Submitted by: Doug Toye, Portland Oregon

Scott B. Toye was born July 7, 1860 in Matilda Township, Dundas County, Ontario, Canada to James Toye Jr. and Eliza Ann (Thornton).

Scott’s grandparents, James Toye Sr. and Hestor (Furlow) immigrated to Canada from Movenis, Londonderry County, North Ireland about 1842 with their 8 children, one of course, being Scott’s father James Jr. James Toye Sr. setttled in Matilda Township, Dundas County, Ontario Canada and by the time Scott was born, Toye families were well established in an area that became known as TOYES HILL. Toyes Hill remains a geographic location in Ontario, Canada to this day.

From various historical recordings from the 19th Century it can be shown that the Toyes of Dundas County were farmers, owned their own land and homes, were well educated, active in civic duties, and prosperous. And although Scott and his siblings spent most of there youth in Toyes Hill, almost nothing is known of them during their younger years.

  Beginning in the late 1800s, three of Scott’s brothers began to emigrate from Canada to Iowa—Henry in 1866, William in 1870, and Guy in 1871. Scott followed in 1879 and can be found in the 1880 US census in West Decorah, Winneshiek County, Iowa, his occupation listed as “student”. In 1883 Scott married Emma Lucy Rowland, daughter of Horace J. Rowland and Rebecca Jane Farmer in Lake Mills, Iowa. Over the next 10 years, Scott and Emma had four children—Ivanette E. in 1884, Zenus Rowland in 1888, Hazel in 1889, and Irwin Richard in 1894.

  Scott prospered in Iowa as evidenced by his listing in the 1884-1885 Gazetteer and Business Directory as “Principal of Public Schools”  in Lake Mills, Winnebago County, Iowa. And later in the 1900 US Census as County Superintendant of Public Schools in Northwood, Worth County, Iowa.

  About 1902, Scott moved his family to Stites, Idaho County, Idaho. He is listed in the 1910 U.S. Census in Stites as owning his home free of mortgage and working on his own accord as a grain merchant. Also listed are his wife Emma, a daughter Hazel and a son Erwin R.

  On July 16, 1913 Scott ended his life by shooting himself with a handgun. The Idaho County Free Press printed the following articles regarding his death:

      July 17, 1913 - FOUND DEAD AT STITES - S.  B. TOYE, manager of the warehouse at Stites, was found dead in the          warehouse by Clarence PETTIT and Joe BURKENBINE. TOYE’s right hand clutched a revolver and a gunshot wound to right     temple. A gunshot had been heard by neighbors about 8:30 Wednesday evening. Probable suicide. He has a son, Erwin TOYE, and a daughter Mrs. Ed ABRAHAMSON (Ivanette) of Grangeville.

 

July 24, 1913-VERDICT OF CORONER’S JURY - The death of S. B. TOYE, former mayor of Stites, was ruled a suicide by coroner.

 

The Kooskia Mountainer reported the story on July 18, 1913 and added that Scott was in charge of the Vollmer-Clearwater Grain Warehouses at Stites for the past 3 years. The article also stated that Scott was despondent and the newspaper had heard several stories regarding the reason for his death. But in the interests of his family, felt reporting the details would serve no purpose.

 

Research Notes by Doug Toye, Great Grandson, 2003.

  From about the center of the town of Stites and west of the river, on top of a hill, is a small cemetery known as the Stites I.O.O.F. Cemetery. This is where Scott was buried. There are no road signs to the cemetery. The cemetery is on private property and only by asking permission of the owner can one park at the owners house and walk the remaining distance to the cemetery. I was able to make the walk after being cautioned to keep an eye open for rattle snakes. The cemetery is quite small—said to consist of 110 graves with only 56 marked and has not been used since 1956.

