Biography of John W. Scott of Grand Forks County North Dakota

John W. Scott, born October 21, 1849, in Ontario, Canada, was a notable public official in Grand Forks County, North Dakota. He moved to Wisconsin in his youth and then to Grand Forks County in 1879, where he transformed his homestead into a model farm. A dedicated Republican, Scott was the first commissioner elected from the Fifth District in 1881 and later served in the Dakota Territory General Assembly. In 1892, he became the county auditor, a position he held for eight years. Scott married Ella Harshman in 1875 and, after her passing, married Hannah Varner in 1895. He had eight children from his first marriage and four from his second.

John W. Scott, a public official in Grand Forks County, North Dakota, is a native of Ontario, Canada. He was born on October 21, 1849, and is one of four sons born to George and Elizabeth (Noyes) Scott. His father, originally from Ireland, emigrated to Canada in 1835 and settled there until his death.

When John W. was young, he moved to Wisconsin with his mother and younger brother and grew up on a farm. He engaged in farming in Wisconsin until the age of thirty. In 1879, he relocated with his family to Grand Forks County and settled on a quarter-section homestead claim, located fifty miles from a railroad. Through his efforts, he transformed the land into one of the exemplary farms in the region.

Mr. Scott quickly became involved in public affairs after settling in his new home. As a staunch Republican, he actively participated in local party matters. In 1881, he was elected as the county commissioner, making him the first commissioner elected from the Fifth District. Three years later, he was elected to the general assembly of the Dakota Territory, serving a single term. Mr. Scott continued to reside on his farm until 1892 when he was elected as the auditor of Grand Forks County. Subsequently, he relocated to the city. His continuous re-election to this office since 1892, spanning eight years, is a testament to his popularity and the high regard in which he is held by his fellow citizens. Mr. Scott proved himself to be an efficient and dedicated public servant, and the community placed unwavering confidence in him. Alongside his public duties, Mr. Scott has prospered in his personal affairs. In addition to his originally settled and finely equipped farm, he has expanded his holdings through the purchase of 640 additional acres. At present, he cultivates 900 acres of land at an exceptionally high standard.

In 1875, Mr. Scott married Miss Ella Harshman, who passed away in 1891. Among their eight children, those who survive are Roy, Charles, George, Ruth, and Harry.

In 1895, Mr. Scott married Miss Hannah Varner from Jordan, Minnesota. They have four children together: Hannah, Leona, Ada, and John W.

Mr. Scott had limited educational opportunities and acquired knowledge outside of formal schooling. He learned to write by attending night writing school years after he had to leave school to earn a living and support his mother and younger brothers.


C.F. Cooper & Company, History of the Red River Valley, Past And Present: Including an Account of the Counties, Cities, Towns And Villages of the Valley From the Time of Their First Settlement And Formation, volumes 1-2; Grand Forks: Herald printing company, 1909.

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