The Charitable Life of the Scattergoods

The Richland County Foundation is celebrating 75 years of improving and enhancing “the quality of life in Richland County through strategic philanthropy and community leadership.”  But the story of the foundation goes back nearly 100 years to 1921.  That year, Anna Scattergood died.  In her will, she stated that her brother, Hobart, was to have the use of her income from her property until his death.  Then at the time of his death, the property would pass to the Mansfield Humane society for the care of “needy aged persons.”  This was not the Humane Society we know of today, which cares for abandoned and neglected animals, but a society interested in the welfare of the needy citizens of Mansfield.  Hobart died in 1936 and the estate, which was valued at $65,000, passed onto the Humane Society.  Trustees John H. Finefrock, William H. Gifford, and David Osborne Meese were charged with carrying out Miss Scattergood’s request.  During the following years, many of Mansfield’s needy elderly were quietly helped and, as Mansfielders became aware of the work being done, many asked how they could contribute.  This interest resulted in seven community leaders, including John H. Finefrock, David Osborne Meese, Paul R. Tappan, Norman L. Wolfe, Scott F. Coffin, George W. Stephens, and Robert B. Black coming together to create the Richland County Foundation.

Anna Scattergood was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, located just 6 miles from the Philadelphia city limits.  Her father, Alfred, moved the family to Salem, Ohio in 1855, then onto Mansfield in 1858.  On April 7, 1858, Alfred placed an ad in the Mansfield Herald advertising his new dry goods store offering “good goods and cheap goods.”  Alfred would sell out his stock during the Civil War and, when the war ended, partnered with William Ingersoll to create Ingersoll, Scattergood & Co., another dry goods store.  The store, located at 15 North Main St., would later be known as Scattergood & Son’s after Hobart joined his father.  Scattergood & Son’s would operate at the same location until shortly after Hobart’s death in 1936.  Scattergood’s, which was operated by W. O. Loomis and Fred Heineking after Hobart’s death, was moved to the corner of West Third and North Walnut in the Dickson Building.  The original building was razed.

The Mansfield Herald, 07 APR 1858.

Anna attended Mansfield High School and graduated in 1867.  Anna never married and lived with her parents until their deaths.  After her father’s death in 1909, she continued to live in the family home at 186 Park Avenue West.  Her brother, Hobart, continued to live with her even after his marriage to Frances Weyth on July 27, 1910.  Frances carried on the charitable nature of Anna.  In 1955 Mansfield Memorial Homes, Inc. opened the Scattergood House at 42 Blymyer Ave.  Frances wanted to open another home immediately, but trustees of Mansfield Memorial Homes urged her to wait to ensure the first home was a success.  A close friend, Mrs. Charles G. Brown, Sr., said Frances was so dedicated to the elderly community that she felt she was living too long and using money which could be added to the Scattergood fund.  In 1956, at the age of 94, Frances died and left the bulk of her estate, nearly half a million dollars, to establish similar homes for the elderly community of Mansfield. 

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