Skip to main content

Full text of "Biographical sketches of eminent men : events in the life and history of the Swing family ..."

See other formats



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2008 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 

«3 i^/n d' 




§i09vaphi(al ^hftchrsi of d'mittfnt pen. 

nipf 4 THE LIFE ApiD HI^TO^Y 







Brief Memorials of Their Lives. 




Graw, Garrigues & Graw, Printers, 


— -. 



AirrOR. LE/TOX Arm 

Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1889, 

By gilbert S. SWING, 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C. 



The use of History. Historic Memoirs. Alsace, Strasburg and 
the River Rhine. The old family Bible, printed in London in 
1712. Samuel Swing. Emigration to America. Landing of 
the vessel at New York. Journey on horseback through 
Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. First settlement 
on Long Island. Marriage to Sarah Diament. The genea- 
logical tree of the family. 


The families now bearing the name of Swing in the United 
States were descendants from two brothers, Samuel and 
Jeremiah. Settlement at Pittsgrove, N. J., in 1760. The land 
was then covered with a dense growth of timber. Tradi- 
tion informs us that wild game was very abundant. Indian 
arrow points found imbedded in the soil, and were plowed 
up on the farms of Abraham Swing, indicating plainly to us 
that Indians once roamed here, and his "bark canoe" floated 
upon the waters of New Jersey. Trees with a history. The 
woodman's axe and the advance of civilization and improve- 
ment. Description of the surrounding country. Property 
made productive. Names of some of the men who have 
given material form to the agricultural interest of Salem 




Another of the prominent men whose birthplace and home were 
here was Abraham Swing, the son of Samuel, the hardy emi- 
grant who had braved the storms and danger of mid ocean. 
Names of his descendants. The war of 1812. Stationed at 
Billingsport. Brigadier General Jeremiah DuBois, Major Gen- 
eral Bloomfield and Lieutenant Stewart. Visit of army of- 
ficers at the farm of my grandfather, who was first lieutenant 
in the heavy artillery. Recollections of Leonard Swing. 
Opening the apple and the turnip caves, while my grandfather 
treated the soldiers. Encampment at Pole Tavern, where 
the arsenal was then located. Recollections of my grand- 
mother. The dream of a Quaker lady. 



Military organizations in Salem county. Recollections of Majors 
Judah Foster and Nathaniel G. Swing. Incidents connected 
with our Revolutionary struggle in 1776. The arsenal at Pole 
Tavern. Military training days. Names of the field and 
staff officers. Soldiers trained for duty by Brigadier General 
DuBois, Major Bloomfield and Lieutenant Abraham Swing. 
A post office established here in 1802 called Pittsgrove. The 
first band of music organized in Salem county. Names of 
the original members. Description of the guns used in the 
heavy artillery. Muskets changed from flint to percussion, 
and used during the late war.^ 




Removal from Pittsgrove, N. J., to York, Pa., in 1764, on the 
borders of the Susquehanna river. Among- the large and 
stately hemlock, the ash, the elm, and the pine, he saw 
an extensive field of labor. With three hired men he made 
a clearing and built his cabin. Floating rafts of logs 
down the Susquehanna river to Baltimore. Immense tracts 
of timber land, as yet undisturbed by the approach of civiliza- 
tion or the sound of the woodman's axe. In this wild and 
romantic locality his marriage is celebrated, and they com- 
menced housekeeping. They were blessed with abundant 
health and strength, and the providence of God seemed to 
smile upon their labors and crown their life with success. 



Traveling on horseback from York, Pa., to Salem county, N. J. 
Marriage of Michael Swing to Sarah Murphy, of Pittsgrove, 
in 1789. Rev. John Murphy, founder of the first M. E. church 
in Pittsgrove township. Settlement of Michael Swing at 
Fairfield in 1790. Licensed to preach the Gospel. Extract 
from the record of the New Jersey Conference of 1792. Build- 
ing a church at New Englandtown cross-roads, long known 
as Swing's Meeting House. Names of his children. Descrip- 
tion of his farm and residence on the south side of Cohansey 
river. A never-failing spring of water. Following the stream 
the road led down to the beach. The rising and the falling 
tide washes the white sand and pebbles upon the shore. The 
song of the fisherman, the shrill whistle of a steamboat or a 
tug, breaks the stillness of the morning air. 




The first son born in the family was a bright, intelligent lad, and 
in his youthful days exhibited tokens of cheerfulness, energy, 
and ability. In early life he became a student of medicine in 
the Department of Arts at the University of Pennsylvania, and 
graduated M. D. Visit of Dr. Charles Swing to Ohio in 1815. 
Rates of letter postage. No railroads were then built in the 
United States. Ox teams met on the road hopelessly mired 
in the mud ; few bridges were then built in Ohio, and the 
streams of water were difficult to cross. Arrival in Clermont 
county. Location of Uncle George. Teaching school in 
Ohio. After the expiration of one year he purchased a horse 
and saddle, and started for home, taking the old stage road 
up the west side of the Ohio river to Fort Pitt. Return to 
New Jersey on horseback. Visit of George M. and his father, 
Rev. Michael Swing, at York, Pa., in 1816. A two- wheeled 
gig. First night on the road. The farmhouse of Abraham 
Swing. Crossing the Delaware in boats propelled by horses. 
The price of dinner and supper at Lancaster. Arrival at 
York. The home of our childhood ; the only sister of my 
father. Arrival of the Doctor from the West ; we missed 
seeing him on the road. Crossing the Delaware river at 
Port Penn. Cold winter and summer of 1816. Did you ever 
ride on a stage coach ? 


The first Methodist Society in Bridgeton organized in 1804. by 
Rev. John Murphy and his son-in-law, Michael Swing. A 
plain house of worship was erected here in 1807, and 
soon after this society was admitted within the bounds of 
" Salem Circuit." With the exception of Bishop Asbury, who 
had previously traveled through New Jersey, John Murphy 


and Michael Swing were the first ministers who preached 
here. Death of Murphy — burial at Commerce street ceme- 
tery. Monument erected to his memory. Recollections of 
a church member. 



The days of Adam and Eve, The Bible picture of a truly blessed 
man. Second marriage. Recollection of Daniel R. Powell, 
the apprentice boy. Michael Swing elected to the New 
Jersey Legislature. Going to Trenton. Return home. 
Company in the parlor. A good time in the kitchen. The 
house illuminated. A night surprise. Unexpected dilemma. 
Joseph, Benjamin, and myself, Whitaker, Wescott and Tyn- 
dall. Mr. Powell relates his experience. Associates in the 
ministry. Swing's meeting house at Fairfield. The old 
churchyard. Death inscription upon his monument. In 
memory of Susannah, second wife of Rev. Michael Swing. 
For thirty-four years his widow. 



Brief memorial of her life. 



Parental ancestors. Self-culture. First recollections of attend- 
ing school. Names of teachers. Building a new house. Re- 
moval to his farm. Celebration of his marriage. The fruits 


of industry. Teacher of the military drill. Assistant com- 
mander of the arsenal. Appointed to the office of major. 
Loved peace rather than war. Collector of taxes. Superin- 
tendent of public instruction. Examination and license of 
teachers. Member of the New Jersey Legislature. Familiar 
with the political and religious history of the past half cen- 
tury. The family circle. Recollection of a friend, &c. 
Tough of fiber and stout of heart, he celebrates his ninety- 
first birthday, INIarch 30th, 1889. 


Historical Review of the Presbyterian Church, Pittsgrove. Sketch 
of its Pastors and People. Among the first traveling mission- 
aries who visited Salem county in 1738 was Rev. Daniel 
Buckingham. Building of the First Presbyterian Church ; 
organized by the Presbytery of Philadelphia, April 30, 1741 ; 
Rev. David Evans installed the first pastor. Building of the 
second church during the pastorate of Rev. Nehemiah Green- 
man in 1767. Death of Samuel Swing in 1801. Inscription 
on his monument. Death of his wife in 1808. A grove of 
trees ; a venerable oak. Rev. George W. Janvier ordained 
pastor, May 12, 1812. Names of the elders elected during his 
ministry. Names of the leaders of the choir, &c. A very 
dry summer ; meeting of the pastor and elders to pray for 
rain. Abiding faith of old time Christians. Kind words will 
never die. The meetings in the old church well attended. 
Friends separated for a season. Inscription on tablets of 
marble. Salem county has given to the world and humanity 
some of the proudest names in history. Beyond the river. 
Organization of the Presbytery of West Jersey. Names of 
churches and ministers belonging to the Presbytery in 1839. 
Fifty years of Church History, 1839-1889. Three remarkable 
men. The date of the building of three churches. Names of 
the pastors of Pittsgrove Presbyterian church, from the year 
1741 to J889. 




nfiuence of early habits. Religious impressions. The love oi 
music. Intelligent in conversation and wonderfully gifted in 
song. Celebrating his marriage. Interesting family of chil- 
dren. By trade and occupation a farmer and mechanic. 
Earnest and devoted in his work. A Sunday-school teacher. 
Fond of Christian company. Firm and lasting in friendship. 
Health and strength failing. The end approaching. Passing 
away. Appropriate remarks by his Pastor. Hope and joy in 
reference to the departed. Tributes to his memory. 



Habits of reading and study. Studying medicine under the 
tuition of Dr. Ewing, of Greenwich. Entered the University 
of Pennsylvania. Graduated. The first year's practice at 
Greenwich, Hopewell and Stoe Creek. Three good doctors. 
Removal to Salem. Partnership with the late Dr. Benjamin 
Archer. Marriage. Removal to Pennsville, where he be- 
came successful and popular, and remained for several years, 
until the death of his wife. Removal to Sharptown. Elected 
to the New Jersey Legislature. Second marriage. Names of 
father Swing's children. Approaching seventy years. Re- 
turn of his son, John, from the gold mines of Colorado and 
Pike's Peak. Crossing a provision train. Accident on a 
ferry-boat. Drowned in Snake River. Marriage of Rev. 
Firman Robbins to Miss Hannah A. Swing. Recollections 
of Mr. Robbins while in the ministry. Names of the circuits 
traveled during a period of twenty-eight years. 




Brief sketch of his career. Extracts from leading newspapers. 
Allusion to his death b}' the press. A farmer by occupation, 
he believed that labor, either of muscle or mind, was the 
true source of wealth. Among literary men and the " news- 
paper fraternity" he was not unknown. In the midst of a 
busy life he found time for scholarly pursuits and the study 
of religious and political history. The family circle. The 
homestead erected in revolutionary times. Celebration of 
his golden wedding. Never did he shun, but always rather 
chose, the harder fields of labor, and the monuments of 
success are precious and enduring. Obituary notice — Mrs. 
Elizabeth Swing. 



Learning the trade of a blacksmith. Traveling on foot and by 
stage to Herkimer county, New York. Return to Fairfield. 
Settlement in Salem county in 1825. Marriage at Pittsgrove 
in 1827. 



Building boats on the Cohansey in 1815. The science of naviga- 
tion. Explores Fortescue Island and Maurice River Cove. 
The oyster trade in 1825. The sloop " Oyster Boy ;" the 
schooner "Swan." Recollections of Daniel R. Powell. A 


great storm. Floating ice. Wreck of the "Oyster Boy." 
Sinking of the schooner "Swan." DayHght on the water. 
The price of oysters in Philadelphia. Inventions to float a 
sinking ship. Recollections of the late Michael Coates Swing. 
How thirteen (13) wild geese were captured by a single dis- 
charge from an old musket. A dark and stormy night in De- 
cember. At anchor near the mouth of " Straight Creek." Our 
little bark, like a feather, tossed on the angry waves so that we 
could not sleep. Viewing our situation at daylight. Michael 
Swing's fishery. How ten thousand rock fish were caught in 
a seine at one haul by Michael Coates, Benjamin Franklin 
and Simon Sparks Swing. Catching a porpoise in the. Co- 
hansey river. The way to settle a dispute without going to 
law. How to catch big fish. 


Another of the strong men whose birthplace and childhood were 
here, but whom the waters of the river and bay attracted, 
Simon Sparks Swing. Nearly all of the people of Fairfield 
township were interested in oystering. Remarkable oysters. 
Number of licensed vessels engaged in Maurice River Cove. 
Cost of working a boat for one season, &c. 



Sketch of distinguished men continued. Benjamin Franklin 
Swing. The ancestral homestead. A cheerful spirit ; a 
happy childhood ; a good digestion ; a hearty enjoyment of 
life. By occupation, a farmer, a merchant, a cattle drover, 
and the admiration of men of limited genius. A big man 
finds it easier to gain the reputation of being great than does 
a little one. 




Marriage of George Swing in 1788. Names of his descendants. 
A freeholder and grand juror in Cumberland county in 1802. 
Emigration to Ohio in 1805. Settlement in Clermont county. 
The log house. The first clearing made by the running 
Stream. The first years of life in a new country. The com- 
fort and plenty which an earnest faith and a stout arm has 
finally won for the hardy pioneer. The raising of sheep and 
cattle. The price of wool. Next he tried hogs. The price 
of pork in Cincinnati in 1816. The farmer's dogs. " Call 
Wesley and Lawrence, and let the dogs loose ; I cannot have 
my sheep destroyed in this way." Steamboat navigation on 
the Ohio river. Captains McLaughlin and William Swing. 



Ohio river steamer, Star of the West, from Pittsburg to Cincin- 
nati, crossing the flats below the mouth of the Muskingum 
river. The Jacob Strader. First Sunday in Cincinnati. 
Arrival in Clermont county, Ohio. An excellent farmer. 
The home of Lawrence Swing. Born in Salem county, Sept. 
II, 1790, and had lived in Clermont county for a period of 
sixty years. Marriage of Zachariah Riley and Mary Swing in 
[816. A married life of forty-four years. Interesting family 
of children. The industrious Jerseyman who emigrated to 
Ohio in 1807, and located near the " Swing Settlement." We 
admired his productive farm, looked at his noble herd of 
cattle, and visited his neighbor. The hard-working farmer. 
Marriage ceremony in one of the German settlements in 




Leaving New Jersey in 1804. Settlement in Clermont county. 
Building the first stone dwelling house in 1808. The first set-- 
tiers made great havoc with the timber. Raising corn, wheat, 
hogs and cattle. When our people first settled here South- 
ern Ohio was one of the grandest forests in the world, and 
abounded with deer and wild game. The streams of water 
were full of fish, but my grandfather never ceased to long for 
fresh mackerel, haddock, sea bass, Jersey shad, and the fish 
that were caught from the ocean. Cincinnati was only a 
village, twenty-seven miles from our settlement, and the 
public roads were little more than cow paths. A large poplar 
tree. When I was a boy, I happened to be at my grand- 
father's house. Letters received from New Jersey. Failure 
of the Farmers' and Mechanics' Bank. Devoted to the church. 
Recollections of my grandmother. Miss Nancy Crane. Emi- 
gration to Ohio a success, alike to himself and family. They 
become respected and honored citizens. His mind and 
memory well preserved to the close of life. Another branch 
of our family. Visit of Captain John M. and Nathaniel G. 
Swing to Ohio. I love our family name in the United States. 


Notes of the campaign at Yorktown, Va., and Newbern, N. C. 
Correspondence with Capt. G. P. Riley, captain 6th Regt. 
United States colored troops. 


Notes of the Gettysburg campaign by Geo. W. Swing, captain 
i2th Regt. N. J. Vols. 




Another branch of our family settlement in Illinois. Products ot 
the land described. Raising of cattle, sheep and hogs. 



Of Ohio. Western correspondence continued. 


A soldier of 1812. fallen. 




Biographical sketch of Frederick Carman, soldier of the war of 
1812, stationed at Billingsport, on the Delaware river. 




Incidents of the life of one of Salem county's centenarians. 
Born July 18, 1784. Celebrating his 99th, looth and loist 
birthdays. Extracts from the speeches of Messrs. Coombs, 
Swing, Connelly, Woolford and Edwards at the loist anni- 
versary. Memorial notice, James Coombs. 

Reminiscences of life of A. R. Swing, of Washington City, D. C. 



In their day and time the people of Fairfield were possessors of 
farms, orchards and gardens which Adam, in his innocence, 
might have coveted ; fine horses, carriages, and stock of ex- 
pensive breeds. Looking back over the space of fifty years 
to the humble period when employed as teacher of public 
schools. From boyhood he was earnest, active and indus- 
trious, and in manhood fully sustained a noble reputation. 
Engaged in the lumber trade. Purchasing timber land. 
Supplying the ship-yards at Mauricetown, Millville and Bridge- 
ton ; he is also engaged in mercantile pursuits. The oyster 
boats receive their supply of provisions mainly from the store 
of Swing & Tomlinson. Personally he was a high type of the 
"American gentleman," cordial in his manners, warm-hearted 
in his methods, and fluent in address. While giving direction 
to matters of business, there was little that escaped his notice. 
" Don't go to men of leisure when you want anything done ; 


go to busy men." In the meridian of life death takes out of 
the Hst of living men one of the most noted citizens in his 
native place. Extract from the Dollar Weekly News. 
Obituary notice by Rev. J. Atwood. 





Of Batavia, Ohio. 

Autobiographical sketch of the author, Gilbert S. Swing. 

Recollections of a Salem county school teacher. The end. 


Log Cabin and Ox-team Frontispiece. 


Portrait of G. S. Swing i 

Farm' Scene i 

Storming a Battery 4 

View of the Cohansey River 6 

Fishing Boat — Michael Swing's Fishery 7 

Portrait of Nathaniel G. Swing 11 

Portrait of Rev. George W. Janvier 12 

Portrait of Jonathan L. Swing 13 

Portrait of Leonard Swing 15 

Shad Fishing — Boat in a Storm 17 

Drove of Cattle 19 

Portrait of Merritt J. Swing 26 

Fox Chase 26 

Deer Hunting 26 

Portrait of Frederick Carman 29 

Portrait of A. R. Swing 31 

Log School House 36 


The following biographical sketches and scraps of 
history have assumed their present form from the study 
and examination of ancient dates and records. 

Conversation with the oldest and most reliable in- 
habitants of the counties of Salem and Cumberland 
has brought to light many important facts hitherto un- 
known. • 

This is a biography of men whose early history is 
little known to the present generation, and as an attempt 
to recover the personal and intellectual attainments of 
eminent families from oblivion this work is very valuable. 
Our people have the right to be informed of the principal 
events in the lives of those whom they delight to honor, 
but this cannot be unless these events are recorded and 
put in shape, and no apology is necessary for adding one 
more to the numerous biographies which already fill a 
large space in our literature. 


The author has bestowed upon these pages both labor 
and research, supplemented by the utmost fidelity in the 
arrangement and presentation of dates and calculation. 
All the information within reach has been used to make 
the statements trustworthy and reliable, as no diary had 
been kept, and no friendly hand had hitherto attempted 
to rescue the memory and deeds of our ancestors from 

The incidents herein related were founded upon fact, 
and written in testimony of a close and unbroken friend- 
ship with aged members of the family who are passing 
away. It has been said, " The way to guess the future 
is to know the past," hence this work contains important 
information for the young nowhere else to be found. 

We would hereby acknowledge our indebtedness to 
the Pioneer, Chronicle, ^ndgQton Eveiting News, National 
Standard oi ^?\^vc\ , N. J., and the Cincinnati Gazette for 
brief family extracts, and also to the many friends who 
have so kindly responded to " letters of inquiry," and 
those whose personal recollections giv^e additional interest 
to this work. It is sincerely desired that these sketches 
may be found instructive and entertaining, and read with 
pleasure and profit, not only by the present generation, 


but become more and more appreciated as the years 
roll on. 

With this end, a brief review, and hastily written, is all 
that can be attempted within the limits of this book, 
although much of interest might be related of other 
families ; and if I have not referred to each by name, it 
is not because they have not deserved such mention. 
Much of what the writer saw, heard, and experienced 
himself is related in these pages, and the memory of the 
past is with us to-day. If the scientist, or learned critic, 
should be disappointed in not finding here profound 
historical expressions, he will please bear in mind that 
the majority of readers do not feel interested in hiero- 
glyphics. Hence we have used the most plain and 
truthful language, and when in want of information in 
this direction it will be well for the reader " to look 


^'-^'^TSi„„;;||gg-^^^^^^^ '-"'^ 


Events in the Life and History 




EISTORY is a narrative of past events ; it is intend- 
ed to bring truth into the world ; and it is truth 
and knowledge that make man intelligent and 
free. It is usually the recital of national incidents, leav- 
ing out the individual lives of all except the most prom- 
inent persons; and yet there are events transpiring in 
family circles which, to those interested, surpass in im- 
portance many historic narratives. Memory fails and is 
lost in the decline and ending of life, but a written docu- 
ment, or a book, reveals the past to present generations. 
The biographical history of a family contains a source 
of information that improves the understanding, strength- 
ens the memory, and is usually attractive both to the 
young and the old. It might be styled the philosophy 
of teaching by example ; or moral philosophy exempli- 


fied by the lives and actions of men. It adds to our 
own experience an immense treasure of the experience 
of those who Hved before us, and thereby enables us to 
enter upon the duties of life with the wisdom and exam- 
ple of our ancesters. It is a matter of regret that we 
have the means of obtaining so little knowledge of the 
early history of our family. Had our people kept a 
faithful journal during the long and eventful period of 
time covering an epoch in our "national history" the 
most stirring and eventful, it might prove more interest- 
ing reading than the "Problems of Euclid," or "Greeley's 
Recollections of a Busy Life." 

Whoever has had occasion to trace his lineage back to 
the first settlers of the country has learned the very 
loose way in which family records are usually kept, and 
been surprised to find how little intelligent men know 
about their ancesters. It is not unusual to find family 
records, but they are in an imperfect state, on stray 
pieces of paper, liable to be lost, or in small blank books 
mixed up with family expenses, the births in one place 
and the marriages in another. It is quite com.mon to 
find people who cannot tell who their grandparents were, 
or if they know these, they are ignorant of their grand 
uncles and aunts. Many who are intelligent thus far, 
perhaps by reason of a personal acquaintance with these 
relatives, can trace their kindred no farther back. Not 
one in a hundred preserves even the names of his ances- 
tors beyond the third generation. As a people we have 
little pride of ancestry, and are quite too busy with the 
present to think or care much for the past. And yet the 


past has had much to do with our present ; and we who 
are now upon the stage will have quite as much to do in 
moulding the characters and shaping the destiny of those 
who are to come after us. It is a duty that we owe to 
our children, and children's children, to put them in pos- 
session of the names and dates in the family history with 
which we are familiar, and which will soon be forp-otten 
if they are not recorded. 

Town, church and cemetery records are important in 
their places, but they ordinarily contain only fragments 
of a family history. It is always interesting to know 
where our ancestors lived and what their occupations 
were. It is desirable that a man should preserve in per- 
manent form not only his own family record, but that of 
his father and those of his paternal ancestors as far back 
as he can trace them. 

" But what is the use of the record ?" some will ask, 
who have a sharp eye to the dollars and cents. It may 
be of no pecuniary value whatever. It will add nothing 
to the fertility of your fields and make no better sales for 
your crops. Pedigree may count for much less pecuni- 
arily in a man than in a horse. And yet it may be 
worth a man's while, as a matter of intelligence, to know 
something of his origin, something of the homes, occu- 
pations and characters of his ancestors. The knowl- 
edge certainly would do him no harm, and it might throw 
some light upon the tastes and peculiarities that he sees 
cropping out in his children, and help him to better 
methods of training. 

It cannot be expected that in a brief sketch of this na- 


ture we should attempt to give anything Hke a connected 
account of each family, the intention of the writer being 
only to record some of their most prominent character- 
istics, and thereby perpetuate a brief memorial of their 
life. The truth is, the majority of them are of that class 
which it is rather the province of the biographer than 
the critic to describe. 

Many of the events herein written transpired a number 
of years ago, and were composed by a writer who lived 
long after the transactions of which they treat. They 
were compiled from scattered records, fragments and 
traditions. Letters of inquiry have been written, and 
conversation with aged men has brought to light a vast 
amount of interesting facts previously unknown. 

When our forefathers emigrated to America, during 
the great exodus of independent patriots, probably about 
the year 1750, two brothers left their home in the south 
of France, emigrated to the United States, and very 
early identified themselves with the doctrines and follow- 
ers of the reformation. Both the French and German 
language were used and spoken by our ancestors and by 
many people at that time in this department of France. 
Among the collection of books we find " The History 
of France ;" also an ancient volume entitled " Exercises 
to the Rules and Construction of French Speech," con- 
taining a vocabulary of passages extracted out of the 
best French authors, w'ith reference to the grammar 
rules, written by " Monsieur Louis Chambaud," the book 
referred to being the fifteenth edition, revised and cor- 
rected with many improvements, published in Paris in 


the year MDCCXXXXVIII, price one crown, bound in 
leather ; a book entitled " The Treasury of the French, 
EngHsh and German," containing a vocabulary ; 2d, fa- 
miliar forms of speech upon the most common and use- 
ful subjects, the best, if not the only, help extant for for- 
eigners to attain this knowledge, the eighth edition, 
printed in London in MDCCXXXXIV (1744). Also 
an ancient manuscript written on parchment many years 
ago and marked " Historical," Alsace being spoken of as 
the birthplace and former home of our ancestors. Al- 
sace-Loraine lies west of Baden, and south of Prussia 
and Belgium. This province borders the River Rhine ; 
Strasburg, the capital, and located opposite to the Ger- 
man principalities. Hymn books and Bibles were 
brought with them from the mother country, and were 
printed in the French and German language. In the 
old family Bible, printed in London in the year 171 2, in 
the Dutch language, we find the following record: 
"Samuel Swing, born September 15th, 1729, emigrated 
to the United States when in his twenty-third year. He 
was accompanied by one brother, named Jeremiah." 

After passing safely through the storms of mid-ocean 
the vessel in which our heroes sailed arrived safely in the 
harbor of New York. 

They had considerable means in their possession, it is 
said, and were fond of adventure, and had brave and 
daring dispositions ; their active life in Germany, France, 
and other lands, and their journey across the sea, had 
taught them habits of economy and self-reliance. 

Soon after their arrival in America, Samuel journeyed 


on horseback through Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and 
portions of the state of New York, ultimately settling on 
Long Island, and nearly opposite the city of New York, 
where several years of life passed away. 

He is said to have been a clement, kind-hearted man, 
with a benevolent face and mild and kindly expression, 
so like the early fathers of the Church that our hero 
attracted the sympathy of a lady of great personal 
beauty, of modest bearing and fine social qualities, whose 
cognomen is given as Sarah Diament, with whom he 
formed acquaintance. This acquaintance soon became 
intimacy, and finally ripened into mutual admiration and 
love. He was comparatively a young man when he 
arrived there. His suit prospered, and he was accepted. 
This young lady who had inspired his heart was the 
daughter of a wealthy resident of the southern part of 
Long Island, and there being no objection offered by the 
parents of Miss Sarah Diamant to this union of hearts 
and hands, the lovers had nothing else to do but to get 
married, which they did ; and soon after this event 
they removed from Long Island to the southern part of 
New Jersey, purchased land, and settled in Salem 

The keen eye of enterprise fell upon the spot, capital 
was invoked, its magic hand was laid upon the place, 
and, lo ! all Vv-as changed. 

It is related of himself and wife that they were a 
strictly religious people, their names being found re- 
corded among the foremost members of the Presbyterian 
denomination at Pittsgrove, where they continued to 

iWj.>mf '■': 


, nllli::;' 

!illl!:i' :H V '!! ! Iiiii 11 

''P" i|l1iii:.'if''r! 'I'lli. Viii" 
4* '':l',!'"l'i,'h''^' '•"' 





II f ": 

I'li'i'lMi'i'f ''i'ii^ili'!|'„ii 


ill' ■■••':^ 

;'■' ^ liii iii 

##1 "i '■' ^'^ 


A?T'-^ y , LENOX -- N D 


reside for nearly half a century, winning the confidence 
and esteem of the whole community. He was willing to 
live by the sweat of an honest brow, and content to 
transmit the same heritage to his sons, without hoping 
that they would aspire to the canvas bags of the money 
changer, the spindle of the manufacturer, or the pen of 
the reformer. By constitution the family is conservative ; 
old wine he never drinks, but they do love old friends 
and old ways, and believe the generation before him 
knew something. He is a thoughtful builder, does 
everything for solid use and nothing for display. On 
Sabbath morning it was his custom and delight to call 
the family around him and assure himself that he was 

"traveling home to God 
In the way the fathers trod." 

In the process of time an interesting family of children 
was born to them, and nothing broke the harmony and 
happiness of the forty-four years of their married life, till 
death called him away and separated them from each 
other, which event transpired in the year 1801. 


of the family embraces the following familiar names : 

Jeremiah Swing, born in Pittsgrove township, Salem 

County, N.J Dec. 31, 1760 

Sarah Swing, do. do. do Oct. 27, 1762 

Christiana Swing, do. do. do Oct. 25, 1764 

Samuel Swing, do. do. do Nov. 4, 1767 

Ruth Lawrence Swing, do. do. do Oct. 4, 1769 

Abraham Swing, do. do. do Oct. 27, 1771 


The hardy pioneers who began to populate the semi- 
wilderness of central New Jersey in the first decade of 
the century had a fancy for digging out of ancient history 
names for their children and the towns and villages 
which they founded. 



I I IHE original heads of the famihes bearing our 
^ I ® name in the United States were two brothers, 
respectively named Samuel and Jeremiah Swing, 
genial and pleasant in manner and conversation, and to 
Avhom the present generation trace their lineage directly. 

The descendants were located in New Jersey, Penn- 
sylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, and are justly re- 
nowned as a liberty-loving, law-abiding people, of sober 
and industrious habits, and of thrifty and generous dis- 

The families residing in Salem county were the de- 
scendants of the first named, while those who were born 
and settled in Fairfield township, Cumberland county, 
including Uncle George, who emigrated to Ohio in the 
year 1805, were the descendants of Jeremiah. 

Among the list of relatives in the western states were 
the names of Geo. L. Swing, counsellor-at-law ; Philip 
B. Swing, United States District Judge of the Southern 
District of Ohio ; Rev. Prof David Swing, of Chicago, 
and "other lights of the world," whose deeds will be 
remembered through all coming time, and whose abiding 
place may be mentioned hereafter. 

The families residing in Salem county at the present 
writing are the immediate descendants of my grand- 


father, Abraham. Some of these became merchants^ 
mechanics, teachers and professional men, while others 
were farmers, tillers of the soil, and still continue " to 
occupy the land " purchased by our ancestors. The 
purchase of a part of this property and record of deeds 
in the clerk's office are found, bearing the date of 1760, 
when the corner-stones were laid in what was then a 
wilderness of trees, and where our ancestor erected his 
dwelling-house "in the wilderness of the New World," 

Various circumstances have concurred to promote the 
increase and progress of the family. Extensive tracts of 
fertile land, suitable for agricultural purposes, were then 
procured on moderate terms, and the means of subsist- 
ence were abundant and easily obtained. 

The different varieties of timber then growing in this 
locality were known as white oak, black oak, hickory 
and poplar. These trees originally attained large size 
and admirable proportions, and in later years became 
very valuable for shipbuilding and also for the keels of 


A gentleman informed us recently that about the year 
1 811 or '12 he was living on the road from Alloways- 
town to Woodstown, and that in his immediate neighbor- 
hood there was cut a white oak measuring five feet in 
diameter and fifty-two feet in length, requiring two 
wagons for its transportation with a team of sixteen 
horses and ten oxen. The stick was taken to Fogg's 
Landing, or AUoways creek, with the intention of float- 


ing it to the Navy Yard, Philadelphia, but the chain that 
connected it with the wood flat broke while on the way, 
and the great log sank to the bottom of the river, and 
there remains. 

The above we have from most reliable authority, and 
can vouch for its truthfulness. 

Tradition informs us that wild game was very abun- 
dant in this vicinity. The black bear and the grey wolf 
were often seen around the settlements at that early 

For many years after, Indian arrow-points and toma- 
hawks were found imbedded in the soil, and were fre- 
quently ploughed up on the farms of Abraham Swing,, 
indicating plainly to us that the Indian once roamed 
here and his bark canoe floated upon the waters of New 

There is every evidence in the surrounding country, as 
well as from authentic tradition, that this entire section 
of the state was at an early period occupied by aborigines 
or so-called American Indians, who contentedly thrived 
and enjoyed the abundance of food furnished by the 
waters of the bay and its numerous tributaries, and there 
are yet tracts of land located in Cumberland county 
known at this day as " Indian fields." 

One hundred and twenty-five years have already 
passed aw^ay since the first settlement of our ancestors in 
the southern part of the state. The woodman's axe and 
the advance of civilization and improvement have been 
steadily going on. Indians and wild beasts have long 
since disappeared from sight and almost from recollec- 


tion, while long continued industry and perseverance 
have had their proper reward. 

It may truthfully be said that the surrounding country 
was well adapted to attract the attention of the lov^ers of 
the beautiful in nature and of the anxious cultivator of 
the soil. The surface of the country is generally level 
and undulating, interspersed with living streams of v/ater 
and sufficiently rolling to make it admirably adapted for 
agricultural purposes. 

Salem county is a fair sample of West Jersey, both in 
the variety of its soil and in the advancement of its agri- 
cultural departments ; it was the favorite resort of the 
first Quaker emigrants, who constituted a large part of 
its early settlers, and who long maintained a commanding 
position in the religious and political affairs of this 
county. The members of this denomination at Salem 
and Woodstown are still numerous, owning a laro-e 
amount of real estate, and have maintained their social 
and religious influence to the present day. 

In our school geographies, the first information given 
the urchin of the last generation was that " New Jersey 
was settled by the Swedes and Finns." This was true to 
a limited extent. A few colonies of Swedes landed at 
different points along the low sandy coast, and to some 
of them great tracts of territory were given, upon which 
titles were based which later authorities respected, and 
the broad foundation was thus laid for hereditary family 
wealth and culture. But these instances were by no 
means numerous. The choicest lands along the Dela- 
ware were selected and cleared by that mild and patient 


race of plain men and kind women of whom George Fox 
was the type and bright efflorescence. In the wholesome 
and modest precepts of their relictions thinkers the tilling 
of the soil was recommended as the safest, the noblest 
and most useful of all the employments; and when the 
Quaker first began to move about with his broad- 
brimmed hat in our native w'ilds ; when he laid aside that 
plain drab coat for a wrestle with the primeval ^voo(!ts, he 
set the foundations broad and deep for some of the 
soundest agriculture and the ripest and truest civilization 
of our age. His plain speech and modest bearing pro- 
claim his religion. He has no large words, no boasts, 
no ostentation, but informs us that from yonder field oi^ 
six acres he took two hundred bushels of wh^at. This 
corn-field yielded last year seventy-five bushels to the 

He has had no rain for six weeks, and will not make so 
much this year, but not less than sixty, he thinks. 

He commenced poor thirty-five years ago as a tenant, 
when he thought his crop good if an acre yielded him 
tw^enty-five bushels of corn or twelve of wheat. He ga\'e 
forty-five dollars when he bought several years ago, when 
Polk was President. Now he would look away from an 
offer of two hundred. He has no idea of going West. 
Omaha has no charms ; he cares nothing for the price of 
land on the line of the Pacific Railroad, nor amid the 
hills of East Tennessee. And now the reader asks for a 
reason for all this. Why are these farmers so happy 
and content? Why does their land so steadily appre- 
ciate? We answer that such success is won onlv where 


favoring nature has been aided by skill and industry on 
the part of man. These Salem county farmers are 
proud of their business, and earnest to know the secrets 
and established rules of successful agriculture. They 
compare usages and grow wise by mutual instruction. 
By the application of marl and lime, land once compara- 
tively worthless has been reclaimed and rendered veiy 
productive. In later years the state of New Jersey has 
often been called the " kitchen garden " of Philadelphia 
and New York. 

At the present writing the county of Salem presents 
to the eye of the traveler a fine agricultural development. 
Gentlemen of wealth and taste have purchased land and 
settled here, finding it a desirable investment, while 
orchards and vineyards have been planted. 

The days of the ox team, the scythe, the sickle, and 
the flail are rapidly departing ; steam power is taking 
the place of the horse and the mule, and the rumbling 
train of cars bearing on its fashionable multitude have 
crowded out the old stage coach of former days. 


A chestnut tree growing on a farm near Friesburg, 
owned by the late Leonard Swing, measured twenty- 
eight feet in circumference, standing alone near the 
centre of a field in which corn and other crops of grain 
had been cultivated for seventy-five years past, and where 
children for two and three generations have gathered 
hundreds of bushels of nuts. In 1875 this venerable 


tree, supposed to have been one hundred and fifty years 
old, was sawed down, making a vast amount of rails, 
fence posts and building material. On a farm near 
"Swing's corner," owned by the late Jonathan DuBois, 
Esq., may be seen a chestnut tree recently growing on 
the premises, which measured thirty-one feet in circum- 
ference at its largest part, and is fairly proportioned 

It is somewhat remarkable that the two largest oak 
trees in New Jersey are growing on land owned by the 
society of Friends. One is in the grounds of the 
Friends' meeting-house at Crosswicks, Salem county, and 
measures twenty-two feet and seven inches in circum- 
ference. The other, of almost precisely the same size, 
is a magnificent white oak, standing in the Quaker bury- 
ing ground in Salem, N. J. It is more than 200 years 
old, and is remarkable for its amplitude of shade. In 
one direction its branches have a spread of 1 1 2 feet 


Many years ago substantial houses and farm build- 
ings were erected upon the original purchase of land in 
Pittsgrove township ; additional properties have been 
added thereto from time to time, and there are yet five 
highly cultivated farnis still owned and occupied by the 
descendants of the family, while other properties in this 
locality, either by marriage, death or sale, have passed 
out of the family name. The only wonder to persons 
of the present age is, how Samuel found his way to the 


spot chosen for a dwelling place. It cannot be gainsaid, 
howev^er, that he selected a level tract of land in proba- 
bly one of the most fertile sections of the state, and 
while he felled the neighboring forest his children grew 
up around him. 

In later years the inhabitants of the village named the 
post office Shirley, and yet the finger boards at Deerfield 
street and other places in the county continue to inform 
the uninitiated traveler that the distance by the public 
highway is 


This place is located near the central part of Salem 
county, and at the intersection of four public highways, 
the road leading north going direct to the city of Phila- 
delphia, Pa., a distance of twenty-eight miles ; south, to 
Deerfield and Bridgeton ; west, to AUowaystown and 
Salem, the county seat, ambitious, thrifty and rich, and 
raised to importance by having both railroad and steam- 
boat navigation. Still further on in your line of travel 
and in an easterly direction lie the villages of Elmer, 
Malaga, May's Landing, Adantic City and the seashore. 




0NE of the most central and prominent figures in 
our narrative who, at the age of sixty-six years, 
passed into the shadow land w^hich lies beyond 
the tomb, w^as my grandfather, Abraham Swing. He 
was the son of Samuel, the hardy emigrant who had 
braved the storms and danger of mid ocean at a time 
w^hen vessels were poorly constructed and navigation im- 
perfectly understood. "Unfurled the banner of freedom 
on American soil, and ultimately planted the footprints 
of civilization in distant corners of the earth." He is re- 
membered as being a freeholder and interested in real 
estate transactions, and in the improvement and prosper- 
ity of the surrounding country. He married early in 
life, raised a family of sons and daughters, and his hopes 
and affections were with the young and rising genera- 
tion; a man of plain speech and solid piety, while his 
social standing and influence in his own community 
made him an exceedingly useful member of the Presby- 
terian church to which he belonged. He was a man of 
strong constitution, vigorous in mind, faithful in duties, 
sound in doctrine and was all through life the holder of 
responsible positions. At least he held a respectable 


place among his neighbors, and soon after the commence- 
ment of the war of 1812 was appointed an officer in com- 
mand of a company of men to defend his country. 
From this circumstance it would seem that he was prom- 
inent among his fellow-citizens ; for be it remembered 
that the officers of our government, and the commanders 
of the army and navy, stood high then, whatever politi- 
cal troubles have met it since. 

In company with Brigadier-General Jeremiah DuBois, 
Major-General Bloomfield, Lieutenant Stewart, and other 
prominent Jerseymen engaged in active service them- 
selves, he proceeded to the front, and shared with others 
the danger and excitement of military life. 

For the first six months they were stationed at Billings- 
port, on the eastern shore of the Delaware river, with a 
large number of soldiers to intimidate and keep the 
British army from taking possession of Philadelphia. 

After being stationed here for six months, and having 
some disastrous battles with the enemy, the British re- 
treated down the river in boats, landing at the mouth of 
Salem creek, Cohansey river, and also at Cape May. 
Horses and cattle began to disappear, and great excite- 
ment prevailed throughout the State. 

A portion of the army moved down by land to drive 
the British away, and encamped at the Pole Tavern, in 
Pittsgrove township, where the arsenal was then located 
for the southern part of the state. 

Major-General Bloomfield, Lieutenant Stewart, and a 
portion of the army encamped on the farms of Abraham 
Swing. It is related that my grandfather selected this 


stopping place, and that his barns were filled with gun- 
powder and surrounded with muskets, ambulances and 
artillery wagons. 

Mr. Leonard Swing, then a boy twelve years old, re- 
members opening the apple and the turnip caves while 
my grandfather treated the soldiers. 

This war lasted nearly three years. The bill declaring 
war between Great Britain and the United States passed 
the House of Representatives June i8, 1812. The day 
after, it passed the Senate and was signed by the Presi- 
dent, James Madison. 

" The first battle was fought in Canada, by General Hull, 
July 16, and the British commander. General Brock, was 
killed. History informs us that while negotiations were 
in progress for peace between the United States and 
England, a large armament, under the command of Sir 
Edward Packingham, was fitted out by Great Britain for 
an attack on New Orleans, with the intention of ending 
the war with some eclat ; but the design met with a most 
signal and fatal defeat. The British, after enduring great 
fatigue and numerous difficulties, and sustaining some 
desperate encounters, assaulted the works thrown up for 
the defence of the city on the 8th day of January, 181 5, 
when they were dreadfully cut to pieces and repulsed by 
the Americans, under General Jackson, The loss of the 
enemy in killed, wounded and captured amounted to 
about 2,600. Among the slain was the commander-in- 
chief, General Packingham, and many other principal 
officers. The loss of the Americans was only seven 


killed and six wounded. This was the last important 
operation of the war of 1812." 

After peace was declared between Great Britain and 
the United States, my grandfather returned to Salem 
county, and once more engaged in agricultural pursuits. 
A few years later he was elected to represent the county 
of Salem in the Legislature of New Jersey. Taking his 
seat in that august body in 1821 he heartily espoused 
the cause of freedom and independence. Endowed with 
mental and physical life the imprint of his genius is found 
deeply engraved in the legislative enactments of the 
state, while his dignified bearing, calm courage and 
'* national reputation " enabled him at once to become a 
prominent and useful member, and also enlarged his 
acquaintance with the leaders of his party. 

From his first entrance into public life his voice was 
always used in behalf of the people, in the defence of 
their rights, and he had the courage to storm the in- 
trenchments of vice and intemperance wherever found, 
his aim being to protect the rights of 5II, and thus secure 
to all mankind "peace and good will among men." But, 
although dead in the body, yet he lives again in the 
illuminated pages of history. 

Abraham Swing was born October 26, 1771. Hannah 
Lummis, his wife, October 10, 1773. They were united 
in marriage on the 2d day of December, 1794, and the 
outgrowth of this union was seven children — four sons 
and three daughters : 


Jonathan L. Swing, born Oct. 23, 1796 

Nathaniel G. Swing, " March 30, 1798 

Ruth Swing, " Jan. 3, 1800 

Leonard Swing, " March 11, 1802 

Hannah Lummis Swing, " May 6, 1804 

Sarah Swing, " Nov. 27, 1806 

Samuel Swing, " March 17, 1810 


From the earliest days of civilization women have 
figured prominently in history, and the records of 
female influence are peculiarly interesting to many read- 
ers. Nothing is more creditable to the American peo- 
ple than the daughters of our early settlers and chief 
magistrates, and the women most conspicuous in history 
and in song were those who were renowned for virtue as 
well as beauty. 

My grandmother is remembered as being stately, dig- 
nified and attractive. She was also a Christian and pa- 
triot down to the close of life. She carefully superin- 
tended the household duties of her family, keeping the 
children in a healthy and flourishing condition. The 
higher domestic life of that long ago is revealed in all 
we knov/ of its refinement and elegance; its dignified 
courtesy can be contemplated with respectful admiration, 
for it was in keeping with the sincerity and frankness of 
the " olden time." She was regarded as a very industri- 
ous and enterprising character, and never allowed herself 
or the family to lead an indolent life, and next to the 
blessings of heaven we are, perhaps, indebted to her for 
our industrious habits and subsequent prosperity and 


success. Encouraged by her kind and motherly ways 
her children learned household duties, and the art of 
making butter and cheese. The sound of the spinning 
wheel, and the knitting of socks and stockings formed a 
very interesting and important part of the education of 
girls in the olden time. When the duties of the day 
were ended, with shutters closed, curtains drawn, and on 
either side of the large hearth was placed the favorite 
chairs, the head of the family reading aloud the weekly 
papers, after which the two sat talking of days gone by, 
of little episodes in the history of their lives, while my 
grandmother occasionally indulged in smoking her pipe. 
This incident, which is among the earliest recollections 
of the writer, reminds us of the 


There is a beautiful story told of a pious Quaker lady, 
who was much addicted to smoking tobacco. She had 
indulged herself in this habit until it had increased so 
much upon her, that she not only smoked her pipe a 
large portion of the day, but frequently sat up in bed 
for this purpose in the night. After one of these noc- 
turnal entertainments she fell asleep, and dreamed that 
she died and approached heaven. Meeting an angel she 
asked him if her name was written in the book of life. 
He disappeared, but replied on returning, that he could 
not find it. "Oh!" said she, "do look again, it must be 
there." He examined again, but returned with a sorrow- 
ful face, saying it was not there. " Oh !" said she, " it 


must be there. I have an assurance that it is there. Do 
look once more!" The angel was moved to tears by 
her entreaties, and again left her to renew his search. 
After a long absence he came back, his face radiant with 
joy, and exclaimed, " We have found it! we have found 
it ! but it was so clouded with tobacco smoke that we 
could hardly see it !" The good woman, upon waking, 
immediately threw her pipe away, and never indulged in 
smoking again. 

In the process of time the family grew up to manly 
and womanly stature and years of accountability. They 
all married well, owned their own farms and homes and 
enjoyed life as well as ordinary people. They were also 
temperate and industrious. But in the years that have 
elapsed, with the exception of Nathaniel G., who is still 
living, all have passed away, have yielded to the immut- 
able decree of time, and as we humbly trust, entered 
into the joys of a blessed immortality, leaving large fam- 
ilies of children behind, and the record of useful lives. 
The descendants have inter-married with many of the 
leading families of the country, and are to be found 
widely disseminated throughout the state and beyond 
its limits. Among the number were the names of Du- 
Bois, Craig, Shough, Harris, Hires, Newkirk, Johnson, 
Burroughs, Lippincott, Woodruff, Whitaker, Willis, 
Fuller, Moreland, Downham, Tomlinson, and others. 






0F the military organization of Pittsgrove township^ 
previous to the Revolution, but little is known, 
except the information gathered from those who 
participated in the " training days " and in active service 
in the Avar of 1812. 

The year before the Revolution the whole county was 
stirred up against the British and their unjust and illegal 
taxation and other oppressions, and the tax on tea had 
caused especial hard feeling. 

When the people of Salem county heard the news of 
the Boston Tea Party, as it was called, there was some 
division of opinion, but nearly all of the young men and 
most of the older ones were on the patriotic side. 

History informs us that after the battle of Lexington, 
on the 19th of April, 1775, the county was alive with 
military preparation. Companies formed, officers were 
chosen, and frequent drills took place. The practice of 
bearing arms and meeting for exercise produced a spirit 
of independence and self-reliance, while the holiday 
served to bring many people together, and cultivate 
kind and generous feelings. During the Revolutionary 


war Salem county was noted as a place of resort for 
refugees, and also for foraging parties. When the British 
fleet sailed along the Delaware on the way to Phila- 
delphia, they frequently landed and scoured the 
country for miles around, driving off cattle, horses, 
sheep, swine, and anything that could be used to advan- 
tage. Among the former residents of Pittsgrove town- 
ship were those who had shared in the toil of the 
march, the peril of the fight, the dismay of the retreat ; 
night after night had sat beside the same camp fire ; had 
heard the roll of the reveille which called them to duty, 
or the beat of the tattoo which gave the signal for the 
retirement of the soldiers to the tents. 

About one mile north of the Pole Tavern it is related 
that " the Whigs and Tories " had a fierce engagement, 
in which the former named were successful in the fight. 
After the retreat a British officer and his staff took pos- 
session of a large brick house owned by a wealthy 
farmer, and occupied it for a considerable time. Our 
troops, being notified, surrounded the house during the 
night, and the whole nest of Tories were captured. The 
house above alluded to is still standing, and to this day 
the village is known as *' Whig Lane." 

There is an old eight-day clock in possession of a 
Salem county farmer that is more than two hundred 
years old. During the Revolutionary war the house in 
which this clock was kept was burned to the ground, 
and the clock carried off and pawned in Philadelphia. 
The house was afterward rebuilt, the clock reclaimed, 
and to-day occupies its old place as of yore. 


When peace was declared at the close of the war of 
1812, the old hotel was the scene of a brilliant pageantry, 
being illuminated from top to bottom and thronged with 
merry lads and lasses, tripping " the light fantastic," and 
singing patriotic airs. 

In front of the tavern referred to is a sign bearing the 
following inscription, " Pole Tavern." It derives its 
name from the fact that a Liberty Pole has long stood in 
the central part of the village, and traditionally claimed 
to mark the site of the first Liberty Pole erected in 
Salem county. It has had many successive landlords, 
and is perhaps one of the oldest hostelries in the country 
in point of continuous service. 

Organized troops for the conflict were sworn into the 
service under the roof of this venerable structure by 
Brigadier-General DuBois. Salem county established a 
training ground at Pole Tavern, and desiring to own 
their own armory purchased ground and erected the 
arsenal building. General DuBois purchased from the 
Government three large brass cannon, and three smaller 
iron ones, lOO flint-lock muskets and rifles for the use of 
General DuBois' body guard. The imposing stone 
edifice and the beautiful grounds surrounding it bristled 
with ambulance and artillery wagons. Around this 
place cluster the memory of fair women and brave men, 
and many interesting incidents connected with our 
Revolutionary struggle in 1776. 

In 1802, a post-office was established here, called 
Pittsgrove, named in honor of the township. The first 
mail carrier between this place and Philadelphia was 


Beniah Parvin, making two trips a week on horseback. 

At the commencement of the war of 1812, a military 
drill was estabHshed here, and soldiers trained for duty 
by Brigadier-General Jeremiah DuBois, Major Bloom- 
field and Lieutenant Abraham Swing. After peace was 
declared, the g-uns were returned to the arsenal and 
military training days appointed by the Governor to be 
observed at various places in the state. Majors Judah 
Foster and Nathaniel G. Swing were the officers in com- 
mand. Training days became very popular with the 
young people ; they were observed and continued at this 
place for many years. 

During the war of 181 2, and for several years after- 
ward, every male citizen of New Jersey was compelled 
by law to train for military duty, or pay a fine. Many 
persons preferred to pay this fine rather than occupy the 
time in training, and in this way a large fund came into 
the possession of the brigade paymaster, Thomas Yar- 
row, of Salem county, who paid the bill for the 287 
muskets from the " Fine Fund " of this county, and the 
guns have remained, as they belonged, the property of 
said county. 


Heavy Artillery — Colonel, Abraham DuBois; Lieut- 
Colonel, David Sithens. 

Majors — Judah Foster, Nathaniel G. Swing. 
Captains — Cornelius D. Hulick, John Burroughs. 


Ensign or Acting Sergeant-Major — J. L. Swing. ■ 
Lieutenants — Leonard Swing, Henry J. Frieze. 
Sergeant — John Carter. 
Corporals Newkirk, Nathan LawTence. 

An old resident says, " When I was a boy, and for a 
number of years succeeding my minority, the state law, 
made and provided, required all able-bodied white male 
citizens of the age of twenty-one and over to train or 
drill so many times a year, and training days then were 
t/ie great event in our social happenings. I remember," 
he continued, *' there \vas considerable rivalry between 
tw^o infantry companies, organized respectively at Woods- 
town and Sharptown. Dr. Israel Clawson recruited the 
foot company at Woodstown, and Captain McCallister 
the company at Sharptown. Clawson was particularly 
desirous that his company should excel in uniform, 
equipments and numbers, and «o banded together a 
hundred men and uniformed them at his own expense, 
only stipulating that the wearer of the goods should pay 
for them, if then able, or at any time becoming so. You 
may smile, if you will, but I tell you honestly that, 
although I have seen the brilliant, dashing soldier in 
every variety of outfit many times since, yet I never saw 
any in these latter days that, to my notion, were half so 
handsome as those which pleased my youthful fancy in 
the years 1816-18. 

"Our uniform was dark blue pants, corded with red 
up and down the seams, and coat cut swallow-tail 
fashion, with the same red cord running diagonally 


across the breast and looping over great shining brass 
buttons washed in gold. The hats were of the second- 
story regulation pattern, surmounted by a beautiful plume 
of red and white, and we carried the best shot-gun or 
rifle we had at hand. Of the feminine hearts that flut- 
tered and the feminine heads turned topsy-turvey at the 
sight of the brave 'sojer boys ' and their rattling, martial 
music, but few now remain, though now and then I see 
their children of the third generation. 

" Was I ever in a sham fight ? Oh, yes, I took part 
in three in my time, although I have only a vague 
recollection of incidents that occurred at the time. The 
first sham batde we had came off at Pole Tavern, which 
was. as near as I recollect, about the year 1817. Captain 
Clawson divided his squad of a hundred or more men 
into two bands, the one to act as Indians in ambush and 
the other as infantry soldiers, and we were to fight it 
out very much as General Harrison had been doing but 
a short time previous in northwestern Michigan and the 
territories. Well, we had a high old time for quite 
awhile, the Indians shooting from behind trees and 
dodging our fire, we driving them at times, and at times 
being repulsed, until at length a luckless shot (wad) 
ripped open the coat of Commander Clawson, when hos- 
tilities at once ceased. It was announced in the pro- 
gramme that we were to defeat and drive the Indians, but 
w^e didn't. The next fight came off at Salem, or rather 
near Quinton, Captain Rowan, of Salem, who was also a 
doctor, commanding a company of light dragoons, which 
were to oppose the militia force of Captain Clawson. I 


remember, in this fight, that the cavalry was to charge 
on the infantry, and the instructions were for the horse 
to close well on to the infantry and then suddenly wheel 
about, fall back, and reform, etc., and that my brother 
rode a horse with a hard mouth w^hich, when in coming 
up the line, instead of wheeling about, leaped entirely 
over the head of a terribly frightened soldier. Of course, 
my brother was taken prisoner. My last and third fight 
was at Bridgeton, which I believe was on the Dutch 
Neck road. This was in 1 8 1 8, and the fight was between 
two opposing cavalry bodies. In this fight we were to 
break through each other's lines at open ranks, strike 
swords as we passed, and then form and re- attack, etc. 
This was highly exciting and grand fun, but at one 
charge tw^o fellows collided, and they came together wdth 
so much force that their steeds almost stood erect." 

