Nathan Bay Scott

Wheeling Intelligencer
January 3, 1924

Nathan Bay Scott Summoned By Death

Statesman, Financier, Adopted Son of Wheeling, Passes Away at Washington After Brief Illness

Funeral To Be Held Saturday, With Interment In Washington

End Comes Suddenly As The Culmination Of Illness Which Was Not Considered Dangerous - Cheerful During The Morning, And Believed He Was Improving - West Virginians At The Capital Pay Tribute To The Former Senator

By Charles Brooks Smith

Washington, D. C. Jan 2 -Nathan Bay Scott, who represented West Virginia in the United States senate for two terms, twelve years, being elected his first term in 1899, died suddenly of heart failure in his suite at Wardman Park hotel, late this afternoon. He had been confined to his rooms, excepting an occasional automobile ride, since his arrival home from Europe on Thanksgiving day.

Tonight his body rests in the home of his daughter-in-law, Mrs. Guy T. Scott, on Belmont road.

Funeral services will be held there Saturday morning at 10 o'clock, conducted by Bishop William I. McDowell, of the Methodist Episcopal church, and the Rev. James Shera Montgomery, pastor of the Calvary church of that denomination, who is also chaplain of the house of representatives. Both of these clergymen were close personal friends of the deceased.

The interment will be in Rock Creek cemetery in a new family mausoleum which was recently completed for Senator Scott, and which contains the remains of his son, the late Major Guy T. Scott, who died in 1920, and his daughter, Daisy, who died in young girlhood.

His Illness

Senator Scott's health, the members of the family noticed with alarm, had failed during a voyage he took abroad in November. Accompanied by Thomas Pickford, a prominent Washington financier, he went to Antwerp, chiefly for the benefit of ocean travel. He returned to his home here on Thanksgiving day, and from thence on suffered from physical weakness as the result of heart disease.

Mentally, he was remarkably vigorous and clear up to the time of his death. He spent the morning talking with Mrs. Scott and her sister, Mrs. George W. Trowbridge. He expressed the opinion that he was much better. Shortly after noon he laid down to rest and sleep, suggesting to his wife, his constant and devoted companion, that she do the same. Mrs. Scott was awakened by noises from her husband's bed, and hurrying to him found him breathing his last.

Three doctors soon arrived in answer to hurried summons, but the afflicted ex-senator was beyond any professional aid they could render.

Observed Birthday

On December 18, Senator Scott observed his eighty-second birthday anniversary. He received several intimate personal friends of many years' standing and was in a particularly happy frame of mind that day, inclined to relate reminiscences of his long and eventful career in business and politics.

One of them told tonight how Senator Scott expressed to him "one thing he could not understand." It was how he was permitted to live on so many years after friends and associates of his political career at its zenith, such men as McKinley, Hanna and others of that era, had been dead and gone these many years.

"I told the senator," said his friend, "it was because there was work for him to do."

Tribute From Wheeling

Another feature of the day's celebration, which especially delighted Senator Scott, was the arrival of a gorgeous floral token, with a note of congratulations from the officials of the Dollar Savings bank of Wheeling, W. Va., which he had organized years ago, and of which he was president for decades; also a bouquet from President and Mrs. Coolidge, and flowers from a number of other friends and admirers.

Senator Scott retired from the presidency of the Continental Trust Company, of this city, which he organized, a year ago, but retained the chairmanship of the board. Following his retirement he took a trip to the "Holy Land," accompanied by Mrs. Scott, Mrs. Guy T. Scott, and three of her children, and Mr. and Mrs. George W. Trowbridge. He returned in mid-summer greatly benefited, apparently, in health.

Retirement From Politics

At the end of his second term in the senate, Senator Scott retired from active politics as a state and national Republican leader, but always retained a keen interest and contributed generously to finance his party in every campaign. He changed his legal residence from Wheeling to Washington and engaged in the banking business. He became prominent and much interested in civic affairs and the development of the national capital. He was rated a millionaire, several times over.

He is survived by a widow; a sister, Mrs. Jeanette Scott, of Omaha; and the following named grand- children, the mother of whom is Mrs. Guy T. Scott, widow of the deceased's onyl [sic] son; Mrs. Bart Searcey, of Atlanta, Ga.; Nathan Bay Scott, his namesake, student at Yale; Misses Lelia and Ann and Guy T. Scott, Jr.

