John S. Scoville was born around 1833 in Albany, Rensselaer County, New York, probably the son of John Brigham (b. 1808) and Jane (Stillwell).
Massachusetts native John B. eventually left New York and moved his family to Michigan and was probably the same John B. “Scovil” who was working as a physician, and who apparently remarried to Michigan-born Rebecca B. (b. 1821). By 1850 John S. was working as a printer along with his older brother Harry and they were living with their family in Detroit.
John S. probably returned to New York where he married New York native Elizabeth (b. 1839) in New York, and they had at least four children: Charles C. (b. 1858), Winifred (b. 1859), Irene (b. 1859) and Lizzie.
John S. moved back to Michigan with his own family sometime before 1858 and by 1860 he was working as a printer and living at the corner of Summit and William Streets with his wife and children in Grand Rapids’ First Ward. Also living in the First Ward was Rufus B. Scoville, a dentist, and probably John’s brother or cousin. Rufus too would join the Third Michigan infantry.
John stood 5’4” with light eyes and hair and a light complexion and was 28 years old and probably still living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company E on May 13, 1861, possibly at the same time Rufus Scoville enlisted in Company A.
John was discharged on June 12, 1862, at Judiciary Square hospital in Washington, DC, for “nearsightedness”; he had reportedly “done no camp duty since the battle of Bull Run” on July 21, 1861. The discharging physician noted that he “should never have been enlisted.”
By the end of June of 1862 John was reported at home “having been on the sick list for several weeks.”
It is not known if John ever returned to Michigan. By 1880 he was living in Illinois when he applied for and received a pension (no. 1103718), and that same year he was reportedly apparently single and working as a compositor for and/or living with the family of George Simpson on Throop Street in Chicago.
John died on September 24, 1914 at Pasadena, California and was presumably buried there.