This reminds us of a story the}- used to tell of the 
genial and humorous captain, Cornelius D. Hulick, of 
Pittsgrove. Old H. was a famous member of the ancient 
and honorable artillery corps. One day when marching 
through Fenwick street, Salem, in column of review 
before Major Foster, his steps became very irregular. 
** Uncle H.," said a friend, " have you been taking too 
much hard cider?" "Not a bit of it," said Hulick; 
"there is a band both before and behind our company, 
and I am marching to tw^o tunes." 

The first band of music organized in Salem county was 
long known as the Pittsgrove Clarinet Band. At the 
military parades and political occasions their services 
were in great demand, not only in their own, but also in 


the adjoining counties, instrumental music being well 
received and highly appreciated by the citizens of Salem 
county. The following named persons composed the 
original organization: 

Leonard Swing, Lewis DuBois, 

Samuel DuBois, Daniel Nash DuBois, 

Cornelius Burroughs, Thomas DuBois. 

Andrew Hann, John Harding, 

Ephraim DuBois, "^ Edmund DuBois, 
Matthew N. Foster, Samuel Swing. 

"^ Nathaniel G. Swing, 

At the commencement of the year 1888, but two 
members of this band (indicated by '^'), who participated 
in these social and political gatherings, and were fore- 
most in bearing on the standard of musical conquest in 
Salem county, were still living. When old members died 
or moved away others were initiated into their places, 
and the band continued in existence for many years. In 
fact, some of the instruments are still in occasional use. 

During the summer of 1889 the Robeson Post, a 
military organization of veteran soldiers in the late war, 
desired to hold a Fourth of July celebration in Bridge- 
ton, and through the influence of ex-Senator I. T. 
Nichols obtained an order from the quartermaster at 
Trenton for the removal of the cannon into Cumberland 
county. After the removal of the guns from the arsenal 
at Pole Tavern the question of ownership was warmly 
debated in the county newspapers, as to whether these 


muskets and cannon belonged to the citizens of Salem 
county or to the state of New Jersey. An investigation 
of the history of the arsenal at Pole Tavern revealed 
the fact that six members of the old battalion are still 
living — Ananias G. Richer, of Whig Lane, aged 82 ; 
David Shimp, Friesburg, 87; Jonathan S. Wood, Fair- 
ton, 8S ; Nathaniel G. Swing, of Shirley, 91; Major C. 
F. H. Gray and Col. I. W. Dickinson. 

Mr. Swing related to the writer that when the rifles 
for Gen. DuBois' body guard arrived he assisted in 
cleaning the guns, and they were used here for military 
and training purposes from 18 12 to 1 830, when the 
training was discontinued, and the guns have remained 
until recently the property of Salem county, Mr. Swing 
trained in the militia ten years. He was then commis- 
sioned as adjutant and afterward promoted to major of 
the First Battalion, First Brigade, which commission he 
held from the year 1828 to 1861, when he was appointed 
brigade paymaster. 

S^Extract from the Elmer Times of June 8, i88g.~\ 

A Times representative has thoroughly investigated 
the placing of the arsenal at Pole Tavern and published 
the following 


The cannon taken to Bridgeton last week has a re- 
markable history, and is a valuable piece of artillery. It 
is an Italian cannon, and bears the date of 1763, also an 


inscription in Italian. When Napoleon crossed the Alps 
in 1800 he left most of his cannon behind him, owing to 
the great difficulty of transporting them up rugged 
sides and through the ice and snow of those famous 
mountains. When about to embark in the perilous 
undertaking one of his marshals is said to have remarked 
to him : "Sire, what shall we do for cannon when we get 
on the other side?" To which Bonaparte replied : ** We 
will take them from the Italians." And he did take 
them. Among them was the gun to which reference is 

It was with Napoleon in many of his great battles ; 
afterward being transferred to the custody of the French 
army during the seven years' campaign in Spain. Here 
it fell into the hands of the British by capture, and finally 
was taken, with many of Wellington's veterans, to Amer- 
ica to participate in the war of 181 2. It was captured 
by the American army at the battle of Plattsburg, New 
York, and became the property of the nation. 


Last Saturday night the second indignation meeting 
was held at Pole Tavern. J. N. Gray presided. It was 
reported that Col. Dickinson and Director Griscom, of 
the Board of Freeholders, had been to Trenton, searched 
the records and found that Salem county purchased the 
four cannon of the state for ^624, and 287 muskets at a 
cost of S900. Gen. Perrine was sick and the committee 
was unable to see him. They were informed that by 


making affidavits to the records the cannon would be 
returned to Salem county. Joseph Richman reported a 
conversation with Hon. Nathaniel Swing, of Shirley, 
and gleaned in addition to the facts published in the 
Times two weeks ago, the information that he at one 
time cleaned and burnished all these guns (muskets) to 
the number of 287 at a cost of forty cents apiece, and 
was paid with county funds. The state would not pay 
for the work. 

Mr. Swing was a musician in the brigade, and remem- 
bers when Ballinger's mill pond was used for target prac- 
tice when they first commenced, and had a sheet at the 
head of the pond for a target. Major Judah Foster fired 
the first shot, which went about thirty feet above the 
mark, cutting the tops off the trees that high from the 
ground ; afterwards lowering the elevation of the guns, 
the balls were buried in the hill at the head of the 
pond, and were dug out and used again. The first 
ball the major shot was found years afterwards on 
the Lawrence property, having been ploughed up a 
long distance from where they were shooting. Mr. 
Richman also reported having seen the Rogers Bros., 
wheelwrights and blacksmiths, who were located at 
Daretown, who were ordered to repair them by the 
county, at a cost of $60, and were paid by the county. 

The following were appointed a committee to secure 
the cannon and return it to the arsenal: Joseph Henry, 
James T. Mayhew, Isaac T. Prickett, Joseph Richman, 
Jr., and Joshua Fox. 

On motion it was ordered that a committee be ap- 


pointed to get the wheels of the dismounted cannon, 
said to be in possession of private parties. The follow- 
ing w^ere appointed : Henry Coombs, Frank D. Evans 
and Gottlieb Kress. 


To the Editor of the Times : 

My Dear Sir : — As a former citizen of Pittsgrove town- 
ship, I was greatly interested in reading the advice re- 
cently published in the Elmer Times, entitled "A Bold 
Deed. Salem county cannon and muskets taken from 
the arsenal at Pole Tavern and removed into Cumber- 

This incident should not be permitted to pass unno- 
ticed by the people of Salem county, who collected 
money and purchased from the government an armory 
of guns three-quarters of a century ago. 

At the commencement of the w^ar of 1812 a military 
training ground was established here and soldiers trained 
for duty by Brigadier-General DuBois, Major Bloomfield 
and Lieutenant Abraham Swing, the officers herein 
named were subsequently stationed at Billingsport on 
the Delaware river, with regiments of soldiers to intimi- 
date and prevent the British army from taking posses- 
sion of Philadelphia. After peace was declared the guns 
were returned to the arsenal at Pole Tavern, and military 
training days appointed by the governor of the state. 

Training days became very popular with the young 


people, and were observed at Pole Tavern for many 

From 181 3 to 1823 Salem county paid over $3000 for 
guns and cannon. 

When a boy the writer of this article remembers being 
sent to Salem, the county seat, to buy *' flints " and assist 
Major N. G. Swing in cleaning the guns for military 
parades, and Fourth of July occasions. 

Later in life we remember the spring and summer 
of 1861-62, when all the patriotic young men in this 
part of Salem county were invited to meet at the mili- 
tary parade ground at Pole Tavern once a week for train- 
ing and drill exercises, companies being formed and 
drilled here by Majors Judah Foster, N. G. Swing, Cap- 
tains Crooks and John W. Janvier. All the muskets in 
the arsenal were in constant demand, while many 
trained with rifles and double-barreled shot guns. 

On Saturday afternoons Captains Crooks and John W. 
Janvier and Lieutenant Joshua Lippincott occasionally 
drilled their companies on a vacant lot opposite the old 
Presbyterian church, Daretown. Wishing to test the 
rifles, they procured five hundred cartridges and placed 
the targets at a distance of one hundred and fifty yards, 
intending to shoot down the valley into the hill be- 
yond. At first the range of the rifles was too high, 
and most of the bullets flew over the hill and across the 
Janvier farms, where three colored men were at work in 
the cornfield. Presently the firing in the valley com- 
menced, and presuming that the war really had begun 
in Salem county, the colored men quit work, and taking 


their horses galloped up to the farm house at full speed. 
"And what is the matter now?" inquired Mrs. Janvier. 
'* Lord a massa, Missus, nobody can work in dat corn- 
field while de war is going on. De bullets am flying 
ober our heads eb'ry niinute." 

Major Foster was a man of splendid appearance in 
the saddle ; he owned and rode for many years a very 
stylish looking white horse. He was also a fife and 
drum major. Names of the members of his band were 
G. S. Swing, C. Whitaker, William M. Swing, Charles 
Richman, Aaron Shoulders, Robert S. Harris. 

Many of the young men of Pittsgrove township, who 
were trained here, joined the I2th New Jersey regiment, 
and passed through a three years' campaign ; others pre- 
ferred the Pennsylvania or New Jersey cavalry. In 1861 
these muskets were inspected and sent to Trenton; 
the locks were exchanged from flint to percussion, and 
afterwards used by our volunteers in the battles of the 
Wilderness, and also at Harper's Ferry and Gettysburg, 
places famed in the history of the war, and in the soli- 
tudes of which lie sleeping thousands of brave men. 

At the end of three years, and the close of the war, 
the Jersey troops were mustered out of service at Tren- 
ton, and our soldiers came home with guns. The im- 
pression of the writer is that the muskets used in the 
late war never were returned to the county of Salem, 
where they belong. 

I believe in individual as well as state rights, and 
hereby propose that an order be issued and signed by 
the six living members of the old battalion, Nathaniel 


G. Swing, Ananias G. Richer, David Shimp, Jonathan S. 
Wood, Col. J. W. Dickinson and Hon. Charles F. H. 
Gray, who holds the commission of major, chosen at 
the re-organization of the brigade in 1861, requesting 
Quartermaster-General Perrine, at Trenton, to return the 
said muskets and cannon to the arsenal at Pole Tavern. 


{^Extract from Salem Staiidard.'] 

" The heavy clouds which have hung over Salem 
county ever since the departure of 'that cannon' are dis- 
solving and the people are smiling once more. The 
cause is the following letter which Col. J. W. Dickinson 
has received from Quartermaster-General Perrine, after 
the affidavits setting forth that the four cannon were 
purchased with Salem county funds were forwarded: 

"'Your letter, together with the records and minutes 
of the Brigade Board of Salem county, is received. As 
soon as I am able to take the matter up I will do so. 
No disposition will be made of the property until I have 
thoroughly examined into the subject, and of which you 
will be duly advised.' 

"The citizens of Salem think that this settles the case, 
and are so jubilant that it is proposed that the patriotic 
Pittsgrovers; when the cannon arrives, celebrate their 
victory in several rousing salutes." 




AMUEL SWING and his brother (as before stated) 
soon after the landing of the vessel at New York, 
procured employment on Long Island, where 
they continued to reside for a short period of time, and 
where the marriage of the first-named person was duly 

During the fall of the following year, and after the 
crops of vegetables had been gathered and marketed in 
the city near by, they removed from this place to the 
southern part of New Jersey, purchased a tract of land 
and settled in Salem county. 

His brother Jeremiah accompanied him to Pittsgrove, 
where he remained about four years, assisting in the 
clearing of land, construction of houses and purchase of 
stock, gaining much valuable information in regard to 
the agricultural interest of this country, the rapid growth 
of cities and towns, and the demand then springing up 
in Baltimore and Philadelphia for ship timber, lumber 
and building material. After reconnoitering the country 
round about, he chose for his future home and abiding 
place the State of Pennsylvania. On the borders of the 
Susquehanna river, among the large and stately hemlock, 


the ash, the elm and the white pine, he saw an extensive 
field of labor, if not a fortune or a gold mine, in the 

Here, in 1764, accompanied by three hired men, he 
made a clearing near the banks of the river, built his 
cabin and engaged in the lumber trade, floating rafts of 
logs down the river to Baltimore. Immense tracts of 
timber were then standing along the headwaters of the 
Susquehanna. In the valleys bordering the stream, many 
of those trees were two hundred feet high and straight as 
a gun-barrel., as yet undisturbed by the approach of civ- 
ilization or the sound of the woodman's axe. 

In this wild and romantic locality the marriage of 
Jeremiah Swing was subsequently celebrated, and here 
they commenced " housekeeping " together. They were 
blessed with abundant health and strength, and the 
providence of God seems to have smiled upon their 
labors, crowning their life with success, and following the 
family and their descendants in a remarkable manner. 

At that time York was the oldest town, except Ship- 
pensburg, west of the Susquehanna river, in Pennsyl- 
vania. During the French and Indian war two forts 
were erected there, Fort Morris in 1755 and Fort Frank- 
lin in 1756, the ruins of one of which, until within a 
few years, were still to be seen. These fortifications 
were erected as a protection to the village and to make 
arrangements for receiving supplies for General Brad- 
dock's army. The dwelling-houses were built of stone 
and wood, and were the birthplace and early home of 
many distinguished men. 


Around the family board of Jeremiah Swing were 
gathered, beside himself and ^vife, two sons and one 
daughter. The eldest, named George, was born at York, 
Pa., in the year 1766, Michael in 1768, and Mary in 1772. 

The family remained in this locality until the children 
had become of age. They were successful in business, 
quiet and reserved in manner. 

Of the daughter but little is known, except that she 
greW' up to womanly stature and married a gentle- 
inan by the name of Gibson, ^vho was engaged in the 
lumber trade on the Susquehanna river. For several 
years after their marriage they continued to live in the 
vicinity of York, and eventually became influential and 
\vealthy citizens of the Cumberland Valley. Among their 
descendants were born those who subsequently became 
noted leaders in the military and political history of 




MANY years ago two young men came over on 
horseback from York, Pa., to visit relatives in 
Jersey, having a desire to become better ac- 
quainted with the famihes Hving in this state. After 
spending a few weeks in Salem county they returned 
home, but soon after these young men decided to leave 
the state of their nativity and join the " Jersey settle- 

From the bold and fearless spirit of their father, who 
was a strong, athletic man, and whose life had been full 
of adventure, enterprise and stirring events, these sons 
had inherited the same spirit of industry and persever- 
ance, and their early years were not spent in idleness. 

From the sale of valuable tracts of timber land in 
Pennsylvania they were enabled to come to New Jersey 
with considerable means, having in their possession a 
good constitution, good character, good name and some 
capital in cash on hand. To a friend in Salem county 
one of them wrote : 

"Brother George and myself propose selling out our 
property here and coming to New Jersey, as most all of 


our kindred reside there, and we admire both place and 
people, although the present outlook for ourselves is 
peculiarly bright and encouraging, and everything points 
to a successful termination of the past year's work." 

During the following year, 1789, the two brothers 
removed to New Jersey, and soon after this event Michael 
Swing was united in marriage with Miss Sarah Murphy, 
daughter of Rev. John Murphy, of Salem county. 

It may be interesting to our readers to state that Mr. 
Murphy belonged to one of the first Methodist families 
in this section of the state, and was licensed to preach the 
Gospel soon after the close of the Revolutionary war. 
Upon his own farm in Pittsgrove township he built a 
church, which was long known as " Murphy's Meeting 

Extending his labors into the adjoining counties, he 
often held religious service at " Greenwich Chapel," in 
Gloucester county, where a society had been previously 

Methodism was introduced into the town of Salem 
about 1774. It is related that Rev. Daniel Ruff was the 
first minister in that place, his first sermon being preached 
in the Court House. In commencing the service he gave 
out the hymn beginning : 

" Fountain of life, to all below 
Let thy salvation roll." 

In 1784 the first Methodist church was built and dedi- 
cated, and in 1788 the name of the circuit was changed 


from " West Jersey " to Salem Circuit, James O. Crom- 
well, presiding elder; Nathaniel Mills and Joseph 
Cromwell appointed to the circuit. The immortal Ben- 
jamin Abbott, who joined this society when a young 
man and afterwards became a useful and zealous minister 
of the Gospel, and preached many years in this state, and 
by whose instrumentality thousands of people were con- 
verted and brought into the church, died on Salem cir- 
cuit, and his remains rest in peace near the site of the 
present South Street M. E. church. 

Michael Swing was the pioneer of the Methodist church 
in Fairfield, to which place he came about the year 1790. 
He was a very zealous Christian, and began to hold 
meetings at private houses. Being a man of prop- 
erty and influence he soon organized a society in this 
neighborhood. His early Christian life must have given 
promise of usefulness to the church, for during the fol- 
lowing year, 1791, he was licensed to preach the Gospel 
by Rev. John Merrick, presiding elder of the district 
(which then embraced Salem, Cumberland, and part of 
Gloucester counties). The same year a class was formed 
at New Englandtown cross-roads, and the home of 
Michael Swing was the resting place of the weary itiner- 
ant of those days. 

The society increased in numbers ; and chiefly at his 
own expense he built a church on his farm, which 
was long known as " Swing's Meeting House."' 

Mr. Murphy, who had been a local preacher for several 
years, accompanied his daughter and her husband to 


New Englandtown, and aided in establishing the church 
at Fairfield. 

Happy allusion has since been made to the organ- 
ization, growth and grandeur of this society. When 
churches wisely plan and earnestly toil, and nobly give 
according to their ability, the pastors and their families 
are sustained and made happy in their work. Meth- 
odism was identified in its rise here with its rise and 
origin as a denomination in other places. 

Michael Swing purchased a farm of Rev. Daniel 
Elmer, pastor of the Presbyterian church at Fairfield, 
the property being located on the south side of the Co- 
hansey river, the finest and best navigable stream in the 
southern part of the state, and with facilities for building 
their own wharfage at which vessels of four hundred 
tons burthen could land. The soil was rich and produc- 
tive, and on the river shore was an excellent shad and her- 
ring fishery. At almost any time during the year fish 
and oysters could be obtained for the taking of them out 
of the water. 

The first settlers in this part of New Jersey are said to 
have been a mixed population of half-civilized American 
Indians, who were loth to leave so good and desirable 
a country, Dutch and Swedes, and emigrants from New 
Encrland. Lieutenant Stratton, an Enfjlishman, who re- 
sided for some years in Cumberland county, on his re- 
turn to his native land, published an account of his ad- 
ventures in America, and what he saw in the province of 
West Jersey. 



" Describing the Delaware bay, Cohansey river and its 
tributaries, where the otter, beaver and muskrat abound, 
and where the inhabitants used to kill vast numbers of 
wild ducks and geese, many of the latter being captured 
for their feathers only, the down being in demand for 
filling beds, and in some instances quilted in the lining 
of overcoats for a protection against the severe cold in 

The names of Michael Swing's children by his first 
wife were as follows : 

Dr. Charles Swing, born 1790 

Captain John M. Swing, born 1792 

Elizabeth Swing, born 1794 

Polly Swing, born 1796 

Anna Swing, born 1798 

Priscilla Swing, born 1800 

George M. Swing, born 1803 

Simon Sparks Swing, born 1805 

Sarah S. Swing, born 1808 

Michael Coates Swing, born 1811 

This comprises the first crop. 


Standing well back from the road, and nearly in the 
centre of a large tract of level land, enclosed by a high 
fence of cedar rails, is a large and stately farm house 
two and a half stories high, broad veranda in front, and 


porches running around the side of the building. As 
I entered the broad, green gate and passed up the 
newly repaired gravel walk leading between two lines of 
shrubbery and trees to the steps of the porch, where 
stood large iron urns holding beautiful evergreens on 
each hand, I cast my eye over the enclosure, and it 
presented an air of quiet, comfort and peace. A short 
distance to the west are three large barns and other out- 
buildings used for the storage of hay and grain, and the 
accommodation of horses and cattle. Long row^s of 
Flemish Beauty, Dutchess, and Bartlett pears greet the 
eye, while on either side orchards of peaches and apples 
hang loaded with fruit. A few yards north of the house 
a beautiful spring of water is found gushing up from the 
rocks below, always liv^ely, cool and refreshing. The 
sides of this spring are walled up in imitation of a well, 
and enclosed by a frame building, the bottom paved with 
brick and stone, and used as a summer house and cool 

Follow^ing the stream a short distance through the 
woods, the road leads down to the beach. A great 
expanse of water stretches off toward the west, farther 
than the eye can reach, and the gentle surf from the 
sea, the rising and falling tide, washes the white peb- 
bles upon the shore. Now and then a cheering sail boat 
relieves the monotony of land and water, and occasion- 
ally the shrill whistle of a passing steamer or a tug 
breaks upon the stillness of the morning air. In the 
background lies a vast expanse of rich marsh land, capa- 
ble, as society advanced, of being converted into mead- 


ows, with pasture green, and herds of sheep and cattle 
grazing quietly thereon. 

The scene before and around the residence of Michael 
Swing is in many respects charming. Here beautiful 
children enjoyed the early years of their lives, and sang 
out the long summer months, and prosperity and wealth 
laid its golden hand upon every thing calculated to make 
life a success and existence a joy. Rustic youth related 
their stories of love and devotion, and father and mother, 
full of pride in what they saw and enjoyed, made merry 
with family and friends. 




\ I /HE first son born in the family, and named Charles, 
(^ I fe is remembered to have been a very bright, intelli- 
gent lad, and in his youthful days gave tokens of 
native cheerfulness, energy and ability. 

He soon evinced that thirst for knowledge and love of 
independence which lie at the foundation of all success- 
ful characters ; for this attainment he attended school, 
and studied closely during the fall and winter months, 
and worked on his father's farm throughout those of 

In the course of time he became a student of medicine 
under the tuition of Dr. Ewing, of Greenwich, rapidly 
winning the honors and reward of his chosen profession. 
He was graduated at the Medical University of Pennsyl- 
vania, and subsequently became one of the most eminent 
physicians in the county of Salem. 

In 1 815, when in his twenty-fifth year, he decided to 
gratify the long-cherished desire of visiting his " Uncle 
George," in Ohio ; and with the exception of the first 
fifty miles, he traveled all the way on foot. 

No railroads were then built in the United States, the 
crossing on the river and bay were the Indian canoe and 


^; I o*, LENOX a:-.;^ 


the old-fashioned boats propelled by horses. The postage 
on letters was twenty-five (25) cents each. In 1790 
there were only twenty-five (25) post-offices in this coun- 
try, and up to the year 1837 the rates of postage were 
twenty-five cents for each letter sent over four hundred 

Many persons still live who remember the time when 
letter-writing was comparatively a rare accomplishment. 
As it cost from ten to twenty-five cents to pay the post- 
age on a missive, naturally persons wrote letters only 
when there was something important to say. Much use 
w^as made of friends to carry communications from place 
to place, although the government tried to protect itself 
from this practice by imposing a heavy fine upon those 
who were caught dodging the post-office. Of course, the 
speed with which letters were delivered was very slow 
before the introduction of steam. Mounted postmen, 
armed wnth a horn, carried the mails into remote districts 
once or twice a week. 

But with the growth of the country and the more 
rapid methods of communication, this slow system has 
given way. In 1792 the postal law fixed the following 
rate : Six cents for the first thirty miles, and a propor- 
tional increase for each additional ten miles. So it cost 
fifteen cents to send a letter from Pittsgrove to New 
York, and twenty-five cents to Cincinnati. In 1799 the 
rate was changed, standing at eight cents for the mini- 
mum distance, forty miles, and twenty-five cents for the 
maximum, 500 miles, or over. In 18 16 the standard of 
1792 was re-adopted, and held until 1845, when a further 


change, in the direction of cheapness and uniformity, was 
taken by classifying all letters as " single " or " double." 
Single letters paid five cents for each half ounce carried 
3C0 miles or under, double letters paid ten cents for all 
over that distance. In 185 i a further reform made three 
cents the rate for all distances under 3,coo miles, and all 
letters to be prepaid by stamps. 

One hundred years ago not a pound of coal, not a 
cubic foot of illuminating gas, had been burned in this 
country. No iron stoves were used, and no contrivances 
for economizing heat were employed until Dr. Franklin 
invented the iron-framed fireplace, which still bears his 
name. All the cooking and warming in town and coun- 
try were done by the aid of fire kindled in the brick oven 
on the hearth. Pine knots or tallow candles furnished 
the light for the long winter nights, and sanded floors 
supplied the place of rugs and carpets. The water used 
for household purposes was drawn from deep wells by 
the creaking sweep. No form of pump was used, so far 
as we can learn, until after the commencement of the 
present century. There were no friction matches in 
those early days by the aid of which fire could be easily 
kindled ; and if the fire " went out " on the hearth over 
night, and the tinder was so damp that the sparks would 
not catch, the alterna'.ive was presented of wandering 
through snow a mile or so to borrow a brand of a neigh- 
bor. Only one room in any house was warm, unless 
some of the family were ill ; in all the rest the tempera- 
ture was at zero many nights in the winter. The men 
and women of a hundred years ago undressed and went 


to their beds in a temperature colder than our modern 
barns and woodsheds, and they never complained. 

After nearly three weeks' travel, the doctor arrived in 
Cincinnati, and on the following day at the home of 
Uncle George, in Clermont county. 

The frost of winter had recently come out of the 
ground, leaving it soft and spongy. Ox-teams were met 
on the road hopelessly mired in the mud, unable to draw 
the wagon or get out themselves without assistance. 
Few bridges were then built in Ohio, the streams of 
water were difficult to cross, and Charles felt disgusted 
with the country. 

** We found Uncle George located between Poplar and 
Sugar Tree creeks, his land extending from one creek to 
the other, a few miles back from the Ohio river, and 
about twenty-eight miles above the city of Cincinnati. 
He had purchased a large tract of land, and built thereon 
a stone dwelling house, in which he then lived. His 
family consisted of himself and wife, four sons and one 

After a visit of a few weeks' duration, and becoming 
acquainted with the people in the neighborhood, the 
doctor was induced to teach school in the " Swing setdc- 
ment," in which capacity he served with great accepta- 
bility for one year. 

The school-house stood upon the property of Uncle 
George, located along the high banks of Sugar Tree 
creek. The house was built of logs, with one middle 
aisle, two doors and four windows. 

School teaching in Ohio is pretty much the same 


as in other portions of the country, and " boys will 
be boys " the world over. The compensation for teach- 
ing was not as much for the same amount of work as 
then paid in New Jersey, and after the term expired the 
doctor purchased a horse and saddle and started for 
home. He took the old stage road up the north side of 
the Ohio river to " Fort Pitt," at that time a military 
station established by the government to protect emi- 
grants and settlers from attack by Indians on the frontier. 
In later years this place was called Pittsburg, and since 
has become a city of considerable importance. 

The doctor arrived safely, and rode the horse all the 
way through to Fairfield. Letters were written from 
Ohio to his father, and the time appointed for his return 
to New Jersey. George M. Swing, then a lad thirteen 
years of age, and his father, promised to meet the doctor 
on his return at Little York, Pa., as they wished to look 
again upon the " home of their childhood," and to visit 
a married sister living there. 

" We rode in a two-wheeled carriage called a gig, with 
large side-lights and leather top. This was greatly ad- 
mired by ladies and looked upon as a very stylish con- 
veyance at that day. Few covered carriages were then 
in use, traveling by men was almost exclusively on 
horseback, the women riding in side-saddles and some- 
times behind their male friends. 

" The first night on the road we stayed at Abraham 
Swing's, Pittsgrove, and on the following morning arose 
early to pursue our journey, and drove to ' Cooper's 
Ferry,' at Camden, crossing the Delaware river in boats 


propelled by horses. Night coming on we stopped at a 
hotel near the Schuylkill river, in West Philadelphia. 
The next day we drove on to Lancaster, a distance of 
forty-six miles, feeding the horses and taking supper at 
the latter place. The charges for dinner were eighteen 
cents, supper twelve and a half cents ; feeding horses, 
one shilling each. After resting one hour we drove six- 
teen miles further on, arriving at York, Pa., some time in 
the night. 

" Our first visit was at the residence of Mr. Gibson, 
a large, portly gentleman, who was extensively engaged 
in the lumber trade, and some years before had been 
united in marriage to Mary Swing, the only sister of my 

" ' Any increase in the population or improvements 
since I left York twenty-eight years ago?' asked my 
father. ' Oh, yes,' replied Mary, ' although the coun- 
try looks wild, and the settlements are few and far be- 
tween, our own little village has more than doubled itself 
in population. You remember,' she continued, ' the 
large tract of timber land that father cleared below the 
village? The soil was sold and is now occupied by an 
industrious colony of farmers called the " Pennsylvania 
Dutch." ' 

" 'Are the winters very cold?' 'The winter of 1799 
was long and severe. About the first of January snow 
fell three feet deep, and covered the ground until spring. 
The Susquehanna river was frozen two feet thick, and 
continued fast three months. The weather was intensely 
cold. Bears and wolves, prompted by hunger, came out 


from their hiding places in search of calves and sheep, or 
anything they could eat. Many cattle and deer were 
found frozen to death. Bread and provisions were so 
scarce and high many persons in the state subsisted 
chiefly on wild game.' 

" ' We like the climate and soil of South Jersey best,' 
said my father ; * the country is very level, with few hills 
or valleys ; not so much large timber or wild game, but 
plenty of fish and oysters. At almost any time of the 
year they can be caught on the Cohansey river adjoin- 
ing my own farm,' 

" ' What kinds of fish inhabit these waters ?' * Rock, 
shad, bluefish, mackerel, and most of the varieties found 
in the ocean. Immense numbers of them swim up the 
bay and river in search of food and fresh water.' 

" ' How are they caught ?' inquired sister. * In seines 
and nets. Fortunes are made in the fish business. 
Those not sold when fresh were put in barrels, salted, 
and sold in cities for table use.' 

" 'W^hat induced brother George to leave New Jersey 
and emigrate to the west ?' * This removal surprised 
his friends, as he was pleasantly located and owned his 
own farm in Salem county. He is credited with being 
very ambitious and enterprising, and one of the most 
daring and adventurous members of our family.' 

" ' Dr. Charles, your eldest son, gives a good account 
of him.' 

" ' Has Charles arrived ?' asked my father. * Yes, 
sir,' replied my sister. ' The doctor arrived on horse- 
back from the west three days ago ; has already made 


his visit at York, and the morning before your arrival 
started on for home.' 

"*Is that so? How is it we did not meet him on 
the road?' ' He took the nearest route for Jersey,' re- 
ph'ed Mary; 'passing through Lancaster and Chester 
counties, Pennsylvania, and Newcastle county, Delaware, 
to Port Penn,' [where a ferry was then established and 
much in use, boats crossing the Delaware from Port 
Penn to Elsinborough Point, New Jersey.] 

" We missed the doctor on the road and did not see 
him again until our return to Fairfield on the following 

The year subsequently became memorable to us not 
only on account of our visit at York, and the return of 
Dr. Charles from the west, but from the fact that the 
summer of 1816 was one of the coldest on record, very 
litde corn or vegetables of any kind being raised that year 
in Salem county. 

THE "year without A SUMMER." 

We continue to receive occasional inquiries concern- 
ing the " year in which there was no summer." Some 
persons appear to have a wrong idea as to the time. It 
was the year 18 16. It has been called the "year without 
a summer," for there was sharp frost in every month. 
There are old farmers still living in Connecticut who re- 
member it well. It was known as the " year without a 
summer." The farmers used to refer to it as "eighteen 
hundred and starve to death." January was mild, as 


was also February, with the exception of a few days. 
The greater part of March was cold and boisterous. 
April opened warm, but grew colder as it advanced, 
ending with snow and ice and winter cold. In May ice 
formed half an inch thick ; buds and flowers were frozen 
and corn killed. Frost, ice and snow were common in 
June. Almost every green thing was killed, and the 
fruit was nearly all destroyed. Snow fell to the depth of 
three inches in New York and Massachusetts, and ten 
inches in Maine. This weather is very perplexing to the 
honest agriculturist, who does not know whether to put 
in his potatoes or go sleio;hing. July was accompanied 
with frost and ice. On the 5th ice was formed of the 
thickness of window glass in New York, New England 
and Pennsylvania, and corn was nearly all destroyed in 
certain sections. In August ice formed half an inch 
thick. A cold northwest wind prevailed all summer. 
Corn was so frozen that a great deal was cut down and 
dried for fodder. Very little ripened in New England, 
even here in Connecticut, and scarcely any even in the 
Middle States. Farmers were obliged to pay four or 
five dollars a bushel for corn of 1 81 5 for seed for the 
next spring's planting. The first two weeks of Septem- 
ber were mild, the rest of the month was cold, with frost, 
and ice formed a quarter of an inch thick. October 
was more than usually cold, with frost and ice. Novem- 
ber was cold and blustering, with snow^ enough for good 
sleighing. December was quite mild and comfortable. — 
Extract from tJic Hartford Times. 


Did you ever ride in a stage coach ? If you have 
Hved in South Jersey it is presumed you have. The 
"stage" is one of the favorite conveyances of Jersey, 
and although it is not a peculiarity to this state, the 
Jersey stage is in some respects peculiar. Years ago, 
before the advent of the railroad, the ''stage" was wont 
to drive out of the hotel yard ere yet the morning was 
gray, and gathering in its load of passengers by four 
o'clock in the morning, start off with a flourish of whip 
for Philadelphia, Cape May or Salem. Previous to 
1850 it was no pleasant matter to attempt a journey to 
Philadelphia, or, as some would have to do, to Cape 
May, in the winter time. The would-be visitors to Phila- 
delphia would make all their preparations and conclude 
all their business the night before starting, and in the 
morning at four o'clock they must be ensconced in the 
stage ready for the long and tedious ride. The journey 
was not often made, yet there were passengers to go 
every day. The Philadelphia mail, Mark Lloyd, stage- 
man, left Bridgeton on horseback on Saturday morning, 
January 14th, 1831, but the carrier was nearly all day 
before he reached Deerfield, only seven miles, and came 
near perishing at that. The drift of the snow was 
so great as to render the main roads in many places 
almost impassable. He succeeded in reaching Phila- 
delphia on Monday evening, but with great difficulty. 
The snow was said to have been on the level about 
two feet deep. The late William Parvin, of this city, 
drove the down stage to Bridgeton, and the late 
Henry Graham, father of John R. Graham, our 


townsman, had the Greenwich stage. They wxre finally 
set across the Delaware in a row boat to Camden 
on Sunday just before sundown. Mr. Parvin had 
three passengers on board his sleigh on Monday 
morning for Bridgeton — Nancy Seeley, Jacob Wood- 
ruff and the late Peter Cambloss, of Newport. They 
had a very rough passage down, floundering in snow 
drifts every little while, but reached Deerfield that night, 
and came on to Bridgeton Tuesday morning. Mr. Gra- 
ham had two passengers to Greenwich — Nancy Griffith 
and a sea captain, whose vessel, loaded with corn, was 
frozen up at the mouth of the Cohansey. His way was 
several times blocked by snow banks, but by the aid of 
neighboring farmers, who dug him out, he got as far as 
Woodstown some time after dark. The Jersey stage is 
not a soft-cushioned, swinging, easy pleasure wagon to 
ride in, by no means. It is a heavy, rattling concern, 
mostly of a peculiar build — a sort of a cross between a 
farmer's market wagon and a wood carter's wagon, and 
is constructed more upon principles of durability and 
rugged service than mere show. It can, on a pinch, 
transport a dainty city lady on a visit to a country cousin, 
or a barrel of pork to an inland storekeeper; and all of 
them have passengers to carry and errands to perform. 



\ I /HE first M. E. Church society in Bridgeton was 
(^lls organized in 1804, and owes its origin in a large 
measure to the labors and influence of Rev. John 
Murphy and his son-in-law, Michael Swing, two zealous 
men who had been instrumental in forming societies 
elsewhere and in building another church previous to 
this time. 

A plain frame house of worship was erected here in 
1807, 30 by 36 feet, the deed for the lot of ground 
and cemetery on Commerce street bearing date of that 
year. The oldest tombstone noticed in this yard, also 
bearing the date of 1807, was erected to the memory of 
James Smith. 

The congregations at this time were small ; did not 
exceed twenty-five or thirty members. As years rolled 
on, the membership having largely increased, this society 
was admitted within the bounds of Salem circuit. With 
the exception of Bishop Asbury, who had previously 
traveled through New Jersey, John Murphy and Michael 
Swing were among the first ministers who preached here. 

An old member of the Methodist Episcopal church 
hands us the following reminiscence of the aforesaid 
denomination, which, half a century ago, was very weak 
in this community, but is now powerful and vigorous, 


and growing yet more so year by year. It will doubt- 
less be very interesting to many of our readers : 

" About fifty-six years ago I was sexton of the old 
Commerce street church. Salem and Cumberland were 
in one circuit. There were two preachers on the circuit 
together, who received about $250 each as their salary. 
The presiding elder at that time traveled the whole state, 
and received for his pay what was taken at each quarterly 
meeting by collection. I was then at the church in 
Bridgeton, which was lighted with candles hung up 
around the wall in tin candlesticks. I went around in 
time of service and snuffed the candles, and I opened the 
church, swept it, and made the fires, burning wood only, 
stone-coal not being used here for fuel, nor to any extent 
anywhere, nor for years subsequently. I received for 
my services eight dollars a year and candle stumps, after 
the candles were too short to burn in the tin sticks. 
The members paid to make up the preacher's salary, 
some 12^ cents, some 25, and some 50 cents every 
quarter. One year four persons volunteered to act in 
the capacity of sexton gratis, three months each, and at 
the end of the year the stumps were sold at auction." 

In later years the membership of this society increased 
to 650. The first house of worship was removed to 
make room for the present neat and imposing structure 
erected on its site in 1833. During the pastorate of 
Rev. Isaiah D. King, in 1871, the church was again 
rebuilt and enlarged, and it has ever been regarded as 
the " Mother Church " of Methodism in this city. 

The remaining years of Mr. Murphy's ministry were 


spent in Cumberland county, where he died in the year 
1813. His remains were buried in the Commerce 
street church cemetery by the side of his daughter, 
who had preceded him a few months before. In this 
quiet spot " he rests from his labors, and his works do 
follow him." 

Rev. William Walton, an esteemed acquaintance and 
former school companion of the writer, during his 
successful pastorate of three years' duration at the Com- 
merce street M. E. church, raised subscriptions among 
the Methodists of the city and county, for the purpose of 
erecting a monument to John Murphy, the founder of 
Methodism in Cumberland county. Mr. Murphy's re- 
mains lie in the Commerce street cemetery, and they have 
had no stone to mark the place, but a monument has 
now been erected such as is a credit to the church and 
an honor to the memory of the man who did so much 
for Methodism in South Jersey. 

For many years Michael Swing was an influential 
member of the Cumberland County Bible Society. He 
was an excellent preacher, a very useful man, and much 
esteemed, not only by his own society,- but by people of 
other denominations. In public speaking he prepared 
sufficiently to give command of the subject and of the 
congregation, and yet left himself free for those thoughts 
which often occur under the excitement of the hour. In 
all his religious utterances there was a freshness which 
showed it to be a heart exercise. Under the influence of 
the movements which he originated, and through his 
ijistrumentality, many persons were converted and added 


to the church. Others were led to greater devotion, and 
to a higher and more perfect Christian hfe. 

His first wife, Sarah, died in the month of February, 
i8[3,aftera brief ilhiess, and was buried by the side 
of her father, Rev. John Murphy, in Commerce street 
churchyard, Bridgeton. 

Standing by the side of her grave we read the follow- 
ing inscription : 

" In Memory of our Mother, 


Wife of Rfv. Michael Swi.xg, 

Died Feb. i6, 1813, Aged 48 Years. 

' Children, incet Die in Heaven.'' " 

For more than twenty-four years she went forth, cheer- 
ing the heart of her husband in every good work. She 
cheerfully submitted to the toil and prix-ation of the 
early settlers of our countr)% and in the various changes 
which took place made many acquaintances and friends. 
As a wife and mother she was devoted and faithful, and 
though called away from a large family of children who 
were dependent upon a mother's care (the youngest, 
Michael Coates, being only two years old), yet her de- 
cision of character made impressions upon that family 
which cannot fail to benefit them through all the years 
to come, saying unto them, " This is the way, walk ye 
in it." Thus the beauty of her life was seen, and its 
influence felt by many." 




INCE the days of Adam and Eve, when they were 
created and placed in the Garden of Eden, there 
has been found no spot of earth so nearly resem- 
bling that garden of beauty and blessedness as a happy 
home. He who made man and knew his nature, declared 
from the beginning of the world that it was " not good 
for man to be alone." The Bible picture of a truly 
blessed man is not a lonely bachelor in his garret nor a 
solitary monk in his cell, but a father in the midst of a 
happy home, enjoying the fruit of his labor and the affec- 
tion of domestic life. 

Near the farm of Michael Swing there lived a 
highly respectable and interesting family by the name 
of Newkirk, their broad fields adjoining. In this 
family were a number of daughters, and Mr. Swing, 
being one of the nearest neighbors, and a widower, 
was frequently invited to call, and it is presumed 
that this acquaintance was both pleasant and profit- 
able, and many happy seasons here enjoyed. In the 
process of time Michael Swing found it not good to 
be alone, and in i<Si4 took unto himself another wife 
in the person of Miss Susannah Newkirk. He believed 


in the scriptural injunction, "Be ye fruitful and multiply 
and replenish the earth." By this marriage five children 
were born to them, namely : Joseph, Margaret, Pengam, 
Rebecca and Benjamin Franklin. 

B. F. Swing, the last person named in the family, be- 
came a very large and portly gentleman, and for several 
years was engaged in business at Fairfield, Harmony and 
Roadstown, in Cumberland county. In the earlier years 
of his life he began work as a farmer on his father's 
estate, and for some time was a successful tiller of th:: 
soil. Subsequently, finding this a slow and unsatisfactory 
way to ascend the ladder of fame or amass a fortune for 
himself and his increasing family, he entered into cattle 
droving, buying and selling stock. He was acknowledged 
to be a good judge of horses and cattle, a good business 
man, and when in the meridian of life one of the largest 
representatives of our family in New Jersey. 

Daniel R. Powell, a lad eleven years of age, applied at 
the farm of Mr. Swing for employment. He was informed 
that the owner of this property had a modest supply of 
boys in his own family, but if the lad really wanted work 
and wished to become industrious and useful he could 
find something for him to d: . 

" Here, in 1824, I was apprenticed to learn the farming 
business, occasionally mending nets, fishing and catching 
oysters. I remember the winter of 1829. That year 
Michael Swing was elected member of the New Jeraey 
Legislature, and spent the winter in Trenton. Two days 
were occupied with a good team of horses in reaching 
the capital of the state. It being a long and tedious ride 


in the stage coach, or private conveyance, he returned 
home only twice during that session. 

" I remember a clear, beautiful night in the month of 
February. The girls were at home, the house illumi- 
nated, and company in the parlor. In the kitchen a large 
fire was blazing on the hearth, and the small boys were 
sent out to have a good time. Joseph, Benjamin and 
myself were ranged around the fire in a circle, smoking 
pipes. In the midst of our amusement and hilarity the 
door suddenly opened, and in came Mr. Swing from 
Trenton. He advanced rapidly toward us, and said : 

" ' Boys, boys, this will never do ! I had much rather 
find you studying books than smoking pipes.' Then he 
bumped our heads together. 

"In the parlor he found Mr. Tyndall, Ephraim Whita- 
ker, and another young man named Wescott. Priscilla 
immediately arose and said : ' Father, you have greatly 
surprised us; we were not expecting you home to-night; 
we have been very lonesome until Mr. Whitaker and 
Mr. Tyndall came over. Give me your hat and cloak, 
and sit down by our fire.' 

" Handing his hat to this lovely daughter, he said : 
* Ah, girls, I see how it is. When the old cat is away 
the mice will play.' 

" Then he entertained the company by relating some 
funny stories. He said that when he was first elected an 
assemblyman, and the time came for him to go to the 
capitol at Trenton, he feared that he would be paled by 
the flashing of bright intellects all around him. He took 
his seat on the first day and resolved to remain quiet; 



but in ten minutes he was perfectly at ease. This was 
what wrought the change in his mind : ' Mr. Speaker,' 
said one of the assemblymen from Bergen county, ' there 
are no ink in the inkstands.' Up rose another member, 
since famous in the history of the state, and known to 
most Jerseymen : * Mr. Speaker,' said he, ' there are ink 
on my stand, but it is frozen in the bottles, and, as re- 
gards this new style of writing pen, I would prefer a 
^<?^^^-quill.' A broad smile illuminated the countenance 
of some of the members, and that was all Swing needed 
to put him at ease in the legislature." 

The family long enjoyed a wide reputation for the 
beauty and grace of its women. This distinction was 
acquired, not so much from the number of its beautiful 
women, as for their industrious habits, sprightly manners, 
cheerful and entertaining conversation, and fitted as they 
were by nature and education to adorn mansions. 

" It was my pleasure and good fortune," said Mr. 
Powell, ** to remain with this family until twenty-one 
years of age, and after that time was hired to continue at 
good wages." 

He remembers many happy days enjoyed here, and 
also in the Sunday-school at " Swing's Meeting House," 
where he subsequently united with the church, became a 
pious and useful man, attained a good old age, and at the 
present writing (1889) is a resident of Cumberland county 
and also a local exhorter in the church of his choice. 

In relating his experience recently, Mr. Powell stated 
that he had been a member of the M. E. church for 
fifty-six years, and was still greatly attached to this 


society and all its institutions. Notwithstanding the 
fact that, fifty years ago, when a young man, he found 
no marriageable • young ladies in this denomination at 
Fairfield who seemed to care much for him, although he 
had looked diligently among them for a companion to 
share with him the joy and happiness of this present 
life. In this emergency he was induced by a friend to 
attend the Presbyterian church, and subsequently courted 
and married a pious young lady belonging to that de- 

" To this day," he said, " we will bless God for the 
Methodists, bless God for the Presbyterians ; for we 
know from experience that the two, when united in mar- 
riage, will work harmoniously together, and hence no 
man can shake our faith and admiration for the Presby- 

The associates of Mr. Swing, while in the ministry, 
were Revs. Holmes Parvin, Walter Burroughs, Jonathan 
Brooks and Bartholomew Weed. While young in years 
Mr. Parvin died, apparently in the prime of life and in 
the midst of his usefulness, and was buried in the ceme- 
tery at " Swing's Meeting House." 

The author recently visited the ancient and now 
crowded burial place of the family in " Rural Cemetery," 
a sloping tract that lies upon the south bank of the 
Cohansey river, in Fairfield township, one mile below 
Fairton. This cemetery has been used to an equal ex- 
tent by the citizens of this community, and beneath the 
shade of venerable trees the remains of many distin- 
guished men are interred. The plainest kind of 


tablets mark the resting places of Rev. Mr. Parvin and 
his wife, and probably some twenty-five or thirty deceased 
members of the Swing family, while a more elaborate one 
bears the inscription : 

In Memory of 


Died Jan. 17, 1834, 

In the full assurance of eternal life, 

Aged 65 years, 10 months, 9 days. 

He joined the M. E. Church in 1790, and soon after was licensed 
to preach. He labored extensively and usefully as a local 
preacher and filled acceptably the office of Class Leader, Deacon, 
Elder and Steward. 

" Servant of God, well done, 

Rest from thy loved employ. 
The battle's fought, the victory won; 
Enter thy Master's joy." 

With his armor bright, and amid his most active use- 
fulness, he has fallen, just as he had attained the meridian 
of greatness and his concentrated activity was reaping 
a golden harvest. His ardent enthusiasm had brought 
him to eminence, when he was suddenly withdrawn from 
life's work. That manly form has vanished from earthly 
view; that sympathetic voice charms no more the de- 
lighted ear nor inspires others to the attainment of a 
nobler and better life. 

It is grateful to express the tribute of affection to the 
memory of one so much esteemed. To those who knew 


him well he was valued as a friend, dear to his brethren 
as a co-laborer, and, to his associates, revered as a faith- 
ful assistant. 

The funeral services of the deceased took place at 
"Swing's Meeting House" on the 20th day of January, 
1834, at half-past 10 a. m. Upon the platform were 
seated Revs. Walter Burroughs, Jonathan Brooks and 
Bartholomew Weed. After the reading of Scripture and 
the singing of the hymn commencing : 

" The hills of Zion yield 

A thousand sacred sweets 
Before we reach the heavenly fields 
Or walk the golden streets. 

" Then let your songs abound 
• And every tear be dry, 

We're marching through Emanuel's ground 
To fairer worlds on high," 

Rev. Bartholomew Weed delivered an appropriate eulogy, 
taking as a motto the words, " He that reapeth receiveth 
wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal ; that both he 
that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 
And herein is that saying true. One soweth and another 
reapeth. I sent you to reap that wherein ye bestowed 
no labor ; other men labored, and ye are entered into 
their labors." "Jesus introduced the work of saving the 
world with the simple description, ' The sower went 
forth to sow,' not with pomp nor display, nor with the 
exhibition of a showy apparatus, but quietly, often in 
solitude, unnoticed by men. It often happens that not 


until the sower enters into his rest, and his completed 
work passes in review, is it all thoroughly understood. 
The great men of the world are the seed-sowers. Moses, 
Elijah, Plato, Aristotle, Paul, Peter, John will be remem- 
bered when the great warriors wall be forgotten. It is 
cheering to know from the lips of Jesus himself that the 
sowers have a common bond of brotherhood, and that 
they shall rejoice together; ' he that soweth, and he that 
reapeth, shall alike rejoice.' Our dear brother w^ho has 
left us, and w^hose memory we shall continue to cherish, 
was himself a beautiful illustration of this. His whole 
life is an illustration of his willingness to accept his reward 
in heaven. His associates have the honor in being 
pioneers in church organization. I now refer," said the 
speaker, ''to the organization of this society, the building 
of the Fairfield M. E. church, and also the o*rganization 
of the Methodist society at Bridgeton, of which your 
speaker is now pastor. When two intimate friends called 
to converse with our departed brother for the last time, 
they were greeted with the assurance that *I feel better ; 
am resting calmly and peacefully,' and, before leaving, re- 
quested them to sing one of his favorite hymns : 

" 'There is a land of pure delight, 
Where saints immortal reign. 
Infinite day excludes the night, 
And pleasures banish pain.' 

" Not long after he seemed as one enjoying a beautiful 
vision, and exclaimed : ' Death is the happiest hour of the 
Christian's life; the time of my departure is near at hand. 


Rivers of life divine I see, and trees of Paradise.' Thus 
passed our departed brother into the port of peace." 


The following appear on the covers of two adjoining 
vaults in the old graveyard at Swing's Corner: 

" Beneath this stone lies the remains of 


For fifteen years a faithful pastor of the Presbyterian church of 
this place, whose superior genius and native eloquence shone so 
conspicuously in the pulpit as to command the attention and gain 
the esteem of his hearers. In every station of life he discharged 
his duty faithfully. He lived greatly respected, and died uni- 
versally lamented, Nov. 5, 1771, in the 39th year of his age." 

" Here was deposited the body of 


Successively the wife of the Rev. William Ramsay, of this place, 
and the Rev. Dr. Robert Smith, of Pequa. She was highly dis- 
tinguished for the exercise of the estimable and amiable qualities 
in the various relations of a wife, mother, friend and Christian. 
Having survived her last worthy husband a few years in great 
weakness of body, she fell asleep in Jesus, Aug. 9, iSoi. Aged 
65 years." 

io6 events in the life and history 

"In Memory of 


Second Wife of Rev. Michael Swing, 
For 34 Years his Widow. 

She departed, in hope of eternal life, the first day of May, 1867, 
aged 81 years, 6 months, 13 days. For 63 years a member of the 
M. E. church, and faithful in her religious life. 

" Gently, she is sleeping. 

She has breathed her last ; 
Gently, while we are weeping 
She to heaven has passed." 

At the commencement of the present year (1889) it 
may be written of this large and interesting family group 
that only one of them is now living, to wit, Mrs. Rebecca 
N. Smith, who in advanced years resides with her son, 
Mr. Eleazer Smith, a well-to-do farmer of Mannington 
township, Salem county, N. J. 



{^Reported originally for the ^^Nezus'^ by the Author, G. S. Szuing.'} 

IN recording the death of Sarah S., wife of Rev. Joseph 
Atwood, after a brief sickness of about one week, it 
may be interesting to many readers to state that 
Mrs. Atwood's maiden name was Swing, she being the 
fifth daughter of Rev. Michael Swing, of Fairfield township. 
Her father and her grandfather. Rev. John Murphy, 
being the original founders of the first Methodist society 
in Bridgeton in the year 1804. With the exception of 
Bishop Asbury, who had previously traveled through 
New Jersey, Revs. Murphy and Swing w^ere among the 
first ministers of this denomination who preached here. 
The youthful days of the deceased were happily spent 
on her father's farm along the banks of the Cohansey 
river, in Cumberland county, and after she had attained 
the age of womanhood, was united in marriage to Cap- 
tain Moses Husted, by whom she had one daughter who 
grew to womanhood. She was soon called, in the prov- 
idence of God, to part with both husband and daughter, 
and was left a widow in destitute circumstances. After 
the death of Captain Husted, which event occurred in 


1852, she took up her residence in this city and remained 
here until the time of her second marriage to Hon. 
CorneHus M. Newkirk, a prominent and honored citizen 
of Upper Pittsgrove, Salem county. To the last named 
place they afterward removed and subsequently enjoyed 
many pleasant years of life together. After the death of 
her second husband, Mrs. Newkirk returned to her former 
home on Jefferson street, but not long destined to remain 
a lonely widow. Her earnest character and Christian 
demeanor attracted the attention of Rev. Joseph Atwood, 
and she was united in marriage wnth him. 

Mr. Atwood was admitted into the New Jersey Con- 
ference in 1837, and has been a very successful minister, 
traveling large circuits and filling many important 
stations in the conference for a period of forty years. 
Until recently both have enjoyed excellent health. The 
deceased was an untiring Christian, courteous in manner, 
kind to the poor, and a model of hospitality and polite- 
ness, warmly attached to the church and its interests, and 
so remained for all the days of her pilgrimage. She 
was born March 28, 1808, and was a consistent mem- 
ber of the Methodist Episcopal church for fifty-three 
years. She passed away in great peace January 18, 
1884, in the seventy-sixth year of her age. Her funeral 
services were held in Commerce Street Methodist Epis- 
copal church on Tuesday morning, January 22d, at 
10.30 o'clock, and were very impressive. They were 
opened with prayer by Rev. E. C. Hancock, of the Cen- 
tral church. Scripture lesson was then read by the 
Rev. W. S. Zane, of the Trinity church, from the 23d 


Psalm, also part of the 21st chapter of Revelation. The 
sermon was preached by Rev. Jesse Stiles, II Cor., 4:18: 
" While we look not at the things which are seen, but 
at the things which are not seen ; for the things which 
are seen are temporal ; but the things which are not 
seen are eternal." 

In the course of the speaker's remarks, he said : "The 
soul of the departed will cease to speak and ^xist among 
us, but her influence will not cease to live and be felt in 
this community." 

She had read the Bible through many times, and com- 
mitted passages of Scripture to memory, often repeating 
the 23d Psalm, " Yea, though I walk through the valley 
of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for thou art 
with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." To 
her husband she said, a short time previous to her death, 
"I feel my dying day is coming; shall soon walk the 
eolden streets." 


