The 2nd Trench Mortar Battalion was formed in January of 1918 at Ft. Monroe, VA. In May 1918 the Battalion moved to Lee Hall, VA then to Camp Mills, NY for final preparations before sailing orders. In the latter part of May orders finally came and on May 28th the Battalion embarked aboard the Shire Line Steamer HMS Cardiganshire at Port of Embarkation Boston, MA. and sailed the next day 29th May, 1918. The HMS Cardiganshire sailed with 32 Officers and 726 enlisted men of the HQ Co., Supply Co. Batteries E & F of the 309th Field Artillery, 78th Division, and 20 Officers and 886 enlisted men of the 2nd Trench Mortar Battalion. The Cardiganshire arrived in Liverpool, England on June 12, 1918.
The Battalion went to the newly formed American Army Trench Mortar School located at Fort de la Bonnelle, an old stone fortification near the city of Langres, Haute Marne, France. From July 1st-August 3rd, 1918 Class VI was held and many of the Officers of the Second Battalion were trained.
Two Battalions of Heavy 240mm Trench Mortars the 1st and the 2nd Trench Mortar Battalions, have seen much action and have served as trench artillery as well as infantry. During September 17-November 16, 1918 the Battalion was with the US IV Corps in the Toul Sector and Thiaucourt Zone. During Post-Armistice activities the Battalion saw duty with the US VI Corps. The Battalion used the Heavy 240mm Mortars and the French 95mm Mortars. The Battalion returned to the States in April of 1919 and went to Camp Upton, New York where they were demobilized that same month.
When the 2nd TM Bn sailed to Liverpool, the commanding officer was Major Richard P. Beirne, and 1st Lt. Sealand W. Landon, Jr. was second in command. The officers and senior non-commissioned officers of the Battalion were as follows:
1st Lt. William B. Jones
1st Lt. Phannell B. Covell
1st Lt. Lewis C. Jackson
2nd Lt. Harry V. Ryder
Battalion Sgt. Major Gene C. Aiken
Captain Walter R. Cox
1st Lt. Carl B. Moore
2nd Lt. Fred P. Wood
1st Sgt. William E. Caston
Captain John D. Ong
1st Lt. Edward H. Holmes
1st Lt. Charles A. Dixon
1st Sgt. Charles D. Jones
Captain James R. Stewart
1st Lt. James A. L. Harris
2nd Lt. Robert H. Mennies
1st Sgt. Jesse C. Harris
1st Lt. Frank E. Nagel
1st Lt. Linton C. McAfee
Eugene Jennings Sands was born on May 29 1899 likely in Newark, New Jersey to Charles H. and Henrietta Sands. The Sands family home in April of 1910 was located on Belleville Ave in Newark where Charles worked as a Blacksmith to support his family. Charles was born about 1860 in New Jersey. Both of his parents were born in New York. Eugene’s mother Henrietta was born about 1860 also in New Jersey and her father was born in Ireland and her mother was born in Maine.
Charles and Henrietta were married about 1889 and Henrietta had five children in April of 1910 of which sons Luadwell A., (Born about 1894) Charles jr, (Born about 1898) and Eugene J. were living at home in the Belleville Avenue home. Also in the home was a boarder, a 56-year old single woman named Francis Hayden. She was born in Massachusetts and worked as a saleslady in a store.
The home on Belleville Avenue may have been a 3 family dwelling as on the Federal Census there are 3 families listed at the address of 120 Belleville Avenue. Between the 3 families there were a total of 4 boarders living there also.
Eugene entered the Army during WWI and served in Battery B, 2nd Trench Mortar Battalion, C.A.C. According to information provided by the family, Eugene may have been gassed while in France. It is not known at which battle or to what extent he was gassed. After he was mustered out of the Army in 1919 he returned to the Newark, NJ area. He lived with his older sister and her husband at 107 Third Street in Ward 15 of Newark. In January of 1920 Eugene was single and worked as a clerk for an emulsion company. The head of the home was Hugh McDonald and his wife, Eugene’s sister Isabelle (born about 1885). Hugh and Isabelle had 3 children as of January 1920, Evelyn, Isabelle and Hugh, the later two being named after their parents. Hugh worked as a chauffeur for a local wire company in Harrison, NJ.
