GEORGE W. SWAN, a well known farmer and stock raiser of RockvaleTtownship, was born in Chemung County. New York, in 1836, and came to Ogle County, Illinois with his parents two years later. He is the son of Henry W. and Rachel (Westlake) Swan, the former born in Chemung County. New York in 1799, and the latter in Newburg, Orange County. New York, September 16, 1812. While residing in the east, Henry Swan was engaged in the mercantile business, and on coming west he first engaged in the same line of business. Later he ran a grist mill and distillery, in which lines he was quite successful. He built the first log house in Byron Township, and was well known as an enterprising citizen of the county. He died while yet in the prime of life, October 22, 1854. His wife survived him many years, dying May 9, 1879. They were the parents of seven children:
(1) Benjamin died in infancy.
(2) George W. is the subject of this sketch.
(3) Annie Floyd married Henry Harding Patrick, and they had five children, as follows:
1. Maurice Lee, born September 26, 1863, died August 22, 1889.
2. Carrie L., born January 4, 1865, married William W. Light, June 16, 1887.
3. Susan R. , born December 11, 1870, married William VanArsdale, August 4, 1892.
4. Henry Swan, born September 6, 1872, died April 3, 1884.
5. Floyd Harding, born January 15, 1877.
(4) Mary died when three years of age from the effects of a scald.
(5) Louise, born December 14, 1845, was married June 16, 1S64, to James M. Babcock, then a First Lieutenant in the federal army.
(6) Morris A., a farmer of Bridgewater, Dakota, was born March 22, 1848. He married Miss Fanny Kepner, and they have three children, namely:
1. Charles James, born January 27, 1875;
2. Floyd A., February 22, 1879; and
3. Mary Rachel, April 25, 1887.
(7) Charles F. , born October 5, 1852, is a wealthy physician and banker in South Chicago, where he married Huldah Austerman. They have one child living, Nellie R., and two deceased, Louise and Charles Henry.
When Henry W. Swan first came west the country was in its primitive state. On the establishment of the land office at Dixon, his brother, James Swan, was appointed receiver, and he acted as his deputy. A band of outlaws known as the "Prairie Bandits" soon infested the country, giving honest people much uneasiness. Gold was required by the government in payment for land, and from time to time it was sent by stage to La Salle, and from thence to St. Louis by boat. On one occasion the stage was held up by the bandits and considerable money was taken. There were very few roads laid out, and our subject remembers well, when a mere boy, in going to Freeport over the almost trackless prairie, there being no roads until the opening of the Yellow Creek brewery, three miles from the village as it then was. The country then abounded in game of all kind.
The subject of this sketch attended the subscription schools of Ogle County until he was eighteen years of age, and in 1857 took a commercial course at Rockford. He was united in marriage, January 11, 1860, with Miss Ida Louise Read, born October 23, 1841, and daughter of Hiram and Rhoda (Dewey) Read, the former born April 20, 1806, in Cornish, New Hampshire, and the latter September 30, 1803, in Oxford, New Hampshire. They were married March 26, 1837, and were early settlers of Ogle County. Hiram Read was the son of David and Hannah (Gerrold) Read, natives of Cornish, New Hampshire, who were blessed with three children Jacob, Philip and Hiram. Mrs. Read was the daughter of Abel and Rhoda (King) Dewey, and was one of eleven children, namely: Lucy, Joanna, Timothy, Rhoda, Clara, Mary, Martha, Henry, Almisee and two who died in infancy. Her father died June 29, 1842, and her mother, May 25, 1853. The greatgrandfathers of Mrs. Swan and Admiral Dewey were brothers.
Soon after his marriage, Mr. Swan, with Hiram Read, purchased land in Rockvale Township, and opened up a farm. In the years that have passed, he has sown and reaped, and success has in a measure crowned his efforts. Five children came to bless his union with Miss Read. Stanley H., born July 12, 1862, died April 25, 1865. Ardelle Louise, born August 12, 1864, is the wife of Frank Canode, and they reside in Marion Township. They have one child, Eva L., born August 7, 1895. Lua Lillian died when three years of age. Annie M., born January 19. 1865, married Thomas Morton, December 15, 1886, and they have four children, as follows: George A., born September 10, 1887; Harry T., February 4, 1890; Helen I., August 15, 1892; and Nellie M., March 20, 1895. Mrs. Morton died February, 1898. Henry W., born January 22, 1869, is residing at home and has charge of the home farm. Mary R., born November 22, 1875, married Ezra T. Stoner, March 15, 1899.
Recognizing the advantages of a good education, Mr. Swan has, in addition to the common-school course, given all his children the benefit of a high-school education in Oregon. Mary attended the Wells Training School, and a preparatory school for teachers at Oregon, and also took her teacher's examination at that place. Until her marriage, she was a successful teacher in the county.
In politics, Mr. Swan is a Republican, and although his ambitions do not run along the line of office holding, he has served for several years as school director, with great benefit to the community. His farm, on section 25, Rockvale Township, is in an excellent state of cultivation, the natural result of years of good management and sound judgment. He and his wife are genial and hospitable people, and they have many friends in the county.
Return to Ogle Co. Genealogy Site