Sunday, 23 July 2017

The Mystery of Bytown Mayor John Scott

The Ottawa Citizen and Metronews recently published about a portrait of John Scott, first mayor of Bytown, in the Historical Society of Ottawa collection.

The previously unidentified portrait, see the article for a photo, was determined to be Scott by the City Archives, which now holds the HSO collection, as it's copied in a montage of early mayors.

There are two other images said to be Scott. The first here, his portrait as representative for Bytown (Ottawa) to the Legislature taken from Wikipedia, is similar but without facial hair extending below the ears.

In the second, included in an August 2016 Bytown Pamphlet, No 99, and attributed to The Historical Society of the Gatineau (GVHS), is a photograph supposedly taken a year of two before he died in 1857. I see similarities and differences but would guess he's older than the 33 calculated from his supposed birth year of 1824.

Interestingly his New York death registration gives his age as 45.

There are other reasons to think he might have been older. As pointed out in the Bytown Pamphlet, with the supposed birth year of 1824 he would have been 13 when he entered law school and 17 or 18 when he was sworn in as an attorney.

What do you think? Is the man in the second image the same as in the first and is he likely in his early 30s?

1 comment:

Gail B said...

Three intriguing photographs. Much variation in hairline, ear and noses. There is a lot of variation here.

Questions arise. I think a forensic photographer or genealogist might be needed. Certainly, are the individuals or institutions who provided these three sure of their information. I'd love to hear more on this mystery.

Gail B