Theologian C.I. Scofield created an annotated study Bible in the early 1900s that later became influential among fundamentalist Christians. The minister and writer owned properties in several spots in the United States, including Douglaston.
He was born Cyrus Ingerson Scofield in 1843 in Clinton Township, Michigan as the last of seven children.
His ancestors were primarily of English and Puritan descent, but his parents were Episcopalian.
Scofield’s mother died three months after he was born and his father remarried two more times during his childhood.
In the 1860s, he went to live with relatives in Tennessee and, at age 17, enlisted as a private in the 7th Tennessee Infantry during the Civil War. His regiment fought at Cheat Mountain, Seven Pines and Antietam.
He was discharged in 1862, but conscripted again into service for the Confederate Army.
He deserted the military and escaped behind Union lines into Kentucky, where he took an oath of allegiance with the north before settling in St. Louis.
Four years later, he married Leontine LeBeau Cerre, of a prominent French Catholic family, and apprenticed at his brother in law’s law office.
In 1869, he moved to Kansas and, two years later, was elected to the state’s House of Representatives, where he worked for two years.
By 1873, he was working on an election campaign for Sen. John J. Ingalls, who later appointed Scofield as the U.S. district attorney for Kansas. At the time, he was the youngest in the country to hold the position.
However, within a year he was forced to resign due to a scandal involving financial transactions that may have included bribes, forging bank signatures and stealing political contributions.
During this period, Scofield became a heavy drinker and, eventually, abandoned his wife and two children. His wife later divorced him and he married Hettie Hall von Wartz, with whom he had a son.
Shortly thereafter, Scofield converted to evangelical Christianity and began working on a campaign for Dwight Moody.
In 1879, he served as the secretary of St. Louis’s YMCA. Around this time, he began being mentored by James Brookes, a St. Louis pastor who had achieved prominence in the dispensationalist movement, which prescribes to futurist Biblical interpretations and belief in the rapture.
In 1883, Scofield as ordained as a Congregationalist minister at the First Congregational Church in Dallas.
He later served as superintendent of the American Home Missionary Society of Texas and Louisiana.
He became a leader in the dispensational premillennialism movement, which was a forerunner of 20th century Christian fundamentalism, after writing the pamphlet “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth.”
He moved to Massachusetts in 1895 to take over the Trinitarian Congregational Church of East Northfield.
In the early 1900s, he began work on the reference Bible for which he would be known.
“The Scofield Reference Bible” was published in 1909 and quickly became the most influential work of dispensational premillennialism.
He bought homes in New Hampshire, Dallas and Douglaston following its release.
He also founded the New York Night School of the Bible after moving to the five boroughs and, in 1914, created the Philadelphia School of the Bible.
He died in his Douglaston home in 1921.