Scotton, Merritt W. (804th)

Merritt W. Scotton 1Merritt W. Scotton

Biography:  Merritt William Scotton was born on June 20, 1917, in Kansas City, Missouri. His name was originally William Merritt Scotton but he switched it when he entered military service. He was the son of Samuel Monroe Scotton and Lucinda Percifield and attended school in St. Joseph, MO, through the 8th grade. After leaving school, he found work as a tractor driver. 

Service Time:  Merritt entered the service on October 2, 1936, at Billings, Montana. It was not long until he went AWOL (Absent Without Leave) and was living back in St. Joseph. On August 28, 1938, he married the former Genevieve Nettie Clark, who was born in St. Joseph, and was the daughter of Frank O. Clark and Bessie V. Chapman.

On December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Merritt surrendered to authorities and was put back into the Army. All in all, he had been away for 1713 days. We have no information on how he was disciplined but we do know he was sent to a Radio Engineer Course at Fort Hood, Texas. He also qualified as a Marksman with the Rifle.

Merritt and Genevieve welcomed a son, born in 1943, whom they also named Merritt.

He shipped out from the New York port on August 11, 1944, arriving in the ETO (European Theater of Operations) on the 23rd. We unfortunately do not know which unit he served in while in Europe. He did receive credit for participation in both the Rhineland and Central Europe campaigns. He also received the EAME Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. He was shipped back home, arriving on July 16, 1945.

Merritt W. Scotton 2Now back in the U.S., he was stationed at Fort Hood. At some point,he was assigned to Headquarters Company of the 804th Tank Destroyer Battalion until his discharge on October 19, 1945. He had reached the rank of Staff Sergeant. 

Honorable Discharge

Merritt returned to Genevieve and the family made their home in Billings, Montana. They had two more children, Nancy, born in 1948, and Thelma, in 1950. Tragically, in February, 1948, their son Merritt drowned.

The elder Merritt found work as a pipe fitter for Boeing in Seattle, Washington, and in his spare time, he enjoyed playing guitar and the harmonica and he also sang. Merritt died on December 19, 1950, when he was struck with a bat during an argument over a parking space.

He ws buried in the Mount View Cemetery in Billings, MT. I want to thank Merritt’s daughter, Nancy, for providing the information and photos for this tribute.