Biography of Samuel Swain

SAMUEL SWAIN. The old citizenship of Madison County had no better representative than the late Samuel Swain, who was born in Fall Creek Township in the decade of the forties, and who died on the 9th of September, 1913. He had been continuously identified with this section of the County throughout practically all the years that intervened since the pioneer period. Mr. Swain was an infant when the first railroad was brought through the County and in the vicinity of his old homestead, he was a boy in his teens when the Civil war broke out, and he witnessed practically every innovation and improvement which has been the teacher in a great civilization of a nation during the last half of the nineteenth century.

Samuel Swain was born February 14, 1848. It was his distinction, such as is possessed by comparatively few of the residents of Madison County, to have been born in a log cabin. That log cabin was situated on the farm where he made his home at the time of his death. A log cabin at that time was not necessarily a sign of poverty nor shiftlessness, but was rather a representative habitation, consistent with the period of development through which the country was then plying. As a matter of fact Samuel Swain belonged to one of the thrifty and substantial Quaker families which settled in early Fall Creek Township. His parents were Woolston and Mary A. (Thomas) Swain. Woolston Swain was a son of Samuel and Martha (Briggs) Swain. Both the grandparents were natives of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and spent all their lives in that portion of the old Quaker state. Woolston Swain came to Indiana in early manhood, and at Indianapolis met Miss Mary A. Thomas, who had come to Madison County in 1834, belonging to one of the first families to locate in this County. After their marriage in 1843, they located in Madison County, and spent all the rest of their lives in this vicinity on this farm.. The father was a farmer, and he and his wife were active members of the Friends church. They were the parents of five children, named as follows: Anna M., who is unmarried; Samuel; Rebecca, who is unmarried; Joseph; and Frances L., the wife of Joseph Johnson of Cleveland, Ohio, president of Swarthmore College and president National Educational Society.

Samuel Swain was reared on the farm where he afterward lived and attained his education in the old district schools near this farm, and also in the Spiceland Academy. During his early manhood he obtained a certificate and taught the district school, during the winter term, while during the summer he carried on his farming operations. Mr. Swain never married, and after his father’s death he assumed the active management of the home farm of one hundred and twenty acres. In the profitable cultivation of this estate he proved himself to be one of the most capable agriculturists and stock raisers in the County. Mr. Swain was a birthright ‘member of the Friends church in this locality. In politics he was a Republican, though he was never interested in party affairs, and was always a supporter of good government. In his farming operations he made a specialty of raising high-class live stock. Mr. Swain in his business and civic relations was a quiet unassuming man, who always performed his proper share of responsibilities, and never obtruded himself into the conspicuous activities of public life. His unmarried sisters always made their home with him, and together they kept the old estate as one of the best centers of the old-time life in Madison County.



Madison County IN,

Forkner, John. History of Madison County, Indiana: a narrative account of its historical progress, its people and its principal interests. Chicago: The Lewis publishing company, 1914.

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