"Welcome To Another Page Of Obituaries On Other Rivermen"
January 6, 1921
Obituary and Resolutions of Captain Jacob Von Scyster
The assembled members of the Smithland Methodist Church South, desire to express sorrow over the death of Captain Jacob Von Scyster which occured October 6, 1920; at the home of his daughter, Mrs Flora W. Cowper, in Mc Alster, Oklahoma, aged 97 years, 2 months, 4 days.
The undersigned committee, named by Rev. C. R. Crowe, Pastor of the Methodist congreation, at a recent church service, beg leave to submit the following report:
Capt. Jacob Von Scyster was born August 2nd, 1833 on the farm now owned by P.A. Clarke about one mile above Pinckneyville on the Cumberland River where his parents, Mr. and Mrs. David Scyster and his father setteled upon their arrival from the state of Maryland. David Scyster and his father came to this country from Holland and first settled in Haggerstown, Maryland and later David Scyster married Miss Rebecca Evans of Virginia, a fifteen year old girl whose wealthy father disinherited her on account of his opposition of the marriage.
With a shot bag full of gold dollars, David and his wife embarked on a Keel boat at Wheelington, Va. and later landed at Smithland, later removing to the place where Capt. Scyster was born, the surrounding country being a vast forest, filled with wild game, of which they found meat a plenty by using the flint-lock rifle.
There is a legendary story, that when Capt. Scyster, a mere boy, saw the first steamboat going up the Cumberland, that he became frightened by the noise and seeing volumns of smoke rising from the smoke stacks, he ran and hid until the boat could not be seen or heard, than ran to the river, put his hands in the water to see if it was hot.
On account of a bad title, David Scyster lost his land and moved to Smithland and occupied a two story log house below the home now occupied by S.O.Lackey on front street, and there death entered his home and claimed his wife Rebecca, the loving mother of the subject of this sketch. It was there in Smithland that Capt. Scyster began life as a laborer, working on brick-yards, in carpenter shops and other employment for the town was improving and its steamboating growing every year. He saw the town grow to be the shipping point between New Orleans, Cincinnatti, St.Louis and Nashville, with immense cargoes of freight and large passenger traffic, among who were high officals, business men, lawyers, others of renown and even President Andrew Jackson of Tenn.
As a boy, Capt. Scyster was fond of boats, and by good luck, secured his first position as Pantry Boy, which carried him to Louisville, the a small place at the Ohio Falls, where, on one trip, he got left, and liking the place, remained there for sometime, helping to make the first matches he ever saw, working in an open shed. He said, just a few days before he died, "I wish I could see a picture of the old shed where I made matches in Louisville".
Coming back to Smithland, he climbed from Pantry boy to Captain, his favorite boat being the "Nettie Miller", named in honor of the daughter of Capt. James Miller of Nashville, who was a most beautiful woman and belle in ante bellum days.
Capt. Scyster was married to Miss Martha Ellis on December 20th, 1849, by Rev. A.A.Morrison, this bride being a beautiful English girl, brought by her parents from the Isle of Wright, to become a citizen of the western world. After marriage Capt. Scyster lived in Nashville for sometime, running a boat up the Cumberland for 600 miles, passing the mouth of Greasy Creek, so named because of the presence of crude oil on the water's surface, used by some as medicine called "Rock Oil".
Getting homesick, as many do who leave Smithland, they came back and remained there until he left for Oklahoma to live with his daughter and spend his declining years under her care, taking with him his devoted wife and companion.
To this marriage to Miss Ellis, four children were born, two sons and two daughters, the oldest son and second daughter having died in infancy, only two survive together with his second wife, to morn the loss of an indulgent father and loving companion. The oldest daughter, Mary E. married the late Capt. J. H. Troope of Evansville, Ind., a most worthy husband, loveable son-in-law and godman, whose widow resides in Evansville. The youngest son, John Evans Scyster is manager for a large dry goods store in Wyoming where his is drawing a good salary and doing efficient service. Mrs Martha Ellis Scyster died Octorber 6th 1869, leaving the family in deep grief over the loss of a devoted wife and loving Mother.
On the 31st day of January 1872, Capt. Scyster maried Miss Barbara Morrison who survives him; Rev. E.R. Harrison officating, and to this union two children were born, Mrs Flora W. Cowper of Mc Alister, Okla, and James Von Scyster of the Armour Packing Company, Kansas City. His surving widow was born near Clarksville, Tenn., on a farm which became the site of Confederate Camp Boone during the Civil War.
Capt. Scyster was baptised and joined the Methodist church here in 1847 and remained a member until his death 78 years,and he became a Mason in 1858 and remained a member as long as he lived - 62 years, moving his membership from Smithland Lodge number 138 some two years ago to Mc Alister and the Masons of the lodge to which he moved, officated at his funeral and burial in that city.
In leaving Smithland, Captain and Mrs. Scyster regretted to leave friends and the old Kentucky home so far away, but contented and blessed by the tender ministrations of a loving daughter, they made the change and deceased was happy until the end came, which was the result of a stroke of paralysis from which he never recovered. Laying with prostrate problems for many weeks, maintaining his vision and a clear mind to his last moments.
Marvin E. Scyster, for a number of years cashier of the Smithland bank, has the distinction of being the paternal grand nephew of Capt. J.V.Scyster and the maternal grand nephew of Mrs Martha Ellis Scyster, the first wife of Capt. Scyster, he being the grand son of Capt. Scyster's brother William Scyster and the grandson of Mrs Martha Ellis Scyster's brother James Scyster.
Thus passed away one of the land marks and connecting links between the past and present generations, a man of endowments of kindness, of charactor, of compassion and of good citizenship worthy of our church records: therefore.
Be it Resolved, that in the death of Bro. Jacob Von Scyster, this church has lost a beloved and devoted member, our community an upright citizen and his family and a loving husband, indulgent father and companion, and that we extend to his loved ones this tribute of our high regard for his noble life and stainless character.
Resolved, that this obituary and these resolutions be spread upon the church records and a copy be sent to the Central Methodist for publication and a copy be given to The Livingston Enterprise with the request that same be published in the home paper of the deceased, which he termed as "His love letter" when it's weekly visits made him so glad in his Oklahoma home, and that a copy be sent to his widow and daughter. All of which is respectfully submitted.
John L. Smith
Thanks to J. C. Fugina for submitting this obituary for the site.