Upton Scott was born in County Antrim in Ireland in 1722 and received his medical training in Glasgow, Scotland. He arrived in Annapolis in 1853 with Horatio Sharpe, the last Royal Governor of Maryland, as his personal physician. This position helped him obtain a large practice, and he became known as the “Court Physician” of the capital.
In 1760, Elizabeth Ross, became his bride, and he built a stately house in Annapolis, Maryland, on the north shore of what is now Spa Creek. The house, designed by William Buckland, still stands.The house itself has an interesting history. Dr. Scott built it and when he died, it passed through the family and was then was sold. After the buyers died, the house and adjacent properties were the object of some dispute.
In 1876, the Upton Scott House at 4 Shipwright Street was transferred to the School Sisters of Notre Dame. The Sisters adapted the Upton Scott House for their purposes, converting it to a convent which they occupied for over a hundred years. The Upton Scott convent was home to 16 Sisters. The Sisters were the occupants of the house during much of its initial modernization. The floors were covered with linoleum, asphalt tile, and other similar materials. Plumbing and electricity were routed to the house, but the pipes were channeled into the plaster walls and pipes to the second floor were fully exposed on the first floor, below.They put in a central heating system which ran ducts through the chimneys, closing off the fireplaces. The marble surrounding the fireplaces was painted over.
The School Sisters of Notre Dame transferred the Upton Scott House to the Most Reverend Lawrence Shehan, Archbishop of Baltimore, in 1962. The house was sold to Mr. And Mrs. Coleman duPont in 1968, who restored it to its original glory. It was then purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Paul Christian, who commissioned an extensive report on its history and gardens.
Back to Dr. Scott… He was a Tory, one who supported the British in their fight against the young America, and sat out the American Revolution in Ireland, but returned to Annapolis when it was over.
In addition to his many other varied activities, Upton Scott was a devoted and knowledgeable gardener, with a greenhouse and extensive gardens at his home.
Dr. Scott’s nephew-by-marriage was Francis Scott Key, who stayed with the doctor while attending St. John’s College in Annapolis. Key attended St. John’s for more than seven years, and all evidence indicates that he spent all of that time with the Scotts.
Dr. Scott died at age 90, and was buried at St. Ann’s Church in Annapolis, MD on Wednesday, 23 February 1814, the same year his nephew penned the National Anthem, just two months after celebrating his ninetieth birthday.