Hugh McDowell Scott (1899-1984)

Spread the love

Quick Facts About Hugh McDowell Scott

Born: 24 SEPTEMBER 1899 – Belfast, Ireland (At 24 Hillman Street, Dock Ward, Antrim)

Photo of Hillman Street, Belfast from Google Maps

Location of Hillman Street, Belfast – Google Maps

Son of John Scott & Sarah McDowell

Brother Of:Sarah Millicent McDowell Scott; John Scott (Died at 15 weeks of age).

Husband Of:
Sarah Bailey: Marriage Date 2 Jan 1928
Jean Spence

Father Of:
John Alexander Scott (14 Apr 1935- 10 Jan 2001)
(Marrie) Sarah Millicent Marie Bailey Scott (1928-1998)

Grandfather Of:

Elinor, Sharon, Stephen, & David (Hall)
Ian, Janice, & Andrew (Scott)

Biography Of Hugh McDowell Scott

Early Years

scott family circa 1909
Scott Family circa 1909. Left to Right: John Scott, Millicent Scott, Hugh Scott, Sarah (McDowell) Scott

I’m still learning details of Hugh’s life although quite has been known already. He was born in 1899 to John Scott and Sarah McDowell in Belfast – at a time when that city was booming. It had the largest ship building works in the world, largest dry dock, largest linen works, and many other accomplishments that included being the 3rd busiest port in all of the United Kingdom.

Hugh was the second born son – his older brother John had passed away as a baby (more details needed about this).

When he was a young boy, he lived at 24 Hillman Street in the Dock Ward (presently and with almost the same borders as the “New Lodge Ward” in Belfast. At that time, Belfast was thriving and Hillman Street had a mixed population of Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Baptists, Unitarians, Bretheren, Church Of Ireland, and other denominations. Some on the street gave their religion as “Independent” while others were reported as refusing to provide their religion or denomination.

Neighbours on the street included at least two Germans, an electrician born in Belguam, India, and even a Russian born Frame Maker named Abel Hesselberg.

There were also at least three police officers (Royal Irish Constabulary) living on the street, two of which were Roman Catholics. One, a George Doherty born in Donegal held the rank of Sergeant on the RIC.

By the age of 12, this Scott Family had moved to 43 Hanover Street, Belfast according to the 1911 census. Living with them included Agnes McDowell, Hugh’s aunt (his mother’s sister).

However, the census for that year (1911) shows Hugh with his uncles on the day of the census, at 62 Upper Meadow Street. I don’t know if there was some reason for Hugh to be living apart from his parents at the time, or if he was simply visiting with the McDowell relatives on the census date.

Although his parents were married at the Berry Street Presbyterian Church (now no longer existing but the building is used by Trinity Church) in Belfast, his father and mother identified as adherents of Protestantism through the United Free Church of Scotland.

Hugh Scott As A Young Man

hugh mcdowell scott
Hugh McDowell Scott As A Young Man – Date Unknown

Not a lot is known by me at this time about Hugh’s teenage years, but we know that by 1920, Belfast erupted into tumultuous times that included sectarian violence which would carry on for at least two years. I don’t know if any of the events effected Hugh Scott directly, but one can only imagine what it might have been like to go through.

Although his parents were Christians and staunch “Unionists,” (both had signed the Ulster Covenant in 1912), at some point in his life, Hugh became an avid supporter of Communism and rejected the Christian faith of his family. I recall discussions with him as he described this period of his life as youthful silliness when he came to the realization that communist ideology was logically fallacious and something to be despised. After his communist days, he would make a confession of faith to the Christian religion and “got saved.”

Hugh Scott’s Early Occupation

In 1923, Hugh traveled to America on the S.S. Leviathan and on the official “List Or Manifest Of Alien Passengers” arriving in New York, his occupation is listed a “Fitter” – most likely due to where he would be employed later, a person that assembled machines and/or was involved in fabrication of metal.

His intentions were to immigrate to the United States permanently, and at first, he likely stayed with his Uncle John McDowell (brother of his mother), in Canton, Ohio at an address of 308 High Avenue, but would at some point be in the employ of the Ford Motor Company in Detroit, where he would be promoted to the rank of Supervisor. While in Detroit, he may have also been in touch with his father’s brother, Alexander Grieg Scott (1879-1962) who had immigrated to America from Dundee, Scotland and lived in Detroit.

His reasons for immigrating to America are not known at this time, but it was his father that paid the fare for him to travel on the Leviathan passenger ship which departed Southampton, England on October 28th, 1923 and arrived in New York on the 3rd of November. Apparently, Hugh had health issues during the voyage and was hospitalized for a time.

He arrived in America with $34.00 USD (equivalent of about $530.00 in 2021).

