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Biographical Sketch
John D. Smith
Doniphan County, Kansas


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The following transcription is from a 750 page book titled "Genealogical and Biographical Record of North-Eastern Kansas, dated 1900.  These have been diligently transcribed and generously contributed by Penny R. Harrell, please give her a very big Thank You for her hard work!

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Silas S. Swim.

In the days when Doniphan county was a wild western
prairie, when the work of progress and civilization had scarcely begun,
Silas S. Swim came to Kansas and through the succeeding years has been
identified with the great department of labor known as agriculture, the
bringing forth from the soil the goodly fruits, which contribute in
larger measure than any other one thing to the prosperity of the world.
He is now numbered among the substantial farmers of Doniphan county and
as he is well known the record of his life cannot fail to prove of
interest to our many readers. He was born in Fleming county, Kentucky,
April 8, 1830, and is the son of Michael Swim, who was probably a
native of Indiana, was a farmer and died in Kentucky at the age of
sixty years. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Sarah Gorman,
departed this life in Kentucky, in 1852. The children of this worthy
couple were: Minerva, who became the wife of Mr. Staggs and died in
Kentucky, leaving a family; Alexander, who died in the Black Hills;
Telitha, the deceased wife of John Shane; Margaret, who is living in
Wisconsin; William S., from whom no news has been received since 1858,
at which time he was in Alexandria, Louisiana; Silas S.; Trumbo, who
has not been heard from since 1858; and Barbara, now Mrs. McElam, of
Kentucky. The subject of this review spent the days of his childhood
and youth in the state of his nativity and in the early '50s removed to
Buffalo county, Wisconsin. At the time of the inauguration of the
civil war he enlisted, in Lee county, Iowa, in Company A, Thirtieth
Regiment of Iowa Volunteers, which became a part of the First Brigade,
First Division of the Fifteenth Corps. It was ordered to the south
early in the struggle and participated in the first attack on Vicksburg
in December, 1862. The command was forced to withdraw from there,
however, and crossing the river marched against Arkansas Post and
succeeded in taking that important point. The troops then returned to
the vicinity of Vicksburg when General Grant was besieging that place,
in 1863, and on the 4th of July, when the city was evacuated, the
Thirtieth Iowa was located at Walnut Grove, east of the town. The
regiment aided in recapturing Jackson, Mississippi from Johnston, and
when General Grant succeeded to the command of the Army of the Tenn-
essee the Thirtieth Iowa was one of the regiments ordered to join that
army at Chattanooga and marched from Corinth three hundred miles across
the south to Lookout mountain. It took part in the battle under
Generals Austerhaus and Hooker and aided in defeating the rebels at
Missionary Ridge, after which the troops followed up the Confederate
forces and again defeated them at Ringgold. The winter was passed at
Paint Rock, and in the spring of 1864 the Thirtieth Iowa started on the
Atlanta campaign. The regiment was under fire nearly every day until
the city capitulated, participating in the skirmishes and engagements
which occurred between Resaca and the time when the white flag floated
over the Georgian capital. The Thirtieth Iowa then became a part of
Sherman's army, participating in the celebrated march to the sea,
followed by the Carolina campaign, and was stationed at Raleigh when
the news of Lee's surrender was received. There Mr. Swim remained with
his command until ordered to Washington, D.C., where he participated in
the grand review, the most impressive and brilliant military pageant
ever seen in the western hemisphere. He received an honorable dis-
charge at Davenport, Iowa, and with a military record of which he may
well be proud he returned to his home. Not long afterward Mr. Swim
decided to take up his abode in Kansas, and on September 12, 1865,
purchased his present farm, then a tract of wild prairie land destitute
of improvement. Long furrows, however, were soon turned, the work of
planting followed and in the course of time good harvests rewarded his
labors. He had a capital of only about five hundred dollars when he
arrived in this county, but during his residence here general farming
has claimed his attention, and the success which has attended his
labors has been most pronounced. On the 4th of January, 1869, Mr. Swim
was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Rittenhouse, a daughter of David
Rittenhouse, deceased. The latter came to Kansas from Indiana, being
one of the early settlers of the Sunflower State. The marriage of Mr.
and Mrs. Swim has been blest with six children: William H., who wedded
Miss Corbit and resides in Doniphan county; Charles H., who wedded Miss
Hurrel and lives in Trenton, Mo.; Neva, the wife of Abe Corbit;
Swallow, the wife of Ed Oldt, of Leona; Mary and Myrtie. The family
is well known in this locality and the members of the household occupy
enviable positions in social circles. Mr. Swim gives his political
support to the party which upheld the Union cause during the civil war
and which advocated the policy of the president during the late trouble
with Spain. He attends its conventions, to which he has frequently
been a delegate, but has never sought or desired political preferment,
preferring to devote his time and energies to his business. He was a
loyal soldier, is a faithful citizen and a reliable business man, and
the many excellent qualities which he displays has gained him high

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Last update: Saturday, January 17, 2004 15:38:16

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