By Truman Jones
Captain Scott navigated numerous ports across the Caribbean, such as Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, the Isles of Pines, Roatan, Havana, Key West, Tampa, Mobile, Cozumel, and Belize.
During his frequent visits to French Harbour, he crossed paths with Mary McNab, a descendant of one of the pioneering families in the area. Captain Scott gained recognition as one of the foremost schooner captains in the Caribbean during this era.
In 1903, Captain Scott and Mary McNab joined in matrimony. Then, on October 15, 1904, they welcomed their first child, a lovely, blonde-haired girl named Selma Hellen Scott, who would later become my mother. Captain Scott made a pivotal decision to establish French Harbour as his primary home port.
Within French Harbour, he undertook the construction of a three-story residence complete with a dock adjacent to the Harbour. The first floor served as storage for the cedar lumber he had transported all the way from Mobile, Alabama. Captain Scott, alongside Captain William C. Borden, earned recognition for their significant contributions in supplying the lumber that went into building many of the homes throughout the Bay Islands.
Tragedy struck the schooner Maggie G Williams.
In 1907, another girl was born, Leila May Scott. William C. Jones, a businessman in French Harbour, owned a store and a schooner. He offered Captain Scott a job on the schooner. By 1910, yet another girl was born, Edna P. Scott. It was at this point that Captain Scott decided to inform William to seek another captain, as he desired to stay closer to his family. Captain Scott, in collaboration with his cousin, acquired a schooner of their own in Mobile, Alabama.
Captain Scott assumed command of the newly acquired schooner in July 1911. Earlier, in February 1911, he had handed over the reins of the schooner Maggie G Williams to its new captain. However, due to illness from Malaria, the designated captain couldn’t embark on the voyage. The owner then sought out Captain Scott and requested him to undertake the favor of sailing the schooner on one final journey. Captain Scott accepted the task.
All went well in the beginning, but in May, tragedy struck the schooner Maggie G Williams. Departing from Key West with Captain Scott and ten other sailors aboard, they vanished without a trace. Captain Scott was just a few months shy of his 30th birthday.
In my opinion, as a captain myself, the weather in Florida during May contributed to the tragic incident. In May, these waters can be prone to sudden, monstrous storms that pop up out of nowhere. These storms can produce water spouts and tornadoes, and create winds upwards of 70 mph. I firmly believe it was a storm that claimed the lives of Maggie G. Williams, Captain Scott, and the ten sailors, consigning them to a sailor’s watery grave.
As I stood on the porch of my home in Brick Bay, I watched the ship carrying my grandfather’s headstone enter the French Harbour channel. The sun was shining her rays onto the ship from just above the horizon. I thought to myself: “Captain Scott, you finally made it back to your home port, on the other side of the sea that you sailed across so many times in 112 years.”