Three Scott Brothers – Dundee

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photo by messrs prophet, dundee likely john, james, and alexander scott
Photo By Messrs Prophet, Dundee – Probably Brothers – John, James, & Alexander Scott

Who I Believe In This Photo

Left, Sitting: John Scott, b. 22 Jun 1872
Centre, Standing: Alexander Greig Scott, b. 09 Aug 1879
Right, Sitting: James Scott, b. 25 Mar 1877

I’m unable to precisely date this photo – and admittedly, when I was downloading photos from my cousin Elinor Clements Facebook – I hardly looked at the photo. I was too busy trying to make sure I had a copy of all the old photos, unknown or not, so I could examine them later.

About a week ago, I wrote about the possibility of using Google’s face technology to help identify, and then later how I was not having much luck with it.

I seldom look at photos on my mobile device, but yesterday, when I opened up the Google Photo app, I noticed that its face technology had begun to do some work on the old photos I had been uploading from my PC to the platform a couple of weeks ago or more. When I clicked, with my mobile device, on the face I had set for my Great-Grandfather John Scott, the above photo also appeared – I had never added the faces in the photo previously. As an aside, Google’s face recognition technology is pretty screwy – but this photo it may have got right. Others, it has gotten absolutely totally wrong.

When I examined this photo more closely however, I realized I was likely looking at a photo of the three surviving brothers of the Dundee Scott Family, however taken at a later date than 1885. The eldest in this photo certainly does resemble other known photos of John Scott, b. 22 Jun 1872.

I hate to make a claim that I am certain this is a photo of John, James, and Alexander; it likely does include John but the other two could be friends of his. But I doubt that. Assuming it is them, all three obviously look older than the photo taken about April, 1885.

So what year was this photo taken? We can’t get any hints at this point from the name of the photography studio, a “Messrs Prophet, Dundee.” Research indicates that originally, the Prophet photographers had studios in Dundee, Perth, and Edinburgh. Originally it was a father and son operation, but later the Prophet sons would take over from their father. The business continued to exist into the 1960’s and were known for school photography in parts of Scotland.

Apparently they operated in Dundee out of two addresses, 58/59 Wellgate Street and 23 High Street from 1884 onward. So far, I’ve been unable to determine when they put “Messrs Prophet” on their photos.

By 1890, (five years after the family photo, 1885), John Scott was 18 years old. Personally, I think he looks to be in his young 20’s in the above photo. His brother James (likely the one on the right) would be 13 by 1890, and Alexander (standing), 11 years old.

Personally, I think Alexander looks at least 14 years old, and that would put James at about 16, and John at about 21 years old. So, my guess is that this photo was taken in 1893 or later.

I’m not sure when exactly John Scott left Dundee and went to Scotland but he was married in Belfast by 1896. Could this photo have been taken just before he left Dundee, perhaps 1895?

The Future Of The Scott Brothers

Perhaps John already had plans when this photo was taken, to go to Belfast. But in that moment, I wonder if any of the brothers would realize that out of the three of them, it would be Alexander that might be seen as the most adventurous, in that after getting married, he and his wife would head off to America where they would remain for the rest of their lives.

James was the only one to stay in Scotland. As I have time, I’ll try to create individual profiles for all of them.

Do you have different ideas, or see where I may be wrong? Please leave a comment below!

The Scott Family In Dundee, 1885

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3 thoughts on “Three Scott Brothers – Dundee”

  1. Hello, from Edward Brian Scott of Qld, Australia, my father Andrew Scott was born in Coupar Angus, Dundee, Scotland and I am sure he resided at Beattie Street, Dundee, Scotland. Andrew Scott joined the ‘BlackWatch’ British Army and served in the Middle East, and then was stationed in London and soon after transferred to the ‘Australian Regular Army’ and served 7 tours of duty in Vietnam.

    1. Thank you for the comment, Edward. Would be interesting to know who your grandfather/great-grandfather was. The Scott family here has origins in Coupar, St. Monance and surrounding area in Fife. It is quite likely we both have common ancestors!

      1. Thank you kindly Ian Scott for your reply to my comments on the ‘Three Scott Brothers- Dundee’, interesting read, as my father Andrew Scott mentioned that his family also travelled to see his cousins in London that he was related to Caption Robert Falcon Scott, the artic explorer.
        It is really a small world Ian, and I am quite sure that we are also related in some way, knowing that my father was born in Coupar Angus, Dundee, Scotland.
        My father used to say that many of his relatives were in the defence force such as the Merchant Navy, the Black Watch or the Dragoon Guards, its was inevitable that my father joined the Black Watch and soon transferred to the Australian Regular Army, as I mentioned in my previous email or comment.
        I am a solicitor in Qld, Australia and have my own law firm and part of my work involves catering for the needy or the working poor clients, I assist as a lawyer in a pro bono capacity and appear before the courts of Queensland both civil and criminal.
        My favour past ime is being an international instructor of the ITF style of TaeKwon-Do, my late father and myself co-founded the Australian TaeKwon-Do Ki-DoKan International organisation.
        All my brothers are 4th Dan Black Belt and above in rank, as I am 7th Dan Black Belt (Master TaeKwon-Do level). Our TaeKwon-Do school in Qld, Australia is well known as ‘Scotts TaeKwon-Do’, and we are all quite proud of our reputation in the Korean Martial Arts Industry both here and around the world. I have been practising the Korean martial arts of self-defence for over 48 years and continue to practise TaeKwon-Do as a way of life and to remain fit and healthy.
        I will talk soon and look forward to continue our correspondence into the future with our connection for the Clan Scott.
        Take care and good health to you Ian Scott.

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