THOMAS AND GERTRUDE SCOTT FAMILY
Adapted from “Thomas Herron Scott”, Prairie Grass To Mountain Pass, 1974,
Updated by Bette-Jean Scott in 2008.
Thomas Herron Scott was born on January 25th, 1866 at Richmond, Ontario to James Scott and Jane (Herron) Scott. His father was a contractor, and from him the son learned the business. Tom attended school at Richmond.
At the age of nineteen (in 1885), he answered the call to come west with a group to take part in the Riel Rebellion. He travelled with a party of volunteers by train with horses and equipment. They were sent to New York City and from there to Chicago, then to St. Paul, Minnesota and onto the junction of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers which was where Fort Garry, later Winnipeg, was located. Upon arriving there they found that Riel had fled and the hostilities had abated.
Lured by the fact that his cousin, John Herron, had come west with the original North West Mounted Police in 1874, he decided to see the west for himself. He took the Canadian Pacific Railway to Medicine Hat, Northwest Territories. From there he travelled by the narrow-gauge spur line known as the “Turkey Trail” to Coalbanks, later known as Lethbridge. This is where the first coal was found in Alberta. Mr. Scott lived in dugouts along the steep riverbank and helped to build a ferry across the river. He also helped to repair several houses. He then went by stagecoach, driven by a famous old time driver Max Brouillette to Macleod. This was the farthest post west established by the North West Mounted Police. Here he helped build the original log Macleod Hotel and also helped build houses. Between this time and 1888 he was engaged in the carpentry trade in the towns of Macleod and Pincher Creek.
In the spring of 1886 Mr. Scott started a horse ranch just east of the townsite of Pincher Creek. He sold this property to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hinton in 1888, and then located on a homestead about seven miles further east. This ranch was situated in full view of the Rockies and surrounded by unfenced country. For several years Mr. Scott conducted his flourishing and countrywide famous horse ranch of thoroughbreds and light horses. The brand (+) was placed on the left shoulder. He purchased the mares from the Garnett Brothers’ stock of English thoroughbred and others of blooded stock. These formed the nucleus of the one hundred and fifty head. A race course was laid out on the well-equipped ranch and trainers and jockeys were employed to ride the horses. His most famous horse was “Twilight”, a bay thoroughbred raised on his ranch. Twilight won the silver put up by the Bachelors’ Club, twice in succession, in 1891 and 1892, and the trophy became the permanent property of Mr. Scott. It was one of his most treasured possessions. The engraving on the cup reads:
PRESENTED BY THE BACHELORS OF PINCHER CREEK IN 1892 TO T. H. SCOTT
This silver cup stands eighteen inches high and is surmounted by a racehorse. The cup is on display at the Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village.
The “Bachelors of Pincher Creek” who were members of this early day Turf Club were H. H. Jenkins, A. B. McCulloch, Lewis Hammond, Billy Humphrey, W. E. Smith, Lionel (Lord) Brooke, James Schofield, H. E. Hyde, A. H. and R. Lynch-Staunton, J. H. Smith, Isaac May, George Heaton, the Garnetts (Bob, Louis and Arthur), Bob Milvain, Alec Nash, G. D. Plunkett, Captain Jack Stewart, H. A. Gunn, Maurice and T. G. Wilson, Sam Sharpe, F. W. Godsal, Lord Boyle, F. S. Blake, Jonas Jones, Inderwick Wal Eddy and others. The ranch was dubbed the “Angel’s Rest” because everybody was welcome there. Angel’s Rest became a haven for passersby.
In 1896 Mr. Scott sold out to Percy Henry, a brother of an ex-Premier of Ontario, who for a number of years carried on with fine blooded stock.
A search for gold was Mr. Scott’s next adventure. He first headed to Rossland, B.C., and then onto the Coldwater Reservation in the State of Washington.
In 1897 he returned to Macleod, travelling by packhorse. There followed the epic building of the Crowsnest Branch of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Tom Scott obtained a contract for building section houses along the railroad, and later became a foreman for the construction of the C.P.R. This was a stupendous piece of work in those days.
When the Boer War broke out in 1899 Mr. Scott was off to the War with the Second Contingent of Canadian Mounted Rifles. He returned from South Africa in 1901 by steamship to take up contracting and building in and around Pincher Creek and Macleod. Some of his contracts were building the ferry across the Oldman River at Macleod in 1902, the Queen’s Hotel in Macleod in 1903, ranch houses and stores. One of the homes that Tom Scott built was the Heaton House in Maycroft. The Heaton House and Queen’s Hotel were both built of stone.
