Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lawrence Scott Hewitt c.1875

Lawrence Scott Hewitt b. 26 July 1872 
This is probably the oldest photo that I own. It was in a box of family photos that my mother had saved. On the back it said, "Zorrie's brother." After a lot of research, I was able to learn quite a bit about it's subject and his family.

Lawrence Scott Hewitt was the son of William Martin Hewitt (1825-1918) and Selinda Scott (1847-after 1920). He had a sister named Zora Edith Hewitt (1869-1963). William was the brother of my great great grandmother Mary Ann Hewitt Proctor (1827-1892), so Lawrence was my great grandfather Daniel Proctor's first cousin. 

My great aunt Cleo Proctor Cavanaugh wrote in 1990, "Great Uncle (William) Hewitt was at our house many times and my Aunt Sallie (Proctor Fargo) took me to their beautful home on Cascade Ave in the Mt. Baker area in Seattle. He had built and owned the first street railways in Minneapolis, Minnesota and operated them for many years. Uncle Charley (Charles Campbell Proctor) and our dad (Daniel Hewitt Proctor) both ran street cars there for him when they were young. Uncle Hewitt was a millionaire which meant something in those days."

There are some mistakes in the above description, but it did give me a starting point. The Hewitt family was, indeed, quite illustrious.  William was born in Gallatin, Illinois and moved to Scott County, Iowa sometime between 1850 and 1860. He started as a clerk in a store in 1860 and was the Superintendent of the Street Railway by 1870.  By 1880, he was the Superintendent of the Centre City Railway in Milwaukee and by 1892 he was the Superintendent of the Stillwater Street Railway in Stillwater, Minnesota. I have not been able to determine if he "owned" any of these railways, but from my research, I have confirmed that he was definitely involved in building and running them.

William married Selinda Scott and had two children - Zora (who married into the Staples family of Stillwater, Minnesota) and Lawrence. Sometime before 1900, the Hewitt family moved to Seattle, Washington. Lawrence lived there and worked as an electrician and car dealer. He married during that time, but divorced soon after. It appears he did not have any children. He died sometime after 1920.

The photo of Lawrence was taken by Photographer Phil E Thuemmler,  387 Broadway. He was active in Dubuque, Iowa from 1856-1865 and Milwaukee, Wisconsin from 1871-1883. (However, I did not find the Broadway address.) Since the Hewitts moved to Milwaukee sometime between the 1870 and 1880 Federal Censuses, this would fit with the approximate date of 1875.

Although Lawrence is not a direct relative, it was fascinating to learn about his father's career and his sister Zora's life. Fortunately, due to their social standing their were many articles in which they are mentioned. I am very glad that I found this photo, prompting me to look further into this very interesting family. I have never seen a photo of the rest of the family. Considering their wealth, there is no doubt that family photos must have existed at one time. Hopefully, they survived and will eventually surface in the course of my research.

**If you liked this post, please visit Sepia Saturday for more great photos.


  1. You've certainly done some thorough research on this - very impressive. I hope you find more photos to fuel your research.

  2. Isn't it amazing how just a little information can help you find lots more. I love his little outfit. When I first looked, before I read your post, I imagined that you were going to tell us that he was Scottish or Irish, and which clan he belonged to. Great research work on your part.

  3. Excellent research to go with this photo; I love that outfit he is wearing and his pose. I wonder how long it took to take the photo in this era as people are so serious, this little boy did well if he had to stay still for a length of time.

  4. What a great photo and an interesting story about his family. I hope you find more photos.

  5. What an amazing outfit for a little boy. Congratulations on your indepth research.

  6. My Name is Scott Arthur Lawrence Hewitt and was floored when I found this post

  7. Wow! Great photo (I love his outfit) and wonderful background information. You've really discovered a lot so far. I hope you can find a few more like this to help in your research.

  8. Right away, the plaid fabric says wealthy! He is a cute little boy! You found out some great info..I believe that the streetcar is running again in Stillwater, MN. :)

  9. well, you sure take this thing seriously. puts the rest of us to shame...