Senator Elkins' Tribute

There are only two senators in the present congress who served with Senator Scott throughout his two terms, and eleven who served a short time with him. The two are Senators Lodge, of Massachusetts and Warren, of Wyoming both of whom are out of the city tonight, and could not be seen with a request for an expression on the career of their dead colleague of former years. They were both closely identified with Senator Scott in the senate and in Republican leadership.

Eenator [sic] Davis Elkins, of West Virginia, served twenty-three days by appointment of Governor Glasscock, with Senator Scott. He said:

"I was shocked to learn the sad news. I knew Senator Scott for many years and I admired him. He was a man of strong and able qualities. He was a colleague of my father's and they were close friends."

Congressman Rosenbloom

Congressman Benj. L. Rosenbloom said: "The death of Senator Scott will make the people of Wheeling sad. He was one of the city's pioneer builders. He had a remarkable career in private business and political life. He lived a useful, busy life and left his imprint indelibly."

Congressman Reed

Congressman Stuart F. Reed said: "He was a giant oak in the political forest of the nineties, the last to fall before the elements. He takes his place among the immortals of our state."

Col. Wade H. Cooper, who has been president of the Continental Trust company, for the past three years, and who was associated with Senator Scott in the organization of the trust company when it was founded, in speaking of Senator Scott tonight, said:

"Senator Scott was a man of generous and noble impulses and gave without ostentation. He contributed various sums to charity. One of his largest contributions was to the Masonic Widows' and Orphans' home at Wheeling, his home city. In every vocation of life, whether as husband, or father, or friend, or soldier, or citizen, he was able and earnest and faithful and true."

Ex-Governor White Expresses His Sorrow

Parkersburg, W. Va., Jan. 2. - Former Governor Albert Blakeslee White, when informed of the death of Senator Scott, said:

"It is a severe blow. I had been associated with Senator Scott in many political campaigns, when he as West Virginia's very able member of the national committee. Chairman Marcus A. Hanna accounted Mr. Scott one of the shrewdest of his many able lieutenants. As a member of the Senate he gave the State intelligent and meritorious service, and ranked high in that body of lawmakers. As a public spirited citizen, he was among the foremost. As husband and father his relations were ideal. The State has suffered a great loss in his passing."

Dr. Hatfield Feels the State's Severe Loss

Huntington, W. Va., Jan. 2. - Former Governor Henry D. Hatfield, who bore the relation of close personal and political friend of the late Senator Scott, said tonight:

"I feel the loss of Senator Scott deeply - and the State's bereavement is severe. Few men have made their imprint on affairs to a greater degree than Nathan Bay Scott. His political leadership was one of great ability and sagacity."

Judge Baker Joins in Tribute to Mr. Scott

Elkins, W. Va., Jan. 2. - United States Judge William E. Baker tonight joined West Virginians in paying tribute to the late Senator Scott. He said:

"Senator Scott was a tower of strength to his party. He was accounted one of the greatest political generals West Virginia has ever produced, and was a fit colleague of the late Stephen B. Elkins. The two did more than any other men to make West Virginia the reliable Republican State it became after the election of Grover Cleveland in 1892. In business he did much in the development of West Virginia." Judge R. M. Addleman - "We have lost a good public citizen by the death of Senator Scott."

Fine Tributes From Leaders

Judge Poffenbarger In Words Of Praise

Governor Morgan, Ex-Gov. Atkinson and Others Voice Sorrow

(Special to the Intelligencer)
Charleston, W. Va., Jan. 2. - Many expressions of regret were heard here tonight when announcement was made of the death of Nathan B. Scott, an outstanding figure in West Virginia politics for many years.

Governor Morgan, although not intimately acquainted with the former senator, expressed his sorrow, declaring [t]hat he greatly admired Mr. Scott, and that his death marked the passing of one of the best friends the state ever had.

"I am indeed sorry to learn of senator Scott's death," said the governor. "He, of course, was active in politics many years before I became interested, but I have always admired him. Senator Scott was a national figure and very prominent and popular in West Virginia."

Judge Poffenbarger

Judge George Poffenbarger, former member of the state supreme court of appeals, paid a tribute to senator Scott, saying the latter was "known, respected and admired" throughout the state.