About 1927 Eugene met and married his wife Hazel. She was born about 1901 in New Jersey where her father was born in New Jersey and her mother in Connecticut. Eugene and Hazel in April of 1930 lived in a rented home, in which the rent was $45 per month, at 708 Jersey Street in Harrison, Hudson County, New Jersey. They were able to afford one of the few luxuries of the day, which was a radio set. Eugene and Hazel had also started a family and had two sons, the eldest was named Eugene after his father, was born on August 24th of 1928. The youngest sons name was Treadwell, who was born sometime after the 1930 Federal Census Also living in the home was Eugene’s widowed father 70-year old Charles Sands. Eugene worked as a Chauffeur for a wire company in Harrison, NJ. He may have gotten this job through his brother-in-law Hugh McDonald, who also had the same job ten years before.
Eugene Jennings Sands lived the rest of his life in New Jersey and when he passed away in September of 1967 he was living in Kearny, Hudson County, New Jersey.
Caption reads; "Battery B, 2nd Trench Mortar Battalion, A.E.F. 1918-1919" Photo was dated 21 April 1919 and was taken at Camp Upton, NY.
Pvt. Lynn F. Simmons sailed with the Battery D, 2nd TM Bn on May 29, 1918. At some point Pvt. Simmons transferred to the 1st TM Bn, Battery D. According to is discharge papers it shows that he participated in the Argonne Forrest 26-30 September, 1918 and Battle of Meuse from Oct. 31-Nov. 7, 1918. From this information I believe that he was with the 1st TM Bn at this point as the 2nd TM Bn did not participate in these engagements but the 1st TM Bn did. Pvt. Simmons returned to the States with Battery D, 1st TM Bn. The Battalion Left France on 12 February aboard the US Battleship USS Virginia and arrived back to the States at Newport News, VA on February 28th, 1919 and were being demobilized during March of 1919 at Camp Upton, NY. It was noted by Dottie Piechocki that her grandfather Pvt. Simmons along with several others were quarantined with scarlet fever for 2 weeks and couldn't leave the ship after they had reached port at Newport News.
Dottie Piechocki contacted me about her grandfather Lynn Fred Simmons. She supplied the information about her grandfather.
Corporal Herbert Welsh Evans Poinsett was a member of Battery D, 2nd Trench Mortar Battalion and he kept a diary which contains some of his experiences with this unit while he was in France. His son Ben Poinsett now has his fathers diary, honorable discharge and his promotion to corporal certificate. Herbert Welsh Evans Poinsett was born 4 March 1893. Poinsett originally joined a New Jersey National Guard C.A.C unit and apparently wound up in Battery D, 2nd Trench Mortar Battalion C.A.C. Cpl. Poinsett was a National Guardsman not a regular. Obviously, the 2nd Trench Mortar Battalion apparently contained a mix of regulars and National Guardsmen. This was cause for problems that Cpl. Poinsett relates in his diary. Cpl. Poinsett in his diary refers to the guns they had as "French 95's." His diary does contain some information on some of the engagements that he was involved in. Specifically: dates, time, and number of rounds fired. He indicates the last firing on November 11, 1918 at 10:30 A.M. to 10:56 A.M. 200 rounds. Battery D's commander was Captain Stewart which, Cpl. Poinsett did not like his very well. Cpl. Poinsett lost his corporal stripes because of this officer. Cpl. Poinsett claimed, in his diary it was because he was an National Guardsman. Cpl. Poinsett was Honorably Discharged in 1919.
Ben F. Poinsett supplied information on his father, Corporal Herbert Welsh Evans Poinsett.
