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The Scott House after the Scotts

Lead Summary
Steve Roush-
Ladies and gentlemen, for more than a century, the Scott House mansion, which was built 175 years ago, was occupied by Scotts.

For review (and there will be a quiz later), the Scott House, the three-story abode on West Main Street currently owned by the Highland County Historical Society, was completed circa 1844 by Hillsboro attorney William Scott.

Interestingly, William was born in 1810 in Petersboro, N.H., which is in Hillsborough County, and ended up living in Hillsborough, Ohio beginning in December of 1831.

Scott and his wife, Elizabeth Parsons Scott, lived in the Scott House until William died in January of 1886 at the age of 68 and Elizabeth passed away in October of 1908 at the age of 86. Both are buried in the Hillsboro Cemetery.

The Scotts had a son and a daughter, and their son, Samuel Parsons Scott, and his wife, Elizabeth Woodbridge Smart Scott, lived in the Scott House mansion after the matriarch of the family passed away.

Like his father, Samuel was an attorney who was considered “brilliant” and “eccentric,” but apparently he and his wife didn’t have the happiest of marriages because when he died in 1929, he left his entire estate to the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, except for $75,000 left to Elizabeth. Samuel’s will stated that the reason for leaving no more than that sum to his wife was because, “On account of the insults, outrages, cruelty, disgrace and humiliation which she had constantly, and without reason, during my entire life, heaped upon me, she is wholly undeserving of my generosity.”

The Scott estate was appraised at $1,139,867.56 (which as we said last time is worth upward of $17 million today), and after contesting the will, Mrs. Scott received 55 percent of the entire estate, with the remaining amount going to the college. An endowment fund was created by the college, and the on-campus Scott library and administration building were named for Samuel Parsons Scott.

Mrs. Scott, having no children, lived her remaining life in Hillsboro in the mansion, maintaining a chauffeured limousine and spending the winters in a hotel in Columbus. She passed away in 1946 and was buried beside her husband in the Hillsboro Cemetery.

On her grave marker, it is etched in stone that Mrs. Scott was “Loved, admired and most highly respected by all who knew her.” Under Mr. Scott’s name, it simply says “1846-1929.”

Guess Mrs. Scott got in the final word.

So Scotts lived in the Scott House from when it was built circa 1844 until 1946. From that point on, the mansion would no longer be a family abode.

From research compiled by longtime Highland County historian Jean Wallis and Highland County Historical Society Board of Trustees member John Kellis, the Scott House was sold at auction not long after Mrs. Scott died.

In a story passed along by Lowell Chaney, a longtime Hillsboro electrician, the mansion was purchased by Larkin Chaney and Carey Mount with the intent of turning the property into a car showroom and sales lot. Lowell Chaney said the Hillsboro Board of Education was making plans to expand onto the grounds surrounding the new high school that had been built in 1936 and razed more than a decade ago. The school and facilities were all built upon portions of the Scott family property.

The school board convinced the two businessmen to sell their interest in the three-acre Scott parcel that included the mansion and the current parking lot on the corner of West Main and Elm streets. On Oct. 10, 1946, a deed of record was transferred by Mount and Chaney to the Hillsboro Board of Education. That land purchase eventually became Richards Memorial Field and the grounds around the former Hillsboro High School. At that time, Beech Street continued through to Willettsville Pike, apparently over top of where the football field is located today.

Chaney had been given the job of refurbishing the electrical system of the Scott House by the school board. He recalled a large wooden and slatted door, still in the basement today, that he presumed to be to a wine cellar, and also a large copper-laden kitchen in the basement. While working in the building, Chaney was going through some refuse in the basement where he found a bottle of wine dated 1877.

The school board rented out portions of the mansion before leasing the first floor of the building to the Hillsboro Library in 1947 for $500 a year. The library fortunately had relocated to the Scott House a year or so before the Feb. 5, 1949 fire that destroyed its former location at the Hillsboro City Building. In 1970, the Highland County Library Association built a new library where it stands today on the corner of Willettsville
Pike and West Main Street. This again left the mansion empty. The Scott House was leased to the Highland County Community Action Organization from 1972 to 1982.

We’ll talk more about the Scott House and its history, but let’s pause for now and we’ll continue next time.

Steve Roush is vice chairman of the Highland County Historical Society Board of Trustees, a vice president of an international media company and a columnist and contributing writer for The Highland County Press. He can be reached by email at

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