Biography - Hiram M. Scarborough

COL HIRAM M. SCARBOROUGH. Shelby County sent many of its noble and patriotic citizens to the front during the late Civil War and among those who won military honors in "those times that tried men's souls" is our subject, who as a commissioned officer of the Fifty-fourth Illinois Regiment, was conspicuous while in the service for his readiness of resource, his coolness, for his promptness in carrying out the orders of his superiors, and for other merits that showed him to be a true soldier. His services have been equally as valuable within the last quarter of a century or more since peace was declared, in that he has taken a high place among the foremost of the men of this county who have pushed forward the mercantile interests of this section of the State and have materially added to its wealth. He has a large and elegant dry-goods establishment at Shelbyville, where he entered upon his prosperous career as a merchant twenty-five years ago.

Col. Scarborough was born in Hunterdon County, N. J., September 4, 1834. He is a son of Isaac Scarborough, who was a native of Bucks County, Pa. The paternal grandfather of our subject was a skillful mechanic and for many years carried on business as a blacksmith in Bucks County, his entire life being passed in Pennsylvania, so far as aught is known to the contrary. He was a stalwart Democrat, prominent in his party, and held the office of Sheriff of Bucks County. He reared seven sons and six of them learned of him the trade of a blacksmith.

The father of our subject followed in his father's footsteps as regards a trade and when a young man established himself as a blacksmith in Hunterdon County, N. J. He died there in 1845, ere yet he had passed life's meridian. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Eliza Case, sold her home after his death and moved across the State line into Bucks County and spent her last years in Pennsylvania with her daughters. These are the names of the six children that she reared: Mathias H., Hiram M., Mary E., Hannah A., Sadie E. and Jennie. Mathias and Jennie are dead.

The subject of this biographical notice was eleven years old when he was deprived of a father's care and at the age of twelve the sturdy, self-reliant little lad became self-supporting. He was employed on a farm until he was seventeen years old and he then began to learn the trade of a carpenter, which he followed in his native county some years. In 1856, in the prime and vigor of the opening years of his manhood, he came westward to this county and cast his lot with those who were active in its upbuilding. He located at Shelbyville and as he was a good carpenter he found plenty of work at his calling, which he pursued until 1860, when he abandoned that to accept a position as a clerk, in which capacity he was employed until he dropped his work to shoulder his rifle that he might help to fight his country's battles.

He enlisted in the fall of 1861 in Company H, Fifty-fourth Illinois Infantry and received the compliment of being mustered in as Second Lieutenant of his company. In the long and weary years of sacrifice, hardship and privation that followed he served the Government with fidelity and did not abandon his post until our flag floated once more over an undivided country. He was with his regiment in all its marches and campaigns, with the exception of about six months, when he was at home working hard to secure recruits. He veteranized in 1863 and was honorably discharged in November, 1865. From time to time he received deserved promotion, until he became one of the leading officers of his regiment. In the fall of 1862 he was made First Lieutenant and as such commanded his company in various engagements with the enemy. His next promotion to the rank of Captain soon followed, then to that of Major, and early in 1865 he was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel and left the army with a high reputation as a gallant and efficient leader, whether in the heat of battle, on the march or in camp.

Col. Scarborough returned to Shelbyville after receiving his discharge papers and in January, 1866, began business here as a merchant, and ever since has conducted one of the leading stores of the city for the sale of dry goods and furnishing goods, carpets, etc. It is neat and handsome in its appointments, the stock, of which there is a large and well-selected assortment, is neatly and tastefully arranged, so as to add to the attractiveness of the establishment, and the whole is ably managed.

In 1871 our subject was married to Miss Isabella A. Middlesworth, a native of the county and a daughter of Abram Middlesworth, who is represented elsewhere in this volume. They have one son living, Charles M. The Colonel and his wife understand well the art of making their dwelling a true home, as all feel who cross the threshold and enjoy the comforts and luxuries of its tasteful furnishings, and receive every attention from their kind and considerate host and hostess.

Col. Scarborough is a frank, manly and straightforward man, whose business methods are such as to commend him to the confidence of the public, and Shelbyville holds him as one of her best citizens. His life has been guided by Christian principles and for many years he has been a consistent church member, first joining the Baptist Church in early manhood, while a resident of his native State. But after he came here to dwell it seemed good to him to unite himself with the Presbyterian Church, in 1861, and he and his wife are to-day among its most effective working members. Socially he is a member of Jackson Lodge, No. 53, A. F. & A. M., and also of Cyrus Hall Post, G. A. R., his connection with that organization commemorating the days and nights that he and his comrades passed together on the battlefields of the South. He was born and reared by Democratic parents, but since 1863 he has been a stalwart Republican.

Extracted 12 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 412-414.

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