Biography of Mark Tunis Scarff of Michigan City North Dakota

Mark Tunis Scarff, born April 5, 1855, in New Carlisle, Ohio, is a distinguished resident of Nelson County, North Dakota, and president of the Michigan City Bank. Scarff moved to Nelson County in 1882, initially settling in Bartlett before relocating to Michigan City in 1883, where he established a hardware business. He founded the Michigan City Bank in 1893 and has served as its president since. Involved in local politics, he held positions as school and city treasurer. Scarff married Allie Warren in 1885 and, after her passing, married Nannie Shigley in 1893. They have one child, Mark Tunis Scarff Jr.

Mark Tunis Scarff, president of the Michigan City Bank in Michigan City, North Dakota, is one of the oldest and most respected citizens of Nelson County. He was born on April 5, 1855, in New Carlisle, Ohio, where he was raised and educated in the public schools. His parents are John J. and Mary E. Scarff. His father, born in January 1825 in Virginia, moved to New Carlisle, Ohio, at the age of eight and has lived there since. As of 1909, he enjoys good health. Mrs. Scarff, born in April 1830 in Pennsylvania, moved to Ohio at the age of six. She also resides at their home in New Carlisle.

Mark T. Scarff embarked on his own journey with an initial capital of $35.00 and headed for California. After arriving, he worked on a fruit ranch for a year before renting a small fruit ranch, where he made his first thousand dollars. From that point on, his efforts were met with success. He arrived in Nelson County in 1882, settling in Bartlett, North Dakota, which at the time consisted of only two tar-papered shanties. Within three months, the town grew to 1,500 inhabitants, but it was later destroyed by fire. After an extensive search for a stable location, he settled in Michigan City in 1883, where he established a hardware business. In 1893, he organized the Michigan City Bank and has served as its president ever since. In addition to his banking interests, Mr. Scarff was involved in the hardware business for several years and owned and farmed around 1,500 acres of highly improved North Dakota farmland.

In 1885, Mr. Scarff married Miss Allie Warren from Minneapolis, Minnesota, who passed away the following year. In 1893, he married Miss Nannie Shigley. Mr. and Mrs. Scarff have one child, Mark Tunis Scarff Jr.

Mr. Scarff has consistently identified as a Republican in politics but has limited his public service to local duties such as school and city treasurer, positions he has held for many years. He is a Master and Royal Arch Mason and serves as a trustee of the Congregational Church.

Mr. Scarff attended the first meeting of the board of county commissioners when Nelson County was established. The meeting took place under a tent where Lakota now stands, and Mr. Scarff cast the first vote in Michigan City Township. He was also the first subscriber to the first newspaper published in Nelson County.


C.F. Cooper & Company, History of the Red River Valley, Past And Present: Including an Account of the Counties, Cities, Towns And Villages of the Valley From the Time of Their First Settlement And Formation, volumes 1-2; Grand Forks: Herald printing company, 1909.

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