"I have just learned of the death of ex-United States-senator N. B. Scott with deep regret," said judge Poffenbarger. "He will long be remembered by those who have been active in business and public life in West Virginia for his great vigor of mind, prodig[i]ous energy, indomitable courage, robust integrity and loyalty to his friends and ideals. For many years before his retirement from activities in this state he was a forceful and picturesque figure, known, respected and admired everywhere within its boundaries, and always ready to put his whole strength into any public cause in which he believed."

Other Tributes

William Burdette Matthews, clerk of the state's highest tribunal, said he had known senator Scott intimately for many years, and expressed keen regret when advised of the latter's death.

"I lived in senator Scott's district many years ago when he was state senator," he said. "I have always admired his fearlessness and business ability. I regret very much to [l]earn of his passing."

Expressions of regret also were made by former governor George Wesley Atkinson, federal judge George W. McClintic and others who knew senator Scott.

Death of Senator Scott A Shock To Wheeling Friends

Tributes Paid by Many of His Personal and Business Associates Here

Wheeling was shocked late yesterday afternoon when word of the death of Senator Nathan B. Scott at Washington, D. C., was received. Local friends had been advised of his illness but had not considered his condition as serious.

In the death of Senator Scott Wheeling loses one of its most distinguished sons. Prior to his election to the United States senate, he served nobly well here in public and business life. His career in the senate was also notable.

His political life began in Wheeling in 1880, when he was elected to city council. He was born on a farm in Guernsey county. He served during the Civil War and later engaged in the glass business.

Some expressions of regrets secured by The Intelligencer last evening follow:

B. Walker Peterson - Words cannot express the deep sense of personal loss that has come to me with the news of Senator Scott's death. Our intimate business relations, extending over a period of more than forty years, gave me an opportunity to know this noble man as few others did. His qualities were so fine, his capacities as a gentleman and a friend so great, that it is difficult to single one virtue above the others. His intense loyalty to friends, however, was a character that made him unique among men. To personages like Mark Hanna, Cornelius N. Bliss, Theodore Roosevelt and William McKinley he was not Senator Scott, but "Scottie," a man of brilliant intellect, perfect character and an ever loyal friend.

W. H. Stone - I cannot express my sorrow over the death of Senator Scott. His life was one of intense usefulness, and personally he was one of the finest men I ever knew.

Frank McNeil, Sr. - The country has lost a noble and splendid man. I am deeply sorry to learn of his death.

Dr. John L. Dickey - Everyone in Wheeling will be very sorry to hear of Senator Scott's death, for he was generally beloved and highly regarded here. He was a fine Senator, and as he spent most of his life here, was particularly close to our community. He was a good business man and a successful politician.

Frank A. O'Brien - It is a great shock to me to hear of the death of Senator Scott. He was one of West Virginia's most brilliant men, and helped a great deal toward the upbuilding in this industrial center. He was a strong factor in politics in our State, as well as the nation. I do not know of any death that would cause greater sorrow.

J. C. Brady - Senator Scott was not only greatly loved personally, but admired for his career. He was greatly devoted to Wheeling, and was extremely charitable.

Attorney J. B. Handlan - The community in which Senator Scott spent so many years of his life will feel the loss keenly. Notwithstanding the fact that he has been away for a number of years, he had always found time during his absence to lend to the success of this community the same inspiration that he uniformly gave while he was among us here. And when it is said that not only Wheeling, but as well the entire State of West Virginia, has suffered a distinct loss in the death of Senator Scott, the statement is inadequate to do justice to the feeling of sorrow that is felt.

J. Cecil Fee, treasurer of the Central Glass company, had not heard of Senator Scott's death until informed at his home last evening by an Intelligencer reporter. He was profoundly shocked, for while he had known of Mr. Scott's illness, he had no idea of the seriousness of his trouble.

He was associated with the dead statesman for a number of years at the Central and held him in the highest esteem. He said Mr. Scott never came to Wheeling, after taking up his residence in Washington, without calling at the factory, except on his last visit about four months ago, when he was too feeble for the trip.

Even then he called the office over the telephone and asked to be remembered to all, particularly those with whom he had worked for years.

He knew personally all of the old men at the Central, and when at the plant made a practice of going around to greet and talk to them for a few minutes. There are some ten or fifteen men still at the works who started in with Senator Scott when the business was first organized.

When Senator Scott sold out his interests in 1917, he made special request that all of the old men be retained as long as they cared to stay.