During the Second World War there were several famous actors who served their respective Countries in wartime. In America, unquestionably the most famous of the actors who served during the Second World War is Audie Murphy. But for those American Actors, during the First World War in 1917-18, who would serve their Country in wartime, very little is known. There are several reasons for this, talking films had only recently began to become popular, and many of the men who would serve during the First World War had not yet become actors but would do so after the war in the 1930’s.
There are only but a handful of well-known actors who served in the First World War, such as Humphrey Bogart who served in the United States Navy; Buster Keaton who served with the U. S. Army, 40th Division in France; Walter Brennan who was a Corporal who served two years in France with Battery C of the 101st Field Artillery; the famous director William Wellman who served with the French Foreign Legion and later as a fighter pilot with the French Lafayette Flying Corps with 3-kills and 5-probables to his name before being shot down himself; and Randolph Scott who served in the U. S. Army with the 2nd Trench Mortar Battalion, CAC, also in France.
The study of actor Randolph Scott is a study of an American Hero and is well worth remembering what he and his fellow actors did in the defense of the United States and for the perpetual cost of the price of Freedom worldwide. Scott raised his hand and took the oath to defend his country, put on the uniform and took up arms, ready to give his life if the cost in blood for the price of freedom would have demanded payment of his life from him. And for that and all who wear the uniform entitles him to be a true American Hero.
Randolph Scott’s real name was actually George Randolph Scott, and at a very early age he used his middle name of Randolph more than his actual first name of George. Being that Randolph’s father was also named George, likely in the family it was just much easier to refer to the younger George by his middle name of Randolph. And so, for the rest of his life he used the name of Randolph. To family and friends, he was known as simply “Randy.”
Randolph Scott was born on January 23, 1898 to Lucille Lavinia Crane Scott (1871-1958) and George Grant Scott (1869-1936). The Lucy and George Scott home at the time of Randolph’s birth, was located at 312 W. Tenth Ave. in Charlotte, North Carolina, but several days before Randolph’s birth Lucy his mother, had traveled from Charlotte, NC to Orange County, Virginia, to visit her family, as she and George Grant were both born in Virginia. Orange County, Virginia is roughly 300-miles north-east of Charlotte, and it was while there that Lucy gave birth to George Randolph.
But according to the Orange County, Virginia Courthouse there is no official record of George Randolph Scott being born there. Later in life when George Randolph Scott applied for a United States Passport, Scott had signed his name to the document stating that “I solemnly swear that I was born at Charlotte, in the state of North Carolina, on or about the 23rd day of January, 1898…” Being that the Scott family was then an influential North Carolina family it was almost like he needed to keep true to the family and not let it be known he was a “Virginian” by birth.
The first child born to Lucy and George Grant Scott was a daughter named Lucile C. in 1892; then George Randolph in 1898; another daughter named Catherine in 1899; a third daughter named Virginia in 1903; a son named Joseph Crane in 1905 and lastly a fourth daughter named Barbara in 1916.
Randolph’s father George Grant, was a financial officer in a textile company that made pants and clothing in the Charlotte area. Randolph Scott grew up in a family that was upper-middle class and according to the 1900 Federal Census, George Grant employed two colored servants in the home. Rose Kelly who was a 31-year old widow worked for the family as a nurse helping Lucy raise the six children; and Lizzie Boys who was 20-years old worked as the cook for the family.
Present day photo of the Scott home at 312 West 10th Ave. in Charlotte, NC. The front door is just to the right of the trees.
The Scott family home for many years was at 312 W. Tenth Ave. in Charlotte, NC, and today the home still stands, well preserved. The home was a row house, very narrow and two stories, each home connected to the next home. The Scott home was the 7th home back from the corner of West Tenth Avenue and North Poplar Street.
