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Jean Scott

Jean Scott

Jean Annie Adams Harvey was born on April 24,1923 to James and Winifred Harvey on their farm in the Hillside District, located about five miles southwest of Millet. Her mother was a former teacher at the Hillside School. She had come from Ireland and had taught at schools in a few places in Central Alberta before coming to Hillside. Jean’s father had come from Scotland to Millet and worked for P.J Mullen on his dairy farm north of Millet for a few years. He later got a job with the Bridge Crew of the C.P.R., where he worked for several years before buying his farm at Hillside in 1916.

Jean had a younger sister, Phyllis, who attended the Hillside School with her, two miles away. They walked to school, as did all the other children who attended this school. Some walked over three miles. Jean described walking to school as “Social Skills 101” because she learned very quickly what to say or do - and what not to say or do - when in the company of other students.

Jean’s father raised purebred dual-purpose shorthorn cattle (suitable for good production of milk and beef) and “grade” shorthorns (not purebred). He had the purebred cows registered in a Canada wide R.O.P. (record of production) program. This program required that the amount of milk produced by each cow be weighed and charted. Once every two months or so an R.O.P. inspector would visit, inspect the charts, total them, take samples of milk for two or three milkings from each cow, and test the samples with a Babcock tester. The results were then sent to the R.O.P. headquarters and a report sent to the participating farmers each year.

One year, James Harvey received a report saying that one of his cows had produced the highest number of pounds of milk and butterfat of any cow in Canada registered in the program. Much publicity ensued and as a result he sold one of that cow’s bull calves for five hundred dollars, a huge amount of money at the time. As a result he was able to finish rebuilding their house , which had been destroyed by fire some years before. A year later, the family moved into the “new house” and out of the small three room house they had lived in for several years.

Jean and her sister Phyllis had chores to do when they came home from school. These chores included filling the wood box beside the kitchen stove, bringing in blocks of wood for the front room heater, washing supper dishes, setting the table for meals, getting the cows from the pasture for evening milkings, and helping to milk cows in the evenings. Their mother taught them to cook meals and to bake. During the summer there were gardening duties to assist with such as weeding, picking berries, and digging vegetables and potatoes.

During the Depression Years of the 1930’s, the family was not “rolling in wealth” but they were never hungry. James would take a wagon load of wheat to Wetaskiwin every fall to MacEachern’s Flour Mill to be ground into flour. He would return with six big sacks of flour which were used by Jean’s mother for all their baking needs for the following year: bread, cakes, cookies, doughnuts, and pies. 

When it came time for Jean and her sister to go to high school, they went to school in Millet. Jean had taken her grade nine by correspondence. They spent the school week at Millet and came home every weekend. Upon graduation from grade twelve, Jean attended the Edmonton Normal School to study to become a teacher. World War II was in progress and there was a severe teacher shortage. Jean started her training on August 10th and by early October was teaching in a log school situated about one hundred miles northwest of Peace River. Two classes of Normal School students had been asked to teach for five months in schools located in remote areas.

A colleague of Jean’s, Ellen Robertson of Forestburg, Alberta was sent with Jean to Worsley. Her school, Horseshoe Valley, was located northeast of Worsley and Jean’s school, Dancing Hill, was located southwest of Worsley. They were one-room schools with students from grades one to nine. The two young teachers went by train from Edmonton to Hines Creek, “the end of steel”, where they were met by the Worsley storekeeper. They piled their luggage into his pick-up truck and he drove them forty miles northwest to Worsley. The girls were very fortunate to have good places to board. They remained teaching at their schools until March 1st when they returned to finish their Normal School training.

They could not afford to go home for Christmas, as their pay was $1.25 per day and their board was paid by the government at $25.00 a month. However, they enjoyed Christmas Day at Jean’s boarding place. Jean and Ellen put on a joint school Christmas School Concert the week before Christmas at the Worsley Community Hall. Ellen had her students provide the plays and Jean had hers provide the Christmas choruses and recitations. A highlight of the concert was when Jean’s grade one student, a little Ukrainian girl who had started school two and a half months before, read a Christmas recitation in English!  The concert proved to be a great success. The parents all brought lunch that was served following the program, members of a musical family provided dance music, and the evening did not end until an hour or so after midnight.

