EDWARD SCOFIELD was born in Clearfield, Pennsylvania. He abandoned his formal education at age thirteen to become a printer’s apprentice at a newspaper in Indiana, Pennsylvania. After working in the newspaper business for a number of years, he enlisted in the 11th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment in 1861, which became part of the Army of the Potomac. Commissioned a Lieutenant, he was awarded the rank of Captain for gallantry at the Battle of Gettysburg. In 1864, he was captured and held prisoner by the Confederacy. He was promoted to Major after his release, and following a long recuperation from illness contracted as a prisoner of war, he moved to Oconto, Wisconsin, where he entered the lumber business. He served in the State Senate for two terms, and after losing his bid for reelection to a third term, entered the gubernatorial race as a conservative against progressive Republican Robert La Follette. Scofield won the Republican nomination on the sixth ballot and went on to defeat his Democratic opponent in the general election. He introduced the first governor’s budget in Wisconsin and established a central accounting system. He also oversaw revision of the state’s banking laws, succeeded in increasing public school funding, encouraged passage of the first Corrupt Practices Act to govern elections, and helped raise troops to serve in the Spanish-American War. After completing a second term in office, he returned to his business interests in Oconto, where he died.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 12. New York: James T. White & Company.
Wisconsin Historical Society