(Source: Cruikshank, George M.
(1920). A History of Birmingham and its Environs (Vol. 2,
pp. 244-246). Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co.
"HON. NIMROD Whitfield
SCOTT. In that goodly company of old-time business men, founders and
builders of Greater Birmingham (Alabama USA), a distinctive place of
honor will always be accorded 'Rod' Scott, the first merchant and
the first mayor of Ensley when it was a thriving little industrial
city of no mean degree. He has been highly successful in business,
but his chief characteristic has been a willingness and persistent
effort to work for his community and for his fellow man.
"He was born in Floyd
County, Georgia, August 11, 1858, son of Pillberry and Amanda
(Anthony) Scott. His mother belonged to a prominent family of
Methodists. Her father, Whitfield Anthony, was a Methodist minister,
and five of her brothers followed the same vocation as 'men of the
cloth.' Her father organized many pioneer congregations, built
numerous churches, and was known far and wide as a power for
righteousness, especially as a leader of camp meetings. He helped
build Union Grove and Crumley Chapel.
"Pillberry Scott was a
soldier and died in Tennessee during the war. His widow survived him
only until 1870, leaving her son Nimrod an orphan at the age of
twelve. He then went to live with his grandfather, Rev. Whitfield
Anthony, on a farm at Village Falls, and attended school when not
working in the fields. That was the manner of his life until past
twenty, when he took his small savings and entered a good school at
Wrightsville, Georgia, but worked to pay his way even there.
Following that he was a teacher for three years, teaching at
Partridge Crossroads and Sellers school.
"His first business
enterprise in Alabama was a modestly equipped dairy at Dolomite, and
he also sold meat. Gradually the capital came to enable him to do
larger things. In 1889 he opened a store at Wylam, subsequently
moving to Ensley, then known as 'Averettstown.' For fifteen years he
was the chief merchant of the place. A very interesting account of
his experiences as a merchant was recently published in the columns
of the Age-Herold, from which the following is taken:
“'Long before the city
was incorporated Mr. Scott catered to the trade of the people in the
blast furnaces, and was a successful competitor of the company
commissary. Then, as now, he was always ready to trade, and sold out
several times, but no one else could hold his trade, and in a little
while he would buy his place back again, much to the satisfaction of
his former customers, who came back to him just as regularly as he
again opened business.
“'For this state of
affairs there was a reason. Mr. Scott was always courteous and
accommodating to his customers, ever ready to settle and differences
in accounts. At that time the car service, or rather "dummy"
schedule, was a car every hour and a half, so that when a person
wanted to go to town it meant the giving up of at least half a day.
Many a busy housekeeper who wanted something from Birmingham that
Rod did not carry in stock had only to mention it, and it would be
forthcoming if possible to get. His teams were at the disposal of
his patrons at all times, and in many other ways he made himself
"'But his greatest hold
on the people of Ensley of that time was the fact that as he shared
their property so he shared with them the periods of depression, and
although almost forced to the wall several times by reason of
strikes and shutdowns, he stayed with the people who had patronized
him in the more prosperous times and accommodated them to the full
extent of his ability.'
"Mr. Scott has been an
extensive builder, constructing many houses which he sold, and added
the Scott addition to Ensley, naming the streets in honor of his
children. It was in keeping with his personal and business character
that when Ensley was incorporated during the ‘90s he should be
selected as the first mayor, and that office he filled wisely and
well. It is said that during the pre-election campaign he vowed he
would never touch intoxicating liquor again if elected, and that
pledge he has kept faithfully. He also served as a member of the
State Legislature four years. He is a trustee of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, South, and affiliated with the Knights of Pythias
and Improved Order of Red Men.
"In 1883 he married Miss
Estelle Samples, daughter of J. V. Samples of Bayview. They were
married without her parents’ consent, but the later reconciliation
would hardly express the respect and love which the Samples family
acquired for Rod Scott. Their home was filled with nine children,
eight of whom are still living. Roscoe is an attorney, with home at
Bradentown, Florida (sic - Bradenton, Florida), and was in the
officers’ training camp at Camp Gordon and about to receive his
commission when the armistice was signed. Maude is the wife of Floyd
Place of Ensley. Lester is the wife of Morris Johnson of Ensley.
Edith became the wife of Brice Jones of Ensley, and Ola is Mrs.
Miles Sprague of Ensley. These four sons-in-law of Mr. Scott are all
electrical engineers in the employ of the Tennessee Coal, Iron &
Railroad Company. Paul Scott is in the United States navy, on the
battleship New Hampshire. The two youngest children, still in the
home circle, are Romaine and Gregg."
His Scottish roots lie about 7
generations further back -- between 1650-1669. His ancestry is from
Penicuik Parish, Midlothian, Scotland!
Our thanks to Michael C. Scott for
sending us in this story of his great grandfather.