Yonder's my house, my portion fair, 
My treasure and my heart are are there.' 

On another occasion she sung with a clear voice 

"There are Hghts along the shore that never grow dim," Szc, 

then asking the question, "Don't that sound nice?" 
"Yes," replied her husband, " I believe it ; I believe it." 
A large circle of friends from the surrounding coun- 
try paid their last sad tribute of respect to the departed 
one. Deceased was buried in a black cloth coffin with 


silver handles. Forty-five couples followed the remains 
to the grave. Commerce Street church was full, and 
among them we noticed a number of the Newkirk family, 
relatives of the deceased's second husband, from Pitts- 
grove. There were also persons from New York, Jersey 
City, Woodstow^n, Salem, Millville and Philadelphia. 

Mr. Atwood, her surviving husband, was born near 
Tuckerton, Burlington county, N. J., April 22, 1804. 
He grew up on a farm, was converted at the age of 
eighteen, and while very young was licensed to preach by 
Rev. Bartholomew Weed. He is a ready and fluent 
speaker, with full, strong voice and bright, keen eye. 
As pastor on many charges he was active, earnest and 
devoted. He has a portly, well-built form of full six 
feet in height, a large, noble head covered with the finest 
growth of hair, now almost white, and his brown, benev- 
olent face gives him the appearance of the "typical 
grandfather of the olden time," in personification of all 
that is good, kind and manly. His long service in the 
New Jersey Conference gives him a large acquaintance 
and happy experience, while his countenance is com- 
paratively free from the wrinkles and ravages of time, 
although drawing near to the eighty-second year of 
his age. 


{Extract frotn the ''Daily News,'' March 28, iS8^.'] 

Rev. Joseph Atwood, the well-known Methodist clergy- 
man of our city, has recently been thinking that it was 


about time he was taking another partner for Hfe, to share 
his joys and his sorrows, through sickness and through 
health, for better or for worse. Accordingly, on Tues- 
day last, he took unto himself a better half for the fourth 
time, in the person of Mrs. Margaret Humphrey, manager 
of the Humphrey House, Broadway, Ocean Grove. The 
ceremony was performed at the Humphrey House by 
Rev. Dr. Stokes, manager of the Ocean Grove Camp 
Meeting Association. As a result of this union Bridgeton 
is to lose the Rev. Mr. Atwood, as he is now packing 
away his furniture and making preparations, and will 
take up his residence at the Humphrey House on Tues- 
day next. 

Rev. Mr. Atwood has been a resident of this city for 
eight years, and though having retired from the active min- 
istry has done a good work in our midst. During that 
time he has visited, he informs us, all of the 500 families 
in the Second w^ard, 800 in the First ward and 200 in 
the Third ward, not having had time to complete the 
latter ward, and has distributed tracts and prayed with 
all who would allow him. He has also, during that time, 
placed eighty-eight couples in the same happy state into 
which he has just entered, for the fourth time, himself 
He has been a frequent visitor of our Sunday-schools, and 
few of the scholars of our city have not heard one or 
more of his addresses at the close of the regular Sunday- 
school services. 

He will be known to readers outside of Bridgeton by 
the carpet-giving episode in Camden a few y^ars ago, 
when a carpet manufacturer offered a roll of carpet to 


any couple that had hved together a certain length ot 
time happily and without a cross word. The offer was 
accepted by Rev. Mr. Atwood and his third wife, who 
was then living, and they were paraded around Camden, 
led by a brass band, as a result. 

The marriage of Rev. Joseph Atwood and Mrs. Mar- 
garet Humphrey, the proprietress of a large and flourish- 
ing boarding-house at Ocean Grove, has created consid- 
erable interest. The groom is eighty-two years old, and 
the bride but ten years his junior. 

After the decease of his fourth wife, which occurred at 
Ocean Grove, he again returned to Bridgeton and en- 
eaeed in local mission work. He was of an active, 
stirring make, and at times supplied the pulpits of the dif- 
ferent churches in town, and of the neighboring towns, 
and his sermons were always characterized by great 
plainness of speech and unction of manner. He fre- 
quently related and dwelt upon the happiness of his own 
Christian experience, the advantage of being always ready 
to die, and without long sickness or lingering decay pass 
suddenly from earth and awake amid the glories of im- 

In the autumn of '86 he sold his residence on Jeffer- 
son street, Bridgeton, removed to Camden, and being 
one of the oldest members of the New^ Jersey Conference, 
was preparing to preach his semi-centennial sermon at 
the next conference in March, 1887, when suddenly he 
was stricken with apoplexy, fell from his chair and ex- 




IN writing brief articles of prominent men, few are more 
worthy of notice, or more favorably known through- 
out the community, than the subject of this memoir, 
who was born at Pittsgrove, Salem county, N. J., March 
30, 1798. 

Every town and community have their '' oldest inhab- 
itant " and representative men, and in a certain sense Mr. 
S. may be regarded as one of these. His boyhood was 
not more remarkable than that of any other child in the 
same circumstances, although his early surroundings 
were attractive and pleasant. Nathaniel was next to the 
oldest of the children in his father's family, and his 
youthful hands were an indispensable help in the clear- 
iner of the land ; and while he cultivated his own mind 
and the soil of his father's farm, the lad wrought for 
himself a training and discipline in the fields and at the 
fireside such as make honest-hearted heroes. 

His first recollection of attending school was in a log 
school house near " Newkirk's Mill," knov/n in later 
years as " Kean's," and now as " Ballinger's Mill." 

In this rude and ancient amphitheatre of learning the 
seats extended around the outer wall, and long, low 



benches without backs. But we were a progressive and 
enterprising people, and improved the house by turning 
the long desks around against the wall, putting the long 
seats in front, and sat with our backs toward the teacher. 
Our school books were limited in variety, and the 
pens were contributed by the " immortal goose," and 
during the writing hour the request, " Please mend my 
pen," was heard from all parts of the house. The names 
of the teachers in those days w^ere Lewis Hall, David 
Austin and Mark Peck. 

In very early boyhood Nathaniel was regarded as 
particularly bright and promising in intellect, and at an 
early age sent to a higher and better school, Union Sem- 
inary, the alma inatcr of many accomplished scholars 
and learned men, where, under the tuition of Professor 
John Rose, he received sound physical as well as mental 

From his first entrance into this school the teacher 
showed an ardent interest in its welfare, and was proud 
of the material of wdiich it was composed — sons of 
farmers chiefly — a manly body of youth, which for 
strength, activity and health, I think, was not surpassed 
by any in the state. 

Nathaniel gave himself diligently to his studies, won 
the respect and affection of his comrades, and graduated 
with honor to himself and the teachers in charge. To 
this day the names of his school companions are fresh 
in his memory, and the lessons learned in 1811 were 
never forgotten. 

In 18 1 2 the war broke out between England and the 


United States. Ships of war and English vessels were 
numerous in Delaware bay, and also at the mouth of 
Salem and AUoway creeks ; horses and cattle began to 
disappear, and great excitement prevailed throughout 
Salem county. His father talked the subject over with 
his family and friends, and decided to leave mother and 
the boys to manage the farm, while he went to war. 

Although a lad of only fifteen years of age, Nathaniel 
took charge of the farm, and by attentive cultivation and 
continued industry good crops of corn and wheat were 
gathered during that year. 

Years rolled on ; the war with Great Britain at length 
was ended ; our state was blessed with wise and competent 
rulers, and the country was at peace with all the world and 
the rest of mankind ; and when all things became quiet 
and serene Mr. Swing proceeded to open a school for 
the instruction of children and youth, his first appoint- 
ment being at Newkirk's Mill in 1819-20. This school 
house stood upon a very high piece of land, and was 
surrounded by large and stately trees. It overlooked 
the mill and the pond, and also a beautiful stream of 
running water. 

One of the students of the class of 18 19, Mr. 
Samuel D. Craig, who is still living in the same neigh- 
borhood, recently called at the residence of the writer, 
and, in relating his experience, said that his recollections 
of this school were both pleasant and agreeable. In 
fact, the subsequent life of both teacher and scholar had 
been smooth and tranquil as the running stream by 
which they sported in childhood. 


John Carter, Esq., for many years a prominent mer- 
chant, justice of the peace and ex-member of the Legis- 
lature from Cumberland county, was also a pupil in the 
school at " Kean's Mill," and adds his testimony to the 
subsequent value and usefulness of the instruction re- 
ceived here in 1820. 

Some years later Mr. Swing resigned his position as 
teacher, and proceeded to build a new house, a large 
barn and other outbuildings. These were pleasantly 
located at the intersection of four public roads crossing 
each other, and as the family owned the land on either 
side of the way, the place was subsequently named in 
honor of himself, " Swing's Corner." 

His marriage to Miss Ann Parris was duly celebrated 
in 1 822, and soon after this event they took possession of 
their new home and commenced their life work. He 
had the advantage of sociability, and saw on the horizon 
of his future the perpetual star of hope. In 1825, on 
the west side of the road and nearly opposite his resi- 
dence, extended a beautiful tract of large timber, which 
subsequently withstood the storm and tempest of a hun- 
dred years; and in those days the woods abounded with 
squirrel, partridge and turtle doves, and when perched 
upon the topmost branches usually were safe from the 
attack of the boy with the ordinary shot gun. Upon 
the edge of this grove extensive machine works were 
erected for the turning and carving of wood and orna- 
mental designs ; carriage hubs, spokes, chair bottoms, 
and settee rounds, formed a part of the stock manufac- 


tured at this place, and which when finished found a ready 
sale in the markets of Philadelphia and New York. 
Like most of the industries of the olden time the belts 
and machinery at this establishment were propelled 
by horse power, and the hum of the revolving wheels 
of industry were heard for many years as if propelled by 
divine inspiration. 

Prosperity in business brings gladness to all parties 
who have capital invested, and the familiarity and skill 
of the proprietor in the manufacture of the articles 
named, the most useful and ornamental in their day and 
time, were of a fashionable and satisfactory order. In 
connection with this he also owned a store for the sale 
of goods and general merchandise ; and while superin- 
tending these industries the early years of life passed 
rapidly and pleasantly away. 

At the commencement of the present year, 1889, Mr. 
and Mrs. N. G. Swing were both living, having enjoyed 
a good old age, their intellectual powers and memory 
but little impaired, and physical vigor good for persons 
so far advanced in life; and they may fairly be regarded 
as the eldest and most prominent representatives of our 
family now living. 

For the past half century they have lived upon the 
farm at " Swing's Corner," and during that time were 
actively engaged in agricultural and mercantile pursuits. 
Throughout life he was vigorous, active and careful of 
his health, with an unfailing flow of good spirits and 
kindly feelings, of which his countenance gives abundant 


indication ; he also understands the sentiments of life as 
well as its logic, and to this day is not a bad dinner com- 

In early years he had struggled and toiled against the 
disadvantages of pioneer life; he had seen the forest dis- 
appear from the area of our country, and lived to see the 
day when friends and neighbors were surrounded by all 
the comforts and conveniences of civilized society. 

I do not remember a man who is more familiar with 
the religious and political history of the last half century 
than he, nor one whose conversation is more to be 
enjoyed than his. He has been a great reader, a man of 
books and newspapers, and is well posted in all the current 
events and literature of the times. Before the township 
was divided he was collector of taxes for the years 
1845-46 ; town superintendent for three years, from 1849 
to 1852, with authority to examine and license teachers 
of public schools. Re-elected to the same office from 
1863 to 1866. In these important offices he gained the 
prestige which in the courseof time brought to him other 
leading distinctions of his life — that of representing the 
county of Salem in the legislature of New Jersey. 

With a high degree of literary culture he has the 
sturdy integrity and substantial common sense which 
so eminently characterize the members of the Swing 

He was also interested in military affairs, and con- 
nected with the arsenal at Pittsgrove (Pole Tavern), a 
teacher of the military drill, and also held the commis- 
sion of major from the year 1828 up to the breaking out 


of the late war in 1861, when he resigned the last-named 
office and commission. 

Like William Penn, Benjamin Franklin, and other dis- 
tinguished Americans, he loved peace rather than war. 
His was a nature made for friendships, and his life fully 
exemplified the Shakespearian idea of man : tender, 
humorous, large-hearted, modest and obliging. We may 
think of him as one whose name was on the roll of 
merit when the late General U. S. Grant was a barefooted 
boy and Cornelius Vanderbilt was lying in his cradle, un- 
conscious of his future greatness. 

He hears men say he's growing old ; 

It seems but yesterday 
That he was young, and strong, and bold — 

'Tis all a mystery ! 

To him the clear, melodious song 

Of birds rings forth as sweet 
As when a boy he ran along 

With little, swift, bare feet 

The cow path in the " pasture lot," 

Or waded in the brooks. 
And in his happiness forgot 

His errands and his books. 

Great changes he has lived to see ; 

"The trusted and the true " 
Have gone to vast eternity. 

The land " beyond the bhie." 

To say he was a moral man, a good counsellor and 
friend, is not enough : he is a religious man, having been 
an exemplary member of the Presbyterian denomination 

Of the swing family. I2t 

during the greater portion of his life, and held in honor- 
able esteem by the church, contributing to the support 
and advancement of the Gospel, both at home and abroad. 
He is now among the oldest of the church in years and in 
membership, and his memory will brighten with the 
years of Christian progress. It may also be said that 
few more remarkable examples of religious life illuminate 
our church history. 

Recently an intimate friend remarked : " I have been 
with him in seasons of toil, in transactions of business, 
and in tours of recreation, when all thoughts of educa- 
tion, agriculture, mercantile or military life might be 
thrown aside. Yet the purity of thought and expression, 
the affinity with all that is generous in human nature, 
and his unfailing command of harmonious language will 
continue to attract our reverence and admiration. 

In later years he is apparently giving little attention to 
politics, although greatly interested in our state and 
national prosperity, a keen observer of passing events, 
and is keeping an eye upon the condition of the party in 
all parts of the state, being at the present time the oldest 
living ex-member of the New Jersey legislature from 
Salem county. He attended the last election, Nov. 6, 
1888, and was offered the choice of either of the two 
candidates named, Wm. Henry Harrison or Grover 
Cleveland, this being his sixteenth presidential vote, 
having voted at all the presidential elections since the 
days of John Quincy Adams in 1825. 

Two children grace the household, a son and daughter, 
Frank Marrion and Sallie P. Swing. T he first named has 


been activ^ely engaged in both agricultural and mercan- 
tile pursuits in his native state, and also in Pennsylvania, 
where he now resides, while the daughter, for several 
years past, was teacher in the female department of the 
public school at Millville, afterward at Bridgeton and 
other institutions of learning in the same state. 

Tough of fiber and stout of heart, Mr. Swing has sur- 
vived nearly all the companions of his youth and those 
who settled around him in early times. Notwithstanding 
his advanced age, his general health and memory is good. 
He is able to talk by the hour of events in the early part 
of the present century, and is regarded by young people 
as a walking encyclopaedia of religious and political 

When his ninetieth birthday arrived (on the 30th of 
March last) the event was commemorated by the planting 
of corn and vegetables in the field ; then, mounted on a 
favorite saddle horse, he called upon friends and relatives 
three miles distant. 

He owns a pleasant home in Salem county, and since 
his retirement has lived a quiet and uneventful life among 
the people. 

May no dark clouds arise to mar the beauty of his de- 
clining years. 





\ I I HE history of the Presbyterian church, Pittsgrove, 
(Slls opens in the latter part of the year 1738, when 
Rev. Daniel Buckingham, a traveling mission- 
ary, first visited this part of New Jersey. He was a 
man of great energy, fertile in resources, modest in 
manner and thoroughly consecrated to his work. It 
was his constant care not only that his people should be 
more pious, but gaining in knowledge, and willing to 
join their struggles in building a house of worship; sing 
and pray, and with Bibles and hymn books invade the 
wilderness. His native genius and transparent soul 
gained multitudes of admirers ; and by providential op- 
portunity and religious zeal succeeded in banding twenty 
converts together for mutual advancement in scholarship 
and piety. The people who settled here were industrious, 
and improved their condition by building houses, clearing 
up farms and erecting mills. They also knew their re- 
ligious wants, and to this community the present genera- 
tion accord the honor of building the first Presbyterian 
church in Salem county. 

Ji£CT/?o-Li6HT£Nc]co, l^y. ' 



It is not the intention of a missionary to settle him- 
self over his congregation. He usually is sent out as an 
ambassador to open new fields of labor, gain converts, 
form societies, and impress upon his hearers the import- 
ance of keeping the Ten Commandments. 

Three years later the church was organized by the 
Presbytery of Philadelphia — April 30, 1741. Rev. David 
Evans was installed the first regular pastor. My grand- 
father, Abraham Swing, who resided near by, relates that 
the original building was constructed of cedar logs and 
called "The New Missionary Meeting House." At once 
the place became the centre of attraction to large num- 
bers of people and a sacred spot to the households of 
the forty-nine members who signed the church covenant. 
Two large stoves with their ruby light gave out a cheer- 
ful glow, and the plain wooden benches presented a neat 
appearance, and were suggestive of the primitive char- 
acter of its worshippers. Louis DuBois sold to the 
trustees two acres of land for building purposes, and a 
few years later fifty acres adjoining the same. 

In 1744 the trustees decided to make an additional 
purchase of fifty acres of land of Abraham Newkirk, to 
be used for a farm or parsonage, upon which suitable 
buildings were erected for the pastor and his family. A 
few years later the congregation came into possession of 
a large tract of valuable timber land to be used for 
church purposes. 

Rev. David Evans continued pastor over this congre- 
gation for a period of ten years. He was a man of piety, 
learning, ability, and manifold experience. In his inter- 


course with the people he was prompt, unwearied, reso- 
lute, and full of kindness, of courtesy and courage. 
Ten years later he was suddenly transferred by death 
from earthly toil, and entered into heaven and history on 
the 4th day of February, 175 1. The future will take 
care of his fame ; and of him it may be said, " The 
righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance." 

The second pastor of the church was Rev. Nehemiah 
Greenman, ordained and installed December 5, 1753. 
Among other accomplishments he w^as a good singer 
and musician, and often styled by country people a 
native born orator. Crowds of people attended his 
church, when it soon became necessary to build a larger 
house of worship. During the month of October, 1765, 
the congregation met and decided to build, giving sub- 
scriptions and appointing managers. The building com- 
mittee was Jacob DuBois, Thomas Sparks and Matthew 
Newkirk. The log structure was taken down and re- 
moved, and a new brick church erected in its place. 
Over the south entrance a marble capstone bears the 
following inscription : 

N. G. V. D. M. 


While living here Mr. Greenman purchased a tract of 
land, enclosed it with a cedar rail fence, planted trees and 
erected a dwelling-house thereon for himself and family. 
His good knowledge of men, amiable temper and religious 
zeal endeared him greatly to this people ; and for 


twenty-six years he continued as pastor over this congre- 
gation. Coming when in his thirty-first year, in his fifty- 
ninth year was called home to sing the songs of redeem- 
ing grace, and join the church triumphant in heaven. 
The elders of the church at this date were the six fol- 
lowing: Matthew DuBois, Gideon Conkling, Jacob Du- 
Bois, Jr., James McClung, David DuBois and Joseph 
VanMeter. The church was next served by three 
young men, Revs. Schenck, Glassbrook and Isaac Fos- 
ter; the last named died on this charge in June, 1794, in 
the thirty-ninth year of his age. After him came Rev. 
Mr. Laycock, who supplied the church for a brief period 
of time. Next in order was Rev. Buckley Carll. When 
quite a young man, and for several years after, Mr. Carll 
was employed in teaching a village school in the higher 
branches of learning. During this time he occasionally 
preached in his own school house and in churches as 
occasion permitted. The Presbytery of Philadelphia 
recognized his ability and eminent fitness for the gospel 
ministry, and in the year 1801 ordained and installed 
him pastor of the Presbyterian church at Pittsgrove. 
From that time until the year 1804 he continued to min- 
ister to this congregation. Next he received a call to 
one of the largest and most important congregations in 
the state, and was transferred to Rahway, N. J., where 
he was pastor of the First Presbyterian church of that 
place for twenty-three years. In 1828 his health failed, 
when he took a superannuated relation with the church, 
and removed to Deerfield township, where he owned a 
farm. His religious zeal, perseverance and industry 


were unflagging, and while living here he often occupied 
the pulpit at Deerfield Street. He frequently preached 
in the old stone church, Fairfield, and also assisted Mr. 
Janvier in pulpit work at Pittsgrove. He seldom 
wearied in Christian conversation or ministerial work, 
and did not preach because it was his duty, but because 
he loved to do so. He is remembered as being very 
intelligent, one who had read and studied many years ; a 
firm believer in the doctrines taught, and the leading 
motive of his life was to win souls, honor God and the 

He died on the 22d day of May, 1849, in the eightieth 
year of his age. Among his last requests to surviving 
friends was that his remains be buried among the other 
deceased ministers at Pittsgrove. 

The next minister wjio lived long enough to make any 
permanent mark upon the history of the church is Rev. 
John Clark, who was stationed here in 1806, and for 
several years later. About seventy years have passed 
since the formation of this society. The population has 
greatly increased. Farms, orchards and dwellings have 
multiplied, and the "noon-time of life" has become 
brighter than the morning. 

In 181 1 a young student in the ministry, Rev. Geo. W. 
Janvier, came to preach on trial, as was the custom in 
those days. He was exceedingly admired by the people, 
and ordained pastor May 12, 181 2. Besides the morning 
service in the church at 10 A. m., he preached every 
Sunday afternoon at either the W^ashington, Jefferson, 
or Whig Lane school houses. 


In the early history of the church the congregation was 
scattered through the whole of Pittsgrove township and a 
part of Pilesgrove and Upper Alio way's creek, where as 
yet there was no church of this denomination, Salem and 
Pittsgrove being the only two churches organized in the 

Mr. Janvier was united in marriage with Miss Mar- 
garet Friese, whose parents resided about four miles 
distant and formed a part of his own congregation. 

At first the salary of the pastor was ;i^300, with free 
use of the parsonage. Soon after his marriage this 
amount was increased to ^5C0 per annum, including the 
rent or use of the large parsonage farm, 

A clergyman of our denomination would not often 
invite into his pulpit a minister of any other denomina- 
tion, neither would he recommend Sunday visiting among 
his parishioners, nor the wearing of side whiskers or a 
mustache, all these things being consiciered worldly and 
sacrilegious acts. In those days the congregation stood 
up during prayers and sat down when engaged in sing- 

The old brick church in which our pastor preached so 
many years is yet standing, although exceedingly anti- 
quated, having the old-style roof and the keystone ar- 
rangements peculiar to structures of that date. Inside it 
is even more ancient in appearance, with very high pulpit, 
and galleries almost as capacious as the first floor itself 
It contained very high seats, two aisles, two side and one 
end galleries, and was capable of seating 800 people. 


Formerly it was surrounded by a grove of large forest 
trees, with a running stream of water near by. 

Back of the church are the old-time carriage sheds, 
where the young men of former generations tied their 
" trotters " while the sermon was going on. 

After the benediction, in the hallway and galleries, 
young men and maidens exchanged, glances with each 
other, and there were courtship and flirtation in the air. 

In those days the writer occupied a seat among mem- 
bers of the choir, and during a period of almost half a 
century the leaders were the four following named : 
Thomas DuBois, Jonathan L. Swing, John W. Janvier 
and Henry Harding. About twenty-five persons, male 
and female, belonged to this choir, and their musical 
attainments were greatly appreciated by both pastor and 

Years ago Fourth of July celebrations w^ere held in 
the grove near by, and every summer the old church is 
still used for a brief time for holding a "picnic," or 
strawberry festival, for the benefit of Sunday schools. In 
front of this church a venerable oak yet remains stand- 
ing, apparently as sound as it was fifty years ago, when, as 
a lad, we stood beneath its shade, admired its grand pro- 
portions, its strength and beauty. Looking upon it 
recently recalled to memory the following lines : 

" Woodman, spare that tree ; 
Touch not a single bough ; 
In youth it sheltered me, 
And I'll protect it now." 


Then I thought of these words, contained in the good 
book, and of wnich men are so forgetful and indifferent : 
" They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the 
firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as 
the stars forever and ever." 

Sir Matthew Hale, chief justice of England, is said to 
be the author of a little stanza the wisdom of which has 
been demonstrated in a busy life : 

" A Sabbath well spent 

Brings a week of content, 
With rest for the toils of the morrow. 

But a Sabbath profaned, 

Whatever be gained, 
Is sure to be followed by sorrow." 

" I feel the happier all the week 

If my foot has pressed the sacred aisle ; 
The pillow seems softer to my cheek, 

I sink to slumber with a smile; 
With sinful passions cease to fight, 
And sweetly dream on Sunday night." 

To illustrate the faith of " old-time Christians " and the 
faithfulness of God to answer prayer, the following truth- 
ful incident is herein related: 

In the latter part of the summer of 1 849 a great drought 
prevailed throughout the lower part of New Jersey. 
People became alarmed at the condition of their corn- 
fields and other growing crops, and requested the pastor 
to pray for rain. As dry weather had long contined, the 
pastor consented to this proposal, and on the following 
Sabbath commenced reading a Bible description of the 


flood, taking for his text, ** Noah and all his household 
entered into the ark." 

Among the announcements were the following: "On 
Monday and Tuesday next a public meeting will be held 
in this church, at 3 o'clock p. m., to pray for rain." 

The farmers could not plough in the fields, so they 
attended the rain services ; and on Tuesday afternoon the 
congregation had largely increased in number. People 
were talking together in the grove, and outside the 
church, when Mr. Janvier approached a group of elders 
and, with his eagle eyes scanning the clear, bright hori- 
zon, said (so the story goes) : " Brethren, is there any 
use praying for rain to-day? Not a cloud can be seen." 

Entering the church the deacons gathered around the 
altar, and the services begun. As the meeting pro- 
gressed in interest, Deacon Gilbert H. Craig arose and 
said he believed the coming of rain was only delayed 
by the lacking of our own faith in God. He believed in 
God. Ever since the days when the shepherds watched 
their flocks by night on the plains of Judea, God had 
watched over his people. And to-day he believed in the 
same overruling providence. 

" God moves in a mysterious way 
His wonders to perform ; 
He plants his footstep on the sea, 
And rides upon the storm." 

Elders Moses Richman, Foster, Swing and Harris fol- 
lowed with touching language, bearing testimony to the 
remarkable providence of God since the birthday of 


creation. The audience became electrified, when, as in 
the days of Pentecost, a mighty power came down. 

" Heaven came down our souls to greet, 
And glory crowned the mercy seat." 

When the services ended dark clouds approached from 
the west, rain came on; in the evening the wind changed 
to cast and met another shower, and it continued raining 
all night and a part of the next day. The dry ponds 
were filled, and before morning mills and bridges floated 

At that time a millwright by the name of Hulick was 
employed in repairing a mill near by, and experienced 
some difficulty in saving the property from destruction. 
The next morning, and while the rain was still falling, 
he called at the parsonage on horseback, and said : "See 
here, parson, have thee been holding * rain meetings * 
for three da3^s ? I have come to tell thee that Foster's 
and Kean's mills were both undermined by water last 
night and came near floating away. I have already more 
work than I can do this summer, and when the mills are 
gone we'll have neither flour nor bread to eat. Now, 
parson, I want thee to stop these ' rain meetings ' at 

Turning his horse in the direction of the mill pond 
the millwright galloped away, leaving the astonished 
parson alone, meditating, perhaps, upon the power and 
greatness of the Ruler of the universe. 

Kind words will never die. Though they do not cost 
much, yet they will help one's good nature and good 


will, and produce their own image on the souls of men. 
Kind words will produce a cheerful temper, make youth 
and beauty attractive, and cheer us on through life's pil- 

When Mr. Janvier first came to preach to this people 
he was in the twenty-eighth year of his age, and the 
membership of the church at that time was ninety-eight. 
He continued pastor until his resignation in October, 
1857, a period of almost forty-six years. The records 
will show additions of between four and five hundred 
members. And, it may be said, that songs of praise to 
God arose from the assembly, and the " wilderness and 
the solitary place was glad." 

Ail through this extended period we find him going 
in and out before the people, blessing their homes, cheer- 
ing their hearts and improving their lives, baptizing 
children, marrying the young people and burying the 

The meetings in the old church were always well 
attended, its spacious galleries being filled with young 
people, and many found the light and the peace of God 
that passeth all understanding. 

Samuel Swing and Sarah, his wife, whose names are 
mentioned elsewhere, were prominent members of this 

In the cemetery we read these inscriptions on tablets 
of marble : 

Samuel Swing, born Sept. 15, 1729. Died March 13, 
1 801, aged 72 years, 6 months. As a man of piety he 
was much revered, as an elder he was truly useful. La- 


merited by all who knew his worth, he died as he lived, 
in the full confidence of a glorious immortality. 

Sarah, his wife, survived her husband seven years, and 
died June 7, 1808, aged 78 years, 2 months, 24 days. 

Jeremiah Sw^ing, one of the early settlers of Salem 
county, died at York, Pa., June 24, 1794, and sleeps 
among his kindred at Pittsgrove, where so many ancient 
and modern tombstones are strangely mingled together. 

Mrs. Ruth S. Lawrence died at Pittsgrove, Sept. 8, 


My grandfather, Abraham Swing, departed this life 

Oct. 10, 1832. In domestic life he loved the Gospel; he 

was a Christian at home, commanding his children and 

his household to keep the way of the Lord. 

Hannah, his wife, survived him seventeen years, and 
died February 24, 1849, in the seventy-seventh year of 
her age. The funeral sermon was preached by Rev. 
George W. Janvier; text. Genesis 23:2: ** And Sarah 
died in Kirjath-arba; the same is Hebron in the land of 
Canaan ; and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to 
w^eep for her." 

Fronting the church is a stone bearing the following: 
"Albert Coombs, Vol. of 12th N. J. Reg., died April 
26, 1863, at Stanton hospital, Washington, D. C, aged 
25 years;" and at the north side of the church another 
as follows: "Asa R. Burt enlisted Aug. 14, 1862, in Co. 
H, 1 2th Reg. N. J. Vols. Wounded in the battle of 
Chancellorsville, Va., May 3d, 1863, fell into the hands of 
the enemy and was buried on the field of battle." 

Abraham Swing Harris enlisted at Pittsgrove, Salem 


county, August 14, 1862, in Company K, 12th Reg. N. 
J. Volunteers ; wounded at the second battle of the Wil- 
derness ; captured by the enemy, and subsequently died 
at Andersonville, Va. These are those of whom our 
poet singes : 


How sleep the brave, who sink to rest 
With all their country's wishes blest. 
When Spring, with dewy fingers cold 
Returns to deck their hallowed mould ? 
She there shall dress a sweeter sod 
Than Fancy's feet have ever trod ; 
By fairy hands their knell is rung, 
By forms unseen their dirge is sung ; 
There Honor comes, a pilgrim gray. 
To bless the turf that wraps their clay ; 
And Freedom shall awhile repair 
To dwell a weeping hermit there." 

A little further on we find the following inscription 
written over the grave of Alfred Swing, member of Com- 
pany C, Sixth Pennsylv^ania Cavalry, died at Harper's 
Ferry, July 10, 1865 : 

He died afar from his sunny home, 

Beneath a southern sky ; 
And they bore him o^er hill and dale. 

In his native land to lie. 

And wrapt him in his soldier garb, 
And placed him 'neath the sod. 

Where oft in childhood's halcyon days 
His feet had lightly trod. 


" And yet he died, fair freedom's son, 
In the holy cause of truth, 
And slumbers with the great and brave ; 
Alas ! the noble youth." 

Near the junction of four roads stands the church, the 
school house and the cemetery, where generations of 
people sleep in the silence of death, while other genera- 
tions of the descendants are hard at work in the fields close 
by. Among the monuments we notice the names of 
Bewster, Burt, Foster, Alderman, Craig, Coombs, Jan- 
vier, Elwell, Harding, Krom, Wood, Newkirk, Richman, 
Lawrence, Johnson, Swing, Mayhew, VanMeter, Brooks, 
Carll, Cole, Stratton and DuBois, and these are the 
names one hears everywhere in this " garden country" 
to-day. Thus be it remembered that Salem county has 
given to the country, the world and humanity some of 
the proudest names in history. She holds in her bosom 
to-day the ashes of some of the noblest and greatest 
men that have illustrated the glories of this community. 

{^Selected Poetry. Author 7iii/c7io7vn.'\ 

Time is a river deep and wide ; 

And while along its banks we stray, 
We see our loved ones o'er its.tide 

Sail from our sight away, away. 
Where are they sped — they who return 

No more to glad our longing eyes? 
They've passed from life's contracted bourne 

To land unseen, unknown, that lies 

Beyond the river. 


'Tis hid from view, but we may guess 

How beautiful that reahn must be ; 
For gleamings of its loveHuess, 

In visions granted oft we see. 
The very clouds that o'er it throw 

Their veil unraised for mortal sight, 
With gold and purple tintings glow, 

Reflected from the glorious light 

Beyond the river. 

And gentle airs, so sweet, so calm, 

Steal sometimes from that viewless sphere ; 
The mourner feels their breath of balm, 

And soothed sorrow dries the tear ; 
And sometimes listening ear may gain 

Entrancing sound that hither floats, 
The echo of a distant strain 

Of harps' and voices' blended notes 

Beyond the river. 

There are our loved ones in their rest ; 

They've crossed Time's river — now no more 
They heed the bubbles on its breast, 

Nor feel the storms that sweep its shore. 
But there pure love can live, can last ; 

They look for us their home to share 
When we in turn away have passed, 

What joyful greetings wait us there, 

Bevond the river. 


On the 5th of November, 1839, the Presbytery of 
West Jersey was organized with ten ministers, viz : Revs. 
Ethan Osborn, Buckley Carll, George W. Janvier, Sam- 
uel Lawrence, Moses Williamson, Alexander Heber- 


ton, Benjamin Tyler, S. Beach Jones, Samuel D. Blythe 
and Cortlandt V^an Rensselaer; thirteen churches, viz: 
Fairfield, Pittsgrove, Greenwich, Cold Spring, Salem, 
Deerfield, Bridgeton, Woodbury, Black woodtown, Bur- 
lington, Millville, Cedarville, and Mount Holly, and with 
a territory equal to one-third of the state. 

In 1839 Atlantic county was without a Presbyterian 
church, now^ it has eight; Camden county then had 
one, now it has nine ; Gloucester at that time had one, 
now ten; Salem county then one, now four; Cape May 
then one, now four ; Cumberland, the stronghold of 
Presbyterianism in '39, had eight churches, now ten of 
this denomination. 


It will be remembered that Revs. George W. Janvier, 
Ethan Osborn and Buckley Carll w^ere three remarkable 
men and eminent ministers of the gospel. They w-ere 
fine classical scholars ; had warm and generous hearts, 
and delighted to read and converse upon the theme of 
Christian holiness. During their long and useful lives 
they obtained a character and influence in the Presbyte- 
rian church and throughout the state which few can ex- 
pect to attain. One of them passed away from earth 
at the age of ninety-nine years, nine months and eleven 
days. Mr, Janvier continued to preach to this congre- 
gation almost forty-six years, when failing health admon- 
ished him to retire by resignation in October, 1857. 


Rev. Edward P. Shields, a student from the seminary 
at Princeton, was next ordained and installed pastor June 
2, 1858, and continued in this relation almost thirteen 
years ; eighty-six persons were added to the church on 
profession and forty by certificate, making 126 in all. 

In the spring of 1 863 a proposition was made by the 
elders for the building of a new church, and through 
the efforts of the pastor and people ;^5,8oo were sub- 
scribed for a beginning. The building committee chosen 
was Charles Wood, John R. Alderman, James Coombs, 
Enoch Mayhew, Benjamin F. Burt, George Coombs and 
John W. Janvier. The building committee met at the 
parsonage July 4, 1863, and signed articles of agreement 
with Joseph Allen, a builder and contractor of Salem, 
New Jersey. The question of location was decided 
August 6, '63 ; vote 16 north, 23 south, side of the pub- 
lic road ; corner stone laid in the presence of a large as- 
sembly ; addresses delivered by Rev. S. J. Baird, C. R. 
Gregory and Daniel Stratton. Messrs. Janvier and 
Shields deposited the box of documents, and set the cor- 
ner stone in its place. 

The church was not completed in one year from date; 
the war of the rebellion was then going on, and some pa- 
triotic members of the church enlisted for three years, 
or during the war. Carpenters, masons, bricklayers and 
hod-carriers became demoralized and refused to work. 
Various obstacles presented themselves, in the way of 
lumber, building material and skilled workmen, until it 
became impossible to carry out the original contract as 


to date of completion. Three years expired before the 
steeple was finished, the bell set in its place and pealing 
forth its cheerful sound, inviting the congregation to 
attend divine service in the new church building erected 
at a cost of twenty-five thousand dollars (^525,000).. 

It was dedicated Aug. 11, 1867; sermon by Rev. 
Charles W. Shields, of Princeton, assisted by Rev. C. E. 
Ford, of Williamstown, and others. 

Rev. Mr. Shields continued pastor until Dec. 25, 1870, 
on which day he preached his farewell sermon and re- 
signed his pastoral connection with Pittsgrove church, a 
cordial invitation to another church having been extended 
to him, and he soon after removed to Cape May. Pitts- 
grov^e was his first charge. He served his people well as 
a faithful minister of the Gospel, and was greatly beloved 
by his congregation. 

Rev. Wm. A. Ferguson, of Ohio, next received a 
unanimous call to the pastorate Nov. 27, 1871. When 
preaching his centennial sermon, July 9, 1876, to this 
congregation, he said : 

" During the five years of my ministry with you, 106 
persons have been received on examination, and 21 by 
letter — 127 in all. When I first came here the member- 
ship Avas 212; now it is 300. The amount given the 
benevolent boards of our church during my pastorate 
is ^1825.00. Exclusive of this amount for the boards, 
there have been raised, including salary, incidental ex- 
penses and church debt, $13,194.76." 

The elders who have served the church during the 
first sixty years of its history are as follows : 


Isaac Harris who died in iSoS 

Abraham DuBois . . 
Samuel Swing , . . 
John Stralton . . , 
Hosea DuBois . . . 
Benjamin VanMeter 
Eleazer Mayhew . . 
Jeremiah DuBois . . 


The following named persons were elected elders dur- 
ing the ministry of Janvier and the other later pastors : 

Abraham Swing elected Feb. 25, 1814 

John Mayhew " " " 

Jeremiah Foster " " " 

Jonathan L. Swing " Dec. 7, 1826 

Erasmus VanMeter " " " 

Moses Richman " April 22, 1833 

Leonard Swing " " " 

Gilbert H. Craig 

Ebenezer Harris " June 6, 1844 

Richard Burt 

Thomas Harding " May 4, 1857 

Samuel D. Krom " " " 

Garret DuBois " " " 

Enoch Mayhew " " " 

Joseph L. Richman " Aug. 30, 1868 

Benj. F. Burt 

Adam S. Groff. 
Richard B. Ware. 

Continuing, Mr. Ferguson said: 

*' Among the elders of our church, Benj. F. Burt, 
Jonathan L. Swing, Garret DuBois, Leonard Swing and 
Richard Burt have died during the present pastorate. 


They were all good and useful men, and we can say, as 
we think of their virtues, what you can say of them and 
the other elders known to you, who are longer absent 
from the body : 

" * With us their names shall live 
Through long succeeding years, 
Embalmed with all our hearts can give, 
Our praises and our tears.' 

" These have been pleasant years in the Gospel minis- 
try, not only because of God's blessing upon our union 
in the ingathering of many souls, but because of the 
uninterrupted kindness which I have received at your 
hands. Many of the young have united with the church, 
and a considerable number of the older. It is a pleasant 
reflection to me that the first aged person with whom I 
met on the cars, on my first visit to this place, was one 
who has since joined the church under my own ministry." 

Mr. Ferguson was pastor for ten years, from 1871 to 
1 88 1, and then accepted a call to another church in 

Rev. John D. Randolph was the next pastor. His 
sermons were thoroughly scriptural and classical, and 
during the years of his ministry at Pittsgrove made im- 
pressions upon the minds and hearts of his hearers. 

The date of the building of the new missionary church, 
Rev. Daniel Buckingham, pastor, was 1738; the brick 
church, Rev. Nehemiah Greenman, pastor, 1767. 

A large modern church, with steeple and bell, was 
built during the pastorate of Edward P. Shields, in 


1867. Size, 51 by 92 feet ; with projecting tower, and 
spire 125 feet high. Cost of building, $21,150; furni- 
ture, 37CO; steeple bell and fixtures, $4,196; total, 

Many eventful scenes have transpired during the one 
hundred and fifty years of the church's history. These 
walls have resounded with the voice of prayer and praise, 
and many souls converted to God. Some have gone out 
from these congregations into the ministry, making hon- 
orable records. Among the number you remember the 
name of Rev. Levi Janvier, a son of your former pastor, 
who for twenty years was a missionary in a foreign land. 

Following are the names of the pastors of the church 
from the year 1738 to 1889 : 

First Missionary, Rev. Daniel Buckingham ; pastors. 
Revs. David Evans,* Nehemiah Greenman,''' Isaac Fos- 
ter,* John Laycock, Buckley Carll,* John Clark, Geo. 
W. Janvier,* Edward P. Shields, William A. Ferguson, 
John D. Randolph, John Ewing, D. D., the last named 
being the present beloved pastor ; in all, one missionary 
and twelve stationed pastors during a period of one 
hundred and forty-eight years. 

The remains of five of the above named ministers (*) 
were buried in the old yard, passing away in advanced 
years. Doubtless they have met together in heaven to 
recount the mercies of God to their souls, and in the 
councils of eternity compare the results of their services 
to mankind and the church on the earth. 




MNOTHER of the prominent and influential men 
of Pittsgrove township, whose birthplace and 
home were here, was Jonathan L. Swing. In 
speaking of his early Hfe, he said when he was a boy 
there were few schools in his neighborhood, and our 
school houses were of the most primitive and rudiment- 
ary character. He attended them only about four 
months during the fall and winter seasons. Here he be- 
came active in athletic sports, and with exercise his fig- 
ure gained in fullness and in strength. One of the 
leading qualities of his mind was a remarkable memory, 
and in this he excelled other members of his class. 
Blessed with an excellent constitution, a joyous and 
obliging disposition, his mind was improved by extensive 
reading, and subsequently by long acquaintance and ex- 
tensive intercourse with the most noted and intelligent 
people of the land, he became familiar v/ith the early 
events of the country in which he was born, and appre- 
ciated all that was noble and excellent in mankind. "Our 
amusements," he said, " partook largely in the study of 
music and in practicing the military drill at the arsenal 



near by, for be it remembered that during the war with 
Great Britain, in 1812, the spirit of '7^ fi^l^jd the m-inds 
and hearts of young America." 

Mr. S. has always retained a warm affection for his 
youthful companions, and recalls with pleasure the mem- 
ory of the pioneers of Salem county, and their zealous 
celebrations of Washington's birthday and the Fourth 
of July. 

" When I was of age," he said of himself, " I had al- 
most completed my apprenticeship and learned a trade." 
At an early age he was impressed with the beauty and 
value of religion, and desired to make it the subject of 
his choice. Without any remarkable experience he 
united with the Presbyterian church, and some years 
later was elected one of its ruling elders. With the 
welfare and prosperity of the church he was largely iden- 
tified, working in harmony with pastor and people. He 
took a great interest in theological matters ; was active 
in church work ; but his religion took the form of quiet 
doing rather than noisy profession. In the Sunday 
school he was a diligent and successful laborer; he par- 
ticularly enjoyed teaching the young, and was instru- 
mental in gathering many children into the fold, being 
either teacher, chorister or superintendent of the Wash- 
ington and Jefferson districts for a period of thirty-five 

This noble system of instruction reached all classes of 
society and involved a quadruple blessing — a blessing 
upon the parent, the teacher, the pupil and the commu- 
nity, and through all these upon the vast interests of so- 


ciety itself. It may be said that he greatly enjoyed con- 
[jrefrational sin^-inp-, instrumental music and sacred sons". 
His love for the church and Sunday school increased 
with the years, her worship and her songs being a source 
of great delight. 

While employed in teaching music in the village of 
Deerfield he met Miss Rebecca McQueen, who, at that 
time, was gifted with a remarkably cheerful spirit, and 
full of zeal and honest joy. A romantic attachment fol- 
lowed which, while life lasted, never lost the beauty of 
its attraction. They were united in marriage on the 15th 
day of July, 18 1 8, and she not only cheered his life, but 
proved herself a most efficient helpmeet during the fifty- 
six years she was permitted to be his companion. 

Jonathan L. Swing was born at Pittsgrove, Salem 
county, N. J., October 27, 1796, and the farm adjoining the 
one on which he lived was his birthplace. By trade and 
occupation he was a farmer and mechanic, a builder of 
wagons, carriages and agricultural implements, making a 
specialty in the construction of the revolving hay 
rake, ploughs, cultivators and farming machinery. 
In business he was industrious, regular and reliable; 
humorous in conversation and firm and lasting in 
friendship. He was a man of the people; enjoyed 
being among people, and could talk intelligently 
upon agricultural, political and religious subjects. Of 
modest nature, he was seldom cast down by reverses, nor 
elated by great prosperity. The writer, who knew him 
intimately in a social and business relation, and admired 
him for his honest and obliging disposition, can only 


speak the sentiments of the community in which he 
lived, by saying in brief that his character was strong, 
hke the iron, the oak and the young hickory of his 
wagons ; it w^as for use and rehability, though smooth 
and beautiful in finish. 

The greater portion of the life of Mr. Swing was de- 
voted to the pursuit of his trade and the cultivation of 
his farm adjoining the ancestral acres so long owned and 
occupied by his father. Another feature, and perhaps 
the most beautiful of his virtues, was his magnanimity; 
his clemency was as great as his courage. He trusted 
and reposed the utmost confidence in friends and asso- 
ciates, and, like all great men, had an honest faith in the 
teachings of his youth. 

Of his family of children it may be said that they 
were educated and refined, reared in the most pretentious 
society, and suitors were not few\ At the time of his 
death Mr. Swang left a widow, two sons, John M. and 
George W., and four daughters, to wit : Mrs. Ruth 
Woodruff, Mrs. Mary Asher DuBois, Mrs. Harriet 
Woodruff and Miss Eliza L., all of w^hom were still liv- 
ing and pleasantly located in the counties of Salem and 
Cumberland, the married ones presiding at the heads of 
interesting families, and in many instances over elegant 
homes, the pride and ornament of our best society. 

Advanced years and a busy life began to show their 
heavy traces upon the previously sturdy frame, and 
compelled Mr. S. to desist from active work, and amid 
the scenes of his childhood and the associations of early 
life awaited the summons which should gather him to 


the "home of the just made perfect," and he doubtless 
felt with the poet, Montgomery, that 

There's nothing terrible in death, 
'Tis but to cast our robes away, 

And sleep at night without a breath 
To break repose till dawn of day." 

Through every period of his public and private career 
we observe the religious tone of mind and the natural 
color given by kind action and pious thought, and when 
in advanced years sickness laid him low and he stood in 
the presence of death, mark that courageous spirit which 
calmly said " Thy will be done." Sustained by this 
heavenly power, slowly and unmurmuringly he passed 
along the weary road of almost eighty years, and at last 
solved the mystery of death. At the funeral the follow- 
ing lines were sung by the choir: 

" How blessed the righteous when he dies ; 
When sinks a weary soul to rest ; 
How mildly beam the dosing eyes, 

How gently heaves the expiring breast. 

" A holy quiet reigns around ; 

A calm which life nor death destro^'s ; 
And naught disturbs that peace profound 
Which his unfettered soul enjoys. 

" Life's labor's done ; as sinks the clay, 
Light from its load the spirit flies ; 
While heaven and earth combine to say. 
How blest the righteous when he dies." 


Rev. William A. Ferguson, the pastor, then referred to 
the character and finished life of the deceased ; he said : 
" His social character, combined with his religious life, 
w^as such as to endear him to the people, and cause him 
to hold a prominent place in the confidence of his fellow- 
men. His life, which neared the extreme limits of the 
Psalmist, was one unbroken process of labor, and his 
continued activity added lustre to them all. You can 
remember him as one of the elders of our church who 
has, for more than half a century, gone in and out among 
this people ; devoted in his work, and living so as to 
claim the promise, * Lo, I am with you alway.' Near 
this quiet country village his life began, and when it had 
worn out the body and taken its flight to unknown 
realms the casket it had inhabited was given back to 
earth to sleep among its kindred. And w^hile we recog- 
nize the fact that the church still needs the services of 
her ablest and best men, w^e also read, 

" ' God moves in a mysterious wa}- 
His wonders to perform.' 

And what now seems an affliction and a mystery may be 
revealed in the life to come. Let us believe that good 
deeds and kind thoughts have endless fruit, and that a 
noble, self-denying life beautifies the moral life of man, 
and assures a future grander than the past. 

" ' Oh, may we tread the sacred road 
That holy saints and martyrs trod ; 
Wage to the end the glorious strife, 
And win, like them, a crown of life.' " 




/^HARLES SWING, eldest son of Michael Swing 

I (() and Sarah Murphy, his wife, was born in Fai 

field township, Cumberland county, March 4, 
1790. His father was a prominent citizen of Fairfield, 
for many years a local preacher in the M. E. church, and, 
indeed, was regarded as one of the founders of Methodism 
in the southern part of the state. This son was blessed 
with the example and instruction of godly parents. 
Early in life he manifested a love for literature, and after 
finishing the course of study in the village school he 
employed his leisure moments in reading such scientific 
works as he was then able to procure. He not only 
employed his time in this way, but was known often to 
take his books with him into the field, and when follow- 
ing the plough would hold the reins in one hand and his 
book in the other. His father used to say that Charles' 
habit of reading and study made the horses lazy, they 
would not work. This incident reminds us of Burns, 
Coleridge, and many others, who composed some of the 
finest poems while at work in the field. While engaged 
in agricultural pursuits he began the study of medicine, 
under the tuition of Dr. William Ewing, of Greenwich ; 


in 1812, walking once a week from his home, a distance 
of twelve miles, in order to recite his appointed task and 
receive assistance in the further prosecution of his studies. 
As the winter season approached and walking became 
tedious and disagreeable on account of mud and slush in 
the roads, he then went down the river in a boat, fre- 
quently rowing for hours against a strong current of 
wind and tide. Night coming on before reaching his 
destination, and weary with the day's doings, he was 
often compelled to turn his boat in the direction of the 
shore, making fast to a neighboring tree, and, climbing 
up the bank of the river, pursue the balance of the way on 
foot. To test and prove his courage at every step Provi- 
dence seems to have erected a barrier across his path ; 
but, like a gallant soldier, he dashed up and over every 
hostile parapet, planted on it the standard of his invinci- 
ble purpose, and left it to melt away behind him, while 
he assailed with a soul of victory each succeeding ob- 

Disciplined in such a school, his body toughened, his 
mind invigorated and his spirit strengthened, his youth 
ripened into an honorable manhood, to become the envy 
of the luxurious and the inspiration of the poor. 

He was an attentive student, and when graduated from 
the University of Pennsylv^ania was thoroughly furnished 
and prepared for the responsible work of a physician. 

The first year after his graduation was spent in prac- 
ticing medicine in connection with his preceptor at 
Greenwich, their field of labor extending over a large 
extent of country, including the townships of Hopewell 


and Stow creek, where his practice became large, and 
embraced a large circuit, especially so from the fact that 
much of it had to be performed on horseback. 


The best of all the pill-box crew, 

Since ever time began, 
Are the doctors who have most to do 

With the health of a hearty man. 

And so I count them up again, and praise them as I can ; 
There's Dr. Diet, and Dr. Quiet, and Dr. Merryman. 

There's Dr. Diet, he tries my tongue. 
" I know you well," says he : 
" Your stomach is poor and your liver is sprung, 
We must make your food agree." 

And Dr. Quiet, he feels my wrist. 
And he gravely shakes his head. 
" Now, now, dear sir, I must insist 
That you go at ten to bed." 

But Dr. Merryman for me 

Of all the pill-box crew ! 
For he smiles and says, as he fobs his fee, 

"Laugh on, whatever you do ! " 

So now I eat what I ought to eat, 

And at ten I go to bed. 
And I laugh in the face of cold or heat ; 

For thus have the doctors said ! 

And so I count them up again, and praise them as I can ; 
There's Dr. Diet, and Dr. Quiet, and Dr. Merryman. 


Upon the following year he transferred his residence to 
Salem, entered into partnership with the late Dr. Benja- 
min Archer, and soon after married a Miss Mary Lamb- 
son, of Penn's Neck. Dissolving his partnership with Dr. 
Archer, he commenced practice the third year in the 
village of Pennsville. He was very successful and popu- 
lar in the latter place ; by his prescription and advice 
many persons were restored to health. He remained 
here for some years, until the death of his wife. Later 
he married Mrs. Hannah Ware and removed his resi- 
dence to Sharptown. Here, and on a farm which he 
purchased in this vicinity, he remained until his death. 

The doctor had a family of nine children; three by his 
first marriage, Matthias L., Sallie C. and Mary F. ; last 
marriage, Charles P., Plannah A., Harriet, Margaretta 
A., Abigail S. and John Swing, most of whom are still 
living. Two of the daughters were married to ministers 
of the New Jersey Conference. 

The doctor, in stature, was above the medium, large 
and portly. He was always lively and exuberant in 
spirits, and very popular as a physician. He acquired 
and retained an excellent practice, and had the reputa- 
tion of being an excellent prescriber in difficult cases. 
He was frequently called in cases of consultation, and 
was very courteous and gentlemanly in his bearing 
toward his professional brethren. The study of medicine 
was his delight. Being accessible to Philadelphia, he 
made it a point very frequently to attend the lectures of 
his a/ma viatcr. 

The writer remembers Dr. Swing, some twelve }^ears 


ago, in the amphitheatre of tlie universit}', intensely 
Hstening to every word as it fell from the lips of the 
professor of anatomy and surgery. He thus kept fully 
abreast with the improvements in medicine, and was justly 
regarded as one of the ablest and best informed practi- 
tioners in the southern portion of the state. 

Upon one occasion a distinguished citizen of Salem 
county, Mr. Job Ridgeway, approached Dr. Swing in a 
jovial sort of way, and said: "Doctor, did you ever 
shorten the lives of \ our patients or kill any one during 
your practice in medicine?" 

The doctor remained thoughtful a moment, then said: 
" I never trifle with drugs nor with the health of my 
fellow men. My life has been devoted to the pursuit and 
study of ni}- profession, and the recoxery and life of my 
patients are precious in my sight. Had we known more 
thirty years ago, I think that I might ha\^e prolonged the 
lives of some of our fellow citizens." 

The profession of medicine presented to his mind a 
great attraction. The relief of suffering humanity from 
disease and pain seemed to him a truly noble work, and 
throughout a long life of study and practice he had pre- 
pared himself for this work. 

Dr. Charles Swing was elected a member of the New 
Jersey Legislature from Salem count}', in 1823. In the 
legislature, as elsewhere, he was true to the interests of 
the working people, always su.staining their rights and 
advocating their cause. 

The public school system of New Jersey owes much 
to the early and persistent efforts of the doctor, who was 


for many years its advocate and pioneer. In the board 
of education he was an active member, and hved to see 
the success and good result of the estabHshment of a 
State Normal School for the better education of teachers, 
and free public schools for children throughout the state. 