When Jean returned to Edmonton on March 1st, she completed her training at Normal School and graduated at the end of May. She received an Interim Certificate and in later years attended University Summer School sessions and Winter Evening classes to receive a Permanent Teaching Certificate.

Jean’s first school she taught at after Normal School graduation was Sparling School, situated about five miles east of Millet. She taught grades one to nine there for two years. SHe then taught grades one, two and three at the Millet School for the next three years.

In early 1946 a group of young people, Jean included, decided to form a dance band. The group consisted of Jerry Scott, who had returned home from overseas with the Three Rivers Tank Regiment in Italy and Holland during WWII. Jerry played the saxophone, violin and guitar. Orville Scott played the trumpet, Stewart Kerr played the saxophone, Jimmy Day played the drums, Wilda McLeod played the violin and sang, and Jean played the piano. The Village Council agreed to let them use the small Community Hall free of charge for a place to practice twice a week and shortly afterward they started playing for dances. They named their orchestra “The Silver Tones”. They played in the Millet and Calmar area for dances and weddings. They also played at the Moose Hall Lodge in Wetaskiwin on Saturday nights. They sometimes played at places farther away, such as Leduc, Ponoka, and Lacombe.

On August 1, 1947, Jean and Jerry Scott were married. Jean continued to teach after their wedding. Janet Marie Scott was born on July 11,1948 and Jean became a stay-at-home mother. Ronald Harvey Scott arrived on June 11, 1957, and Cheryl Jean Scott was born on November 14,1953.            

While Jean was a stay-at-home mother, she took part in a number of community activities. She was president of the Home and School Association for a number of years. She also took part in the Rebekah Lodge and held several positions there. During the winter she enjoyed curling and was President of the Ladies Curling Club for a year or so. Jerry was also interested in curling and was active in the Men’s Curling Club as well as being a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge. Jean and Jerry were choir members in the Millet United Church for ten years and were Church Board members a few times. Jean also taught Sunday School there for three years.

When Cheryl started school, Jean returned to teach at Millet School for another twenty-two years. Griffiths-Scott School was named in honor of Jean Scott and Percy Griffiths for their dedication to teaching.

In 1965, Jean and Jerry purchased the Harvey farm southwest of Millet at Hillside. In 1968 they moved from their Millet home of twenty-one years out to the farm. Jean then became involved in the Millet and District Historical Society. The first project of the Historical Society was writing Tales and Trails of Millet. The history of Millet and the thirteen surrounding school districts was collected from various families in the area. Jean was editor of the book along with Norman Ertman. After a lot of effort and contributions from many people the book was completed. Two thousand sets of books were printed and sold within two years.

The next project for the Historical Society was the building of the John A. Smith Manor. The society felt it was important for seniors in the Millet area to have an opportunity to stay in their community even if they were no longer able to live in their own homes. The Historical Society partnered with the government and came to an agreement that the government would build the facility and the Historical Society would operate it. Jean served on the management board for ten years until it was incorporated into the Wetaskiwin-Millet Senior Housing Agency Board; she was on this board for two years.

The Historical Society then turned to starting a museum. When the museum building had been completed they started to display traveling exhibits and eventually their own exhibits. Jean was very involved in collecting materials and designing the exhibits. Jerry was a carpenter and he built the display cases for the exhibits. Ten years later, they expanded the museum and developed more exhibits in the basement. In the mid 1980’s, Jean wrote the “Museum Memo”, which could be found in the local paper.

During their retirement Jean and Jerry did quite a lot of traveling. They visited Hawaii five times, had a holiday in Scotland and Ireland visiting Jean’s relatives, and went on a War Veterans’ tour of Holland, Belgium, Germany, and France to commemorate the 45th Anniversary of the Liberation of Holland. They spent a month touring through about thirty states of the U.S.A and took several trips to the West Coast of Canada. They also enjoyed visiting the Okanagan and Banff and Jasper.

Jean Scott passed away on May 29th, 2016 at the age of 93. The Millet & District Museum's Jean Scott Archives are named in her honour.