Margaret Scott Oliver

Margaret Scott Oliver (1879-1930). Margaret Hunter Scott was born in Scotland August 5, 1879. Her parents came to the US when she was three. Her husband, L. Stauffer Oliver was born November 29, 1879. They married May 22, 1909. They had three children: Ruth, born in Philadelphia, April 16, 1910; Margaret (Peggy Oliver Shays), born in Rose Valley, May 4, 1912, and Stephen, born in Rose Valley February 6, 1916. Margaret died on March 16, 1930 and her husband died March 4, 1966.

At the time Peggy was born, the family was living in the middle section of the Guest House. Peter and Marjorie Kolff (Elenore Abbott’s sister) were living in the right-hand section (as you face the Guest House), and Elenore and Yarnall Abbott were living in the left-hand section. The Oliver family later lived in the house above the quarry behind the Guest House when their Stephen was born, and finally, family moved to Oliver Oaks while Stephen was still a baby (1916-17).

Margaret was an actress and playwright. She was active first with the Rose Valley Players and then with Jasper Deeter’s Hedgerow Theatre. Her husband, Stauffer Oliver, owned the Guild Hall at that time. Margaret went on to act in many plays. She even acted on Broadway. Margaret wrote the script for the Hedgerow production of Alice in Wonderland, in which Peggy, her daughter, starred for 6 years, from the age of 13 to 19.

Hedgerow Theater, at that time, was called Guild Hall. The Hall was used by residents of the Valley for all their social events, as well as the many theatrical and vocal recitals and productions. Margaret, however, was very interested in having a professional theater and professional director in Rose Valley. Much to the dismay of some Valley residents, her husband, Stauffer Oliver, decided to give the use of the theater to Jasper Deeter to the exclusion of other Valley events. As a result, the Folk had no home until the 20’s when Maurice Saul rebuilt the Old Mill. When Jasper Deeter arrived, he directed Candida with some residents in the cast.

Margaret wrote several plays and also poetry, some of which was published in literary magazines of the time. She also was a an avid gardener and wrote many articles about gardening. At one point she even ran a greenhouse out of her home at Oliver Oaks.


Sources for this biography: based on a letter from Peggy Oliver Shays in June 2003