Letter from George Dewey Scott, father of actor George C Scott

January 6, 1981

My Dear Cousin Nancy,
     I hope you and the family had a wonderful Holiday Season.  I also thought you would like to know that your old "beat-up" cousin, finally got up enough courage to go   courtin!  I went back to the old "Stomping Grounds," after 60 years and just had a ball!! 
The girl I dated, when I was a teenager "Jitter-bug" and she was a "Flapper," is Helen Tompkins.  I had Thanksgiving dinner on the same table, where I ate 60 years ago!  At that time , I had not been out of the cornfield, down on Birchfield, for very long.  Had I known then of her families history, wealth and affluence, I would have been scared to death!!  But, as you know, "youth steps out where angels fear to tread," I don't want to bore you, but knowing of your great interest in Historical Matters, let me give you a "thumb-nail" sketch.  Helen's grandfather, William T. Tompkins Jr. married Maria Grant, an older sister of U.S. Grant, who headed the Union Army and became President of the United States., so the General was Helen's great uncle, by George! 

Now are you ready for this?  The sister of Helen's father married Col. George Patton, the grandfather of George Patton 111, whom George C. played in the motion picture, "Patton."  Now, will you believe it is a small world?  What is more, the father of Helen's grandmother was Col. Noah Grant, who was one of the "Indians" that threw the British Tea in the Boston Harbor!  The great manor house, which Helen's grandfather finished in 1844, is where we "courted," where we went back for Thanksgiving dinner.  Both Helen and her father, were born in this house and in the same room.  The grandfather got rich from his salt and gas wells.  So, by 1844 he wanted to build his wife and family a Manor House, which he did in the Kanawha Valley, at the mouth of Kellys Creek - 12 miles up the river from Charleston.  His first profits, he gave his wife in silver coins and she must have had two bushels of them, because she sent them by river boat to a smelter in Cincinnati, Ohio.  They were melted down and made into 12 silver goblets, 12 silver tumblers, a large serving tray, large fruit bowl, water pitcher, coffe pot and all the family's flatware - and after 136 years they still have them!!

     The Plantation Complex, consisted of the Manor House, a cottage, which Mr. Tompkins used for his office, a barn, grain cribs and quarters for 34 slaves.  He names his house, "Cedar Grove," because of its location.  It has 16 rooms and a full 3rd floor attic and a separate kitchen, connected by a "breeze-way."  The house still contains 90% of the of the original floors.  "Cedar Grove" is now a Historical Monument, as well as her Uncle Geo. S. Patton's home in Charleston, which she took me to see.  When the grandfather sold the salt and gas wells, to a large corporation, it was specified, in the sales contract, that "Cedar Grove" and its out buildings, were to have free gas, as long as it was owned by a member of the Tompkins family.  So it is, that all rooms are still heated by "gas-log" fireplaces and have been for over 100 years!!
     I know you are tired of reading all this (and I'm tired of writing) but I must tell you of these two interesting matters.  There were many Great Plantation Houses in the Kanawha Valley, prior to the Civil war.  But nearly all were burned and destroyed by the Union Armies (remember "Cedar Grove" was in "Old" Virginia until June 20, 1863).  But, "Cedar Grove" remained untouched - the reason is, that Gen. Grant gave Helen's Grandmother a Hand Written letter to show to Union Officers.   In effect, it said, "any one who lays a hand on "Cedar Grove" will be shot!"  It was never touched and the family still has the letter!! 
     Finally, when Helen's Aunt Virginia, (her Grandfather's favorite daughter)
graduated from college, her father said - "I want to give you a present and I will give you anything you want."  His daughter said, " well Daddy, I want you to build me a small church!" - so, they went just around the bend in the road, on the bank of the beautiful Kanawha River and built a small church, the size of my living room - 20 ft. by 30 ft. and put in 3 stained glass windows.  They names it, "Virginia's Chapel" and we went there on Thanksgiving day.  It is now an Historical Monument and all the Tompkins family, who have passed on, are buried there - including 10 slaves. - Lord! I hope you haven't, "busted" your eyes!

Love   George D 

submitted by Nancy Clark Brown

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