For most of this time Thomas Scott lived in Macleod.
In 1904 he married Gertrude McCrea and they settled in Pincher Creek. Tom and his brother J. J. bought out the business of Dyson and Forester. This brother went onto become the first elected Mayor of Pincher Creek. T. H. Scott built the Scott Block down the south side of Main Street. He also built a garage, undertaking parlour, several homes and his own home on the south hill. The Scott Block was the most imposing structure on Pincher Creek’s Main Street until it burned down in December of 1950. It contained the furniture business, other businesses such as Betterway’s Grocery Store, the Fashion Shop, a Cadillac Café and apartments upstairs.
Tom Scott was one of the first to build a summer cottage at the beautiful Waterton Lakes Park. This was complete with a canoe, motorboat and rowboat. Later he built a log cabin on the east shores of Beauvais Lake where he kept horses for riding and a motorboat and canoes for fishing. This land was told to the Provincial Government in the 1960s and has since been known as Scott’s Point.
Tom Scott was active in civic and political affairs, and served on Pincher Creek’s Town Council for several terms. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Pincher Creek Chamber of Commerce. He had business acumen, was clear-headed and was never afraid to voice his opinions.
Mr. Scott loved nature, fishing and hunting as well as good books and poetry. He died on February 13th, 1949 at his home on the hill. His philosophies were “If you own a yeller dog, own him outright”, “It’s always the fellow who is a doer who gets the criticism from the non-doer” and “This (Pincher Creek) is God’s Country”.
Gertrude (Gertie) Mable McCrea was born in Blenheim, Ontario on June 1st, 1882 to Samuel McCrea and Sophia Phillips Shillington. Gertie and her brother Delmar came west with their Mother and Father. They travelled in a wagon drawn by horses. Gertie’s father was a North West Mounted Policeman at Macleod, Northwest Territories.
Gertie’s mother died at an early age (thirty-nine) and Gertie was left to look after her brother and sisters and the household. When Gertie met Tom Scott, Sam McCrea was much opposed to the relationship as he would lose his housekeeper and caretaker of his other children. However, Gertie and Tom were determined to marry and the wedding took place in Macleod in 1904. They lived in a small house located at 1052 Bridge Avenue and it was there that their first child, James McCrea Scott, was born on December 7th, 1905.
Tom Scott purchased property on the brow of the south hill overlooking what is not the Post Office and there he built their home. Mr. and Mrs. Scott resided in this home until their deaths. Tom died in 1949 and Gertie died in 1952. Their home was destroyed by fire in 1953. It was approximately where 719/721 Schofield now stand.
Gertie was musical and played the piano and saw to it that her children had musical training too. The boys did not become musicians but the girls did, both, especially Kay, becoming accomplished on the piano. Gertie was a popular hostess and busied herself in the church and community. She loved to play bridge and was always quick with a joke and a laugh. She had a great love of poetry and often read to her grandchildren. In her spare time she knitted, embroidered and crocheted many lovely things for her home. Some of these items are treasured by her grandchildren to this day. She loved people around her, young and old. Gertie Scott died in her home in Pincher Creek on August 16th, 1952.
Gertrude and Thomas Scott had four children: James (Jim) McCrea, Kathleen (Kay), Jean and Thomas (Tom) Delmar.
James McCrea Scott was born in a small house on Bridge Avenue in Pincher Creek on December 7th, 1905. He was the eldest child of Gertie and Tom Scott.
Jim had a happy childhood – his Dad took him fishing and hunting. They had a cabin on Emerald Bay at Waterton Lakes. They spent their summers there – fishing and climbing mountains. He had a group of friends amoung other cottagers at Waterton, both boys and girls. Jim told of the wonderful friendships that they enjoyed. In those days, a large dance hall was built and they all danced. His sister Kay formed an orchestra and Jim was the driver. They had a large McLaughlin touring car with no windows and only side curtains which snapped on in the cold and rain. The whole orchestra, instruments and all, would pile in and off they went to Glenwood, Hill Spring, Macleod and the Pass. Jim was a great skater and hockey player, and went to Okotoks to play hockey for a team there. He worked in a garage there but the main thing was the hockey team. We think that he was there for about two years.