Randolph Scott’s father George Grant Scott was a very influential certified public accountant in North Carolina and in fact drafted North Carolina’s first certified public accountant law and served as the chairman of the North Carolina State Board of Accountancy. The Scott family was of some affluence and as such Randolph Scott was able to attend private school instead of public school. That private school would be the Woodberry Forest School, which was an all-male boarding school located in Woodberry Forest, Virginia. There at Woodberry Forest they taught a strict Code of Honor, and Randolph Scott was a man who lived a personal code of honor during his life.
The Scott family was then a North Carolina family but Randolph Scott would be educated in the State of Virginia, the location that both of his parents’ roots had come from. Virginia would be as much a part of Randolph’s roots as North Carolina was.
The Woodberry Forest school had been founded in 1889 by Captain Robert Stringfellow Walker, who had been a member of the 43rd Battalion Virginia Cavalry, which was known as Mosby's Rangers during the Civil War. And so, Randolph Scott’s early education and formative years would impart onto the young Scott plenty of Southern charm and traits that would serve him well throughout his life. And as such young Randolph received the skills that would lead him through the rest of his life. Randolph learned how to deal with people and he was also a very good athlete, which also gave him the confidence to stand on his own two feet and become a leader. He would develop the skill that whatever situation he found himself in, he could adapt to it and make it count. This skill would come in handy when later he would enter the Army and for when he became an actor. And through it all Randolph always was a gentleman in whatever he did.
But growing up there was always a spark deep within Randolph, a spark for adventure. At Woodberry Forest, Randolph was very active, playing football and singing in the glee club. Friends came easy to the likeable Randy Scott, and he had many friends there at Woodberry Forest. One friend was Andrew H. Harriss, Jr., who became almost as a real brother to Randy Scott. It was common that while not in session at Woodberry Forest during the summer, Randy Scott would slip away from the family in Charlotte, NC and show up at the Harriss home at Wrightsville Beach, which was on the Atlantic coast near Wilmington. It was said that the time Randy and Andrew would spend sailing and swimming at Wrightsville Beach was just as important as any school activity at Woodberry Forest. In fact, Randy Scott had a permanent bed for him in Andrew’s bedroom and was the unofficial sixth Harriss brother.
That spark for adventure that always lay just under the surface of Randy Scott’s life came to the surface during the summer of 1916. While on spring break at Woodberry Forest the then 18-year old Randy Scott and 17-year old Andrew Harriss had developed a plan of adventure. At the time the United States Army was chasing Pancho Villa down in Mexico and the team of Scott and Harriss had felt that it was a good idea for them to join the army and go and help them capture Pancho Villa instead of going back to school at Woodberry Forest. But the pair instead had been assigned to the Coast Artillery Corps of the Army and assigned to duty in a North Carolina National Guard unit. But once their parents found out about the plan they were both soon enough back at Woodberry Forest and lectured for being irresponsible young men. It is interesting that from this spark of adventure of chasing Pancho Villa, that Andrew Harriss would make a career out of the army ending his career as a General in the Army.
When America declared War on Germany and the Central Powers in April of 1917, Randolph Scott had just turned 19-years old that January. Within 4-months of the declaration of war, Randolph Scott on July 20, 1917 enlisted into the North Carolina Coast Artillery, National Guard. Now Randolph and his best friend Andrew H. Harriss, Jr., who was already in the army by that time, were now serving together in the North Carolina Coast Artillery, National Guard.
Harriss who at the time was already a Corporal and was serving at Fort Caswell, NC, as an artillery observer, somehow managed to get the new recruit, Randy Scott, as his understudy in the artillery observer job. The pair found it was much like how Harriss, during the summers at Wrightsville Beach, had taught Scott to handle a sailboat.
