California Raitts from Manitoba

As described on the Manitoba Raitts page (where the family tree will be found), although several members of the William and Helen Raitt family (see the Kincardineshire Raitts page for details of the family ancestry) emigrated to Canada, most of them seemed to have relocated to California at some point. Since I recently come across a reference to William and Helen Raitt's grandson Charles Burton Raitt which led me to subsequently look up more information about him and his older brother William Granger Raitt, then I have elected to put details about this family on this new page. The story starts with their father George Hutchen Raitt. I have left the information about Charles Raitt, another son of William and Helen, and his son Charles Kingsmill Raitt on the California Raitts page for the time being.

George Hutchen Raitt (1851-1900)

George Hutchen Raitt, born 10 November 1851 in Craig, Angus (though his birth extract is not found), seems to be the first of the children of William and Helen Raitt (see Kincardineshire Raitts) children to go to Canada, though when exactly is not yet known - probably around 1875 or so. He appears in the 1871 census at home with his parents and siblings in Logie Pert, Angus; but he married Margaret Scales in Kingston, Frontenac County, Ontario on 15 August 1877. George was aged 25, resident at Mill Point, born Montrose, Scotland, a bachelor, protestant and employed as a carpenter. His parents were named as William and Helen Raitt. His wife was aged 20, resident in Kingston, born there [in 1857], a spinster, and a methodist. Her parents were Thomas and Margaret Scales and the witnesses were Thomas and Jane Scales - probably her brother and sister. Thomas Snr, a shipwright, was born in Quebec and of Irish origin, while wife Margaret Burton had been born in Ireland. They married in Montreal, Quebec on 18 March 1844.

George and Margaret had a son, William Granger Raitt, born 2 July 1878 in Mill Point, Hastings, Ontario. Sometime thereafter George, with his new family, returned to Scotland where another son, Charles Burton Raitt, was born in Edinburgh on New Years Day 1880. A few months later George departed Glasgow and arrived in Quebec on 13 August 1880 aboard the Buenos Ayrean with his wife (Mrs Raitt) and two infants: William and Charles. George's occupation was given as farmer and their destination was Kingston. The family is not yet found in the 1881 Canadian census.

George seems to have gone to California in 1886 with his two sons. Whether his wife, Margaret, accompanied him (probably), or whether they were divorced or she had died, is not yet ascertained, but George remarried on 27 June 1893 in San Bernardino, California - his new spouse being Sarah (Sadie) E. Boyd - born in Nova Scotia in 1860, she died in San Bernardino on 1 August 1924.

In the 1900 census for San Bernardino city, San Bernardino, California, living at 860 F Street, we have George H. Raitt, 46, born Nov 1853 in Scotland as were both parents; working as a contractor; married seven years with two children born and still living; wife Sarah E., 40, born May 1860 in Nova Scotia (father born Nova Scotia, mother Scotland); Charles B. Raitt, 20, at school, born Jan 1880 in Scotland (father born Scotland, mother Canada); and William G. Raitt, 21, carpenter, born Jul 1879 in 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. The home was George's own freehold house. George died on 15 November 1900 a few months after the census was taken. Further details on the sons are given below.

In the 1910 census for 860 F Street, San Bernardino, we find Sarah Raitt, 50, head of household, widowed, born Canada (as father, mother Scotland), living on own income in her own home. Also in the household is her sister Helen Boyd, 40; and niece Jeanette Mills, 9, born California. An item in the San Bernardino Sun for 30 July 1914 sheds some light on who Jeanette Mills is. The Sun gives some "interesting news for the San Bernardino friends of Miss Mary Helen Mills of Los Angeles. Her aunt, Mrs G. H. Raitt of 860 F Street, San Bernardino, announced the engagement of her niece to Mr Samuel McKeer Slaughter of Los Angeles, with the wedding set for 25 August...... The wedding is to be attended by Mrs Raitt, her sister, and Miss Helen Boyd, and the bride's younger sister Janet Mills Raitt, the baby of the family and a native daughter who has been a member of the Raitt household for years." Sarah and Helen Boyd were the sisters of Janet's mother Margaret Adelia Boyd who was married to Theodore Harding Mills. Margaret died about two months after daughter Janet Adelia was born on 5 April 1901 and on her deathbed requested her sisters to raise the baby at their home at 860 F Street, San Bernardino.

