I’ve been working on this article since 1999’s The Fate of James Scott was published. That article concluded that the key to establishing whether or not the James discussed therein was our James lay in determining the identity of his wife S. I. Scott on the 1900 Shawnee, Oklahoma census. This article was originally intended to immediate follow, laying out all the available facts about Mrs Scott and naming my suspect.
Then I held off. The first article was already speculative, but I felt it argued my case well. This article’s original draft was even more speculative. I feared that any suggestion about S. I. Scott would end up in family trees as “true” and lack the context provided by this article. We’ve all seen that happen with our research. I’ve espied family trees on Ancestry.com where it appeared the owner simply accepted every shaky leaf suggestion without bothering to see if the original record referenced the person in their tree or someone else with the same name. I wanted to present a tight case for Mrs Scott’s identity, but the draft of my article showed much I still didn’t know. So, I kept researching.
Now, I believe I have enough evidence to make my case. I will name my suspect, but a summary of what we know is appropriate.
1900 Shawnee Census
S. I. Scott was a white female born in February 1873 in Alabama to parents from Alabama. She married J. M. Scott circa 1892, when she was about 19 and he was about 40. On 1 June 1900, she was recorded with her husband and two others in a dwelling on Penn Avenue in Shawnee, Oklahoma Territory. She had birthed no children by 1900. Research into the others in the dwelling had revealed no apparent connection to the Scotts.
James M. Scott died on Monday, 28 January 1901. He was buried in the city-owned Fairview Cemetery the next day. Mrs Scott remained in Shawnee following her husband’s death.
A few years later, a November 1905 issue of The Shawnee Herald announced that a marriage license had been issued to James J. Redmond, aged 32, and Susie Scott, aged 30, both of Shawnee. Could she have been the widow Mrs S. I. Scott?
The marriage record revealed more detail. It explicitly referred to Susie as “Mrs Susie Scott” three times, affirming that she had been previously married. Part of the record was the following schedule of parties:
Groom Jas. J. Redmond, aged 32, white, born in Kentucky, resident of Shawnee, father L. G. Redmond and mother Elizabeth Stringfellow. Bride Susie Scott, aged 30, born in Alabama, resident of Shawnee, father and mother unknown. The names of Susie’s parents would’ve been very helpful.
Let’s match these details against the 1900 census:
- White female from Alabama. Perfect match.
- Aged 30. Close match. According to the birth info on the census, Mrs Scott would’ve been 32 in November 1905.
- First name Susie. Match with the first initial S from the census.
- Called “Mrs Susie Scott” three times. Match indicating a previous marriage.
On Wednesday, 29 November 1905, James Redmond and Susie Scott met at the Methodist Episcopal Church South in Tecumseh, O. T., to be duly joined in marriage by Edgar L. Young. The marriage was recorded by the Pottawatomie County clerk on Wednesday, 6 December 1905.
And so the Redmonds headed into their first holidays together. Thanksgiving to start, the day following their marriage. Then Christmas a month later. Then New Years Day. The new year was still in its infancy when Susie Redmond filed for divorce.
Susie made her petition to the district court on Tuesday, 16 January 1906, case number 3155. It was reported in that Friday’s edition of The Shawnee Herald. The court filing revealed Susie’s middle initial was R. While that doesn’t match what was written on the 1900 census, if you say aloud R with an Alabama accent it could be close enough to confuse a census enumerator from Oklahoma into writing down I.
James Redmond failed to respond to Susie’s divorce petition, so Susie sued. Starting on 1 February 1906 and repeated throughout the month, the following notice appeared in The Shawnee News:
I could find no further court filings or newspaper articles regarding the divorce. Either James responded or he didn’t, but either way, by 15 March 1906 the marriage ended.
After the divorce, Susie went back to using her previous married name, Scott. Apparently, she pretended that second marriage never happened. Also, Scott may have been a more prestigious surname to have since there was a prominent doctor by that name in Shawnee. And maybe the name James Redmond was disgraced in some way. A terrible secret coming to light would definitely explain the short duration of James and Susie’s marriage.
In February 1906, R. L. Polk & Co. published their first edition of the Shawnee City Directory. Susie R. Scott was listed on page 168 as the widow of James M. Scott. Her occupation was given as dressmaker, and her address as 241 S. Pennsylvania Ave. The Penn Avenue mentioned on the 1900 census was an abbreviation.
Susie needed a vacation after that whole marriage and divorce ordeal. Around July 1906, she traveled to Temple, Texas to spend time with relatives and friends. She returned to Shawnee in September and the event was noted in the News. The paper called her Susan this time.
Susie decided to sell off her assets, perhaps in preparation to move away from Shawnee. In October, she placed an ad in the News indicating that she had four lots of land for sale in the Seminole Addition of Shawnee.
In November, Susie placed a notice to sell furniture. She was definitely cleaning house.
In early December, the Daily Herald reported that Susie had sold the four lots in the Seminole Addition to Hattie E. Jones for $1,100. That is roughly $31,667 in 2020 dollars.
Circa 1908, Susie would marry for the third time and move away from Shawnee. And in part two, I will reveal who I believe Susan R. Scott was and cover her third marriage.
“United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMGL-T23 : accessed 31 August 2020), J M Scott, Shawnee Township Shawnee city Ward 3-4, Pottawatomie, Oklahoma Territory, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 202, sheet 2A, family 28, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,241,342.
“Oklahoma, County Marriages, 1890-1995.” Database with images. FamilySearch. “Oklahoma, County Marriages, 1890-1995,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVPX-JGGK : 23 March 2020), Jas J Redmond and Susie Scott, 29 Nov 1905; citing Oklahoma, various county courthouses, Oklahoma; FHL microfilm.
Many Weddings, The Shawnee (Oklahoma) Herald, 30 November 1905, p. 11; image copy, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com : accessed 29 August 2020).
Cases Filed in the District Court, The Shawnee (Oklahoma) Herald, 19 January 1906, p. 3; image copy, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com : accessed 29 August 2020).
Susie R. Redmond, Plaintiff, vs Jim Redmond, Defendant, The Shawnee (Oklahoma) News, 24 February 1906, p. 9; image copy, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com : accessed 29 August 2020).
Mrs. Susan R. Scott has returned…, The Shawnee (Oklahoma) News, 18 September 1906, p. 5; image copy, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com : accessed 29 August 2020).
FOR SALE CHEAP, The Shawnee (Oklahoma) News, 17 October 1906, p. 6; image copy, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com : accessed 29 August 2020).
FOR SALE, The Shawnee (Oklahoma) News, 3 November, p. 3; image copy, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com : accessed 29 August 2020).
Real Estate Transfers, The Shawnee (Oklahoma) Daily Herald, 1 December 1906, p. 3; image copy, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com : accessed 29 August 2020).
Ancestry.com, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011), Ancestry.com. Location: Shawnee, Oklahoma; Year: 1906. Accessed 30 August 2020.
McWilliams, Patty. Pottawatomie County Divorces—1892 thru 1931. 30 Mar. 2007, sites.rootsweb.com/~okpcgc/divorces_1892_1931_r.htm. Accessed 30 August 2020
“Inflation Calculator.” U.S. Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 31 August 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/