While president of the Central he devoted quite a good bit of time to the business, and during his long service in the United States senate was always looking out for the glass industry.

W. W. Irwin, former Wheeling postmaster - "Senator Scott was a very particular friend of mine, and was one of the noblest men I ever knew. He was of an incalculable benefit to the state of West Virginia, and did more for this part of the state than any other man that ever held public office. I regret very much to learn of his demise.

Sketch of Mr. Scott's Career

The name of Nathan Bay Scott is a familiar one to every true West Virginian and to a great many in every state of the Union. His services, both to his state and to the nation, during his twelve years as United States senator, were of the most distinguished and valuable nature, and he ranks as one of the most forceful men ever representing West Virginia in the nation's highest legislative body.

The life history of Mr. Scott is a true American romance, reminiscent of Abraham Lincoln. Born on a farm in Guernsey county, Ohio, he obtained his first employment at the age of eleven in a country store as an assistant clerk. His salary was $25 per year, with his board, clothing and washing thrown in. During the winter months he attended the public schools of his county. He continued to work in the store until 1859, when, at the age of sixteen, he came to Wheeling and took passage on a steamboat for Leavenworth, Kansas. At Leavenworth he was employed to drive an ox team across the prairies to the point where Denver now stands. He "located" a lot, but rather than pay the required fee of $2.50, he gave up his claim. Returning to Ohio, he apprenticed himself to learn the trade of tanner and currier. At the beginning of the Civil War, in 1861, he enlisted in the Union army, but was at first forced to return home by the objections of his father. In 1862, he answered the call of Governor Todd to the "squirrel hunters" of Ohio to defend their state against General Kirby Smith. Shortly after his discharge from the service of his state he enlisted in the Eighty-eighth Ohio Volunteers and served until July 3, 1865.

Went to Bellaire

After the war, Mr. Scott went to Bellaire, Ohio, and while in the employment of a glass factory there he pursued a course of study by which he intended to fit himself for a higher position in life. In 1875 he entered the employ of the Central Glass Company of Wheeling and demonstrated has [sic] efficiency in such a satisfactory manner that he was soon elected president of the company, a position which he held until 1917. He was also vice president of the Dollar Savings and Trust Company of Wheeling and president of the Continental Trust Company of Washington, D. C.

Remarkable Political Career

The political career of Nathan Bay Scott is not less remarkable than his rise in the business world. He had great native political ability and was selected Mayor of his native town of Millwood (now Quaker City), Ohio, when he was barely old enough to be eligible. In 1880 he was elected a member of the city council of Wheeling and became president of that body. In 1882 he was elected to the State Senate of West Virginia from the First District for four years; in 1886 he was re-elected over his earnest protest for a second four-year term. At that time the First District was strongly Democratic. As a legislator he gave hard work and ability to the service of his constituents. In 1888 he was selected a member of the National Republican Committee, on which he served for 24 years. By his fellow-members of this distinguished body he was chosen a member of the Executive Committee, on which he served twelve years, being partially in charge of Republican headquarters in New York during four Presidential campaigns. On January 1, 1898, he was appointed Commissioner of Internal Revenue by President McKinley. In 1899 he was elected Senator from West Virginia, and was re-elected in 1905, serving twelve years in all. During his service in the Senate he was chairman of the Public Buildings and Grounds Committee. Since retiring from public life, he devoted his attention to the large business enterprises with which he was connected.

To a host of friends, Nathan Bay Scott was known as a congenial and big hearted man. In the Masonic fraternity he attained the highest rank, being a thirty-third degree member.

Liberal to Charity

He was one of the most liberal contributors to the charities of Wheeling and other cities. His efforts toward the establishment of the Ohio Valley General hospital and the creation of the Toy Mission, directed from St. Matthew's church and the source of Christmas joy to hundreds of local children, are but two items on a long list. As a builder, the Central Glass company and the Dollar Savings and Trust company are testimonials to his great ability and energy.

Senator Scott was instrumental, while serving West Virginia in Washington, in helping make possible some of the most constructive legislation of the period. An authority on tariff affairs he was always a staunch protectionist. His work on governmental finance, military affairs and the railroad problems was distinguished.

Perhaps no better index to the greatness of his personal character can be found than in the record of two precincts, inhabited by employes of the Central Glass company, in the election of 1899. Senator Scott carried both by more than a five to one vote. These men knew him, not so much as their employer, but as their friend.

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