From: History of Illinois and Her
Winfield F. Scott.
Winfield F. Scott. A notable figure in the citizenship of Saline County was the late Winfield F. Scott. He was one of the younger veterans of the Union army in the Civil war. For many years he held a high position among Southern Illinois educators. After beginning the practice of law he achieved success out of the ordinary in that profession. Altogether his life was such as to deserve the distinction of long memory.
He was born in Hamilton County, Illinois, February 22, 1851. His grandfather, John Scott, was of Scotch nativity, a tailor by trade and in 1815 brought his family to America, first settling in Gallia County and afterwards in Switzerland County, Indiana. Francis Scott, father of Winfield F., was born at Manchester, England, in 1811, and was four years of age when brought to America. In 1838 he settled in Hamilton County, Illinois and lived on a farm there until his death in 1865. He married Sarah Boster, who was of English, Scotch and Irish lineage. She was very energetic, possessed a keen intellect, and devoted her life entirely to her family and children.
Winfield F. Scott was twelve years of age when his mother died. His older brother, Philip, was then in the Union army. Winfield Scott for over a year worked in the Wabash bottoms for his uncle, George Boster, a man of strong Union sympathies, who had several sons in the army. Winfield Scott was unusually large for his age, and in March, 1865, soon after his fourteenth birthday, he sought out his brother in the Union army and enlisted as a private in Company A. of the Eighty-seventh Infantry. In June, 1865, he was transferred to Company H of the Eighteenth Illinois Infantry. For seven months he served as dispatch orderly for General McCook, and was in the army until January 9, 1866, when honorably discharged.
Leaving the army about the time he was sixteen, he returned home, impressed with his need of a better education. He made the best of his advantages in schools, and at the age of nineteen qualified as a teacher. While teaching he continued his higher education. His education was the product of work in the common schools, Enfield College and the Northern Indiana Normal School at Valparaiso, where he was graduated Bachelor of Science. He was a teacher for thirteen years, his work in Illinois including two years in Jeffersonville, four years as principal at Xenia, two years at Fairfield, two terms at Enfield College and one year at Carmi. For five years he conducted the Wayne County Teachers Institute at Fairfield. In 1877 he was granted a life teacher's certificate by the state. During his practice as a lawyer he retained a keen interest in every matter of local and general educational progress.
While at Fairfield, in 1880, he took up the study of law under Judge Beecher. He was admitted to the bar in 1883, and the following year removed to Harrisburg, where he formed a law partnership with R. S. Marsh, his boyhood friend and schoolmate. The firm became Marsh and Scott. Their friendship remained unbroken throughout their lives. Mrs. Scott brought to his profession sound scholarship, great perseverance, intellectual talents of a high order, and in time he stood among the leaders at the Saline County bar.
He was one of the organizers of the First National Bank of Harrisburg and for several years its president. He was a staunch republican, though he found his satisfaction in his law practice rather than in public office. He served one term as mayor of Harrisburg, for several years was a member of the school board, and was one of the prominent advocates of prohibition and during his last illness frequently expressed pleasure at having lived to see national prohibition as expressed in the Eighteenth Amendment. Shortly after his return from the Civil war he was converted as a Baptist meeting held in the Middle Creek schoolhouse in Hamilton County. Ever afterwards he was a faithful member of that church and for forty years a teacher in the Sunday School.
While a student in Enfield College he met Miss Julia Hunsinger daughter of Ezekiel Hunsinger, of White County, Illinois. They were married September 7, 1877, while he was teaching at Xenia. That was the beginning of a happy married companiship that endured for forty-three years, until broken by his death of August 20, 1920. Mrs. Scott continues to reside at Harrisburg. There were five children, the only son dying in infancy. The four daughters are Mrs. Winfred Denning of LaGrange, Illinois, Mrs. Gertrude Barnes, Miss Mabel and Miss Edith.
Miss Mabel Scott has had the distinction of being the first woman admitted to the bar in Southern Illinois. She graduated from Harrisburg High School, attended business college, and for several years was a stenographer in her father's law office, and while there studied law. She also attended the law department of the Northern Indiana Normal College at Valparaiso, and in 1911 was admitted to the bar. She has enjoyed a successful practice in Harrisburg and is now a member of the law firm Kane & Scott.
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