It’s a sad story that seems to have a happy ending. It’s the story of Catherine Isabella Latimer or, as she was named at birth, Louisa Orolong Latimer.
Louisa was born 25 May 1877 in Pembroke, Ontario, Canada, a small community located on the Ottawa River along the Quebec – Ontario provincial border. Louisa’s parents were John ‘Jack’ Latimer and Margaret Eliza Sills who were married in 1871 at Seaforth in Huron County, Ontario. The Latimers, including John’s younger brother and my wife Ellen’s great grandfather Edward, had moved to the southwest Ontario village from County Fermanagh in Ireland around 1864. Records exist that verify each of the above facts and here is where the story takes a decided twist.
According to the family story both Jack and Margaret Latimer died around 1884 or 1885 leaving their four young children orphaned. Louisa, as the story holds, was adopted into an Irish family in the Province of Quebec by the name of Buchanan and it was this family who changed her name from Louisa Orolong to Catherine Isabella. In 1894, Catherine Isabella Latimer (pictured above right) married John Andrew Scott in Montreal, Quebec. In 1908, John moved Catherine and their then five children to Yakima County in the State of Washington where they settled and the six feet, one inch tall John took up farming to provide for his family.
In Washington State, Catherine and John Scott welcomed an additional three children into their family and eventually all became US citizens in 1914. Seven of their eight children lived into adulthood and five of the seven remained in the United States, although they did go their separate ways – to Arizona, California, and Illinois – while three remained in Washington. Two of their children eventually returned to their native Canada. Their first child, Ethel was the last of their children to pass away in 1990 at the age of 94. Records exist to verify the life of John and Catherine Scott and their family.
The challenge is finding records that will verify Louisa/Catherine’s being orphaned at a young age and then of her being adopted by the Buchanan family. There does not appear to be a death registration for John ‘Jack’ Latimer in the province of Ontario records. Further digging is certainly warranted for this compelling tale.