Biography - John Swengel

JOHN SWENGEL, the leading representative man of Ash Grove Township, Shelby County, resides on section 36, in a pleasant home where he is remarkably successful in agricultural pursuits. His father was the late George Swengel, who had his birth in Pickaway County, Ohio, and his mother was Sarah Hamilton who was born in Ireland. Their first home after marriage was near Seymour, Ind., and upon first leaving there they came to Cumberland County, Ill., in 1865, and there made their home until the death of his honored father, which occurred in January, 1888. His widow is still surviving and is active and bright for a lady of her age.

These respected parents had five children — Frank, John, Reuben, Kennedy and Edward. Our subject was the second in order of age, his birth taking place near Seymour, Ind., December 9, 1856. He came to Illinois with his parents when about nine years old, and upon his father's farm he was reared to manhood, being given a thorough training in all that is pertaining to agriculture and learned in the true way, by doing, how to cultivate a farm and care for stock. His early education was such as could he procured in the district schools in Indiana and Cumberland County after coming here and he received great benefit from their thorough drill, although he would have been glad to take advantage of a college curriculum, for which his natural abilities befitted him.

This young man resided in his father's home until that great event in his life which took place at the residence of the bride's father in Cumberland County, Ill., October 30, 1878, when Flora D., daughter of Col. T. A. and Ann Apperson, became his bride. Mrs. Flora Swengel's father died at his home March 10, 1879. This daughter was born at the family home, January 18, 1859, and after her marriage with Mr. Swengel they established themselves on section 36, Ash Grove Township where the young man purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty-five acres, which he has since carried on. He has always followed farming and stock-raising and has made a success in both departments of the work, as his prudence and foresight have enabled him to govern his spirit of enterprise in such a manner as to secure the best results from his labors, which have been unceasing. He has a thorough knowledge of the characteristics and needs of the various grades of stock which he handles and takes a comprehensive view of the soil, climate and productions of the Prairie State. He is thus enabled each year to plan his work so as to obtain the best results for his labor.

Mr. Swengel's common-school education was supplemented by attendance upon the academy at Westfield, Ill., which so advanced him as to fit him to teach for two terms in Ash Grove Township. To him and his lovely and capable companion have been granted three children — Imogene, Oscar and George. Our subject was elected Supervisor in the spring of 1889, since which time he has continued to serve on the Board, as his excellent judgment, his broad views of men and matters, and his devotion to the best interests of the community have made him a model Supervisor.

The political convictions of our subject have always led him to work with and for the success of the Democratic party, in which he takes a lively interest and has also taken an active part in religious affairs and Sunday-school work, and is exceedingly helpful in all movements that tend to the elevation of the community. Both he and his wife are of value in their church connection, being members of the church of the United Brethren.

The breeding of fine grades of animals is a specialty with Mr. Swengel and he is remarkably successful in raising Hereford cattle, Poland-Chinahogs, Shropshire sheep, bronze turkeys, and Plymouth Rock fowls, and in their welfare he takes a lively interest and provides for their comfort most generously. The record of such a home as Mr. Swengel's and of such a life as his must he influential for generations, not only upon those who come in immediate contact with him but also upon the whole community.

Extracted 16 Feb 2019 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 608-609.

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