Hon. Charles F. Scott. Few of the native sons of Kansas have served so conspicuously and have enjoyed more substantial honors both at home and abroad than Charles Frederick Scott of Iola. Mr. Scott had long furnished both the spirit and the action to that notable example of Kansas journalism, the Iola Register. For ten years he sat in Congress as representative of the state at large and of the Second District. For a number of years he had been recognized as one of the ablest and most influential republican leaders in Kansas. Mr. Scott is president of the Kansas State Historical Society.
He was born on a farm in Allen County, Kansas, September 7, 1860, son of John W. and Maria (Protsman) Scott. John W. Scott came to Kansas from Indiana in 1857. He came to Kansas in time to become a conspicuous figure in the free state fight. While Kansas was still a territory he was elected to the territorial legislature, and afterwards served in the state legislature and filled other positions of responsibility.
The experiences of his parents in Kansas during the early days and his own boyhood have served to make Charles F. Scott a typical Kansan in spirit and enterprise. He attended the common schools and in 1881 graduated Bachelor of Science from the State University. He had since been granted the honorary degree Master of Science by the State University and the degree Doctor of Laws by the State Agricultural College.
With the close of his college career he found himself thrown upon his own resources. After a year spent in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona he returned to Iola, which had been the home of the family since 1874, and bought an interest in the Iola Register. Later he became sole owner, and the Register had been edited and published by him ever since and had served to express his vigorous opinions and his ideals as a public leader.
Mr. Scott was elected a member of the state senate in 1892. In 1900 he was sent to Congress by the state at large, and was twice re-elected congressman at large, following which he served two terms as representative from the Second Congrassional District. He was a member of Congress from 1901 to 1911. For the last four years he was chairman of the Committee on Agriculture. When the progressive wave struck Kansas Mr. Scott remained loyal to the old party, and in 1910 was defeated for renomination and therefore retired from Congress on March 4, 1911.
Hon. Charles F. Scott’s congressional service does not include all that he had done in the public interest, both in Kansas or in the nation. In 1911 he was sent as one of the five delegates from the United States to the biennial meeting of the International Institute of Agriculture which met at Rome. In 1915, at the request of the Kansas branch of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, he accompanied the ship which had been freighted with a cargo of food and clothing contributed by the people of Kansas for the relief of the destitute Belgians. Two months were consumed in carrying out this mission, and during that time he traveled extensively over Belgium and over that part of Northern France then in the hands of the Germans.
Mr. Scott looks at the affairs of the world, including Kansas, through the eyes of a man who had seen much of life and of the world. In the course of his extensive travels he had made three trips to Europe. He was a member of the well remembered “Taft Party” which in 1905 visited Japan, China and the Philippines. In an official capacity while a member of Congress he was sent at different times to Hawah, Porto Rico and the Panama Canal Zone.
During the campaign of 1912 Mr. Scott was director of the Bureau of Publicity at the republican National Headquarters at Chicago, having under his jurisdiction all the states west of the Mississippi River. In the summer of 1913 he engaged in a joint debate with Hon. Henry J. Allen, following a Chautauqus circuit covering five or six western states, In 1915 and 1916 he was again engaged in Chantauqua work as a lecturer, speaking in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa and Missouri. In the spring of 1916, although refused a passport, he traveled extensively in Mexico in order to see for himself the conditions in that country. On his return he was invited, through a concurrent resolution adopted unanimously by both houses of the Kansas Legislature, to address that body upon the results of his observations.
For ten years, from 1890 to 1900, Mr. Scott was a member of the Board of Regents of the State University of Kansas. At different times he had been president of the Kansas Day Club, a state wide republican organization, and of the Kansas Editorial Association and of the State Historical Society. Before these and other state organizations he had delivered many addresses. Mr. Scott is a member and official in the Presbyterian Church, is a member of the Board of Trustees of the College of Emporia, a Presbyterian school, and for several years was president of the local Young Men’s Christian Association and is now a member of the Young Men’s Christian Association State Executive Committee.
In 1893 he married May Brevard Ewing, daughter of Henry A. and Elizabeth (Merriman) Ewing. They are the parents of four children: Ewing, Ruth, Angelo and Charles F., Jr.