Approaching seventy he contracted a severe cold, 
causing an attack of asthma, and the afternoon previous 
to his death, paralysis setting 'in, terminated his useful 
life, January 3, i860.* 

Of Father Swing's children it will be remembered that 
Matthias L. engaged in business in Philadelphia. 

Sallie C. married Mr. Sparks and removed to Texas. 

Mary T. Swing was united in marriage with a Meth- 
odist clergyman. Rev. David Duffell, so well and favora- 
bly known to many members of the New Jersey Confer- 
ence, and with him shared the labors and joys of an 
itinerant life for nearly forty years. When a young man 
Mr. Duffell was connected with Third Street church, 
Camden; was class leader, exhorter and local preacher; 
was admitted into the New Jersey Conference in 1839, 
and subsequently spent many years in ' effective work. 
He was a man of more than ordinary eloquence, and his 
ministry was attended with unusual success. His talents 

*NoTE. — The thanks of the author are hereby expressed to Rev. 
Firman Robbins, a son-in-law of the deceased, for his interesting 
letter and conversation regarding this branch of our family, and 
from whose recollection and statement the following facts were 
written : Said Mr. R., " My father was conscious of his approach- 
ing end, and desired to depart and be at rest; said angels were in 
the room — were all around him, and he was going to meet the 
loved ones who had gone before." 


as a public speaker comaianded admiration wherever he 
went, and the dignity and real nobility of his character 
were very impressive. He was born in Camden, N. J., 
September, 1801, and died in Clayton, Gloucester county, 
July II, 1884. 

Harriet was united in marriage with Mr. Brown, of 
Burlington, and Abigail S. to Mr. Janvier, of Delaware. 

John, the younger, aged 26 years, was drowned in 
Snake river, Montana territory, while fording it, on his 
return to the gold mines of Colorado and Pike's Peak. 
The ferry boats were propelled by a windlass and a 
strong cable rope extended from shore to shore. Few 
of the old residents of Salem county have forgotten the 
Gold Bluff excitement of 1850-54, when, by all accounts, 
old ocean himself turned miner and washed up cartloads 
of gold on the beach above Trinidad ; nor have they for- 
gotten the excitement a few years later caused by the 
discovery of both silver and gold at Pike's Peak. It was 
represented by the newspaper correspondents that any 
enterprising man could take his hat and a wheelbarrow 
and in a few days gather up enough to last him for life. 
The newspapers were full of intelligence from the mines, 
and every arrival from the mountains confirmed the glad 
tidings. Any man who wanted a fortune needed only to 
go over there and pick it up, and no one staking out 
claims could go amiss. Among those who crossed the 
plains en route for the mines was John Swing and a few 
other heroic young men from Salem county. After 
working the mines for a considerable length of time 
John realized the great need of improved machinery for 


separating particles of gold from the earth, and also 
noticed the exhorbitant price of provisions at the mines. 
He returned to the border states, purchased improved 
machinery, and fitting out a cattle and provision train, 
again started on his return across the plains. 


We learn with regret that John Swing, son of the late 
Dr. Charles Swing, formerly of Salem county, was 
drowned at Central Ferry, on Snake river, Montana ter- 
ritory, on the 31st of last May. Mr. Swing was a young 
man of great enterprise and perseverance. He was pro- 
ceeding westward with a train of eight provision wagons 
which he had succeeded in getting safely across, and had 
turned back to assist a neighbor in crossing with another 
train, when the cable rope used in ferrying broke sud- 
denly. The stream was very rapid, and the river shore 
high and rocky below the ferry ; to avoid being carried 
away with the boat he jumped overboard, intending to 
swim ashore, but sank from exhaustion and disappeared 
before reaching it. 


About twenty-four years since Mr. John Swing, a 
trader residing at Virginia City, Montana, was drowned 
in Snake river while crossing on a ferry, his last words 
as he went down being "help, help." Mr. Swing was a 
son of the late Dr. Swing, of Sharptown, and had ^4000 
in gold dust and two navy revolvers about his person at 


the time. Further than that the family and relatives 
hereabout know but little. Yesterday the Hon. H. 
H. Mood, horse dealer from Montana, now in this city, 
in conversation with the writer, spoke of an old friend of 
his, Mr. John Swing, who, he said, was drowned in Snake 
river, Montana, his home. 


" In the early years of my life, and while yet a student 
for the ministry, it was my pleasure," said Mr. Robbins, 
"to form the acquaintance of the doctor and his family; 
was united in marriage with Miss Hannah A. Swing, 
January 12, 1850. We have two sons, William W\ and 
Charles F. Robbins ; the former is engaged in mercantile 
business in the city of Bridgeton, N. J.; the latter died at 
Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa., February 11, 1876. I 
was admitted into the New Jersey M. E. Conference in 
the spring of 1853; have been in the ministry twenty- 
eight years ; passed through and enjoyed many blessed 
revivals of religion during that time, and admitted hun- 
dreds of people to the communion and fellowship of 
our church; was appointed to the following places: 
Cape May City, 1854-55; Port Elizabeth circuit, 1856- 
57; Glassboro, 1858-59; Cedarville and Fairton, i860; 
Clayton, 1861-62; AUentown, 1863-64; Jacobstown, 

" In 1866, by request, I received a superannuated rela- 
tion, which continued until 1869, when, by request, my 
relation was changed to effective, and was appointed to 


the following charges: Paulsboro, 1869-70; Alloways- 
town, 1871; Sharptown, 1872-73; Sayreville, 1874; 
Windsor and Sharon, 1875-76; Port Elizabeth and 
Dividing Creek, 1879-80; Berlin, 1881-82." 

At the annual conference of the M. E. church held at 
Millville, April 8, 1883, Mr. Robbins was received and 
classed among the supernumerary preachers. Since that 
time he has taken up his residence in Bridgeton, where 
he has built for himself and family a pleasant home, and 
retired from the active duties of ministerial life. 

Mrs. Hannah Swing, widow of the late Dr. Charles 
Swing, recently celebrated her ninety-first birthday, 
February 28, 1889. She was born in Salem, N. J., 
February 28, 1798, and is still living. 




CJ^HE subject of this memoir was an earnest, devoted 
^Jjy' man ; he labored to excel, and was emphatically 
' a man of work. Of a family of seven children he 
was the third, and a native of Pittsgrove township, 
Salem county, where he was born March ii, 1802. He 
commenced life as an agriculturist, and his youth and 
early manhood were spent upon the homestead farms. 
Favored by nature with a strong constitution, attractive 
face and figure, and when a young man conducted him- 
self in a discreet, quiet and temperate manner, prevent- 
ing any uneasiness on his account to his nearest friends. 
The peculiarities of great men may be pointed out for 
the admiration of others ; their good qualities may teach 
youth to persevere, and that determination and work will 
elevate a man whatever be his position in life. A man's 
birthplace, his early life, his ambition to succeed, his 
struggles with wealth or poverty, and his final triumph 
may be recorded. By occupation a farmer, he believed 
labor, either of muscle or mind, to be the true source 
of wealth ; and the man who makes two . ears of corn, 


or two blades of grass grow, where but one grew before, 
is a benefactor to mankind. He considered the progress 
of agricuhure to be a joint work of theory and practice, 
and in many departments great advances were made in 
his day; especially is this true in all that relates to farm- 
ing implements, in machinery and the improvement of 
domestic animals. It may be said that he delighted in 
the works of agriculture, in the improvement of the soil 
and the successful growth of vegetation, so that " seed 
time and harvest might not fail upon the face of the 

Among literary men and the newspaper fraternity he 
was not altogether unknown. Upon his centre table 
was usually found the latest and most reliable informa- 
tion of the times, to wit: the ''American Agriculturist," 
Philadelphia " North American," the " Presbyterian," 
" State Temperance Gazette," and " National Standard " 
(Salem, N. J.) To som2 of the above named journals 
he had been a continuous subscriber for a period of thirty 

In the midst of a singularly busy life he found time 
for scholarly pursuits; has been upon school committees 
in his day, and moderator at town meetings over and 
over again; yet his eye still retains the same keen, bright 
flash in it from the depths of seventy-five years. His 
long and varied intercourse with the people and inti- 
mate knowledge of men have been supplemented by a 
more than usual acquaintance with books, and the re- 
sult is a peculiar and ready fund of information which 
makes him a most instructive companion and gives a pe- 


culiar interest to whatever comes from his recollection 
and authority. 

For many years he held important local offices in the 
township and county, such as chosen freeholder, judge 
of election, delegate to state and county conventions, 
and his judicious counsel and generous assistance have 
been of important service to the party in numerous 

His life began away back when the nation was yet in 
its infancy, and he was regarded as a sort of living 
record of the past. His memory of facts and dates 
was w^onderful, and his own life was crow^ded full of in- 
teresting episodes. He could begin w^ith General Wash- 
ington and give you the name of every president of the 
United States down to the present time, w^ith the date 
of their election ; and the same may be said of his 
recollection of distinguished senators, legislators, govern- 
ors and members of congress, who have within the past 
half century figured prominently before the country, 
and whose abilities and achievements were worthy of 
remembrance in the archives of political history. 

The first temperance societies in Salem county, of 
which we have any account, were organized in a school 
house near Newkirk's Mill, by Thomas DuBois, Na- 
than Lawr-ence and Leonard Sw^ng. A few years later 
societies were formed at the Washington school house, 
and also at the " Broad Neck " M. E. church and AUo- 
waystown. In each of these places monthly meetings 
were held, the appointed time usually being the first 
evening of the full moon. In 1845 and '50, and for 


several years after, two reformed men and eminent 
speakers, from Baltimore, Daniel MacGinley and John 
Hawkins, visited Pittsgrove and addressed these so- 
cieties. The speakers usually were invited guests at my 
father's house, and night after night the writer, when a 
small boy, drove the family carriage containing these 
worthies to meet their appointments. 

Among the most prominent and zealous citizens then 
active in the temperance reform are remembered the 
names of Gilbert H. Craig, Isaiah Conover, William B. 
Heighton, Jonathan Hogate, William B. Rodgers and 
Nathan Lawrence. To live in such an age and be the 
participator of these historic unfoldings with men who 
lived so long and worthily is certainly an exalted 
privilege. Men who had been intemperate for years 
burst the bonds that had so long enslaved them, and be- 
came temperance reformers, many of whom kept the 
pledge to their dying day. Others still live, a blessing 
to their families and an honor to the community. 
Near the close of a meeting held in one of the rural dis- 
tricts an invitation was given to persons in the congrega- 
tion to come forward and sign the temperance pledge ; 
while this was progressing a Dutchman by the name 
of Coblentz arose in the assembly and said : " Mr. Presi- 
dent, may it please your honor, I can tell you how it was 
mit me. I puts mine hand on mine head and there vash 
one pain; den I puts mine hand on mine body, and there 
vash another pain ; den I puts mine hand in mine pocket 
and there vash notting ; so I throw away mine pipe and 
\vhiskey, and jined mit de temperance. Now^ there is 


no more pain in mine head ; the pain in mine body is all 
gone away ; I puts mine hand in mine pocket and dere 
vash twenty dollars ; so I shall stay mit der temperance 
peoples." Applause. 

During the presidential campaign of i860 and '64 
New Jersey was the theatre of some of the hottest bat- 
tles of the campaign. Its ablest men were enlisted in 
the contest, and prominent speakers of other states were 
sent here and took part in the agitation. The First 
Congressional district then comprised the counties of 
Camden, Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland, Atlantic and 
Cape May, with its division lines and districts extending 
from the river to the sea, to be supplied with speakers. 
During the latter part of the month of October, 1864, 
about twenty patriotic farmers of upper Pittsgrove town- 
ship decided to hold a political mass meeting in the 
w^oods belonging to Garret DuBois, Esq., near Newkirk's 
station. The programme advertised was as follows: 
Military parade at 9 a.m.; music by the Pittsgrove Fife 
and Drum Corps; public speaking at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.; 
music by the Woodstown and Daretown Brass Bands, 
and a free dinner for all ; the meeting to be addressed by 
Hon. Alexander G. Cattell, of Camden, ex-member of 

The day dawned bright and beautiful. Although the 
October morning was frosty and cold, by 10 o'clock a 
vast concourse of people had assembled in the grove, 
when an escort of mounted cavalry and four horse coaches 
was sent to the railroad station to escort the speaker 
to the stand. 


On the arrival of the train from Camden, Mr. Cattell 
stepped out on the platform, and stated that at the mass 
meeting at Woodbury on the previous day he had taken 
a severe cold, and did not think it advisable for him to 
speak in the open air, and asked to be excused, etc. A 
moment later the cars started on for Salem, where Mr. 
C. had another appointment the same evening. 

When the procession returned to the grove without a 
speaker there was some anxiety manifested upon the 
countenances of its managers. In this dilemma " a 
council of war" was held among the boss politicians. 
Hon. Charles F. H. Gray called the meeting to order, 
when Mr. Leonard Swing, who appeared to be the star 
speaker of the party, addressed the citizens, dilating with 
enthusiasm upon the importance of the coming election. 
Then warming up with the subject, he pronounced a 
beautiful eulogy upon the life and public services of 
President Lincoln, and spoke enthusiastically about the 
energy, ability and integrity of Marcus L. Ward, our 
candidate for governor, William Moore of Atlantic 
county, for congress, and other local candidates on the 
county ticket; said they were plain, honest, straight- 
forward men, and worthy the confidence and support of 
our citizens. 

While the people applauded, he related the amusing 
story of " Old Grimes and the Methodist preacher," how 
a heroic woman in Ohio '' killed the bear," and made an 
excellent, if not eloquent, address. 

Rev. A. B. Still, pastor of the Pittsgrove Baptist 
church, followed with matchless eloquence, and after a 


lofty panegyric inquired : " When will New Jersey re- 
deem herself and reach the apex of her glory ? " " When 
Marcus L. Ward is elected governor and Wm. Moore 
for Congress," replied a voice in the crowd. The answer 
coming unexpectedly as it did created both laughter and 
applause, ladies waved their handkerchiefs and the bands 
played " Hail, Columbia ! " At the conclusion of the 
speaking and music, dinner, prepared by the ladies, was 
announced, to which the company did ample justice. In 
the afternoon, Hon. John W. Hazelton, who participated 
actively in politics, and was subsequently elected to 
Congress for two terms from the First Congressional 
district of New Jersey, occupied the stand, and was an 
excellent speech maker. The Pittsgrove glee club sang 
patriotic songs on the platform, and when the mass meet- 
ing adjourned it was pronounced a great success. 

In marriage Mr. Swing was united to Miss Elizabeth 
Shough, of Upper Alloway's Creek, May 1 1, 1825. This 
couple subsequently enjoyed a married life of fifty-one 
years' duration. While the family were growing up 
the children were either sent to school or employed upon 
the farm, and the long winter evenings usually were 
spent in the study of arithmetic, drawing, penmanship, 
music and history. The governor himself was a good 
singer and musician, and the homestead was well sup- 
plied with musical instruments of various kinds. 



The family is like a book — 

The children are the leaves, 
The parents are the cover, that 

Protection, beaut}^ gives. 

At first, the pages of the book 

Are blank and purely fair, 
But time soon writeth memories, 

And painteth pictures there. 

Love is the little golden clasp 

That bindeth up the trust ; 
Oh, break it not, lest all the leaves 

Shall scatter and be lost. 

One of the maxims of Dr. Johnson, and long observed 
in the family, was : 

" Early to bed, and early to rise. 
Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." 

The representatives were five in number — Abraham 
R., Gilbert S., Charles J., William M. and Christiana — 
all of whom, with the exception of the first-named, are 
still living. 

In company with a large concourse of relatives and 
friends Mr. Swing celebrated his golden wedding, May 
IT, 1875. The meeting of relatives and friends, long 
and widely separated, the presentation of useful presents, 
sociability, and a sumptuous dinner, contributed much 
to the enjoyment of the occasion. 

Rev. William A. Ferguson, the pastor of Pittsgrove 


Presbyterian church, being present, addressed himself 
to the company, and recalled many pleasant incidents 
appropriate to the time and place. He referred to the 
tranquil life of the venerable couple and the good ex- 
ample set by them as citizens and members of the 
church, and the satisfaction all felt in this fiftieth return 
of their marriage day. 

Two and a half years later, after a brief illness, the 
subject of these remarks, and "one of the beacon lights 
in history," passed aw^ay from the boundary of this life 
to the beginning and enjoyment of another. Though 
not in robust health for some years, he still kept about 
his occupation and attended to many duties on the farm 
until the last few months of his life. By fidelity and 
uprightness he inspired among the people respect, con- 
fidence and regard. Never did he shun, but always 
rather chose, the harder field of labor, and the monu- 
ments of success are precious and enduring. 

\_Extract from the National Standard, Salem, N. J.'\ 

By the death of Leonard Swing, of Upper Pittsgrove, 
which event is recorded elsewhere in \\\^ Standard \.o-di-A^ , 
another good man and useful citizen has been removed from 
the stage of action. The deceased has resided for upward 
of a half century in the neighborhood in which his death 
occurred, and has always been held in high esteem by 
his friends and neighbors and the people at large 
throughout the township. During his long and active 
life he has often represented his township in the Board 


of Chosen Freeholders, and in other positions of trust 
and responsibihty. Pie was an earnest Whig and an 
active pohtical worker during the days of that party, and 
has since been an equally earnest Republican. He took 
a lively interest in education and in all matters pertain- 
ing to the public good. He was also a consistent 
Christian and an influential member of the Presbyterian 
denomination of Upper Pittsgrove. 

The memory of the deceased will be long and favor- 
ably cherished by relatives and friends, and by the com- 
munity in which he lived. He was a man of sterling 
character, a good counsellor, a kind father, neighbor and 
friend. Mr. Swing joined the Pittsgrove Presbyterian 
Church in 1825, and during a period of fifty-two years 
continued an active member. He was ruling elder of the 
same church forty-four )^ears. 


Men of wealth from heaven are sent, 
Sent to earth with good intent ; 
Rich they are in gold that's pure, 
Gold whose glitter will endure. 

Gems are theirs, most costly gems. 
Fit for regal diadems ; 
Ephod stones of rarest hue, 
Ever changing, ever new. 

Pearls they wear — a glittering host — 
Brighter than Columbia's boast ; 
Diamond circlets, lo ! I see, 
Full of burning brilliancy. 


Men of wealth, indeed, are such, 
Nor can aught their treasures touch. 
For within they're hidden deep, 
And their brilHancy they keep. 

Men of wisdom — well they've lined 
All the chambers of the mind ; 
Pearls and diamonds, rich and rare, 
In profusion cluster there. 

. This is ivealth — such wealth be mine, 
Round the neck of Truth to twine ; 
Diamonds for the soul give me, 
Full of burning brilliancy. 

{^Extract froDi the Piotieer, Bridgctoji, N.J.'] 

In another column we notice the death of an old and 
esteemed resident of Salem county, Mr. Leonard Swing, 
Before his health failed he was one of its leading citizens, 
and filled many offices of trust and responsibility. For 
fifty years he has been identified with the business inter- 
est of Salem county, and filled with honor the duties of 
a long and useful life. A speaker in public, and in the 
years gone by a worker in the Sunday school, the 
church and the temperance reform. He was kind, 
generous, and ready to entertain at his home public 
speakers and ministers of the Gospel. He joined the 
Republican party at its organization, remaining a mem- 
ber to his death, not wishing office himself, but working 
for the success of others. The names of Sinnickson, 
Swing, Hazelton and Cattell will long be remembered as 
good soldiers in the Republican party of Salem county. 
We remember him years ago, and his services for the 


election of Dr. Clawson, of Woodstown, to Congress ; 
also for Cattell and Star, of Camden. He did good 
work for the election of John T. Nixon, of Cumberland, 
who was elected to the Thirty-sixth Congress in 1858 
and re-elected to the Thirty-seventh Congress in i860; 
Wm. Moore, of Atlantic ; Hazelton, of Gloucester, and 
Sinnickson, of Salem. He was a man universally re- 
spected throughout the county in which he lived — one 
whose faith had been tried and tested and whose influ- 
ence for truth and justice should not be forgotten. 


The bright days of summer are gone; the breeze 
whispers softly no longer amid the hills ; the flowers 
sleep, and little feet that never wearied with their tramps 
over field and dell, or by the sunny sea, may to-night be 
dancing with delight as the song of the angels has 
swelled with more distinctness above the discord of 
earth ; and hearts may ache over vacant places, and 

" Sigh for the touch of a vanished hand, 
And the sound of a voice that is still." 

It may not be an unwelcome thought that the bells of 
heaven ring in concert with the bells of earth to-day. 
Time spares nothing, animate or inanimate; it lays the 
destroying hand upon every household, and death is 
ever present in our land. The aged, the young, the 
beautiful and fair are constantly the subjects of his search. 
On Sunday morning, August 27th, gently passed away 


from this world of affliction and care, Elizabeth, wife of 
Leonard Swing. She was born in Upper AUoway's 
Creek township, Salem county, New Jersey, March 2, 
1 80 1, and died at her home at Pittsgrove, August 27, 
1876. A few prominent traits in her character deserve 
mention. She became religious in early youth and 
united with the Presbyterian church, herself and her sis- 
ter Margaret being the first in her father's family to 
embrace religion. Her circle of acquaintances and 
sphere of usefulness was widely extended, and the ma- 
ternal solicitude for the welfare and prosperity of the 
family eminently fitted her to be the guide and educator 
of her children, directing their studies and entering into 
all their pursuits and joys with dignity that commanded 
respect. Blessed with good health, cheerful and kind in 
her social nature and wonderfully gifted in song. She 
was the possessor of a large family Bible, the former 
property of her father, published in London in the year 
1750, which is said to be fully equal in typography and 
plates to issues of the present day. 

The star of Bethlehem, which pointed out the way of 
the Saviour's birthplace, was the star which lighted her 
pathway to the " house not built with hands, eternal in 
the heavens." Her last sickness, though severe, was of 
short duration, when suddenly on the morning of August 
27th the weary wheels of life .stood still. 

The funeral sermon was preached by the pastor, Rev. 
William A. Ferguson. Text, " Let me die the death of 
the righteous, and let my last end belike his." The. 
.services were very impressive and commenced with the 


reading of Scripture, and prayer, and the singing of one 
of her favorite hymns : 

"What a friend we have in Jesus, 

All our sins and griefs to bear, 
What a privilege to carry 

Everything to God in prayer. 
Oh ! what peace we often forfeit. 

Oh ! what needless pain we bear. 
All because we do not carry 

Everything to God in prayer." 

For some time past her mind seemed to have con- 
templated this event, and many cheering expressions 
made in regard to it. 

This much we have thought proper and fitting to con- 
tribute to the memory of one who has gone in and out 
before us for nearly half a century, and whose bright 
and shining light has left its reflection behind it. 

Our lives are albums written through 
With good or ill, with false or true ; 
And as the blessed angels turn 

The pages of our years, 
God grant they read the good with smiles, 

And blot the bad with tears. 




^f T may be of interest to the reading community to 
fl|^ know that among the worthy and industrious me- 
chanics of" half a century ago few are more worthy 
of notice than the person herein named, Mr. Ebenezer 
Harris, who passed from hfe on Sunday evening, Febru- 
ary II, 1883. He was a native of Fairfield township, 
where he was born in the year 1801, and when a boy 
was apprenticed to learn the blacksmith trade at Cedar- 
ville. After completing his apprenticeship at that place, 
and having a desire to visit other states and see some- 
thing of the world, he travelled on foot and by stage to 
Herkimer county. New York. The next three years of 
life were spent in working at his trade, and valuable in- 
formation was gained in regard to the welding of iron and 
the tempering of steel. 

While living at Albany, in the same state, the princi- 
pal work consisted in ironing sleighs, shoeing horses, 
oxen and mules. During the hoUdays he visited Sara- 
toga, Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and many other places of 
attraction in the northern states. To use his own ex- 
pression, he sowed his wild oats in his youthful days, and 
returned to Fairfield a wiser and better man. 


Having a desire to commence business for himself he 
removed to Salem county in search of employment, 
leased a strip of land, built a shop and commenced work- 
ing therein. For many years he was the only black- 
smith in this vicinity, and continued in active business 
here for a long period of time. 

When first establishing himself in this locality in 1825, 
he found the greatest attraction of the place to be the 
society and companionship of Miss Sarah, third daugh- 
ter of Abraham Swing. After a pleasant and agreeable 
courtship they were united in marriage by Rev. George 
W. Janvier on March 14, 1827, and soon after this event 
they took up their residence on a farm inherited by his 
wife, and located opposite Swing's Corner (now Shirley), 
where they continued to reside, surrounded by all the 
attractions of home, and the endearments of family and 
friends. In connection with his trade he was also inter- 
ested in farming and agricultural pursuits. The repre- 
sentatives of the family group were four in number, 
Abraham S., Martha, Hannah and John, all of whom are 
still living, with the exception of the first-named, who 
deeply sympathized with the Republican party in its 
efforts to preserve the union, enlisted and became an ac- 
tive supporter of the government at the outbreak of the 
rebellion ; was wounded at the battle of the Wilderness, 
captured by the enemy, and subsequently died in the 
prison pen at Andersonville. 

Mr. and Mrs. Harris both united themselves with the 
Presbyterian church at Pittsgrove in 1827, and became 
good and useful members of that denomination, but she 


failed, however, to enjoy either robust health or great 
length of clays. On the morning of October 8, 1846, 
after a brief illness, Mrs. Harris passed quietly and 
peacefully aw^ay from this w^orld of affliction and care, 
and the funeral oration w^as pronounced by the same 
clergyman w^ho had performed the marriage ceremony 
twenty years before. The management of household 
duties was then entrusted to and performed by his 
daughter, Miss Hannah L. Mr. Harris remained a 
widower for two years, when he found it not good to be 
alone, formed acquaintance and entered into the marriage 
relation with Mrs. Elizabeth Camm, May 16, 1848. He 
was elected ruling elder of Pittsgrove Presbyterian 
church in 1833, and at the time of his decease was one 
of the oldest official members of that denomination. 
His pastors ever found in him a wise counsellor and 
ready and efficient helper, acceptable and useful at home 
or abroad. He was characterized by intellectual ability 
of a high order, by moral uprightness, and courage 
which resisted temptation and braved opposition, and by 
a religious faith and loyalty that made his life admirable 
and his death the " death of the righteous." As a busi- 
ness man he was cautious, laborious and successful; 
not a politician, but an intensely loyal citizen, antago- 
nizing rebellion, slavery and the rum traffic. He was of 
modest nature, one whose daily life spoke louder than 
his tongue. " In quietness and in confidence " was his 
"strength." His vigor and robustness were seen in the 
tenacity with which he clung to life, his great vitality 


causing him to rally time and time again, when death 
seemed to have fallen upon him. 

The veil of unconsciousness covered the last mo- 
ments, and in the thick gloom which humanity so dreads 
the life of this good man closed like flowers at set of 
sun, to bloom again in the gardens of the better land. 
His funeral was well attended, and his remains interred 
in the family plot in the old cemetery at Pittsgrove, by 
the side of his first and second wives, both having pre- 
ceded him to the spirit land. 








aAPTAIN JOHN M. SWING, the second son 
of Michael Swing, was born in Fairfield town- 
ship, Cumberland county, in the year 1792. He 
was one of a large family of children, and spent his 
childhood days on the banks of Cohansey river, where 
he learned to swim, and there, near the present location 
of " Tyndall's Landing," saved the lives of a young man 
and two children from drowning. Born with a love for 
the water, he prevailed upon his father to build a vessel 
and let him go to sea ; and at an early age he donned 
the blue frock and trousers, and learned to land, reef and 
steer a boat, and was well trained in all that is required 
to make a thorough seaman. 

The science of navigation he soon learned, and became 
familiar with the river and bay, explored Maurice river 
cove and many of the sounds and inlets along the 
Atlantic coast. In 18 18, and for several years after, 
himself and father were engaged in building boats on 
the river shore not far from his father's house. Boats 
and sailing vessels were then in great demand for fishing 
purposes and for the navigation of these waters. In the 
markets of New York and Philadelphia a great demand 


for fish and oysters was springing up. Not many boats 
were then employed in this business on the Delaware, 
and Captain John soon realized more money in what he 
called " oyster farming," than in farming upon the land. 

Delaware Bay and its tributaries afford a vast outlet 
of many miles in extent for the natural growth of the 
oyster, as well as all needful facilities for its rapid propa- 
gation and culture. Located in a suitable degree of 
latitude, its bottoms of sand and white pebbles, with 
abundant sea moss as a protection and home and breed- 
ing place, its waters suited in degrees of saltness, mingles 
with AUoway's, Salem and Stow creeks, the Cohansey 
river and various other streams bringing down a con- 
tinuous supply of food to refresh and fatten the oyster. 

For many years Captain John Swing was the owner of 
a vessel called the " Oyster Boy," a fast sailing craft 
engaged in the oyster trade between Maurice river cove 
and Philadelphia. He was a large and powerful man, 
about 280 pounds in weight, and acknowledged to be 
the " oyster king " on Delaware Bay. He became 
famous among the craft by saving the lives of ship- 
wrecked companions. Upon one occasion, when off the 
coast of Cape ]\Iay, a sudden squall of wind struck the 
vessel. Orders to reef the sail were given. In attempt- 
ing to accomplish the command, a sailor fell overboard 
from one of the lower yard-arms into the sea; the 
vessel was going at a great rate of speed and a gale of 
wind blowing. Notwithstanding this disadvantage the 
captain jumped on the rail, leaped into the foaming 
billows and rescued the drowning man. 


Daniel R. Powell, a young man living with the Swing 
family, relates the following incident: "During the 
winter of 1828 oysters were very scarce and high in 
price in the cities of New^ York and Philadelphia. The 
schooner ' Swan ' and the ' Oyster Boy ' were loaded for 
the latter city. In making the voyage up the Delaware 
we encountered a heavy storm, which continued for two 
days and nights, bringing in a high tide. Large blocks 
of ice became detached from the shore and came floating 
down toward the sea. In view of this unexpected and 
alarming state of the river, our captain ordered the 
vessels into the dock at New^ Castle. While nearing the 
shore and endeavoring to make the harbor, the fury of 
the storm increased, both vessels were jammed in the 
ice, keeled over, partially filled with water and sunk, 
the captain and crew making their escape to the land. 
At daylight the mast of the 'Oyster Boy' only was 
visible to indicate the place where she had disappeared. 
The * Sw^an ' sunk near the dock. After the abatement 
of the storm this vessel and cargo was raised, the w^ater 
pumped out, and the boat towed to her destination. The 
cargo was sold to Baylis & Ware, commission merchants, 
of Philadelphia. Price received: Prime, ^1.75 ; cullings, 
;^[.oo per bushel. The sloop ' Oyster Boy ' proved to 
be almost a total loss to him, the \\a-eck being sold at 
public auction in Philadelphia for a kw dollars. Captain 
John then purchased the Dolphin, a larger and better 
boat. After the wreck of the ' Oyster Boy ' had laid 
under water for six months (all previous efforts to raise 
her being abortive) wreckers, with newly invented ma- 


chinery were sent down, and were successful in raising 
and floating her to Philadelphia, where she was over- 
hauled and repaired, and again, on the coast, did good 
service in the oyster trade for many years." 

In later years many experiments have been tried and 
numerous inventions brought to light for the purpose of 
floating a sunken ship, one of the latest being a sub- 
marine diver, who goes down under the water, and makes 
an examination of the wreck. If the hull is sound and 
unbroken, the hatches are closed, the caps put on, and 
the deck made watertight. Then steam and air pumps 
are attached, the water being pumped out and air 
pumped in. If there be no bad leaks and the ship not 
sunk deep into the mud, she will be soon raised and 
appear floating on the surface of the water. 

Could the sea give up its treasures, those who found 
them would have a very comfortable income. The New 
Jersey coast alone would offer some fine pickings, though 
not always in the precious metals. Recently a wrecking 
company started on a search at Elberon, near Long 
Branch, and a diver found the ship Europe, which was 
wrecked there thirty-five years ago. It was loaded with 
iron, steel and lead, and the question of values, even if 
raised, is a problematical one. Near this vessel is 
another one, the Chauncey Jerome, lost in 1854, and, 
curiously enough, also loaded with iron and steel. To 
get anything it will be necessary to blow the wrecks to 

Delaware Bay and its tributaries have long been 
famous, not only for its propagation of fish and the pro- 


diictiveness of its oysters, but also for the immense flocks 
of wild fowl which congregate there in the fall and winter 
season. When cold weather sets in at the northern 
states the various species of duck begin to arrive, and 
congregate in the bays along the coast, where they find 
favorite feeding grounds. They are generally poor when 
they first come from the north, but soon improve and 
fatten rapidly. 

The late Michael Coates Swing, sailing in company 
with a watchman employed by Captain John and other 
owners of private and planted oyster beds below Fortescue 
Island, and stationed here in a sloop to prevent trespass 
by sailors belonging to passing vessels, and dredging 
and loading of boats during the night, informed the 
author how thirteen wild geese were captured. 

"Upon a dark and stormy night in December, i8 — , 
our sloop lay at anchor near the mouth of Straight 
creek. The wind had been blowing very hard all day 
and night ; toward morning it shifted north, and the gale 
increased in fury. The incoming high tide covered 
the marsh, and the waters of the bay were white with 
foam, and the rumbling of the sea, like * the sound of 
many waters/ was heard in the distance. 

" Our little bark tossed like a feather upon the angry 
waves so that I could not sleep ; but towards morning, 
however, overcome by watching and fatigue, we fell into 
a restless slumber, and while dreaming the dreams of the 
just, the noise of the raging elements and the honk of 
wild geese filled the air. 

"Viewing our situation at daylight, large flocks of 


ducks and geese were seen on the marsh, others were pass- 
ing over low down, ahiiost within arm's reach from the 
mast of our sloop, and settling in a pond on the marsh 
near by. Ascending to the masthead our cook reported 
this pond as being full. Upon examining our stock of 
firearms we found one old musket and some gunpowder, 
but no shot could be found. ' We'll steal a march on 
those ducks,' was the command of the leaders, and ac- 
cordingly the boy was sent to the cabin of a fisherman 
to borrow shot. Nearly an hour elapsed before his re- 
turn, when he reported that there was no shot at the 
cabin, but he had borrowed three pieces of lead from the 
net of a fisherman. These were cut into slug's, and the 
musket loaded, the small boat lowered into the water 
and silently guided through a small inlet in the direction 
of the pond. Arriving there, and looking cautiously 
through the tall reeds, we saw that the pond was full, 
and apparently the geese were asleep. Springing to my 
feet I shouted at the top of my voice ' awake.' The 
birds were surprised ; they immediately arose in a body 
out of the water, and when a suitable distance off the 
musket was discharged in the air and thirteen large 
geese were captured." 

A short distance below Swing's farm, and opposite 
Butter Cove Meadows, in the Cohansey river, a celebrated 
fishery is located. Great numbers of the finny tribe 
congregate here, coming up from the sea in search of 
food, and in the early spring to spawn and lay their 
eggs in streams of fresh water. Upon one occasion 
ten thousand rock fish were caught in a seine at one 


haul by Michael Coates, Benjamin Franklin and Simon 
Sparks Swing. 

For many years Michael Swing had a large quantity 
of hay cut on the meadows adjoining the river and sent 
to Philadelphia by water. 

Upon another occasion Captain John Swing came up 
the river in one of his vessels to load hay, and anchored 
at Tyndall's wharf. While standing on shore looking at 
two sailors in a boat shooting rail birds, tw^o por- 
poises made their appearance on top of the water, and 
the men shot at them several times without effect, when 
Captain John offered his assistance. On going into the 
boat he found they could do nothing with the weapons 
at hand, and requested the sailors to set him ashore 
and he would run up to the meadow get a pitchfork and 
harpoon the fish. He did so ; got the fork, and just as 
he reached the river again the porpoises made another 
circuit right up around the vessel and side of the wharf. 
The captain made a thrust at one with his long- 
handled pitchfork, but missed his aim and fell into the 
water himself, exactly on top of the porpoise's back. 
Being as badly scared as was the fish, he grabbed hold 
of him, when the fish started across the stream as fast as 
he could swim, nor did he let go until they had reached 
the opposite side, when the porpoise gave a sudden 
whirl and threw his rider off. Next the boat came 
along and picked up the half-drowned man, when he ex- 
claimed: *' By the holy Moses! did you ever see the like 

of this? Let the d d fish go; they are strong meat 



The oystering season usually commenced about the 
first of September, when all the available boats were in 
demand. Upon another occasion while oystering in the 
Chesapeake Bay a great storm of rain and wind came on, 
and during the darkness of the night, and the heavy sea 
which followed, John's vessel collided with another boat. 
Next morning the commander of the injured craft, Capt. 
Clark, came on board of Swing's vessel at daylight and 
demanded $100 damages. Captain John refused to pay 
this amount ; said the accident was unavoidable on his 
part, &c. After further conversation both captains be- 
came angry and finally challenged each other to fight 
a duel with rifles at long range. Captain Clark after- 
wards objected to this mode of warfare and proposed 
swords. Captain John objected to this also by claiming 
that he had not attended the military schools ; was not 
proficient in sword exercise, but was willing to settle this 
dispute in any honorable way. He immediately ordered 
on deck one barrel of gunpowder, and knocking out the 
bung sprinkled a train of powder around the barrel and 
attached a long fuse to the other end, took his seat on 
the barrel, asking Captain Clark to sit down by his side, 
while the mate of the vessel touched off the further end. 
Just before the powder ignited Captain Clark sprang off 
the barrel, stamped out the burning fuse, exclaiming at 
the same time, " By Jupiter, Captain John, you are a 
brave man ; I admire your courage and bravery. Let's 
shake hands, take a drink of wine and be friends for- 


Another industry worthy of notice and successfully 
carried on by our people at Fairfield was 


The season of shad fishing fairly commences in Delaware 
bay during the month of Marcli, and next to the salmon, 
probably, no fish in the American waters is more highly 
esteemed. At low water mark the nets are put down, 
and as the tide comes in the shad, in swimming up the 
river, run their heads through the meshes of the net and 
are caught by the gills, where they hang until the net is 
drawn up. The fishing grounds in the Delaware bay 
extend as far up as Trenton, and above Lambertville a 
distance of lOO miles; fish are also found in great quan- 
tities in all the bays and rivers bordering the Atlantic 
ocean. The usual size of the shad will average four 
pounds weight, but many are caught weighing seven 
pounds each. When the water is muddy more fish swim 
against the net and are caught, and on this account the 
fisheries are considered to be more profitable up the 
river than in the bay, where the water is very clear and 
deep. The first shad of the season command high prices ; 
our hotel keepers sometimes paying as high as five dol- 
lars per pair for them, to serve up to the customers of 
the Astor House, St. James and Continental Hotels. 

In marriage Captain John M. Swing was united with 
Miss Lydia Brooks, and when on shore resided in the 
township of Fairfield. They subsequently raised a 
large family of children, and in the process of time the 


daughters were chosen in marriage by some of the most 
influential citizens of Cumberland county. The eldest 
daughter, Miss Mary, was united in marriage with Mr. 
John Jones; Miss Lydia to James Elmer; Miss Jennie 
to David Roray ; Miss Ann to Asa Smith ; Abigail, the 
youngest, to Samuel Williams, and Sarah to John Willis, 
of the same place. Mrs. Lydia, the surviving widow of 
Capt. John M. Swing, until quite recently resided at the 
homestead in the classic village of Fairton, in reasonable 
enjoyment of health, and in the eighty-third year of her 
age. Later in her life she removed to Philadelphia, Pa. 
She has remained a widow for twenty-eight years. 

The grim messenger death, however unwelcome, will 
come to each of us in time; to the captain he appeared 
when in his sixty-second year. After buffeting the storms 
of many voyages he sleeps by the side of kindred and 
associates in the cemetery near the old stone church at 
Fairfield. Let the hero lie peacefully where he falls ; let 
us build his monument there, and cherish his memory 
to the end of time. 


After awhile — a busy brain 

Will rest from all its care and pain. 

After awhile — earth's rush will cease, 
And a wearied heart find sweet release. 

After awhile — a vanished face, 
An empty seat, a vacant place. 

After awhile — a man forgot, 

A crumbled headstone, unknown spot. 




MNOTHER of the strong men whose birthplace 
and childhood were here, but whom the waters 
of the bay and river attracted, was Simon Sparks 
Swing. Farming is not generally considered a very 
profitable business in this section of the country. Fancy 
stock, fish and oysters pay much better than ordinary 
farming, and it is stated that one acre of water will pro- 
duce more food than five acres of land, and that, too, 
with less labor and expense. Many farmers have streams 
of water running through their land, which, when made 
into fish ponds, and stocked with trout, black bass, and 
other fish, yield a good return. 

Nearly all the hardier young people of Down and 
Fairfield townships early in life engaged in fishing and 
oystering, and the people were always drifting away, 
even to the ends of the earth, seeking wealth. Some 
had been on long voyages to California, India and China, 
and after years of sojourn abroad, had returned without 
it. A seaport is an open door to foreign lands, and 
influences young people to venture out earlier in life 
than from inland villages. Among the many sea cap- 
tains and navigators of Cumberland county, a few of 



them were successful and became owners of boats and 
vessels of their own. 

Mr. Swing w^as twice married, and raised a family of 
sons and daughters. Among the representatives of this 
group the utmost love and harmony prevailed. Miss 
Etta T. and Ella R. Swqng became teachers, one in the 
Bank Street, the other in the Second Ward public school 
of Bridgeton, where they have remained for several 
years in succession. 

FoUow^ing in the footsteps of his industrious father, 
Leonard R. Swing became a successful navigator him- 
self, and is well acquainted with the shoals, bars, sounds 
and inlets along the Atlantic coast. He has been en- 
gaged in the coasting trade for the past twenty years, 
and spent most of his life on the water ; is half owner of 
the " Richard Vaux," a substantial and well built vessel, 
sailing betw^een Maurice River cove, Philadelphia, Cape 
May City, and New York, where cargoes of fish, oysters 
and other merchandise are usually sold. 

There are now 422 licensed vessels, manned by 1700 
men, engaged in oystering in Maurice River cove. The 
average cost of w^orking a boat for the season is $1200 
to say nothing of the "plants" purchased. This feature 
of the business is an immense drain upon the resources. 
The cost of oysters purchased for planting alone runs 
from ;^700 to ;^iooo a boat. Besides the men engaged 
on the boats, there are hundreds of others engaged in 
taking up, sorting and shipping the oysters to market. 


AST05;, L£^fCX AND 

1 i)!iii'ii."niii 





1 I f HE ancestral homestead of Benjamin Franklin 
f^ I fe Swing stands along the banks of Cohansey 
river, in Cumberland county, N. J. The town- 
ship in which this historic homestead is located was 
named Fairfield, in honor of the salubrity of its climate 
and the richness and fertility of its soil. Nothing could 
be more delightful in spring and summer and more 
picturesque in winter than the scenery along this useful 
and historic stream, which passes through broad, culti- 
vated fields, with here and there a farmhouse or an 
elegant country seat in view, then rushes madly onward 
past busy manufacturing towns and wild marshes on its 
way to the ocean. 

Benjamin was numbered among the youngest of a 
large family of children who have made their native 
place renowned as themselves, and there may be those 
who would like to read something of his birthplace and 
the brief story of his life. 

In marriage Mr. Swing was united to Miss Hurf, a 
lady residing in one of the adjoining towns, who did not 
object to becoming a partner in his joys and disappoint- 


ments. Years rolled on ; he became a family man, and 
in the process of time an interesting company of sons 
and daughters gathered around his family table. 

Besides cultivating his farm, he was interested in 
mercantile pursuits, sold country produce, general mer- 
chandise, horses and cattle. In the way of freight and 
passenger traffic he was a good patron of the railroad 
and steamboat companies. On account of his unusual 
size and splendid personal appearance he was the 
admiration of the " small fry " and men of limited genius. 
Throughout his life, from childhood to old age, he had 
great physical strength and power. His massive head 
sat upon a strong and muscular neck, and his chest was 
broad and capacious. His strength was great, his hand 
and foot large and well made. He never knew the 
feebleness of youth, that unlucky check to many a 
promising career; nor the weakness of old age. In 
walking he had a firm step and a great stride, without 
effort. In early manhood he had abounding health, a 
good digestion, a hearty enjoyment of food. His excel- 
lent physical condition gave him a placid and even 
temper and a cheerful spirit. He was a man whose 
appearance, language and demeanor bear out the fact 
that he came of a race of gentlemen. He was tall and 
august in stature, of conservative tastes and habits, with 
great veneration for established institutions and pious 
regard for his honorable ancestry, of whom, in addition 
to those mentioned, his parents were famous among the 
pre-revolutionary clergymen of New Jersey for their 
religious zeal and good works, 


He never was a politician in its ordinary sense, and 
avoided both the legislature and congress, preferring to 
acknowledge no political favor. He was a most delight- 
ful companion. In conversation he was never contro- 
versial, never authoritative and never absorbing. In a 
multitude his talk flowed on sensibly, quietly, and was 
full of wisdom and shrewdness. He discussed books 
with wonderful acuteness, sometimes with startling 
power, and analyzed men, their characters, motives and 
capacity with great penetration. Nine times out of ten a 
big man finds it easier to gain the reputation of being 
great than does a little one, and wherever seen Mr. 
Swing was acknowledged to be a big man. 

During the year 1876 centennial celebrations were 
held at Pittsgrove, Bridgeton, Burlington and Trenton in 
commemoration of our revolutionary struggle in 1776— 
the building of churches, school houses, and other inter- 
esting events which had transpired one hundred years 

Many of our people visited the Centennial celebration at 
Fairmount Park and Independence Hall, Philadelphia; 
some visiting the room where once were gathered the 
signers of the Declaration of Independence, while others 
made a pilgrimage to Mount Vernon and the tomb of 
Washington. In our educational report and school statis- 
tics gathered that year many interesting facts abound. At 
this moment we recall to memory the names of many 
distinguished men, and some of our largest and most 
prominent citizens then living in New Jersey : 


Herman D. Busch, Hudson county 4'45 pounds 

Benj. F. Swing. Cumberland county 440 " 

W. S. Whitehead, 6 ft. 8 in., Essex county 380 " 

John Husted, Cumberland county 330 " 

Hon. Jas. Nightingale, Passaic county 300 " 

Saml. Wentz, Esq., Camden county 319 " 

L. B. Smithj Mercer county 296 " 

Barclay Haines, Burlington county 394 " 

E. S. Packard, Gloucester county 285 " 

Hon. Isaac Newkirk, Salem county 250 " 

J. F. Sickler, Salem county 285 " 

Thomas Garrison, Cumberland county 320 " 

Charles G. Meyers, Esc^., Cumberland county .... 328 " 

Average weight 336 " 

The second person named in this list of illustrious 
men — B. F. Swing — and sons have been engaged for 
many years in mercantile pursuits in the county of Cum- 
berland. They were also farmers, drovers and dealers 
in cattle, purchasing large droves of York state and 
western stock. By the introduction and sale of improved 
breeds of Ayrshire and Alderney from Herkimer and 
Duchess counties, N. Y., for dairy and breeding pur- 
poses, together with the Holsteins, short-horns, and 
black Galloways, (famous for their excellent beef and 
celebrated for many good qualities for both flesh and 
dairy use); by the introduction of these varieties among 
our native stock the quality and value of cattle in New 
Jersey have been greatly improved. 

The Alderneys are celebrated for their rich, yellow 
milk, cream and butter, as many of our citizens can 
attest after purchasing these articles from a wagon pass- 


ing daily through the streets of your city, having the 
name *' Alderney " inscribed upon it. 

The Ayrshires are said to have originated in Scotland, 
taking their name from the county of Ayr, where they 
attained great celebrity. It is the most popular breed of 
milk cows in that country, and long held pre-eminence in 
this, especially for milk and cheese. 

The Hereford is one of the oldest of the thorough- 
breeds, and is noted for beef and for large working oxen. 
This stock grows larger than the Jersey, and resembles 
them somewhat in color, red predominating with inter- 
mixture of white. A farmer can put his money into no 
better investment than good cattle. They are a neces- 
sary companion to good farming, and always accompany 
it. The dairymen and butter-makers of Pittsgrove, 
including a large majority of those engaged in this 
industry in Salem and Cumberland counties, now pro- 
duce an article of great value and demand in our markets 
equal in taste and flavor to the celebrated York state 

Double rows of buttons were needed on the vests 
of those who accompanied B. F. Swing to the drove 
yard or to York state, to assist him in purchasing stock 
or driving a herd of cattle. Among cattle dealers and 
the droving fraternity he was extensively known as being 
lively and humorous, and well thought of by all his 
associates. Not slow and tedious in making a bargain, 
he could soon fix upon a price and tell at first sight if 
the steers were fat. Some of the best cattle owned at 
the present writing by prominent farmers in the counties 


of Salem and Cumberland were selected and purchased 
from droves of the late B. F. Swing. 

To illustrate the manner in which some farmers get 
through the world, I may relate that some years ago a 
friend of mine went out with Mr. S. on a cattle-buying 
tour. He found a hundred head or more for sale in the 
hands of an old farmer who lived in Ohio. He owned a 
thousand acres of land, mostly in pasture, and enclosed 
by a high rail fence. Away back from the road was an 
old log house with two rooms — kitchen and bedroom — 
a small garden patch, and ninety to a hundred acres in 
corn or other crops. In the rear of the house stood a 
log stable for the accommodation of horses ; everything 
else was out of doors. The swine grunted and rooted 
about the grounds, and the turkeys and chickens roosted 
high in the trees. There lived the man and his family, a 
large one, composed of his v.ife and six full-grown boys 
and girls, contented and happy. As far as husking corn 
and out-doors work were concerned, these females could 
excel " our Jersey girls." 

After purchasing stock we went into the house to pay 
for them. Needing a light, the farmer went to a shelf in 
the room and took down a saucer filled with lard ; a 
small stone tied up in a rag lay in the center, the fuzzy 
end of the rag sticking up by way of a wick, which he 
lighted at a fire on the hearth. With the aid of this 
glimmer they sat down to the table, figured up the 
amount of the sale, and the money was counted out. 
After being carefully recounted by the farmer — for he 
knew the value of bank notes as well as any one — he 


" made his mark " at the bottom of a receipt. That 
being done, Mr. S. got up, put on his hat, and as 
we were leaving the room the old farmer blew out his 
light and bade us good-night. 

Among the droves of cattle coming from the west, a 
few wild Texas steers are sometimes found. One of 
these excited animals became detached from the drove 
while passing down Market street, ran through the 
Market House, near Dock street, Philadelphia, upsetting- 
boxes and barrels of fruit, and causing a general stampede 
among the huckster men and women in that vicinity. 

Cattle not fattened or sold to the butchers for imme- 
diate use were sold to the farmers and stock-growers in 
South Jersey. Halting the drove for a few days, he made 
sales at Woodbury, Mullica Hill, Pittsgrove (Pole Tav- 
ern), Deerfield and Rridgeton. While driving between 
Mullica Hill and Pittsgrove, in the fall of 1868, we 
remember two Texas steers that became unmanageable 
and refused to keep the road, or " turn to the right as 
the law directs." In the cedar swamp at Pineville, 
Gloucester county, they disappeared, and remained for 
several days enjoying their freedom in a wild state, all 
attempts at capture for a time being unavailing. The 
late John D. Smith, then proprietor of the hotel at Pole 
Tavern, William B. Brown, Isaiah Conover, John W. 
Janvier, the writer, and several gentlemen of leisure, 
visited the swamp alluded to, with dogs and shot-guns, 
and reconnoitered round about. The beasts became 
excited at the approach of man, pawed the ground, 
snuffed the air, bellowed and chased the dogs. Some 


of the party climbed up into the high trees, taking 
refuge therein. For a time the excitement was very 
great, exceeding in interest the " memorable bear hunt ' 
in the cedar swamps of South Jersey, in which the writer 
participated in later years. 

It is popularly supposed by those who knew him that 
Mr. Swing got more fun out of this present life than 
any other twenty cattle drovers that could be found in 
Cumberland county. As a man, he was kind and 
benevolent, strictly honest and temperate, and as a friend 
he would do to anchor close to in a high tide of pros- 
perity or in the storm of adversity. 

A young minister who traveled through Cumberland 
county on horseback many years ago (Rev. Willis 
Reeves) recently informed the wTiter that when first he 
arrived at his new appointment he hitched his horse 
for the first time in front of the church at " Harmony." 
Not having in his pocket the correct time of day, he had 
arrived in advance of the congregation. When he 
ascended the pulpit there were only two persons present 
— the sexton and another " big man." A moment later 
the portly form of Benjamin F. Swing came walking 
leisurely down the middle aisle, taking his seat near the 
front of the stand, on the right. Brother Reeves looked 
up for a moment and surveyed the newcomer with satis- 
faction and surprise, and while a genial smile illuminated 
the countenance of this eminent divine, he quietly re- 
marked to himself, " Bless the Lord, the conference has 
sent me this year among the giants." And when the 
first hymn was announced the speaker was again pleas- 


antly surprised to hear the same big man strike up the 
tune of" Old Hundred," and sing it beautifully. 

When at home Mr. Swing usually drove a team of 
fast horses, and could appreciate a joke as well as any of 
his neighbors. Dividing his time with everybody he 
has managed to keep busy, and more than promises to 
honor and keep up the credit of his family name. 

Peace to his memory. 




IT is related of Uncle George, who was the only 
brother of Michael Swing, and born at York, Pa., 
in 1766, when quite a young man, he made frequent 
visits among relatives in New Jersey, and that he subse- 
quently became greatly charmed with the appearance and 
beauty of his cousin Sallie, who had been raised a quiet 
country girl on her father's farm. 

In the process of time this romantic courtship termi- 
nated in marriage, and some years later they purchased a 
farm in Deerfield township, to v.hich the family removed, 
his name being found recorded in the clerk's office 
among the chosen freeholders of Cumberland county. 
The name of George Swing also appears among the list 
of grand jurors in 1802. 

Mr. S. was regarded as being a very ambitious man, 
and the subsequent life of this great " pioneer of civiliza- 
tion " fully bears out the assertion that he from early 
youth manifested a spirit of perseverance and sagacity 
far beyond ordinary mortals. 

By industriously cultivating and improving his land it 
had more than doubled itself in value in the space often 


After a residence of sixteen years in Pittsgrove and 
Deerfield townships a sale of real estate and personal 
property was effected, and in the spring of 1804, he, w^ith 
his wife and family of fi\^e children, two servants and one 
hired man, emigrated to Ohio by land. Each of the 
boys packed a blanket in the wagon, some provisions and 
cooking utensils, a rifle and shot-gun, in order to some- 
what vary the monotony of beans and pork with a rabbit 
and quail along the road. The owners were men who 
could use the guns to keep peace if necessary, and also 
to afford protection to themselves during the journey. 