He then returned to Pincher Creek and ran a taxi business for a few years, also working in his Dad’s furniture store. His Dad never worked in the store – he had a Manager/Bookkeeper Mr. William Ross. Through his interest in sports, Jim became the manager of the school basketball team and so he met Agnes Laidlaw. He courted her during her last year in school and they were married on December 6th, 1934 – he was twenty-nine and Agnes was twenty. They lived in a small house just east of the Anglican Church at what is now 841 Kettles Street. Jim worked in the store and spent his free time driving his mother and father around the country. Agnes went along too, sitting in the back seat with her mother-in-law, enjoying tales of the early days in Pincher Creek and Gertie’s early days in fort Macleod where she grew up. In 1948, Agnes’ father Bob Laidlaw died suddenly and in 1949, Jim and Agnes and their young family moved to her mother’s house at what is now 810 Schofield Street. Agnes’ mother moved into the apartment on the side of the big house. Agnes and Jim had their first baby, a daughter Shirley, on February 2nd, 1939, and then four other children followed in quick succession.
When Shirley was born, Mom remembered that it was extremely cold at minus fifty degrees Fahrenheit. Shirley married George Mowat on January 30th, 1957. They have always ranched in the Olin Creek District north of Cowley, are very involved in the ranching community as well as with the Anglican Church in Cowley. They are part of a group that started a farm museum, Heritage Acres. They have four children Bruce born May 4th, 1958, Don on April 20th, 1960, Charles on April 19th, 1963 and Nancy on July 9th, 1966. Their full history is listed in the Mowat Section in Olin Creek.
Kathleen Anne Scott (Gay) was born in Pincher Creek on September 2nd, 1941. Gay married Glenn Robinson on May 16th, 1964. They have lived in Kamloops, B.C. for many years. Gay worked at B.C. Hydro for twenty-six years before retiring in August 1999. Glen worked for Aberdeen Mall until his retirement on October 31st, 2002. Gay and Glenn enjoyed their retirement spending time with their grandchildren and lots of golfing. They were also very involved with Power Pioneers (B.C. Hydro Retirees Group). Glenn passed away on Mary 15th, 2007 after a short, courageous battle with cancer. Gay’s plans are to continue with the same interests they shared together. Gay and Glenn have two daughters Karen born on January 2nd, 1965 and Cheryl on February 24th, 1968. Karen married Terry Kostiuk on April 26th, 1986. They have two children, Kasia born on March 25th, 1992 and Tegan on February 26th, 1994. Cheryl married Lonnie Stanley on November 4th, 1992. They have two children, Madison born April 17th, 1996 and Jake on January 22nd, 1999. Karen works for an organization that provides services for people with mental disabilities. Terry works for B.C. Lottery Corporation. Cheryl works at the Insurance Corporation of B.C. and Lonnie has his own dry-walling business.
James (Jim) Robert Scott was born in Pincher Creek on February 23rd, 1943. He married Eileen Velker on October 18th, 1969. They lived in Innisfail, Alberta for many years but now live in Olds. Jim is a Chartered Accountant and recently retired from an accounting firm. He became a Deacon in the Catholic Church in June of 2004. Eileen worked in Home Support helping seniors. Eileen and Jim are very involved with their church and the community. Jim and Eileen have three children: Michael born on November 29th, 1970, Mark born November 21st, 1973, and Michelle born June 3rd, 1977. Michael is married to Kim, and they live and work in Calgary. Michelle married Curtis Clark and they live in Edmonton. Mark married Suri who had a daughter Dafne and they lived in Red Deer.
Bette Jean Scott, also known as B.J., was born in Pincher Creek on August 20th, 1944. After graduating from high school, she lived in Calgary for a few years before moving to Vancouver in 1966. She lived in Vancouver for twenty-five years before moving to Kamloops, B.C. in 1992. B.J. has worked as an Accountant for most of her working career. She worked at Kiwanis House Rehabilitation Centre, an alcohol and drug rehab for men and women until June 30th, 2007. B. J. enjoys spend time with friends and family and doing volunteer work. B. J. moved back to Pincher Creek in August of 2007.
Thomas (Tom) Laidlaw Scott was born in Pincher Creek at noon on April 15th, 1946. He married Bonnie Perverziff on October 12th, 1974. They have lived in Lethbridge for many years. Tom was an Appraiser with the City of Lethbridge for many years, retiring in June 2005. He enjoys windsurfing in the summer and skiing in the winter. He is enjoying his retirement and is busy keeping fit. Bonnie was a School Teacher and spent most of her career working at Hutterite Colonies.
