CAPTAIN JOSEPH B. SCUDAMORE.
Eighty years a resident of the state of Illinois, and since his boyhood a useful and valuable member of society is the remarkable record of Joseph B. Scudamore of Wayne City. As a veteran of the Civil war he rendered invaluable service to the Union, serving in the war with honor and distinction. As the original owner of the land upon which Wayne City now stands, and as one of the prime movers in the establishment and upbuilding of the city, he is rightly called the “Father of Wayne City,” and all his life he has been foremost in good works in whatever community he found himself situated. Since 1868, when he bought land in Wayne county on which Wayne City was laid out in 1882 by him, he has been prominent in business circles of the community, and has given of his time and energies without stint or selfish consideration to the manipulation of city and county affairs of a civic and political nature. On the whole, his life is a veritable record book of worthy service to the commonwealth and nation, and the many fine and excellent attributes of his wholesome nature have been used in a highly creditable manner for the furtherance of the common good.
Born on August 23, 1832, in Gallatin county, Illinois, Joseph B. Scudamore is the son of George and Rebecca (Buck) Scudamore, natives of England and Southern Illinois, respectively. George Scudamore settled in Gallatin county when a young man and there passed his life in industrious attention to his business. He died before the breaking out of the war, having reared a family of seven children. They were named: George, now deceased; Thomas, also dead; Joseph B., of this review; James A.; Elizabeth, deceased; Sarah, deceased; and Rebecca, married and living in Middleton, Illinois.
When the elder Scudamore died Joseph B. was left an orphan at the tender age of twelve years, and the struggle for existence devolved upon him straightway. He worked here and there on neighboring farms for some years, and when the Civil war broke out he was among the first to respond to the call to arms. He enlisted in Company G of the One Hundred and Tenth Illinois, and was named second lieutenant, soon afterward being promoted to the rank of first lieutenant and later to a captaincy. With his company and a regiment he participated in a number of the hottest engagements of the war, and saw service in Kentucky,
Tennessee, Mississippi and other states. His first term of enlistment expired in May, 1863, and he re-enlisted in March of 1865 in Company L of the Sixth Cavalry, as a private. He was made commissionary sergeant, and remained with this regiment until the close of the war. During the interval between his first mustering out and his second enlistment he served as recruiting officer, so that he was practically in the service from the beginning to the close of the war.
In 1865 he settled on the Hamilton and Wayne county line, where he remained until the spring of 1869, when he came to what is now Wayne City, but which was then a tract of farm land. He bought a quarter section with the idea of going into farming, but after a short time the prospects for a city in the vicinity became so favorable that Mr. Scudamore with characteristic wisdom and foresight, anticipated the possible locating of a young city in other quarters by platting his farm in city lots. This was done in 1882, and since that time the growth of Wayne City has been a thing of continuous progress. He operated a general store in tlie new town and was its first postmaster, and in numerous ways became eligible to the title which has been accorded him,—” The Father of Wayne City.” He served a second term as postmaster, between 1902 and 1906, and has fijled many another public office in a highly creditable manner. A Republican in his political faith, he has ever been active in the interests of that party and has given good service to the cause. Before the war Mr. Scudamore was constable in Hamilton county for some years, and since the war he has been a notary public for thirty-two years and a justice of the peace for four years. He was township supervisor for five terms, and was elected a member of the state legislature in the Thirty-sixth general assembly between 1888 and 1890, in all of these offices performing valuable service in the interests of his city, county and state. He has served as president of the town board for five terms, and was the first mayor of Wayne City, an honor singularly appropriate to the founder of the city. Mr. Scudamore owns a farm of ninety acres, which he personally manages, and is the owner of a considerable quantity of town lots and residence property in Wayne City. He is generally conceded to be one of the most prominent figures in the history of the city and an important factor in the communal life of city and county. Despite his advanced years and lifetime of arduous labors, he is still hale and hearty and takes fully as active an interest in affairs of the community as he did twenty years ago. He still carries on a lively trade in the buying and selling of live stock although he has for the most part discontinued his breeding interests, being at one time one of the most extensive live stock breeders and dealers in the county. He is prominent in fraternal circles, owning membership in the Masonic order, the Odd Fellows, the Rebekabs, and in the Grand Army of the Republic.
On January 1, 1856, Mr. Scudamore was married to Miss Elizabeth J. Lewis, the daughter of Wilson and Mary (Romine) Lewis. She was born March 28, 1838, and died April 27, 1900. They reared a family of eight children: Frances A., who died in 1902; Ada C., married B. C. Tolbert, living in Wayne county; Alvin G.; Mollie R., the wife of F. Q. Jacobson, living in Wayne City; Eva, married to V. C. Pitman; John W.; Bertha, the wife of T. W. Ashbrooke; and Edna 0. Mr. Scudamore is the grandfather of twenty-three children and the great-grandfather of three.