After the arrival of the family in Clermont county, the 
first purchase of land was five hundred acres a short 
distance from the Ohio river and about twenty-five miles 
above the place where Cincinnati now stands. Every- 
thing w^ent on in the same prosperous way as before, and 
while the emigrant went to work with a brisk step, felling 
the trees and cultivating the land, a happy light shone 
in his eyes and satisfaction beamed forth in his counte- 

For several years after, George Swing was the most 
prominent white man or inhabitant of this region, and 
only occasionally visited by a wandering cattle trader, 
trapper or missionary. The nearest trading post to him 
was the village of Cincinnati, some twenty-five miles 
across a densely timbered country toward the south. 
All supplies from abroad came by water, and the early 
settlers lived a far more isolated and truly frontier life 
than it is now possible to do anywhere in the United 


When we remember the thrill of emotion caused by bid- 
ding adieu to friends and kindred and taking up our abode 
in a new country, how it stirs the current of life in the most 
sluggish heart ; when we remember the log house, the 
first clearing of land made near the running stream, the 
first years of destitution, and the comfort and plenty 
w^hich an earnest faith and a stout arm has finally won 
for the hardy pioneer — all these crowd upon our memory 
as we see the emigrant with his face resolutely turned in 
the direction of the setting sun. 

The removal of this family to Ohio in these early days, 
when considered in connection with its results and the 
future prosperity of their children, was perhaps one of the 
most important events of his life. It served to wake up 
a sleeping spirit of enterprise in our people, opened ex- 
tensive fields of labor and new sources of industry and 
wealth. It led to the discovery of valuable tracts of 
prairie and timber land, gave a new impetus to coloniza- 
tion and improvement, and prepared the way for the 
advantages of civilized life and the blessings of Chris- 
tianity to be extended over vast regions which before 
were the home of Indians and wild beasts. 

Some years later people from Connecticut, New York, 
and the eastern states, settled in Clermont county, and 
society began to improve. A demand was created for 
bread and provisions of various kinds ; the markets im- 
proved, and money began to circulate more freely. 

Mr. Swing purchased more land ; his children grew 
up to manhood ; they married and settled around him, 
and during all the years of his eventful life continued to 


increase and prosper. A large amount of work was 
accomplished in the space of a few years, the improve- 
ments being in the clearing of land, erection of houses 
and barns, and shelter for sheep and cattle. 

Although the sudden acquisition of wealth by inherit- 
ance or through a mere caprice of fortune can scarcely 
be regarded as an unpleasant experience in the history 
of any individual, yet we are of the opinion that the 
proudest and most abiding inheritance is that w^hich is 
built up into large and absolute independence by the 
sturdy right arm of the brave and honest youth who 
had stood penniless on the threshold of his career. And 
so, also, are we satisfied that one of the most benign dis- 
positions of providence js the hiding of the book of 
fate from the ken of man, or the dropping before his 
eyes of that curtain whose impenetrable folds shut out 
from all the mysteries of the future. 

When the subject of our sketch, over three-quarters 
of a century ago, had turned his face westward and, 
leaving the east, settled in a part of Ohio that was then 
little better than a wdlderness, dotted with a few log 
cabins, could he have but lifted a corner of this curtain, 
his soul w^ould have expanded with unspeakable pride 
and happiness. He would have seen that the sparse set- 
tlement around him had become concentrated into 
flourishing towns. But as this reading of the stars was 
denied to him, and wisely, he sought not to build castles 
in the air, but like a good man and true, turned in 
cheerily to hew and to plow, to sow and to reap his way 
to fortune ; and that he accomplished his task in a man- 


ner worthy the most exalted love of independence, and 
the respect and confidence of his neighbors, is a fact that 
is well authenticated and gratefully remembered. 

In 1810 the price of merino wool, in Boston market, 
was one dollar per pound ; and it continued very high, 
especially about the time of the war of 1 81 2, some of 
it selling at ^2.50 per pound. A mania for growing 
sheep and wool sprung up throughout the north and 
west, and the growth of wool as an article of production 
appeared next in importance to our bread. In all ages 
has the sheep been a prominent representative of rural 
husbandry. The great antiquity of this business is suf- 
ficient evidence of its profit. We read in the Bible of 
the shepherds who figured in the early history of the 
world. Abel is represented as being a keeper of sheep ; 
and the shepherds of Judea for centuries had trained their 
flocks to follow their keepers into ** green pastures and 
by the side of still waters." 

Many farmers seek relief and large profits by a varied 
agriculture ; industrious pioneers, many miles distant 
from navigation or a railroad, seem to practice the most 
obvious principles of domestic economy in raising on 
their farms those products which can be taken to market 
for the smallest per cent, of their value. Among the 
great staples of Ohio, wool possesses this requisite in the 
greatest degree ; nor can I think of anything produced 
in a more limited space. As far as transportation is con- 
cerned it is no great objection to live fifty or one hun- 
dred miles from a railroad, for a farmer can haul eight 
hundred dollars' worth of wool with one pair of horses, 


and fifteen hundred dollars' worth with four yoke of 
oxen. The expense of hauling a crop of wool a dis- 
tance of two hundred miles, as was often done in the 
west, is a mere trifle. The driver of the team camps 
under the wagon at night, cooks his own food, and baits 
his cattle on the road. 

The early settlers labored under many great disadvan- 
tages to the successful raising of stock. The winters were 
often long and severe. Deep snows lay upon the ground, 
and bears, wolves and wild beasts, prompted by hunger, 
often attacked the sheep-fold at night. Hearing a great 
noise in the stock yard upon one occasion, Mr. Swing 
sprang from the bed on which he was sleeping, and shouted 
at the top of his voice : " Call Wesley and Lawrence, and 
let the dogs loose ; I cannot have my sheep destroyed in 
this way." Major Higgins, another old resident of Cler- 
mont county, relates that about fifty years ago himself 
and two boys were husking corn in afield near the banks 
of Sugar Tree creek. In the afternoon of the third day 
the ox-team was brought out and used in hauling loads 
of corn into the barn. Just before sunset a panic en- 
sued among the cattle, and presently they became un- 
manageable and ran aw^ay at full speed. *' I ran out 
around the wagon to see what the matter was," said 
Major Higgins, "and right before me, on the banks of 
the creek, stood the largest black bear I had ever seen. 
He was close by and standing so still I could scarcely 
believe my ow^n eyes. A moment later, when the ani- 
mal advanced towards us, the boys and myself retreated 
in the same direction the ox-team had gone. During 


the following night a light snow covered the ground. 
The water in the creek was very low, so that one could 
easily wade across it by carefully stepping on the rocks. 
On the other side the face of the country was covered 
with a dense growth of large timber, and our little party 
of four men and two boys lost but little time in crossing 
the creek and taking up the trail on the other side. 
After going about three miles we came into a thickly 
wooded valley leading down toward the Ohio river, and 
following on in this direction discovered the bear sitting 
beside the carcass of a sheep. Startled by the barking 
of the dog, and the unexpected approach of man, the 
bear ran away, and such was his speed and activity that 
we failed to overtake him. Reconnoitering the valley 
we found the paths well trodden by the footprints of 
wild game, and could rely on their return to the carcass. 
Our leader next ordered the digging of a long, narrow 
pit, six feet wide and ten feet deep, and very carefully 
concealed it with dry branches and dry leaves. Wild 
beasts are regarded as being both cunning and wise, so 
the pit was not dug beside the carcass of the sheep, but 
twenty-five yards away, and directly across the path lead- 
ing out of the valley. Next morning, on going out to 
investigate the trap, we found that two half-grown bears 
had tumbled into the pit and were unable to escape. 
No hunters in Clermont county had better luck in secur- 
ing their game alive. The agents of John Jacob Astor 
were then in Cincinnati buying furs, and offering premi- 
ums for living curiosities to be exhibited in the zoological 
gardens of New York city." 


After some years of experience Mr. Swing found it a 
very uncertain way to make a fortune by engaging in 
the sheep business. Next he tried hogs and cattle. The 
raising of pork and beef has always been profitable, and 
consequently a favorite department of farming. The 
rich harvest yielded by the oak, beech and hickory in 
the forest formed, to a great extent, excellent food for 
swine, while natural grasses and roots in the woods sup- 
plied subsistence during the spring and summer months; 
so that the expense to the farmer in raising hogs was 
mainly during the feeding and fattening for market. Be- 
fore the building of railroads in Ohio, Indian corn would 
little more than pay the cost of transportation to market, 
and therefore hardly entered into consideration in the 
cost of raising hogs. Taking into view the prolific char- 
acter of the animal, and the amount of labor invested in its 
care, it was the general impression throughout the west 
that it cost a farmer nothing to make his own pork, and 
after being fattened brought little or nothing in market. 
For many years vast quantities of hogs were sold in Cin- 
cinnati at prices ranging from ;^i.50 to ;^i.75 per hundred 
weight, and little demand at these prices except when 
steamboats were loading for some distant port. 

A retired Philadelphia steamboat captain relates that 
he lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, in his younger days (from 
1825 to 1835), and was employed as a deck hand on the 
steamboat "Tecumseh," Capt. MacLaughlin, and after- 
wards fireman for Capt. Bill Swing, who was the com- 
mander of the steamboat " Corsair." These were then 
the largest freight and passenger boats on the river ; they 


ran down to Louisville, Ky., and other towns along the 
Ohio, and later established a route between Cincinnati 
and New Orleans. 

Captain Bill Swing was a man of commanding pres- 
ence. He understood navigation, and was in favor of 
quick time and speedy intercourse with remote points of 
the country. In the furnaces dry wood was used, and 
sometimes rosin, pitch and turpentine were included to 
increase the heat and the speed of the boat. 




OME years ago the writer enjoyed a trip through 
the western states, inckiding a visit among rela- 
tives in Ohio and Indiana. During that year a 

series of letters were written for the National Standard^ 

only two of which we select : 

Steamer " Star of the West," 
Ohio River, May 8, i8— . 
Mr. Editor. 

Dear Sir : — With your permission I propose offer- 
ing the readers of your paper a few rough '* pen and ink 
sketches" taken by the wayside, while travelling toward 
the setting sun. From Pittsburg I went down the Ohio 
river, passing Economy, Beaver, Liverpool and Steuben- 
ville. There are many pleasant towns and villages scat- 
tered along its banks on either side. Rafts of lumber 
float leisurely with the current, and the " everlasting 
hills " look down in quiet dignity upon the splutter and 
hurry of the steamboat and railroad train. 

In the vicinity of Newark the banks are steep and 
rocky; the hills are covered with large ash, walnut 


and live oak timber. The land in many places can 
never be brought under successful grain cultivation on 
account of the steepness of the hills, but it is said to be 
excellent sheep-grazing land. A line of steamboats run 
regularly between Pittsburg and Cincinnati, carrying a 
large amount of freight and passengers. There being 
many stopping places, our boat makes slow progress. At 
Wheeling, W. Va., the boat discharged part of her cargo, 
and then took on more freight and passengers for Cin- 
cinnati. Some of the passengers are getting uneasy, 
having been on the steamer three days and nights. They 
begin to inquire of the captain when he will arrive at the 
end of the journey. He informs us that the distance by 
river is 480 miles ; the boat is making good time, and he 
will land the passengers at their destination on the fol- 
lowing day. 

While passing the flats below the mouth of the 
Muskingum river large flocks of wild ducks and geese 
were seen. Two of the passengers on the boat amused 
themselves greatly by shooting rifle balls at these birds 
in the distance. The game did not appear at all con- 
cerned for its safety, as the balls took no effect. 

We passed Brown's Island, a great summer resort, 
six miles above Steubenville, containing two hundred 
acres of land, with large shade trees, beautiful lawns and 
extensive boarding-houses erected upon it. This is one 
of the most beautiful islands in the Ohio river. 

On Saturday afternoon the boat arrived at Cincinnati. 
A strong cable rope made the boat fast to the shore, the 


gang planks were made ready, and while the bell tolled 
and the whistle blew off steam, the writer and the other 
passengers went ashore to spend the Sabbath. 

G. S. S. 

Bethel, Ohio, May 22. 

The city of Cincinnati presents to the eye of the 
traveller a lively and business-like appearance. Many 
large stores and business houses were noticed here that 
will compare favorably with those seen in Philadelphia 
and New York. Crowds of people were promenading 
the streets, and along the levee men were loading 
vessels, wheeling boxes, bags and barrels on board the 
steamboats for Louisville, Cairo and New Orleans. The 
" Jacob Strader," a large freight and passenger boat, load- 
ing for the last named city, is already loaded down almost 
to the water's edge ; but the men were piling on ** more 
goods." This steamer is one of the largest and most 
beautiful I have yet seen — a regular floating palace. 

We left Cincinnati on Monday morning, the 9th of 
May, in the old stage coach, for Bethel and " the Swing 
settlements," stopping first at the residence of Merrit J. 
Swing, whom we found ploughing in the field for corn. 
His farm is located near Poplar creek, on the north side 
of the turnpike road, and embraces some of the land 
originally purchased by Uncle George. At first sight, a 
Jerseyman would say, "This is goodly land" — "a land 
flowing with milk and honey." At the next farm, on 
the opposite side of the road, we found the home of 


Lurinda C. Swing, and further on the residence of 
Lawrence Swing. The latter person informed us that he 
was born in Salem county, N. J., September ii, 1790. 
He had lived in Clermont county for a period of over 
fifty years, and was then able to recall many interesting 
events connected with the early history of our family 
and their settlement in the '* Miami country," as it was 
then called. 

In the village of Bethel we visited the home of Zacha- 
riah Riley, who informed us that he was united by 
marriage to Mary Swing in 18 16. They had then en- 
joyed a married life of forty-four years together, were in 
good health, and he had no occasion to regret his choice 
in selecting his partner for life. Their family consisted 
of eleven children, nine sons and two daughters. Most 
of them were married, and all had left home to carve out 
for themselves a name and do honor to the land that 
gave them birth. 

Upon our arrival we found the old people occupied 
the house alone. The next morning the horses and 
carriage were ordered, and three days were pleasantly 
enjoyed with this venerable couple in " spying out the 
fullness of the land and the fatness thereof" 

Some of our relatives, he said, were located " over 
the hills and far away" from the home of their childhood. 
One of his sons. Rev. Edward S., was a Baptist minister, 
then stationed at Veva, Indiana. On the way we passed 
the highly cultiv^ated farms of J. D. Covert, one of the 
Ohio pioneers who went out from New Jersey in 1807, 
three years after the emigration of George Swing from 


Salem county. In relating incidents of the journey he 
said that at Chautauqua, N. Y., his team of horses gave 
out, and he and his family walked on the rest of the way. 
Only a few dollars in cash remained in his possession 
when he reached Ohio. He has been very industrious, 
working steadily for fifty years, and is regarded as one 
of the wealthiest farmers in the township. In his family 
were eighteen children. 

We admired his productive farm, looked at his noble 
herd of cattle, and visited a neighbor three miles distant, 
stopping on the way to look at a large tract of timber 
land, then offered for sale at three thousand dollars, some 
of the trees being very large, two of them standing near 
the main road measuring twenty-eight feet in circumfer- 


[The following is the marriage formula in a German settlement 
out west :] 

(You will please join your right hands.) 
You bromise now, you good man dere 

Vot sthands upon de floor, 
To dake dis voman for your vrow, 

And lub her ebermore ; 
Dat you will feed her veil on sourkrout, 

Beaps, buttermilk and cheese, 
And in all tings to lend your aid 

Vot will promote her ease ? 


Yes ; and you goot voman, too — 
Do you pledge your vord dis day, 

Dat you will dake dis husband here, 
And mit him always stay ? 


Dat you will bed and board mit him, 

Vash, iron and mend his clothes ; 
Laugh ven he smiles, veep ven he sighs. 

And share his jo3^s and voes? 


Veil, den, mitin dese sacred halls, 

Mit joy and not mit grief, 
I do pronounce you man and vife — 

Von name, von home, von beef. 
I publish now dese sacred bonds, 

Dese matrimonial ties, 
Before mine Got, mine vrow — mineself. 

And all dese gazing eyes. 
And now, you bridegroom standing dere, 

I'll not let go your collar, 
Until you dell me one ding more. 

And dat ish : " Vere ish mine dollar ? " 

Our communication b_ing longer than usual, I will 
close for the present without telling all I know, or all 
we have seen and admired in the highly cultivated and 
beautiful county of Clermont. 



You may envy the joys of the farmer, 

And fancy his free, easy life ; 
You may sit at his bountiful table. 

And praise his industrious wife. 
Ef you worked in the woods in the winter, 

Or followed the furrer all day. 
With a team of unruly young oxen, 

And feet heavy loaded with clay ; 
Ef you held the old plough — I'm a thinkin' — 

You'd sing in a different way. 


You may talk o' the golden-eyed daisies, 

An' lilies that wear such a charm. 
But it gives me a heap o' hard labor 

To keep 'em from sp'ilin' my farm ; 
You may pictur' the beautiful sunsets, 

An' lanscapes so full o' repose. 
But I never get time to look at 'em. 

Except when it rains or it snows. 
You may sing o' the song birds o' summer, 

I'll attend to the hawks and the crows. 

You may long fur the lot o' the farmer. 

An' dwell on the pleasures o' toil ; 
But the good things we hev on our table 

All have to be dug from the soil ; 
An' our beautiful, bright, yaller butter, 

Perhaps you may never hev learned, 
Makes heap o' hard work for the wimmin ; 

It hez to be cheerfully churned ; 
And the cheeses so plump in our pantry, 

All have to be lifted an' turned. 

When home from the hay-field in summer, 

With stars gleamin' over my head. 
When I milk by the light o' my lantern, 

And wearily crawl into bed ; 
When I think o' the work o' the morrow, 

An' worr}^, for fear it might rain ; 
When I hear the loud peal o' the thunder. 

An' wife she begins to complain — 
Then I feel ez if life was a burden. 

With leetle to hope fur or gain. 

But the corn must be planted in spring-time. 
The weeds must be kep' from the ground, 

The hay must be cut in the summer. 
The wheat must be cradled and bound. 


Fur we are never out of employment, 

Except when we lie in our bed ; 
Fur the wood must be hauled in the winter 

And patiently piled in the shed, 
While the grain must be took to the market. 

The stock must be watered an' fed. 

You may envy the joys of the farmer, 

Who works like a slave for his bread. 
Or, mebby, to pay off a mortgage 

That hangs like a shade o'er his head. 
You may sit in the shade o' the orchard. 

Nor think o' his wants or his need ; 
You may gaze at his meadows and corn-fields, 

An' long fur the life that he leads ; 
But there's leetle o' comfort or pleasur' 

In fightin' the bugs an' the weeds. 

But the farmer depends upon only 

The things that he earns by his toil, 
An' the leetle he gains is got honest, 

By turnin' and tillin' the soil. 
When his last crop is toted to market, 

With a conscience all spotless and clear, 
He may leave the old farmhouse forever, 

To dwell in a holier sphere ; 
And the crown that he wears may be brighter, 

Because of his simple life here. 

— American Agriculiurist. 




About the holidays I promised to write you a 
brief sketch of what we might be able to call to 
mind touching the history of the family in the west. 
My grandfather, George Sw^ing, married his cousin, 
Sarah Swing, of Pittsgrove, Salem County, N. J., a sister 
of your great grandfather; so that we are of kin to you 
in a double sense. My grandfather left New Jersey 
some time in 1804, with his family and household, con- 
sisting of himself, his wife, and the following named chil- 
dren, to wit : Michael, Samuel, Lawrence, Wesley and 
Polly. He also brought with him two servants, a girl 
by the name of Maria Lawrence and an apprentice boy 
by the name of Josheets Ireland. They came by the 
way of Fort Pitt (Pittsburg). At Pittsburg he bought a 
flat boat, upon which they came down the Ohio river, 
family and horses, bag and baggage; and very early in 
the spring landed on the southern borders of Clermont 
county. My grandfather, the same year of his arrival, 
purchased a tract of land of about five hundred acres, 


near Bethel, between Poplar and Sugar Tree creeks, on 
the east and west, extending from one creek to the other, 
all densely covered with heavy timber ; and there in the 
spring of 1805 he built a cabin, and commenced clearing 
out a farm. Being strong handed, he made rapid pro- 
gress in clearing ; and I remember to have heard him 
say that by the first of June, 1805, he had several acres 
cleared and planted in corn and vegetables, and 
raised considerable stuff that year. Several years, how- 
ever, passed away before any considerable number of 
people located in this vicinity. The country was new 
and wild. They struggled long with the difficulties 
and hardships incident to all new settlers; remote from 
civilized society, and from the means of procuring assist- 
ance in case of sickness and disease. All these impedi- 
ments were gradually overcome by perseverance, indus- 
try and enterprise, aad the family began to flourish and 
increase in wealth and prosperity. In three or four 
years after he had a large farm cleared. The ground 
was rich and produced abundantly of everything that 
was planted, often yielding fifty bushels of wheat and 
seventy-five bushels of corn to the acre. 

The first settlers made great havoc with the timber, 
the only object being to get it out of the way. In 
springtime large tracts of timber were girdled by cutting 
through and stripping off the bark near the ground, thus 
preventing the sap ascending into the tree ; the trees 
died ; in a few years they became dry and were easily 
destroyed by fire without cutting them down. Cattle 
and hogs did well in the woods. Mast being abundant 


it cost little or nothing to raise pork, and worth but lit- 
tle after it was raised, often being obliged to sell at ;:5i.50 
per hundred, and frequently for much less. In those 
days a good cow could be bought for ;$io ; a horse for 
320 ; a pair of working oxen for 318 ; a set of rawhide 
harness for $4, and a wooden mould-board plow for $^, 
and a man was ready to commence farming. 

When our people first settled here Southern Ohio was 
densely covered with timber, and one of the grandest 
forests in the world. As years rolled on the navigation 
of the Ohio and Mississippi increased ; men were en- 
gaged in loading flatboats with grain, pork and various 
articles of commerce, trading it off at New Orleans, pay- 
ment received in sugar, coffee, tea, rice, molasses and 
Mexican dollars. This made the markets for our people 
somewhat better. The boatmen were a jolly set of fel- 
lows ; they seemed to love the river, and cared but little 
for the danger attending their business, several boats 
usually starting in company together. When the car- 
goes had been sold, and payment received, some of the 
men would purchase a lot of horses and make their way 
up through Louisiana, Mississippi and Kentucky by 
land. Most of this route was then a wilderness, inhabited 
only by Indians and wild beasts. In some portions of 
Indiana and Ohio there are yet to be seen vast tracts of 
timber land, in many places extending for miles without 
a tree amiss except those blown down by the wind, or 
fallen to the ground through decay and old age. 

Many years ago I remember a large poplar tree grow- 
ing upon the land of my grandfather, in Clermont 


county. Upon examination it proved to be hollow. A 
tenant by the name of Graham, who lived in a cabin near 
by, cut a door into it and used it for a long time as a 
stable for his horse, and a few sheep. 

In 1808 my grandfather built a large stone dwelHng 
house, which he occupied for many years. He was a 
remarkable man in his day and generation. He was of 
commanding presence, and his life was one of great 
purity. His piety w^as deep toned and decidedly demon- 
strative in its character. He was devoted to his church 
(the Methodist), and his seat was never vacant when it 
was possible for him to be there. He liked sharp, ear- 
nest, pointed preaching, and was not slow to signify his 
approbation of such preaching by crying out "amen!" 
"preach on." When the preaching did not suit him he 
used to scratch his head with a sharp, quick scratch. 
He was liberal in his contributions to all benevolent 
objects, and especially in his contributions to the church 
in all its enterprises. He took great interest in the 
American Bible Society, and for many years was its 
agent for his township. He was ever careful to see that 
every family in the township was supplied with a Bible. 
He visited the sick all over the neighborhood, and often 
beyond the township limits. He often conducted funer- 
als when it was not convenient to procure a minister. 
Many a time have I seen him standing at the head of a 
new-made grave and talking to the little company that 
was gathered there. 

My grandmother was one of the excellent of the 
earth. I have never known a better woman. After a 


few years my grandfather gave to each of his sons a 
farm, embracing his original purchase and some that he 
subsequently added to it. Michael Swing occupied his 
only a short time, and then removed to the neighbor- 
hood of his wife's people, near Milford, in this county, 
and died on a farm the family owned there. 

I will now give you briefly a list of the names of my 
grandfather's children by their families. Michael Swing 
was united in marriage with Ruth Galch, and the issue 
was eight children — Betsy, George S., Sarah, Mary, 
Ruth G., Philip B., Aaron H. and Martha. Samuel 
Swing, the second son of my grandfather, was married 
to Miss Lydia Dial in 1815, and the names of their chil- 
dren were Michael W., Sarah, Abraham, Eleanor, Jere- 
miah, David and Shadrach D. Again he intermarried 
with Nancy Osborn, and they had two children, Lydia 
A. and Harriet W. Samuel lived to be past seventy 
years of age. He died in Ohio. Michael Swing, Abra- 
ham and Shadrach emigrated to Illinois in 1840. The 
first named was elected a member of the Illinois legis- 
lature, and became a very prominent person in the state. 
Abraham became a dry goods merchant, was successful 
in business, and in his old age was nicknamed " Honest 
Old Abe." Wesley married Miss Nancy Crane. Five 
children were born to them, George W., John Collins, 
Elizabeth G. and Merritt J. My father, Lawrence Swing, 
intermarried with Sarah Light, and they had seven chil- 
dren, namely : Ruth, John S., George L., Eliza, Sarah, 
Charles W. and William L. F^ither outlived all his 
generation, and died in 1872. When I was a small boy 


I happened to be at my grandfather's house when a letter 
was brought from the post office to him. It came from 
New Jersey. He broke the seal and looked at it silently 
for a moment, then said to my grandmother, ''Abraham is 
no more." It was the announcement of the death of your 
grandfather. He was a brother of my grandmother. 
Then he said, " We remember Abraham as a good man; 
it is well with him." This little incident made an im- 
pression upon my mind that has never faded. The his- 
tory of our family in the east and west is an interesting 
one to you, and to me, and to our kindred. My grand- 
father was a grand old man; mighty in word and in deed. 
His emigration to Ohio was a success alike to himself 
and to his family ; they all fared well in a pecuniary way, 
and were honored, respected and useful in their day and 
generation. They were Methodists, but their posterity 
have not all adhered to that denomination. 

My grandfather had considerable means when he came 
to Ohio. His first purchase of land he bought for $2 
per acre, and often wished that he had invested more 
than he did in land. He deposited one thousand dollars 
of the money he brought with him from New Jersey in 
the Farmers' and Mechanics' Bank of Cincinnati. His 
confidence was inspired in the bank by the fact that 
it was controlled by Methodist brethren, chief among 
whom was the late Rev. Oliver M. Spencer. But 
the Methodist brethren managed the bank badly and 
grandfather's thousand dollars were lost. I saw his old 
certificate of deposit among his papers after his death. 

When our people came to this county it was new and 


wild. The settlements were " few and far between." 
The forests abounded with deer and wild game of many 
kinds. The streams of water wxre full of fish, but my 
grandfather never ceased to long for sea-bass, haddock, 
Jersey shad and the fish that were caught from the ocean. 
The roads were little more than cow-paths. Cincinnati 
was only a village, twenty-seven miles from our settle- 
ment, and a trip there and back generally occupied about 
three days, with a loaded wagon and team. 

Great changes took place in his day, and much greater 
changes have taken place since that time. My grand- 
father preserved his mind and memory well until the 
very last. In old age his sight failed ; the last year of 
his life he was entirely blind. This great affliction did 
not seem to affect his cheerfulness ; it rather caused him 
to look with greater desire toward the world of light and 
the final home of the blessed in heaven. His death oc- 
curred in the eighty-second year of his age. My grand- 
mother survived him about two years. You may have 
seen the family graveyard when you visited our people 
some years ago. 

I must not omit to give some history of another 
branch of our family and of yours. Near the close of the 
last century, Samuel Swing, a brother of your grand- 
father, came from New Jersey with his wife, Polly 
Murphy, and such of his family as were then in being, 
and settled on the Licking riv^er, in Kentucky, not far 
from where the cities of Covington and Newport now 
stand. The Licking empties into the Ohio directly op- 
posite Cincinnati. 


Samuel was engaged in building barges and keel 
boats, with which the western rivers were then navigated. 
Steamboats had not yet come into use. He died before 
my recollection ; but his widow (Aunt Polly) survived 
him many years, and I well remember her visits to our 
people. She was a tall, dignified old lady, and was a 
member of the First Presbyterian church of Cincinnati, 
so long ministered to by Dr. Joshua Wilson. She was 
an esteemed Christian lady. 

The children of this family Avere named Samuel, Betsy, 
Jeremiah, Mary Ann, David, Phcebe, William and Abra- 
ham S., all of whom, I believe, have passed away. But 
they have left many descendants who are now scattered 
far and widS over this continent. 

Rev. Professor David Swing, a distinguished minister 
of the Presbyterian church, Chicago, 111., is a grandson of 
this Samuel Swing and a son of David Sv/ing, before 
mentioned. Once, when he was a boy, he was a pupil of 
mine at Williamsburg, seven miles east of here. He was 
a very bright, thoughtful and interesting little boy, and a 
good student. I had the control of a scholarship in 
Miami University at Oxford when David was growing 
up, and gave him the benefit of it. He graduated with 
honor, and soon after entered the ministry. He is a 
good speaker ; there is a freshness and sparkling origin- 
ality about his thoughts that give them a charm and 
makes them interesting. The multitude gather about 
him, and listen with unflagging interest to his discourses. 

Dr. Charles Swing, of Salem county, N. J., was out 


here once in his time. I remember hearing our people 
frequently speak of him. 

Captain John Swing was here not far from 1845, per- 
haps a little later, and visited our people. It was said 
long ago, by one who knew him well, that "he was a 
noble-hearted man, and his life was crowded full of excit- 
ing episodes." He was a large man, and, if we remember 
correctly, weighed about 250 pounds — a real jolly, social 
kind of person, and interested us very greatly by relating 
" his experience of life on the ocean w^ave " and a " home 
on the rolling deep." He had been for many years en- 
gaged in the coasting trade, and finally became a cele- 
brated navigator of the sea. He was a very fine-looking 
man, well proportioned — not fat, but large and strong. 

Some years later, Nathaniel G. and Gilbert S. Swing 
visited Bethel, Ohio. On their arrival our people formed 
a very pleasant acquaintance wath these relatives, and 
since that time this acquaintance has been renewed by 
letter and greatly improved by correspondence. 

The tw^o brothers that came over from Alsace, as your 
father wrote me, have now a large posterity scattered 
clear across this continent. Some of our people are in 
California. Our family name in the west is an honored 

I have lived in Batavia since 1847, and shall probably 
remain here. Our lives are in God's hands ; He directs 
our w^ay and orders our steps. It often occurs to me, 
and more of late than formerly, that life in this world is 
very brief, quite too short to accomplish anything w^orth 


speaking of, either in the way of labor or enjoyment. 
We have to hurry through so fast that we have only time 
to recognize and hail each other as we pass. It will not 
be so in the next life. We shall have time then to tell 
the whole story, and if we shall be so fortunate as to 
secure a place in our father's house of many mansions, 
it will be no matter of regret then that we had not a 
longer stay in the world through which we are now 

I love our family name in the United States. I believe 
we have a common origin, rather humble at the begin- 
ning, but that is nothing to be ashamed of; and it is a 
source of gratification to know that no one of the mem- 
bers who have borne our name for successive generations 
has cast much dishonor upon it, while not a few, by lives 
of integrity and uprightness, have made their mark in 
the world, and our name an honored one. 




YoRKTO\VN, Virginia, Nov. 3, 1863. 

Your kind favor of the 25th duly received, and 
was much pleased with its contents ; have never 
enjoyed a happier week than the one recently spent with 
relatives in Salem county. 

Our regiment (the 6th United States colored troops) 
started for this place the day after we left Pittsgrove. 
We left New York on Wednesday on board a new 
steamer called the '* Conqueror," with fifteen hundred 
troops, including officers ; five hundred cavalry horses, 
and a large cargo of rations and government supplies; 
and arrived at Yorktown, Va., on Sunday evening, after a 
very rough and disagreeable voyage. The wind was 
high, the sea rough, and I was never before so seasick in 
all my life ; most of the officers and two-thirds of the 
men were the same. 

When we arrived at the Breakwater, mouth of Dela- 
ware Bay, our captain lay to for some hours, on account 
of a heavy storm, and when the steamer started out on 
Saturday morning we were compelled to return again 
and wait for the wind and sea to subside. Throufxh the 


mercy of an over-ruling Providence we arrived here 
safe without the loss of a man or a dollar's worth of 

After landing we formed in line and marched through 
Yorktown (which consists of fifty or sixty houses, sur- 
rounded by a large and well built fort) on to our camp- 
ing grounds, one mile and a half down York river. 

Our regiment is encamped close by the house in which 
Lord Cornwallis surrendered to General Washington. 
History informs us that this event took place October 17, 
178 1. I have just been over to the house where this 
surrender took place. It is a large two-story log 
building, weather boarded and ceiled, and now belongs 
to a rich rebel, who has fled to Richmond, as many in 
this vicinity have done, leaving their farms and slaves 

This place has been the scene of important events 
during this war, as well as in the Revolution. Here was 
McClellan's siege, and some fighting. This whole coun- 
try is cut up with fortifications, rifle pits and military 
roads, and presents the picture of desolation — not a rail 
or fence of any kind have I seen. Surrounding our camp 
is a vast plain of thousands of acres, once in a high state 
of cultivation. The timber (and there is some very good) 
is being cut by the soldiers to build their winter quarters. 
I suppose this place will be garrisoned with troops all 

The Sixth is a good regiment ; I am pleased with it ; 
am senior captain. Most of our officers are from the 
regular ; those who are not have passed a rigid 


examination. Out of eleven hundred applicants at Cin- 
cinnati, not more than forty passed. 

From our position here I suppose, when Richmond is 
attacked, we shall be there ; many of our boys are 
anxious for it. There are four regiments of white, three 
of colored and two of artillery encamped near us. It has 
been very sickly through the hot weather, and still 
deaths are frequent among us. We get plenty to eat, 
have good meat and bread ; sweet potatoes are sold to 
us for $2 per basket, and Irish the same. I am getting 
quite portly and much heavier than when you saw me 

On our way to Philadelphia we happened to fall iii 
with Mrs. Lydia Swing, widow of the late Captain John 
M. Swing, of Fairfield. After a brief, yet pleasant ac- 
quaintance, my daughter Antis went home with her. I 
received a letter from her last week, and she is having a 
good time. 

While strolling along the wharf, looking at the large 
and beautiful ocean steamers and the thousands of vessels 
collected in the port of Philadelphia, I noticed the 
schooner Geo. M. Swing, of Fairfield, N. J., unloading 
oysters at Dock street wharf for the firm of Swing & 
Corbin, commission merchants of that city, and dealers 
in fish, oysters, country produce and salt water terrapin. 

Philadelphia is a very handsome city. We left here 
the same evening for New York with a few car loads of 
enlisted soldiers, en route for some Southern port. 
Yours truly, 



United States Christian Commission " sends this as 
the soldier's messenger to his home. Let it hasten to 
those \vho wait for tidings." 

Camp of the 6th U. S. C. T., 
Before Richmond, Oct. 28, 1864. 
Dear Unxle: — 

Your communication gives me much encourage- 
ment, and I am always glad to hear from friends and 
relatives in New Jersey. Since last we wrote our regi- 
ment has been called to pass through many scenes of 
blood and carnage. On the morning of the 29th of 
September our brigade, only about nine hundred strong, 
charged on the rebel line of works, where we met over 
two thousand of the enemy. As you have doubtless 
heard, our little brigade was almost annihilated. But 
the works were carried and the rebels routed. Our 
regiment went in with three hundred and came out with 
only seventy-two. Our officers were nearly all either 
killed or wounded. I was in front of the line of battle 
with my company deployed as skirmishers. Out of 
thirty picked men we lost twenty-two; but through the 
abounding mercy of God, and, as I think, in answer to 
prayer in my behalf, no bullet pierced my flesh, though 
many passed through my hat and uniform; one bullet 
cut my coat collar, another went through my canteen on 
my right side, and another through three thicknesses of 
cloth under my left arm. We can but feel thankful to 
God and grateful to all his people who pray that our 
life may be spared. I have thought that God sent me to 


defend my country/and believed it was a Christian duty 
to stand in the foremost of the fight. 

I once heard a pious lady say that she never could 
reconcile the idea in her mind of a Christian going into 
the army to fight ; it was so inconsistent with the Chris- 
tian character that she was tempted to doubt the piety of 
all fighting men. I beg leave to differ with the lady's 
views upon this subject, for I believe that a man can 
serve God and his country just as acceptably in fighting 
the enemies of liberty with the musket down South as he 
can in the halls of legislation or the quiet pulpits of the 
North, and I am inclined to think he can do so much 
more effectually in the former place. My own observa- 
tions are that Christian men make the best soldiers and 
the most zealous and ardent defenders of our national 

Our troops are still at work at the canal at Dutch Gap, 
but it will be spring before this great undertaking can be 
completed. Since leaving the. "Gap" our brigade has 
advanced, and is now six miles below Richmond, on the 
river; a small force of men holds the line of works here. 
There was considerable cannonading and a general 
movement last night, and we are expecting orders to 
advance upon the city in a few days. 

Two colored soldiers belonging to our regiment in- 
formed me that they enlisted from Salem county, and 
that they were formerly acquainted with and employed 
by Dr. Charles Swing, of Sharptown, and Leonard Swing, 
of Pittsgrove, and while in the employ of these gentlemen 
had dug thousands of loads of marl from the beds at 


Woodstown, N. J. Their names were Bond and Sulli- 

Prices here are very high ; potatoes are ^2.50 per 
bushel, butter 75c. and 80c. per pound, and eggs about 
the same a dozen. I would like to know the prices of 
butter, eggs, home-made cheese, etc., in your market, 
and if we should winter here I might save considerable 
by sending you the money, and have boxes of provisions 
expressed to us. We notice the express charges on 
boxes sent from New Jersey are quite reasonable, while 
those sent from Ohio amount to the full worth of their 

G. P. R. 

Headquarters 3D Division ioth Army Corps, 
District of Beaufort, 
New Berne, S. C, June 24, 1865. 

My Dear Uncle : — 

It has been a long time since I have heard from 
home, and quite as long perhaps since you have heard 
from me. For the last four months I have been on 
General Paine's staff, have had a great deal of writing 
and some business outside the office, such as settling 
difficulties between farmer masters and slaves ; but amid 
all our cares, dangers and excitement, have not forgotten 
our relatives and friends. 

You, no doubt, with all other good people, rejoice at 
the close of the war. How wonderful the workings of 


DivJne Providence ; to Him be all the praise, honor and 
glory ! 

I am going home in a few days, and our troo^^s will 
soon be mustered out of service. I have not heard 
directly from Captain George W. Swing for three months. 
I saw one of the officers of the 9th New Jersey a few 
days ago. He said he was at Greensboro, N. C. I 
cannot write, for all my thoughts are homeward ; will be 
there in ten days. Write to me at Bethel, Ohio. 

P. S. — I wrote the above at New Berne a few days 
ago, and " receiving leave of absence," we are preparing 
to embark for home. We go on a steamer by way of 
New York city. Amid the strains of martial music, the 
hum of industry and the excitement of landing two 
thousand troops, I forgot to mail my letters while passing 
through New York. Will mail this at Cincinnati. 

The war is ended. Blessed be God ; and at this mo- 
ment I can subscribe myself one of the happiest of living 





MLL was beautiful in nature on the morning of June 
14, 1 863, when the long roh sounded and the Army 
of the Potomac was once more aroused to do active 
duty in the field. The rest enjoyed after the battle of Chan- 
cellorsville was rudely broken. Though in the quiet re- 
pose of that lovely Sabbath morning everything around 
spoke of peace and rest, yet the stirring sounds of the trum- 
pet, the bugle and the drum, mingled with the stentorian 
commands, " Pack up," "Fall in," and "Forward, March," 
proved conclusively that there were still battles to be 
fought and victories won. 

Intelligence had reached headquarters that Gen. Lee 
and his army were crossing the Potomac. They had 
manceuvered behind the Blue Ridge Mountains and had 
nearly gained the Maryland side before their intention 
was fully understood by the Union commander. Our 
regiment, the 12th New^ Jersey Volunteers, belonged to 
the Second Army Corps. Passing rapidly through 
Dumfries we hear heavy guns in the direction of Ma- 
nasses. Soon the Occoquan creek was passed and we 
hasten in the direction of Centreville, Gen. Hooker's 


headquarters. A vast number of men and ambulances 
were concentrated at this point. Our route lay over the 
Bull Run battlefield and through Gainesville to Sebley 
Spring and Edward's Ferry, where we crossed the Poto- 
mac on a pontoon bridge on the morning of June 27th 
into Maryland, and rested for a time in a large wheat 
field. It was a grand sight to see the troops in motion. 
Our train was twenty miles long, and occupied several 
parallel roads, w^ell guarded by the infantry deployed on 
either side of the teams, as these were rapidly urged 
forward. Poolsville and Urbania, beautiful towns, were 
soon left behind, and Frederick City was in view. 

The next day, June 29th, the troops marched thirty- 
three miles, passing through Liberty, Johnstown, and 
other small places. June 30th Uniontown is reached. 
The troops rested for a short time, and the train is 

It was muster day in camp, and anxiety and a stern 
determination were depicted on the countenances of 
officers and men alike. We knew that the army of Lee, 
in strong force, well equipped, was in front, and that in a 
short time we would be in the midst of a tremendous 
conflict, which might decide in a great measure the issues 
of the war. 

The morale of our troops was splendid. Everyone, as 
far as we could judge by words and actions, expressed a 
firm determination to conquer or die in the impending 

There had been on the march a great deal of racing by 
the various corps to be first, if possible, on the field. 


Once the 1 2th New Jersey was aroused from rest at mid- 
night, and made a rush with fixed bayonets to prevent 
our road being crossed or occupied by a rival corps. 
These bloodless conflicts for the right of way were by 
no means pleasant to be engaged in, but, as incidents, 
illustrated the zeal and ambition of our officers and men 
to rival each other in devotion to their country's good, 
and to be first, if possible, to meet the enemy. 

We did not, any of us, have long to wait. July istthe 
train was in motion. We passed through the lovely 
town of Trebania, a place of considerable wealth, with 
fine houses, barns, mills, etc.; also Tarrytown, where we 
halted in a woods to rest a short time, and then passed 
over the state line, near the little town of Harney, into 
Pennsylvania, where we had our bivouac for the night on 
the road side, and rested well in anticipation of the im- 
pending conflict. 

July 2d, a day never to be forgotten while memory 
lasts. The rebels are in heavy force a few miles distant 
in our immediate front. The fighting had already com- 
menced, and the various corps, as they arrived on the 
field, were assigned positions at the nearest point where 
they could be of immediate service. 

The Union line extended about ten miles in length, 
cavalry, artillery and infantry. It was a strong position, 
the wings right and left receding, making it a formidable 
line for defence, as most of it occupied a ridge of low, 
uniform hills, well protected by sugar-loaf peaks at either 
end, densely clothed with timber. On the left was the 
Fifth corps. The Third, First, Second, Eleventh and 


Twelfth extended in the order named from left to right 
of the line, which was flanked by heavy squadrons of 

The brigade was aroused early in the morning, and 
went with a rush into the field. Our position was near 
the centre of the line. Our regiment was placed 
obliquely to the first line of battle, and the men dropped 
on the ground for a rest. The enemy's shells were 
beginning to fly over and fall around us. 

General Smythe, Major Hill and a part of French's 
staff are near us, awaiting the development of events. 
The battle-ground is on a beautiful, well cultivated 
country. The harvest fields are trampled under foot. 
Thus far the Union army have the advantage in position 
and artillery practice. 

About half-way between the Union and rebel lines are a 
farmhouse and brick barn, occupied by rebel sharp- 
shooters. They are shooting at our mounted officers 
with long-range rifles, and nmst be dislodged. There is 
a hasty consultation among the officers. General Smythe 
said he had a regiment that would do it. In a few 
minutes an order came for four companies of the 12th 
New Jersey to attack the house and barn. We were 
lying left in front. 

The men sprang to their feet and prepared for the 
onset. We numbered about one hundred and forty 
men in the storming party when we started. General 
Smythe, our brigade commander, rode with us a short 
distance, and then resumed his former position, where 
he could witness the charge. We soon changed from a 


double-quick into a rapid run, and as we neared the 
house the rebel rifles made fearful havoc in our ranks. 
One poor fellow, I remember, begged to be left behind 
when we started on the charge, on the plea of being too 
sick to keep up with the men. There appearing no good 
reason for doing so, he was not excused, but was ordered 
forward with the rest. He was killed at the first fire 
that struck our ranks. 

The men faltered not, but leaping over their fallen 
comrades as they advanced, rushed with fixed bayonets 
upon the sharpshooters, two companies advancing on 
the barn and two companies surrounding the house. 
As we closed up around the house we found an open 
hatchway or cellar door, down which the rebels poured 
pell-mell to get out of the way of our bayonets. Many 
threw down their arms and surrendered at once, while 
others waved their hands or handkerchiefs in token of 
submission ere we reached them. Two of our men went 
into the cellar and drove the prisoners out, while others 
scattered through the house and opened fire on the 
retreating fugitives. 

A door in an upper room was apparently fastened on 
the inside. On forcing it open a rebel soldier was found 
inside, unhurt but nearly scared to death. 

Our prisoners taken numbered eighty-seven men, in- 
cluding seven commissioned officers. This was a hard 
fight, as it was a hand to hand struggle, and many of our 
brave comrades were numbered among the fallen. About 
thirty-five or forty were killed or wounded in that fearful 
charge. Capt. Horsfall, commanding the detachment, 


was killed near the house while gallantly leading his 
men. Many brave soldiers, some of them my own per- 
sonal friends, shared the same fate. The men were black 
with gunpowder, and suffered much from the intense heat 
of the day. Some of our number, after the prisoners 
were secured, bathed their aching brows in basins of 
water found standing around, already stained with rebel 

There was in rear of the house a number of apple trees, 
and lying among or behind them were many riflemen 
from whom we were subjected to a constant fire, we 
returning in like manner the compliments of the season 
with buckshot and ball. After holding our position for 
a time, no reinforcements appearing, the detachment 
returned in good order to the first line of battle on a full 
run, where we rested on our arms. And truly rest was 
required for our weary men. Some had been knocked 
down insensible durine the fight, but eventually revived, 
while others received slight wounds, enough to take them 
away from further danger in the field. One of our 
men collected a basket of eggs from about the barn after 
the fight, which he brought into our lines and kindly 
shared with his less fortunate comrades. 

After resting through the night, with picket lines well 
advanced in front, the Army of the Potomac, strong in 
position and in the justice of a righteous cause, awaited 
the pleasure of the enemy. Early in the morning a first 
detachment of men from our regiment charged again on 
the house and burned it to the ground. The barn could 
not be destroyed so readily, and its walls continued to be 


a cover for the rebel sharpshooters during the remainder 
of the day. 

General Lee had been foiled on both his right and left 
flanks in the battles of yesterday, so that the morning of 
July 3d opened with an apparent hesitancy on the part of 
the rebel commander where to strike. 

A decisive blow at once, or retire from the field, was, 
from his standpoint, a " military necessity." In a short 
time his plan developed itself His skirmishers, thrown 
out early in the morning, for several hours continued 
to press up close to the Union lines, feeling the strength 
of the various fronts an:l positions of the corps. The 
point of attack was a matter of uncertainty to General 
Meade; but everything was in readiness. 

A large amount of artillery, in reserve, was quietly 
concentrated near our lines, and all was eager expecta- 
tion. Soon, like a whirlwind, the storm broke upon us. 
With about one hundred and fifty guns, drawn from the 
right and left of his line, a terrific cannonade was opened 
on our right centre, held by the Second and Eleventh 
corps. This was continued for about two hours. Shells 
and bullets of all sizes and descriptions flew over, around 
and among us as we lay close to the ground behind our 
stone fences, or such temporary works as could be 
hastily constructed. 

The air was full of shot and shell. Our artillery 
horses, as they brought the guns into action, were killed 
in large numbers. One fine battery, a little to our left, 
lost nearly all their horses, sixty-four out of seventy- 
two falling in a short time after fire opened. I could 


not but notice how patiently those noble animals bore 
their w^ounds when stricken down in their harness. 

In a few minutes the caisson was blown up by a w^ell 
directed rebel shot with a report louder than thunder, 
and making the earth tremble for a long distance around. 
The men of the battery who found themselves alive after 
the explosion were soon on their feet, and the clear, ring- 
ing voice of their captain called them anew to duty, while 
he, coolly sighting one of his pieces in person, success- 
ively blew up tw^o of the rebel caissons in return. The 
smoke from them arose like an immense sheaf of wheat 
over the battlefield. 

Railroad iron, stones, and missiles of all kinds, which 
they could cram into their guns, were hurled from the 
rebel cannon. It seemed as though pandemonium w^ere 
let loose, and that the very rocks around would be rent 
to their foundation. Vengeance, hate and fury were 
concentrated in a remarkable degree in that terrible can- 
nonade. With each repeated crash, carrying death and 
destruction into the Union ranks, their hopes grew^ 
higher until the climax came. All at once the rebel 
artillery ceased firing — an apparent calm after a storm, 
but a calm that was to usher in one of the most terrific 
infantry battles of the war. All was expectancy, as the 
artillery duel was but the prelude to the final charge. 

Soon dark masses of troops were seen collecting on 
the left, front and right. They began to advance. The 
skirmishers w^ere bold and numerous, they having three 
lines in front of the main body. 


We were confronted by about forty-five thousand of 
the best troops of the South. The view we had of them 
as they advanced rapidly towards our position was truly 
grand. We could not but admire their martial array. 
Such a sight was probably never seen before of the same 
magnitude on our continent. Their step was firm and 
quick ; the guns were, most of them, carried at a trail. 
They have about three-quarters of a mile to march, over 
an open space, before reaching our position, with five 
common rail fences to obstruct their march. Most of 
these fences were leveled by the first line. A strong 
post and rail fence a little in our front served in a slight 
degree to check their final dash, as our artillery, at point 
blank range, opened on their solid columns, making gap 
after gap in their ranks. Then the small arms opened 
also with a rattling roar as loud as Niagara, and so stun- 
ning to the sense of hearing that many soldiers could 
not distinguish the report of their own rifles, the general 
crash was so great. The oldest officers present had 
never before witnessed such a scene. 

As the rebel column advanced its impetus increased, 
and for a time it appeared as though they would break 
through our ranks and sweep the field before them. But 
the discipline, drill and indomitable courage of the Army 
of the Potomac were too much for them. Every one of 
our men, from the highest to the lowest in rank, fought 
as though the salvation of our country depended on his 
individual effort. We had on our immediate brigade 
and regimental fronts Pickett's division of Longstreet's 


corps, and he led his troops with the reckless bravery of 
a Murat, and they rent the air with hideous yells as they 
charged on the Union lines. 

The storm of shot, shell, canister and spherical case 
fell thick among them. Fresh guns were brought for- 
ward, and double or treble charged for use at close range. 
The smoke at length became so dense on the field that 
we could scarcely distinguish anything before us, and 
there was a slight lull in the firing. Soon the smoke 
lifted, and we had the pleasure of seeing the rebel army 
in full retreat, leaving behind them multitudes of dead, 
wounded and prisoners that thickly strewed the ground 
in Dur front 

Captives came in by hundreds, and there was a rush 
made by many of our men on to the field to capture flags 
and drive in the prisoners, and although the loud voice 
of command restrained somewhat the impetuosity of our 
troops, it was impossible for a time to keep the men in 
line, the desire to advance was so great. 

The scene at this time w^as inspiring to the highest 
degree ; a glorious victory had been won. The fight 
was nearly over on our part of the line. Their repulse 
had been complete. In other quarters the conflict ap- 
peared to sw^ay back and forth for a time ; but soon the 
plain before us was cleared of all except the dead and 

At this point, while random shots were yet being ex- 
changed at long range, a flag appeared from the rebel 
line. It was a very large white flag, and with it were 
some twelve or fifteen men. As the firing was not en- 


tirely over, the impertinence of a truce at this time was 
apparent to all, and as they advanced a well directed 
shot from one of our cannon near by scattered them like 
chaff and sent them reeling back to their own lines. 

With this repulse the battle was over for the day, and 
the tired soldiers rested on their arms. It was a beauti- 
ful moonlight evening after the battle. About 9 o'clock, 
finding I could not rest or sleep while there was so much 
suffering around and near me, I took a walk to a 
part of the field in our immediate front. Here is where 
Pickett's troops charged us with such infinite fury, and 
were hurled back in wild disorder. The dead were 
in quiet repose, while the suffering among the wounded 
was indeed sad to contemplate. 

A fine looking South Carolinian attracted my attention. 
Stopping to converse with and aid him, if possible, I 
found him wounded in five or six places, and could see 
no hopes of his recovery. He asked for water, which, 
such as we had, was promptly furnished from a ditch 
near by. It was muddy and impure ; but as soon as pos- 
sible good water from a spring was procured, which 
gave him great relief for the time. In return he kindly 
gave me a part of his provision, which was acceptable 
indeed, as few of our men had anything remaining of 
their rations, as in hastening to the field provisions w^ere 
left in the rear. 

The whole scene around was enough to make angels 
weep — men with an infinite variety of wounds, and their 
misery no tongue can tell. But soon, in mercy to them, 
the skies were overcast with clouds and a kind Providence 


sent a heavy rain during the night, which was a blessing 
indeed to the poor, fevered sufferers. 

We found the prisoners well supplied with three days' 
rations, consisting of cooked meat and two or three 
large cakes, about the size of a common dinner plate and 
over one inch thick. Their boots and shoes were nearly 
new and their clothing good. When asked where they 
had procured their outfit, they answered that the goods 
had been sent from Europe and ran the blockade. The 
personal intercourse had with our prisoners and the 
wounded after the battle, as far as I could see, was of a 
kind and friendly nature. 

Early on the morning of July 4th our regiment was 
sent forward as pickets to the field, where we lay close 
to the ground for several hours, among the wounded and 
dead, and were subjected to a sharp fire from the rebel 
picket line. It was a trying ordeal; but our men faced it 
nobly, without being able to do much in the way of 
reply, as we were armed with smooth-bore muskets, 
which would not reach them, but were terribly effective 
at short range with their buck-shot and ball. 

On returning from the picket line, bringing our wounded 
with us, we were greeted with the joyful news of the fall 
of Vicksburg. 

Next day — the holy Sabbath, clear and beautiful — was 
devoted to the burial of the dead of both armies, the 
enemy in their haste leaving theirs on the field. By 
noon this sad work was completed, and the Union com- 
mander again turned his face to the south in pursuit of 
the army of fugitives from the bloody field. 


P. S. — Of the writer of the Gettysburg Campaign Notes 
the author has this postscript to add, the perusal of 
which may assist the reader in forming a more intimate 
acquaintance with the captain : 

George W. Swing was born at Pittsgrove, Salem 
county, N. J., May 19, 1830, a son of Jonathan L. and 
Rebecca McQueen Swing. He was a farmer and school 
teacher in his younger years, and very attentive and 
devoted in his work ; was greatly interested in the study 
of vocal and instrumental music, and the reading of books 
of travel and history. His blood, however, was too 
ardently patriotic to calml}^ sit in a country school house 
teaching children and } outh, while the war drum was 
sounding in his country. Throwing down his books he 
assisted in the formation of a company of men, hastened 
to the front, and served three years in the war of the 
rebellion. Returning to his native place at the close of 
the war, he was married, and subsequently settled at 
Vineland, N. J., where himself and family have continued 
to reside. His occupation was a dry goods merchant, an 
i nsu ranee agent and farmer. He was a member of the 
fire police, the board of health and the Society for 
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. 

