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Biography of Colonel Martin Scott


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Son of Phineas Scott, one of the early settlers of Bennington, was born here Jan. 18, 1788. His youth was spent on his father's farm, during which he received only a common school education. He wss fond of hunting from his boyhood, and in early life became an expert and noted marksman. He was always accustomed to aim at the head of game, and considered it disgraceful to make a wound in the body. He would drive a nail into a board part way with a hammer, and then taking the farthest distance at which his eye could distinctly see it, drive it home with his unerring bullet. His skill with his rifle was such that he was excluded from the common sport of turkey shooting, no owner of a turkey being willing to risk his shot for any sum short of its full value.

In April, 1814, he was appointed second Lieutenant in the army, became Captain in 1828, and afterwards rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, always sustaining the character of a brave and active officer. From about the year 1820 he was for 12 or 15 years stationed at Green Bay, Prairie du Chien, and other military posts on the Western frontier. Here he had great opportunities for indulging in his favorite amusement, and became famous in all that region for his extraordinary success in the pursuit of all kinds of game. Like all hunters from Nimrod down, he was fond of relating his field adventures, which he often did to the great entertainment of his hearers. One of his storiesmust be repeated here, though it loses much of its interest in attempting to put it on paper.

He said that many of the wild animals throughout the forests he frequented had become so well acquainted with his skill as a marksman, that they would surrender on being introduced to him, without requiring the waste of any powder, and that this was particularly the case with raccoons. When he discovered one on a tree he would hollo to it, "Coon, come down!" to which the animal would say, "Who is that's calling me?" His answer would be, "I am Martin Scott." "What," the coon would inquire, "Captain Martain Scott of the army?" "Yes," would be the answer. "Well, Captain Scott," says the conquered animal, "you need n't fire, I'm a gone Coon, and may as well come down," and down he would come at once.

Col. Scott lost his life in the Mexican War at the Sanguinary battle of Molins del Rey, and his remains were brought to Bennington and interred in the old Centre burying ground beside those of his own family relatives. A neat marble column has been erected over his grave, with the following inscription, which is but a just tribute to his memory:

"Col. Martin Scott, born in Bennington January 17, 1788. Died in Mexico, Sept. 8, 1847."

"Brevet Scott, Col. of the 5th Regiment of Infantry, was thirty-three years in the service of his country, on the western frontier, in Florida--in Mexico at the battles of Palo Alto, Rescca de la Palma, Monterey, Vera Cruz, Cherabusca, and was killed at Molina del Rey. He commanded his regiment in nearly all these engagements, and received two brevets for gallant conduct. No braver or better officer fell in the Mexican war."

Col. Scott was married in 1840, to Miss McCracken of Rochester, N. Y., who survived him, but was lost in the steamer Arctic, on her return from a voyage to England.

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