Scott Etter, city attorney of Palmyra, a leading citizen and democratic politician, and the editor and proprietor of the Transcript, one of the outspoken and influential newspapers of Macoupin County, is a descendant of some of the best pioneer stock of this section of the State. Mr. Etter was born October 30, 1875, in South Palmyra township, Macoupin County, and is a son of James and Flora (Ritchie) Etter.
Tracing the Etter family as far back as our subject's great-grandfather, we find that Henry Etter was born in Wythe County, Virginia, and removed to Eastern Tennessee at the age of 23 years. He married Elizabeth Parks, a member of a family which had migrated from New England to Tennessee, and they had a family of 12 children, the seventh in order of birth being Henry, the grandfather of our subject. In 1827 the elder Henry Etter removed with his family to Greene County, Illinois, settling three miles southeast of Greenfield. He was the pioneer settler in his neighborhood, only a few other families having located in the township. In 1836, he removed to Macoupin County and settled on section 9, in what is now Western Mound Township, on a farm now occupied by George Etter. At that early day few settlers had found homes here and pioneer conditions existed for a number of years. Mr. Etter bought a claim of 120 acres and entered 280 additional acres, much of this property still remaining in the possession of the family.
Henry Etter Jr., grandfather of our subject, became a prominent citizen of Macoupin County, although he enjoyed in youth few educational opportunities. On November 14, 1844, he married Asbereen Elizabeth Davidson, who was born May 12, 1824, in Barren County, Kentucky, and was a daughter of E. and Margaret (Wright) Davidson and a granddaughter of John Davidson, who migrated to America from Scotland. Mr. Etter and wife engaged in farming in Western Mound township until 1845, when they moved to the present farm of our subject in section 16, South Palmyra township. Mr. Etter accumulated 480 acres of land, but, with the exception of 160 acres, has given all to his children. He was born May 14, 1820, and, although advanced in years, still retains the management of his homestead. The children of Henry Etter Jr., were: George; James; Smith, deceased; and Elijah, a resident of Waverly, Illinois.
James Etter, father of our subject, is now a retired farmer of South Palmyra. He married Flora Ritchie, who died in 1900. Mrs. Etter was a daughter of E. W. Ritchie, a farmer of South Palmyra township.
Scott Etter attended the Palmyra schools and was graduated at the Palmyra High School in 1892. It had required considerable effort and self denial on the young man's part to accomplish this satisfactory result. The successful passage through high school entails expenses for suitable books, apparatus, etc., and the means for defraying these expenses he earned by working in the rock quarries on his father's farms. Doubtless this was excellent discipline, at any rate it goes to show that Mr. Etter is not one to permit adverse conditions to discourage him in the pursuit of his chosen aim. Much of his subsequent career had made this manifest. For a period he taught school in Macoupin County, and from 1896 to 1897 was the able principal of the Modesto High School. He then removed to Palmyra and entered upon the study of law with Frank M. Solomon, with whom he later formed a law partnership. When this was dissolved in 1898, he entered into partnership with Hon. James B. Searcy, at that time a member of the State Legislature. This connection was severed in 1900, since which time Mr. Etter has conducted his practice alone, Mr. Searcy locating at Carlinville.
Since 1895 Mr. Etter has been a prominent factor in Democratic politics in this section and has been a delegate to all important conventions. One notable one was the 16th Congressional Convention, which finally elected T. J. Selby, after a deadlock and taking of 2,531 ballots. He was also a delegate to the convention which nominate J. B. Rieks as judge of the Supreme Court of Illinois. In 1891 his abilities were recognized by election as city attorney of Palmyra, an office he has since held by acclamation. On November 7, 1898, he purchased the Transcript, one of the leading newspapers of the county and one which commands attention on account of the ability with which it is conducted. Since April 17, 1901, he has been one of the directors of the F. A. of A. Insurance Company. Until1903 he was one of the principal stockholders of the Electric Light and Telephone Company of Palmyra, of which he was the promoter. He has been very active in all public spirited movements, and by voice, pen and means, encourages everything which promises to be of substantial benefit to this section.
On October 31, 1900 Mr. Etter was married to Frances M. Butcher, who is a daughter of Wesley Butcher, who died January 7, 1892. Mrs. Etter is proficient in music and at the time of her marriage was a teacher of music at Carlinville. They have a son, Roscoe, who was born November 9, 1901, and a daughter, Frances, born February 24, 1904. Both Mr. Etter and wife are members of the Christian Church. Fraternally he is an Odd Fellow and a Knight of Pythias.