Who was this man that kept sending money to Chicago for the benefit of the Scottish Old Peoples Home? We knew he was often referred to as Colonel Walter Scott and that he worked for Butler Brothers and his office was at 860 Broadway in New York City. There was nothing more in our records. Yet, from 1917 to 1935, he was a regular and generous donor. We knew that he visited the Scottish Home several times and, once in the company of Margaret Williamson Trude, he purchased a tree to be planted in his honor.
(The tree program was started by Architect William Mundie after the 1917 fire and a number of trees were purchased and planted to honor various individuals. The trees were never marked and we have thus far found no other records. Sadly, most of the older trees are now gone.)
In 1919, there was a remaining mortgage of $11,000.00 on the Scottish Home after the fire in 1917. John McGill wrote “our good friend, Mr. Walter Scott, of New York City, has promised in a telegram just received to be one of eleven to cancel the debt of $11,000.00 on our Scottish Old Peoples Home at Riverside. To meet Mr. Scotts' offer, Mr. John Williamson has agreed to give $1,000.00 and, I, myself, as the new President of the Society, will give $5,000.00.” The goal was met and the mortgage against the Home was paid. At another time, he sent a check for $1,000.00 and said “if you can get nine others to match this amount you can keep the check.” They did and kept the check.
Through the years, I had made several attempts to find information about Walter Scott. I visited 860 Broadway and spent time in the public library in New York City. One year, I decided to spend the day at the Library and do a thorough search. Six hours later, after talking to various individuals and looking at hundreds of entries, I found a young librarian who knew Walter Scott because of some other research he had done. The records I needed were under the full name of Colonel Walter Scott and suddenly there was a wealth of information.
This is the first of three about Walter Scott.