Biography of Paul C. Swan

Paul C. Swan, of Washington, is an all around and thorough business man, and had demonstrated his ability to handle many varied enterprises successfully. He is a native of Kansas and had spent most of his active business career in the northern part of the state.

His birth occurred in Republic County, August 5, 1868. His grandfather Swan was a Scotchman who immigrated from his native land to Canada. His father, J. W. Swan, was born at Toronto, Ontario, in 1843, and when a boy went with his parents to Wisconsin, where he grew up and married at Stevens Point. In the early days he employed his skill as a pilot for the lumber rafts which were floated down the Wisconsin River to the markets. At the age of eighteen, in 1861, he enlisted in the Thirty-second Wisconsin Infantry but was rejected on account of disability. He promptly re-enlisted in an Illinois regiment of infantry and was in active service until the close of the war and did a soldier’s full duty. He fought at Shiloh, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge and was with Sherman throughout the march to the sea.

After the war, in 1867, J. W. Swan came to Kansas, taking up a homestead of 160 acres at Cuba. That land grew into a good farm and it was his home until 1878, when he entered the livery and general mercantile business at Washington. In 1880 he established a store at Haddam, Kansas, but in 1886 retired and died there in 1888. He was a republican, a member of the Masonic fraternity and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. J. W. Swan married Anna Osborne, who was born in New York City in 1845 and died at Haddam, Kansas, in 1890. Paul C. was the first of their six children. Arthur died at the age of twenty in Haddam. William J. was cashier of the First National Bank of Washington at the time of his death, at the age of thirty-two. Nellie died at Washington when twenty years of age. Harry is an employe of the Electric Street Railway Company at Los Angeles, California. Bessie lives at San Francisco, and for the past seven years had been head stenographer and confidential clerk of a large hardware house of San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Paul C. Swan’s earliest recollection is of the old homestead of his father, where he lived until he was ten years of age. He finished his schooling at Haddam, and at the age of seventeen became an active helper to his father in the livery and general mercantile business. When he was twenty years of age he left home and went to the Puget Sound region of the far Northwest, and was in the mercantile business at Olympia and Seattle, Washington. During the winter of 1897 he returned to Haddam and in the spring of 1898 established a grocery and men’s furnishing goods store, which he conducted for seven years. He sold out to Potter Brothers and in 1905 went to Osborn, Kansas, where he conducted a store a short time. Trading this, he returned to Washington and in May, 1905, bought the mercantile business of Phil Darby. This is one of the oldest and best known stores of Washington. Mr. Swan conducted the store along with a land business until 1907. Then for a year he was superintendent of the Washington electric light plant, and had since been successfully identified with the land business and as an automobile salesman and garage proprietor. Mr. Swan had the distinction of selling the first Studebaker car in the entire State of Kansas. He established his garage in 1908. He now had the best equipped garage in Washington, located on Commercial Street, the building having a frontage of 172 feet and is 110 feet in depth, and with a basement underneath the entire building.

Mr. Swan is also president of the Washington Telephone Exchange and is a large property owner, including some business properties around the public square, a dwelling house and his own residence in the west part of town. In politics he is a republican voter and is affiliated with Frontier Lodge No. 104, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and Haddam Lodge of Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

At Haddam, Kansas, in 1888, Mr. Swan married Miss Flora Simpson, who died at Olympia, Washington, in 1897. She was the mother of two children. Gladys M. is the wife of W. R. Baker, a farmer six miles north of Washington. Bradford L. is bookkeeper and general assistant to his father in the garage at Washington and had recently enlisted in the Hospital Corps being organized by Dr. H. D. Smith. At Clifton, Kansas, in 1901, Mr. Swan married for his second wife Miss Edith Hamilton, daughter of Steve and Frances (Stiles) Hamilton. Her parents reside at Washington and her father served twice as county attorney, his terms of office being at an interval of twenty-five years apart. Mr. and Mrs. Swan have two children: Paul, Jr., born in October, 1905, and Harriet, born December 7, 1910.



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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