 

I found Scott’s stone near the middle and northern side. The stone contains a Masons emblem with the name “SCOTT B. TOYE” underneath. Under Scott’s name is JULY 7, 1860 and under that, JULY 16, 1913. At the base of the stone are the words “The dust shall return to the earth as it was and the spirit returns to God who gave it”. At the foot of the grave is a white foot stone, about 4 to 5 inches square, embedded in the ground with 7 to 8 inches above the ground. On this stone are the initials SBT. The stones were in remarkably good condition considering they have not been cared for in 90 years. The grave contains a shallow depression that we were later told is due to shallow burials as a result of the rocky ground.

 

Directly behind Scott’s stone is one of H. J. ROWLAND that I believe is that of “Horace” J. ROWLAND, the father of Scott’s wife, Emma Lucy ROWLAND. I was aware of the presence of this grave prior to visiting the cemetery but none of my previous research could determine the true identity of this H. J. ROWLAND. Some of the available internet records list this grave as that of H. G. ROWLAND. I was glad to see that the markings are actually H. J. and not H. G.. I think his initials were used, in lieu of his first name, in order to fit the stone. His name is inscribed into the very top surface of the stone with a Masons emblem on the upper face. Under the emblem is “BORN MAR 25, 1834 - DIED SEPT. 2, 1906. There are no other markings. This stone was also in remarkably good condition.

 

Unfortunately, there are no city, county, or state records available regarding an H. J. ROWLAND in Idaho so I am unable to confirm that the H. J. ROWLAND buried in Stites is actually Horace J. ROWLAND. Census information has not helped either—no ROWLANDs were listed in Stites or surrounding areas in 1900 or 1910. Some historical records show Rebecca Jane FARMER, the wife of Horace, living with her son Walter Augustus in Roy, Montana after 1910. Census information indicated she was a widow.

 

So, what prompted Scott B. TOYE to leave a presumably comfortable livestyle in Lake Mills, Iowa for the small, rugged, western town of Stites, Idaho? Perhaps he followed a dream of riches to the mining communities surrounding Stites. Perhaps it was his father-in-law, Horace J. ROWLAND who went first and then convinced Scott to follow. Or perhaps the reason was just to move west to seek out new adventures and opportunities.

 

On Scott’s death certificate is the signature of Zenus TOYE, Scott’s son. Also on the death certificate is a notation indicating Scott was divorced. In 1909 Scott aquired 160 acres of land approximately 4.5 miles east of Kooskia, Idaho, part of which adjoined the banks of the Big Horse Canyon Creek. Kooskia is about 4 miles north of Stites. I do not know for what purpose he aquired this land but believe it was for grain farming rather than mining. However, the hope of a mining find may also have been a factor.  After Scott’s death, Emma paid the taxes on the property until 1923 presumably because the property was willed to her (considering the “divorced” notation on Scott’s death certificate). On June 29, 1923 Emma sold the property to The Vollmer Clearwater Co. Ltd., an Idaho Corporation. At the time of the sale Emma was living in Aberdeen, Washington with her daughter Hazel and near her son Zenus. According to tax records, Emma resided in Stites until 1916 and then moved to Washington.

 

Stites was founded in 1897 by Jacob Stites from New Jersey who, along with his family, were the first white people to settle in the area. The area has a remarkable and rich history in mining and Nez Perce Indian history. While Stites is not necessarily recognized as a mining town, it did play an important role in the development of the area. Mining in the area began with the gold rush in 1860 and due to significant finds, the populace increased substantially. By 1900 a railway was completed to Stites known as the Clearwater Short Line—the only other railway in the area was being built to Grangeville, some 30 miles south, but would not be completed until 1908. So Stites became an important supply hub for all mining, farming, ranching, and other activities to the surrounding areas with mining and agriculture being the fuel for the increase in population and justification for a railway. Mining by individuals quickly deminished and succumbed to farming and ranching. Stites was a town of good size in the early 1900s with it’s railway on one side of town, large grain warehouses on the other, other businesses, homes, and the South Fork of the Clearwater River in the middle. But during my visit, there was little remaining to indicate it was the town it once was.

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