After his return from the war he was chosen a justice 
of the peace, and also appointed commander of Lyon 
Post, No. 10, Grand Army of the Republic, in this place 
Like his father and many of his kindred before him, he 
is an elder in the Presbyterian church, a member of the 
board of trustees and one of the most efficient officers in 
that body. 


In speaking of himself recently he said : *' The language 
of my heart is — 

" ' I am a poor sinner, and nothing at all, 
But Jesus Christ is my all in all,' " 

In stature Mr. Swing is tall and slender, his features 
are regular, and his bright, expressive eyes light up his 
face as he recognizes and salutes a friend. He is very 
temperate and domestic in his habits, genial and pleasant 
in conversation, and in all the glories of his success he 
did not forget the companions of his youth or the 
associates of later years. 




^ Mason City, HI. 

5^EAR SIR:— 

^^J Yours of the 20th instant received, making 

further inquiry concerning our family in the state 
of Illinois. In reply, I wish to state that I am a son of 
the late Samuel Swing, was born in Clermont county, 
Ohio, in the year 1821. Am one of a family of seven 
children — four brothers and three sisters. My father 
came from New Jersey when a small boy. My grand- 
father also came from the same state, and settled in Ohio 
at an early day. 

Nearly forty years have passed away since my first 
purchase of prairie land, and settlement in Illinois, our 
time mostly being occupied in agricultural pursuits, and 
in raising hogs, sheep, horses and cattle. In this depart- 
ment of work we have been very successful. Our state 
has become one among the larger states, and thickly 
settled with people. Some are selling out and emigrat- 
ing farther west, notwithstanding there is room here 
to make a living and work only half the time. Since 
our settlement here my brother and two sisters have 
died, only two in our family remaining, David and my- 


self, the former named being the owner of a large amount 
of property. 

I have a family of five children, four of whom are mar- 
ried ; one is engaged in the dry goods and another in the 
hardware business. One of my daughters married the 
missionary, Rev. W. P. Paxso::, of St. Louis. He fre- 
quently goes to New York on business connected with 
the book concern and the missionary work in the West, 
and stays there from two to three months. I have re- 
quested him to call, the next time he goes East, and see 
our relatives in New Jersey. Our soil is varied, and 
mostly good for agricultural and grazing purposes ; yet 
we have long since learned that the soil will wear out 
without proper care and attention. 

Earth has many grand places for the few years of this 
life — places where the sunshine falls on rich land and is 
transformed into fruit and flowers — places where spring 
comes early and where the winters are short. P^or our 
three score and ten years, New Jersey, Ohio or Illinois is 
good enough. 

Your communication went further back in the family 
history than I had ever before been led. Among our 
relatives in the west I mention the name of Professor 
David Swing. The well-known preacher, who addresses 
in Central Music Hall every Sunday an audience of from 
2,500 to 3,000 people, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, 
August 18, 1830. His father died in 1832, and his 
mother married again, removing to Readsburg, Ohio, 
when David was seven years old. Three years later his 
family removed to a farm near Williamsburg, Ohio. At 


eighteen years of age he entered Miami University, at 
Oxford, Ohio, graduating in 1852. He studied theology 
at Cincinnati for one year, when he was appointed pro- 
fessor of Latin and Greek at the Miami University. Here 
he remained thirteen years, occasionally preaching till 
1866, when he was called to the new Westminster 
church, of Chicago, which soon united with another 
(old school) Presbyterian church, retaining him as pastor. 
The fire in 1871 destroyed his church, and he preached 
in McVicker's theatre until the completion of Central 
Music Hall, where he now preaches. 

\^Ex tract from the Neiu School Presbyterian.'] 

The Westminster church, Chicago, presented Professor 
David Swing, their pastor, on the first day of January, 
$500, and raised his salary from ^3,000 to $3,500. 

A great change had come over the face of the country 
since our settlement in Illinois in 1840, when the prairie 
was everywhere marked with cow-paths, made by cattle 
passing to and fro in search of water. Occasionally the 
bleached skeletons of cattle were seen, white and decayed. 
This section was formerly the " cattle ground," where vast 
herds were turned loose in spring and summer to shift 
for themselves. Look where we might, in either direc- 
tion, there was always cattle in sight, and fences were 
almost unknown. To-day fields of grain, farmhouses, 
and numerous villages, dot the plain, and remind us of 
our boyhood days in eastern states. 

In politics, as a family, we are divided. There are but 


few, if any, " Free Soilers," and no " Barn Burners," 
among us. 

By the blessing of Providence we enjoy good health, 
and finally hope to reach the Port of Peace. 

Yours truly, 


In the Mason City Independent, published February 
13th, we find the following item: 

'' Last week a sale was made between Shadrach D. 
Swing, of Illinois, and C. L. Stone, who bought one of 
Mr. Swing's farms, at Swing's Grove, three miles from 
Mason City, 240 acres, at fifty dollars per acre (^12,000). 
Mr. Swing takes the brick storehouse on Main street at 
;^6,500, and a dwelling-house in the north part of the city 
at ;^i,500, and a mortgage on the farm of ^^4,000. Mr, 
Stone is going to sow hayseed and be a granger." 

;u'- i^^S^iS^ 

f ia TRo-ue,i*L£.N<t, Co.. A/;y 




rN presenting to our readers the name of the gentleman 
whose name heads this chapter we are, of course, 
sensible of the fact that many of our people will be 
gratified to read a few "items" regarding the life and 
occupation of a prominent " Western man," and one of 
the living representatives of our family. His mother's 
maiden name was Nancy Crane. His parents were 
Wesley and Nancy Swing, both of whom were born in 
Salem county, N. J. Our hero was the fourth child born 
to them, and his parents, being persons of culture and 
refinement, undertook the education of their own family. 
These educational methods were highly practical; to 
know was made the incentive to do; hence the advice, 
" Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy 

His thoughts soon turned to the business of life, to 
striking out for himself, and being in a farming country 
naturally took to that occupation. Most of the farms in 
this section had to be cleared by cutting down large 
trees, and this required hard work, chopping wood, 
hauling logs with oxen, and pulling up stumps. He 


mowed grass with a scythe and grain with a sickle then, 
and one acre was considered a fair day's work. 

As he grew up his Hfe was as peaceful and happy and 
free from discontent as the home of a country lad could 
be. In the meantime he had met and courted the fair 
Maria Carruthers, believing woman to be the helper and 
counsellor of man. Soon after their marriage they estab- 
lished themselves on a good farm in Clermont county, 

He is now in the meridian of life, not far from sixty 
years of age, but looking younger. As a man he is full 
grown, standing six feet in height, perfectly innocent 
himself, and walks erect, with one foot before the other, 
is somewhat dignified and rather handsome, with a re- 
markably full, sonorous voice, but so kindly in manner 
and disposition that the admiration and respect of women, 
and even little children, were attracted. 

He was twice married, and raised a large family, the 
most of whom were daughters, who have already grown 
to womanly stature, married well, and settled down in life 
around him. After the death of his first wife he retired 
from the farm, entrusted its management to his eldest 
son, and removed himself into the village of Bethel, 
where a wider field of activity and usefulness awaited his 

For the past eighteen years the wholesale dry goods 
and notion trade claimed his attention. His motto has 
been ' Quick sales," with fair and honest dealing. He 
has made his own money, and carries about him the 
general air of a good common-sense business man. In 

.•I 'ill . 


ml) \}\ \\ V;^/^^ 

m> a-jft'^xi^ 

i^- if; 

TRl l^E?.' TCSK 


all his habits he is methodical ; in his plans, deliberate- 
and conscientious ; chaste in expression, and seldom 
embellishes his forms of speech with either flow^ers of 
rhetoric or the exuberance of poetical delineation, but 
expresses things which the people can understand 
without the use of a lexicon. In conversation he is 
pleasant and self-possessed, and when among friends 
delights in hearing good stories, of which he himself is 
well supplied. 

The demand of a western town of moderate size in a 
rich farming district is now so much larger than informer 
years that it exceeds the possibilities of the old assort- 
ment methods of former days, and looms up into double 
and treble proportions. 

By careful attention Mr. S. has founded an industry 
much wider and attractive in its range, and the people 
manifest a disposition to buy. His notion house (on 
wheels) perambulates the streets of our country towns 
regardless of mud, and reports business lively. Long 
may he persevere and continue to sell sound notions to 
his customers. 

In political views he is a staunch Republican, and 
during the war a consistent Union man, although the 
close attention paid his own business leaves but little 
time for participation in political life. He is proud of 
his ancestors, as he may have reason to be, but at the 
same time loves to dwell upon the difficult problems and 
stern realities of life w^hich brought the family to its 
present eminence. 

Some years ago he visited the writer in Salem county, 


and was delighted with the kind-hearted people found ill 
the state. He became acquainted with the late George 
M. Swing at Fairton, and other members of our family ; 
visited the " old stone church " (Presbyterian) and the 
M. E. church ; the graveyards, and also the farms of the 
late Simon Sparks and Michael Swing, located on the 
banks of the Cohansey river at Fairfield, N. J. 

H^i^ I'll subscribe for a copy of the " Swing History," 
if it amounts to nothing but a primer. 

Office of M. J. SWING, 



Bethel, Ohio, Sept. 28th. 
My Dear Cousin : — 

I write a line to inform you of my safe arrival home 
after my visit to New Jersey. We arrived at Bethel in 
pretty good shape, the cold contracted while on the 
journey having disappeared, and my health much im- 
proved. The goods purchased in New York are com- 
ing every day, and we have plenty to do marking and 
displaying them for sale. Have just opened the box of 
Duchess and Bartlett pears sent us ; they had ripened 
while on the journey and were splendid. Jersey soil 
and air give fruit a peculiarly good flavor, if Jersey is 

My trip throughout the Eastern states was very 
enjoyable all the way; not an accident or mishap of 
any kind occurred. Our people are anxious to hear 


the report of my visit, and some description of the place 
where our ancestors first settled in America. A brief 
historical sketch of our family in the East and in the 
West would be very interesting ; and as you are accus- 
tomed to writing and study, and enjoy a large corres- 
pondence with our people, I hereby propose that you 
proceed at once to write a biographical sketch, and "I'll 
subscribe for a copy of the ' history ' if it amounts to 
nothing but a primer." Am glad at all times to hear 
from our people, and would be glad to see you again 
among the big trees growing around our settlement, 
some of which still survive the storms and axemen. 

Here we can find quail, pigeon and prairie chicken. 
Almost every fall we go deer hunting to Michigan, 
West Virginia or Tennessee ; have a new breech-loading 
Parker gun, weighing ten pounds, ten gauge, and have 
captured several deer and wild turkeys in my time. 
While tramping through the forest and over the moun- 
tains we usually have a guide, an old hunter, board with 
the backwoodsmen, and eat corn bread and bacon with 
great relish. Last fall our party was hunting on Wal- 
den's Ridge, within twenty miles of Chattanooga, Ten- 
nessee. I believe that any one who enjoys innocent 
amusement, hunting and fishing, will live longer and 
better. Such trips add ten years at least to a man's life, 
and make him more industrious, useful and happy at 




Extract from the Clermont {Ohio) Sun. 

Cumberland Mountains, Nov. 30, '88. 

Messrs. J. F. Knight, M. J. Swing and C. H. Homan 
arrived here Friday, the 16th inst., and have bagged to 
date one gobbler and three deer, one of them a fine 
large buck. It so happened that the whole party \vas 
together when all of them were killed. The first two 
killed were a large doe and her fawn. They intruded too 
close to where the party was sitting on a log resting. 
When they were discovered passing at our backs we 
turned suddenly and opened fire from the whole line, 
and the two fell dead in their tracks. Then, of course, 
we felt much proud. We got help and carried them in, 
dressed them, got a good warm supper at 'Squire Wm. 
Whittaker's, where we w^ere stopping, talked deer during 
the evening and went to bed feeling first rate. To the 
eye and ear of experienced hunters there is no sight nor 
sound more grand and exciting than the music of a full 
pack of well trained dogs in full pursuit of game, and 
the sight of a noble stag running at full speed. One 
might suppose, from the long, branching horns that it 
would be difficult for them to force their way through 
the woods, but, in fact, its horns are a defense, as it lays 
them flat on its back and plunges through the forest 
with great rapidit)'. 

In a few days after, the buck tackled us, when we 


tl|||||iil,ll!lli;ii]|.iVi-: . "!^. ;J^iiiillllllllllllliilllllillllll>:ii:il"lil!l!. 





opened on him and downed him with only six loads. 
Then we grew a foot. It takes old hunters to down such 
game. Providence sent a young man to us with a 
strong mule, and as he offered to take our prize in for 
us, we loaded him on the mule, thereby making it easy 
for ourselves. Everybody in the mountains is just as 
clever to strangers as can be. We had many invitations 
to call upon persons with whom we met ; in fact, it is 
the custom with all the mountaineers to invite anyone, 
though he be an entire stranger, to eat with them if they 
happen in at meal time. This is a very healthy coun- 
try, and if it was not necessary to return to the land that 
gave us birth, would be glad to stay longer with those 
who have so kindly cared for us, but we expect to be in 
old Clermont ere this reaches the firesides of the readers 
of the Sun. Good bye, " my deer," till we meet again. 





>^ACHARIAH RILEY, who has been a citizen of 
£G) this county for more than sixty-five years, was 
buried in the Swing family graveyard, on the 
Ohio pike, on the 12th inst. His remains were taken 
into the M. E. church at Bethel, a larfje audience beings 
present. The services were very impressive, consisting 
of scriptural reading, singing and prayer by Rev. G. W. 
Swing, after which the following was read by Rev. 
Chiney, preacher in charge : 

Zachariah Riley, whose lifeless form lies before us 
here to-day, departed this life in peace on the loth inst. 
at 9.30 A. M., at the residence of John Riley, his son, in 
Bethel, Ohio. 

He was in his eighty-fourth year. He professed faith 
in Christ in early life. He was baptized — that is, im- 
mersed in water — in the name of the Holy Trinity, 
by Rev. John Collins, more than sixty years ago, by 
whom he was also received into the M. E. church, where 
he remained an acceptable member for several years, 
when he obtained a letter of good standing, and joined 
the Baptist church at Bethel, Ohio, in the fellowship of 


which church he remained until his release from his 
earthly tenement. 

He was joined in marriage to Mary Swing (only 
daughter of George Swing) in 1816. Their family con- 
sisted of eleven children, nine sons and two daughters, 
eight of whom are still living, seven sons and one daugh- 
ter. His wife closed her peaceful and quiet life in triumph 
over ten years ago. 

He was a soldier in the war of 1812, and has regularly 
received the benefit of a pension as such. His eyesight 
failed him over twelve years ago, and though compelled 
to grope his way in gloom and darkness, abandoning 
forever many pleasures consequent upon the sense of 
sight, yet he was never heard to murmur or complain, or 
even deem his lot a hard one ; but with an intellect 
vigorous for planning he found many avenues of pleasure 
and happiness to his mind that he might never have 
thought of if his sight had remained. From this loss 
he became more resigned, quiet and hopeful for the 
future, all vanity, worldly-mindedness and ambition were 
greatly abated, and in their stead more humility, charity 
and meekness, so that even this light affliction was 
greatly sanctified to his good. His memory, which was 
always good, was now greatly strengthened, his conver- 
sational powers much improved, and his love for old 
acquaintances greatly quickened. He delighted very 
much in talking with young people, giving his own 
experience and warning them of the dangers in their 
pathway. He was always peculiarly fond of children, 
and by kind talk, thrilling stories and many little presents 


and rewards he won them and bound their hearts to his 
so that they loved to meet him and lead and call him 
their own blind grandpa. 

He was always fond of church privileges, and spent as 
many of his Sabbaths in the sanctuary of the Lord as 
almost any man among us. This was the habit of his 
life, and continued unto the last, having attended a 
series of meetings held here recently, in which he took 
an active part, giving of his joyful Christian experience. 

For many years his desire, as expressed to his friends 
(and prayer to God as well), has been that he might not 
become helpless, or suffer much or long in his last 
illness. It was even so; his sickness was only one short 
week and his sufferings very light, having quietly, gradu- 
ally and painlessly breathed his life away, without a 
groan or struggle, or even a death frown. 

His request was that no funeral sermon should be 
preached. A friend whom he had selected was to conduct 
the services with singing and prayer ; he desired to be laid 
in his grave with as little trouble to any one as possible. 
His prayer in life was that he might die in peace, and his 
request to his children was that he might be buried 
quietly, and all to be free from the pomp and vanity of 
this world. His pilgrimage has ended ; his cloudy days 
are passed ; his sufferings are over ; his feet are through 
the journey, and may we not modestly hope that he has 
already realized the joy that is felt wdiere there are no 
tears or troubles, no groans or o-raves, and where sorrow 
and sighing forever flee away ? 




AMUEL SWING was born at Pittsgrove, Salem 
county, in 1810, and belonged to a generation 
whose active work is remembered only in the 
past. In early life he was interested in agricultural pur- 
suits, the study of music and the military drill. One of 
his greatest triumphs was his ability to march in the 
military parades of the olden time, and handle the " drum 
sticks." Throughout the community he was known as 
the drummer boy, and from his youth up to middle age 
delighted in musical recreation. 

In marriage he was united to Miss Elizabeth Van 
Meter, daughter of Deacon Erasmus Van Meter, a 
prominent land owner and stock grower of Salem county. 
After his marriage Mr. Swing removed to his farm, 
where they lived some thirty years, and his business ac- 
tivity ended only with his life. On Thursday, June 25th, 
he met with an accident ; he was driving a pair of young 
horses into the barn with a load of hay, when his head 
and shoulders were jammed against the beam over the 
top of the door, causing his arms to be bruised and 
paralyzed, and fracturing the skull. After four days of 


intense suffering death came to his rehef He died on 
Monday, June 29, 1874, aged sixty-four years. He 
leaves a widow and family of children, three of whom 
survive him, to wit : Dr. E. V. Swing, of Coatesville, 
Pa., Mrs, Ruth Dunham, and Mary Jane, the latter 
named residing on the homestead farm. 

In politics Mr. Swing was a Republican, a strong Union 
man during the war, honest in his convictions, and withal 
regarded as a solid, substantial citizen. His sudden 
death has left a vacant place in the home and family cir- 
cle not easily filled. 

" If death our friends and us divide, 
Thou dost not. Lord, our sorrow chide, 

Nor frown our tears to see. 
We feel a strong, immortal hope. 
Which bears our mournful spirits up 
Beneath their mountain load. 

" Pass a few fleeting moments more, 
And death the blessing shall restore. 
Which death has snatched away. 
For us thou wilt the summons send. 
And give us back our parted friend 
In that eternal day." 

\_Ex tract from the National Standard, Salem, N. J. ] 
As we go to press we learn that the accident which 
befell Samuel Swing has resulted fatally. The deceased 
was driving a load of hay into his barn and his head 
struck the beam over the doorway which rendered him 
senseless, and paralyzed him so he could not move. He 
lived until Monday about midnight, when he expired. 
Interment and funeral service at the Presbyterian church, 





R. FREDERICK CARMAN, the subject of 
these remarks, was born in Deerfield township, 
Cumberland county, N. J., August ii, 1798. 
The name of his father was Frederick Carman. He was 
owner of a large farm near Allowaystown in Salem 
county, where he Hved for many years. After this farm 
was improved, he sold it and bought another, near 
Woodruff's. His mother's maiden name was Catharine 
Fox. The names of his father's six children were 
Frederick, Mark, -Margaret, Daniel and Polly ; four of 
these are now living ; two of them have finished their 
earthly course and passed away from the scene of earthly 
things. His first recollection of attending school was in 
a log school-house, near Woodruff's church. The 
names of our teachers were Mark Peck, John Rose, John 
Smith. Mr. Smith was a good teacher, a kind-hearted 
man ; by his assistance he mastered addition, subtraction, 
multiplication and division. The names of many of his 
school companions are fresh in his memory, and the 
lessons learned in the old log school-house were never 
forgotten. In 18 12 the war broke out between England 
and the United States. 




Father enlisted in the heavy artillery for eighteen 
months, and was stationed for a time at Fort Mifflin. 
He was absent in the service about one year. When he 
returned, his son Frederick, a boy of fifteen years, went 
with him to Fort Mifflin, and was examined by the 
recruiting officer, and enlisted May 11,1813. -^ soldier's 
cap was placed on his head, a flint-lock musket in his 
hand, and he was assigned to duty on the outpost. 

As the darkness of night began to gather around the 
place the boy examined his gun and assured himself that 
it was loaded, but was not sure that the flint was in 
perfect order. To test its good qualities he poured the 
priming out of the pan and snapped it, when, to his 
astonishment and surprise, the musket went off with a 
tremendous report. A few moments later the roll of the 
reveille sounded at camp, and an officer on horseback 
came galloping along the river bank. Halting at the 
post he inquired : *' Did you fire that gun? " '* Yes, sir," 
answered Frederick. " What for? " inquired the officer. 
Anxious to invent some excuse the officer was informed 
that the mosquitoes and green head flies were very 
troublesome, and in fighting them off his coat sleeve 
caught on the cock of the musket and the load was 
accidentally discharged. " You have no right to fire a 
gun without an enemy in sight," said the officer, "and I 
shall hereby order your arrest." 

The next morning, Frederick, with two other offenders, 
were marched into the presence of Lieutenant Stewart 
and Major-General Beal, commanders of the fort. 

"And what is the charge against this lad?" inquired 


General Beal. " Firing off his gun and creating a false 
alarm on the outpost," said the sergeant. 

The story of the flies and mosquitoes was repeated. 

"Let's see your gun?" said the major-general, examin- 
inp- the lock. Handino; it back to Frederick he said : 
" Show me how you were fighting the mosquitoes." 

Then our hero went through the motions, but was 
unable in this way to spring the strong lock on the 

" Ah ! " said the major-general ; " to the offence com- 
mitted he certainly has added a lie. What shall be done 
with this man ? We regret exceedingly to have him 

Then Frederick burst into tears and confessed to the 
truth. After some further conversation General Beal 
remarked : " We forgive the lad. Sergeant, take him 
away; give him another gun — one that is sure fire; and 
to-morrow night try him again on the outpost." 

By strict attention to duty Frederick soon became a 
favorite among the officers, and being a good oarsman 
was often employed in rowing boats across the Delaware 
river to convey the officers to headquarters in Phila- 

After serving out the time of enlistment, they were 
sent to Philadelphia, received their pay and discharge 
from General Bromfield ; the soldiers from Cumberland 
county returned home in a vessel. The young man's 
military achievements had made him deservedly popular 
among the young people, for he had lived in a time of 
extraordinary activity in the development of the country. 


and in the days that " tried men's souls" assisted to carry 
our banner through the storms of war to peace and 

Mr. Frederick Carman and Miss Margaret Edwards 
were married November ii, 1821, by Rev. Holmes 
Parvin. The waiters were Mr. Ananias Edwards and 
Mary Fox, all of whom are now living. In 1821 Mr. 
Carman built a new house on the road to Woodruffs 
Mill, and commenced housekeeping in it. Here four 
children were born. In 1825 Mr. and Mrs. Carman 
joined the M, E. church during the ministry of Rev. 
Walter Burroughs. After living in this house eight 
years, he sold it and moved into Bridgeton. He did not 
locate along the creek, on the low ground, but pur- 
chased a lot on Laurel Hill, where the ground is high 
and the water runs deep and still. Here he built another 
house, and here three children were born. In 1834 he 
sold his property in Bridgeton, moved to the Lake, and 
purchased a farm there. Soon after his arrival, they 
both joined the M. E. church by certificate, and being 
the best singer in the congregation he was elected chor- 
ister, which office he filled for nearly fifteen years. He 
was also class leader in that church. The ministers who 
traveled Gloucester circuit during these years were the 
Revs. Abram Owen, Noah Edwards, H. S. Norris, S. 
Hudson, Joseph Atwood, Jonas R. Chew and L. O. 
Manchester ; all these ministers were remembered and 
often entertained at Father Carman's house. He is a 
man who has always been active, industrious, a good 
citizen, kind neighbor and friend, useful in his family, in 


the church and in the community in which he Hved. 
The father of ten children, he believed in the scriptural 
injunction, '' Be ye fruitful, and multiply and replenish 
the earth." The names of the children were John, Eliza 
E., Frederick, Margaret, Mary, Rachel Jane, Gideon B., 
Lydia, Emily R. and Allen S. 

It may be said that the religious life of Father Carman 
was not as a flashing meteor, but as one of the fixed 
stars, always in its place. He was relied on by his 
pastor, anxious to do his duty, and if called on to 
** testify" in meeting had not the inclination to refuse. 
At the Lake, and other places of residence, none was 
more respected and none took a livelier interest in the 
prosperity of the church and the welfare of the com- 

His years increasing, and his family grown up, married 
and settled in other places, he again removed to the city 
of Bridgeton, where the family have enjoyed their annual 
reunions together, one of the largest of these gatherings 
being on Thursday, August 15, 1878, to celebrate the 
anniversary of his eightieth year. After partaking of a 
bountiful dinner, which was served in excellent style, the 
company assembled in the parlor at 2 o'clock p. m., and 
sung the hymn : 

" Blest be the tie that binds 
Our hearts in Christian love." 

Prayer was offered by John Carman, of Vineland, and an 
address delivered by Gilbert S. Swing. 

In closing this sketch of Mr. and Mrs. Carman, I 


would just say, you have enjoyed a married life of nearly 
fifty-seven years together. Ten children are now living ; 
they sit within the sound of my voice; they are all here 
to-day to unite their voice and their song in thanksgiving 
and praise. 

Fifty-three grandchildren and thirteen great grandchil- 
dren, rise up "to call thee blessed." You have been 
acceptable members of the M. E. church for more than 
fifty years; you have chosen the better part which never 
can be taken away; you have fulfilled the duties of a 
long and useful life, and are now almost in sight of our 
Father's house in heaven. 


The third annual gathering of the large and well- 
known family of Frederick Carman, met at his late resi- 
dence, in this city, June 3, 1882, to celebrate the anni- 
versary of the eightieth year of his surviving widow, 
Mrs. Margaret Carman. 

Carriages from the country and passengers on the 
early trains reached the city at 10 a.m., some of the rep- 
resentatives residing at Newfield, the Lake, Vineland, 
Williamstown, Atlantic City and Cape May. 

After enjoying a good dinner, the company was called 
to order by Charles Jepson, Esq., and addressed by Gil- 
bert S. Swing. The speaker commenced by saying there 
were four things necessary to make a family gathering a 


success, to wit : A good reception, a good dinner, good 
music and a good speech. The reception, dinner and 
singing have been all that could be desired, but the ad- 
dress, it was feared, would be the least entertaining of 
all. Since coming here and looking upon this assembly 
of distinguished men, women and children, we have 
tried to escape this ordeal, but have been unable to effect 
a sale. 

In the Bible we read, " In six days God created the 
heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day ended 
his work, rested from his labor and pronounced it good." 
Commemoration is natural to the heart, and therefore 
the usage of renewing the recollection of great events is 
commendable and worthy of praise. The degree of in- 
terest is in proportion to the character and value of that 
which is remembered. The birthdays of individuals are 
often celebrated, and marriage days as well. States and 
nations commemorate great events, such as William 
Penn's treaty with the Indians, the signing of the Declar- 
ation of Independence, July 4th, 1776, and the birthday 
of Washington. Thus it will be seen that days of com- 
memoration have been observed through all periods of 
time, and ordained by our Creator from the foundation 
of the world. One of the most pleasant things connect- 
ed with family re- unions is the coming home of the boys 
and the girls, who often continue to be boys and girls, 
even though their heads be tinged with the scars of life's 

We are coming home to-day to visit again for a little 
while the old familiar scene, to sit by the accustomed fire- 


side and renew the companionship and the fraternal greet- 
ings of youth. Father and sons, mother and daughters, 
sisters and brothers, parted in search of education, in 
the struggle for wealth, are coming together again at 
this time, and the vacant places at the table will be filled. 
Like the patriarchs of old our people have killed the 
fatted calf, and make merry with family and friends. 
The delight that everyone feels while preparing to grat- 
ify, or even to surprise friends by kindly gifts; the satis- 
faction that comes to those who have contributed to the 
happiness of others, brings with it so much amusement, 
good feeling and personal enjoyment that it might be 
well to keep the spirit of family reunions alive. 

One of the ways in which our esteem is manifested is 
in presenting gifts, and this will make us more disposed 
to charity and better able to appreciate the happiness of 

It has been said by one of the ancient writers of the 
olden time that true happiness consists in the following 
sentiment : " Love to God and love to man, love to one 
woman, — and the possession of a good hired girl." 
(Laughter and applause.) 

Coming down to later events, we meet together to 
celebrate the anniversary and birthday of Mrs. Margaret 
Carman, who was born in Deerfield township, Cumber- 
land county, N. J., June 4, 1802. You may look upon 
this venerable lady, moving around among her posterity 
with a firm step and loving spirit, and in the enjoyment 
of reasonable health ; surrounded by all the attractions 
of home, by relatives, friends, and everything that con- 


spires to make life agreeable and existence a charm. 
To Frederick I would say, " Your mother welcomes you 
again to this family circle and to the home of your 
father, and not only yourself, but the remaining nine 
children from the storehouse, the farm, the factory and 
the mill. And our mother rejoices to know that among 
her daughters were those whose comeliness and personal 
charms were sufficient to allure young men into the 
marriage relation, and thereby the family embraces not 
only the illustrious name of Carman, but also those of 
Kirby, Dougherty, Jepson, Swing and Johnson, and 
these were the men who hope to make their names hon- 

" Lives of great men all remind us 
We can make our lives sublime, 
And, departing, leave behind us 
Footprints on the sands of time." 

I now come to what may appear to you a more inter- 
esting and appropriate theme — the presentation of useful 
and ornamental presents — among which I notice that of a 
pair of gold spectacles, composed of glass and gold ; 
and through these glasses you may look upon the hearty 
complexion of your daughter, may admire them as 
patrons of neatness and household economy, or look 
with eyes of love and wonder upon their gorgeous bon- 
nets, and through these glasses read the Psalms of 
David and the promises recorded in the Bible to the 
Christian of the life that now is, and of that which is to 


It will be remembered that nearly four years ago a 
gathering, somewhat similar to this, convened in this 
house, it being the anniversary of your father, when in 
his eightieth year, and since that time deceased, and also 
one of his daughters, Mrs. Rachel Johnson, who died 
recently at Cape May, and passed away to the scenes of 
a brighter and better life. 

When we leave this place and journey toward our 
distant homes, may we remember this occasion as being 
a day well spent, and memorable in the history of our 





©NE of the oldest villages in Salem county is Willow 
Grove, located near the eastern part of the county 
line, at the head of Maurice river navigation, twenty- 
four miles from Salem, the county seat. Before the Revolu- 
tion a few hardy pioneers and lumbermen located here and 
engaged in cutting pine and cedar logs, and making 
shingles for building purposes. These were floated 
dow^n the river in large rafts, finding a good market in 
Philadelphia, Baltimore, and other cities. 

For the first one hundred years of its history the place 
was known as Fork Bridge, and obtained its name from 
the circunistance of tw^o large bodies of water coming 
together at this point, one stream from Porch's Mills and 
the other from Malaga, and both entering at the head of 
the pond. Just below this was constructed a mill-dam 
one-quarter of a mile in length, and a long bridge cross- 
ing the stream. This immense body of water is used for 
driving tv/o mills — one for sawing lumber, the other for 
grinding grain and feed — while the waste water, of which 


there is a vast amount, passes with a rumbHng sound 
over the gates into the river below. 

The date of the first building of those mills is unknown 
to the writer^ but most of our older citizens will remem- 
ber the names of the early settlers who resided here for 
three-quarters of a century. John Richman, James Ed- 
wards, Michael Potter, Richard Langley, Rev. John 
Clark, and his son, Rev. James Clark, both of whom in 
their day and time became eminent preachers of the 
gospel; Matthias and Adam Kandle, MacKendey Rich- 
man, Joshua Lacy, Reuben Langley, William Bowers, 
Felix English, John Wesley Potter, Rev. Samuel Wood- 
ford and David Carton, all of whom resided in this 
vicinity and owned mills, farms and tracts of timber 
land, raised large families of children, and lived to see 
almost the entire community grow up around them. 
Some of the industrious men herein named still linger on 
the shores of time, while others have solved the mystery 
of death and passed away, leaving brilliant records behind 

The post-office is Willow Grove, named in honor of 
those- majestic willow trees surrounding the water-course, 
one ancient mother tree measuring fourteen feet and ten 
inches in circumference. The village contains a couple 
of stores and a post-office, Michael Potter, Jr., being the 
postmaster; a church and school house, and several 
residences, around which are a number of well-tilled 

A large amount of ice is generally gathered here and 


housed along the shore, and shipped in the summer to 
Vineland, Atlantic City, and other places. 

Richard Langley & Son, the present owners of the 
mill, do a flourishing business, their brand of flour being 
in demand throughout the country. We found the 
miller, Z. W. Dare, who has long been engaged in this 
occupation, at his post of duty, and who richly deserves 
the position which he fills. He is a good-natured, portly 
gentleman, now in the meridian of life, with bright, 
piercing eyes, which scan the Dollar Weekly News, and 
keep well-posted in the price of corn, and enjoys life to 
its fullest extent. 

Longevity appears to be one of the leading character- 
istics inherited by this people. Meeting a noted octo- 
genarian, living on the road from Porch's Mills to Willow 
Grove, a Salem county physician said to him : " Mr. 
Langley, I think you have the consumption." " What 
me ? No, sir ; nothing ails me. The doctors would 
like to get after me and make me sick. I never took 
much doctors' stuff. My wind is good, and I can out- 
chop all the doctors in Salem county." The good man 
then related how, in order to keep his teams going, he 
had caught cold while chopping in the woods in damp 
weather, and did not feel as well as usual. Another old 
resident informed me that he cast his first vote in 1806, 
and was out on last election day and voted for the 
seventy-seventh time. In his younger days he shot 
about one hundred deers, and on one occasion, with 
rifle balls, killed two at one shot. 


Here was a sportsman's paradise, amid scenery of the 
most beautiful description, the forest abounding in game, 
and the pond and river teeming with fish. All the forest- 
to the south of this locality afforded good sport, and the 
hunter could take his choice of going a long or a short 
distance. Fifty years ago partridges and squirrels were 
very numerous. When a weak or lazy man went after 
game he took a boy with him to carry the load home, 
which they divided with friends and neighbors. The 
country that in his younger days was covered with a 
heavy growth of timber is now occupied by hundreds of 
valuable farms, and the game then abundant has almost 
disappeared from the busy haunts of men. 

Half a mile from the village we pass the Richman 
farm — the flower garden of this locality. The dwellings 
were literally surrounded by climbing plants, sunflowers, 
clematis. Duchess of Edinburgh and Bourbon roses, 
dahlias, etc. 

"There woman reigns ; the mother, daughter, wife. 
Strew with fresh flowers the narrow way of life." 

As we mused upon the scene before us, we thought it 
no sad fate to be a farmer, or a school teacher either, in 
such a corner of the earth. 

For several years past it has been the custom of the 
descendants of Michael Potter, Sr., to celebrate the anni- 
versary of his birth. Wednesday he reached his ninety- 
ninth birthday, and the event was celebrated by a family 
reunion which embraced nearly the whole settlement of 


Willow Grove and many other persons besides. The 
residence is about three hundred yards west of the 
church. He built the house in 1 811, in which year he 
was married, and here he has continuously resided. It 
is his boast that he has never moved since he married. 

He visited the Centennial Exhibition in 1876, and 
is well known all over this and adjoining counties, but 
was never farther away from home than Philadelphia and 
Cape May. He is still hale and hearty, and goes into 
the woods with his axe to chop a little. He enjoys tell- 
ing a " yarn." 

A large table was spread under the oaks near the M. 
E. church, on which the ladies placed the best the market 
and farm could produce. At noon the older members 
of the family, with the invited guests, sat down to dinner, 
when the whole party joined in singing, " Praise God 
from whom all blessings flow," after which grace was 
said by the pastor of the church. Rev. J. G. Edwards. 
At this table were seated sixty-one persons. The table 
was loaded ** with all manner of food" — roast chickens, 
roast meats, vegetables of all sorts, a dozen or more 
varieties of caV'c, fruit, confections, pies, coffee, tea, 
chocolate, rolls, butter, sauces, puJdings, everything the 
appetite could desire. Near the upper end of the table, 
and between two of his sons, sat the aged patriarch. 
Any one looking at him or listening to him would take 
him to be about eighty years of age. He was dressed 
in a blue coat, with dark satinet pants and vest. He is a 
small man, and quite hale and hearty. He ate heartily 
and with as much relish as any young man at the table, 


of chicken, beef, vegetables, cake and pie, and drank two 
cups of coffee. While eating a piece of cake a young 
lady approached with a plate of cake, and said : " Grand- 
father, will you have a piece of this cake ?" He replied, 
pleasantly, " No, I've got enough." 

Mr. Potter is the father of eleven children — seven sons 
and four daughters. Eight of them are still living, two 
sons and one daughter are dead. All lived, how^ever, to 
have families. He had the pleasure yesterday of having 
all his living sons present, a circumstance which has not 
occurred before for a number of years. One daughter, 
Mrs. Ambrose Pancoast, of Pancoastville, has been many 
years an invalid, and could not be present. 

Mr. Potter is quite a local celebrity. He was a militia 
officer in the third company of the Salem brigade during 
the war of 1812. He still has his epaulettes and sword. 
He says : " I w^as the ensign of the company, and was 
afterwards made its captain. I have one of the hand- 
somest swords there was in the regiment — the hilt is 
solid silver." 

He married in 181 1, his wife dying June 25, 1863, 
twenty years ago last month. The names of his children 
are John W. Potter, deceased, Matthias R. Potter, Jacob 
Potter, Henry Potter, Emeline Pancoast, Hannah Kandle, 
deceased, Ephraim K. Potter, deceased, Charlotte Sharp, 
Lydia A. Clark, Michael Potter, Jr., and James K. 

After the first table was served, a second table of sixty- 
two persons were seated, and after that a third table of 


forty-three, and after that a lot of stragglers. There was 
an abundance of food for all. 

The old gentleman likes to talk, and he talks intelli- 
gently and in a very sprightly manner. When Miss 
Leavitt approached him to shake hands she said, ** You 
don't know me, do you ? " " Oh, yes," he replied, " but 
my eyesight is a little poor." He does not use glasses, 
but he can see to tell the time on a watch. 

He said: " My father's name was Henry Oxinbaker; 
he was a German, and came from Germany. He was a 
potter by trade, and people used to call him ' old Henry 
the potter,' and that is how we came by the name of 
Potter. My mother's name was Christine Mooney, and 
she came from the Blue Mountains in the northern part 
of the state. My parents died at about sixty-nine or 
seventy years of age, but my old Grandmother Mooney 
was pretty old ; she used to say she was over a hundred, 
but she wasn't, for towards the last she used to forget and 
gain ahead and think she was older than she was ; but she 
always remembered that she was just twenty years old 
when her son, Adam, was born ; so I got the old Dutch 
Bible and saw what year Adam was born in, and then I 
added twenty years to that and that made her ninety- 
seven years old when she died." 

" You have always been very healthy, have you not?" 
was asked him. "Well, yes; I never took ;^io worth of 
medicine in my life ; I never had much doctor's stuff in 
me." He related how he was taken sick once and how 
he got his mother to put on the big pot to sweat it out 
of him, and how he ate a piece of pig-tail tobacco to 


induce vomiting. He said he never used tobacco and 
was never drunk but once in his Hfe, and that was when 
he was betw^een boy and man. He said : '* I never 
saw but one man who could out-jump me. He was a 
Httle fellow and could jump thirty-six feet forwards or 
backwards. I could jump thirty -two feet. John Han- 
kins used to think he was a great jumper, but I beat him 
at Port Elizabeth. He was jumping off the tavern 
steps, and had great holes where he had jumped. I out- 
jumped him three or four inches. Very few men could 
throw me wrestling. Jim Creese and Joe Dallas and 
others came here to Fork Bridge to put up a mill ; they 
were millwrights, and Joe Dallas wanted to know who 
was the bully of Fork Bridge, and when they told him I 
was, he said, what, that little fellow ? Well, I'll be the 
bully now. When we come to WTCstle I threw him 
twice out of three times, and the last time he tried to 
jump over me and catch the 'crotch lock' but I threw 
him over my head, and when he came down it hurt him; 
he did not wrestle with me any more. This was before 
I was married, and became a meeting man. I built my 
house then and moved into it, and I've never moved 
since. I followed floating lumber from here and from 
Malaga to Millville and Port Elizabeth for forty years. 
I floated for Sam Downs, Aquilla Downs, Bill Chew and 
others. There is not one of them living no\v. I used 
to go with Polly Stewart, Betsy Stewart and Nancy 
Stewart, who lived about Tuckahoe. I used to court 
Betsy Stewart. They are all dead, all passed away, 
gone home ahead of me." 


Mr. Potter was for more than sixty years the sexton 
of the church of which he was and is still a member. 
He was born in 1784 and consequently has lived through 
the term of every president of the United States but the 
present one; he has seen the administration of the 
twenty-one presidents. He was born three years and two 
months before the adoption of the constitution, and he 
still has a quantity of continental money. The remark 
was made that he had voted a good many times and it 
was supposed he voted a good Democratic ticket. The 
old man smiled and said shrewdly, " They give me a 
ticket and tell me that it is the right one," but he added, 
'* I voted for John T. Nixon when he ran for congress, 
I was a judge of election then and the other man was a 
' no heller,' and carted the men around and gave them 
rum, so I wouldn't vote for him. I voted for Nixon be- 
cause I thought he was the best man." In politics he 
has always been a Democrat, and yet, strange to say, 
the greater portion of his male descendants are Repub- 
licans, which goes to show that they did not follow the 
old gentleman's political teachings. 

All the relatives present collected on seats together to 
the number of 175, to be photographed; Grandfather 
Potter in the centre, with his sons and sons-in-law and 
daughters-in-law at his side. Then the three oldest per- 
sons in the company were photographed together, Mr. 
Potter, aged 100, Bartholomew Cole, 99, Mrs. Hosea 
Joslin, 89. 

After dinner the asseniblage repaired to the church, 
filling it completely, where a service of song was held, 


and speeches made by Revs. J. L. Roe, J. G. Edwards 
and Samuel Woolford, Mr. Potter also expressing his 
obligations to those present in a very neat speech. He 
said: *' I am very thankful that God has taken care of 
me until this time. I have a goodly number of blessings 
and I am glad to see so many of my descendants and 
friends here to-day. I have been spared many years to 
serve God, and I feel very thankful that so many of you 
have come here to-day. I am ninety-nine; I don't wish 
to live a hundred years. Whenever I get so I cannot 
take care of myself I want to go home. I now under- 
stand w^hat old Daddy Long used to say when he was 
preaching, * Or the silver cord is broken, or the golden 
bowl is broken, and the windows became darkened,' &c.; 
I did not understand it then, but now I understand it all. 
I am ready to go home. I am glad you are here and I 
hope you will all enjoy yourselves." Mr. Ambrose Pan- 
coast made a few remarks in which he said that the 
father and all the children and most all the grandchil- 
dren were Methodists, and that in all this large family 
there were none who drank liquor or who used profane 
language. The old man's hearing seems to be still per- 
fect, and his voice is clear and distinct ; he says he feels 
signs of decay in his eyesight, and in his toes; in all 
other respects he feels as well as he did a year ago. 



Yesterday morning dawned bright and clear, and at 
daybreak, almost, people began to congregate at Willow 
Grove to join in celebrating the looth anniversary of 
the birth of Michael Potter. By 10 o'clock there were 
500 people at the Grove, and every hour thereafter aug- 
mented the number, until 5 o'clock in the afternoon 
there were fully 3000 people on the grounds. As he is 
a well-known citizen in this end of the state, the occa- 
sion was made one of great festivity. Every road lead- 
ing to Willow Grove was lined with carriages and wag- 
ons, and scores of people from Bridgeton, Millville, 
Vineland, Pancoastville, Salem, Woodstown and other 
places were present. It is estimated that there were 500 
vehicles on the grounds during the day. People flocked 
there from all parts of South Jersey, and were anxious 
to see the old man, and to shake his hand. The old 
gentleman bore up bravely all day, and did not show 
any unusual fatigue when night came. The Vineland 
Cornet Band furnished the music for the occasion, and 
right good music it was, too. 

This patriarch was born and has always lived at Wil- 
low Grove, where he has spent a quiet, pious, uneventful 
and happy life. He is the father of eleven children, 
having married Lydia Richman, who was born in 1793, 
and died in 1863. They were united in Willow Grove 
on the 31st of July, 181 1. All of their eleven children 
grew up and married, and seven of them are still living. 


besides nine children-in-law. The total number of the 
descendants of the venerable centenarian is about two 
hundred and fifty, most of whom are Hving to-day. 

When the couple went to housekeeping they had two 
rooms 18x16, one above and one below. The family 
increased and every time a new arrival would put in an 
appearance, Mr. Potter would make a division of the 
18x16 room, and he continued making divisions until 
he had four rooms made out of the original one. The 
family continued to increase, so he converted a shed into 
an addition to his house, which contained two rooms, 
a dining-room and a bed-room. The usual arrival 
came, and it was necessary to divide this bed-room into 
two rooms. Just about ten years before his wife died he 
built another addition to his house, and the house stands 
that way to-day. It is two stories high, and is only a 
short distance from the church. His children all lived 
to grow up and marry. Mr. Potter never married again. 
He was faithful to his first and only love. He says he 
has been a granddaddy a great many years. His wife's 
tombstone can be seen in the M. E. cemetery. She died 
at the age of seventy years and five months. 


While Michael Potter was the chief attraction, there 
was still another gentleman there who crowds him 
pretty close in age. This gentleman was Mr. Bartholo- 
mew Coles, who lives near Harrisonville, in Piles Grove 
township. Mr. Coles turned his ninety-ninth mile stone 


the 7th inst., and says he celebrated his birthday by 
mowing. Mr. Cole appeared in very good health and 
held himself quite upright. He was born near Cole's 
mills, which was named after him, and was one of a 
family of eleven, all of whom he survives. He has 
several great-great-grandchildren living. His hair is 
perfectly white, and his eyes are dim, but he is not bald, 
and his erect carriage makes him appear as if he might 
live ten years to come. Mr. Potter is able to walk by 
using two canes, and Mr. Coles is able to "go it alone." 
It was entertaining to listen to these old patriarchs talk 
over " 3/e olden times." 

Some characteristics: Mr. Potter says he never used 
whiskey to any extent. He said he used to take a little 
"applejack " when he worked in the harvest field, but he 
never made it a practice to drink anything in the way of 
intoxicants. He has never used tobacco. He has never 
taken a dose of medicine in his life, and never employed 
a physician but once. He related that he had cut 
his leg and the physician upon whom he called to sew 
it up made such a bungling job of it that he vowed 
he would never have anything to do with doctors 
again, and he has scrupulously kept his vow. He re- 
garded doctors as humbugs ; was in the habit of 
going to bed early, and getting up at five o'clock. 
He used to weigh 144 pounds when young, and butch- 
ered hogs with the best of them. He was a shoemaker 
by trade, and also a farmer and lumber merchant. Up 
to two years ago he could read a newspaper. He can 
hear distinctly, and he possesses all his other faculties. 


There is nothing childish about him, and he knows by 
name nearly the whole long train of Potters. He sat 
yesterday in a chair perched upon a dry goods box, 
w^here he was at all times hemmed in by a curious crowd. 
Hundreds of his acquaintances shook hands with him. 
The old gentleman is brimful of interesting reminis- 
cences, and was a great deer hunter in his younger days. 
He killed ten deer in Salem county, and a good many in 
Gloucester, Atlantic and Cumberland. At one time he 
shot two deer with one shot, an old flint lock being 

" I kept up my hunting until about three years ago. 
One day I took the musket and followed the boys out. 
I tried to use it, but my sight and my strength failed me, 
and I had to come home and hang it on the rack for the 
last time. The last deer I shot was when I was ninety- 
four years old. I haven't seen a deer since that time." 

He has owned the old flint-lock ever since he was a 
boy fifteen years old, an eighty-five-year old gun. 

This was the thirteenth reunion of the Potter family, 
as it has been their custom for several years to hold one 
on "grandfather's birthday." Over two hundred of the 
Potter family, descendants of Michael, were photographed 
in a body. The old gentleman ate a hearty dinner of 
chicken, bread and butter, coffee, etc. 

A service was held in the church, at which Rev. Dr. 
Charles H. Whitecar was the orator. At half-past lO 
the services in the church were announced. Only a 
quarter of those present could crowd into the little edifice. 
" His mercy endureth forever," with Miss Addie Smith 


at the organ, was the opening of the programme. A 
scripture selection was then read by Mr. Pepper, editor 
of the Christian Standard, of Philadelphia. Rev. Mr. 
Matthews, a former pastor of the church, lead in prayer, 
thanking God that the good old man who had brought 
them together sought and found the Lord in his early 
days. Rev. Dr. Whitecar opened his discourse with 
the remark that the aroma of other occasions made the 
place fragrant for the present morning. They had not 
forgotten the distinguished men who had made previous 
celebrations pleasant. He told an incident connected 
with Mr. Potter's history. Three years ago, while in 
charge of the P^oundry church, the preacher went to 
speak at a camp meeting. There a youth was converted, 
and he called upon Father Potter, who was present, to 
come forward and lay his hands on the boy's head and 
give him his blessing. The scene was worthy the pencil 
of a Raphael. 

July 1 8, 1784, which witnessed the birth of Michael 
Potter, was an interesting period. Washington had just 
resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the 
American armies. Our country was without a constitu- 
tion, and Methodism had no organization. Michael 
Potter had paralleled his country. He had watched its 
growth from three to fifty-two million population. He 
was born in the age of rushlights, open fireplaces and 
rugged roads, and he lives in this age of steam and elec- 

The doctor concluded with a poem composed for the 
occasion, commencing : 


Hail ! Chieftain of one hundred years. 

Nobly you stand amid your clan ; 
Your age and virtue still endear to all, 

Most venerable man." 



All was beautiful in nature on the morning of July 1 8, 
1885, as the sun arose and reflected its bright and cheer- 
ful rays upon the sparkling waters in front of the ancient 
village of Willow Grove. At early morn the people were 
astir in anticipation of the gathering multitude to witness 
the celebration of Michael Potter, who had now attained 
the remarkable age of lOi years. The centenarian w^as 
found to be quite feeble in health and not sufficiently 
recovered from his recent sickness to attend the cele- 

During a part of the day he sat in his invalid chair, 
received company, and also had his photograph taken. 
In the same little room at the farmhouse, to which he 
took Miss Lydia Richman, his bride, in 181 1, the cen- 
tenarian still sleeps, calmly and peacefully waiting the 
approaching end and the dawning of immortality. 

The old patriarch, though feeling the w^eight of his 
years, is still perfectly rational and hopeful, and until 
wathin some eight weeks Mr. Potter was able to do some 


work and build the fires for his son. He told us he had 
thought at times he was going home, but, to give his 
words, it all fell through and passed over, and the old 
man can't see why he is spared while others were taken. 
He said his faith in his Father above was strong, and 
that this religion was good enough for him to die by if 
he was loi years old. Who would not crave for such a 
sustaining faith as this, that makes the way bright in 
youth and brighter still in old age. 

About a quarter of a mile north of the farmhouse is 
located the mill, the school house and the church. Be- 
neath the shade of these venerable trees, which perhaps 
have withstood the storms of a hundred years, and be- 
neath whose shade Rev. John Clark, Michael Potter, Kay 
Richman, Adam Kandell, Reuben Langley, and other 
patriots have played in their boyhood, long rows of 
tables were spread and amply supplied with all the good 
things of this life. Among the assembly were some of 
the prominent and aged citizens of Cumberland, Salem 
and Gloucester counties. 

In the afternoon the guests were invited into the church 
near by, and as the speakers passed down the aisle the 
choir sang the hymn in which occurs the beautiful 
verse : 

" Still hold the stars in Thy right hand, 
And let them in thy lustre glow ; 
The lights of a benighted land, 
The angels of thy church below," 

Speeches were then made on the subject of family 
reunions by Rev. J. P. Connelly, of Willow Grove; 


James Coombs, of Pittsgrove ; G. S. Swing, of Bridgeton ; 
Samuel Woolford and Rev. J. G. Edwards, of Gloucester 

Mr. Swing also read a letter from President Cleveland, 
offering his congratulations to Father Potter on the 
advent of his loist year. He also stated that the aged 
centenarian cast his first vote in 1806, and in 1809 voted 
for James Madison, the fourth president of the United 
States, and had voted at all of the presidential elections 
since that time. 


Druggist Harry Camm, of this city, in reply to a letter 
sent by him, received the following answer, tendering 
through him the congratulations of the chief executive 
of our country to "the oldest Democrat extant." This 
is a rare honor, and Mr. Potter may indeed feel proud 
upon obtaining the letter. Its phraseology is exquisite, 
and it will no doubt be widely read, and with great 

Executive Mansion, 
Washington, July 9, 1885. 
H, V. Camm, Esq. 

Dear Sir: — I cannot resist the temptation to comply 
with the request contained in your letter of the 7th inst., 
and tender through you to Mr. Potter my congratulations 
upon his attaining the age of lOi years. 


I am sure that he can justly claim to be the oldest 
Democrat extant. The fact that adherence to the prin- 
ciples and faith of that party has not, in Mr. Potter's 
case, been inconsistent with wonderful longevity, ought, 
I think, to reassure those of our fellow citizens who 
believe (if their professions are reliable) that American 
institutions are in danger from Democratic supremacy. 

It is fitting and proper that the neighbors of this aged 
man should, on the anniversary of his birth, cordially 
demonstrate their esteem and veneration for one who 
lived before the constitution and who had seen the 
growth and progress of the country from the beginning. 

But in the midst of their congratulations they may 
well renew their pledge of devotion to the cause of 
American freedom and the perpetuity of our government 
under the constitution, with gratitude to God who has 
thus far preserved our national life, and with devout 
acknowledgment of the power of Him who holds our 
destiny in the hollow of his hand. 
Yours sincerely, 


\_Ex tract from the address of James Coombs, Esq., at the Potter 
Family Reimioji. ] 

Having been requested by the family to make a few 
remarks, I would just say that I have known Mr. Potter 
for more than half a century, and can cheerfully bear 
testimony to his industrious habits and good citizenship. 


We notice that most of this assembly are farmers, and 
agriculture is the largest and most important interest in 
Salem county. Let us look for a moment at the condi- 
tion of things when Mr. Potter first settled here. But 
few horses were then owned in this part of the state, and 
when cows were bought they were fed on coarse wild 
grass, and often became lost in the woods and died from 
exposure. The horses and cattle of that day were not to 
be compared with the beautiful animals now seen in our 
fields, and the ox was small and inferior. 

Mr. Potter had lived, I might say, in the time of the 
spinning-wheel, the sickle and the flail. In those days 
the farmer and his family wore homespun, and the spin- 
ning-wheel and loom were a part of the household fur- 
niture. The grain raised was principally rye and corn, 
and when we remember that no attention was paid to 
the cultivation of grass, and very few vegetables now 
existing were then introduced, it is difficult to appre- 
ciate fully the changes which have been made within the 
past hundred years. The fact is, I well remember myself 
driving all over Broad Neck, looking for harvest hands to 
cradle wheat and mow grass, and occasionally found a 
man who thought he could not work in the harvest field 
without whiskey or applejack. 

