To bring us back on track now – we are going to discuss Anna M. Scott, wife of J.P. Scott. I’ll begin with Anna M. (2 Sep 1872 – 4 Mar 1950)
When I first began my research, Royden Blair Scott provided me a descendant list and he had listed the wife of J.P. Scott as Mary Ann Shaffer, born 2 September 1872 and listing her parents as Peter Shaffer and Nancy Beatty. Every census record that I found for J.P. listed her as Anna or Anna M. With all the available records listing her in this way, I have done the same.
Blair also told me Peter and Nancy Shaffer had six children – Anna, Minnie, Charles, Lee, Harry, George, and Christopher. As with all information that I receive, there is a verification process. Part of our job as genealogists is to find more evidence to back up the family document.
I started running into trouble when I began doing the verification work of Dad’s information. I had no problems locating Anna’s census records from 1900 through 1930 as she appears with her husband J.P. Scott on those records. (Those records may be seen on J.P. Scott’s posts) The trouble came when I was trying to go back further. I found her parents Peter and Nancy on the 1880 census in Plumcreek Township with children, Minnie, Charles and Leason [sic], but no Anna.1 (This is not a great image – Peter Shaffer is on line 13) Living with, or next door to, Peter and Nancy are Nancy’s brother William and his wife Martha, mother Rebecca, sister Caroline. Anna (who would be 7 at this time) is not with the Beatty family. I have not yet located Anna Mary or Mary Ann on the 1880 census records. I wonder if she might not be living with some other family member and be recorded under their last name. Sadly, with names such as Anna and Mary this one will be a tough slog until I investigate all of the extended families. There are, as you might imagine, literally dozens of Anna’s and Mary’s of the appropriate age.
I started working my way through the death and marriage certificates and the confusion deepened. Viola Lawton Scott was the informant when her husband Bob died, and she listed his mother as Anna M. Beatty. I honestly thought she had made a mistake – although that seemed unlikely since she had been working on the family genealogy for some time. As I started acquiring other death certificates, talking to the elderly family members, and more importantly, locating the obituaries, I soon found that she was absolutely correct.
Peter Shaffer was definitely not the father of Anna Mary Beatty. According to several family members including a daughter-in-law, and two granddaughters, Anna Mary Beatty was the illegitimate daughter of Nancy J. Beatty and an unknown father. Anna told all three of these women on separate occasions that she was illegitimate, and while they were a close-knit family, and Peter referred to her as his daughter, he was not her father. None of the woman ever recalled hearing any discussion concerning who her biological father might be. None could provide any insight as to why Anna is not listed with the family in 1880 as they all believed she was raised in Peter’s household. Yet another one of those odd mysteries that occurs in families.
When Anna married John Pettigrew Scott on 11 June 1890 in Elderton, the information, which she provided at the courthouse, reflected her true name as Anna M. Beatty.2
Anna died 4 March 1950, and her death certificate shows her father as Peter Shaffer, but the informant was her youngest son Paul.3 The obituary for Anna M. Scott once again states her father is Peter Shaffer, but it says she is survived by four half brothers. Paul’s widow confirmed that Paul was also responsible for the obituary information. This makes it clear that he was aware Peter was not her biological father.
ANNA M. SCOTT, 77, of Shelocta R. D., died Saturday, March 4, at 1:00 a.m. at her late home in Idaho Pa., from a cerebral hemorrhage.
Born September 2, 1872 in Plumcreek Township, Armstrong County, she was a daughter of Peter and Nancy (Beatty) Shaffer. She was the widow of John P. Scott, and was a member of the Lutheran Church, South Bend.
Surviving are a daughter, Mrs. Wade (Gladys) Rose of Mineral Ridge, Oh., and two sons, Frank Scott of Sagamore and Paul Scott, of Shelocta R. D., with whom she made her home. Mrs. Scott was preceded in death by two sons, Howard and Robert, and one daughter, Ella.
She is also survived by four half brothers and 20 grandchildren.
Services will be held Monday, March 6 at 2:00p.m. in the Clark Funeral Home, Elderton, with the Rev. Howard Amlek officiating. Burial will be in Elderton cemetery.
Respect may be paid at the Funeral home after 7:00 p.m. today and from 1 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday.<sup4
All of the obituaries for her half-siblings simply refer to her as a sister with no reference to the term half. For convenience on the family trees, I have left Peter K. Shaffer listed as her father while noting that he is not her biological father.
I believe that the odds of figuring out who Anna’s biological father actually was are somewhere between slim and none. Unless I luck into a church record that declares her father, or someone unearths a document demanding support, this is a dead end. I am researching the Shaffer family, as our family ties remain so close with them. There will posts to follow on the Shaffer line, after I finish with the post on the very confusing Beatty family.
Anna M. Beatty Scott’s family as I have it documented currently.
Father – unknown
Peter Shaffer (1849-1934) – stepfather.
Nancy J. Beatty (1853-1909) – Mother
Anna M. Beatty (1872-1950) – dau. of Nancy J.
Minnie Elizabeth Shaffer (1875-1944)
Charles Wilmer Shaffer (1877-1939)
Leason J. Shaffer (1880- ?)
Harry Oliver Shaffer (1882-1960)
George Addison Shaffer 1887-1967)
Christopher Nesbitt Shaffer (1889-1976)
(Documentation on Peter and his children will be in a future post)
My next post will be about the work to clearly define the family of Nancy J. Beatty.
1. 1880 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 5, p. 124, dwelling 283, family 301, Peter Shaeffer; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 6 Mar 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 1096.
2. Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, Marriage Books, Book 5: Page 183, #1616, John P. Scott-Anna M. Beatty, 11 Jun 1890; Armstrong County Courthouse, Kittaning, Pennsylvania.
3. Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 18894, 4 Mar 1950, Anna M. Scott; Division of Vital Records, New Castle, Pennsylvania.
4. Obituary, “Anna M. Scott,” The Indiana Evening Gazette, 4 Mar 1950