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806 Western Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

The Scullys

Ida Walton Scully was born in Allegheny County on September 13,1863. She was one of at least seven children of Joseph Walton, a coal mine owner, coal shipper and coal merchant in Downtown Pittsburgh, and Annie Walton, both born in Pennsylvania. In the early 1860s, the Walton family lived on East Carson Street in the borough of East Birmingham (the present South Side Flats between South 17th and South 27th streets).

When Ida Walton was a small child her family moved to Manchester. The family lived in a large house at 1203 Western Avenue, at the lower end of Fontella Street, on a lot of about 1.75 acres that extended back to Ridge Avenue. Ida Scully resided at that address until she was married. The family’s move to Western Avenue indicates that Joseph Walton had prospered in business, and suggests that the Waltons were among the socially prominent families of Pittsburgh.

In September 1888, Joseph Walton purchased a substantial house at what is now 845 North Lincoln Avenue. Walton apparently bought the house to provide a residence for Ida Walton and Pittsburgh glass manufacturer James W. Scully, who were married on February 21, 1889. Pittsburgh directories listed James W. Scully at 64 Lincoln Avenue (845 North Lincoln Avenue) beginning in 1889.

James Wood Scully was born in Allegheny City on September 6, 1857. He was one of at least three children of James O’Hara Scully, a partner in the Eagle Iron Works on the South Side, and Margaret I. Townsend Scully, both born in Pennsylvania. James O’Hara Scully died in the late 1850s, leaving Margaret I. Scully a widow with three small children. She was apparently financially secure as a widow, as the 1860 census recorded her as owning real estate worth $12,000 (comparable to $600,000 or more in the early 21st century) and having a personal estate of $3,000. In 1860 Margaret I. Scully and her three children shared a home in Downtown Pittsburgh with members of the Townsend family.

James W. Scully worked as a clerk and as a bookkeeper as a young man in the 1870s. In the early 1880s, Scully became a partner in the Sterling Fire Brick Works with an older brother, Henry R. Scully. In about 1885, Scully joined the firm of William McCully & Company, manufacturers of glass vials, bottles, and other goods. The firm’s offices were on Wood Street in Downtown Pittsburgh. He was a partner in William McCully & Company when he married Ida Walton in 1889, and until 1894-1895.

The Scullys’ first child, James W. Jr., was born in June 1890. Records of the 1890 manuscript census, which would provide information on the Scully family and any other residents of their home in that year, were destroyed in a warehouse fire following the completion of the census. The Scullys had two more children in the 1890s: Alice W., born in 1897, and Walton T., born in 1898.

In 1894-1895, James W. Scully became a partner in Joseph Walton & Company, the coal mining and distributing company that had been owned by his late father-in-law. He remained with that firm for approximately three years. It is possible that Scully’s role with Joseph Walton & Company, combined with inheritance associated with Joseph Walton’s passing and the growth of the young Scully family, provided the impetus and means for the remodeling and enlargement of the house at 845 North Lincoln Avenue between late 1895 and late 1899.

In about 1897, James W. Scully left Joseph Walton & Company. For the next several years, his primary occupation was serving as president and then as vice-president of the First National Bank of Birmingham, at South 12th and East Carson streets on the South Side.

The 1900 census recorded 12 residents of 845 North Lincoln Avenue. James W. Scully, 42, was a banker and broker who owned his home without a mortgage. He and Ida Scully, 36, had three children: James W. Jr., nine, Alice W., three and Walton T., one. Sabina T. Rankin, a widowed aunt of James W. Scully, lived with the family. The other residents of 845 North Lincoln Avenue were the Scully family’s six servants:

  • Mary Sweeney, 24, who had immigrated from Ireland in 1892
  • Kate Sweeney, 23, who had immigrated from Ireland in 1892
  • John Lewis, 34, born in Virginia, and possibly a coachman
  • Rose Bradley, 39, who had immigrated from Ireland in 1890
  • Margaret McCany, 18, who had immigrated from Ireland in 1899
  • Elise Mueller, 39, who had immigrated from Switzerland in 1891

In about 1905, James W. Scully became a partner in a stock and bond brokerage, Scully Painter & Beech. The firm’s offices were in Pittsburgh’s financial district, on the second floor of what is now the Bank Center at 307 Fourth Avenue. Scully’s partners were Charles A. Painter of 1029 Western Avenue, Daniel Beech of Knoxville, then a borough above the South Side, and Edwin S. Fairley of Bellevue. Scully Painter & Beech was a member of the New York, Chicago, and Pittsburgh stock exchanges and the Chicago Board of Trade. James W. Scully was also a partner in R.L. Scoville & Company, investment bankers, in the same building.

In 1910, according to census records, the five members of the Scully family lived at 845 North Lincoln Avenue with six household staff persons. The 1910 census, unlike that of 1900, recorded the household roles of each staff person:

  • Elise Mueller, a nurse
  • Clara Johnson, 38, a cook who had immigrated from Sweden in 1889
  • Annice Allingham, 29, a laundress who had immigrated from Ireland in 1899
  • Louise Reichert, 26, a maid who had immigrated from Germany in 1903
  • Jean S. Michner, 28, a waitress who had immigrated from Scotland in 1903
  • William Dickson, 37, an African-American servant born in Pennsylvania

James W. Scully remained a partner in Scully, Painter & Beech until the early 1910s, when he retired or otherwise left the business world. The Scullys owned 845 North Lincoln Avenue until 1917, when they conveyed the house to James H. Childs, the husband of Alice Walton Childs, the youngest sibling of Ida Walton Scully.

Pittsburgh directory listings indicate that James W. Scully left 845 North Lincoln Avenue in about 1914. Directories no longer listed Scully, and listed Ida Scully as the head of the family. After James and Ida Scully sold the house in 1917, Ida Scully moved to her childhood home at 1203 Western Avenue, by then the home of her sister, Clara Walton Cook, and brother-in-law, Thomas McK. Cook. James W. Scully did not move to 1203 Western Avenue, and his residence and activities after 1914 are unknown. Scully was no longer listed in Pittsburgh city directories or Blue Books, and was apparently not enumerated in Pennsylvania in the 1920 census. He died in Saint Margaret Hospital in Lawrenceville on July 15, 1934, at age 76.

Ida Scully and at least one of her children, Alice, lived at 1203 Western Avenue for a number of years. In about 1917 Ida Scully became the proprietor of the Crossways Shop, which sold “exclusive furniture and novelties” in the Monongahela Bank Building at 213 Sixth Avenue, Downtown. She operated the Crossways Shop into the 1930s. She died on October 9, 1951, at age 88.

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