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.