Starting out in life with the desire of leaving a record behind him of actions and deeds that should benefit mankind, Leonard K. Scroggin, perhaps the oldest native resident of Central Illinois, achieved not only his great desire, but also that substantial success which almost invariably comes to those who follow the simple rules of rigid honesty in deeds and words and who are not afraid of work. He resolved that he would never tell a lie and those of his lifelong friends who are left know he has kept his resolve. Another resolve was that he would never acquire a debt which he could not pay, and this, too, is a resolve he has ever kept, as his substantial increase in wealth has shown, nearly all his holdings being farming or city properties, all of which are without encumbrance. Of the earlier settlers of the state few are left who knew it as a territory, yet Mr. Scroggin was born just one month after it became a state and he has been an active participant in its development. He was born in Gallatin county, Illinois, January 25, 1819, being the eldest child in a family of ten children born to Carter T. and Phoebe (Shelby) Scroggin, pioneer settlers of the territory.
Carter T. Scroggin was a son of Humphrey Scroggin, of Kentucky, who was, in the language of an early historian, "one of the boys of '76 who did service in George Washington's colonial armies, his home the colony of North Carolina, and was at Yorktown to look with pleasure on the thousands of Cornwallis' redcoats as they laid down their arms." Carter Scroggin married Phoebe Shelby in the territory of Illinois in 1818. He passed away in the sixty-fourth year of his age in 1859. His wife followed him seventeen years later, being in her eightieth year lacking one month at the time of her death. Mr. Scroggin was of Welsh descent as was his wife, who was a native of Tennessee. He followed farming all his life and at the time of his death owned over six hundred acres of land. He was a man of decided strength of character and of rigid honesty and was one of the leading men of the community in which he lived.
Leonard K. Scroggin worked upon his father's farm during his boyhood days, acquiring an education through the medium of the subscription schools, which were the only schools in vogue at that time. Until he was married he remained with his parents, assisting them in the development of their farm which they had secured under land patents from the government when first they came to settle in the new western territory. It was in the month of March, 1841, that Leonard K. Scroggin and Laving Buckles were united in marriage. She was a daughter of Robert and Mary Buckles, natives of Tennessee, who had come into Illinois in early pioneer days. She was the fifth child in a family of thirteen children and was born in this state in 1825. To this union there was born a family of ten children. The eldest, Alfred C., was born in May, 1842, and married Miss Frances Phillips, a native of Illinois. They now make their home in Logan county and are the parents of three children, all of whom are married. Mary, born in November, 1843, became the wife of William Gasaway, of Illinois, and the mother of three children. She died in Sumner county, Kansas. Angeline, born in 1845, married John Rothwell, of Mount Pulaski, and is the mother of two sons and two daughters. Eveline, born in 1847, married George Veal of this state and became the mother of one child. Her death occurred five years after here marriage. Annie, born in 1849, married John Wells of this state and died in 1906. She was the mother of one child. Armanda J., born in October, 1852, married Martin Luther Turley, who now lives in Kansas and she is the mother of three children. Sarah Ellen, born in 1857, married W. G. Whittle, of Mount Pulaski township, and died in 19o6. She had two children. Susan, born in 1859, married Henry Suttle, of Kenney, Illinois, where she now resides. She is the mother of three children. L. B. Scroggin, born in 186o, married Grace Lyttle, a daughter of a prominent family of Illinois. They live in Arkansas and have no children. Benjamin F., born in 1863, married Arthilda Gasaway, of this state, and lives in Nebraska. He is the father of three children. Mrs. Lavina Scroggin passed away in January, 1863, following the birth of her youngest son.
In March, 1864, Mr. Scroggin married Mrs. Rhoda A. Pickering, the widow of Thomas Pickering, by whom she had a daughter, Mrs. Mary E. Maurie, who is now a widow and makes her home with Mr. and Mrs. Scroggin. Four children were born of the second marriage, namely: George C., born April 15, 1865, died in infancy. Thomas A., born in 1867, now lives in Mount Pulaski. He wedded Mary Wisenberger and had five children, four of whom are still living. Hubert W., born in April, 1871, married Luella Shoup, by whom he had two children, and his death occurred in July, 1894. Edna K., born in 1876, is the wife of A. L. Anderson, an attorney of Lincoln, and they have two children.
Mrs. Scroggin, who bore the maiden name of Rhoda A. Girtman, was born in Lake Fork township, this county, on the 6th of October, 1835, and comes of German ancestry. Her parents, George and Mary A. Girtman, were among the pioneer settlers of Logan county, first locating in Mount Pulaski, where they entered land which was later purchased by Carter Scroggin. Later they took up their abode in Lake Fork township, there spending the remainder of their lives.
After his first marriage, in 1841, Mr. Scroggin located upon land which he had entered from the government in Mount Pulaski township, having secured forty acres of prairie land and a like amount of timber land. Since that time he has resided upon this property and as time has passed he has steadily added to his possessions, so that he now has ten hundred and twenty acres of very valuable farming land on sections 26, 27, 34 and 35, Mount Pulaski township. Although almost ninety-two years of age he still oversees the operation of this vast farm and attends to his various other business interests, which are extensive. He is a man of remarkable business ability and through his own well directed efforts has become one of the wealthiest men of central Illinois. In Logan and adjoining counties he owns forty-five hundred acres of very valuable land; has ten thousand acres in Canada and the same amount in Minnesota; four thousand acres in Nebraska; two thousand acres in Kansas; one thousand acres in Missouri; and three hundred and twenty acres in Indiana.
This vast estate has been acquired by following the dictates of his sound business instincts and the motto which he made early in life: Never tell a lie and never acquire a debt that could not be paid. It is a splendid record-one of which anyone might well feel proud. Yet Mr. Scroggin thinks not so much of the wealth he has acquired as of the means whereby it has come, maintaining always that the modern methods of acquiring wealth, some of which are questionable, give no pleasure to the possessor if one has wronged his fellowmen in securing it. In his younger days he knew Lincoln, Douglas, Baker, Logan and still others who made history in the last half century, and among such men as these he learned the lessons of life which have stood him in good stead throughout his long and honorable life. In 1872 he founded the Scroggin Bank of Mount Pulaski and is yet identified with that institution. A lifelong democrat, he has always voted for the candidate of that party at every presidential election since Buchanan. But once did he bolt the ticket and that was during the first campaign of the advocate of free silver, when he voted with those supporting the gold standard. With his wife. Mr. Scroggin is a member of the Christian church of Mount Pulaski and the lives of the couple are actuated by their Christian belief and they are worthy recipients of the esteem in which both are held.
Source: Skinner, Lawrence B., History of Logan County, Vol. II, [Chicago: Pioneer Publishing Company, 1911] p. 5-8
Leonard K. Scroggin is the third great grandfather of Cheryl Rothwell