Willson Alexander Scott (1818-1859) once told friends: "When I die, I want to be buried here, where I stand..." Years later, Scott's wish was fulfilled, on a bluff overlooking Des Moines. Scott's gravesite is the only burial plot on the state capitol grounds.
In 1855, Scott and other speculators offered ten acres of land and promised to build a temporary capitol if the state chose their side of the Des Moines River for the new State Capitol site. After a fierce struggle between east-side and west-side interests, the state accepted the Scott group's donation.
Scott died four years later en route to Colorado, seeking gold. His friends brought his body back to Des Moines and buried him according to his request. In 1923, the present marker was installed.