By Myra Chepack
A two hundred acre parcel of land known as Lot 23, Conc. 2 (which ran between Sheppard Ave and Ellesmere Ave, bisected today by Progress Ave.) was home to three generations of the Scott family.
Our Fair President’s Grandfather, George (1795 – 1865) along with his wife Agnes Byers (1802 – 1901) emmigrated to Canada in 1828 from Dumfrieshire, Scotland. They undertook the onerous task of clearing and planting that land. Between 1832 and 1843 they produced seven children. Of the four boys and three girls only four saw adulthood. Two infants, John and Helen, died two days apart while Janet died at age seventeen. A brother, William left the farm and went to Pickering. The eldest son Francis stayed on the farm, as did his brother John born in 184l and an unmarried sister, Helen (who passed on at age 53). It was the tradition of some, to use a second time, the names of children who did not survive. Such was the case with the Scott family, thus two Johns and two Helens.
George became a regular supporter of the annual Fairs held by the Scarborough Agricultural Society, which was formed in 1844. He was a prize winner in the categories of sheep, horses, pigs and grain. His wife, Agnes, was known for her prize winning cheese.
In 1843 George Scott built a home for his family from the stones he had cleared from the land. The house was a full two stories plus attic, consisting of nine rooms. There are four elaborate fireplaces, crown moldings and solid wooden staircases in this imposing structure. This edifice stands today and was known for many years as the Old Scott House Restaurant. Although additions have been made to the building, the preservation of the original structure has been absolute. The Scarborough Historical Society has placed an informative, memorial plaque at the site.
Upon his death in 1865, pioneer George bequeathed the north 100 acres of the property to his son Francis and the south 100 acres to his son John. The ‘stone house’ was located on the south portion of the farm. This house sheltered George’s widow, Agnes, who resided there until her death in 1883, along with unmarried son John and son Francis and his family and daughter Helen, until her early demise in 1896, at the age of 53.
Francis Scott (1832 – 1901) married Elizabeth Lambie (1842 – 1917). Their first two children George and John, died in infancy (replacement naming again) a third son born January 18th, 1868 was also named George and was to become Markham Fair President in 1916. There were also two sisters, Margaret (1870 – 194l) and Agnes (1877 – 1943) neither of whom married.
About 1896 a second dwelling was built on the north 100 acre parcel and son George with his wife Margaret Jane Bell (1871 – 1911) and son Allan, born in 1898 took up residence, while the balance of the family continued to reside in the stone house. Upon his father Francis death in 190l, George inherited this north acreage, while Uncle John retained the south portion.
Upon his death in 1914 nieces Agnes and Margaret inherited this property and, of course, the stone house. Agnes remained in the house until 1943 when the property was willed to Len and Dorothy Jenkins, referred to as “adopted children”.
George farmed his land until 1920, when he sold his farm and moved into the village of Agincourt to lot 28. It was acknowledged that he was plagued with a heart ailment which kept him bed ridden for weeks, which perhaps caused him to end his farming endeavours. When living in Agincourt he worked for a time at E. Zimmers Garage as a mechanic, no doubt utilizing the skills learned over a lifetime on the land.
George served on the Markham Fair Board of Directors for many years. He was a Director in 1910 and also 1925. It is therefore assumed he was involved in some capacity for the duration of those years and in fact, was the 1916 President.
He is described in his obituary as “universally popular and highly respected”. He played hockey for a time and curled with the Heather Curling Club. George was a member of the ‘first eleven football team of Ellesmere’ and also played some hardball. As well as being a Shriner, he was Master of the the Masonic Lodge of Markham Union and Scarborough in 1911. The Lodge conducted his funeral in February of 1939.
St. Andrew’s Church in Scarborough is the resting place of George and wife Margaret along with his descendants, although they attended Knox United Church in Agincourt after they left the farm in 1920.
Again, his obituary was very effusive regarding George Scott’s demeanor referring to his friendliness and kindly ways, for which he would be remembered.
A man respected and involved with his community, a descendant of an auspicious Pioneer family and a long serving member of Markham Fair, – George Scott, our President of 1916.
A sincere thank you to Janet Reid at Markham Museum, Rick Schofield at Scarborough Historical Society and Jean Davidson, niece of Alex, Fair President of 1956, for their invaluable assistance in bringing the history of George Scott to