Jim’s father owned land at Beauvais Lake in partnership with Fred Forester. Tom Scott built a log cabin on the point of the land and enjoyed the good fishing. He also shot partridge and grouse which were abundant in the brush on the acreage around the cabin. As Jim and Agnes’ family grew up, they also enjoyed the lake, learning to swim with Mom being the teacher, and how to row a boat. The times at Beauvais wee some of the happiest times the family of Agnes and Jim Scott had. They all learned to have a deep appreciation of nature and love of the great outdoors. Roasting hot dogs and marshmallows around an open fire, fishing off the end of the wharf, playing in the old ice house, climbing the hill, picking wild flowers for Mom and harvesting saskatoons were just a few of the many adventures the five Scott children enjoyed at Beauvais Lake. Even as older teenagers and young adults, we would share the magic of the lake with our fiends. Mom had a beautiful soprano voice and taught us all the old folk songs and songs that were popular during her youth. We would often sing around the campfire or on our way home in the car. Dad loved to tease and tell jokes. In early December 1950 the store burned to the ground. Jim had no trade other than his work in the store. In 1951 Jim started another furniture store in the old theatre where Builders World now stands. He bought the building and borrowed money and renovated the theatre to be a store. There was never enough capital to really get this endeavour going and Jim sold it to Walt Upton. Walter kept it only a short while before selling it to Thornton’s Furniture of Blairmore.
Jim took a position as Parts Man at Sorge’s Garage. In 1967 he was offered a job in Nanaimo at the Ford Agency. He and Agnes moved to Nanaimo in April of that year. Agnes worked at Sears and retired in 1977, a year after Jim’s retirement in 1976. Agnes and Jim spent twenty-five wonderful years in Nanaimo, making many wonderful friends and travelling a great deal. However, life became faster and more congested in Nanaimo, and in 1993 Agnes and Jim made the move back to Pincher Creek. They missed the climate and their friends but were glad to be back where family was closer and life much simpler and not as hurried. Even after Jim went into long term care, he and Agnes spent many hours taking drives around Pincher Creek and area. They loved to take a picnic to Beauvais, Waterton or out to the Dam. Jim Scott passed away on October 25th, 1998, just short of his ninety-third birthday. How lucky we were to have him as long as we did! Dad had a great sense of humour. He loved to tell stories about the early days of Pincher Creek, especially relating to his father and the escapades that old timers got into. Most of them had a humorous twist. When describing out Dad, I would tell you he was a gentleman and a gentle man. He loved his family dearly and often told us how lucky he felt to have the family he did.
Kathleen Scott (Kay Ratledge), the second child of Thomas and Gertrude, was born in Pincher Creek on October 28th, 1908. She married G. Harry Ratledge in 1933 and lived in Calgary. She was interested in music and art, and she worked in her father’s store and office as its Secretary and Bookkeeper from 1927 to 1933. Kay had her own orchestra for several years and played for dances in town and the surrounding district. Harry was also a wonderful musician and they met through their music. When she married Harry she moved to Cranbrook where he was a Dental Mechanic. They eventually moved to Calgary. She became a professional artist in Calgary. Kay died on October 15th, 1987, and Harry passed away on September 16th, 1997.
Ethel Jean Scott (Ringland), the third child born to Thomas and Gertrude, was born in Pincher Creek on October 22nd, 1911. She married J. K. (Ken) Ringland and they lived in Lethbridge. Jean was always interested in music, golf and sports. Jean passed away at the Lethbridge Regional Hospital on March 20th, 2002.
Thomas Scott, the youngest son of Thomas and Gertrude, was born in Pincher Creek on June 8th, 1915. Tom loved sports. He worked at Scott’s Furniture Store and Undertaking Parlours. He married Audrey Topp of Pincher Creek. During the Second World War, Tom was missing in action on March 16th, 1945. He was a tail gunner with the Air Force. His grave was found on September 24th, 1945 at Remberg Cemetery, Hagen, Germany. Audrey passed away in 1983. T
om and Audrey had two girls. Diane was born in Pincher Creek on August 27th, 1939. She worked as a Pharmacist but is now retired. She married Murray Strome of Lethbridge. Diane and Murray lived in Ontario for many years but now live in Victoria. They have two sons Fraser and David who have families of their own. Sally was born in Pincher Creek on May 11th, 1944. She graduated in Social Work and was the Executive Director at the Louise Dean School for unwed mothers for most of her working career. Sally married George Willock and they lived most of their married lives in Calgary. Sally and George had two children Kevin and Cindy. George died of cancer. Sally is now married to Colin Lawson. Sally and Colin are both retired and live in Invermere.