William Swingley was born at Hagerstown, Md., March 20, 1833, and died at the family residence in Oregon, Ill., March 27, 1904, aged 71 years and 7 days.
Probably no man in Ogle County was better known upon the west side of Ogle County or enjoyed the friendship and personal acquaintance of more people than William Swingley, who passed from this life to the great beyond on Sunday morning last.
Mr. Swingley has been a resident of Ogle County since 1846, coming from Hagerstown, Md., with his parents’ family when a mere lad and making the journey overland in company with the Rices, Farwells, Hitts and Nathaniel Swingley, all of whom are most familiar names in connection with the early history of Ogle County.
The early life of William Swingley and his connection with the pioneer days, were we able to tell it, would make a valuable volume. For a number of years prior to the building of the railroad he was engaged in teaming between Mount Morris and Chicago, and many times he made the long, tedious trip across the prairie, and his frank, jovial disposition marked him a character that made friends easily, retained them long, and his friends were legion all along the dreary route, and his coming was ever welcome, because there was always sure to be something doing when “Bill Swingley” rounded up to pass the night at any of the various taverns along the route.
In 1853 he was united in marriage to Mary E. Wagner, a native of Boonsboro, Md., who still survives. Of this union three sons were born, Oscar Y., recently deceased, Benj. F., a prominent veterinarian of Freeport, and Jacob G., of Oregon, who is also following the profession of a veterinarian very successfully.
For nearly fifty years Wm. Swingley followed the business of veterinary surgeon and in the early days his practice called him all over northern Illinois, where he was recognized as a man highly skilled in his profession. In 1874 he accepted a position as veterinarian with the Adam Forepaugh Circus, where he had charge of 356 horses, many of them very valuable animals.
Shortly after his marriage he purchased a farm in Rockvale Township, where his family home was made for thirty years, when the brick house, immediately north of the fair grounds in Oregon, was bought and occupied by Mr. Swingley and his family in the fall of 1881, and where the home has since been made.
“Uncle Bill” Swingley was kind and generous to a fault. No person was ever turned away from his door hungry and many are there in Ogle County who can recall the time when in trouble that he came to their rescue and bridged them over the rough spots. About two years ago the deceased suffered sinking spells, a form of paralysis, which have since increased, until he became very feeble and for several months past he has longed for the end.
The funeral occurred at 10 o’clock Tuesday morning from the Stone Church, conducted by the pastor, Elder S. J. Lindsay, where a large number of friends assembled to pay a tribute to his memory, after which burial was made at Silver Creek Cemetery.
Mount Morris Index, 30 March 1904
Contributed by Mabry Benson
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