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Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 2. Biographies
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
William Scruby, who for the past twenty-five years has been closely and influentially associated with business interests in Chillicothe, is a son of William and Elizabeth (Pryor) Scruby, natives of England, the father born in Melbourne, Cambridgeshire, March 11, 1827, and the mother on the Isle of Jersey. The father came with his parents, William and Hannah (Standford) Scruby, to America in 1841 and located in Fond du Lac county, Wisconsin, where he engaged in general farming for ten years, being afterward for two years in the general merchandise business. In 1860 he moved to Steele county, Minnesota, and remained there for four years, farming and discharging the duties of county auditor, which office he was appointed to fill during the sickness of the incumbent. He took the first census of the town of Owatonna, Minnesota, and was there made deputy auditor. While serving in that capacity he was elected sheriff and held this office until he turned his attention again to business pursuits. He built a large warehouse and engaged in selling agricultural implements. He met with a gratifying degree of success and his labors were rewarded by a liberal patronage, but owing to the extremely cold winters in Minnesota he was obliged to move farther south and in the fall of 1867 he located in Springfield, Missouri. In August of the following year he went to Carrollton, Illinois, and after residing there until 1872 moved to Wheeling township, Livingston county, where he engaged in farming. In 1874 he began buying grain and selling agricultural implements in connection with the conduct of a lumberyard and both of these enterprises he managed successfully until the spring of 1884. At that time he built the first grain warehouse and elevator in the village of Wheeling and carried also a complete line of corn-shelling machinery. He married in 1849 Miss Elizabeth Pryor, and to their union were born seven children: Emma, Fannie, Frank, Edwin, Alice, William, of this review, and Horace. The father of our subject held a captain's commission in the state militia of Minnesota for a number of years and saw active service during the Indian troubles in that state. He passed away May 26, 1908, having survived his wife since 1888.
William Scruby attended the public schools of Livingston county and when he laid aside his books at the age of nineteen went into business with his father in Wheeling and also managed a lumberyard for the Hannibal Saw Mill Company at that point. He continued in business in Wheeling for nine years, at the end of which time he and his brother purchased the grain and implement business of Senator W. A. Jacobs in Chillicothe, Missouri, and conducted it successfully for ten years, when the corporation known as the Scruby Brothers Grain & Implement Company was formed, of which he has been manager and president since. He belongs to that class of citizens upon which the secure and further progress of the city rests, for he is resourceful, self-confident, progressive and far-sighted and always carries forward to successful completion anything which he undertakes.
Mr. Scruby married in 1886 Miss Zua M. Kidder and they became the parents of three children: William K., who is connected with his father's business; and Stanley Reed and Lula May, both of whom reside at home. Mrs. Scruby is a devout adherent of the Presbyterian church.
Mr. Scruby is a progressive in his political beliefs and in matters of citizenship eminently public-spirited and loyal, although he never seeks public office. He is affiliated with the Masonic order, holding membership in the lodge and chapter, and is well known in the local organization. At an early age he began his independent business career and the prosperity which has come to him is but the just reward of his industry, perseverance and capable management. Success has attended his well directed efforts until he now occupies an enviable place in business circles of Chillicothe.