Biography of Samuel Scowden of Maryville

Samuel Scowden, born July 12, 1849, in Adams County, Ohio, was a prominent citizen of Nodaway County, Missouri. After moving to Nodaway County in 1874, he settled near Gaynor City, Independence Township, and expanded his farm to 160 acres. Scowden married twice: first to Elizabeth Barks, who died after three years, and later to Phoebe Jane Lowery, with whom he had two children. Active in the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Masonic Lodge, Scowden retired to Maryville in 1904. He was known for his commitment to farming, community service, and education.

One of Nodaway county’s substantial citizens who has led an active and eminently useful life, not entirely void of the exciting, is Samuel Scowden, the more prominent facts of whose life have been so identified with the useful and practical that it is to them almost entirely that the writer refers in the following lines.

Mr. Scowden is a native of Adams County, Ohio, where he was born July 12, 1849. He grew up principally in Pike County, Ohio. In 1874 he came to Nodaway County, Missouri, and here he so directed his efforts as to accumulate a very satisfactory competency for his old age and is now living in retirement in Maryville. He is the son of John and Susan Scowden, both born and reared in Ohio. Upon coming to Missouri in 1874, Samuel Scowden located near Gaynor City, in Independence township, Nodaway county, twenty miles northeast of Maryville and eight miles northwest of Parnell, on the Great Western railroad, ten miles southeast of Hopkins. The parents both died on that farm. Forty acres were at first purchased, Mr. Scowden having very little means, but the place was added to until the farm consisted of one hundred and sixty acres, the father dying here in 1889, at the age of sixty-five years, the widow surviving until 1899, dying at the age of seventy-nine years, having been four years his senior. William Scowden, brother of John, had been living in Independence township before the family located here, having come the year before. He later moved to Atchison county, this state, and after an absence of fifteen years returned to Independence, bought a farm and lived here until his death.

Samuel Scowden, the paternal grandfather of the subject, was a descendant of sterling Pennsylvania Dutch stock. The maternal grandparents, the Holtons, were also of the same stock.

Of the children born to Mr. and Mrs. John Scowden, five reached maturity; Margaret Elizabeth married E. T. Gaynor and lived near Parnell, where her death occurred; Samuel, of this review; Jacob, who remained in Ohio, is a shoe dealer in Columbus; Angeline married Lewis Nigh, and lives on a farm in Independence township; James P. is farming in that township.

Samuel Scowden remained with his father and was in partnership with him. At the death of the elder Scowden, Samuel built a home on the old place. He received the entire farm, and he cared for his mother during her lifetime. He was very successful in the management of the same, which he finally sold and came to Maryville in 1904, soon after his wife’s death. He owns a neat and comfortable little place in the west part of town. He carried on farming in all its phases and fed a great deal of stock.

Politically, he is a Democrat. In political affairs his father had been more active, serving as county commissioner in Pike county, Ohio, and as justice of the peace for years, both in Ohio and Missouri, serving here until his death. He was a worker in the party’s conventions. During the drafting period of the Civil war he was the only available man in the township to escape being drafted. Samuel has never cared for political offices.

When thirty years of age Samuel Scowden married Elizabeth Barks, a native of Missouri. She died on the old homestead after a residence there of three years, dying without issue. Samuel married a second time, taking his last wife after his father’s death. She was known in her maidenhood as Phoebe Jane Lowery, who was reared in California. Her father died when she was a child, meeting his death by drowning. Her mother’s next marriage was with W. W. Wells, and in 1874 they settled in Independence township, Phoebe Jane then being a young woman. She was thirty years old at her marriage. Her death occurred on August 9, 1904. while living on the farm, leaving two children, ages twelve and nine. Bertha May is a student in the junior class at the Maryville high school, and John Jacob is now a schoolboy.

Samuel Scowden takes a great deal of interest in the education of his children. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church at Gaynor, where he formerly took a very active interest, having been trustee and class leader and held other minor offices in the congregation. He was made a Mason in Gaynor City lodge twenty-seven years ago, the lodge then being at Gaynor but now at Parnell. In earlier years he was active in its affairs, being past master, etc., and his life has been led in accordance with the high and noble principles of this order and the Methodist church.


B. F. Bowen & Company. Past and present of Nodaway County, Missouri. Indianapolis, Indiana: B. F. Bowen & Company. 1910.

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