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Below is a family biography included in The History of Miller County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Elias C. Swalen, attorney at law, was born in Somerset County, Penn., July 23, 1835, and is the son of John and Anna C. (Brown) Swalen, the father a native of Germany and the mother of Irish descent. John Swalen emigrated from Germany to Pennsylvania at an early date, and located in Somerset County, where he remained a few years. He then moved to the city opposite Pittsburgh, remained there a short time, and thence to Dayton, Ohio. He died at Fort Jennings, Ohio, in 1844. He was a diamond cutter by trade, and also carried on farming. The mother died in 1865. They were the parents of a large family. Elias C. Swalen was reared in Dayton, Ohio, received but a limited education, and as soon as large enough to work for himself began clerking in a store, where he remained a number of years. At the same time all his spare moments were employed in reading history and then law. In 1857 and 1858 he was on the stage under the name of Ecconeles, supporting in the profession Ada Isaacs Menkin, who was at one time a noted actress. He then entered the law office at Dayton, studied under Col. M. P. Nolan for a number of years, and was admitted to the bar at Dayton in 1861. The same year he enlisted in Company A, Eleventh Ohio Infantry, and served until July, 1863. His first campaign was through West Virginia, and he was then sent east to the Army of the Potomac, reaching Washington a few days before the second battle of Bull Run, and then skirmished for some time, or until they retreated. He was at the battle of Frederick City, South Mountain, Antietam, and then came west, marching through West Virginia and on to the Cumberland after Hood’s army. While on this campaign he was taken sick and sent to the hospital at Gallatin, Tenn., where he was discharged July 18, 1863. He then returned to Dayton, and was engaged in traveling for John T. Wolf as collector and salesman. He remained with him for nearly two years, and then traveled for another firm for a short time. Later he went back to the stage for one season at the Dayton Opera House. In 1866 he moved to Missouri, stopped at California, Mo., for a short time, and while there was admitted to the bar to practice in the State of Missouri, in 1867. He then came to Miller County, Mo., and located at Tuscumbia, where he has since practiced his profession. He was elected prosecuting attorney in 1872, re-elected in 1876, and again re-elected to the same position in 1880. He is an ornament to the legal profession, and is one of the prominent practitioners of the county. He was married in 1872 to Miss Sarah A. Bond, a native of Missouri, and a member of the Christian Church. Mr. Swalen is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and is also a member of the G. A. R. He was a prominent member of the Volunteer Fire Department of Dayton, Ohio, was foreman of a hose company for many years, and was a delegate to all their state organizations from Dayton. He was a delegate to a congressional convention in 1856, held at Hamilton, Ohio, and at that time was but twenty-one years of age. Mr. Swalen has seen many ups and downs in life, has endured many hardships, and is a self-educated and self-made man.

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This family biography is one of 120 biographies included in The History of Miller County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Miller County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Miller County, Missouri family biographies here: Miller County, Missouri Biographies

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