In the 1920 census for the same address in San Bernardino, Sarah E. Raitt, 58, widowed, no occupation, born Canada is living with her sister Helen M. Boyd, 54, tailoress/dressmaker, born Canada; and her niece Janet A. Raitt, 18, no occupation, born California.  Janet, age 28, seems to be living by herself at 860 F Street in San Bernardino in the 1930 census - both parents being given as born Canada. She is working as a copyist in the County Court House. Presumably she was left the house by her aunt who died in 1924 since the census gives the house as owned by her. As Janet Raitt, she married Raymond J. Coffey on 31 May 1930 at her home at 860 F Street, San Bernardino. She was employed by the County Recorder's office and had attended San Bernardino Senior Hight School and Business College. Her father was T. H. Mills. In the 1940 census, Janet, aged 39, is still living at 860 F Street, and working as clerical staff in the County Farm Assessor's office, however, she is now a widow. Janet later married William Denney Miles and she died in San Bernardino on 20 May 2008 aged 107.

William Granger Raitt (1878-1937)

The eldest son of George Raitt and Margaret Scales was born on 2 July 1878 in Hastings, Ontario, Canada. The family   seems to have emigrated to California in 1886 (at least according to the 1900 census). William 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 21 and a carpenter living with his father, stepmother and brother at 860 F Street in San Bernardino (see above). Aged 28, he married Blanche I. Larmer (nee Baker), aged 25 and born in Kansas, 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, a millworker in a flour mill, both parents born Scotland, married five years to Blanche, 29, born Kansas, father born Ohio, mother Indiana; with son George 3, born California.

On his WW1 Registration Card serial no 1900 order no 1903, dated 12 September 1918, William's full name is given as William Grainger Raitt. His home address was 628 W 61st Street; his age was 40 with date of birth given as 3 July 1878, born Canada. His wife was named as Blanche Irene Raitt and he was employed as superintendent with the Eisenmayer Grain Co. at 525 Central Building, City (presumably Los Angeles). William was of medium height and medium build, with blue eyes, light brown hair, and no physical defects.

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.

On 25 October 1926, William Grainger Raitt, aged 48, born 4 July 1878 in Desoronto, Canada, and emigrated from Windsor, Canada on 1 May 1885 and arrived in Detroit the same day on an unknown vessel, petitioned for naturalization. He was living at 628 W 61st Street, Los Angeles with his wife Blanche, born 26 July 1881 near Burton, Kansas and their son George, born 1 November 1906 in Oxnard, California. The petition notes his military service - that he enlisted on 7 May 1898, and was honourably discharged on 15 Dec 1898 from  Co. 8, 6th Reg Calif, US Inf Vol. William became a citizen of the US on 4 February 1927.

In the 1930 census for 628 West 61st Street, Los Angeles, California is Wm Raitt, 51, millwright in a building construction company, 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, and working as manager of a service oil station.

In 1932 William G. Raitt, aged 53, is residing at Sawtelle, Los Angeles County, California in a home for disabled volunteer soldiers. He appears to have been admitted after an accident in which he damaged his left arm. The records of the US National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers show that he was born about 1879 in Canada, was married (wife named as Blanche Raitt and living at 628 W 61st St, Los Angeles) and had one child. He was admitted to the Pacific Branch in Sawtelle, Los Angeles County with disabilities due to an accident and dislocated left humerus. He died in  Sawtelle on 23 May 1937, aged 58. He was buried in Los Angeles National  Cemetery on 26 May 1937.

An application was made for a military veteran headstone for William on 15 June 1937. His full name is given as William Granger Raitt, but the Granger has been crossed out and the single letter G . substituted. Subsequently approved, the headstone was shipped on 16 December 1937 to the Veterans Administration Facility Cemetery in Los Angeles.

In the 1940 census, still living at 628 W 61st Street, Los Angeles , we have Blanche I. Raitt, 59, widow, born Kansas. She is in the household of her son George B. Raitt, 33, born California, working as a machinist helper; and his wife Ruth. E, 23, born Utah (both parents Illinois); and their daughter Georgia L., 5, born California. As George Broughton Raitt he married Ruth Evelyn Baer (born 25 March 1917) in July 1934 in Los Angeles. {I have not seen the original record and I wondered whether his middle name might actually have been Burton!]