In 1833 a mechanic named Schnebley, of Maryland, 
obtained a patent for a machine for mowing grass. Obed 
Hussey, of Baltimore, patented another machine soon 
after for reaping grain. The last-named has been used 
from that time to the present day, and has furnished, in 
fact, the basis for the most successful reaping machines 


in this country. Some years later McCormick, of Vir- 
ginia, and Manney and Atkins, of Illinois, appeared on the 
field with their inventions, but none of these machines 
attained perfection until within the past ten years. 

The improvement in schools and medicine should 
also be noticed. I remember, when a person was sick, 
it was formerly the custom for the doctor to bleed, and 
blood was drawn for the cure of almost every disease. 
There is no more important branch of science to the 
human race than how " to preserve the health of the 
mind and body," nor any in which more advance has 
been made within the present century. Old things and 
theories are indeed passing away, and new ideas, born of 
closer observation and more practical results, are taking 
their places. Blood-letting, once so popular, is resorted 
to only in very rare cases, and the use of calomel for all 
the " ills that flesh is heir to " is largely abridged. The 
accepted limit of three score years may be reached by 
many mere, if people would use moderately the good 
things of life. 

For fourteen years Mr. Potter has held public " birth- 
•day celebrations," and the life of the patriarch has been 
long and eventful. I am gratified to attend this family 
reunion and offer congratulations. His great age speaks 
well for the longevity and healthfulness of a citizen of 
Pittsgrove township. 

G. S. Swing was next introduced, and said: 
Ladies and gentlemen, our acquaintance with Father 
Potter began some thirty years ago when I was 


Stationed near this place as a teacher in the public school. 
The memories of " Good Hope," Lower Neck, Center- 
ville and Willow Grove will never fade away from 
memory. In these places we have known the names of 
hundreds of children, and striven to train them up for 
usefulness and honor. The coming home of the boys 
and girls is one of the most pleasant things connected 
with family reunions, and we rejoice to-day that you have 
lived to see so many birthday anniversaries. We also 
rejoice to know that so rrany good and useful men were 
born and lived in Pittsgrove township, and you have 
been led to honor the names of Potter, Parvin, Richman 
and Clark, and a host of other illustrious sons. We 
meet here to-day not only to honor the living, but to 
pay a passing tribute to the dead — to {.hose whose lights 
have gone out along the shores of time. And then, 
here is another fact worthy of mention : ever since the 
days of the Revolution, honest men and good-looking 
women have been found in Salem county ; many a gay 
couple have indulged in a grand, pompous swell. Some 
have made their first public appearance here on the mar- 
riage day; and you know, w^hen a young man is looking 
for his intended, he is looking for a perfect woman : 

" A perfect woman, nobly planned 
To warn, to comfort and command; 
And yet a spirit still and bright, 
With something of an angel's light." 

(Applause.) In coming to this place again, we are grati- 
fied to notice many improvements — a new school house, 


new church, and those large, majestic trees, under whose 
wide- spreading branches this company have enjoyed 
their entertainment to-day. Do not cut down those 
large trees, friends, for they are among the " ancient 
land-marks" of Willow Grove and should never be 

In reviewing the life and history of this good and 
useful man and his record of one hundred years, there 
springs up within my heart a feeling of admiration, and I 
rejoice that a citizen of Pittsgrove township has attained 
the age of one hundred and one. This community 
honors and respects him, not only for himself, but for his 
character, for his integrity, and judgment and iron nerve. 
Be content to follow the path marked out by providence. 
" Keep a stout heart, a clear conscience, and never de- 

To my mind, there is nothing more grand and inspir- 
ing than to look upon the countenance of an aged man 
like Mr. Potter, who is well preserved in health and 
strenfTth, standincf on the battlements of truth and nearing 
the shores of a well-spent life. Oh, that this may be our 
happy experience ! And may we finally enjoy a grander 
and better family reunion — if not in this life — in that 
blessed country where the stars never set, the eye never 
grows dim, and the river of waters shall never run dry. 


[^Extract from the address of Rev. J. G. Edwards, of Gloucester 

Circuit. ] 

I would just say that I remember Father Potter very 
well. He was sexton of this church, I think, about sixty 
years, and has stood by the open grave of many of our 
people. To-day, while in feeble health, he is resting and 
calmly waiting to be called home — anxious to see "the 
King in his beauty." While I was pastor on this charge 
his religious expressions were bright and encouraging, 
and he was enabled to look beyond the cares and perplexi- 
ties of this present life, in anticipation of the dawning of 
a brighter day. At one of our last extra meetings on 
this charge he gave a testimony something like this : 

" I have great cause to bless God for his goodness to 
me. My father and mother told me to be a good boy, 
and God would take care of me. He has done so all 
these years, and is able to keep me to the end. Some 
nights I felt weary and faint, and thought I might die ; 
but it all passed over. I am with you to-day, and trust 
that our religious experience will be brighter and better 
further on." 

Rev. Samuel Woolford, of Willow Grove, was next 
introduced, and said: 

" Friends and Fellow-Citizens, I have some acquaint- 
ance with these old settlers, having spent a portion 
of my life among this people. I did not expect to be 
called upon to address this assembly, and feel reluctant 
to speak, but cheerfully respond, however, to say a 
word for Mr. Potter — one of those old-style, good- 


natured, reliable men whom this community delights to 

And then he poured forth a torrent of eloquence which 
had rarely been equalled before. At this point the 
eyes of the reporter became dim, and the pencil fell 
from his grasp. 

Rev. J. P. Connelly, in closing his remarks, by way of 
pleasantry, said : 

"The Democratic party is now in the ascendency; we 
have just heard from the President; but over in another 
part of Salem county we have another centenarian, a Mr. 
Coles, a Republican, who is vigorously strong, and may 
yet win in the race of longevity. This is caused by 
leading a temperate, industrious and religious life. 
Father Potter neither chewed tobacco nor drank rum. 
Long life is not attained through politics; ifitwas, we 
might all turn Democrats. (Applause.) We have en- 
joyed a grand time here to-day, my friends, and, as 
regards myself, I feel like spending the next one hundred 
years among the good people of Willow Grove." 

The long metre doxology was then sung, and the com- 
pany dispersed. Thus ended the one hundred and first 
anniversary. — Extracts from Evening News. 


The funeral oration recently pronounced in the Pres- 
byterian church marked the close of the career of 
James Coombs. It was notable from the fact that many 


ol his employees attended the service as a tribute to 
their late master, while numerous mercantile, insurance 
and banking institutions in which he was interested when 
alive also sent representatives, for the deceased had been 
favorably known. He was born in Salem county, N. J., 
in the spring of 1804, ^^^ his ancestors were numbered 
among the first families of that name who settled in that 
portion of the state, and extensively engaged in agricul- 
tural work. During his early years he was engaged in 
teaching, was also employed as a surveyor of land, and 
drifted then into agricultural pursuits. Besides superin- 
tending the cultivation of a large farm he was teacher at 
the Washington Seminary. He subsequently resigned 
teaching and became a business man in the full sense of 
that word; had the spirit and courage of Stonewall 
Jackson, and all through life his motto was " onward." 
"If you upset your cart and spill your milk, drive on, 
for the world is full of life and activity ; and in Uncle 
Sam's country there's room enough for every man to 
own a farm." 

Mr. Coombs was one of the noblest looking men of 
his time. He had a massive head, a splendid blue-grey 
eye ; and there was a frank, kindly look in his face and 
an expression of dignity in his whole appearance. He 
always had an affinity for good horses and stock, and 
was a large man in every sense of the word, large heart- 
ed, large intentioned and never did things by halves. 
He was the owner of a good farm of nearly 600 acres 
and it was not unusual for him to market a thousand 
bushels of wheat and two thousand bushels of corn a 


single season. He raised large beeves and plenty ot 
them; had large droves of sheep, and slaughtered mam- 
moth porkers, sending to market some of the handsom- 
est stock produced in South Jersey. 

The deceased was married but once, to a Miss Henri- 
etta DuBois. Six children were born to them, four of 
whom are still living. In politics he was an active Re- 
publican, popular among his neighbors and frequently 
elected to office. As a man he was instructive, social, 
temperate, industrious, and kept business moving on. 
With a strong, sympathetic face, a warm, generous en- 
thusiasm of manner, a friend to the laboring man and 
the poor, his likeness will be missed in the house of his 

{^Exirad from the Daily Moriiins^ Star.'\ 

The funeral of the venerable James Coombs, a well- 
known and highly respected Salem county farmer, who 
died in the eighty-second year of his age at his resi- 
dence near Shirley, August 19th, 1886, was an interest- 
ing occasion. 

The day was a most lovely one, the ride to the resi- 
dence of the deceased being through one of the richest 
sections of this part of New Jersey. Taking all things 
into consideration, we very much doubt whether a finer 
agricultural country can be found anywhere in the 
United States than is the greater part of the land lying 
along the route from Bridgeton to Daretown. It is [an 


astonishing feature of the landscape how many hand- 
some structures have recently been erected where form- 
erly stood plain buildings of no architectural adornment 
whatever. The land, of course, is under a proportion- 
ately high state of cultivation, showing general thrift in 
the management and ownership. 

We arrived before the great body of attendants at the 
funeral ; carriages were seen coming one after the other 
from various directions, and by the time specified for the 
movement of the cortege to the burial ground, several 
hundred of the sturdy and substantial neighbors of the 
deceased, with many old friends from a distance, had 
gathered at the house, all intent in showing their high 
regard for one they so much respected during life. In 
the absence of the pastor, who was on his vacation, a 
former pastor of the Daretown church, Rev. William A. 
Ferguson, now of Ohio, being on a visit, officiated. The 
church was filled in every part and by an audience rarely 
to be seen in any locality. 

Mr. Ferguson read a chapter from Matthew, then the 
choir beautifully sang "Jesus, lover of my soul," being 
accompanied by the fine organ, when, after prayer, the 
text from II Kings ii:ii was discoursed from in the 
most fitting terms, and in a style but few ministers of 
the day could surpass. At the close Mr. F. spoke most 
touchingly and in eulogistic terms of the character of 
the deceased, especially referring to his great kindness 
of heart, integrity and earnest patriotism. It is impossi- 
ble for us to give even an abstract of his remarks, which 
were so appropriate to the occasion, and in this instance 


true to the very letter, as everyone within the sound of 
his voice could assent. 

At the conclusion of the sermon the body was exhib- 
ited in the vestibule of the church for the last time on 
earth. All who had not seen his placid and natural 
features at the house took occasion to momentarily gaze 
thereon. In the meantime the organ played " Nearer 
my God to thee." The carriages moved thence to the 
old burying ground a few rods beyond, where the body 
was deposited by the side of his wife, who had preceded 
him to the better world beyond the grave. Next to the 
mother lies the son, Albert, a member of the I2th New 
Jersey vols., who died in the service of the Union. 

Mr. Coombs had been for forty years a director of the 
Cumberland (National) Bank and for thirty-five years a 
director of the Cumberland Mutual Fire Insurance Com- 
pany. Messrs. William G. Nixon, president, Charles E. 
Elmer, Jonathan Elmer, Richard Lott were present and 
represented the directors of Cumberland bank. Messrs. 
D. P. Elmer, president. Dr. George Tomlinson, Charles 
S. Fithian, Ephraim Lloyd, secretary, represented the 
Cumberland Fire Insurance Company. The pall bearers 
were James Hurst, James Summerill, Henry DuBois, 
Harmon Lawrence, Elijah Eastlack, John M. Swing. 




\ I iHE eldest son of Leonard Swing, Abraham R., was 
f^ I fe born in Pittsgrove in the year 1826. The early 
years of life were spent on the farm, in going to 
day and Sunday schools, and in learning the carpenter's 
trade with my mother's brother, David Shough, at 
AUowaystown. In the schoolboy days there was more 
pleasure in such books as Riley's and Bruce's " Narra- 
tives of Travel and Adventure " than in arithmetic. 
Mungo Park had a warm sympathy : his sufferings and 
captivity among the Moors ; the compassionate African 
matron who rescued him, half starved, weary and de- 
jected; took him to her hut, fed him and then sang a 
sw^eet, plaintive chorus : 

"The poor white man, faint and weary, 
No mother has he to bring him milk, 
No wife to grind his corn." 

To instill patriotism in one's soul there w^as that grand 
martial lyric, by Fitzgreene Halleck : 


" Strike till the last armed foe expires, 
Strike for your altars and your fires, 
Strike for the green graves of your sires, 
God and your native land." 

At home we, " like our uiicles and our cousins and 
our aunts," were natural born singers. There were 
religious books and newspapers. The " Pilgrim's Prog- 
ress " was the best, I think ; Baxter was rather unmerci- 
ful and harsh; Edwards, I thought, was awful; would 
prefer the Bible to the old theologians always ; in it 
wrath is always tempered with kindness, love and mercy* 
There was something awe-inspiring in the ministers of 
those days. It was somewdiat so of Rev. Mr. Janvier and 
Rev. Mr. Ker ; especially was it thus of the Rev. Dr. 
Jones, of Bridgeton ; his grand dignity, his noble phy- 
sique, his solemn delivery, appeared something more 
than human. But that — ah ! that was long ago. Inter- 
vening years have dispelled these illusions. 

Political affairs did not have any attraction for the boys 
until the days of Harrison and Tyler, Tippecanoe and 
the Log Cabins. General Harrison must have been the 
most popular man ever run for president; no one ever 
before or since got so many electoral votes. He died in 
the White House just one month after his inauguration. 
Thus it was Tyler became president. Years after, he 
renounced his allegiance to Uncle Samuel and joined 
the confederates, and while seeking to destroy the gov- 
ernment over which he had presided was taken sick and 
died in 1862. 


In those years of struggle for, or to retain, political 
power, " death loved a shining mark." General Taylor 
was president but one year and four months, when he 
died suddenly in July, 1850. Along these years litera- 
ture was improving and more diffused. Greeley and the 
Tribune became a power in the land; William CuUen 
Rryant edited the New York Evening Post. " Thana- 
topsis," that exquisite, solemn strain of blank verse, with 
its tender rev^eries of the woods, attested the great charm 
of Bryant's genius. There w^as also Henry Wordsworth 
Longfellow, with the delightful " Voices of the Night " 
and the " Song of Hiawatha." Then, to the delight of 
old and young, comes Captain Marryatt with " Jacob 
Faithful " and " Midshipman Easy." In retrospective, 
" distance lends enchantment to the view." 

In November, 1849, I married Letitia Gilman][Smick. 
The children were : Anthony W., Ella Josephine, Clem- 
ent L. and Lenora Maud. I had a pleasant home and 
surroundings in Salem county; put up buildings in the 
neighborhood, some in Cumberland and Gloucester 
counties ; was engaged two years on public buildings in 
Salem ; the year following, on a row of stores and dwell- 
ings in Salem for Dr. Patterson; three years on some 
fine buildings in Philadelphia, and a season at Cape 
Island on the mammoth hotel work. 

In November, 1869, moved to Heathsville, Northum- 
berland county, Virginia; was engagad in farming, 
building, wood and lumber operations. In the following 
year the state had an election under the new constitution, 


previously adopted. Military rule ceased, to the joy of 
the people. I was elected county clerk ; had an office in 
the court house. 

The people were pleasant and social. I had a large 
acquaintance, having business with a great many people. 
Schools were established for colored children. One I 
built myself; it was twenty-five by sixty feet, two stories ; 
others, not so large. We got up some cottages for the 
teachers on the Gothic order, side to the front, door in 
centre, roof very steep, a high, steep gable in the roof 
over the front door, pediments, hoods, etc., one and a 
half stories high. They were much admired, and will 
grow in favor. 

General Howard, of the educational department of the 
Freedmen's Bureau at Washington, furnished one thou- 
sand dollars for school buildings. Checks of princely 
donations came from the North. My plan w^as to engage 
a vessel to take five hundred cords of wood, more or 
less, to Baltimore, dispose of it to the best advantage, get 
my checks cashed at the bank, load up the craft with 
flooring, shingles, sash, doors, nails, builders' hardware, 
and whatever else w^as wanted. The publishers of Web- 
ster's Unabridged donated all the dictionaries needed, 
sent funds and supported teachers in the work for years. 
They were all white ladies from the North, mostly Mas- 
sachusetts, well educated and accomplished. 

I built a county bridge over Coan river, said to be the 
best bridge ever built in that region of country. 

The climate was pleasant. The old, wornout soil 
responded generously to fertilizing ; great place for 


vegetables and fruit, oysters and game. Through my 
own plantation, north and south, there was a large stream 
and some meadow that afforded pasture all the year 
round. There were two hundred acres in timber, part 
original growth, oak, chestnut, poplar and pine. The 
wood on both sides of the stream was part of an un- 
broken line of forest from the Rappahannock to the 
Potomac riyers. Deer were numerous on the range ; 
they pastured on my wheat in spring time, and nibbled 
at the growing corn in summer. One or two could be 
seen often ; one Sunday we saw five. One day a large 
one leaped over the fence into the garden ; another time, at dusk, I shot a young one, weighing a hundred 
pounds, out of the door-yard. 

Being correspondent to the agricultural department at 
Washington I was furnished with quantities of seeds for 
distribution, reports, documents, etc.; sent monthly re- 
ports of crops and prospects and experiments with seeds 
to the department. I corresponded with the New York 
Farmers' Club and some newspapers, and received mail 
matter semi-weekly by the arm-load. 

It ought to have been said those school buildings were 
also for church purposes. The colored people appre- 
ciated them gready on that account. Many of them, 
though ignorant, had a good Christian experience. 
Happily for the Christian religion, it does not depend 
upon the extent and accuracy of one's knowledge. If 
their preaching was mediocre, their songs and exhorta- 
tions and prayers were effective. Their old slavery songs 
retain much of Egypt and bondage. That, however. 


applies as well to the bondage of sin. When they sing 
of " Christ among the lilies, born across the sea, glory 
hallelujah !" they get happy. One old man I knew was 
wonderfully gifted in prayer ; with his faith and trust, in 
tender sympathy, he cast himself upon the fatherhood of 
God. In listening to him one would feel the world 
receding, a rending of the veil between time and eternity, 
and almost catch a glimpse of the glory that is to be 
revealed. The white people never interfered with their 
meetings nor with their voting; and yet the gravest 
mistake in reconstruction was in not disfranchising the 
leaders in the rebellion, and obviating the years of re- 
moval of political disabilities, and in not giving the 
colored ''pater fainilias " " the forty acres and the mule," 
instead of leaving them to the mercy of their old masters, 
to terrorizing, bulldozing and death. 

At the time of emancipation there were millions of 
acres of government land in Texas and Florida, a con- 
genial climate, not to speak of the millions of acres in the 
territories. There they would have become producers 
and more self-sustaining, and thus avoided all the wrongs 
and oppression they have had to endure. Besides, they 
have had to flee to the cities for protection, and every 
town in the middle, border or southern states is overrun 
with them, eking out a precarious existence, non-pro- 
ducers and thieves for want of work. 

After two years of sickness and suffering occurred the 
death of our eldest son, Anthony W. Swing, when in the 
twenty-third year of his age. He was a young man of 

2 I 


much promise, and passed away in the hope of the resur- 
rection and the Hfe. 

" There is no flock, however watched and tended, 
But one dead lamb is there ; 
There is no home, however well defended. 
But has one vacant chair." 

Three years of summer drought succeeding, we sold 
the plantation and lumber lands at Heathsville, Va., and 
removed to Washington City, getting the daughters into 
the excellent public schools, where they obtained a good 
education. Lenora was employed by General Walker on 
the clerical work of the census of 1 880, also by Commis- 
sioner Loring of the agricultural department, on their 
fine clerical work. 

For three years I was engaged in the building of the 
hospital at the Soldiers' Home, under Mr. Clark, the 
architect of the capitol. It is one of the largest and best 
hospitals in its sanitary and all other appointments in 
the country. It is located north of the city on beautifully 
laid out grounds of a thousand acres, overlooking the 
city and the Potomac river. Near by was the cottage 
formerly occupied by President Lincoln. Many a con- 
ference was held there by the president with those other 
great men, Stanton, Chase and Seward. But that his- 
torical building has been removed. 

I never saw President Lincoln living, only in his coffin, 
lying in state in Independence Hall, Philadelphia. In 
that historic fane I saw, for the first time, General 


Grant, and shook hands with him on the New Year's day- 
preceding his first inauguration. The fourth of March, 
on his second inauguration, was the coldest day I ever 
experienced in any latitude. Thousands were here from 
every land and nation, half perished with the cold. At 
night the ball building was obliged to close early owing 
to the intense cold, and even then the work of death had 
already begun, for several soon died from that night's 

General Grant was a wonderfully reticent man. But if 
one did get into his likings and confidence, he would 
stick to him through thick and thin. Mrs. Grant never 
was ultra fashionable, but a good, kind, motherly soul. 

The children, brought up mostly by the mother, 
turned out splendid. Miss Nellie, whom the queen of 
England delighted to honor, was a grand type of a quiet, 
ladylike, educated American girl. Soon after the inau- 
guration of President Hayes I was employed in fitting 
up a summer residence for their use in the Soldier's Home 
grounds. There was some very nice work done. They 
frequently drove out to see the work as it was progress- 
ing, and were very pleasant, social people. I was after- 
ward at their receptions, and saw them frequently at 
church and elsewhere. The Hayes administration was 
a good one, quieting down the excitements of the elec- 
tion, and the results of the electoral commission. At 
the White House, with Mrs. Hayes, if she was at home 
evenings, it was to all who called ; she introduced peo- 
ple to each other, laughed merrily, had something pleas- 
ant to say to all ; no restrictions to enjoyment, yet had 


the most unexceptionable of both sexes to call. She 
would receive in walking dress, or whatever dress she 
happened to be wearing when cards were brought to her, 
and by her sweet, gracious manner won all hearts. Af- 
ter the work was finished at the Soldier's Home, in the 
second year of the Hayes regime, he appointed me on 
the Washington monument work, and the new state de- 
partment building. This great structure has been ten 
years in building, and is not completed yet. 

From time immemorial when a great pageant was to 
pass in review upon the avenue there have been large 
stands erected on speculation. In preparing for the Gar- 
field inauguration the committee resolved to have one for 
their guests and friends free, especially for the governors, 
state legislators, their senators and friends. I superin- 
tended the building of their stand along the park from 
Fifteen and a half to Seventeenth street, directly in front 
of the White House. The morning of the fourth was 
ushered in with a snow storm. By 8 o'clock it slacked 
up a little. Getting one hundred men we shoveled and 
swept off the snow. By lO o'clock the sun came out, the 
escort to the president formed, going to the capitol. 
The whole mass of the participants did not form in 
line until after the ceremonies at the capitol. Then it 
was led by a splendid carriage, four-in-hand, containing 
the president and ex-president. Gen. Sherman and Gen. 
Logan ; at the gate of the White House the carriage 
passed into the grounds. The gentlemen alighted and 
joined the ladies on the stand. Then the whole 
grand parade for hours passed up the avenue in 


review, thousands upon thousands. I had seen and 
heard General Garfield many a time, but never saw 
him look so well and happy as on that day. It 
seemed to be the supreme moment of his life. To Mr. 
Hayes it appeared like a happy time, surrounded with 
friends, wife and children. The enthusiastic cheering of 
the passing multitude, the inspiring music ; the dark 
clouds of the morning rolled away, the bright, sunny 
afternoon came ; statesmen and patriots confident of the 
future. Everything appeared auspicious. The forma- 
tion of a new cabinet was not done to please everybody. 
Senator Conkling especially was displeased. Himself 
and his colleague resigned, expecting, however, to be 
returned by the state legislature and obtain a triumph 
over the president, whom he charged with not acting in 
good faith. He retired himself, by his own act, to pri- 
vate life. 

In June and July I was making repairs on the officers' 
quarters at the Washington barracks, and was horrified 
when word was flashed along the lines, " The president 
has just been shot at the Baltimore and Potomac depot." 
There was a moment of wild excitement, and mounted 
cavalry rushing away, a company of infantry following; 
one party was put on guard at the president's house, 
where the wounded man had been removed; other troops 
were stationed at the jail, where the assassin had been 
taken. Before night tents were put up in the grove of 
the mansion, and the soldiers guarded the place day and 
night until his removal to Long Branch. The following 
day, Sunday, was one of grief and sorrow. Monday, 


Independence Day, was one of gloom and anxiety; all 
the usual observances of the day were suspended; and 
so in hope and fear the summer passed, until the sad end 
came, and he 

" Beyond the parting and the meeting, 
Beyond the farewell and the greeting. 
Beyond the pulse's fever beating. 
Beyond the frost chain and the fever, 
Beyond the heart-waste and the river, 
In rest, and love, and home." 

Of the funeral it might be said, as it was of the burial 
of Moses by Nebo's lonely mountain : That was the 
grandest funeral that ever passed on earth. 

President Garfield was a tall, noble looking man; he 
had a full, firm, sympathetic voice ; he was one that 
always looked as though set apart for a high destiny. 
Mrs. Garfield had lived in Washington more or less a 
long time. She was a very quiet lady, with but little 
taste for fashionable society. She could speak the 
French and German languages fluently, and had the 
name of being the first president's wife able to talk with 
the foreign diplomats in the court language of Europe. 

Having been in the habit for years of going to the 
New Year rece :tions, it was quite natural I would wish 
to see how President Arthur would compare with his 
predecessors. They always receive first the diplomatic 
corps, the judges of the supreme court, the army officers 
then the citizens. Amongst the foreign ministers there 
was Mr. Allan, from the Hawaiian Islands. After he 


shook hands with the president, and gave him his 
new year greetings and good wishes, he seemed about 
to faint. He was quickly placed upon a lounge, where 
he died in a few moments. The doors were closed im- 
mediately. The grounds were full of people, and they 
kept coming for an hour, but no more obtained admis- 
sion. Mr. Allan was a native of Massachusetts. It was 
a great shock, and many a one in the crowd felt that 
" in the midst of life we are in death." 

Senator Charles Sumner, "one of the few immortal 
names that was not born to die," used to attract large 
audiences to the senate chamber when it was known that 
he was going to speak. His soul abhorred oppression, 
injustice and wrong. On one occasion he said: "Aloft 
on the throne of God, and not down under the trampling 
feet of the multitude, are to be found the laws which 
should govern our conduct." 

" His life was gentle, and the elements 
So mixed in him that nature might stand up 
And say to all the world : 
This was a man !" 

Horace Greeley was in the senate one day while some 
great event was transpiring. One of the other reporters, 
who was writing it up, and about the visitors also, said : 
" And there was Horace Greeley, sleeping sweetly." 
When the Tribune came out, however, it had the bright- 
est, best and most wide-awake account of the proceedings 
of any of them. 

That great American traveler, Bayard Taylor, was a 


man I delighted to hear lecture. He was a very inter- 
esting speaker. Some of his books are charming. There 
are a dozen or more volumes of his works, aad one at 
least of poetry. His books, " Hannah Thurston " and 
" The Story of Kennet," have some of the most unique, 
original, purely American and patriotic characters. In 
Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe's " Old Town Folks " and 
"The Minister's Wooing" are somewhat similar charac- 

Another great lecturer is Rev. Joseph Cook, of Boston. 
I have seen a thousand people lean forward, eager to 
catch every word. His knowledge of ethics, science, 
cosmos and — well, there is no use to try to tell what — 
he is a regular encyclopedia, apparently inexhaustible. 

A correspondent of the Boston Traveler relates the 
following amusing incident of another hero from the 
same state : 



S^Froni the Bosto7i Traveler.'] 

Congressman Frank Lawler, of Chicago, is a man of 
the people. He has climbed up to a position in Con- 
gress from the lowest rounds of the social ladder. He 
has been a laborer, a letter-carrier, a keeper of an influ- 
ential gin-mill, a ward politician, a Chicago alderman 
and a congressman successively. Mr, Lawler recently 
had occasion to call on Secretary Endicott, and he found 


that gentleman surrounded by a frozen halo which dis- 
pleased him. Mr. Endicott appeared to be somewhat 
bored by the persistency of the member of the legislative 
branch of the government, and was not at all disposed to 
pay much attention to him. Lawler stuck to him, how- 
ever, and at last gained his point. After that the august 
secretary thawed out somewhat towards the congress- 
man, and proceeded to give him a few points on the 
history of Massachusetts, especially on the Endicott 
family. He spoke of the glories of the old colonial days, 
and incidentally mentioned that his ancestors were among 
the foremost in Massachusetts. Warming up to his 
theme — and this is about the only subject that will 
warm him — he proceeded to trace the family back until 
he had passed down to where the Adamses first arose on 
the genealogical horizon, and wound up by saying : 

** Why, Mr. Lawler, we have succeeded in tracing the 
Endicott family back to the earliest stage of the Norman 
conquest -of England. In fact, the Endicotts were known 
before William the Conqueror was heard of" 

" William the Conqueror the blank," replied Mr. 
Lawler. " Dooring the pasth summer, whin my legisla- 
tive dooties have not been so pressing, I have paid a 
good deal of attintion to the airly history of the Lawler 
family. William the Conqueror ! Why, he's nowhere. 
I found that the Lawlers were a prominent family on 
earth even before the flood." 

To say that Mr. Endicott was astonished would 
scarcely express his feelings. He almost gasped for 
breath ; but at length a happy thought struck him. 


" Mr. Lawler," said he, with withering scorn in his 
voice, *' if you can trace the Lawlers back before the 
flood, how is it that we never heard anything of the 
family in the ark." 

For a moment, and for a moment only, the Chicago 
man hesitated. Then he recovered himself, and instantly 
replied : 

" Mr. Secretary, I would have you to understand, sir, 
that the Lawlers were a respectable family. They had 
yachts and horses, and everything else that was neces- 
sary for gintlemen in the antediluvian days. The Law- 
lers, sir, had a boat of their own, and didn't have to go 
into the ark." 

The New York Avenue Presbyterian church has the 
largest congregation of that denomination in the city. 
President Lincoln used to attend there under the minis- 
trations of Rev. Dr. Gurley. Gov. Shepherd, Col. Irish, 
judges of the Supreme Court and numerous noted per- 
sonages worshipped there. Formerly there was only a 
choir and organ gallery. Recently the seating capacity 
has been enlarged to accommodate about four hundred 
more by putting in side galleries. They had some 
extra nice work done. I became acquainted with the 
pastor. Rev. Dr. Paxton, the building committee, and 
some of the elders as the work was going on. I also 
remodeled and enlarged the home residence of one of 
the elders. The church has two mission chapels that 
are getting in large Sunday schools and increasing con 


Dr. Newman, at the Metropolitan church, where Gen. 
Grant attended, was a splendid pulpit orator. No one 
with ordinary intelligence could fail to be interested in 
him. Bishop Simpson, who is often here, is another 
grand man to listen to ; he is so earnest and eloquent 
few equal him in preaching, and in his gift of prayer he 
seemed like one conversing with God. The solemnity 
of the tones convinced one that he was conscious of an 
unearthly presence and .speaking to it, and yet it was a 
prayer of deep simplicity. Bishop Haven and Bishop 
Andrews are bright and shining lights. Some prefer 
Andrews to any of them. When either of them are to 
preach and Chaplain McCabe is to sing there will be a 
shovv'er of tears in joy and sympathy. 

Sunday in Washington is a quiet, orderly day, perhaps 
as much so as in any city in the land ; there is complete 
outward respect, at least. A great many public men 
attend church, and it is a respectable thing to do, and 
yet so many do not go one-half the churches are scarcely 
ever more than half filled. 

Were it not that the Lord raises up some giant of 
moral power or of intellectual strength for an occasion, 
I should think we have already had the best of every- 
thing in this world. The greatest statesmen of the 
country have had their brilliant lights extinguished. 
The mighty, masterful souls of reformers and preachers 
who stood head and shoulders above their compeers 
have gone to their reward, except a few nearing life's sun- 
.set. Of the noted military men that passed through the 
fiery battles and saw the consummation of the late war. 


only a remnant remains. Of authors and poets, those 
of the past are surely better than any we now have. I 
have Hstened to all the great reformers and enjoyed the 
lectures of Rev. Mr. Murphy best of all. He was never 
rough or unkind, no matter how low and apparently lost 
a man was; he would say to him, " My good friend," or 
" My brother, the Lord needs you, and your family needs 
you," and then he would pour into his desolate soul the 
w^brds of life, and the man was reformed by love. In art, in 
printing and in music the old masters stand pre-eminent. 
The old church music is a rich legacy froiPi the past, 
and is a happy illustration of the survival of the fittest; 
like the songs of the sweet singer of Israel, they will 
afford comfort and joy to all that are struggling for a 
better life. 

There are a great many wrecks and failures of life in 
Washington. Many a one is lured here in hope of a 
clerkship or some gov^ernment office. For one that suc- 
ceeds it is safe to say that a score fail. For one appoint- 
ment now pending there have been a thousand applica- 
tions, a great many of them ex-congressmen. The place 
is overrun with office hunters, mechanics and laborers. 
There are no manufactories except those of brick and 
gas. There are ex-congressmen and cx-senators, poor, 
seedy and dilapidated, ashamed to go back to the old 
home, but hoping to get office. Such is life. 

Last fall I was engaged in the building of a house for 
the Rev. Dr. Hicks, the gentleman who obtained so 
much free advertising for visiting the assassin at the jail 
and of whom the papers have said so much nonsense 


about Guiteau's bones. The doctor's house has a front 
of twenty feet on B street, and sixty-five feet on Eighth 
street, a basement, two stories and mansard roof, bay 
windows, porches and gables, all press brick, black mor- 
tar joint walls, finished in oiled natural grain wood. It 
is a very imposing edifice. He has a little church 
around the corner hardly a hundred yards from where 
his future home will be in the new building. His con- 
gregation is mostly a split from a Methodist church that 
was aggrieved at an appointment of the conference. 
They are now Congregational. The doctor is counted 
the finest pulpit orator in the city. Liberal in his views, 
thinks men are pretty much alike, good and bad in all ; 
that no creed does more than shadow one side of the 
truth ; and when one sees this, he feels a pity for making 
a sympathy with his follies and his hopes, and that 
nothing but the divine pity is sufficient for the infinite 
pathos of human life. 

The completion of the Washington monument was the 
occasion of an imposing demonstration at the national 
capital. The ceremonies opened with an address by 
Senator Sherman. The Hon. W. W. Corcoran made the 
formal presentation, and President Arthur the speech of 
acceptance. At the conclusion of the masonic rites a 
procession was formed, with General Sheridan as chief 
marshal, and reviewed by the president. Both branches 
of congress assembled in the House of Representatives. 
The diplomatic corps and many distinguished visitors 
were also present. After a brief address by Senator 
Edmunds, Representative John D. Long read the address 


of the day, written by the Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, of 


In brief, the Continental Congress in 1783 resolved 
that an equestrian statue should be erected to Washing- 
ton. In 1799 it was resolved that a marble monument 
should be erected, which should also serve as a recep- 
tacle for the remains of th^ Pater Patriae. In 1800 a 
select committee reported in favor of executing both 
resolutions. The House passed an amendment to the 
resolution of 1783, requiring a mausoleum to be built, 
but the senate did not concur. The matter then rested 
for thirty-three years. In 1833 a voluntary association 
was formed for the erection of a monument, and funds 
were solicited. In 1848 the corner-stone was laid, and 
then, after the shaft had arisen 152 feet, work was 
suspended in 1855 for lack of funds. The war inter- 
vened, and it was not until 1876 that an appropriation 
of ^200,000 by congress enabled the association to re- 
sume. The 6th of December, 1884, the great work was 

For nearly half a century it has been in course of 
construction on the banks of the Potomac, in the city of 
Washington, and not far from the White House. Its 
foundation is 126 feet square; height, 555 feet; 55 feet 
broad at its base, and it is the loftiest structure ever 
erected by man. It is a hollow shaft of granite, faced on 
the outside with blocks of white marble. In joining the 


blocks of stone every device that ingenuity could suggest 
has been used to prevent the possible introduction of 
moisture and the consequent danger from frost. The 
total weight of the monument amounts to the enormous 
sum of 81,120 tons. Since work was commenced it has 
settled about four inches. Four lightning rods protect 
the monument. In the pyramidion are windows. These 
latter are 504 feet above the ground. The interior of the 
shaft is lighted by electricity. Its cost has been $1,200,- 
000, of which $300,000 was raised by popular subscrip- 
tion. The interior contains a stairway and elevator, by 
which visitors can in a few minutes reach the summit. 

This careworn old capital, that has seen so many 
heart-aches — so many of the ambitions that write 
wrinkles on the brow — that has echoed to the tread of 
armies, and worn mourning on its public buildings for 
scores and hundreds of the great men of the land, never 
looks so joyous as in the resurrection and the new life of 

Washington, D. C, 1885. 

S^Ex tracts from the Washington Chronicle.'] 

One of the most brilliant and fashionable weddings of 
the season occurred at the Congregational church, Wash- 
ington, D. C, last evening. May 27, 1884, Rev. Dr. 
Rankin officiating. The contracting parties were Hon. 
Miles Fuller, the assistant chemist of the Agricultural 


department, and Miss Nora M. Swing, second daughter 
of A. R. Swing, of Washington City, Invitations were 
sent to friends in Bridgeton, Pittsgrove, Salem, and other 
places. The ushers w^ere Messrs. Edgar Richards, 
Walter B. Grant, William H. Smith and Professor H. 
W. Wiley. Mr. and Mrs. Fuller left last night for an 
extended trip west. 

Before going to press we learn from attending physi- 
cians, Drs. W. Prentiss and H. E. Leach, of the death of 
a well known architect, builder and contractor of this 
city, A. R. Swing. 

In order to facilitate business he assisted the men, in 
rain and storm, in hoisting the joists and rafters of a new 
building to be used at the inauguration of President 
Cleveland. He also attended the dedication of the Wash- 
ington monument on the 2 2d of February, and con- 
tracted a severe cold, ending in typhoid-pneumonia, from 
which he died March 24, 1885. 

To the members of Federal City Lodge, I. O. O. F., 
the family extend their grateful remembrance for their 
untiring kindness during the last sickness of the de- 

Rev. Dr. J. L. Mills pronounced the funeral oration at 
the residence, after which he was buried wath the im- 
pressive ceremonies of the order of Odd Fellows, and 
laid to rest on a sloping hill in G'enwood cemetery, 
within sight of Washington's monument, and surrounded 
by the sleeping dust of thousands of brave men. 

Among the accomplishments of the deceased was his 


fondness for society, music, literature, and the splendid 
services of the church (Presbyterian). As a man he was 
finely developed, both physically and intellectually ; he 
talked freely of business matters, and complimented his 
workmen, for excellent workmanship none more fully 
appreciated than he. Earnest, scholarly, refined, few 
men indeed have liveci a more . active life, or more nobly 
performed their life's work than Abraham R. Swing. 

At the time of his death he left a widow and three 
children — Mrs. Ella Josephine Moreland, Clement L., 
and Mrs. Le Nora Maud Fuller, all residents of Wash- 
ington City, D. C. 

In writing of this sudden affliction his son Clement L. 
said : ** Father was under the doctor's hands not quite 
three weeks. During this time it seemed impossible for 
him to take any nourishment. He seemed to break 
right down, was unconscious most of the time, and could 
not speak or say anything that we could understand. 

" He had the typhoid-pneumonia, and died Tuesday 
night, March 24, 1885. Previous to this he was sleeping 
quietly, and in that sleep awoke * beyond the golden 

" To the members of Federal City Lodge, I. O. O. F. 
we shall always feel grateful for their untiring kindness 
during father's sickness. He was buried with the im- 
pressive ceremonies of the order, Rev. J. L. Mills preach- 
ing the funeral service at the house, after which we laid 
him down to rest on a little sloping hill in Glenwood 
cemetery at Washington, within sight of W^lshington's 


monument, and surrounded by the sleeping dust of thou- 
sands of brave men. Among the many accompHshments 
of the deceased was his great fondness for music and Ht- 
erature — a newspaper correspondent himself; fond of 
society and the splendid services of the church, instruc- 
tive amusements, etc. He enjoyed life, and always 
seemed active and young-looking." 




1 I f H E people of Fairfield township are a noble, manly 
&lls race; they have conquered difficulties by their 
courage and perseverance that would have driven 
others to the verge of despair, and I feel confident at 
this moment that we have a glorious future before us. 
Among the many examples of perseverance and honor- 
able trading, leading to independence and the ownership 
of princely farms, fisheries and oyster grounds, stores, 
mills and vessel property, few are more successful than 
the careers of Trenchard, Whitecar, Westcott, Howell, 
Smith, Husted, Bateman, Gandy, Bamford, Sheppard, 
Michael Coates, Simon Sparks Swing, Diament, Ogden, 
Laning, Elmer, Duffel, Mulford, Willis, Tomlinson and 
Swing, all of whom were either natives of Fairfield, or 
spent their boyhood in it, and have, with many others 
equally worthy of mention, reflected credit on its his- 
tory. In their day and time many of these were pos- 
sessors of farms and gardens which Adam, in his inno- 
cence, might have coveted ; barns, stables, buildings, 
agricultural machinery of the most approved style, fine 
horses, carriages and stock of expensive breeds. 

"When, in the course of human events, it becomes 


necessary;" no, no, that is not it. George M. Swing 
was born in Fairfield township, Cumberland county, N. 
J., in 1832; that is what \ve want. 

Let us look back over the space of fifty years to the 
humble period when t«he latter person named employed 
the early years of life as a teacher of the public schools. 
He was an inquisitive child, and succeeded in reading 
every book in the neighborhood before he was twelve 
years of age. From boyhood he was earnest, active and 
industrious, and in manhood fully sustained the reputa- 
tation wherever known of first-class instructor and dis- 
ciplinarian. There yet survive a few old natives of 
Cumberland county that remember the light-haired, 
cheeked lad who, on Monday mornings, more than half 
a century ago, opened a school for the instruction of 
children and youth ; perched himself upon a stool be- 
hind a high desk, with forty scholars in front of him. 
These were days which the departed veteran, when in 
the height of his popularity, loved to recall, and he was 
never more enthusiastic than when picturing the boys 
and girls, and the surroundings among which he took 
his first experience in the duties of a teacher's life. En- 
dowed with those natural gifts which constitute the es- 
sentials of success, he felt that his mission was destined 
to extend over a broader and wider field, and he began to 
see that there was but little money in teaching, how^ever 
much fun there might be in it. Resigning his position 
as teacher he purchased some valuable tracts of timber 
land and subsequently engaged in the lumber trade, the 
shipyards at Mauricetown, Millville, Bridgeton and Fair- 


ton receiving from him a good supply of white oak 
plank, knees, keels, and boat building material. 

Large forest trees were then found growing in great 
luxuriance in the vicinity of Newport, Herring Roe, 
Back Neck and other places in Cumberland county, thus 
affording employment for a large number of team driv- 
ers, wood choppers and laboring men, and in connection 
with this branch of industry he owned a large store in 
the centre of the village, and well filled with goods. Al- 
most his entire life was spent in this locality, and he con- 
tributed greatly to the growth, prosperity and success of 
his native place, being engaged in active mercantile pur- 
suits for a period of eighteen years; a part of the time 
the name of the firm was Swing & Tomlinson. With 
the inhabitants of the village and the farming commu- 
nity surrounding the place a large and prosperous busi- 
ness was transacted. They were also interested in cedar 
swamps and vessel property — the Joseph A. Clark, 
George M. Swing and other sailing craft. The vessels 
and oyster boats sailing from the port of Fairton, re- 
ceived their supply of provisions mainly from the store 
of Swing & Tomlinson. Many of these boats were en- 
gaged in the oyster trade ; others were employed in car- 
rying lumber, cord wood, country produce and general 
merchandise, and sailed direct for Baltimore, Philadelphia 
and New York, where cargoes of goods were usually 

In marriage Mr. Swing was united to Miss Harriet 
Whitecar, a prominent and estimable young lady of 
Fairfield. Four children were born to them, to wit : 


Harriet, George M., Emma and Charles S. Of these, 
three are now Hving, one of the sons, Charles S. by name, 
being engaged in successful mercantile pursuits at the 
present time. 

The death of George M. Swing takes out of the list 
of living men one of the most noted and influential citi- 
zens in his native place. He was more than a clever 
man socially, full of shrewd instances and plausible un- 
dertakings, a patriotic citizen, and like many others 
of our prominent men, self-made. Personally he was a 
high type of the American gentleman ; cordial in his 
manners, warm-hearted in his methods, of suave and 
fluent address, and that universal kinship which springs 
from a kind and honest heart, made and kept for him 
many friends among all classes of people. To young 
farmers, merchants or mechanics who needed the advice 
and inspiration of an experienced head he was '' guide, 
philosopher and friend," and ever ready to champion the 
cause of the w^ak and oppressed, and to aid every 
movement which seemed calculated to be of advantage 
to the great mass of people. While giving direction to 
matters of business there was little that escaped his no- 
tice, although he nev^er had that busy and pre-occupied 
air of importance which some persons have with one- 
tenth of the work. 

It is said of an eminent statesman of the present gen- 
eration, that he has frequently declared that the most 
desirable condition of life was to have somewhat more 
to do than one could possibly accomplish. By this he 
did not mean far too much, but enough to supply a per- 


petual spur. Men that have been great benefactors 
of their kind, and have left great works behind them, 
have had to hve under pressure with strained energies 
and the sense of having too much to do. A man can 
hardly become great under the condition of a calm, 
leisurely life. Man cannot run at his fastest or swim at 
his fastest under ordinary circumstances ; he must be 
running an exciting race or swimming for dear life to 
do his best. Indeed, what a man is capable of rarely 
appears until he is put on his mettle. 

What is true in regard to physical facts is equally true 
of our mental faculties ; under pressure the mind be- 
comes enlarged and quickened, and thus capable of pro- 
ducing results calm leisure never attains. But the evil 
of this is that it is so difficult to realize this happy con- 
dition. Men who are able to do much more are usually 
pressed to do too much. 

George M. Swing used to say with great truth : "Don't 
go to men of leisure when you want anything done ; go 
to busy men." Paradoxical as it may seem, it is never- 
theless true that the busiest men are those who have the 
most time, or at least the most capacity for extra work. 

Until the last ten years he enjoyed the best of health. 
His bright face and cheerful spirit brought sunshine 
wherever he went. He was a prominent and highly re- 
.spected citizen, commanding an influence of which few 
are capable. His last years, however, were shadowed by 
business misfortune, including losses on land and by 
water, and also the destruction by fire of valuable tracts 
of timber land and hundreds of cords of wood already 


cut for market. Thus he experienced success and re- 
verse under circumstances of great trial, and his Hfe 
struggles were heroic ; all, however, were borne with 
true Christian fortitude. I would not do justice to my 
feelings without adding that I found it encouraging and 
profitable to visit him. Indeed, his conversation was 
always entertaining and instructive, his voice, his vote, 
his influence being always found on the side of good 
morals and good government. 

\^Ex tracts from the Bridgeton Evening Nezus, February 20, fS/g.] 

George M. Swing, Esq., of Fairton, a well-known and 
respected citizen of that place, died yesterday at the age 
of seventy-six years. His health has been failing for 
some time past. He was for many years employed in 
the store business as a member of the firm of Swing & 

The funeral of the late George M. Swing took place in 
Fairton on Saturday last, and was largely attended. He 
was buried in the Cross Roads burial ground, near the 
site of the old church, founded by his father, the Rev. 
Michael Swing. 


Mr. George M. Swing, of Fairton, N. J., departed this 
life February 19, 1879, in the seventy-seventh year of his 
age. He had been a member of the M. E. church be- 
tween forty and fifty years. 

His father, Rev. Michael Swing, was a very devoted 


Christian man, and a useful, strong and able preacher of 
the gospel. He brought up his family in the " nurture 
and admonition of the Lord," and they all embraced 
religion, and all the children that have gone have died 
in the sweet faith of the gospel. Thus we see the fruits 
of a godly training. Three sisters only are left of quite 
a large family. 

Brother Swing was strongly attached to the church of 
his choice, aiding her most liberally with his pecuniary 
means; and his house was a putting-up place for the 
preachers and other religious visitors for many years, 
where they were cordially received and made welcome, 
and they all felt at home in the family of Brother Swing. 

His wife preceded him to the spirit world some few 
years, and he was married to his second wife in the 
neighborhood of five years before he died, and she proved 
a most valuable helpmeet for him till he oied, with all the 
attention and cheerfulness that always characterizes real 

Brother Swing was a useful man in the community, 
and where he was known, which was quite extensively, 
he was esteemed as a man of excellent business habits, 
.stern integrity and downright honesty in all his dealings. 
He was a man of considerable reading and information, 
and formed a judgment of his own. He had a keen per- 
ception of right and wrong in all matters of church and 
state. He took strong ground on the temperance ques- 
tion, and was much opposed to the license system as now 
pre\'ailing in cities, towns and counties. 


He took a lively interest in the religious prosperity of 
the church. When he was disabled by bodily infirmity, 
so that he could not attend the extra services, he would 
inquire how they prospered, who was forward for prayers, 
and who were converted. His heart and interest were 
there though his body was absent ; and the last time I 
prayed with him, which was a day or so before he died, 
he was much engaged in prayer, and when I closed he 
responded audibly, "Amen." 

My brother was always strong in faith all through life, 
and his closing moments were a triumph over death. 
About an hour before he died he was asked how his 
mind was in the near view of his departure. He replied 
that his spiritual sky was perfectly clear, not a cloud 
came between him and the sun of righteousness, and 
many other expressions of like import, showing the vigor 
of his faith and intensity of his love in his last battle with 
his last enemy — death. 

A little over a week before his death he attended 
church, spoke in love-feast as one " waiting to go 
home." He said: " The Lord is my rock and my salva- 
tion ; whom shall I fear?" And when his keel was 
ploughing the swelling floods of Jordan, with bowline at 
his feet and his hand hard on the helm, he said : 
" Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of 
death, I fear no evil." 

He was quite a good singer himself, and a great lover 
of music, and the day but one before he died he broke 
out audibly and sang with a sweet voice, " We'll wait till 


Jesus comes," etc. He is gone, we believe, to the home 
of the blest in heaven, to sing the high praises of the 
Redeemer in that bright world of light and glory. 

" Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his 
saints." — Psalms 116:15. 




§ON. CHARLES P. SWING, who represented 
the Plrst Assembly district of Salem county in 
the legislature during the year 1876, died at 
his residence in Sharptown on Monday evening last, 
March 24th, 1879, of pneumonia. The deceased was 
born in Salem county and passed all the active years 
of his life within its limits. He was seldom known to 
be sick or to employ a physician. Prior to his elec- 
tion he had a local celebrity and a popularity which 
made him known throughout the .state. His ances- 
tors settled in New Jersey before the Rexolution, and 
by marriage and intermarriage is now \\'idely spread 
through that and neighboring states, many of them 
clinging still to those strict Presbyterian ideas which 
have always been cherished by that society. 

He was the son of the late Dr. Charles Swing, and 
was engaged in agricultural pursuits during the greater 
portion of his life, residing on a farm owned by the 
family near the village. 

He was united in marriage to Miss Rebecca A. Gor- 
den, of the same place, and at the time of his decease 


left a widow and the following named children : Lafay- 
ette W., Mary E., Clarissa, Belle, Edward, Charles Wes- 
ley, George W., Reine R. and Hannah — four sons and 
five daughters. The announcement of the sudden death 
and the funeral of our worthy townsman brought to the 
village a large concourse of relatives and friends. He 
was borne to the cemetery by his old associates, who, 
from long years of business relation, regarded him with 
the kindest feelings of veneration. As a gentleman of 
the most pleasing and social type, and as a member of 
society and the head of a family he will be greatly 
missed. At the time of his death he was proprietor of 
a livery stable and the Temperance Hotel at Sharptown, 
New Jersey. 


The funeral of Etta T. Swing took place this morning 
from the residence of her mother, Mrs. Judith Swing, 
No. 80 Church street, and was largely attended. The 
principal and teachers of the First and Second ward 
schools were present. She had been suffering for several 
months from paralysis, and died suddenly on Thursday 
morning last. Miss Swing was for several years past a 
successful teacher in the secondary department of the 
Bank street public school, and was a young lady of rare 
gifts, pleasant, agreeable, and had a large circle of friends. 
As a teacher she had few superiors. In the school-room, 
where she was loved, he.r presence will be greatly 


missed, and at home her place cannot be filled. She was 
laid in white satin, and placed in a handsome black cloth 
casket, with silver handles and name plate. It was 
trimmed with beautiful headlining with a white satin pil- 
low. The floral designs were a tribute of love from her 
numerous friends. At the head was a standing wreath, 
a sheaf of wheat and a floral design representing a pil- 
low ; on the right was one representing a basket ; at the 
foot one representing a harp, and on her feet was placed 
a wreath. The pall bearers v/ere A. E. Prince, principal 
of the First ward school, George W. McCowan, Augus- 
tus Cook, Charles Garrison, Benjamin F. Harding and 
Evan Wheaton. The services were conducted by Rev. 
Heber H. Beadle, who in the course of his remarks 
said: "From the olden time there comes a story of an 
ancient prophet, filled with the Holy Ghost, who was 
caught up to the clouds in a chariot of fire. A voice 
went up with it, crying, ' My Father, my Father, the 
Chariot of Israel, and the horseman thereof; ' and his 
mantle fell upon him who stood by the banks of the 
Jordan." The soul has gone out of the waxen frame of 
her who lies in yonder room, and as it ascended it left 
its mantle behind. The soul cannot be buried, but will 
dwell in the realms of bliss while eternal ages shall roll 
their solemn round. In 1869 she stood before the altar 
and made confession of faith, and united with the Sec- 
ond Presbyterian church." Her pure spirit passed from 
its transitory world, reveling at the moment of its flight 
in a foretaste of its approaching bliss — catching a glow- 
ing beam fresh and warm from the fount of everlasting 


joy, picturing on the breathless clay a heavenly and 
matchless erandeur. 


" She died in beauty, like a rose, 
Blown from its parent stem ; 
She died in beauty, like a pearl, 
Dropped from some diadem." 

The remains were taken to Swing's cemetery at Fair- 
ton for interment, and her pure spirit reposes in quiet 
with him who gave it. 


S^Ex tract from Cinciiuiali Gazette of May 21st. '\ 

The funeral of Miss Elizabeth Gatch Swing, sister of 
Hon. Philip B. Swing, United States District Judge of 
the Southern District of Ohio, took place from the M. E. 
church in this place Sunday last. It was largely attend- 
ed by the relatives, friends and old pioneers of this state, 
and for the information of many friends, and the pioneers 
of this valley that are scattered over distant states, we 
append a few brief notes of her birth, life, family history 
and death. Elizabeth Gatch Swing was born in Tate 
township, Clermont county, Ohio, March i, 1808, and 
died suddenly at the residence of her brother-in-law, 
Mr. Hill Goodwin, near Bethel, the same township in 
which she was born, May 17, 1878, aged seventy years, 
two months and seventeen days. She was the first child 


of Michael and Ruth Swing, and on the paternal side 
granddaughter of George and Sarah Swing, and was the 
first born of the generation of Swings to which she be- 
longed. In the maternal line she was the granddaughter 
of the late Rev. Philip and Elizabeth S. Gatch. When 
she was yet a child, with her father and mother she 
moved from Tate township to what was and now is 
the " Gatch " neighborhood in this (Miami) township, 
where a greater part of her useful life has been spent. 

