Thursday, May 7, 2020

James Stephen Scott 1886 - 1933

James 1915

James Stephen Scott (aka Jim) was born 16 December 1886 in Baldovan, Dundee Scotland.  When James was 4 years old the family resided at 56 Watson St, Dundee as recorded in the 1891 census. The family residence is just east of downtown Dundee and it is not known why James was born in Baldovan, quite a distance away, on the northern outskirts of  Dundee. In 1912 James was 25 years old on the crew list of the ship George E Billings. The ship left Newcastle, Australia for San Francisco arriving 8 April 1912. James was rated as a "bona fide seaman and "employed as an "AB".  An able seaman (AB) is a naval rating of the deck department of a merchant ship with more than two years' experience at sea and James was considered "well acquainted with his duty". An AB may work as a watchstander, a day worker, or a combination of these roles. Once a sufficient amount of sea time is acquired, then the AB can apply to take a series of courses and examinations to become certified as an officer.

James' son said James became an American citizen (because being a sailor he was spending a lot of his time in the States sailing yachts etc. Presumably this was sometime before 1915 because  when WW1 broke out he felt the need to return to the Royal Navy to help in the war effort. (see attached his certificate of service and discharge from the Royal Navy in 1924).

On the 16 October 1915 James enlisted in the Royal Navy reserve. They listed his height at 5 foot 5 inches, 35" chest, hazel eyes and dark complexion. He had an American and British flag on his right arm and snakes on both arms. His address was 16 Afton Place, Downfield, north Dundee.  James was employed as  a "leading deck hand."  He was transferred to "trawler section RRR on 1 October 1916. James was rated as leading deckhand 10 May 1918. A payment was made to him August 1923, apparently long after he left the service. From 19 October 1915 to 1 Feb 1919 he made at least 8 trips on various ships. Some had names like Victory, Colleen, Vivid, and Duke. (Royal Navy Reserve Service Record)

The discharge from the Royal Navy occurred the year before he married Ellen in 1925. He apparently decided that being at sea for long periods of time was not conducive to raising a young family so that is why, soon after the boys were born they emigrated to the States.

James was 39s he met 25 year old Ellen Amelia in London. She was born 6 March 1898 in Kensington.  and they married at the end of 1925 in Kensington, London. Ellen's father was Thomas Gordon. James' family which included his wife and two boys set out for San Francisco about 1930. James was the oldest and only son of Arthur Hardie Scott. James' father Arthur Hardie Scott was a famous sea captain and it makes sense that his son took up a similar profession. James became a caretaker on the yacht Cynthia. in the San Francisco.  James's son indicated that having dual citizenship was not allowed in the US and in order to get the job as curator of the San Francisco Yacht harbor granddad needed to be an American citizen. Hence his repatriation. The certificate confirming his repatriation indicates this only occurred on 16 December 1931- about 18 mths before he died.

According to the local newspaper on a Tuesday James fell from a plank while he was going ashore after inspecting the yacht. It is believed he was struck in the head in fall which rendered him unconscious. He tragically drowned 25 July 1933 in the San Francisco Bay.

The coroner's report gives a slightly different story. The inquest reported that "at about 5:49 pm July 25th deceased who was employed as a caretaker by Edgar Garland on his yacht the Cynthia at Yacht Harbor berth #132 when he and John Lewis and Walter Dooley were about to board a skiff along side of the yacht when the skiff capsized and deceased was drowned at 10:15 am this date. The Fort Point Coast Guard Crew in charge of Kenneth Foster dragged the bay at the scene and recovered the body... (signed) Thomas Gavan. It was also noted by Martha Crawford, James' sister,  the family lived at 551-33rd Avenue. Martha lived at 721 Ulloa Street. The report says the family was informed of the death by phone. There was a straight life insurance policy which paid Ellen $748.

Soon after James died at an age of only 46, his wife Ellen Amelia Gordon Scott traveled to NZ with her son James Gordon Scott who was only 6 at the time, and his younger brother Arthur Geoffrey Scott age 4 years. Ellen emigrated to NZ because she had two brothers who lent support to her as a widow with two children. It must have been very difficult on Jame's family to say good-bye to Ellen and the two boys and to lose their brother and son. Ellen died 31 July 1954. She lived 56 years 4 mo 25 days.

Where was James born?
Mains and Strathmartine, a parish of S Forfarshire. The two ancient parishes of which it consists were united in 1799, but still are separate registration districts. Mains, the eastern portion, is said to be so called from the Mains of Fintry, now belonging to the proprietor of Linlathen. The largest village is Downfield, 2 miles N by W of the post-town, Dundee; and large populations are also concentrated at Dundee Bleachworks (Parkhead), Claverhouse, Trottich, Baldovan, Strathmartine, Rosemill, and Fallow.

Baldovan railway station, later renamed Baldovan and Downfield, served the northern suburbs of Dundee around Strathmartine, including Bridgefoot, Downfield and Baldovan, in the Scottish county of Angus. Services were provided by the Dundee and Newtyle Railway. (Wikipedia)

Baldovan is a small settlement in S Angus, Baldovan lies on the Dighty Water on the outskirts of Dundee, half-mile (1 km) north of Downfield. By the 19th century, there were several mills here processing textiles and grinding flour and a settlement was constructed in 1830 by the Ogilvie family who owned the Baldovan Estate at that time. (Gazetteer for Scotland)

Documents related to James Stephen Scott:

Jim, Mary Scott & maternal grandparents

Jim, Mary, Daisy & Dora Scott  (who died when still a young child)

1898 possible birth of Ellen Amelia Gordon
in Kensington since she was also
married in Kensington, London

1911 England Census for Ellen Amelia Gordon
Ellen is a 17 year old laundress

1912 Crew List

Royal Navy Reserve Service Record
1915 Royal Navy Reserve Service Record

Massachusetts, Boston Crew Lists, 1917-1943
Roll 38 - vol 48, Mar 1-28, 1923 .jpg
1915 Back Row: Martha, Jim, Olive
    Front Row: Etta, Mary, Alma, Daisy, about 1915 based on Alma's apparent age

1925 Marriage of Ellen Amelia Gordon and
James Stephen Scott, end of 1929 in Kensington, London

James' son indicated that having dual citizenship was not allowed in the US and in order to get the job as curator of the San Francisco Yacht harbor granddad needed to be an American citizen. Hence his repatriation. The certificate confirming his repatriation indicates this only occurred on 16 December 1931- about 18 months before he died.

California, San Francisco...County Records, 1824-1997 Coroner's Records

Gantner and Muison were the undertakers
who prepared the body for burial

1933 James Stephen death certificate