JOHN B. SCROGGS. - He to whom this memoir is dedicated, was one of the pioneer members of the bar of Wyandotte county, where he was engaged in the practice of his profession for more than a quarter of a century, and by his life and services he lent dignity and honor to his profession and to the state in which he so long maintained his home. He was for many years one of the leading lawyers of this section of the state; he appeared in connection with much important litigation in the various courts, and as a citizen he exemplified the utmost loyalty and patriotism, even as he was true to the highest ideals in all other relations of life. He was a man of great intellectual power and was versatile and resourceful in the work of his chosen calling. He left an unsullied reputation and it is most consonant that in this history of Wyandotte county and its people be incorporated a brief tribute to his memory.
A scion of one of the sterling pioneer families of the fine old Buckeye state, John B. Scroggs was born at Canton, Stark county, Ohio, on the 24th of November, 1838, and his parents continued to reside in that state until their death. They were folk of genuine worth and their lives counted for good in all relations. John B. Scroggs gained his early education in the pioneer schools of his native state and, with characteristic self-reliance and independence of mind, he early formulated definite plans for his future career. At Bucyrus, the judicial center of Crawford county, Ohio, he studied law under effective preceptorship and made rapid advancement in his assimilation of the science of jurisprudence. He continued at all times a close and appreciative student and his knowledge of law and precedent was exceptionally broad and accurate, as those familiar with his professional career can well attest. He was duly admitted to the bar of his native state and there won his professional spurs. He finally removed to Freeport, Illinois, where he was associated in practice with Colonel Thomas J. Turner, who was then one of the leading members of the bar of Stephenson county and who was also one of the prominent and influential citizens of the state. This professional alliance continued until 1866, when Mr. Scroggs came to the old town of Wyandotte, Kansas, the nucleus of the present Kansas City of this state, where he engaged in the practice of his profession, in which he soon achieved prominence as one of the able and successful members of the bar of the state, which was yet thinly settled and virtually upon the very frontier. Eventually he formed a partnership with General Bartlett, with whom he was associated in practice for some time, after which he conducted an individual practice until the later years of his life, when he became associated with his son-in-law, John E. McFadden, who is still one of the representative members of the bar of Wyandotte county and who is individuly[sic] mentioned on other pages of this publication.
The reputation of Mr. Scroggs as one of the prominent lawyers of the state was reinforced with the passing years, during which he appeared in connection with many of the important causes brought before the state and federal courts of Kansas, with many noteworthy forensic victories to his credit. He was a strong advocate before court or jury and not only marshalled his causes with great ability, but also brought to bear the strength of a strong and upright character, so that he gained and held the inviolable confidence and regard of his fellow practitioners and also of the general public. He was a man of generous and kindly nature, democratic in his views and with naught of intellectual in tolerance. He did much to further the civic and material progress of Wyandotte county and of what is now its thriving metropolis, Kansas City, and no citizen held more secure place in popular regard. He continued in the work of his profession, as one of the best known and most honored members of the bar of Wyandotte county, until his death, which occurred on the 28th of June, 1898. The community marked with appreciative evidence its sense of loss and consistent memorial resolutions were passed by the bar of the county.
In politics Mr. Scroggs was an uncompromising and able advocate of the principles and policies of the Democratic party and he did effective service in behalf of its cause. He served for two or more terms as county attorney and for one term as mayor of the city of Wyandotte, now an integral part of Kansas City. He was affiliated with Wyandotte Lodge, No. 3, Free and Accepted Masons, and was one of the charter members of Wyandotte Lodge, No. 440, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
On the 1st of June, 1875, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Scroggs to Mrs. Margaret E. Cruise, who survives him and who resides in the attractive homestead at 720 North Fourth street, Kansas City. She likewise was born in Stark county, Ohio, and is a daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Shenberger) Kerstetter, both of whom were natives of Ohio, where they passed their entire lives and where the respective families, of German lineage, were founded in an early day. Mr. and Mrs. Kerstetter became the parents of eight children, of whom Mrs. Scroggs was the third in order of birth, and of the number four are now living. Mr. and Mrs. Scroggs became the parents of one child, and one son and two daughters survive the honored father, being the children of Mrs. Scroggs by her first marriage, mentioned in the following sentence. Maurice is a resident of Rock Island, Illinois, where he is engaged in the lumber business; Emma is the wife of John E. McFadden, a prominent attorney of Kansas City, and who is specifically mentioned elsewhere in this work; and Delia is the wife of Robert E. Melling, president of the Wyandotte Coal & Lime Company, of Kansas City, Kansas. Eugene C. died at the age of twenty-four years.
Mrs. Scroggs was previously married, her first husband having been James A. Cruise, who died in 1873. They were married in 1864 and had five children, three of whom are now living, as stated above.
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