Randolph Scott found that he could excel at army life just as easily as he could at Woodberry Forest. And by October 22, 1917, Scott was promoted to the rank of Corporal, and again to Sergeant on February 9, 1918. The rapidity at which Scott was promoted is attributed to his character and his ability to handle himself. During this time in the American Army, which was being increased in size very quickly, the Regular Army officers were always on the lookout for men such as Randolph Scott. The Army needed men who were of Scotts ability and were keen to advance such men. At the time many of the men filling the enlisted ranks of the American Army barely could read and write, likely had never been out of the county of their birth and were not used to taking orders or how to even carry out orders in some cases. So, when a man like Randolph Scott came along the Army put them to good use. Scott was just then 20-years old making him in the younger age group of men then serving, as most men during the First World war were between two and five years older than Scott. So, even at his young age, Scott was a rising star.
On May 10, 1918, Sgt. Scott and Andrew Harriss who had also been promoted to Sergeant, were transferred into the newly forming 2nd Trench Mortar Battalion, Coast Artillery Corps. Both Sergeants Scott and Harriss were serving in Battery B of the 2nd TM Bn.
For the United States Army, the Trench Mortar Battalions were a completely new type of unit. Because of the style of warfare then going on in the battlefields of France the U. S. Army had to adapt to the current style of “Trench Warfare” which meant new ways of conducting the art of war. The Coast Artillery was used to handling large fixed guns in fortified locations but now they were asked to adapt and change their craft of war to fit the present situation in France.
The Coast Artillery Corps had already raised the 1st Trench Mortar Battalion and was already in France when the 2nd Trench Mortar Battalion was formed in early May of 1918. The 1st TM Bn would see much action at the front lines during the war. These two battalions would use the 240mm Newton Mortars. They were a British design and fired a 6-inch mortar round.
The weapon was a fairly simple weapon made of a one-piece steel tube with a smooth bore of about 57-inches in length, with a "striker stud" inside the center of the closed base of the tube. The mortarman then dropped the 52-pound cast-iron fin-stabilized high explosive bomb down the tube striking the pin which fired the round out the end of the tube as the mortarmen stood less than 2-3 feet away from the business end of the mortar. If Adventure was what Sgt. Scott and Harriss wanted they sure had it now.
On May 28, 1918, the 2nd TM Bn, CAC was then at the docks in Boston Harbor and were then loading aboard the British ship the SS Cardiganshire. The next day the Cardiganshire with the entire 2nd Trench Mortar Battalion steamed out of Boston Harbor bound for France. What awaited Sergeants Scott and Harriss when they arrived in France was unknown, but whatever it was, they would face it together.
As each man boarded the ship they had to list a relative who could be reached in case of an emergency. That likely meant to them who to notify in case the ship was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat. Sgt. Randolph Scott or Sgt. George R. Scott as he was known by the army, listed his father George G. Scott of 312 W. Tenth Ave, Charlotte, NC. Harriss listed his mother Mary Harriss of 609 Dock Street in Wilmington, NC. On the passenger list of the sailing of the Cardiganshire, Sgt. Harriss Service No. 718166 is the 11th man listed in Battery B and Sgt. Scott Service No. 717447 is the 13th man listed in Battery B.
The Cardiganshire arrived in Liverpool, England on June 12, 1918. Shortly after they made their way to the coast of the English Channel and made the crossing at night with the men crowded into smaller steamers that raced across the channel at night. Night crossings of the English Channel to Le Havre, France was done so as to afford the safety of the cover of the night from lurking German U-boats.
Once in France the 2nd TM Bn, CAC did not go into action on the front lines. Instead they went to the newly formed American Army Trench Mortar School located at Fort de la Bonnelle, an old stone fortification near the city of Langres, Haute Marne, France. From July 1st-August 3rd, 1918 Class number 6 was held and many of the Officers and enlisted men of the 2nd Trench Mortar Battalion were trained.
According to various different sources of the history of Randolph Scott, Sgt. George R. Scott, as he was known in the army, is listed to have served in the “2nd Trench Mortar Battalion, 19th Field Artillery.” This is true about the “2nd Trench Mortar Battalion” as there are official documents that place both Sgt. George R. Scott and Sgt. Andrew H. Harriss, Jr. in the 2nd Trench Mortar Battalion, CAC. But where the “19th Field Artillery” statement comes from is a bit of a mystery.
