SCOTT, Owen, journalist and ex-Congressman, was born in Jackson Township, Effingham County, Ill., July 6, 1848,
reared on a farm, and, after receiving a thorough common-school education, became a teacher, and was, for eight
years, Superintendent of Schools for his native county. In January, 1874, he was admitted to the bar, but abandoned
practice, ten years later, to engage in newspaper work. His first publication was "The Effingham Democrat,"
which he left to become proprietor and manager of "The Bloomington Bulletin." He was also publisher of
"The Illinois Freemason," a monthly periodical Before removing to Bloomington he filled the offices of
City Attorney and Mayor of Effingham, and also served as Deputy Collector of Internal Revenue. In 1890 he was elected
as a Democrat from the Fourteenth Illinois District to the Fifty-second Congress. In 1892 he was a candidate for
re-election, but was defeated by his Republican opponent, Benjamin F. Funk. During the past few years, Mr. Scott
has been editor of "The Bloomington Leader." ["Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois" Transcribed
by K. Torp]
OWEN SCOTT, publisher and proprietor of the Bloomington Bulletin, is a native of Effingham County, Ill., and was
born in Jackson Township on the 6th of July, 1848. He is a son of Dr. John O. and Martha B. (Parkhurst) Scott,
of Tennessee. Dr. John O. Scott is still living in Effingham, Ill., and having been born in 1805, is consequently
now over eighty-one years of age, The mother was born one year later and is still living. The parental household
included five children.
Dr. John O. Scott came to Illinois in company with his father in 1822, when a young man of seventeen years. The
father was a soldier in the War of 1812. After his term of military service had expired he resolved to occupy himself
in farming pursuits. Dr. Scott became a highly esteemed citizen of Effingham County, and for several years was
School Commissioner, the office now known as County Superintendent, being first elected in 1842. He was a man of
fine abilities, an extensive reader, and during the winter season, among other things, applied himself to the study
of medicine, and became so interested in this, and acquired such a good knowledge of it that he commenced practice
in 1850. In this he was so successful that he abandoned the farm a few years later and took up his residence in
the city of Effingham, where he is now living in ease and retirement.
Owen Scott of this history obtained his early education in the common schools, which he attended until sixteen
years of age. He was bright and studious, fond of his books, and at the age of sixteen years commenced teaching,
his first school being near his birthplace. Here he taught twelve months in succession, the latter six of which
course of instruction was carried on in a grove out of doors. Whenever a rainstorm came on he and his pupils crawled
into a little old hut which stood near, as protection from the rain. His journey to and from the school lay about
two and one-half miles through the woods, and the pioneer pedagogue carried his gun along, by means of which he
supplied game to families at both ends of the route. He had been reared to habits of industry, and his parents,
in common with other settlers of a new country, had very little "hard cash." At one time when he was
about eleven years of age, and very much in need of a pair of boots, he took a vacation from school of one week,
and going to the woods with his dog caught rabbits, which he sold at five cents apiece, and on the following Monday
morning, bright and early, was in his place proud of the new boots.
In the course of time young Scott was enabled to realize his long-cherished plan of attending the State Normal
University at Normal, where he pursued a thorough course of study and then resumed teaching. He soon distinguished
himself as an instructor, and in 1871 became Superintendent of the Effingham City Schools, which position he finally
resigned to enter the law office of Judge S. F. Gilmore, and under whose assistance and instruction he became ready
for admission to the bar in January, 1874. In the meantime, on the 6th of November, 1$73, he was married to Miss
Nora Miser, of St. Louis, Mo. On Nov. 4, 1873, he became County Superintendent of Schools, and served eight years.
While occupied with the duties of this position he also devoted considerable time to the practice of his profession.
On the 1st of October, 1881, he purchased a half interest in the Effingham Democrat, and in a short time became
sole proprietor. He conducted the paper for about four years and then sold out.
Mr. Scott served three years as Deputy Treasurer of Effingham County, and was City Attorney of Effingham during
1877-78. In 1884 he came to Bloomington and purchased the Bulletin, which was formerly edited by John H. Oberly.
The daily Bulletin was established Feb. 8, 1881, as a daily eight-column folio paper, by the Bulletin Publishing
Company. The Bulletin is a strong Democratic paper of the Jacksonian type, and its establishment at first was largely
due to the exertions of the Democratic leaders of Bloomington. It was conducted by Mathew T. Scott, and was published
as a morning paper until 1884, when it was changed to an evening paper. Sept. 8, 1884, Owen Scott purchased the
entire interest, and has since been sole proprietor and editor. A weekly was started at the same time as the daily,
and is is-sued on Friday. It is a six-column quarto. The daily is a seven-column folio; circulation of daily about
2,100, of the weekly 3,500. It has a steam-power press and a good job and binding office. The Bulletin for so young
a journal has developed remarkable vitality. It is conducted with ability, and is the leading Democratic newspaper
in this section of the country.
Mr. Scott also publishes the Illinois Freemason, a paper which is devoted to the Masonic interests of the State.
It was established Sept. 15, 1885, and is a four-column quarto, published monthly, with a circulation of about
2,000. It is a well gotten up Masonic journal, and a credit to the city.
Mr. Scott is a Democrat in politics, a member in good standing of the A. F. & A. M., and with his wife is a
worthy member of the Baptist Church. Of the union of our subject and his wife there have been born two children
Henrietta L. and Nora F. Mary
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches
of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors
of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 637. Transcribed by
Judy Rosella Edwards.
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