THE EXTRAORDINARY tale of how an American Civil War veteran turned journalist is buried in Kempsey has come to light.
George Robert Scott was born in Punchbowl, NSW, on February 7, 1846. At the age of four, his father decided to move the family to California to work in the goldfields. The voyage to America would have taken around two to four months on a sailing ship and undoubtedly been in ghastly conditions.
In 1862, two months after Mr Scott's 16th birthday, he felt duty-bound to fight against the Confederates so he enlisted in the Californian Infantry Volunteers, but after serving for seven months, he became dissuaded with the war effort and left the infantry. (The Californian Infantry Volunteers only fought the Confederates states once, but actually engaged in multiple battles with the Native American Apache warriors).
After leaving the military, Mr Scott returned to Australia in 1863 and initially moved to Kempsey to work for the Macleay Chronicle. Subsequently, he met his wife Susannah and they had a daughter in 1876 but unfortunately Susannah died two years later.
Mr Scott needed a change of scenery and moved to Sydney in 1881 to work as a journalist, where he met his new wife, Louisa, and they went on to have three children.
In 1890, after a short battle with pancreatic cancer, he succumbed to the illness at age 49. At the time of his death Mr Scott was a well established journalist and newspaper owner in Camperdown.
Upon personal request, his body was transported and buried in West Kempsey cemetery, which is also the resting place of Irish International rugby player- Brabazon Casement.
President of Kempsey Museum, Phil Lee, said "it just shows how historically significant the West Kempsey Cemetery is, with a number of different people buried there with interesting stories".
Mr Scott's estate was valued at $6208 which is roughly around $180,000 in 2021.
A bronze plaque was obtained in 1994 from the American Veterans Administration for his service in the war.
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