William Scott was born near Ballynahinch, County Down. He was a chapman, an itinerant pedlar who sold such items as cloth, combs and books. He became well known throughout the countryside for his eccentric behaviour: he stole pewter from his customers and the brass knockers from their doors to finance his drinking habits. He died in a fit of inebriation at the age of fifty-nine. His Life was published in 1833.