During the decade preceding the Civil War, Matthew T. Scott, Jr., son of a prominent Lexington, Kentucky banker, became the principal figure in a series of investments made by the Scott family and their partners in Illinois and Iowa land by purchases from the federal government, private individuals, and the Illinois Central Railroad. Scott established himself in the midst of the holdings in McLean County, Illinois as a frontier landlord. In 1856 he laid out the town of Chenoa at the intersection of the Chicago, Alton, and St. Louis Railroad with the Toledo, Peoria, and Warsaw. He founded the McLean County Coal Company at Bloomington, Illinois in conjunction with Adlai Ewing Stevenson and others and established the
Bloomington Bulletin, a Democratic daily. Upon Scott's death in 1891, Mrs. Julia Green Scott inherited the lands and took an active part in management of the holdings. She also became prominent in her work for the Daughters of the American Revolution, serving as president general of the organization from 1909-1913. Upon her death in 1923, the original holdings, diminished to some 8,650 acres, became the property of her daughters, Mrs. Carl S. Vrooman and Mrs. Charles S. Bromwell.