My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890.  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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JOEL SWIGART. This upright man, reliable citizen and prosperous farmer has grown up in the locality in which he lives and where his father and grandfather were early settlers. He is the fourth child born to Michael and Sarah (Nave) Swigart, whose family comprised eight children. The others were Elizabeth, the wife of William Huston, who died leaving five children; Barbara, wife of Archibald Huston, and the mother of fourteen children, both she and her husband being now dead; Martha, who married Basil Orey, and both are now deceased, having left two children; David, who died unmarried; Michael, who lives in Sugar Creek Township, Greene County; Sarah, now deceased, who was the wife of William Tobias, and the mother of two children; Solomon, who also lives in Sugar Creek Township.

The father of this family was born in Pennsylvania, and was the son of Peter Swigart, a native of Saxony, Germany, who came to America during the Revolution as a Hessian soldier. After the struggle closed Peter Swigart settled in Somerset County, Pa., marrying an American woman who bore him six children. The father of our subject was the eldest child and accompanied his father to this State in 1811, their location being in Beaver Creek Township, Greene County, where the elder Swigart died in 1839. He had taken a heavily timbered farm from the United States Government when the township had very few white settlers, the maternal grandfather of our subject having also been a pioneer there, whence he had come from Maryland. A year after he came to this State, Michael Swigart removed into Sugar Creek Township, settling on the farm now owned by his son Michael, and accumulating an estate of six hundred and fifty-two acres, prior to his death in 1865. The farm upon which he located was entirely raw land, and he and his sons cleared it and broke the virgin soil. Both the parents of our subject were members of the German Lutheran Church, in which the father was an Elder for many years. He took an active interest in politics and affiliated with the Whig party. The death of his wife took place in 1833.

The gentleman of whom we write was born on November 18, 1820, on the farm now occupied by his brother, Michael Swigart. His school privileges were limited to an attendance of three months a year at a subscription school in a log schoolhouse, the people being very poor during his boyhood. He well remembers seeing Indians in this locality and wild beasts in goodly numbers. Whenever the mother wished to call her boys into the house she would go to the door and cry “Indians,” when the lads would rush pell-mell to their home.

Our subject was a strong, robust boy, and during his youth was obliged to do a large amount of heavy work. He gave his services to his father, working steadily for him until he was twenty-two years of age, when he married and was given ninety-eight and three-fourth acres of land on section 33, where his days since then have been spent. The only improvement upon the land was a small log cabin, but in 1858, he built a substantial residence at a cost of about $1,500, while various other improvements have been made by him, all such as befit the estate of an enterprising and prosperous farmer. By his personal efforts twenty-five acres of the land was cleared, and the remainder he had put in proper condition for tillage and now sixty acres are under the plow. He subsequently added to his real estate a tract of eighty acres, one-half mile north of the home farm. Until he was fifty years of age Mr. Swigart was a hard worker, but at that time he began to feel the strain of his previous arduous toils and he has since remained somewhat broken down in health.

In Miss Margaret Hedtleson, of Beaver Creek Township, Mr. Swigart found united the qualities which he thought desirable in a companion and helpmate, and after a successful wooing she became his wife January 12, 1843. Her parents, John and Eva (Smeltzer) Hedtleson, are natives of Maryland and were early settlers in the township in which their daughter was born September 24, 1824, and in which she grew to womanhood. After having, shared her husband’s joys and sorrows for nearly thirty years, she breathed her last in 1872, leaving behind her a memory to which her husband has ever been faithful. The fruit of this happy union was five children, all of whom are now deceased except the first-born. The survivor is Sarah Jane, whose natal day was August 31, 1844, and who married Thomas Haverstick, a native of Xenia, and is yet living with her father on the farm on which she was born. The date of her marriage was December 10, 1872, the union being a childless one. The deceased children of Mr. Swigart, are Elizabeth Ann, who died in infancy; Mary Catherine, who died at the age of twenty-four years; Elmira, wife of John D. Fink, who died in January, 1887, without offspring; and Ida Belle, who died at the age of twelve years.

Mr. Swigart has taken an active interest in political affairs and has always been a Republican, although in the local elections he votes for the man and not the party. His fellow-citizens recognize the deep interest he has in educational affairs and the faithful manner in which he discharges the duties of an official and have retained him as a member of the School Board in District No. 2, sixteen years. He is a member of the German Reformed Church in which he has held the office of Elder and of which his deceased wife was also a member. The respect of his fellow-citizens has ever been his and he can look back over a well spent life and enjoy the pleasure that

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This family biography is one of the many biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890. 

View additional Greene County, Ohio family biographies here: Greene County, Ohio Biographies

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