Rosanna (Harris) Scott


Rosanna Harris Scott, daughter of George Harris and Adaline Cox, was born in May 1861 in Richmond or Chesterfield County, Virginia. She died on January 18, 1943, in the house she’d lived in for at least 60 years. At about age 20, she married John Wesley P. Scott (b. ca. 1858) of Amelia Co, and by 1900 had given birth to eight children, two of whom died in childhood, Rosanna (b. November 5, 1894; d. March 2, 1896) and John W. (b. September 25, 1886; d. bef. 1900).

The family lived with Rosanna’s mother, Adaline, who owned the home at 1016 St. John Street, in a part of Jackson Ward then known as Apostle Town, now Gilpin Court. Maggie Walker’s St. Luke Building was right around the corner, and the Baker School, where Rosanna’s daughter Fannie B. taught, was just down the street. Fannie had graduated from the Richmond Colored Normal School in 1902, and all of her siblings could read and write, as could her parents. Rosanna herself, according to the 1940 census, had completed three years of high school.

Rosanna would survive all but two of her children. Her two eldest daughters, Adalena and Fannie, both died in their twenties, in 1906 and 1910, respectively. Rosanna buried them alongside her mother, who had passed away less than a year before Adalena, in December 1905.

The family was not spared further loss for long. As the fourth anniversary of Fannie’s death approached, Rosanna’s husband of 32 years died in December 1913. And five years later her eldest son, William B., a baker by trade, perished in the influenza pandemic of 1918. As the Spanish flu swept across Richmond, the Baker School, where Fannie had been a teacher, was converted into a hospital to serve African American patients.

Rosanna’s three surviving children were living at home with her in 1920. Robert had returned from France, where he’d served as a sergeant in the Veterinary Corps during World War I, and was back at work as a hotel waiter. Celestine, who’d married William Deane in 1910 and had two daughters, Eunice and Adalena, was taking in laundry to help support the family, as was Rosanna. George was employed as a porter for a paper company; he would migrate north sometime in the next decade, settling in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1941. He is buried at Lincoln Cemetery, final resting place of Thomas Morris Chester, the only African American correspondent for a major daily newspaper, the Philadelphia Press, during the Civil War.

Rosanna’s two surviving children, Celestine and Robert, lived with her until the time of her death in 1943. She was laid to rest in the same hilltop plot as her mother, husband, daughters Fannie and Adalena, and brother Robert Harris.

Research by Erin Hollaway Palmer, April 2018, and UR students Lynessa Jingyu Yang and Sabrina Garcia, fall 2017

Rosanna (Harris) Scott
  • Born: May 1861
  • Died: 18 January 1943
  • Birth Place:
  • Death Place:
  • Spouse: John Wesley P. Scott
  • Parents: Adaline (Cox) Harris
  • Children: Adalena P. Scott, Fannie B. Scott, William B. Scott, Celestine (Scott) Deane, Robert Harris Scott, George W. Scott
  • Other Family: Robert Harris (brother)
  • Occupation:
  • Church:
  • Affiliations:
  • Address: 1016 St. John Street
  • Documents: Census records (1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940); death certificate
  • Military Service:

Marker Transcription: Our Mother Rosanna H. Scott Died Jan. 18, 1943

Contributors to this Record:
Brian Palmer
Erin Hollaway Palmer