Both the “2nd TM Bn” and the “19th Field Artillery” were units that did serve in France during WWI. And Both were two separate different units that were never associated with each other. The 2nd TM Bn, CAC was a unit that would have served as an independent Trench Mortar Battalion attached to an Army or Army Corps when in combat at the front lines. Whereas the 19th Field Artillery regiment was part of the 5th Field Artillery brigade, which was part of the U. S. 5th Division.
The only possible connection Sgt. George R. Scott could have had between these two separate units could have been that during the 2nd TM Bn training period at Langres, France, Sgt. Scott and Sgt. Harriss as Artillery Observers could have been temporarily assigned to duty with the 19th Field Artillery as observers in training while the 19th was on the battle front during the St. Mihiel operations September 12-16, 1918.
In the Book “Battleship A Daring Heiress, A Teenage Jockey, And America’s Horse.” written by Dorothy Ours, it describes how Sgt. Scott and Sgt. Harriss “served as forward observers for the 2nd Trench Mortar Battalion, 19th Field Artillery.” Dorothy Ours writes how both Sgt. Scott and Harriss shared a “bomb-proof” shelter at the front lines observing artillery shots, while under fire from the Germans. When a round was fired they would watch where it hit and then using hand figured trigonometry solutions, would signal back to the gun crews with a correction to the next shots.
There is no doubt but to believe this is true as years later in 1988, General Andrew H. Harriss, Jr. wrote in the Summer 1988 edition of the Woodberry Forest Alumni magazine a piece entitled “Recalling Randolph Scott ‘17” in which these same stories are backed up.
But back home in the summer of 1918, George Grant Scott was doing his best to get his son back home. George Grant had the connections and influence to have a North Carolina Senator to nominate Sergeant George Randolph Scott for admission into the United States Military Academy at West Point. But in France Sgt. George R. Scott remained on duty and stayed with his friend Sgt. Harriss. After the war neither Scott or Harriss ever spoke of the things they saw or did while in France.
But when the guns fell silent on November 11, 1918, it marked a time when the two boyhood friends would separate. Sgt. George R. Scott who was then 21-years old was allowed to enroll into the Artillery Officers School at Loire Valley, but Sgt. Harris being a year younger was not allowed and returned to the States with the 2nd TM Bn, CAC. Sgt. George R. Scott remained in France and attended the Artillery Officers School.
Scott remained in France until May, of 1919 presumably at the Officers School. On May 23, 1919, Sgt. George R. Scott boarded the SS Pannonia at Marseilles, France and steamed past the Straits of Gibraltar and out into the Atlantic for home. Scott was sailing with a Casual Company named the St. Aignan Casual Company No. 4476, Special Discharge. Casual Companies were formed for the express purpose of gathering un-assigned men together as a unit for transportation back home to the States after the war. The St. Aignan Casual Company No. 4476 would have been named this as St. Aignan, was the town in France where they were gathered at. Once the company was formed and the men were all together they were moved to Marseilles, France where they boarded the SS Pannonia. The phrase of “Special Discharge” associated with the name of the Casual Company is likely there as this company of men were men who had special orders or duties back in the States or were men who were going to be released from duty for one reason or another.
This is purely a guess but if Sgt. Scott’s father was able to get a nomination from a Senator to be admitted to West Point surely, he could get a special discharge from the Army for his son. But no matter what the reason was, Sgt. Scott had a ticket for home.
Likely on the 13-day trip westward across the Atlantic, that down in his bunk aboard the Pannonia, George R. Scott had to now figure what his next step in life would be. Now separated from his good friend Andrew Harriss, Scott had to continue on without him. Although Harriss and Randolph Scott would remain good friends for the rest of their lives gone were the closeness of the summer days sailing and the bond of brothers-in-arms.
