The California Raitts

This page provides first some information on Raitt families that moved to California (some from New York, others from Canada, as well as elsewhere). The information below is not complete, either for all members of a family or for individuals themselves, and will hopefully be added to in due course. For instance, some of my distant cousins, descendants of my great-granduncle John Raitt, moved from Nebraska to California. I have also created a page for recently arrived Raitt families found in the 1880 US census which identifies other families who may be looked at eventually.  


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In a blog entry, as well as under Illustrious Raitts - Entertainers, I gave brief details of singer/actor John Raitt (and daughter Bonnie) and his ancestry for a few generations back. I have now found more information about the Scottish forebears of the family and their arrival in the United States and subsequent dispersion. I have created a separate page on these Raitts from Bovina, Delaware County, New York.


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William Raitt, a granite carver from Aberdeen, was first working and living in Illinois, before eventually moving with his wife to Los Angeles in the mid-1930s to be with his son, Arthur Taylor Raitt, and grandchildren. The details I have discovered about the family are given on a separate page - William Raitt, granite cutter.


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Then there is the family of Granville Raitt who travelled from England to South Dakota, then to Alberta, Canada and finally ended up in California. His English ancestors may even have been Scottish - Granville himself had red hair! This story is to be found on the page Californian Raitts from South Dakota.


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Details about Grace and Pearl Raitt, daughters of Oswald Raitt, who moved from Nicaragua to California will be found on the Nicaraguan Raitts page.


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As described on the Manitoba Raitts page (where the family tree will be found), although several members of the William and Helen Raitt family emigrated to Canada, most of them seemed to have relocated to California at some point.


George Hutcheon Raitt (1852-1900)


George Raitt, the first of their children to go to Canada seems to have gone to California in 1886. Whether his wife, Margaret, accompanied him, we don’t know, but George remarried on 27 June 1893 in San Bernadino, California - his new spouse being Sarah (Sadie) E. Boyd from Nova Scotia.


In the 1900 census for San Bernardino city, San Bernardino, California we have George H. Raitt, 46, a contractor, born Scotland as were both parents, married seven years; wife Sarah E., 40; born Nova Scotia (both parents born Scotland); Charles B. Raitt, 20, at school, born Scotland (father born Scotland, mother Canada); and William G. Raitt, 21, carpenter, born Canada (father born Scotland, mother born Canada). George and his two sons had resided in the United States for 14 years having immigrated in 1886, Sarah for 9 having arrived in 1891. George died on 5 November 1900 a few months after the census was taken. Further details on the sons are given below.


In the 1920 census for San Bernadino Township, San Bernadino, California, Sarah E. Raitt, 58, widowed, born Canada is living with her sister Helen M. Boyd, 54, born Canada; and her niece Janet A. Raitt, 18, born California.  Janet, age 28, seems to be living by herself in San Bernadino in the 1930 census - both parents being given as born Canada.


William Granger Raitt (1878-1937)


The eldest son of George and Margaret Raitt from Scotland via Manitoba, William, seems to have emigrated to California in 1882, presumably with his parents (though the 1900 census gives their immigration date as 1886.) He enlisted as a private in H Company, 6th California Infantry on 7 May 1898 in San Francisco when he was not yet twenty and appears to have fought in the short-lived Spanish-American war (April–August 1898) between Spain and the United States which resulted in independence for Cuba. He was discharged with the rank of corporal on 15 December 1898 in San Francisco. In 1900 he was living with his parents in San Bernadino. Aged 28, he married Blanche I. Larmer age 25 in Los Angeles on 21 October 1905.  


In the 1910 census for Los Angeles Assembly District 70, Los Angeles, California we find William G. Raitt, age 31, born Canada, immigrated 1882, both parents born Scotland, married to Blanche, 29, born Kansas, father born Ohio, mother Indiana; with son George 3, born California (born 1 Nov 1906).


They do not seem to be in the 1920 census and it is possible they had gone back to Canada or even Scotland to visit relatives.


In the 1930 census for Los Angeles, California is Wm Raitt, 51, born Canada, father born Scotland, mother Canada; with wife Blanche I., 49, born Kansas, both parents born Ohio; and son George B., 23; born California.


In 1932 William G. Raitt, aged 53, is residing at Sawtelle, California in a home for disabled volunteer soldiers. He appears to have been admitted after an accident in which he damaged his left arm. He was buried in Los Angeles National  Cemetery on 26 May 1937. Blanche Irene Raitt died 13 Dec 1958 in Los Angeles aged 78, while son  George B. Raitt died Mendocino, CA on 31 May 1989 age 83.


