Chronicles of the Scalf Family is being offered to interested members
of the family and to the public after several years devoted to research and
writing. It is the first attempt to compile an authentic record of the family
which has been in America for three centuries. Since there was no other written
work on the family and no manuscripts of any importance compiled as a guide,
this volume had to be researched in depth over a period of years. The work
represents a vast amount of arduous labor.
The book would not have been written except for the dedicated perseverance of a few, very few, assistants, chief of these being Mrs. Elsie Payne Archer, Springfield, Illinois, a descendant of Rev. Ira Scalf, son of John Scalf, Sr., the Revolutionary War soldier. Mrs. Archer worked long hours on research and spent considerable money in accumulating records.
The book is incomplete and will contain errors but it is hoped it will serve as a guide to those who want to attempt additional research on the family. One branch of the family this book covers only lightly is that of David Scalf of Eastern Tennessee. Fred Robert Scalf, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, began research on this branch a few years ago and expects to complete his work following his career in the armed service. His compilation will be offered to the family at a later date and it was thought by the present writer that it was not worthwhile to delay publication of this work for duplication of effort would ensue and, too, the burden of years imposes upon all of us the urgency to complete the tasks we have allotted ourselves.
Difficulty in compiling this book was encountered in Southeastern Kentucky where so many early Scalfs settled. There were few records kept and many families had only oral traditionary accounts of the family's past. Many of them migrated to the west, severed ties and lost knowledge of their origin. To have researched those families thoroughly would have taken a lifetime, The author feels that what is offered in the present volume will enable others to tie on the family line and advance their own research without the exhausting and time consuming unearthing of material submitted in this book.
There may be students of the family who will disagree with the conclusions relative to the origin of the family name. That the name was Scarfe in the first half of the Eighteenth Century and probably farther back is inescapable, it seems, from the evidence. There were Scarfes in America in the colonial period, there are Scarfes in America today. There are Scarfes in England and on the Isle of Man and the preservation of the original spelling and pronunciation was easy in the stable social and literate conditions existing under the British flag. In early America family names underwent change, and more change, as the frontier advanced and illiterate clerks scrawled and wrote by ear. In the hurry, bustle and exhausting labor of penetrating the Appalachians, conquering the plains and scaling the high Sierras, many cared little how a name was written or pronounced.
More detail will be found in this book on the Brittain Scalf and Ira Scalf families because the writer's task in compiling the record of the former was easier since he was a descendant and Mrs. Archer was a descendant of the latter. Emphasis was made on compiling the descendants of Jeremiah and Sarah Brinstone Scalf. Here the writer was ably assisted by Mrs. Sarah Mae Kirkpatrick whose knowledge of the family group has been acquired through the years. Few writers have had such able co-workers.
The compilation and writing of a family history is often a thankless task. Critical readers who find errors have no conception of the monumental and frustrating labor and time expended in probing for information, sorting out relationships, procuring accurate spellings and dates. To all of you who read or just peruse this volume it is asked that you bear these things in mind. If a kind judgment is rendered the author will feel well paid for his labor.
Henry P. Scalf
Mare Creek Road
July 22, 1968
Copyright (C) 1970 by Henry P. Scalf, All Rights Reserved.