Joseph W. Scroggs

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Joseph W. Scroggs

Joseph W. Scroggs

“He refused to become old at an activity…[and] the musical inclinations of Dr. Scroggs have brought the community singing as a means of increasing the friendliness between community factions.”
The Caddo Herald


Dr. Joseph W. Scroggs was born in Missouri and graduated from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania in 1875. He came to Vinita, Oklahoma, to found the Worcester Indian Academy in the Cherokee Nation in 1879 and later founded and was the editor of a newspaper, the Indian Chieftain, which he published until 1912. He was also an outstanding musician and composed and directed numerous songs and sacred anthems for church and community organizations. He was a teacher at the Rogers Academy (1895) in Arkansas and the Southern Kansas Academy (1898), but returned to Oklahoma and took a position at Kingfisher College in Kingfisher in 1904. He established the department of public information and welfare at the University of Oklahoma in 1913 and was co-director of the extension division until his retirement in 1927. In 1923, he was named emeritus professor, became the full director of the extension publications, and was a member of the American Academy of Science and the Oklahoma Historical Society.

Fun fact

In 1932, Joseph Scroggs was called “the grand old man of Oklahoma education” and was reputed to be the oldest living active educator in Oklahoma. For much of his career, he rode a bicycle until at the age of 72 he learned to drive a car.

Oklahoma connections

Scroggs came to eastern Oklahoma in 1879 as a missionary educator to found the Worcester Indian Academy at Vinita.









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