860 census for Zachariah Scott in any part of Pennsylvania at any time.

I spoke with all the elderly relatives to ask if they recalled any stories about this family line, but Zachariah remained an enigma. I called the funeral home in Elderton to see if their records might contain a lead. While they were able to tell me the cost of his funeral ($22) and the date of his burial, they could take me no further.

I looked at each and every Scott family on the 1850 and 1860 census in western Pennsylvania and investigated each male child of the approximate age regardless of name (including Sharp Scott). I looked at every Zachariah, Zacharias, Zachareus, and “Z” in the area for the period prior to 1870 and searched using multiple wildcard options.

There was only one Zachariah of the right age in the right part of Armstrong or Indiana County on the 1850 and 1860 censuses, but the family name was Smail. I also spent several weeks researching the Scotts of Allegheny County, but early on, I realized that Zachareus was not my Scott when I located him on the 1870 census in Allegheny County, at the same time my Zachariah appeared in Armstrong County.

In my extensive search, I even looked at Zachariah’s sons names of John Pettigrew Scott and Daniel George Scott with the thought that his mother’s maiden name may have been Pettigrew or George. His daughter was named Anne Naomi, so I looked at every Zachariah in Pennsylvania to see if any one of them had a mother or sister named Anne or Naomi. I searched everything I could think of and searched most of it several times over the years, but I never located any records for Zachariah T. Scott prior to 1864. There was no child by that name.

The simple answer was – he wasn’t using that name. Finding Zachariah continues in the next post.

Zachariah T. Scott (1842-1900)

Moving back one more generation from J.P. we arrive at Zachariah T. Scott. I’ve spent a lot of time working on Zachariah and I have a lot of information to put out here since he’s been an enigma. People have made so many bad connections with this man that there were many false leads to follow and dismiss. So let’s get started with what we know to be true and the evidence of his existence that everyone can agree on.

Rather than present this case in the usual manner of birth to death, I am going to work backwards through Zachariah’s life based solely on the evidence.

The tombstone for Zachariah is located in Elderton Cemetery, Elderton, Armstrong, Pennsylvania.

Z.T. Scott's Tombstone.

With the death date, I went in search of a death record. Death certificates for Pennsylvania did not begin until 1906, so I contacted Armstrong County and received a copy of his Death Registration.1 It did not provide any confirmation of his parentage, although it did provide his cause of death and his occupation.

This document and the tombstone are the only instances in which a middle initial is used for Zachariah. His great-grandson, Royden Blair Scott, told me the ‘T’ stood for Taylor, but I have found no other documentation concerning his middle name.

Working back through the census records it’s easy to locate Zachariah from 1900 back through 1870. I have attached the records.
1900 Census – Elderton, Armstrong, PA, (line 40-41) birthdate Dec 1842, married 36 yrs (abt. 1864) to Margaret. I will discuss Margaret Olinger in her own post along with the Olinger family. The census lists no occupation, but indicates that he owns his home and it is free of a mortgage, and it is a house not a farm.2
1880 Census – Elderton, Armstrong, PA, (line 7-11) age 37, wife Margaret, children John, Danl., and Anne, his occupation is Laborer, but he only worked 3 months out of the census year in that occupation. He does not list a sickness or illness and he is able to read and write.3
1870 Census – Plumcreek Township, Armstrong, PA, line 10-13) age 28, wife Margaret, children Jonah P., Daniel G. His occupation is listed as Works on farm.4

Zachariah and Margaret had three children:
John Pettigrew Scott (1865-1938) m. Anna Mary Beatty (1872-1950)
Daniel George Scott (1867-?) m. Lorena Ensaline Lawton (1870-?)
Annie Naomi Scott (1872-1959) m. Marshall Clement Schall (1874-1905)
I have attached their family group sheets.

The oldest record I found for Zachariah Scott was from a Draft Notice List in The Indiana Register dated 20 July 1864.5 It was nothing more than a list of names in the paper. There is no record of Zachariah enlisting or being drafted into service.

Records for Zachariah T. Scott simply do not exist prior to 1864. My next post will detail what I searched for and could not find.

1. Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, “Vol 1, Page 160,” Registration of Deaths, Z. T. Scott; Clerk of Orphans’ Court, Kittanning.
2. 1900 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Elderton, enumeration district (ED) 11, p. 3A, dwelling 64; digital images, (; citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll T623 1373
3. 1880 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Elderton, enumeration district (ED) 5, p. 121, dwelling 210, family 228; digital images, Ancestry (; citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll T9 1096.
4. 1870 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., p. 354, dwelling 74, family 74, Zachariah Scott; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 9 Jul 2008); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M593, roll 1301.
5. Draft Notice, “Draft Notice List,” The Indiana Register, 20 Jul 1864; digital images.

J.P. Scott Obituary & Tombstone

J.P.’s Obituary

John Pettigrew Scott, 73 in ill health for some time, died at 12:30 p.m. Sunday (24 Jul 1938) of peritonitis, in his home in Idaho, near Shelocta. A son of Zacchariah T. and Margaret (Olinger) Scott, he was born January 21, 1865. He was a well-known thresherman.
Surviving are his widow, Mrs. Anna M. Scott and these children: Howard L. Scott of Shelocta, R.D.2; Frank T. Scott of Rural Valley, R.D.1; Mrs. Gladys M. Rose of Mineral Ridge, O.; Mrs. Ella G. Wingard of Yatesboro, R.D. and J. Paul Scott of Shelocta, R.D.1

J.P. Scott's Tombstone.

1. Obituary, “SCOTT,” The Indiana Weekly Messenger, 28 Jul 1938; digital images