John Scott Gates was the adopted son of George & Louisa (Landers) Gates of Port George, Nova Scotia. His biological parents remain unknown. He came to Danvers sometime in the late 1870s. All but one record report him born in Scotland, to parents from there too, except his death record, which reports him born in Nova Scotia, listing his adopted parents, as that was reported to the town by his widow, shortly after his death.
The earliest records of him in Danvers are from November 27, 1879, when he was marrying Ida B. Graham, preceded by their declaration of intentions to marry, recorded on that same day. She was also from Nova Scotia, the daughter of Joseph & Mary Graham. I find no record of such a family, in any publicly searchable databases. They were married by Rev. Lucian Drury, who was then pastor of the Baptist Church in Danversport. In the U.S. Federal Census for June 1st, 1880, John was listed as married, but alone, as a boarder in the house of Daniel P. and Lydia N. Pope and family, working unspecifically, as a simply laborer. In the Canadian Census for April 4, 1881, he, Ida and their daughter Cora Belle were listed with Louisa, son Amos, his wife Jane, and their children George, Samuel, Norman and Frances back in Nova Scotia in the Middleton Corner district #2, which covered Port George and other coastal villages.
The next record for John was in the Danvers section of the 1888 Salem directory. He was living on Preston Street, near Maple Street, part of the Agricultural School (Essex Technical College). Two years later, he was living at W. P. Clark’s house.