Scott, Levi

Life Span
Dickinson Connection
Trustee, 1839-1841 and 1858-1882; Principal of Dickinson Preparatory School, 1840-1843
    Full name
    Levi Scott
    Place of Birth
    Burial Place
    Birth Date Certainty
    Death Date Certainty
    Sectional choice
    Slave State
    Relation to Slavery
    White non-slaveholder
    Church or Religious Denomination

    Levi Scott (Dickinson Chronicles)

    Levi Scott was born on October 11, 1802 in Newcastle County, Delaware near Odessa. Little is known of his early life and education except that he was converted to the Methodist faith on October 16, 1822 at Fieldboro, Delaware and began to study in the church. He was appointed officially as a preacher and joined the Philadelphia Conference in April 1826.  He served in various circuits and parishes in the region and was appointed as an elder of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1834.

    After having served as a trustee of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania on behalf of the Methodist Conference between 1839 and 1841, Scott became the principal of Dickinson's Grammar School in 1840. During this time, the Grammar School was viewed as a preparatory division for admittance to Dickinson College, offering instruction to between forty and fifty students each year. He resigned from this position in 1843 and returned to his work with the church, although he maintained his contacts with the College and later rejoined its board.

    Soon after leaving Dickinson, as a delegate to the 1844 national conference along with Dickinson College President John Price Durbin, he voted with the North in the great debate that split the Methodist Church over slavery.  By then he was also on the Board of Managers for the Pennsylvania Colonization Society and was prominent in the lively debates over the return of slaves to Africa.  He visited Liberia over a series of months and wrote a glowing prospectus for its potential.

    He was elected and ordained as a bishop in Boston in 1852, the first person from Delaware so honored.  His work was untiring and influential in many parts of the church.  He set up the Wyoming Conference in 1852 and presided over the first Conference held in Nebraska, at Omaha, in April 1859. During the Civil War, he set up the Washington M. E. Conference, with the express aim of attracting African Americans and their churches.  In December 1866, these churches were strong enough to contemplate a seminary and Bishop Scott called and chaired a meeting that would found the institution that would eventually become Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland.

    Bishop Scott returned to build a home in Odessa, Delaware after was named to the episcopate.  From there he was able to serve Dickinson College as an influential trustee from 1858 until his death. He was married. Despite being plagued with ill health most of his life, Scott was remarkably active. Levi Scott died in Odessa, Delaware on July 13, 1882 and was buried in the Union Methodist Church graveyard there. He was eighty-nine years old.
    John Osborne and James W. Gerencser, eds., “Levi Scott,” Dickinson Chronicles,
    How to Cite This Page: "Scott, Levi," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,