Biography of Carroll L. Swarts

Carroll L. Swarts. During his dignified and successful career as a lawyer in Kansas, covering a period of over thirty years, Judge Swarts gained distinction by his long and capable service on the district bench and had made his profession a medium of important service to several communities in the state.

His name is of German origin, but the family had been identified with America since colonial times. His ancestors were prominent people in Maryland. Judge Swarts’ grandfather, Abraham D. Swarts, was born near Abingdon, Maryland, in 1782. He married Ann Bond Carroll, of the prominent Maryland family of that name. Abraham D. Swarts took part in the early migration to the West, and long before the time of railroads or canals he crossed the Alleghanies, floated down the Ohio River, and after one year in Jefferson County, Illinois, moved to Knox County, all of that part of the state being a wilderness, and acquired a tract of land from which he subsequently laid off the town site of Abingdon, named in honor of his birthplace in Maryland. He did much to build up that town and give it its fine character as a place of homes, churches and good schools. Both he and his wife died at Abingdon, and none of their children are still living.

Benjamin C. Swarts, father of Judge Swarts, was born in Jefferson County, Illinois, in 1831. He spent his early life in Knox County and became a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was a saintly figure in the ministry and distinguished himself by a life of good works. As a preacher he held various charges in Knox, Warren, McDonough and Rock Island counties, Illinois, also along the Rock River and in Peoria County, and in 1869 he came out to Kansas as one of the pioneers of his church in the West. For a time he was located at Eldorado, and in January, 1870, removed to Arkansas City. Some of his most important work was done as superintendent of the missions of the Methodist Church in Indian Territory. He carried the gospel to the Indians in the face of hardship and danger, and spent his last years in retirement at Arkansas City, where he died in 1909. He was a republican and a member of the Masonic fraternity. Rev. Mr. Swarts married Mary J. Allison. She was born in Kentucky in 1829 and died at Arkansas City in 1906. They had a large family of nine children. Mary Elizabeth, the oldest, who died in Arkansas City, married C. R. Mitchell, now retired from active practice as a lawyer and living at Geuda Springs, Kansas. The second in age is Judge C. L. Swarts. Charles M. is a member of the drug firm of Sollitt & Swarts at Arkansas City. Eva had never married and is a resident of Lawrence, Kansas. Helen died at the age of twenty-four and Stella died at twenty-two, in Arkansas City. B. F. Swarts was for some years a merchant in Indian Territory but is now connected with the Dupont Powder Company at Dupont in the State of Washington. Samuel P. died at the age of twenty-five at Colorado Springs, Colorado. Adaline is the wife of W. W. Burnett, agent for the Santa Fe Railway at Lawrence, Kansas.

Carroll L. Swarts was born at Canton, Illinois, October 12, 1852, and his early youth was spent in the various communities where his father as a Methodist minister resided. He gained his education in various schools, and for three months was a student at Arkansas City, to which town he came when he was about seventeen years of age. Judge Swarts recognizes that the period of greatest benefit to him in the way of education was the five years while he taught district schools in Cowley County. His interest became permanently directed toward the law, and he read law in the office of his brother-in-law, C. R. Mitchell.

Judge Swarts was admitted to the Kansas bar in 1883, and began practice at Arkansas City. While there he served as city attorney. In 1886 Judge E. F. Torrance appointed him county attorney of Cowley County to fill out the unexpired term of Henry E. Asp, resigned. In the fall of that year he was elected for the regular term and by re-election in 1888 served four years. Leaving that office, he resumed private practice in Arkansas City and remained there handling a large law business until 1900, when he was elected judge of the District Court. Judge Swarts brought to the bench thorough learning, an absolute honesty and uncompromising integrity, and won the esteem of the bar and the general public throughout his twelve years of judicial service. He was re-elected in 1904 and 1908, and his third term expired December 31, 1913. Judge Swarts had been a resident of Winfield since 1900, and in 1914 he resumed his private law practice, with offices in the Farmers National Bank Building.

Judge Swarts is a prominent member of the Kansas State Bar Association. He is a republican, a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and is affiliated with Winfield Lodge No. 110, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.

His home, which he owned, is at 1403 South Fuller Street in Winfield. Judge Swarts was married in 1883, in Crosby County, Texas, to Miss Susie L. Hunt, daughter of Dr. William and Mary Jane (Hockett) Hunt, both now deceased. Her father was for many years a physician to the Kaw Indians, was their medical adviser at Council Grove, Kansas, and afterward went with them to Indian Territory. Judge and Mrs. Swarts have two talented daughters. Leila M. is a graduate of the Winfield High School, the Southwestern Kansas College of Winfield, and had her degree Master of Arts from the University of Kansas. For the past three years she had been teacher of French and English in William and Vashti College at Aledo, Illinois. Mildred A., the second daughter, at home with her parents, had specialized in music. She is a graduate of the Winfield High School and the Winfield College of Music, and had also taken courses in the Conservatory of Southwestern College. She is now teacher of public school music, vocal and piano, at Winfield.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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