Nathan Bay Scott

Extracted From Prominent Men of West Virginia, by George W. Atkinson and Alvaro F. Gibbens (Wheeling: W. L. Callin, 1890), 514-17

Hon. N. B. SCOTT, for nearly eight years a State Senator of West Virginia, and one of the leading business men of Wheeling, was born in Guernsey county, Ohio, December 18, 1843. At the age of eleven he entered a country store as an assistant to the proprietor and regular clerks. During the winter seasons he attended the public schools of the county. His salary was $25.00 per year, with his board, clothing and washing "thrown in." He remained in this employment until 1859, when, at the age of sixteen, he went to Wheeling, and there secured passage on a steamboat for Leavenworth, Kansas. Arriving at his destination, he was promptly employed to drive an ox team across the prairies, to the point where Denver now stands, arriving May 8, 1859. At that time there were only a few houses there. He located a lot, but rather than pay the required fee of $2.50, gave it up. That same lot sold in 1878 for $40,000. Returning to the States he apprenticed himself to learn the trade of a tanner and currier. He labored earnestly at this business until the breaking out of the war in 1861, when he enlisted in the Union army. His father objected to his going as a soldier, and he was required to return home. In September, 1862, when the Confederates under General Kirby Smith were threatening the destruction of Cincinnati, Governor David Tod called on the "squirrel hunters" of Ohio to turn out and defend the borders of the State. Responding to this call, young Scott shouldered his musket and was found among those on their way to the intrenchments in the rear of Covington, Kentucky. Here he remained until they were recalled by the Governor. The letter of discharge from this military service Mr. Scott prizes most highly.

Shortly after his discharge from State service he enlisted in the Eighty-eighth Regiment of Ohio Volunteers, and served until the 3d of July, following the close of the war, when he was honorably discharged.

He next went to Bellaire, Ohio, and engaged in business, and at once began a course of study which occupied all his spare moments. He saw the necessity of an education, which he did not possess, and therefore set about, in dead earnest, to obtain it. In 1870 he began work for a glass factory at Bellaire, and resolved to master its many details. He remained there until 1875, when he settled in Wheeling in the employment of the Central Glass Company, one of the largest establishments of the kind in the world. By this time he had become efficient in his chosen occupation, and it was not long before the owners of this extensive establishment saw in Mr. Scott the kind of a man they needed to manage their great interests, so they elected him their President. For a number of years he has managed the business affairs of the company in the most successful and satisfactory manner.

Though a self-made business man, successful in every sense of the word, Mr. Scott has for years had a hankering after politics. He never sought office, but the taste for political affairs brought him into associations with a class of men who many times insisted upon his accepting public position. Hence, when barely old enough to be eligible, he was chosen Mayor of Millwood (now Quaker City), his native town. In 1880 he was elected to the Council of Wheeling, and was made President of the Second Branch of that body. In 1882 he was nominated and elected to the West Virginia Senate from the First District. His competitor was the late Capt. Andrew Wilson, a very popular man. This, added to the fact that the District was largely Democratic, proved Mr. Scott's popularity among the people.

He served faithfully, ably and efficiently in the Senate for four years. One of his most noted legislative acts was the introduction of a bill requiring the co-education of the sexes in our State University. For years he clung to his favored scheme, introducing bill after bill of the same kind, until it became a law. For this valuable work Senator Scott is entitled to the gratitude of all progressive people.

His fellow-citizens, greatly pleased over the conduct of their representative in the highest legislative branch of the State Government, again, in 1886, nominated and elected the Senator, over his earnest protest, for a second term of four years. His competitor, this time, was Hon. John O. Pendleton, and his majority was very much larger than the one he received four years before.

As a legislator, Mr. Scott was attentive and painstaking. He was open and fair in all his acts, and, accordingly, possessed the confidence of his associates, Such men are necessarily influential and useful, both in and out of legislative assemblies.

Mr. Scott has always been an ardent Republican. At the Chicago Convention of 1888, he was elected a member of the National Republican Executive Committee for the term of four years. During the campaign of that year he proved himself a valuable and active member of that organization. He is President of the Dollar Savings Bank of Wheeling, one of the most prosperous banking houses in the State, and is a Director in a number of Wheeling's leading business enterprises.

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