Friday, August 22, 2008

Samuel Baxter Scott - 1891 - 1959.

Mamie and Sam Scott in Florida, U.S.A., 1946

Scott - Wood family, c 1905, Nottawa, Ontario.

From Walter Scott's album. I believe he took the photograph.

For my brief biography, I decided to write about my great uncle, Samuel Baxter Scott, ‘Uncle Sam’. He is one of the relatives I’ve always intended to research further on a trip east, but somehow I’ve not got around to him yet. Perhaps this is because he seems such a familiar person to me, although I don’t think we ever met. My mother knew him and his wife well and was clearly fond of them. They lived in Ontario, Quebec and in Florida, while we lived in British Columbia. If they ever did come to B.C., I don’t remember them, but I do remember seeing and receiving cards and letters from them, and after he died from his wife, ‘Aunt Mamie’. I still have some of these and even the telegram Mamie sent to advise us of his death.

Samuel Baxter Scott was born in Nottawa, Simcoe County, in Ontario, Canada, 12 January 1891. His mother was Mary Janet (Jennet) Wood, born at Bean Hill, Connecticut, U.S.A. in 1858; his father was Walter Scott, born in Scotland, likely at Dalmeny, about 1827. (I have not yet found his baptism, nor do I know where the ‘Baxter’ in Samuel’s name came from.) Mary Janet and Walter were married in Nottawa in 1883 and already had children: James Walter, born 1885 (my grandfather), Harriott Alice Louise, born 1887, and Ann Pollock, born 1888, also John, born about 1887. (I have found neither a birth not death record for him. He is listed only in the 1891 census. I expect there may be church records that will help here.)

Walter, Sam’s father, is described variously as a merchant, a bookkeeper and a farmer. He likely was all three, of course. Sadly, just a year after Sam was born, his father died. Mary Janet’s father, a widower, lived in the area, and she and the children soon went to live with him. There must have been many difficulties for her – I heard Walter had made some ‘bad’ investments, for instance – but as far as I can tell they had a comfortable enough life with grandfather Wood.

Grandfather Samuel Wood had his own property, had been a weaver in Yorkshire, New England and then Canada, but in his later years he kept bees. All the family helped with that. They also seemed to have had boarders. In the 1901 census, Grandpa Wood, his daughter, and her children are shown living together. An addition to the family by that time was Mary Menzies, a ‘home child’ from Glasgow who’d come to Canada in 1892.

Grandfather went to school in Collingwood, Ontario, the bigger town nearby, and I expect I will find that Sam did too. In 1908, Samuel Wood, the grandfather, died, leaving his property to his five children, but with a provision that his daughter, Mary Janet, could live there for life. (When she died her share was to go to her two sons, Walter and Sam.)

Walter had already left home for Manitoba. In 1910 he was married. Ann was a teacher, and she never married. Mary married soon after Grandfather Wood’s death in 1908, but Harriott (Hattie) was still at home, as was Sam, for a few more years. Hattie married in 1912 and then moved to the United States.

Sam may have been adventurous like his brother, or perhaps he just learned of a good job in Montreal, because as a young man he moved to that big city, and began work as a clerk, perhaps in the same business he spent most of his working years at – the United States Fidelity Guaranty Company. In 1920, he returned to Ontario to marry. His wife was Mamie Stella Harper, born in Owen Sound, Ontario. Her parents were William Harper and Mary Cole.

At the time Sam and Mamie married, both had been living and working in Montreal, as had both the witnesses, Mamie’s sister, Ina, and Ernest Armstrong Archibald, who Ina later married in 1924. Since the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du QuĂ©bec added Montreal directories to the web, I’ve been able to research where Mamie and Sam lived in Montreal. They never had children and seemed to have always lived in apartments.

Sam became the chief accountant for Fidelity, and I had always heard he and Mamie travelled quite a bit – including to Ontario and to New England to visit family. Sam’s mother, Janet, lived till 1944 and my mother and her parents used to drive back and forth to Nottawa from Ontario to see her. Then in the 1940’s, my grandparents moved to Hamilton, Ontario, from Newdale, Manitoba. I know that they had visits from Mamie and Sam.

Sam and Mamie also travelled back and forth to Florida where they lived in the 1940’s. While my mother was stationed in Washington, D.C., during World War II, she took a trip to Florida to see them. Sam also came to see her in Washington.

After the war ended, Sam and Mamie moved to St. Catherines in Ontario. Sam had apparently been unwell for some time in the late 1950s, and he died 20 October, 1959 at age 68. According to his obituary, he had then lived in St. Catherines for twelve years.

He was a member of St. Paul’s Church and, interestingly to me, he was described as “being interested in all branches of sport”. I’ll bet he would have liked sports TV! But since Sam was lame – he always wore a built up shoe – I wonder if he was much involved with sports as a player. His brother, Walter, my grandfather, was ‘sporty’ – tennis, curling, driving, shooting. Sam may very well found a sport that suited him.

Sam was buried in Victoria Lawn Cemetery in St. Catherines. Mamie lived till 1970 and was buried with him.

My SCOTT family: Muiravonside, Dalmeny, Tushielaw, Galashiels, Grangemouth, in Scotland:

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