Charles Burton Raitt (1880-)


Charles, the other son of George and Margaret Raitt, born 1 January 1880 in Scotland, was living with his parents in San Bernadino, California in 1900 and married Nettie Orissa Mee there on 23 Nov 1901.


In the 1910 census for Los Angeles Assembly District 71, Chas B. Raitt, 30, born Scotland, was living with his wife Nettie, 31, born California (both parents born New Jersey); and their daughter Ines B., 2, born California.


In the 1920 census for Los Angeles Precinct 388, we find Chas B. Raity, 40; wife Nettie M., 41; and daughter Inez B., 12.


In 1930 still in Los Angeles are Chas B. Raitt, 50, born Scotland (emigrated 1905); Nettie, 52, born California (both parents born Utah); and daughter Inez Berte, 22, born California.


Neither Charles nor Nettie seem to be in the 1940 census; however, Inez appears to have married Harold More and in 1940 they are to be found at 4741 Morse, Los Angeles where Inez, 29, is a cashier in a gas utility and Harold is an automobile insurance adjuster, aged 33.


Charles Raitt (1860-1940)

Charles Raitt (born 16 Jan 1860 in Logie Pert, Angus) was the fifth son and eighth child of William and Helen Raitt and started out in Winnipeg where he married Canadian-born Lillian McLean in 1891. He seems to have emigrated in 1880 and became a master mechanic working for various railway companies. Details of his earlier life in Canada will be found under Manitoba Raitts.  


By 1908 the family had moved to California, for in the 1910 census for Township 15, Contra Costa, there is Charles Raitt, 49; wife Lillian, 41; and children Charles, 11; Helen G., 8; George, 6; and Lillian, 1. Charles was still a master mechanic with the railroad company.


The family was still in California in the 1920 census residing in Needles Township, San Bernadino. Charles Raitt is 58, Lillian is 51 and with them are children Charles H., 21; Helen G., 18; George W., 16; Lillian M., 11; and Eleanor R., 5. Charles was still employed for the railways as a master mechanic.


In the 1930 census, Charles, aged 70, married, and a master mechanic in the steam railroad industry was a lodger at 109 North Pleasant St, Prescott, Yavapai, Arizona. It appears that the rest of the family may have moved back to Canada before 1930 as they do not seem to be in the US Census for that year.


Charles Kingsmill Raitt (1898-1982)


Charles Kingsmill Raitt was the second child and son of Charles Raitt and Lillian McLean and was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on 5 July 1898. He moved to the United States with his parents and siblings in 1904. He married Alice Nelson (born 1905 in Minnesota) in the early 1920s in California and had three children with her – Nadine Louise (born 1924), Charles Kingsmill (born 1926) and  Edward Darwin (born 1928) - all born in Los Angeles, California.


Charles Kingsmill Raitt was in the US Navy and served in Europe during the 1st World War. He is recorded as arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 21 January 1919, aged 21, aboard the Guiseppe Verdi from Genoa, Italy. He died in Penticton, British Columbia on 17 July 1982 aged 84 and is buried in Naramata Cemetery, BC.


In the 1910 census for Township 15, Contra Costa, Charles is 11 and at school living with his parents Charles Raitt, 49; and Lillian, 41; and siblings Helen G., 8; George, 6; and Lillian, 1.


After his tour of war duty finished in 1919, Charles went back to join his family in California in Needles Township, San Bernadino. In the 1920 census Charles is 21; his father Charles is 58 and mother Lillian is 51. Also there are the other children Helen G., 18; George W., 16; Lillian M., 11; and Eleanor R., 5.


The 1930 census for Los Angeles has Charles K. Raitt, aged 31, salesman, living at 1406 Fourth Avenue together with his wife Alice, 24; and children Nadine, 5; Charles, 3; and Edward, 2.


The 1940 census for 1340 South Stanley St, Los Angeles has Charles K. Raitt, aged 41, real cor salesman born Canada living with wife Alice, 34, born Minnesota; and children Nadine, 15; Charles K. Jnr, 13; and Edward D., 12 - all born California.  


In 1944 Charles and Alice moved permanently to Canada and lived in a home previously owned by his mother Lillian. Son Charles Kingsmill Jnr also moved to British Columbia where he and his wife  ended their days. During World War II, Charles Kingsmill Smith Jnr, like his father, also served in the US Navy.


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I will include fuller details on these families as I get them as well as information on other families from time to time if requested. As noted above, there is also a page for recently arrived Scottish-born Raitts found in the 1880 US census.