His stay in America would not last long and at some point he returned to Northern Ireland and married Sarah Bailey 20 Jan 1928.

Hugh Scott’s Wife And Children

hugh scott and wife sarah with adult children, marie and john
Hugh & Sarah Scott with Adult Children, Marie & John (Jack). Circa 1960.

Marriage Record – Updated June 8, 2021

As mentioned above, Hugh rejected the Christian faith of his parents, and it was no church marriage for he and his wife, Sarah Bailey. The marriage record indicates the two were married on January 20th, 1928 at the Registrars Office in the City of Belfast. The marriage registration was signed by the Registrar, and witnessed by Harold Hanna? and Millicent Scott.

At the time of their marriage, Sarah Bailey had been residing at 23 Northbrook Gardens, Belfast (the residence of her relative, Miss Elizabeth McCaughan – information courtesy Richard Telford-Baillie), while Hugh was back with his father and family at 83 Hanover Street.

hugh scott sarah bailey marriage record

After Marriage – Children

In the same year they were married, their first child, a daughter that they named Sarah Millicent Marie Bailey Scott was born.

On April 14, 1935, John Alexander Scott was born.

The family would live in the Lisburn/Hillsborough area and it has been said that Hugh liked to move around a lot, never really being settled for a long period of time at a single house.

Hugh Scott’s Second Marriage

After the death of his first wife, Sarah Bailey, Hugh remarried – almost literally to “the spinster down the road.” He was acquainted with the Spence family who farmed nearby, and married Jean – who was still living with her family including her brother and nephew I believe, Noel Spence.

This is the same family that suffered what is now known as the “Spence Family Tragedy” that occurred in 2012. I can recall visiting their farm and Noel who was perhaps 6 or 7 years older than me, taking me out on the tractor, when I was a child.

Hugh Scott’s Christian Faith

We have a photograph of Hugh, as a baby, and on the back, Hugh Scott has written:

“Hugh Scott Born
24 Hillman St
– – –
Born Again
8th December, 1936”

hugh mcdowell scott baby picture

hugh scott writing on back of baby picture

After Hugh got saved, one of his most pressing concerns was that others would hear of the Christian Gospel. For the rest of his life, he would be associated with the Brethern Assemblies.

For at least some part of his life, his occupation was a Christian book salesman and I’m to understand that he would pack books on the back of a bicycle and ride his bicycle around various parts of the island of Ireland, selling them.

During trips to Canada, he formed a close friendship with a Canadian Brethern book salesman, Harold McArthy.

He also wrote a Christian tract that was his personal testimony, that he would carry many copies of with him, and hand out to people that he was trying to evangelize.

On the death record of his spouse, Sarah Bailey Scott (02 May 1967), Hugh’s occupation is listed as “An Evangelist” and with a residence at “Clair-Vista,” Glencairn Rd., Lisburn.

clair-vista, Glencairn Rd., Lisburn
“Clair-Vista” Glencairn Road, Lisburn In May 1967. Photo By John A. Scott

Trips To Canada

Beginning around 1967/68, Hugh Scott would make several trips to Canada to visit with his son (John Alexander Scott) and family. On his first trip, we was accompanied by his sister, Millicent. Two of the voyages (I believe) were made by sea, and on one of them, he brought over family “heirlooms” including the Family Bible and china that had been owned by Lady Hamilton and that had been purchased by his grandfather John Scott as a wedding gift for his wife, Jane Wilson Grieg.

He would visit Canada in the 1970’s by air several times as well.

Personal Memories Of Hugh Scott – Grandson Ian Hugh Scott

I have many personal memories of Grandad Scott and always adored him. He could be very serious at times, but he had a quick wit and was full of jokes. He enjoyed making his grandchildren laugh with practical jokes and silly actions.

Soft ice cream – my grandfather loved Dairy Queen soft vanilla ice cream and when he would visit us in Richmond Hill, one of my favourite memories is how almost every day, he and I would would walk from our house to the Dairy Queen on Yonge Street to buy ice cream cones.

I remember how he loved Lifeboy carbolic soap and would bring bars of it to us when he’d visit. Perhaps why I still like carbolic soap!

When I visited with him, we’d walk together down a lane every day and milk his goat.

I have many others but don’t have time right now to write them all out.

Others who want to add their own memories (or clarify facts, add facts they know) are welcome to do so!


The Family Bible (presently in the possession of John Alexander Scott, Great-Grandson, Ottawa).

Census Records (as linked above).

List Or Manifest Of Alien Passengers For The United States Immigration Officer At Port Of Arrival (New York, 1923).
View Page 1. View Page 2.

Personal Memories

Additional Photos & Family Tree Of Hugh McDowell Scott

(More To Be Added)

Scott Family Stories Index

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top