Scott, Archibald, a Presbyterian minister, was a native of Scotland, and migrated in his boyhood and alone to the colony of Pennsylvania, about 1760. He is said to have been originally a laboring man, and to have pored over his books while his horses were feeding.
Dr. Cooper, a worthy physician of the colony, being impressed with Scott's remarkable aptitude for learning, was instrumental in introducing him into the family and school of a Mr. Finley, where he enjoyed the advantages of a thorough academical education, which he compensated for in some measure by working on the farm. Daring the period of his connection with this school he joined the Presbyterian Church, and, for the time, began to entertain some thoughts of entering the ministry. He was for several years a student of theology under the supervision of principal Graham, of Liberty Hall Academy, and during this period supported himself by conducting an academy of high reputation in Augusta County, VA, at which Dr. Campbell laid the foundation of his accurate scholarship, He was licensed to preach by the Hanover Presbytery, Oct. 31, 1777, and was ordained and installed pastor of the united churches of Hebron and Bethel, in Augusta County, in December 1778, which relation continued for more than twenty years, and was at last dissolved by his death, March 4 1799. Mr. Scott's charge was a very scattered one, comprehending a district some twenty miles square. Like most of his brethren, he also had a very inadequate salary during the Revolution; but he never suffered anything to divert him from his great work as a minister of the Gospel. "He entered warmly into the American cause, and exhorted his people to fight for freedom. It was his practice to assemble all the children and youth of his charge in different neighborhoods on week-days, to attend to catechetical instruction. It. was in this employment that he was engaged on that memorable Saturday of June when the alarm of the approach of colonel Tarleton and his British dragoons spread consternation from Staunton throughout the surrounding valley of Virginia. It is said that Mr. Scott, like his two neighboring brethren, Graham and Brown, exhorted the stripling youths of his congregation to arm themselves and go with their neighbors, to stand with their arms at Rock Fish Gap, on the Blue Ridge Mountains, to dispute the pass with the invader and his legion." It was the recollection of that stand that gave occasion to those memorable words of general Washington — " If I should be beaten by the British forces, I will retreat with my broken army to the Blue Ridge and call the boys of West Augusta around me, and there I will plant the flag of my country." Mr. Scott was greatly beloved and esteemed in his day. He possessed a logical and discriminating mind, and was a strong, vigorous thinker; his preaching is said to have been in a high degree instructive, and often eloquent and powerful. He attached much importance and devoted much time to the religious instruction of the young. Besides the Shorter Catechism which he used, he introduced what was known as The Mother's Catechism, a work extending to 32 pp. 8vo, the appendix of which he wrote himself. See Sprague, Annals of the Amer. Pulpit, 3:387; Allibone, Diet. of Brit. and Amer. Authors, s.v.; Davidson, Hist. of the Presb. Church in Kentucky, p. 29; Foote, Sketches of Virginia (2d series). (J. L. S.)