Biography of Edwin S. Swigart

Edwin S. Swigart, a former mayor of the city of Champaign, is a thorough business man, and his reputation as a successful manager of large and important interests was one of the chief reasons why the people of Champaign desired him as their mayor.

A native of Illinois, he was born near Farmer City in DeWitt County, December 11, 1861. His parents, Jacob and Rebecca (Davis) Swigart, were both born in Ohio. Jacob Swigart, who was born in 1827 and died in 1907, removed to DeWitt County, Illinois, in 1847. Rebecca Davis was taken to DeWitt County in 1837, when a small child, and she is still living, being now one of the oldest settlers of that county. Jacob Swigart followed farming during his active career, and became well known in politics and business affairs. In 1868 he was elected a member of the State Legislature.

In a family of nine children, Edwin S. Swigart was the sixth in order of birth. His early advantages were those of the common schools of DeWitt County and for three years he was a student in Lombard College at Galesburg. He had considerable experience as a farmer, and after his marriage in 1885 he remained on the home place for a year.

Mr. Swigart was one of the organizers of the Creamery Package Company, then located at Morrison, Illinois, and for a time he gave this business his entire time and energies. The company has since grown to very large proportions, and now has its main offices in Chicago. For six years Mr. Swigart was associated with his father in the management of a private bank at De Land, Piatt County. In May, 1896, with J. W. Armstrong and J. W. Orr, Mr.’ Swigart bought an interest in the Citizens Bank of Champaign. This is now the Citizens State Bank. He was actively associated as one of the bank’s managers for three years. Mr. Swigart now has numerous business interests, especially in farm lands, and owns some of the best and most profitable acreage in Champaign and Piatt counties.

In 1900 he was supervisor of the census in this congressional district. He was first elected to the office of mayor of Champaign in 1903, and his creditable work in that office was fresh in the minds of the people when in 1915 he was again chosen to the same position. He served until May 1, 1917, when the commission form of government was adopted by the city.

On September 3, 1885, Mr. Swigart married Miss Nellie Lapham, a native of Whiteside County, Illinois. They are the parents of two children: Alta C., wife of D. T. Hoskins, Jr., of Lincoln, Nebraska; and Faith, still at home. Mr. Swigart is a Republican in politics and is affiliated with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.



Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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