George's WWII draft card, serial number 1137, order number 2669, registered 16 October 1940 gives his name as George B. Raitt, address 628 W 61 St, Los Angeles. He was 33 years old, born 1 Nov 1906 in Oxnard, California. His wife was Ruth E. Raitt, living at the same address. He was employed by Stephen Adamson Manufacturing Co. at 2227 East 37 ST, Los Angeles. Written on pencil at the left side of the card is 609½ West 62nd St - so maybe they had moved in the interim. His height was recorded as 5ft 7in and he weighed 155 lbs. His eyes were blue and he had brown hair and a light complexion.

Blanche Irene Raitt died 13 Dec 1958 in Los Angeles aged 78, while son  George B. Raitt, residing in Laytonville, Mendocino County, California died in nearby Willits on 31 May 1989, aged 83. His wife, Ruth, died in July 1985.  Daughter Georgia Lee Raitt was born in Los Angeles county on 21 November 1934. She married twice and died in 1989.

Charles Burton Raitt (1880-1931)

Charles, the other son of George and Margaret Raitt, born 1 January 1880 in Scotland at 82 Albert Street, Edinburgh (father George Hutchen Raitt, joiner journeyman (informant), mother Maggie Raitt, nee Scales married 13 Aug 1877 Kingston, Canada), was living with his father, stepmother and brother at their home at 860 F Street, San Bernardino, California in 1900.

Charles married Nettie Orisa Mee in San Bernardino on 20 November 1901. There was a piece about the wedding in the San Francisco Call for 20 November 1901 under the heading "Quarterback Raitt Quits Football Field - Is to Be Married on Saturday and Then Leaves for Manitoba to Accept a Position. Stanford University, Nov. 19.— Charles Burton Raitt, '03, star quarterback for three years on the cardinal eleven, has left college to accept a position with the Canadian Pacific Railway Company at Winnipeg, Manitoba. To fill this position, however, was not the only reason the dashing quarterback had for leaving Stanford. On Saturday of this week his wedding to Miss Nettie Mee. a former schoolmate, will occur at the home of the bride's parents, San Bernardino. Miss Mee graduated from the San Bernardino High School with the class of '98, one year previous to Raitt's graduation. The bride-to-be has been a student in the Los Angeles Normal School for nearly three years and would have graduated from that institution early next spring. She, however, gave up her studies about a month ago— at a time that corresponds with the date when "Stubb" Raitt announced his intention of quitting the university, from which intention he was persuaded by the united efforts of the football coaches and his many college friends. Miss Mee is one of the most popular and beautiful young ladies in San Bernardino."

Nettie was born on 26 September 1878 in San Bernardino and died on 17 July 1952 in Los Angeles. She appears as Nettie Mae Raitt on the FindaGrave website - but I believe this might be an error and Mee is meant!

In the 1910 census for Los Angeles Assembly District 71, Chas B. Raitt, 30, born Scotland (father born Scotland, mother Canada), was living with his wife Nettie, 31, born California (both parents born New Jersey); and their daughter Inez B., 2, born California and probably named after Nettie's sister Inez. They had been married eight years and had one child. Charles was a superintendent at a play ground.

According to the California Voter Registrations, in 1908-10, Charles was living at 2017 Violet Street, Los Angeles. No occupation or wife is mentioned, but he was a Republican. In 1912 and 1914, he and Nettie are living at 1608 Bellevue Avenue - he is a playground superintendent and they are both Republicans.

From his WWI registration card, serial number 3004, order number 1617 dated 12 September 1918, we learn that Charles Burton Raitt was living at 5552 Harold Way, Los Angeles, was 38 and had been born on 1 January 1880. His wife was named Nettie and he was a playground superintendent employed by Los Angeles City. He was of medium height and build with blue eyes and brown hair and no distinguishing marks.

In the 1920 census for Los Angeles Precinct 388, living at 1666 St Andrews Street, we find Chas B. Raitt, 40, born Scotland (father also Scotland, mother Canada); wife Nettie M., 41, born California (both parents Utah); and daughter Inez B., 12, born California. Charles immigrated in 1889 and became a citizen in 1905 - he was working as a superintendent of a city playground.

According to the California Voter Registrations for 1922. Charles B. and Nettie M. are living at 1666 N Andrews Pl in Los Angeles - he is superintendent for a city playground and is voting for Part D8, while Nettie is still Republican. In 1924, the details are the same except Charles is simply a manager. In 1930 Charles is now an engineer and back to voting Republican.

