Thomas and Harriet Swalwell.


Year has been added to year and decade to decade until nearly a half centurv has been numbered with the past since Thomas Swalwell, one of the leading agriculturists and stock men of Jasper county and one of Clear Creek township’s most worthy and substantial citizens, took up his permanent residence here. Upon his arrival this section of the comparatively new Hawkeye state was largely an undeveloped region, awaiting the awakening touch of the sturdy pioneers to transform its wild lands into rich farms and beautiful homes, to found cities and towns, to establish churches and schools, and in many other ways to reclaim the country for the use of man. As a representative of one of the early families that led the van of civilization into this favored region, Mr. Swalwell is eminently deserving of mention with the leading cititens of the locality, whose interests he has ever had at heart and sought to promote whenever occasion presented itself, and it is with pleasure that a review of his long, busy and useful life is herewith presented.

Mr. Swalwell is an American by adoption only, being a Britisher by birth, though most of his life has been spent among us, and we are always glad to claim kinship with those who speak our mother tongue. We claim him as our own for this and other reasons, not the least of which is the fact that, while cherishing the Union Jack, he is nevertheless loyal to the Stars and Stripes.

Mr. Swalwell was born in Scarborough, Yorkshire, England, March 19, 1844, and he is the son of Thomas and Harriet Swalwell, both natives of England, where they grew up, were educated, married and, in fact, spent their lives. The only members of their family living besides the subject are William and Mrs. Belle Drake.

Thomas Swalwell grew up in his native land and was educated there. Having had his youthful imagination fired by the stories of prosperity and opportunity in the great western republic, he emigrated to our shores upon reaching manhood, arriving in the state of Illinois on May 1, 1867, but remained there only a year, then came on to Jasper county, Iowa, where he has been identified with the agricultural interests from that time to the present, having been successful far above the average farmer. He went to work with a will, foreseeing a great future in these rich prairies, and by economy, persistence, good management and honest dealings he progressed from year to year, until he now owns two hundred acres in his home place in Clear Creek township, three hundred and twenty acres in Emmet county and one hundred and sixty acres in New Albany township, Story county. These farms are all well improved, well kept, fertile and desirably located. His home is commodious, well furnished, modernly equipped and in the midst of pleasant surroundings; in fact, his family enjoys every convenience that can he secured to make life worth the living.

Mr. Swalwell was first married to Jane Richardson, whose death occurred in 1871, only a few years after he came to this locality. To this union one child, Thomas Vernon Swalwell, was born. The subject’s second marriage was in 1872, when he led Harriet Kimberley to the altar. She was born in Herkimer county, New York. June 1, 1852. For a history of her family the reader is directed to the sketch of Isaiah Kimberley.

To this second union thirteen children have been born, all but the eldest, Lot, still living, he having died when two years old. The others are, Mrs. Harriet Frances Oswald, born September 20, 1874, resides in Emmet county, Iowa: Mrs. Nellie Oswald. born November 23, 1876, lives in Story county; Mrs. Ruth Vilas, born August 30, 1878, lives in Madrid, Iowa; James Weaver, born October 13, 1880; Jay B., born March 8, 1883: Belva, born November 21, 1884, attended Baxter high school for one year and Drake University at Des Moines for a year, and is at present teaching school at Ogden, Iowa; Iva, born November 20, 1886, is teaching in the rural schools of Jasper county: Eva, born September 4, 1888, is also teaching in rural schools; Charles, born July 6, 1890; Christopher, born April 22, 1893; Ada, born October 29, 1895; George, born March 2, 1897. These children were reared at the home farm in Clear Creek township.

Politically, Mr. Swalwell is a Democrat, and while he takes an interest in local affairs he has not aspired to public leadership.

from the History of Story County, Iowa, 1911