COL. WILLIAM H. SCROGGS, a well-to-do and influential farmer of Hudson Township, owns one of the finest country
estates in McLean County, and is widely and favorably known as one of its most valued citizens. Col. Scroggs was
born in Highland County, Ohio, on the 24th of November, 1835. His parents, Alexander and Lavina (Rodgers) Scroggs,
were natives of the same State. Alexander Scroggs was a farmer by occupation, and remained in his native State
until his death, which occurred in 1862.
The mother subsequently removed with some of her children to Warrensburg, Mo., where she departed this life in 1885. The parental household embraced nine children, one of whom died in infancy, and eight attained their majority. The record is as follows: James A. is a resident of Pottawatomie County, Kan.; William H., our subject; John G., of Warrensburg, Mo.; Josie, the wife of Capt. W. C. Marlatt, resides in Warrensburg, Mo.; Alexander, near Wichita, Kan.; Mary L. became the wife of Capt. James Crawford, of Greenfield, Ohio; Sadie died at the age of twenty-four years; Erskin E. lives near Warrensburg, Mo.
The subject of this sketch was the second child of his parents' family. He was reared to farming pursuits, attended the common schools, and completed his education in the Academy at South Salem, Ohio [ed., South Salem Academy in South Salem, Ohio]. After becoming a young man, in 1859, he entered Monmouth College, in Warren County, Ill., and pursued a thorough course of study for one year. He then returned to Ohio and taught school, intending to re-enter college; but when the Civil War broke out he decided to proffer his services to aid in putting down the Rebellion.
He enlisted in Company C, 81st Ohio Infantry, on the 19th of September, 1861, as a private. The regiment was equipped at Benton Barracks, Mo., and young Scroggs soon afterward was appointed First Corporal. They embarked on a river steamer the following March, at St. Louis, arriving at Pittsburgh Landing, Tenn. [ed., later known as the site of the Battle of Shiloh], on the 17th. From there the regiment moved toward Corinth [Battle of Corinth], Miss., arriving there on the 29th of May, and Mr. Scroggs was there promoted Fifth Sergeant. At the battle of Corinth he was wounded in the right arm and shoulder, and as a soothing medicine for this received the appointment of First Sergeant.
On the 1st of January, 1863, Mr. Scroggs was transferred to the 111th United States Colored Infantry, and on the 29th of January following Sergt. Scroggs received a Captain's commission. He was subsequently captured in an engagement with the rebels under Gen. N. B. Forrest, and held until Nov. 24, 1864, when he was exchanged, and joined his command at Nashville, Tenn. He was soon afterward assigned to duty as Assistant Inspector of Defences, and ordered to Murfreesboro, Tenn. In July, 1865, he was mustered as Lieutenant-Colonel, but retained on general court martial, receiving his final discharge in November, 1866.
After being relieved from his position as an Inspector of Defences, Col. Scroggs was sent to New Orleans, thence to Mobile [ed., Passing of Forst Morgan and Gaines], where he arrived the morning following the explosion of Dick Taylor's ammunition at that city. He was intending to leave New Orleans on a boat which started previously, and which, at the time of the disaster, was blown to pieces. Col. Scroggs has in his possession a fine steel engraving, in the center of which is his war record, and which was presented to him by C. B. Davis, a member of the staff of Gen. Thomas, and architect of the Soldiers' Home at Dayton, Ohio.
After his retirement from the army Col. Scroggs was assigned to duty as Assistant Superintendent of the National Cemetery at Ft. Donelson, where he remained until April, 1867. He then came north to Illinois, and purchased the farm upon which he now resides, where he has devoted his attention mostly to stock-raising. His homestead consists of 147 acres, under good cultivation, with a comfortable and substantial farm dwelling, a good barn and outhouses, and all the appliances of a first-class agriculturist and stock-raiser.
Col. Scroggs is Republican in politics, liberal in his views, making it his aim to cast his ballot for worthy men, irrespective of party. He has frequently been the incumbent of local offices, more to please his friends than to gratify his own inclinations, He is a member and the Commander of Post 611, G. A. R., and in religious matters coincides with the doctrines of the Baptist Church.
After his return from the army Col. Scroggs was married, in Warren, Pa., on the 3d of January, 1867, to Miss Harriet, the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth (Orr) Barber. Mrs. S. was born in Niagara County, N. Y., Aug. 28, 1840. Of this union there were seven children, two of whom died in infancy. Those surviving are Charles R., M. Alice, Richard E., William C. and J. Harvey. Col. Scroggs has taken particular care to give his children the advantages of a good education, so that they may become honored and useful members of society.
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), 327. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.