Biography - Francis Swenner

FRANCIS A. SWENNER, a prosperous merchant of Parker, Johnson County, was born in Logan County, Ky., September 7, 1854. His father, Richardson Swenner, was born in North Carolina, February 9, 1814, to John Swenner, who was a native and farmer of Virginia, and died on his own farm in Tennessee at a ripe old age. He had nine children, five sons and four daughters, of whom Richardson, who married Miss Tabitha Hunt, of Tennessee, was one of the eldest. Richard Swenner and his wife removed from that State to Kentucky about 1850, and from Kentucky to southern Illinois in 1860, making the last journey by wagons drawn by a yoke of oxen in true emigrant style. They settled near Eldorado, Saline County, renting a farm there for two years, after which they bought eighty acres of wild land of the Illinois Central Railroad Company near Carbondale, upon which they built a rude log cabin in the woods and lived there about three years.
When our subject's parents came to Illinois they had eight children, five of whom were sons, and one daughter was born to them after their arrival in Illinois, making a family of nine. One son, George W., remained in Kentucky. In 1867 they sold out their improved farm near Carbondale for $1,600 and returned to Eldorado, where they purchased a tract of two hundred acres, which they sold in 1872 and then removed to another farm near Stone Fort, in Saline County. In 1875 they disposed of this land and removed to Johnson County, one and a-half miles from Parker City, where they bought one hundred and sixty acres and lived upon this last purchase until their death, the father dying July 5, 1886, in his seventy-third year, and his widow in January, 1890, aged sixty-eight years. Those of their children who are living are as follows: George W., a mechanic in Logan County, Ky.; James W., a farmer of Williamson County; William C., a wealthy farmer, also of that county; Henry, residing near Parker City; Mary E., wife of William Wall, a farmer of Williamson County; Martha Ann, wife of Thomas Wall; and Sarah C., wife of A. R. Russell, of Johnson County.
Francis A. Swenner had but few advantages in the educational line in his youth, but had plenty of hard work to do, his father being a tobacco grower, and young Francis had to assist in the cultivation of the crops. He remained at home until he was twenty-four years old, when he was married, September 26, 1878, to Malinda Choat, of Tunnel Hill, daughter of Silas and Emily (Vaughn) Choat. The father died in the year 1888, aged fifty-eight years, leaving a widow and five children, three sons and two daughters. Her mother is still living at Tunnel Hill on her farm.
Mr. and Mrs. Swenner followed farming in Johnson County until 1890, at which time they removed to Parker City, where they are now renting their farm and carrying on general merchandising. Mr. Swenner was appointed Postmaster of the town in 1892, and has been a life-long Republican, as was his father before him. His brother, Benjamin F., was a member of the Fifty-sixth Illinois Infantry, serving from 1862 until he was lost on the warship "General Lyons" in 1865.

Extracted 15 Apr 2002 by Rick Girtman from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 331-332.

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