Saturday, June 02, 2007

Even More About Sgt. Walter Scott

This afternoon, I had about an hour in the genealogy room of the downtown branch of the Spokane Public Library. I wanted to see what I could find out about Sgt. Walter Scott, even though an hour didn't give me enough time to really do a lot of digging. First, I looked at the microfilm rolls of the Washington State Death Index for 1910 - 1919 and for 1920 - 1929. I was looking not only for Walter, but for his wife Josephine. There were many Walter Scotts listed in the WSDI, and I had to eliminate them by subtracting the age listed at death from the year of death to see if I could come up with a date of (or close to) 1847, the date Craig determined Walter had been born. I found only one Josephine listed in that 20-year-span, and her age was too young to have fit the Josephine found on the 1870 and 1880 Federal Censuses. I finally found Walter listed in the 1920 - 1929 WSDI, age 75, death on 6 January 1923 in the City of Spokane.

From there, I went in search of Spokane newspapers on microfilm for that week. In 1923, the city had three newspapers, The Spokane Press, The Spokane Daily Chronicle (which later became simply The Spokane Chronicle) and The Spokesman-Review, the only one of the three still in existence. Most people in those days did not have obituaries, unless they were prominent citizens or celebrities. Occaisionally, one might find a short "blip" of a paragraph or two tucked away behind the front page, notifying the public of the death of a well-known or beloved person in the community. Births, marriages, deaths, funerals, and cards of thanks were listed with the public notices directly before the advertisements, not unlike today's paper.

In The Spokane Daily Chronicle of Saturday, 6 January 1923, on page 14, column 1, I found Walter's death notice:
Scott - Walter. Age 75 years, passed away a E3604 2d avenue, January 6th. He is survived by his wife, Alice M.; a daughter, Eva M. Petway of Spokane; two sons, Miner [sic] L. of Seattle and Walter of Anaconda, Mont.; also a granddaughter of Portland. He was a member of the K. P. lodge and Reno Post. The body is at Smith & Co.'s funeral parlors.

The Spokane Press had a funeral notice two days later on page 7, column 2:
Walter Scott, Tuesday, 3 o'clock, from Smith & Co.'s. Rev. Johnson, Reno Post of GAR and Knights of Pythias to officiate. Greenwood.

There was nothing found in The Spokesman-Review. I ran out of time to check funeral home records, city directories, Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, and a number of records I could have accessed in the genealogy room, Northwest Room, or microfilmed newspaper section. On my To-Do list is to discover when and where Josephine died.

When I got home, I was curious to see what I could find on the Washington State Digital Archives website. I noticed that Walter's wife was listed as Alice M. in the death notice, so I figured he had married again after Josephine's death. My search for Walter Scott turned up many results, most of which were not the man I was researching. However, three were of interest: the 1910 Federal Census of Spokane County; a 1911 Spokane County (historic) marriage record to Alice M. Harris; and a Walla Walla Penitentiary record. The 1910 census listing is actually an index, and does not list other members of the household. Since Craig had already found this information (likely on Ancestry.com), I didn't feel compelled to dig deeper here. The marriage record was definitely a jackpot, because one can view images of these historic records! It confirmed Walter's birth in Ohio, and gave his mother's maiden name: Sophia Hall, born in Kentucky. His father's name was unknown. Alice had much more detailed information, including the fact that she was an octoroon, divorced, and her parents' names and birthplaces. The record contained the Scotts' signatures as well. I could not make out the last name of one of the witnesses: Belle Sear? The other witness was definitely a relative: W. E. Scott. They were married by F. L. Donohoo, elder of the A.M.E. Church in Spokane.

The penitentiary record was probably not this Walter, but may have been his son. A Walter Scott, Negro, was convicted of Grand Larceny in King County (Seattle) in 1915, and served time in Walla Walla.

There are certainly many more things I could research on this family. Currently, my curiousity has been satisfied. Perhaps having this information online may bring about a result for a descendant Googling Walter Scott's name.
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