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The Scroggie Boys Grew Up in Belleview – By Peek Hames

By Peek Hames – Originally published in the 2015 Founder’s Day Review

Growing up on their parent’s farm Just over the hill south of Belleview on Highway 301, the Scroggie boys learned early in life that chores had to done before play. That lesson equipped them to be star football players and challenged them to be successful in their life’s journey. The oldest of the three boys, Casey, would quarterback the Summerfield Bulldog football team in his junior year to a 9-1 season throwing a record 30 touchdown passes. Although hurt part of the year he helped lead the new Lake Weir High School Hurricanes to an undefeated six man team his senior year in 1956. Steve was an All-State line backer for the Hurricanes as a senior in 1958, and Gene would be an All-Conference player for 3 years.

The lineal descent of the Scroggie family can be traced back to the late 1600’s in the county of Kincardineshire, Scotland. In 1834, one of the Scroggie clan, James, migrated to Canada. He and his wife, Jessie had nine children. Two of the boys, William and James, left Canada in 18 70 seeking a new life. James stayed in Ohio and the boy’s grandfather, William Scroggie, came to a hammock south of Pedro that would become known as Scroggie’s Hammock. He married Ava McDermitt in 1876 and they had five children, including the Scroggie boy’s grandfather, John. He and his wife had six children, one being Ralph, the boy’s father who was born in Summerfield in 1918. Their grandfather was also one of the nine men that started Summerfield First Baptist Church.

Their Father, Ralph, who also was a star football player for the Summerfield School married Norma Smith. Her family homesteaded the property south of Belleview in 1884 which would later be the home place of the three Scroggie boys. The homestead was also once a stage stop.

After marrying Nonna in 1937, Ralph moved to Jacksonville to find better work and took a job with a trucking company and later driving a taxi. A year later Casey was born in 1938 and Steve followed in 1940. Their father’s last job in Jacksonville was a fireman on a train. The war was going on and because trains were important during the war he wasn’t drafted. He quit his fireman’s job because of the abuse of the engineer and was turned in to the draft board. The next day he was drafted. He moved the family back to Belleview to his wife’s parents’ farm where Gene was born in 1943. He entered the service and because he wanted to send more money home, he joined the 82nd airborne paratroopers making several jumps in the war.

One of the earliest memories Casey and Steve have was being at their grandmother’s restaurant in Belleview. They remember hearing a loud horn blowing, signaling the end of the war and seeing people shouting with their arms raised in the air and knowing that their daddy was coming home. Mr. Scroggie never had seen Gene and Mrs. Scroggie hadn’t cut his hair since birth. One of the first things Mr. Scroggie did was take the two year old for a haircut.

Growing up on a farm inherited by their mother seemed like an idea life for the three boys, but their dad never let them miss their chores. When they didn’t have enough of their own to do they would sometimes have to catch chickens for the Beaches. They would clip the wings, but clipping the beaks so the chickens wouldn’t peck each other.

On the farm they had cows, hogs, and horses and grew peanuts and seasonal crops. Steve’s first experience of hoeing peanuts got him into trouble with his dad as he was chopping up the peanuts and leaving the coffee weed which looked a lot like a peanut vine. His dad would soon stop that as he made a turning blade he could attach to the power take off unit on the tractor. It cut the top off of the weed just above the peanuts so they could get more sunlight. Steve suffered two injuries on the farm. Clearing land Casey struck a tree with his ax and the ax glanced off the tree and cut Steve’s leg. Another time his dad bought a brand new seeder and Steve was seeding a pasture when Leroy Monroe stopped by and asked to drive the tractor through the gate. Reluctantly Steve agreed. Seeing Leroy was turning the tractor too soon, Steve tried to save the new seeder and jumped between  seeder and gate post He cracked two ribs in his chest and was taken to the doctor. On the way to Belleview and the doctor, they passed Leroy hightailing it home.

Some of the fun things they did on the farm were shooting rattlesnakes with BB guns, jumping on the cows back at the water trough and riding them as long as possible and riding the horses. Casey got kicked by a horse once knocking him out and his mother put him in the water trough to revive him.

Besides running a farm, in 1949-50 their father had the Gulf station in Belleview and they would ride their bikes into town, with no fear of the minimal traffic back then, playing and fishing at Lake Lillian.

After high school Casey attended the University of Florida. College life didn’t suit him and he returned to the family farm and went into the dairy business with his father. They started with 35 cows and sold their milk to Bordens with all three boys being involved.

