Biography of Thomas Scarcliff
Buchanan County, IA Biographies





Thomas Scarcliff is one of the most venerable citizens of Independence, having passed the eighty sixth milestone on life's journey. He first visited the city in 1851 and later he took up his permanent abode here, since which time he has been actively identified with its growth and development. At the present time he is vice president of the Peoples National Bank. The success which came to him in former years now enables him to live retired with an income sufficient to supply all of his needs and his wishes. England numbers him among her native sons, his birth having occurred in Dunston parish, near Lincoln, in Lincolnshire, February 11, 1828 His parents were Henry and Eleanor (Hurton) Scareliff, also natives of the same locality, the former born in 1793 and the latter in 1791. Henry Searcliff always made farming his life work. He brought his family to America about 1865 and settled first in Rock county, Wisconsin. He afterward purchased a farm nine miles from Janesville and thereon continued for a number of years, after which he took up his abode in the city of Janesville, where he lived retired to the time of his demise. His wife died some years before, when about sixty seven years of age.

Thomas Scareliff was the fifth in order of birth in a family of six children. He attended school in his native country and at the age of nineteen years crossed the Atlantic to the new world, making his way to Batavia, New York, where he worked in a hotel. He was afterward employed as a clerk in Janesville, Wisconsin, entering the service of Smith & Clarke, dealers in dry goods, with whom he continued for about two years, receiving a hundred dollars for one years' service. In 1851 he first came to Independence, making the trip with horse and buggy across the country, but remained for only two nights at Independence. He then went to Janesville, Wisconsin, where he remained until the following spring. At that time he went to Warren, Illinois, by rail, thence by stage to Galena and on by boat to Dubuque. During that trip, while at Warren, he was compelled to sleep on the floor of the depot, as no other quarters could be secured. From Dubuque he traveled to Independence by farm wagon. He had previously entered two hundred and forty acres of land adjoining the town of Independence and upon his return he purchased forty acres on the south side of Main street, for which he paid four hundred and fifty dollars. This he afterward laid out in town lots. This forty acre tract constitutes the southeastern part of the city and he has sold out the entire tract. The former purchase he also improved and has sold practically all of it for good prices. A part of this has been laid off in town lots and constitutes the eastern section of the city. In addition to dealing in real estate he engaged in the grain business and at two times had corn cribs a quarter of a mile in length and sixteen feet in width along the track. He sold his corn at Dubuque and on two different occasions he shelled and shipped over ninety thousand bushels. He shipped the second car load of grain ever sent over the Illinois Central Railroad from this point. Before the building of the railroad he at one time purchased eighteen hundred bushels of wheat at forty two and a half cents per bushel, which he cleaned and screened and then sold at seventy cents per bushel, realizing a handsome profit on the investment. As the years went by Mr. Scarelif became identified with other business enterprises. He is a stockholder in the First National Bank and is now the vice president of the Peoples National Bank. He was also one of the early stockholders in the Wapsipinicon Milling Company but afterward disposed of his interest in that industry. Other business concerns have profited by his cooperation and financial support and he has thus contributed much to the business development and consequent prosperity of the city.

On the 30th of September, 1862, the marriage of Mr. Scardilif and Miss Harriet Crippen was celebrated in St. James Episcopal church, and they were the first couple married therein. The bride was born at Fort Covington, New York, September 17, 1841, a daughter of Ransom B. and Marian (Stiles) Crippen, both of whom were natives of Franklin county, New York. They came to Iowa at an early period in the development of this state and the father was the first station agent at Winthrop, occupying that position for a number of years. Later he removed to Independence, Where he remained for a number of years and then returned to New York, where both he and his wife passed away. The death of Mrs. Scareliff occurred April 2, 1911, and was deeply regretted by many friends as well as by her immediate family. To Mr. and Mrs. Scareliff were born two children. Thomas E. married Lolah Ozias, whose parents were also pioneers in this county, and they have one child, Helene Anna. Thomas E. Scarcliff is engaged in the grain, coal and lumber business in Independence. The other member of the family is Mrs. R. F. Clarke, the wife of the president of the Peoples National Bank. They have three children, Margaret, Daisy and Frances.

Mr. Scarcliff belongs to the Masonic fraternity, with which he has been identified for more than a half century. He is now a member of the lodge, the chapter, the commandery and the Mystic Shrine. His political allegiance is given to the democratic party and he served as a member of the city council for a number of years, exercising his official prerogatives in support of many public improvements. He is an exemplary member of the Episcopal church and his entire life has been guided by its teachings, so that his career has at all points been honorable and upright, winning for him the high respect and warm regard of all with whom he has been brought in contact.

From:
History of Bachanan County, Iowa
And its People
By Harry Church and Katharyn J. Chappell
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chicago 1914


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