BIOGRAPHY - Arthur Swanick

ARTHUR SWANICK is now living a retired life in Roberts. He is a self-made man and one of the prominent citizens of the county. He started out in life emptyhanded, with no capital save a young man's bright hope of the future, but through industry, enterprise and good management, he has steadily worked his way upward to a position of affluence, and the upright life that he has lived is well worthy of emulation.

He was born in County Mayo, Ireland, September 16, 1832, and is a son of John and Frances (Kirkpatrick) Swanick, also natives of the same county. The father was a farmer and died on the Emerald Isle when in the prime of life. His wife afterward came to America and died in Roberts in 1873. Of their four sons and two daughters, five are yet living: Arthur, of this sketch; Mary, wife of Peter Welsh, a contractor of Saratoga Springs, N. Y.; Sarah, wife of Abraham Code, a boot and shoe merchant of La Salle County, Ill.; John, an agriculturist of Lyman Township; and Alexander, who makes his home in Mendota and is an employe on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad.

Our subject spent the days of his boyhood and youth in the usual manner of farmer lads, and on attaining his majority decided to try his fortune in America. He sailed from Liverpool, and, after a voyage of six weeks and two days, landed at New York, from whence he went to Saratoga, that State, where he had friends living. After seven years spent in that locality, he came to Illinois, locating first in La Salle County, and afterward residing in Kane County, where he became acquainted with and married Miss Rose Layden, a native of County Leitrim, Ireland. Their union was celebrated July 13, 1862, and unto them were born three daughters and a son. Their daughter Alice, who became the wife of David Smith, of Lyman Township, died January 19, 1892. She was a noble-minded woman who had a host of friends throughout this community. She left a husband and two little daughters to mourn her loss.

"We shall miss her, we shall miss her.
Mother, sister, friend so dear,
For the face that smiled so sweetly
Ne'er again shall greet us here.

"But the God of truth and justice,
On whose bosom now she leans,
Tells us that unto the faithful
Soon there'll be no parting scenes."

Sarah, the second child of the family, resides in Roberts; Susan is a successful teacher in the public schools; and John is an enterprising agriculturist of this county.

The mother came to America when a child of seven summers, and resided in New York until eighteen years of age, when she came to Illinois. Mr. Swanick's first purchase of land consisted of eighty acres of raw prairie, for which he paid $10 per acre. It had no improvements upon it, but he built a small frame house, 16x24 feet. As the result of his persistent efforts and industry, his possessions have constantly increased and he is now the owner of a fine farm of two hundred and sixty acres, twenty acres of which are within the village. He has followed the occupation of farming as his chief pursuit, but is now living a retired life in his pleasant home on Main Street, where he owns a comfortable home and commodious residence, which is the abode of hospitality. He cast his first Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln, but since that time has voted with the Democratic party, except at local elections, when he supports the man, regardless of party affiliations. His wife is a member of the Catholic Church. He is a public-spirited gentleman, of benevolent disposition, and the poor and needy never leave his door empty-handed.

Extracted 28 Mar 2020 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Record of Ford County, Illinois, published in 1892, pages 281-282.

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