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Frank R. Scroggins

Proprietor of White Swan Laundry

- from History of West Virginia, Chicago: American Historical Society, 1923 (v. 2, p. 158-159)

FRANK ROACHE SCROGGINS, proprietor of the White Swan Laundry in the City of Wheeling, is one of the progressive and successful business men of his native city, his birth having occurred in Wheeling on the 17th of January, 1868. His father, George Washington Scroggins, was born at Wheeling in 1843 and here passed his entire life, his death having occurred in 1896. George W. Scroggins initiated his productive career by serving as a water boy around the local boat yards, and in the Civil war period he died in the manufacturing of bullets. He became an expert stationary engineer, and served sixteen years as engineer of the city waterworks of Wheeling, of which position he was the incumbent at the time of his death. In his young manhood he was member of the volunteer fire department of his native city. He was a democrat in politics and was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, as were both his first and second wives. Mr. Scroggins first wedded Caroline Nidick, who was born at Trail Run, Monroe County, Ohio, and whose death occurred in 1873. Of the children of this union, the eldest is William J., foreman in his brother's White Swan Laundry; Allen C. likewise remains in Wheeling, and is steward for the local Theatrical Club and for the Fraternal Order of Eagles; Frank R., of this review, was the next in order of birth; Charles Scott is a foreman in the White Swan Laundry. For his second wife the father married Lovenia Loverage, and she now resides at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Daisy, first child of this second marriage, died at the age of twenty-eight years; George is a resident of the City of Pittsburgh, where he is engaged in the trucking business; and Reed B. is a stationary engineer in the city waterworks of Pittsburgh.

The public school of Wheeling afforded Frank R. Scroggins his early education, and he was but eleven years old when he found employment in a local glass factory. After the passing of five years he began an apprenticeship to the trade of machinist, and his service in this connection continued from the time he was sixteen until he was twenty years of age. From 1888 to 1891 he was stationary engineer in the employ of Lutz Brothers, and for sixteen months thereafter was in charge of the washing department and also served as engineer of the Troy Laundry. From 1892 to 1895 he was general manager of the Wheeling Laundry, and he then established the White Swan Laundry, of which he has continued the executive head during the intervening period of more than a quarter of a century and which he has kept at the highest standard in equipment and service. The offices of this popular laundry are at the corner of Tenth and Market streets. Mr. Scroggins started his independent laundry business on a modest scale, in a basement at his present location, and his original corps of employees consisted of one man and one woman. He has built up one of the leading enterprises of this kind in the state, the mechanical equipment and all accessories of the White Swan Laundry being of the most modern type and the establishment giving employment to seventy persons.

On the National Turnpike, in the Tenth Ward of Wheeling, Mr. Scroggins purchased a fine lot, 140 by 330 feet in dimensions, on which he erected a modern laundry building, 100 by 200 feet in dimensions, the only building in existence, so far as is known of that dimension, whose interior is not supported by a single post. It is a one-story and basement structure, with a separate building for the power plant. Here he will have one of the most complete and modern laundry plants in West Virginia, in fact one of the show houses in modern laundry construction in this country, and in connection with the general laundry business he will establish an up-to-date dry-cleaning and rug-cleaning department. His success has been well earned, as he started in business with a capital of only $212, has been progressive and energetic, has ordered his business with utmost integrity and fairness, and has developed an enterprise that in 1920 represented gross earnings of $150,000. His new laundry plant represents an investment of an amount equal to this.

Mr. Scroggins is independent in politics, is affiliated with the Royal Arcanum, and is one of the loyal and vigorous members of the local Rotary Club, in which he is chairman of the boys' work committee and take lively interest in its work. The family home is an attractive modern house at 757 Market Street.

Mr. Scroggins was zealous in the local patriotic activities during the World war period, aided in the campaigns in support of Government loans, Red Cross service, etc., and supplied to the United States Navy a valuable set of binoculars, which were eventually returned to him, together with $1.00 and a certificate as reward of merit from the Navy Department. It is needless to say that he prizes both the certificate and also the binoculars, the latter of which were in active use in the navy.

Although Mr. Scroggins left school when a mere boy, his alert mind and his appreciative instinct have enabled him through reading and study at home, which he still continues, and through other effective self-discipline, to round out a symmetrical education of practical order. His paternal grandfather, John Peyton Scroggins, of Scotch-Irish ancestry, was one of the pioneers of Wheeling, where he served a long period as bank messenger and where his death occurred, he having been a native of Ireland.

In 1889 Frank R. Scroggins wedded Miss Catherine E. Neimer, daughter of the late Philip and Margaret Neimer, of Wheeling, Mr. Neimer having been a shearman in the local sheet-iron mills, in which he met his death in an accident. Mr. and Mrs. Scroggins' only child, Franklin Pierce, died at the age of 4 1/2 years.

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