Ralph and Casey decided to start a route in Belleview selling raw milk iced down in tubs out of the back of their pickup truck to the polish community who liked to make their own butter. Casey began knocking on doors in Belleview and soon established his own milk route. Gene started a route in the Lake Weir-South Marion area. Their father began selling commercially to businesses in Ocala and the Wildwood-Oxford area. They sold the delivery business in 1973 but wanting to keep work for two faithful employees, they had a base amount of milk that they continued to sell in bulk.

Steve also attended Central Florida CC at this time studying civil engineering. After two years at CFCC, he got a job as a boundary line surveyor with the Department of Transportation building I-75 in Pasco County. He wanted to be a professional engineer and took the two day-eight hour test and failed. Persistence finally paid off for him. With a two year degree he was competing with people with five year engineering degrees and after taking the test twice a year for ten years he became a professional engineer. He worked for DOT for 37 years doing roadway design and other engineering jobs. After retirement in 1999 he became an inspector of roads and bridges for the State of Florida from Ocala to Ft. Lauderdale. Steve has one girl, Tasha, and two boys, Mike and Bryan and attends The Garden Worship Center Church.

Casey and Gene were both married and wanting to make extra money pursued their real estate license. Casey getting his in 1972 and Gene got his in 1974. Along with his dairy work and real estate, Casey was also delivering mail as a part time carrier. He put his license with Roy Abshier at Roy Realty and his first sale was Eaton’s Beach. One day at the dairy, Casey was deciding whether to stay part time with the post office or real estate. Roy Abshier walked in and gave him an $11,500 commission check and his mind was made up. Casey says, “The next six months I couldn’t sell anything. He started his own business, Casey Scroggie Realty in 1980. He was a very successful agent acquiring land and building rentals, both residential and commercial. He is now retired from the business with only commercial rentals. Casey was a good athlete playing all the sports. He played football, basketball and fast pitch softball in a league in Ocala. He also played slow pitch softball on Lewis McLean’s Belleview Merchant’s team. He also enjoys playing tennis and golf. He was on the committee that secured the loan to build the Belleview ballpark at the old dump site. He was one of Belleview’s first little league coaches, along with Oral Blackmon, Lewis McLean and Bob Smith. He is also a charter member of the Belleview Jaycees and a member of Belleview First Baptist Church. Casey married Mary Margaret Fant from Ocala in 1960 and they have three children, Chad, Craig and daughter Gail, and four grandchildren.

Gene’s hard work also paid off. After getting his license he went to work for Dykes Realty with an office in the old motel where Checker’s is now located. In 1979 he started Scroggie Realty, which later was Century 21. Securing a loan he bought property in Belleview on 441 and sold part to Barnett Bank and built a plaza on the other part holding his office and rentals for Reeves Realty, Sheer Perfection and Western Auto. After 36 years of having his own business he retired in January of this year. Gene is a past president of the Marion County Board of Realtors and has been active in many community events. He has been President of the Belleview Jaycees and also state vice president. He was president of Belleview South Marion Chamber of Commerce for two years in 1997 and 1998, and is a past President of the Belleview Kiwanis club. He was instrumental in starting the Belleview Bulldog football team as part of the Marion County Youth Football League. Gene married Anita Bunce Cochrane and they have six children, four boys and two girls, Judd, Daphne, Lynn, Tommy, Josh, Jeremy and 17 grandchildren.

Casey and Gene’s first real estate venture was to buy land near the family farm and build Whispering Oaks Mobile Home Park with 63 units in 1973. Casey and Steve both served in The United States Army Reserves. Early one October morning in 1958, this writer and Steve boarded a north bound train at the Belleview crossing, heading for basic training at Ft. Jackson South Carolina. Since neither was ever away from home before, it was a good feeling to have your buddy by your side. Because of an accident of nearly losing a finger while cleaning milk bottles, Gene was turned down in his attempt to join the army reserves.

With the arrival of his father’s family coming to the area in 1870 and his mother’s family in 1884, Gene has compiled a large book of information of his founding families, including back to the 1600’s in Scotland. The Scroggie Boys hold a lot of good memories of Belleview and South Marion and are three good reasons why this is a good place to live.

1 Comment

  1. Robin Duncan on March 3, 2024 at 2:19 pm

    Great story. Wonderful guys, Gene was my mentor!!

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