Jessie Scott





Brief facts:

bulletJessie was born November 23, 1880 in Washington Territory.
bulletShe graduated from Deaconess Nursing School in Spokane in 1902.
bulletAt some point after nursing school, Jesse married Edgar Granger Chapman.
bulletEdgar and Jesse moved to the Little Prairie district of Alberta, Canada in 1916
bulletIn April 1952, Edgar died of a coronary occlusion.
bulletJesse died February 23, 1957 of bronchopneumonia.
bulletThis couple had no children together. Edgar had one son, Homer, from his first marriage.



Jessie Scott Chapman had no children. There were no grandchildren or great-grandchildren to ask questions about Jesse and her life but she did leave a trail. Her mother Sarah mentioned Jesse in a letter written to Charley Scott in December of 1897. "Jess and Roy want to no if you are going to have a dance when you get your kitchen don. Sam was here last evening and help Jess wash the dishes." At this time, Jesse would have been about 17 years old and maybe these boys were interested in her and it sounds like she was interested in dancing. Other ways that young people found entertainment was the circus that came to Colfax in the summer and the County Fair in the fall. During the winter months there was the Literary Club and socials at the school. Olive M. Clark wrote her memories of living at Lone Pine. 

The school house was the center of culture for the people around the countryside. Literary Society met every two weeks , and debates were fast and furious, especially if the subject happened to include Grant and Lee. Charley Chase would bring his new phonograph which was a source of great curiosity. After the business and oratory was over, they often had a basket social, where the highest bidder would get the prettiest girl's basket, so he thought, regardless if he could eat the contents or not, and then they would play games. Post Office is the only one I can remember.

But I wonder if the joy of  youth wasn't tempered by the facts of a hard life and the threat of disease or injury. In the same letter, Sarah went on to write, "There is a good deal of typhoid fever last week there was a funeral everyday in Oaksdale. Diptheria is still in the country. A child died in Tekoa yesterday."  By 1897 five of Jessie's siblings had died of some type of disease. Two older brothers, John and Paul died as children in Missouri before she was born. When she was three, her sister Lena died in childbirth and when she was eight her sister Orphie Jane died at the age sixteen. In 1893 older sister Maud and baby died of T.B.--Jessie was a teen. Then there were the little girl cousins, Maria and Jennie who died within days of each other in 1890. Jennie was the same age as Jessie and they must have played together. They may have gone to the same school. Death was a part of Jessie's life. How that must have made a difference in her view of  her life. 

In January of 1899 Sarah wrote another letter to her son, Charley who was living in Nez Perce County Idaho. I hope that business will revive. Do not be discouraged hope for better times. No one is making anything up here this winter. Oaksdale business men is not making enough to pay rent. She mentioned her daughter. Jesse is making carpet rags.  By the end of the year, Sarah  had died at the age of 56. In December 1899 Charles B. Scott had petitioned the court to be administrator of the estate and in May of 1900 the farm had been sold to pay debts. What happened to Jesse? The probate records of January 1900, reported that Jesse was 19 years old and residing in Oakesdale, Washington.

In 1966, the Deaconess Nursing School Alumni published a book of memories, Eighty-One Years Of Nursing 1889~1980, Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing Spokane, Washington.  Jessie Scott is listed as one of the four  nursing students who graduated from Deaconess in 1902. This was the second class to graduate from Deaconess which was associated with the Methodist Church and as the program was two years, Jesse must have started school in 1900. Our First Forty Years by Clara Redemen describes the life of early nursing students, using the memoirs of Nelle Randle who graduated in 1901. We worked from seven to seven with two hours off six days of the week, but four hours off on the seventh, provided we were not too much rushed. Many times we had to spend the time off , or after hours in washing up soiled linen or cleaning up a room for a new patient. Not only did the students take care of patients and housework, they walked downtown to attend courses taught by the Doctors that included lectures on obstetrics, surgery, neuropathology, ears, eyes, nose, throat and other subjects. We had no resident doctor, so often in an emergency, but was the best we could do and we really carried much more responsibility and had a more varied experience in our probation days than most nurses nowadays have during the first year in training. Jessie would have worked long hours and the work was exacting but maybe she drew on her experience of taking care of her mother who was ill for at least two years before she died. She must have been determined to finish the program. Randle wrote, Girls came every little while, some staying for a number of months before dropping out and others who stayed became members of the class of 1902.

The books written about the Deaconess Nursing School, tell about several of the early nurses and the work that they continued after school. I have not found Jessie mentioned. I do not know how she used her nursing training but Jessie B. Scott  is listed in the Spokane City Directories as a nurse from 1902 to 1909. At this time I have not discovered when Jessie met and married Ed Chapman or where she lived from 1910 to 1916. While researching, I contacted the funeral director of Chapel of Memories in Peace River, Alberta, Canada. He kindly sent me copies of pages from a centennial book of the area. The article written about Ed Chapman is attributed to the contributions "by many neighbors." 

Ed Chapman was one of the really early settlers in the Little Prairie district. He and his second wife Jessie moved up from Kentucky, USA in 1916, and filed on a quarter section homestead. Ed and Jessie had no children of their own...after a few months he gave the quarter up , and moved to Little Prairie and homesteaded the quarter south of the one Red Helgeson now has. This, the SW 20-81-19, taken up in November 1916, was the Chapman's home for the next 20 years.

The three column article relates other interesting details about Jessie and Edgar. It is speculated that they may have returned to the states for a time because Chapman often spoke about being in the US Navy, maybe between 1916 and the end of WWI. Someone else knew that Jessie's younger brother, Fred Scott and family lived on adjoining property at some point. Finally it is written that The Chapmans took a holiday for a month and visited the states where they attended "several of the old time extreme type religious revivals" in 1935.  After they returned to Canada "Jessie Chapman became mentally ill..."

Through correspondence with funeral directors in Alberta Canada, I was able to get copies of the funeral records for Edgar and Jessie. On April, 6, 1952, Ed died of a coronary occlusion. He was 68 years old.  The place of death for Jessie was the Ponoka Mental Hospital on February 23, 1957. According to the Funeral contract she been living there for 21 years and died of bronchopneumonia.  She is buried in the Forest Home Cemetery of Ponoka, Alberta Canada.

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Last update: March 03, 2002