Thomas Alexander Scott is one of the more difficult personalities to cover in a biographical sketch. He had his fingers and toes embedded in so many pies and his complex empire extended over such a vast territory, it's a wonder how he kept it all under control. A photographic memory and genius for management helped, but doesn't account for all that he accomplished in a relatively short time; he died when he was only 56. Scott was born in 1824 in his father's tavern near the hamlet of Loudon, Franklin County, Pa., on the road between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. He attended a village school during winter and worked on a farm the rest of the year, but when he was 10 (some claim he was older) his father died. To help support his family Scott clerked in a country store.