Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


An early settler highly esteemed in his day, and whose memory is still cherished by those who knew him was the late J. B. Scott, the pioneer druggist of Salinas. A native of the Empire state, he was born at Bovina, Delaware county, April 23, 1843, and attended first the public schools of his native town, and then the Andes Collegiate Institute, from the Normal department of which he was graduated with enviable honors.

When the country was involved in civil war Mr. Scott, who was always imbued with patriotic sentiments, volunteered for service in support of the Union and became a member of Company E. One Hundred and Forty-fourth Regiment, New York Sons of Veterans, enlisting in August, 1864, and serving until July of the following year, when he was honorably discharged. Then he took a commercial course at Eastman's Business College, at Poughkeepsie, New York, at that time one of the most famous institutions of its kind in the United States, after which he returned to his native town where he taught school until March, 1868. On April 15, of that year, he sailed from New York for San Francisco by way of Panama, and on May 8 he came within the Golden Gate.

Making his way inland to the Salinas valley, he arrived here on May 11, 1868, and for two years followed farming. He then accepted a position with J. H. McDougall, of Salinas, who owned a store and was the postmaster. Mr. Scott began work on March 1, 1870, and was for four years deputy postmaster. On May 14, 1873, he married Miss Emma M. Craft, of Newark, New Jersey. At the state election in the same year he was chosen county auditor of Monterey county, and in March, 1884, he took office, serving for the next four years. In May, 1878, Mr. Scott opened a grocery store and for three years he was active in that business. Selling out, however, he established a drug store on May 10, 1881, and in the summer of 1888 erected a two-story brick building which housed the Scott Drug Store.

During the Civil war, while he was in the United State army, in November, 1864, Mr. Scott cast his first vote, supporting Abraham Lincoln, and from that time until his death voted for every president save Grover Cleveland. He was treasurer of the United Presbyterian church, of Salinas, and was also the financial agent of the San Francisco Presbytery. For over thirty years he was a member of Salinas Lodge, No. 204, F. & A. M. He possessed the traits peculiar to the Scottish race, and spoke the lowland Scottish dialect fluently. He was also the author of a poem which was greatly prized by his friends and customers. His manly qualities made him esteemed and beloved by his generation, and his record is one of usefulness to the world.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.