Lee County Biography
William H. Swigart
Palmyra Township


Hauling Wheat Season 1914 - Contributed by Ed Cleary
Mr. Putman and William Swigart, his helper - Arrange load 60 sacks - 2 trips per day

(My Grandfather was Edward Lawton Cleary. He was the son of Caroline Lavinia Lawton.
Caroline was the widow of William Swigart. She married Michael Cleary after Williams death)

William H. Swigart has done yeoman service in developing the agricultural resources of this county by his practical work as a farmer and dairyman since he came here many years ago in his boyhood. He has a farm on section 23, Palmyra Township, which comprises eighty-six acres of 1and under a high state of cultivation and amply supplied with buildings of a good class and all the appurtenances for conducting farming operations after the best methods. In the dairy business he takes the lead, having all the latest improved machinery for preparing feed and the mills being operated by a seventeen-foot windmill. He is also interested in stock-raising, which he is pursuing successfully, and makes a specialty of Norman horses, owning a fine stallion of that famous breed.

Our subject was born in Augusta County, Va., May 22, 1840. his paternal grandfather was a German by birth and came to this country when a young man, settled near Uniontown, Md., and there passed his remaining days. His son Samuel, the father of our subject, was born there and in that State carried on his trade as a wheelwright. He went to Virginia and there met and married Miss Maria Dinkle, who came of one of the old families of that State. In 1841 they removed to Seneca County, Ohio, where he proceeded to open up a farm in the wilderness, but his busy career was closed by his untimely death at the age of forty-five years. After this sad bereavement the mother took her childrenn to live in Gratiot County, Mich. There she was subsequently married to Roswell Reynolds, whom she survived some years, her death occurring in 1889, at the venerable age of seventy-seven years. She was a woman of true Christian character and a prominent Methodist.

He of whom we write was fifteen years of age when his father died. He went with his mother to the new home in Central Michigan, but did not stay there a great length of time as he was an independent, self-reliant lad, ambitious to make his own way in the world. In 1857, when but seventeen years of age, he came to Illinois to see what life held for him here, and has since worked his way up to his present substantial position as one of the solid men of his township. Besides what he has accomplished in the line of his work, he has made his influence felt in social and religious circles and has never hesitated to champion all plans for the moral elevation of the community. He is known by his fellow-citizens to be scrupulously honest and conscientious in his acts, cheerful and accommodating in his intercourse with his neighbors, always glad to do another a favor, and in all respects a thoroughly upright man, who seeks the good of others and is justly held in high repute. He and his wife are prominent in society and in the church and have devoted their whole energies to the upbuilding of the Union Church of this township. Their talent for music is utilized in perfecting the choir, of which they are leaders. Mr. Swigart has been at the head of the Sugar Grove Sunday-school for many years and has done a great deal to make it successful and attractive to the children as well as to their elders. As a loyal citizen should, he interests himself in politics and has given his allegiance to the Republican party.

Our subject was first married to Miss Janette M. Johnson, who was born and reared in Palmyra Township, a daughter of one of its pioneers, E. H. Johnson, of whom a biography appears on another page of this volume. Mrs. Swigart died while yet a young woman, leaving one child, Roy Ellwood, who lives with his father.

Mr. Swigart was married a second time in this township, taking as his wife, Carrie L. Lawton. Mrs. Swigart was born, reared and educated here, and is a daughter of the late Charles Lawton, formerly a well known farmer of this locality and a native of England. His wife survives him and is living on the old homestead with her sons. She was also born in England, but was married in Pennsylvania. Her maiden name was Ann Mary Tuck. Mrs. Swigart received her education in the public schools of Palmyra and here grew to womanhood. Her marriage with our subject has brought them one daughter whom they have named Lulu, and who is at home with them.

The family residence, a view of which appers in connection with this sketch is a comfortable abode
and the center of a hearty hospitability which is extended to friends with genial warmth.

Source: Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL

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