Google got me one very significant step closer to an answer. See, I believe that contextual information is *key* to understanding the names, dates, locations and events of our ancestors' lives. So parallel to my research into both Masonia Scotts, I was also trying to learn more about Portland's black community in general. What was life like when "my" Masonia moved to Portland around 1920? What did she and her children encounter? What institutions were there to support them, and what opportunities were available to them?
My puttering around on the interwebs brought me to a treasure of a document, and I hope any genealogists reading this have the same kind of luck in their locales of interest: I came across a PDF of a report called Cornerstones of Community: Buildings of Portland's African American History.
|Downloadable PDF available here.|
Published in 1997 by the Architectural Heritage Center of the Bosco-Milligan Foundation, a Portland-based historic preservation agency, this report summarizes the development of the city's African American community from the early 19th Century to the late 20th and highlights buildings of community significance. The best thing about this report, however - at least at the moment I discovered it - was that it lists several hundred Portland African American individuals and institutions in an index that gives their addresses, key personal information, and a reference for the original source.
And guess who was listed? Almost every member of my Scott family, plus collateral relations!
The younger Masonia, for instance, is listed as the daughter of James and Sarah Scott.
|Cornerstones of Community, P. 158.|
This confirmed a lot of my earlier findings, though it still didn't explain why her father was listed as Solomon Scott on her 1943 marriage license application.
And then, James Scott! Now, as a part of my sleuthing, I had looked both for both Solomon Scott and James Scott in Portland City directories. I'd found a James S. and Sarah Scott listed from 1921 through 1927 pretty consistently. But James did not appear in 1928. And as I wrote in my previous post, Sarah had remarried by 1930. In fact, she'd married Joseph Dickerson in 1928. So if something had happened to James Scott, it was between 1927 and 1928.
Some time on FamilySearch.org had brought up several likely candidates: 6 James Scotts and 1 Solomon Scott who had died in Portland in 1927 or 1928. But the certificates are not available online - you have to order them from the Oregon State Archives - and they cost money, so I didn't want to cast a wide net. This is where Cornerstones of Community was truly key - it listed James Scott's death, and referenced a May 1927 edition of The Advocate (an African American newspaper in Portland).
|Cornerstones of Community, P. 178.|
So I was looking for the candidate who had passed in May of 1927. Who was that, according to the Oregon Death Index? The one, the only, Solomon Scott! (That's right, not a James Scott. Still following?)
So I sent away for the death certificate, hoping for a smoking gun. Lucky me, I found it! Look who his parents are: Solomon and "Charry" Scott, of Georgia!
|James Solomon Scott's Certificate of Death. Date of Death, 11 May 1927.|
Now, the newspaper carrying the obituary referenced by Cornerstones of Community does not appear to be online and I haven't yet followed all the leads to try to get a copy of that document. But, I was able to find a a funeral notice listed in The Oregonian, the newspaper of record for Portland. And it is the second and most perfectly complementary "smoking gun" I could have wished for. Notice who it lists as two of his sisters: Scoatney Cooper (my 2x Great-Grandmother) and Masonia Worthen (my 2x Great-Grandaunt)!
|The Oregonian, 12 May 1927, P22.|
And note the name: James S. Scott. So, I found my answer and confirmed my hypothesis: Who is this "new" Masonia Scott and how is she related to "my" Masonia (Scott) Worthen? She is the daughter of "my" Masonia's brother, James Solomon Scott, making her the niece of both my 2x Great-Grandmother Scoatney (Scott) Cooper and my 2x Great-Grandaunt Masonia (Scott) Worthen. Or, in graphic form:
Of course, every answer brings new questions. Who are Lulu Crew, and Dr. (Drs?) S.B. and J.W. Scott??? Those will be questions for another day, and of course, more research!