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Scofield, Cyrus Ingerson (1843–1921)

Clinton P. Hartmann Biography Entry

Cyrus Ingerson Scofield, legislator, lawyer, congregational pastor, and author of religious works, son of Elias and Abigail (Goodrich) Scofield, was born in Lenawee County, Michigan, on August 19, 1843. His mother died when he was an infant, and within a few years his father remarried. Scofield was visiting his sister in Wilson County, Tennessee, at the beginning of the Civil War. In May 1861 he joined the Seventh Tennessee Infantry, Confederate Army, which saw action as part of the Army of Northern Virginia. In July 1862 Scofield wrote Confederate Secretary of War, George H. Randolph, and requested a discharge from service. He stated that he was a native of Michigan, a minor, and in poor health. He officially received his discharge on September 26, 1862. The certificate indicated that Scofield was "not a citizen of the Confederacy, but an alien friend." About 1865 he moved to St. Louis to stay with another sister, Emeline, and her husband, Sylvester Papin. Scofield worked in the office of the St. Louis Board of Assessors and began training for the profession of law. On September 21, 1866, he married Leontine Cerré. They had two daughters and a son, but the boy died when he was a small child. In 1869 the family moved to Atchison, Kansas. Scofield gained admission to the Kansas bar and for a time worked in the office of John J. Ingalls. Scofield was elected to the Kansas legislature in 1871 and 1872 and represented Atchison and Nemaha counties respectively. He gave up his legislative office to accept an appointment as United States district attorney for Kansas in 1873. On December 20, 1873, Scofield resigned as United States district attorney after being implicated in a state political scandal, possibly involving payoffs by settlers and railroad interests. By 1877 Scofield had separated from his wife and had returned to St. Louis. In the late 1870s he was involved in a forgery scandal that may have included some time in jail, but sources disagree over whether Scofield was actually incarcerated or not. About 1879 he underwent a religious conversion and became involved in an evangelistic campaign for prominent fundamentalist D. L. Moody. In 1882 Scofield moved to Dallas, where he became the pastor of the First Congregational Church. He and his wife Leontine officially divorced in December 1883, and on March 11, 1884, he married Hettie Van Wark. They had a son. In 1888 he published Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth. Scofield became pastor of Moody Church, Northfield, Massachusetts, in 1895, and was listed as conducting the Scofield Bible Correspondence Course at Northfield in 1902. He resigned as pastor and returned to the Dallas church in 1903, when he began work on the Scofield Reference Bible. During the next six years Scofield spent considerable time abroad and in New York State and New England as he prepared the reference work that Oxford University Press officially published on January 15, 1909. He formally resigned as pastor of First Congregational Church in Dallas in 1909. Though he had the title of pastor emeritus in Dallas from 1910 to 1921, he spent little time in Texas, but continued his travels and lectured in the United States and Europe. His 1912 entry in Who's Who in America, Vol. 7, listed his home as "Crestwood" in Ashuelot, New Hampshire, and soon after, the Scofields relocated to Douglaston, Long Island, New York. There he continued active service in the organization of Bible courses and conferences. His other publications included Doctrine of the Holy Spirit (1906). According to biographer Charles Trumbull in The Life Story of C. I. Scofield, the Société Académique d'Histoire Internationale, France, elected Scofield to membership in January 1919, but other sources cannot confirm the honor. Scofield died on July 24, 1921, at his home, Greyshingles, in Douglaston, Long Island, New York. The First Congregational Church in Dallas was renamed Scofield Memorial Church in his honor. Throughout the twentieth century, worldwide sales of the Scofield Reference Bible continued to perpetuate Scofield's reputation as a religious scholar, and Oxford University Press issued The Scofield Study Bible, Reader's Edition in January 2004.

Joseph M. Canfield, The Incredible Scofield and His Book (Vallecito, California: Ross House Books, 1988). New York Times, July 25, 1921. Charles G. Trumbull, The Life Story of C. I. Scofield (New York: Oxford University Press, 1920). Who Was Who in America, Vol. 2.


  • Religion

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Clinton P. Hartmann, “Scofield, Cyrus Ingerson,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 25, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.