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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - Van B. Swearingen

SOURCE: "History of Champaign County, Illinois with Illustrations," 1878


VAN B. SWEARINGEN. Mr. Swearingen is one of the active and successful business men of St. Joseph. He was born in Adams county, Ohio, June 2d, 1837. His father, Andrew J. SWEARINGEN, was born in Pennsylvania, and emigrated from that state to Ohio. He married Mary BRADY in the year 1843. Andrew J. Swearingen came to Illinois, and first settled in the west edge of Homer township, and afterward about a mile south of St. Joseph. The subject of this biography remained in Ohio till 1847, and then came to this county and lived with his father. The common schools of St. Joseph township furnished all the advantages he enjoyed in the way of getting an education. When he was fourteen years old his father died, and he then went to live with Benjamin BARTLEY, whose house was his home until he was twenty-one years of age. He then went to farming for himself on rented land, and also to some extent as he had the means followed trading in stock. He was naturally gifted with shrewd business qualities, and during two years managed to accumulate sufficient capital to enable him to commence business on his own account. In 1863 he bought land near the present town of St. Joseph, and followed for a number of years trading in stock, a pursuit which he made remunerative and profitable. In 1870, with William O. Shreve as his partner, he engaged in the mercantile business at St. Joseph, and started the first store ever established in that town. This store has been carried on successfully; the popular manner in which it has been conducted has made it a favorite trading place for the people of that part of the county. He is naturally inclined toward an active out-door life, and also has been engaged in the general grain and stock business and annually handles large amounts of grain at St. Joseph.

His marriage occurred in 1861 to Lydia BARTLEY, the daughter of Benjamin BARTLEY. She died on the 18th day of April, 1867. In March, 1872, he was married to Amanda PATTERSON, daughter of John K. PATTERSON of St. Joseph township. He has one child living by his first marriage and two by his second marriage. In his political sympathies he has always been attached to the Republican party. His first vote for president was cast for Abraham Lincoln in 1860. He has taken an active and influential part in township affairs, and has been instrumental in past years in securing the success of the Republican party in that part of the county. He was elected supervisor of St. Joseph township in the spring of 1866. Though still comparatively a young man he has been successful in business, and has reached the position he now occupies by hard work, untiring energy, and good business qualities.

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