She united with the Methodist Episcopal church when 
quite young, and up to the day of her death has been a 
faithful and consistent Christian member of the same. 
Those who know her speak of her as a woman pos- 
sessed of more than the ordinary graces of the Holy 
Spirit, seeming not to live so much for herself as for 
those around her, ministering to the wants and soothing 
the sorrows and lightening the cares and making glad 
the hearts of those among whom she dwelt, evermore 
laboring to bless and make others happy. A loving, 
dutiful sister, companion, neighbor, church member and 
friend, her departure is a painful severance of the most 
tender ties by dear friends and relatives, whose loss is 
her gain, and though dead she still speaks, and her 
memory will long be fragrant in the minds and hearts of 
those who knew her best. The Rev. R. K. Deem 
preached an eloquent and feeling sermon, being assisted 
in the service by the Rev. Mr. Powell, of the Baptist 
church. Her remains were deposited in the beautiful 
cemetery east of town, beside those of friends who have 
gone before. 





\_Ex tract from Cincinnati Gazette, October 31, 1882.'] 

TT FTER an illness of two weeks, Judge Philip B. 
1=4 Swing died yesterday evening at 6.15 o'clock. 
About the middle of last week his case began to 
assume a serious aspect, but his friends were not alarmed 
until Saturday, when his symptoms indicated that he was 
rapidly growing worse, and about 4 p. m. on that day he 
became partially unconscious. He afterwards rallied 
slightly, and remained easier during Saturday night. On 
Sunday he still grew worse, with sinking spells, when all 
hopes of recovery were ^iven up by his physicians. He 
lingered in the most critical condition until about noon 
yesterday, when he rallied again slightly, and was able to 
partially recognize relatives and friends. During the 
afternoon he gradually sank until the above named hour, 
when death claimed the distinguished jurist. His com- 
plaint was kidney disease, with uraemia setting in at the 


last His last judicial visit to Cincinnati was on October 
12, when, accompanied by his physician, Dr. Ashburne, 
he went to open court, but his condition compelled him 
to return to his home the same night. He was seen on 
the street but once or twice after this. 

Funeral on Thursday at i p. m. from his late residence. 
Ceremonies to be plain and brief, consisting of remarks 
by Judge Baxter, of the U. S. Circuit Court, and by a 
member each of the Hamilton and Clermont county bars, 
the latter by Judge Ashburn, to conclude with a prayer 
by Rev. Dr. Walden, of Cincinnati, a valued friend of 
the deceased. 

The Swing family came from Lorraine, one of the two 
provinces captured from France by Germany- in the late 
Franco-German war. It was of Huguenot extraction 
and early identified with the doctrines and followers of 
the Reformation. Before the American Revolution two 
Swing brothers emigrated from the father-land and 
settled in Salem and Cumberland counties. New Jersey. 

In 1803, Rev. John Collins, " the old man eloquent" 
of the Methodist church, purchased a large tract of land 
in Clermont county, on the East Fork, and founded the 
" Jersey Settlement." Another early settler w as George 
Swing, a son of one of the emigrants. He secured a fine 
tract of land on the Ohio turnpike, west of Bethel, and 
lived on the farm now owned by M. J. Swing until his 
death, when he was interred in the Swing cemetery on 
part of the homestead. 

He was the ancestor of all the Swings in this region, 
among whom was the late Judge Philip B. Swing, the 


distinguished Professor David Swing, of Chicago, and 
Judges George L. and James B. Swing of this town. 

He had sons, named Samuel, who lived in Tate town- 
ship until his death, when his family removed to the 
West ; Lawrence, who married the daughter of David 
Light, and died in Tate on the farm yet owned by the 
family (he was the father of Judge George L. Swing, of 
Batavia); Michael, who removed to Miami township; 
Wesley, wdio married Nancy Crane, and living on the 
homestead until his death, reared five children, among 
them George W. and M. J. of Bethel. George Swing 
had one daughter, Mary, who married Zachariah Riley, 
but both have deceased. 

Michael Swing was married December 6, 1806, to 
Ruth, daughter of Judge Philip Gatch, and died in 1835, 
and his wife, Ruth, fifteen years later. Their children 
were: Aaron M., who died in 1840; George S., lately 
deceased ; Philip Bergen ; Sarah A., who married John 
Crane; Mary, intermarried with John Leming; Ruth, 
married to Hill C. Goodwin ; Martha, married to Presi- 
dent Matthews, of Hillsboro Female College ; Elizabeth 
and Margaret L., who both died unmarried. 

Judge Philip Gatch, the father of the late Judge Philip 
B. Swing's mother, was one of the most remarkable men 
our country has ever produced. 

The Gatch farm, five miles out from Baltimore City, 
on the Belair road, has been in the family ever since it 
was purchased, in 1737, by the progenitor of the family 
in this country. He emigrated from Prussia and settled 
in this part of Baltimore county in 1725, obtaining from 


Leonard Calvert, the Lord Proprietary, a passport per- 
mitting him to travel in part of the province. His son, 
George, and sev^eral brothers indentured themselves to 
obtain their passage to America, and were very cruelly 
treated by their masters to whom their services were 

Philip Gatch, son of George, was born March 2, 175 i, 
and became the first American itinerant preacher in 
America. Before 1772 Robert Strawbridge, a local 
Methodist preacher from Ireland, had settled between 
Frederick and Baltimore towns, and he raised up three 
other preachers, Richard Owen, Sater Stephenson and 
Nathan Perigo. The latter preached upon the Gatch 
estate in 1772, and although the whole family were 
members of the established church he converted them to 
Methodism. Philip Gatch resolved to become a preacher, 
and went to New Jersey, where he serv^ed as an itinerant 
in 1773. In July, 1774, he attended, at Philadelphia, the 
second yearly conference of the Methodists in America, 
and was received into full connection as a minister. He 
and Rev. Wm. Duke were appointed the first circuit 
riders on the Frederick circuit, which comprised what 
are now the counties of Carroll, Frederick, Washington, 
Allegheny, Garrett and Montgomery. On one occasion 
his bold language drove upon him an attack from 
drunken ruffians. In 1775 he and Rev. John Cooper 
were ordered to Kent county, ^Maryland, to preach in 
place of Abraham Whitworth, who had been deposed for 
misconduct. Here he caught the small-pox, and was 
very near to death. Returning to Baltimore town he 


preached there and on the Frederick circuit. Between 
Frederickstown and Bladensburg he was assailed, after 
preaching on Sunday, by a mob who tarred and feathered 
him and treated him so savagely that he never entirely 
recovered his strength. Four w^eeks afterward, however, 
he had another appointment to preach in the same place, 
and he fulfilled it without molestation. In 1778 he was 
appointed to Sussex county, Virginia, and there he was 
once more made the victim of the popular antipathy to 
the new sect of Methodists or Wesleyans. Two bullies 
fell upon him and beat him so severely that his life was 
for a long time despaired of and his eyes were perma- 
nently injured. In addition to these sufferings his con- 
.stitution had been broken by labor and exposure, forcing 
upon him a respite from duty. He was the more recon- 
ciled to this from the fact that the persecution of the 
Methodists w^as ceasing. On January, 14, 1778, he mar- 
ried Elizabeth, a daughter of Thomas Smith, of Pow- 
hattan county, Virginia. This family, like the Gatches, 
had forsaken the established church to become the 
disciples of Wesley. Although Philip Gatch never took 
another appointment, he had the superintendence of 
various circuits, and spent a considerable portion of his 
time in traveling and preaching. 

He was one of the leading spirits in the organization 
of the M. E. church on the system which has endured 
to the present day, and was one of the three persons to 
w^hom the superintendence of the work in the Southern , 
States was confided. In 1778 he removed to Bucking- 
ham county, Virginia, and October 11, 1798, he emi- 


grated to what is now Clermont county, Ohio, fifteen 
miles from the present city of Cincinnati. Here he pur- 
chased the " Nancorrow Survey," a large tract of mili- 
tary reservation land, on which is now situated the thriv- 
ing town of Milford. He also entered an extensive tract 
near Xenia. In 1802 he was, a member of the conven- 
tion which framed the first constitution of Ohio, and the 
next year he was chosen by the legislature, one of the 
three Associate Judges of the Court of Common Pleas. 
He was twice re-elected, and held this responsible judi- 
cial position for twenty-one years. 

He died at his splendid residence in Clermont county, 
December 28, 1835, in the 85th year of his age. For a 
quarter of a centur}^ after removing to Ohio he occupied 
various pulpits as a local preacher, and he performed the 
marriage ceremony innumerable times, bridal parties 
coming long distances to be united by the patriarchal 
pioneer and minister. He was the close friend of Judge 
John McLean, of the U. S. Supreme Court, and that dis- 
tinguished statesman commemorated his long and hon- 
orable career by writing the " Memoirs" of the Rev. 
Philip Gatch. 

The descendants of this hero of early Methodism are 
found in Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and farther west, all 
prominent in their professions, which are the bar, the 
bench, the ministry, the press, and the chairs of collegi- 
ate institutions. At the old homestead on the Belair 
road are the lineal descendants of the first of the family 
in this country, and here stands the time-honored " Gatch 
Church," the first erected in this vicinity. 


Philip Gatch came to the Northwest Territory with his 
brother-in-law, Rev. James Smith, his friend Judge Am- 
brose Ranson, and others (white and colored) to the 
number of thirty-six, making Newtown, Hamilton 
county, their objective point. Gatch and Ranson went 
to the McCormick purchase near Milford, and tempora- 
rily lived near Rev. Francis McCormick. In February, 
1799, Gatch moved into his own cabin, which stood on 
the southern side of the present township cemetery, east 
of Milford, which he occupied for a long time, but after- 
wards lived in a large house on the county road, on the 
place lately occupied by George W. Gatch, near the 
place of his original settlement. Judge Gatch's pro- 
nounced hostility to African slavery led to his being 
chosen a member of the constitutional convention of 

Judge Gatch had four sons and four daughters. The 
former were Conduce, Thomas, Philip and George. 
The daughters were: Presocia, married to James Gar- 
land and afterward to David Osborne; Martha, to John 
Gest; Elizabeth, to Aaron Matson, and Ruth to Michael 
Swing. Ruth was a woman of rare intellectual powers, 
and the impress of her strong individuality as well as 
that of her distinguished father was seen in her son, Philip 
B. Swing. 

The latter was born October 14, 1820, in Miami 
township, this county. He was admitted to the bar at 
Dayton, Ohio, in 1842, having been examined by a com- 
mittee whose chairman was Gen. Robert C. Schenck, 
then in large and noted practice. The discipline, flexi- 


bility and ease which collegiate education is supposed to 
best supply were in his case attained by self-culture, 
quick observation, engrafted into the stock of native 
good sense, superadded to such educational facilities as 
the local schools afforded, and with a natural aptitude 
for the practical adaptation of circumstances and means 
to ends, he became like his illustrious grandfather. Judge 
Gatch. He soon achieved a deserved prominence at the 
bar. He immediately formed a law partnership in Ba~ 
tavia with his cousin, the late Hon. Moses D. Gatch, of 
Xenia, Ohio, which continued several years. The only 
other law^ partner he ever had and with whom he was 
long associated, was his father-in-law, Judge Owen T. 

Judge Swing was married April 15, 1844, by Rev. 
Edward Schofield, to Mary H., daughter of Judge Fish- 
back. The latter was born August 29, 1791,. in 
Farquhar county, Virginia, and emigrated to Kentucky 
when but a boy. There he read law with Hon. Martin 
Marshal, and, coming to Clermont, was admitted to the 
bar at a term of the Supreme Court held at Williamsburg, 
in 18 1 5, by Judge William W. Irwin and Ethan Allen. 
He was state senator in 1823 and 1824, representative in 
1826, prosecuting attorney from 1825 to 1833, and pre- 
siding judge of the Common Pleas Court from 1841 to 
1848. He married Caroline, a daughter of Jacob Huber, 
who had married Anna Maria, daughter of Dr. Christian 
Boerstler, a Bavarian gentleman of much distinction, who 
came to America on account of political oppression. In 
1806 Huber came to Williamsburg, accompanied by his 


brother-in-law, Captain Boerstler. Mrs. Judge Fishback 
was a sister to the celebrated Charles Boers Huber and 
to Mrs. Major S. R. S. West, of Olive Branch. Of the 
large family of sons and daughters of Judge Fishback 
were George W., the late proprietcM* of the St. Louis 
Dcmoci'cit ; Hon. John Fishback, and Hon. W. P. Fish- 
back, the eminent lawyers, both of Indianapolis. One 
of the daughters married Hon. H. N. Talley, of our 
town, father of Frank Talley, the postmaster of New 

Judge Swing leaves a widow and the following chil- 
dren: Capt. Peter F. Swing, an eminent attorney at 
Batavia ; Carrie, wife of Judge James B. Swing, and 
Lizzie, an unmarried daughter, and one son deceased, 
Philip Bergen Swing. 

Judge Philip B. Swing served as prosecuting attorney 
part of 1847, during Colonel Howard's absence in 
Mexico. He was a candidate at different times for 
prosecuting attorney, common pleas judge and repre- 
sentative to the legislature, but owing to his party being 
in a large minority was not elected. In 1859 ^^^ ^^'^'^ 
defeated for the legislature by Dr. John E. Myers, the 
present state senator. 

On March 31, 1871, he was appointed by President 
Grant judge of the United States District Court for the 
Southern District of Ohio, to fill the vacancy occasioned 
by the death of Judge Humphrey H. Leavitt, who had 
held that judicial position from July 10. 1834, the day 
of his appointment by President Jackson. Judge Leavitt 
was from Stcubenville, and for twenty years was the sole 


Federal Judge of the District United States Court in 
the state, and until Ohio was divided into the Northern 
and Southern districts, and Cincinnati made the seat of 
the latter's sittings. 

Judge Allen G. Jhurman, then in the United States 
Senate, remarked to us, "that Grant's selection of Judge 
Swing was the best appointment his administration had 
made, and he predicted Judge Swing would make a 
name on the bench that would add lustre to the Ohio 

As a lawyer there was nothing dramatic or startling 
in his career, but he kept right on in the higher levels of 
local practice, surrounded by a large and wealthy client- 
age, whom he served always with the utmost alacrity 
and scrupulous fidelity. As a judge his administration 
was able, pure and dignified ; giving him a well deserved 
reputation for his decisions. Coming of an honored 
lineage, celebrated in the pioneer annals of the county, 
born, reared and educated in Clermont, where he prac- 
ticed for a quarter of a century his profession in a most 
successful and honorable manner, he maintained on the 
bench the character of an eminent and upright judge, 
"Untainted by the guilty bribe, uncursed amid the harpy 
tribe." He was a great student, and his literary tastes, 
although varied and quite ardent, seemed to incline more 
to modern history, which, it is believed he read more as 
a record of events than as showing a development of 
thought in a strict literary sense. 

He was a man who, in the strong language of Napo- 
leon, was "victory organized," who by the force of his 


own merits acquired high station ; yet he was not puffed 
up, proud or aristocratic, but remained plain, unpretend- 
ing and true-hearted ; was easily approached, and always 
interested in the wants and purposes of the people. 

For over two score years he was a devoted member 
of the Methodist Episcopal church, and a large part of 
that time a zealous class leader. In politics originally a 
Whig, he was identified with the Republican party from 
its very organization, and it can be well said, he was its 
chief head and front in this county. 

Before going on the bench he contributed largely to 
the press, and his political articles were wTitten with 
great force of argument, and in strong, compact, nervous 
style, showing not only a complete mastery of the sub- 
ject, but a correct literary taste not usually expected in 
one whose studies for a h'fetime had been solely legal 
and utilitarian. 

His religious duties were to him of paramount obliga- 
tion, and his ever-mindful kindness to those sick and af- 
flicted is part of the noble, but unwritten, history of his 
life. Though he had naturally a high and quick temper, 
he kept it down under strong bolt and bar. No man 
ever set a more vigilant watch upon his own conduct, 
w^as more guarded in his language, or w^as more scrupu- 
lous as to what he believed w^as right. 

The strong cast of his features, his heavy brow, his 
deeply set, sharp, and piercing eye, his firm mouth, and 
his look of decision and self-command indicated uncom- 
mon individuality, and ga\'e the impression of a charac- 


ter somewhat severe and stern, yet no one had kindlier 
feelings, a more generous and forgiving disposition. 

In judging men he habitually took the charitable view, 
and whatever his judgment might be, he was never cen- 

As a husband he was unremitting in devotion and 
kindness; as a parent, indulgent, yet steady in discipline; 
as a neighbor and citizen, kind and public spirited ; 
as a church member, zealous and exemplary; as a poli- 
tician, sagacious and liberal; as a lawyer and judge, 
honest, courteous and distinguished. 

The character of Judge Philip B. Swing needs per- 
spective, like a great building, which, standing near, we 
do not appreciate its harmony of proportions. He was 
not a man of society, yet society committed to him many 
of its most sacred public and private trusts, pecuniary 
and otherwise. A great part of his power was latent; 
he was an influence felt even where he did or said noth- 
ing. There was potency in his presence. He was often 
solitary, but never lonesome. 

Although more than sixty-two years of age and sub- 
ject during the past year to frequent indispositions, his 
eye was not dimmed nor his natural force abated ; his tall 
form continued erect, his step elastic; his hair was but 
slightly tinged wMth gray, his spirits were buoyant and 
his whole mind alert and capable as ever up to a few 
days before death arrested the stroke of his mighty heart, 
and he sank away in the arena of his best achievements. 
** A gentler heart did nex^er sway in court." Men of the 


bar suddenly realized that they were berett of a cour- 
teous elder brother who had endeared himself to them 
as counsellor and friend, and that a standard of the 
court had fallen. 

In English homelier than the inscription in the Roman Scipio's 

tomb ; 
Of honest stock ; courage and wisdom crowned 
The man who still good as he looked was found ; 
Whom all its honors to his country bound ; 
Best of the best in his dear Clermont home ; 
A better consul from Patrician Rome 
Was never carried to the Scipio's tomb. 

" We cannot hold mortality's strong hand," therefore 
we leave his body to be placed in its granite mausoleum, 
fitting type of the solidity of his emulable qualities. 
May it sleep in peace, while " his blessed part" we trust 
to heaven. Philosophy can do no more. 

His life, written by intelligent minds and practiced 
hands, would form a legacy to coming generations more 
and more valued as time passed along, far more interest- 
ing and durable than the short record of a marbled 
tombstone. In Clermont county and Cincinnati, where 
from his boyhood he has been so generally known, the 
estimate will be that many men have lived more brilliant 
lives than Judge Philip B. Swing, but rarely has any 
man lived a better one — one whose sweet impress per- 
vades all society from the most humble to the most ex- 
alted, with its strong manhood set in pure heart-felt 
affections linked to intellectuality that commanded high 
esteem and veneration. 




^ ILBERT S. SWING, the author of this volume, 
V vt ^^^^ born and grew to manhood on a farm in 
Salem cou;ity, N. J., about half a century ago. 
Without the advantage of wealth, he got his education 
in his native state, and was originally trained for an 

Perhaps the most pleasing associations of early life 
were connected with the remembrance of school days 
and our quiet country home ; its magnificent expanse of 
green fields and waving grain, clean, shady woods, 
brought us into a blissful sense of repose, and the wel- 
come of nature was only surpassed by that of our school 
companions on the playground. The pleasures of youth, 
as he approached manhood, were exchanged for the 
studies of the school-room. This study was rewarded 
by a strong mind, quick power of perception, and his 
teacher said that " everything the boy learned he knew 

His mother, who was somewhat high-toned, and could 
speak fluently both the English and German languages, 
encouraged the study of arithmetic, drawing, bookkeep- 
ing, music, penmanship and history. 


During his student life he was a member of the 
" Washingtonian " debating society, a literary institution 
established for the benefit of young men, where many 
of the leading and most exciting questions of the day 
were brought up in public debate, and members found 
great pleasure in attending the weekly meetings of this 

It was while attending a mathematical school that his 
mind turned toward the occupation of teaching, and 
soon all thoughts tended in that direction. 

His first appearance as a teacher was in the winter of 
1850, in a small country village containing about two 
hundred and fifty inhabitants and sixty school children. 
Here he met with merited success, and satisfied the 
demands of propriety. The trustees of the district said 
" the teacher understood his business fairly well and was 
very attentive to books." Being successful from the first 
he was subsequently employed in the following-named 
pl-aces : Good Hope, 185 1; Deerfield township, 1852; 
Parvin's Mill, 1853-4; Jackson, 1855; Pine Ville, 1856; 
Fox Chase, Montgomery county. Pa., 1857; Franklin, 
1858; Aldine, 1859-60; Fair View, 186 1-2; Lower 
Neck, 1863; Centerton, 1865. In some of these places 
he "held the fort" for two years each, and escaped alive! 

Nothing tests a man's backbone more than the control 
of fifty half-grown boys. If he can maintain discipline 
and the regard and respect of his pupils, combining both 
instruction and friendship, he may succeed. Courage 
and perseverance, he believed, were good, but grit and 
determination were needful to maintain order, truth 


and progress ; and early in life he nailed these colors to 
the mast-head, and stood by them bravely. 

It may be said that he belongs to the type of quiet, 
prudent, energetic men, with firm grasp on any situation 
they might have to deal with, and whose lives are busy 
and active ones. 

In marriage Mr. S. was united with Miss Emily R. 
Carman, of Gloucester county, a young lady of pleasing 
address and many accomplishments. The couple com- 
menced housekeeping and mercantile pursuits in the 
county of Salem, and entered into work full of vim, 
life and spirit. Being attentive to business and generous 
in their natures, they soon rallied around them earnest 
and abiding friends. 

' During the administration of ex-President Andrew 
Johnson, Mr. Swing was appointed postmaster of Pitts- 
grove, and in connection with the office was proprietor ot 
a store, and did a prosperous business in said village. 
Six years later he resigned the post-office and removed 
to Cumberland county, and engaged in mercantile pur- 
suits, where by their united efforts and close attention 
secured to themselves their full quota of the business of 
the town. 

In religious views the family are Methodists, and 
during the past sixteen years have been supporters and 
members of the old Commerce Street M. E. church, 
Bridgeton (founded by his ancestors in 1805), and wor- 
ship with its congregation. 

To-day, " life is real, life is earnest," with our joyous 
childhood and happy school days behind us. 


Mr. S. is a tall and well-built man, five feet ten inches 
in height; weight, one hundred and eighty pounds ; and 
has the same temperate and industrious habits of his 
ancestors. He never wastes any time in bar-rooms or 
billiard saloons ; is regarded as a kind philosopher, whose 
chief delight is experienced in business, and his life has 
been an active and hon'orable one. He also delights in 
telling the struggles of his early youth and of the years 
when teaching a country school and earning forty dollars 
a month. He has gone through a greater variety and 
wider range of employment than many ordinary persons, 
is still capable of doing his share of life's work or enjoy- 
ing its pleasures, and inclined to believe that the world is 
getting wiser and better and more desirable as a place of 





TT7HERE is a kind of pleasing sadness in the memory 
&lls) of our youthful days. Like voices from some 
distant land the dreams of youth return, each 
fragrant with a thousand recollections. When I look 
back to the days of my early manhood I am reminded 

''Life's but a dream, 
Time's but a stream, 
That glides swifdy away, 
While the fugitive moment refuses to stay." 

I remember the winter of 1854. Li one of the rural 
districts that lies inland the teacher found it almost im- 
possible to arrange the classes. Sixty-six names were 
recorded on the register, and many of the school-books 
were old and wornout. Our first term of teaching ex- 
pired at this place on the 30th of January, when the 
trustees granted permission to purchase a new library, 
and instructed their teacher to make the selection of 
books, granting the children vacation for one week. 
The writer engaged passage on the old stage coach (mail 





j~, y •' 


Ac', '"r 

, Li-N 







line, Mark Lloyd, proprietor and driver) for Philadelphia, 
changed horses at the Pole Tavern, and also at Mullica 
Hill, and traveled all day through a blinding northeast 
snowstorm, a distance of thirty miles. The weather w^as 
intensely cold and the Delaware river frozen over. A 
short distance above Cooper's ferry, Camden, N. J., 
sleighs with passengers and heavily loaded teams were 
crossing to the city of Philadelphia on the ice. 

The snov/ continued for two days and nights in succes- 
sion, and when it ceased the streets and country roads were 
full, from four to six feet deep, and travel was obstructed 
for several days. At the end of another week the weather 
changed, and became warm; a great storm of rain came 
on, with thunder and lightning. The rain descended in 
torrents and the snow^ melted away. In attempting to 
reach our appointment we found the country flooded with 
water. At the Back mill the long bridge and gates had 
disappeared, and the rumbling sound of water could be 
heard for miles away as it passed over into the stream 
below. After waiting for two hours a man with a boat 
was hired to ferry us across the raging stream. 

Arriving at the next village there was great excite- 
ment among the people on account of this flood. The 
hotel and public buildings were submerged and sur- 
rounded by water. Passing on in the direction of the 
" Little Jordan," a stream below the city, we found this 
bridge also carried away. Applying for assistance at the 
residence of a gentleman, his horse was offered on which 
to ride over the ford. Going to the stables we found the 
horses were all out, nothing left but one mule; and on 


the back of this animal passed safely through the stream 
— not dry shod, however, for the water was deep and 
almost over the head of the animal. 

On reaching the opposite shore the rider dismounted 
in a half-drowned condition, thanked the owner of the 
quadruped, who stood on the hill, for furnishing passage 
through the stream so cheap and reliable. The sun had 
already disappeared in the west, and the darkness of 
night began to gather around the waters of the lake as 
the teacher resumed his journey in the direction of the 
school house. For the next half mile the road led 
through a forest of large and stately trees, and just 
beyond the woods was an extensive tract of cultivated 
land. We called a moment at the dwelling to remind 
the farmer's children that school would commence again 
on the following day. 

" Are you the schoolmaster at Little Jordan ? " in- 
quired a venerable lady in spectacles. 

" Yes, ma'am." 

"The scholars like you much better than your prede- 
cessor of last year." 

" Indeed ; is that so ? " 

"Yes," she continued; "our children learn very fast, 
and we do not have to drive them to school this winter." 

Among the superintendents of Gloucester, Salem and 
Cumberland counties, who filled the office acceptably for 
three years each, and from whom I received certificates, 
we recall the following named: Jonathan L. Brown, 
William Null, Nathaniel G. Swing, Jonathan S. Whitaker, 
David Shimp, Jr. ; Thomas R. Clement, M. D. ; John 


W. Hazelton, Keasby Pancoast, James Coombs, Ephraim 
B. Davis. 

Before any person could be elected to a school they 
had to attend an examination and obtain a license. 
These examinations were conducted either at a private 
office or in a country school house, and often attended by 
half a dozen young men and maidens who had assembled 
to go through the ordeal of an examination. 

Upon a cold and frosty morning in November I re- 
member driving eighteen miles into another county to 
attend one of these inspections. Each candidate was 
supplied with reading and writing exercises, while the ' 
superintendent listened to a young man's reading 

" Oh, for a lodge in some vast wilderness, 
Some boundless contiguity of shade, 
Where rumors and oppression meet." 

Next was the reading of extracts from an essay on 

" Man, in his individual nature, becomes virtuous by 
constant struggles against his own imperfections. His 
intellectual eminence, which puts him at the head of 
created beings, is attained also by long toil and painful 
self-denials. It would seem to be a law of his existence, 
that great enjoyment is only to be obtained as the reward 
of great exertion," etc. 

To the last person reading he inquired : " Who is the 
author of this oration ? " 

*' Blessed if I know," replied the young man, excitedly. 


" Richard Rush," I replied, "a teacher, and member of 
the house of representatives at the capitol, Washington." 

"Amanda," he said, " is there any h in sofa? " 

" Of course there is," answered Miss Jones. '' S-o-p-h-a 
— sofa." 

" How many n's in Cincinnati ? " he asked, 

" Three," replied Miss Jones, casting a sly wink at her 
companions. C-i-n-c-i-n-n-a-t-i." 

1st. Will each person explain the difference between 
learning and teaching ? 

2nd. Define education, memory, discipline. 

3rd. Recite the laws of the state of New Jersey per- 
taining to common schools. 

4th. Write a specimen of your penmanship, and name 
the principles in the system you teach. 

An elderly gentleman was asked : 

1st. How is the earth divided ? Into land and water ; 
one-fourth land, three-fourths water. 

2nd. Name four of the largest cities in the world ? 
Paris, London, Peking, New York. 

3d. Name the capitals of the states north of Mason's 
and Dixon's line ? 

4th. How many states were represented in the first 
Electoral College ? 

" Who were our three greatest men ? " was asked of 
an ambitious-looking youth. 

Innocently, I replied: ''People sometimes differ in 
opinion in reference to our greatest men, but I would 
suggest the names of George Washington, Andrew 
Jackson and Napoleon Bonaparte." 


" Good," said the superintendent. " During what year 
was Washington inaugurated president of the United 

"April 3, 1789, and continued in office, eight years," I 
rephed. " What is your own age ? " " Past twenty -four, 
sir." " Have you taught before ? " " Yes, sir." " In what 
place?" " Sodam and Gomorrah." "Indeed! and 
escaped from these places alive?" " Yes, sir." 

" What is the meaning of the word ' review ? ' " " To 
consider again, to carefully examine." " 'Rhetoric ?' " 
" The art of speaking with propriety." " What is * gos- 
sip?'" We answer, in a general way, it is talking 
about persons rather than books. " What is a fountain?" 
" It is a spring, the source and head of a river." " Paral- 
lelogram?" "Four sides whose opposites are equal." 
" How many sides has a circle?" "Two," replied the 
student. "What are they" " An outside and an inside." 

He turned away from me and began to question a 
young lady by asking her to name the longest river, the 
largest lake and the highest range of mountains. If a 
teacher, whose annual income is $12.00 per week, spends 
;^20.50 per week, wnll he save money or run in debt, and 
how much in one year? A merchant married his 
daughter on New Year's day, and gave her one dollar 
towards her portion, promising to double the amount on 
the first day of every month for one year ; what was the 
amount received ? 

The elderly person who had been teaching in the 
county for fifteen years was asked, " Do you know the 
authors of the arithmetics used in the schools?" 


"Titus Bennett, Greenleaf, and John Rose," he repHed. 
The last named was a teacher in Salem county, N, J., and 
his arithmetic one of the best in use. 

" Where is Mecca, and for what is it noted?" "How 
many continents are there ? " " Two," replied the stu- 
dent ; "the eastern and western." "What does the 
eastern contain?" " Europe, Asia and Africa." " How 
old was Methuselah when he died ? " " Never saw his 
age recorded in school-books," replied the old gentle- 
man. " How long was Noah building the ark ?" etc. 

" What is multiplication ? " was next asked. " Multi- 
plication shows what any number amounts to when mul- 
tiplied by another number ; or, it is a compendious way 
of adding numbers. 

TWO exa:mples. 

Short way explained. 93 

93 68 



6324 558 


" Take the first example. Say 8 times 3 are 24 ; set 
down both figures and carry i to the next line ; 7 times 
9 are 63 ; put down both figures and you have the 
product, 6324. This rule applies to whole and fractional 
numbers, and the calculations are much quicker than the 
old method." 

"And you attended the grammar classes?" inquired 
the superintendent of another candidate. 


" Yes, sir." 

" Ah ! What is a noun, verb, adverb, pronoun ? 
What is the adjective personal pronoun of ist person, of 
2nd and 3rd person? Repeat the general rules? Please 
parse the following : ' The master will give two books ; 
all men have two eyes apiece; most insects have six 
feet, some nine, others ten, others tw^elve ; birds migrate 
twice in the year ; happy is the teacher whom all 
scholars love.' " 

The examiner was getting out another book to con- 
tinue the examination, when in comes a boy and says : 
" Is Mr, S. in here? 'cause if he is, the stage is waiting at 
the door, and Mr. Lloyd wants him to come right away, 
for he carries the mail and driving to meet the boat." 

" Yes," I hastily put in, " that's so." 

Conscious that I had been found ignorant of many 
facts, dates in history and questions in school books 
which others retained in their memory, and being 
brought up in the country, I arose at once, and with a 
profound bow started for the door. 

" Hold on," said the superintendent, as he grasped the 
pen and filled out a license, remarking at the same 
time, " I shall expect to hear a good account from 
Little Jordan District before the end of your quarter." 
Five minutes later I entered the stage coach, and 
while the spirited leaders galloped through the ancient 
village of Mullica Hill I w^as sitting on the top 
scat with the driver perfectly satisfied, a restful air 
pervading my heart, while in my pocket reposed the 
license of a teacher of public school, to continue in 


force for another year. The business of teaching in 
those days was in the hands of but few men, and their 
services were in constant demand. Although the com- 
pensation was small, yet single-handed and alone they 
surmounted many barriers and arose step by step to dis- 

The greatest number of scholars in daily attendance 
during the second year of teaching was sixty-five, and 
the smallest number seven. One day in January I 
walked three miles through a storm of wind and rain, 
only to find seven scholars, four boys and three girls. 
When about half way a sudden squall of wind turned 
my umbrella inside out, and carried it away. I was very 
wet and cold. After waiting a moment and no additions 
coming, I said, "We might as well leave here; there 
will be no school to-day." A bright little girl respond- 
ed: '*I have come through two miles of rain to recite my 
geography." We saw our duty at once, and replied, 
" Yes, Mary, you are entitled to all the instruction I am 
able to give." 

Being somewhat gifted in vocal and instrumental 
music (the German flute and other instruments), we 
called the little company to order by saying : Let us 
commence the morning exercises by singing in chorus 
hymn 284. 

Little drops of water, 
Little grains of sand, 

Make the mighty ocean, 
And the beauteous land. 


"And the little moments, 
Humble though they be, 
Make the mighty ages 
Of eternity. 

"So our little errors, 
Lead the soul away 
From the paths of virtue, 
Oft in sin to stray. 

"Little deeds of kindness, 
Little words of love. 
Make our earth an Eden, 
Like the heaven above." 

The experience of a teacher is varied and amusing in 
many respects. School districts, as well as schoolboys 
and girls, change with the progress of civilization. One 
evening I took my hat, intending to call upon a friend, 
when I observed a carriage driving up to the boarding 
house, and a young man requested my company that 
evening to attend a public school exhibition. My mind 
was at once relieved from all gloomy thoughts, and as 
the country roads were good, and the distance only ten 
miles, I resolved to accompany him immediately. Arriv- 
ing at the place, the exhibition had commenced, and 
a bright-looking lad was reciting extracts from " Wash- 
ington's Farewell Address." The house was crowded 
to overflowing, and at first we could get no further than 
the door. Next, two girls and two boys commenced a 
dialogue, " The Man who didn't take the Newspapers ;" 
composition, "The Industrious Scholar;" instrumental, 
violin and flute; dialogue, "Mrs. Caudle's Lecture;" 


recitation, *'Our Schooldays Revived;" singing, "Na- 
tional Anthem;" recitation, "The Boy who played 
Truant;" recitation, "Our Native Land;" composition, 
"Free Trade and Sailors' Rights ;" dialogue by four boys, 
"Protection to American Industry;" dialogue, " Isn-'t 
Deacon Jones' Wife a little hard of hearing?" Next on 
the programme two Union girls sang a war song on the 
platform, and away back in the house two Confederates 
responded with "Away down in Dixie." "My True 
Love is a Soldier" was then sung by a young lady, and 
in the stillness that followed a person representing a 
wounded soldier hobbled up to meet his sweetheart, and 
started the air of " Home, Sweet Home," which was 
eagerly caught up by the audience, and as the war was 
then going on the story of itself was very affecting and 
beautiful. A bright little boy next recited, in a clear 
voice, the following lines : 

I would not die in spring time 

When worms begin to crawl, 
When cabbage plants are springing up. 

And frogs begin to squall ; 
'Tis then the girls are full of charms, 

And smile upon the men ; 
When lamb and peas are in their prime, 

I would not perish then. 

I would not die in summer, 
When trees are filled with fruit, 

And every sportsman has a gun, 
The little birds to shoot ; 


The girls then wear the bloomer dress, 

And half distract the men ; 
It is the time to shriek it out, 

I would not perish then. 

'I would not die in autumn, 

When new mown hay smells sweet. 
And little pigs are rooting round 

For something nice to eat ; 
'Tis then the huntsman's wild halloo 

Is heard along the glen. 
And quails and oysters fatten up, 

I would not perish then. 

I would not die in winter, 

For one might freeze to death ; 
When blustering Boreas sweeps around 

And almost takes one's breath. 
When sleigh bells jingle, horses snort. 

And buckwheat cakes are tall ; 
In fact, this is a right good woild, 

My friends, I would not die at all." 

Next a middle-aged person related his experience, " The 
Days when I went Gypsying," and " How I Courted 
Sukey Smith." In the midst of the applause which fol- 
lowed the stovepipe fell upon the floor, and the smoke 
began to fill the house. It was soon righted, however, 
and quietness reigned supreme. I had often assisted in 
preparing exhibitions of this kind myself, and in my 
own school house they eventually became popular and 
were highly appreciated by the country people. When 
the teacher informed his audience that it gave him great 
pleasure to introduce Mr. Swing, from Salem county, 
sensitive and modest I arose, and very innocently com- 


mencecl by saying. Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, 
if the trustees will insure the stovepipe from falling down 
a second time I will endeavor to make a few remarks, 
and pausing a moment for breath, the children laughed ; 
then the audience took it up as if the incident had only 
increased their pleasure. A moment later my tongue 
seemed loose again, and timidity and bashfulness van- 
ished away. 

I like these country schools. My happiest memories 
are of the years that I walked two miles to one of them 
and carried my dinner in a satchel. 

During the spring of 1863, about two months after the 
incident related in a former chapter, it was my good for- 
tune, with sixteen others from the same township, to be 
drafted to serve in the army of the United States " for a 
period of three years, or during the war." Before this 
occurred I had thought of resigning my commission and 
going out as teacher to New Mexico, Sumatra, Borneo, 
Japan — anywhere in creation to run away from myself 
Then I thought of the lonely island of Juan Fernandez — 
in mid ocean — and the house where Alexander Selkirk 
exclaimed to himself: 

" I am monach of all I survey." 

Now the draft has come; hit the schoolmaster, they said, 
and it is too late. Looking over the list of drafted per- 
sons, some people said: "This is a good hit;" while 
others expressed their sympathy and remarked that 
Salem county had aleady sent its full quota of soldiers 
to the front, and the services of those remaining were 


needed at home. Another person remarked : " I would 
prefer going to war at any time rather than teaching a 
country school." Putting on a bland and spring-like 
expression, we visited the largest cities looking for sub- 
stitutes; the most exciting, though not the most desir- 
able, place being at a recruiting office, among soldiers, 
sutlers, sailors, and the army and navy headquarters. 
In the process of time I had found substitues for myself 
and others at a cost of five hundred and fifty dollars each ; 
returned from the war and was for a time the hero of the 
hour. Trustees and people received me, and as I had 
sung patriotic songs with their children they seemed 
more social and agreeable than ever before. But when 
I reached the schoolhouse I heard an unearthly sound 
within, a somewhat unhappy blending of voices. Shade 
of the inharmonious, what does it mean ? and upon en- 
tering found the children singing a solo. Nailed to my 
writing desk was a beautiful flag upon which was in- 
scribed the following patriotic lines : 

OUR country's flag. 

Hail glorious flag ! we cherish thee, 
Unblemished standard of the free ! 
A nation's pride, a nation's boast — 
Thou art guarded by our country's host 

Of heroes firm and brave. 
Then fling our banner to the air, 
Columbia's stars are glittering there ; 
And let it wave majestic, grand, 
O'er all the cities of our land. 

And ocean's stormy wave. 



Some years later the writer was invited to address a 
school exhibition and reunion of teachers and scholars 
at the same place. After complimenting the children for 
their improvement in learning oratory and musical at- 
tainments, I said : It is very pleasant to recall our suc- 
cesses. The soldier loves to fight his battles over; he 
warms up, his eye sparkles, he becomes eloquent. What 
can loosen the tongue of a retired merchant like a re- 
quest to give an account of his early life and struggles, 
of how he worked his way to the proud position which 
he now occupies ? We have heard them many a time, 
and never grew weary of listening. The aged minister 
shows it more clearly and revels in it more constantly than 
either the soldier or the merchant. These fathers in the 
conference forget the present and sometimes consume 
the time. When one of them spoke at great length a 
young minister went to Bishop Janes and asked him if 
there was no way to shorten their speeches. " No," said 
he, "these old men have earned the right to be heard as 
long as they live ;" and so they have, if they have done 
their work well. 

To recall vanished joys is not entirely unpleasant. It 
is not easy to explain how it is that pleasure can be 
found in lingering over broken pictures and hopes that 
never can be realized, and happiness that is gone forever. 
Yet of the fact there is no doubt ; most persons know it 
by experience, and it is attested by the poets truest to 
human nature : 


Long, long be my heart with such memories filled, 
Like the vase in which roses have once been distilled ; 
You may break, you may ruin, the vase if you will, 
The scent of the roses will hang round it still. 

The "district" schoolhouse of forty years ago has 
gone out with the old *' oaken bucket," but its memories 
were embalmed and surrounded with a charm which not 
even the model schools of to-day can give. Our school 
report says there has been an average attendance of forty- 
five, larger than on any previous winter; thirty boys 
have not been absent more than three times and several 
have not missed a single day. 

" I remember being asked rather anxiously by a little 
girl whether twice two was four in France and Germany 
also, I gave her great comfort by assuring her that it 
was, not only in France and Germany, but also in the 
heavens and the earth and the sea, and in all times and 
seasons." Daniel Webster once said that he w^ould not 
undertake to say what were the mathematics of heaven. 
But the Yankees have made great advances since the 
time of Daniel. 

Luther said : " If a man is not handsome at. twenty, 
strong at thirty, learned at forty and rich at fifty, he 
never will be handsome, strong, learned or rich in this 

The reading of good books are very important to chil- 
dren for this reading forms a very important feature in 
the formation of our character and life. If you will no- 
tice the books and newspapers on the centre table of 
wealthy men, you may form some estimate of the people 


living in the house. As the result of my own observa- 
tions, those who have access to newspapers at home, 
when compared with those who have not, are much bet- 
ter readers, better spellers, and define words with care 
and accuracy. They are better grammarians for the 
newspaper has made them familiar with many varieties 
of style, from the comic advertisement to the most fin- 
ished oratory of the statesman. 

Some years ago a gentleman from New Jersey, Dr. 
Charles Swing, was traveling on a steamboat on the Ohio 
river, and made the acquaintance of another traveler who 
seemed to be very polite and courteous ; they took state- 
rooms together on the boat. Later in the day the doctor 
concluded that this agreeable stranger was becoming 
ver\- meddlesome and inquisitive, and after all he might 
be nothing but a gambler or an imposter. Obtaining an 
interview with the clerk of the boat, he requested another 
stateroom. The rooms were all full, said the clerk. 
Then the doctor concluded to sit up all night and let the 
stranger occupy the apartment alone. Going into the 
room for some article in the evening he observed the 
man quietly reading the Bible, then all suspicion and fear 
vanished away ; he was afriad no longer. In the society 
of a good old man reading his Bible there is nothing to 

We recollect just here an incident which occurred in 
the winter of 1853 while the writer was stationed in one 
of the counties of this state. Upon our school register 
were inscribed the names of sixty-five children, large 
and small, all the way up from six to twenty years of 


age. In our quiet room at the boarding house we some- 
times looked over the lessons and studies for the follow- 
ing day, being young in years and having but little ex- 
perience in the management of children or the trials of a 
teacher's life. Upon one occasion it was nearly mid- 
night when we retired to rest; a deep snow lay upon the 
ground and the weather was extremely cold. In a few 
moments we heard the loud barking of the dog and 
some person walking over the frozen snow. The mes- 
senger approached the house and began knocking at the 
front door. With the exception of the writer the people 
in the dwelling were all asleep, and no one answered the 
call ; presently we raised the sash in the window above 
and inquired, " Who is wanted ?" " We want the school 
teacher," said the lad; "Grandfather Connley is very 
sick, and he requests you to come immediately and write 
his will." Accompanying the messenger to a large farm 
house in the country, we found a venerable looking man, 
past eighty years of age, and apparently very near the 
close of life. Having recently come in possession of a 
large amount of property, he was anxious to make a 
will and remember his children, grandchildren and rela- 
tives in a handsome way. The entire balance of the 
night being spent in the arrangement and writing of this 
document, then with trembling hand the signatures were 
attached. Said he, " Teacher, I wish you to remain with 
us for breakfast, then my grandson will take you to the 
schoolhouse in the sleigh." After complying with this 
latter request, he said, " I feel so much better since the 
will is written. My earthly work is almost finished; 1 


can depart in peace." A few weeks later this aged pil- 
grim, who had been for so many years a successful navi- 
gator of the land and the sea, quietly passed away, having 
completed his earthly work. 

Life is not to be measured by years but by results; 
and many a man has crowded into a quarter of a century 
— labor, discovery, observation and conclusions — what 
might well have occupied the whole hundred years. It 
is enough if we economize the days, and we are some- 
times permitted to put the study and labor of a hundred 
hours into one of them. Upon the tombstone of Capt. 
Connley it is written that he was a loving husband, a 
tender father, an ingenious navigator and serviceable to 

At another place it was my pleasure to renew the 

acquaintance of Professor D , a venerable looking 

man upon whom I had often called on agricultural, po- 
litical and educational errands in my boyhood. Have 
you been teaching many years ? I inquired. " Yes," he 
replied, " for more than half a century, and still engaged 
in active work." During a cold and stormy day in mid- 
winter he was taken suddenly with apoplexy, and fell 
from his chair; was taken home in a carriage and soon 
after expired. The following afternoon, at the hour of 
recess, a strange boy entered my own school house and 
exclaimed, " I shall go to school no longer. The master 
at New London is dead." 

This incident recalls the memory of Professor A , 

another man of good memory and excellent education. 
He frequently wrote articles for newspapers, and deliv- 


ered lectures on education, astronomy and political econ- 
omy. Had taught many years in the Eastern States ; 
the last fifteen in Burlington, Gloucester and Salem 
counties. He was usually dressed in the fashion of the 
Quakers. He was known all over the country, and by 
some of the boys was nicknamed " Old Straight Jacket," 
*' The Star Gazer," &c. 

Going home upon one occasion he informed his 
daughter that there was another difficulty brewing in the 
village. The trustees had visited his school, complained 
of its management, and quarreled among themselves. 
He said he believed there was no perfect place or perfect 
people on this earth ; felt weary, disappointed with life, 
and ready to die. 

That night one of the trustees dreamed that the gates 
of heaven opened to his enraptured vision, and standing 
on the shores of immortality he saw the Quaker school- 
master beckoning him to come, for he had found a coun- 
try, he said, "where all is perfect harmony and perfect 
peace." In the morning he informed his neighbor of 
his wonderful dream, and proposed calling upon the 
teacher at once, when, to their surprise and astonishment 
they learned that he was dead. 


Live for something, be not idle — 
Look about thee for employ ! 

Sit not down to useless dreaming- 
Labor is the sweetest joy. 


Folded hands are ever weary, 

Selfish hearts are never gay, 
Life for thee hath many duties — 

Active be, then, while you may. 

Scatter blessings in thy pathway ! 

Gentle words and cheering smiles, 
Better are than gold and silver. 

With their grief-dispelling wiles. 
As the pleasant sunshine falleth. 

Ever on the grateful earth. 
So let sympathy and kindness 

Gladden well the darkened hearth. 

It is related that Eastman made an enormous fortune 
in Poughkeepsie with a business college. At the time 
of the war he was eking out a Hving as the proprietor of 
a small school. Under the draft law, scholars were ex- 
empt from military service, and Eastman soon found his 
school so full that he had to move into more commodi- 
ous quarters. The secret of the plan to evade conscrip- 
tion leaked out, and within six months Eastman rented 
every vacant room in the town and filled it with "schol- 
ars." Illiteracy spread with alarming rapidity, and mid- 
dle-aged men who had been considered fairly educated 
merchants suddenly forgot how to read and write or to 
do their sums, and found it necessary to attend Professor 
Eastman's business college. The professor prospered 
accordingly, and even when the war deprived him of his 
"scholars" his business was firmly established. 

The true method of strengthening the memory is to 
cultivate a habit of close and careful attention. What is 
read, heard or seen should not be dismissed instanta- 


neously, but should be, as it were, revolved in the mind 
for a moment. This may at first prove a little irksome, 
and may give a certain appearance of sluggish appre- 
hension, but it will not longr be so, and the gain will be 
found incalculable. Robert Houdin, the great French 
conjurer and magician, gives an interesting account 
of the origin of the " second sight," which he invented 
and which was brought to such a pitch of perfection by 
the late professor. He says that as he and his son 
walked along the streets they would look at windows 
crowded with toys or jewelry. Then they would each 
write down as many articles as they could recollect hav- 
ing seen, and, going back, would verify their lists. Very 
soon, he says, his son could with one comprehensive glance 
take in every article in a large, well-furnished window. 
It is needless to insist upon the extreme value of a good 
and trustworthy memory. Petty annoyances, as well as 
serious inconveniences, are the results of forgetfulness, 
and most forgetfulness is the result, not of any organic 
defect or morbid condition, but of simple heedlessness, 
and the habit of "letting things in at one ear and out the 

We are very apt to remember the errors and mistakes 
of ourselves or others much more vividly than their ex- 
cellences or the average current of experience. How 
the recollections of an awkward blunder in company, or 
a careless, ill-advised remark will send a chill of shame 
and regret through the system. A faithful horse may 
carry his rider a hundred miles without a misstep, but a 
round stone concealed in the sand may betray the step 



of the horse and bring him to his knees, causing the 
rider to give him a bad name as a saddle horse, forget- 
ting the miUion steps securely taken, and remembering 
only the one failure, and even in that case overlooking 
entirely the adequate cause of the misstep. And this is 
a good analogue of human character or conduct. One 
may live half a century a model of correct deportment, 
and a single act of impropriety be recorded as more than 
an offset to all that was commendable. 

A southern negro, an ex-slave, hired a field from his 
old master to cultivate, he to receive one-third and the 
master two-thirds of the crop. The old negro was hon- 
est, but not up in arithmetic. The field yielded two loads, 
both of which he put in his master's crib and reported 
to the astonished landlord : " Dar is no third, sah ; de 
land am too poor to produce de third, sah." 

An old farmer being asked why his boys stayed at 
home when others did not, replied that it was owing to 
the fact that he always tried to make home pleasant for 
them. He furnished them with attractive and useful 
reading, and when night came and the day's labor was 
ended, instead of running with other boys to the railway 
station and adjoining towns, they gathered around the 
great lamp, and became absorbed in their books and 
papers. His boys were still at home when the oldest 
was twenty-one, while others had sought city life and 
city dissipations as soon as they were seventeen or 

I once read of an individual who, after being in a trance 
for several days, forgot all he ever knew, though once he 


was an able preacher. He had to re-learn his letters, 
and spell out words and sentences. Just think of it ; 
you and I can read fast, as our eye moves over the page. 
We do not have to spell a word, so long have we prac- 
ticed. Now, what an affliction it would be should we 
lose at once our ability to read. God be thanked be- 
cause we have eyes to see, and knowledge to enable us, 
and books to read. That minister, as day after day he 
taxed his brain to learn to spell and read, was made to 
feel what a blessing he had lost. An aged colored man 
once said to his master, " I'd give anything, massa, if I 
had it, to know how to read the good book." His mas- 
ter replied : " Sambo, you are too old a dog to learn new 
tricks." But Sambo did learn to read the good book. 
He spent all his leisure time in learning, first his letters, 
then in spelling, then in putting words together in sen- 
tences, until one day he took his Bible in his hands, fell 
upon his knees, and said, " I do bress God I can read." 
And he lived years to read and derive comfort from the 
word of God. 

How much enjoyment comes to us every day from 
being able to read. Then let us call to mind the kind- 
ness of those who taught us when we were young, and 
carefully improve our privilege in reading such books as 
will make us wiser and better. 

Another important lesson in the education of children 
is obedience. " Obey your parents in all things," is the 
divine command. This virtue is commendable, not only 
in children and youth, but often admirad in old age. On 
Sunday last the Rev. Mr. Brown told a little anecdote 


of General Grant which is worth repeating. He said 
that while he was pastor of the First M. E. church at 
Long Branch Grant returned from his famous tour 
around the world, and notified him that he should attend 
his church on a certain Sabbath. The preacher also 
said that in conversation the general told him that he 
always made it a practice to attend church once on Sun- 
day, generally in the morning. 

Well, the day came, and one of the- best seats on the 
centre aisle was reserved for the general. He came into 
church surrounded by his family, and having just re- 
turned from his trip his hair and beard were both very 
long. Of course the church was well filled with people 
who craned their necks to get a glimpse of the great 

On the following Sunday Grant came again, but this 
time he was alone and his hair and beard had both been 
cut close. He quietly took a seat in the pew reserx-ed 
for him. The sexton saw him, but did not recognize 
him, and stepping up, said: " My dear sir, I am sorry to 
bother you, but really this pew is reserved for General 
Grant, and you will have to take a seat on the other 

Grant said not a word, but got up and stepped across 
the aisle and sat down in a pew on the other side. In a 
few moments the preacher entered and seeing the gen- 
eral not in the pew reserved for hirr, called the sexton 
and inquired about it. " Good gracious," said the sex- 
ton, " I did not know him. I thought that was an in- 
truder, and I ordered him out of Grant's pew." 


The abashed sexton at once stepped down to where 
Grant was sitting, made profuse apologies for his stu- 
pidity and requested the general to return to the pew 
reserved for him, which the latter did as quietly as be- 
fore, without a word one way or the other. 


I remember the days of my boyhood and the early 
instruction of my father, who accomplished some- 
thing in his day and time for the cause of truth and 
education. Living as he did about two miles away from 
the church of his choice, we usually geared out the team 
of horses on Sabbath morning for the church. Occa- 
sionally the country roads were bad and the weather 
cold and stormy, then he would say, " Boys, you need not 
run out the carriage to-day; we will read the books and 
newspapers and learn something at home." 

" To serve the present age 
My calling to fulfill, 
O, may it all my powers engage 
To do my Master's will." 

We remember just here an incident which occurred 
near the commencement of the late war. A country- 
man from the green hills of Vermont, attracted by the 
sound of fife and drum, and the excitement of military 
life, applied at a recruiting office to enlist for the war. 
Looking upon the American eagle and the star-spangled 
banner as it floated in the breeze, he read the inscription, 


"Victory or Death." He said, " I love my country and 
my native land, and long to fight in my country's de- 
fence, but do not like these words, 'Victory or Death.* 
If you will enlist me in the service I will go in for vic- 
tory or cripple !" As advocates of education and nation- 
al reform, let us, like the good soldier, go in for victory 
or cripple. Let us record anew in our memory that we 
are not living in the world for ourselves alone, but are 
living so as to enjoy hereafter a higher and grander 
destiny. Let us remember that there is plenty of water 
in springs, river and ocean, and to the industrious and 
persevering man there is no such word as fail. Then let 
us fight manfully the battles of this present life; let us 
be true to ourselves, true to the living and true to the 

^511^0 *End'<* 


/ -7