Sgt. George R. Scott landed in New York Harbor on June 6, 1919, and went to Camp Mills, New York where he was given an Honorable Discharge from Active Duty on June 13, 1919.
For the rest of the summer of 1919 Randy Scott spent his time re-uniting with old Virginia friends. One of the friends was a 25-year old single woman named Marion duPont. She was on the hunt for a husband while helping her father run the Montpelier horse farm. But for Randy Scott, he was not going to become a husband to Miss duPont, for that would come 17-years later in 1936. Randy Scott was already bound for a college, attending Georgia Tech.
Marion duPont was the daughter of William duPont Sr., and great-granddaughter of Éleuthère Irénée duPont de Nemours, the founder of the E. I. duPont de Nemours and Company. Marion had that summer of 1925 had found her husband and married Tom Somerville, and oddly enough, Randolph Scott would serve as best man at their wedding.
The football team at Georgia Tech was a powerhouse and had the National Title to their name in 1917. Randy Scott had his eye on being on the Georgia Tech football team. In the fall of 1919, Scott arrived at Grant Field and showed his talents to the legendary coach John Heisman, the man for whom the Heisman Trophy is named after. Through his size and speed backed up with his determination, Scott earned a spot playing for coach Heisman.
But within the next year Randolph Scott would face possibly for the first time in his life something he could not adapt to and make good. Scott suffered a back injury while playing football during the 1920 season and would not recover enough to play again. Now he changed his course and attended the University of North Carolina, studying general business. Likely a subject that made his father very happy.
Randolph Scott always the adventurer entered into a period in his life that changed directions several times. During his twenties, Randolph Scott only stayed at the University of North Carolina for a year, took a job at his father’s auditing firm the Scott, Charnley & Co., of Charlotte, that did not last very long before he convinced his father to let him travel to Europe. About October 26, 1922, Randolph Scott boarded an Anchor Line ship the 16,991-ton ocean liner SS Tuscania, which was bound for Europe where Scott would tour France, Italy and Switzerland for the next 6-months.
This was George Randolph Scott’s 1922 United States Passport photo.
After his time abroad in Europe, Scott came back to North Carolina and joined a Freemason Lodge in Charlotte. In 1926 he took more time off and sojourned the State of Florida in 1926, and experienced the Great Miami Hurricane in September of 1926 first hand as it caused great destruction of the state of Florida.
After that experience he returned once again to Charlotte and continued in the study of Freemasonry. Through this study Scott came away with the thought to “Always look for the good in all and make allowances for others’ shortcomings… and to trust in the Supreme Architect to lead us to friendship, morality and brotherly love.”
Scott’s adventure spark ignited another fire with him and he left North Carolina once again. Always one to make a new friend Randy Scott took off to Southern California with his new friend Francis Jackson Heath or more commonly known as “Smiling Jack” who was a Southern Amateur Golf Champion. Both Jack and Randy had golf in common, and they had met when one of Jack’s older half-brothers had eloped with Randy Scotts sister Virginia.
At the time Randolph Scott was on the doorstep of turning 30-years old. This would be the turning point in his life, now 1927 would be the year that Randolph Scott would find himself in a new part of the country and would be able to adapt and make it count.
When he and Smiling Jack arrived in California, they had a letter of introduction written by Randolph Scott’s father in hand. This letter of introduction was given to Ella Rice Hughes, who George Grant Scott had been acquainted with. Ella’s husband was none other than Howard Hughes, who loved to play golf. Golf was the bond that brought Smiling Jack, Randolph Scott and Howard Hughes together. After a round of golf one day Hughes invited Smiling Jack and Randolph Scott to a tour of a movie studio. While there by chance both Smiling Jack and Randolph Scott were able to dress as army officers as extras on the set of the movie “Sharp Shooters.” This was a role Scott knew how to play. From that moment on George Randolph Scott became the actor Randolph Scott of countless westerns and other movies. And the rest, as they say, is history.
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