In the 1930 census still in Los Angeles at the same address are Chas B. Raitt, 50, born Scotland (emigrated 1905) working as a  recreation expert, first married at age 21; Nettie, 52, born California (both parents born Utah), first married at age 23; and daughter Inez Berte, 22, born California.

Charles died in Los Angeles on 7 August 1931, aged 51. Nettie is not yet found in the 1940 census; however, daughter 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. Inez Raitt More died in 1951.

Charles Burton Raitt was more than just a playground superintendent. He appears in a book by Hilmi Ibrahim and others entitled Pioneers in Leisure and Recreation published in 1989 by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. The book consists of brief biographies of 26 people who have contributed to the field of leisure and recreation over a span of over two thousand years. From the text we can learn quite a bit about Charles and his work and ideas.

"The city of Los Angeles in 1904 was the first to form a separate municipal recreation department with a commission to advise its operation. This department, called the Department of Playgrounds, was headed by a Stanford University graduate and athlete named Charles B. Raitt.The playgrounds of Los Angeles were fenced level lots, not turfed. Generally, there was a small shed on the grounds to house lime and athletic equipment. Indoor recreation centers were located in nine locations throughout the city.These buildings were composed of a multipurpose room (not a gymnasium), a kitchen, and several smaller rooms. The early centers contained small (less than official) bowling alleys.

     The centers were not as comprehensive as some of the South Chicago Park District examples of Jane Addams and Mary E McDowel, but were as multi-use as any found in the west. Only Oakland and Berkeley were as complete. Even though some midwestern and eastern examples were more advanced from a facility standpoint, recreation programs in these areas were "poor cousins" of the landscape architects and park authorities. Recreation programs were tolerated as a means of keeping "juvenile delinquents" (the poor and minorities) "off the streets" (actually, out of the parks).

     The Raitt administration initiated two historically significant professional recreation concepts.The first was the requirement of a college degree for recreation directors; thus, putting these people on a par with teachers in California. Secondly, the first city-owned camping facilities were developed in the nearby San Bernardino Mountains as well as in the eastern slopes of the High Sierra Nevada Mountains.

     In 1924, C. B. Rait made a grave political error. He became an outspoken supporter of what he perceived as a well-entrenched current city administration. But, a political coalition headed by George Cryder and George Dunlap, representing a group called the "Los Angeles Municipal League," favored a decentralized municipal form of government consisting of various city departments, each governed by separate commissions with considerable autonomy. It was an improvement on the commission-form of city government so popular at the turn of the century. Thus, in 1924, George Cryder was elected mayor with a substantial majority. Just prior to this, in 1923, the voters approved a $1.5 million (considerable in those days) bond issue for development of recreation and park facilities.

     Mayor Cryder formed a Board of Freeholders to draft a new city charter. The charter created several new departments: a parks department, a library department, and a department of playgrounds and recreation. Each department was to be granted a fixed budgetary allocation and a fixed property tax allocation. Each was to be governed by a commission of citizens who had the power to designate the fixed funds virtually as they pleased. R. Van Griffith, a political reporter, supporter of the freeholders, and son of the donor of Griffith Park, was appointed chair of the commission.

     At its first meeting, in 1925, C. B. Raitt was asked to resign. A nationwide search was instituted to replace him."

However, his resignation did not stop him continuing his work for in June 1929 at the request of the Council of Social Agencies of Rochester he made a survey of the recreational facilities in Rochester which was subsequently published by the Rochester Bureau of Municipal Research, Inc as A Survey of the Recreational Facilities in Rochester, New York. The 410 page comprehensive survey followed three general lines: 1) What can be accomplished immediately, with little or no additional cost; 2) What can be accomplished in the next five years of unused city-owned areas, by minor acquisitions, by increased personnel, and by more intensive use of present facilities; and 3) What can be accomplished in the next 15 to 25 years, with major acquisitions of recreation areas, coming to the city as gifts from generous citizens or by direct purchase when and if funds are available. His survey was presumably quite highly regarded for some time, because it was not until A Survey of the Character Building Agencies of Rochester, New York, was published in 1985, that a recommendation was made that the Raitt Survey of Recreational Facilities in Rochester, New York made in 1929, be brought up-to-date.