The Westcott Family


The Westcott family moved to Springfield from Richmond, Indiana in 1903, when Burton took a prominent position with the newly established American Seeding Machine Company. Similar to the International Harvester merger of the same period, this new corporation brought together some of the top leaders in implement manufacturing. 

Burton Westcott

Burton Westcott (1868-1926) was one of Springfield's most prominent citizens. From 1916 to 1922 he served on the Springfield Town Council and in 1921 was elected its president, a position equivalent to mayor. He was also a director of the Lagonda National Bank and a member of the Springfield Country Club. 

Born in Richmond, Indiana, Westcott was the son of John W. Westcott, founder and president of the Hoosier Drill Company, a noted manufacturer of farm implements and the Westcott Carriage Company. Burton took an interest in both businesses. Educated at DePauw and Swarthmore, he became treasurer of the Hoosier Drill Company, which in 1903 merged with several other firms to create the American Seeding Machine Company. Its executive offices were located in Springfield. Burton Westcott served as its treasurer for the next twenty-one years.

After the sudden death of Westcott's wife, his own health declined. He died at his Springfield home January 10, 1926.

Orpha Leffler Westcott

(1877-1923) was one of Springfield's most prominent and progressive women. She joined her husband in a host of community activities, and she took an active role in the affairs of the community that was her home for the rest of her life. She was a member of the Springfield Country Club and Covenant Presbyterian Church. She was said to be an independent and innovative woman, interested in the modern, the beautiful, and the unusual. In 1911 she took the Westcotts' children to Europe, where she continued to pursue a variety of interests that reflected her creative and independent spirit.

Her son, John, attended the first Montessori School in Italy, receiving his instruction personally from Maria Montessori. A few years later, she helped him with the pursuit of another modern innovation: short-wave radio. Ironically and fortunately, the family was to return from Europe on the maiden voyage of the White Star liner Titanic, but when John fell ill, the family decided to return at a later date, by another boat.

On April 12, 1923, following what should have been a routine sinus operation, Orpha Westcott died suddenly in Philadelphia. The tragedy stunned both her family and her friends. Funeral services were held for her in the living room of her beautiful home on East High Street. A few years later Burton Westcott's services were held there also.