CASWELL, S. J.
Past and Present of the City of Rockford and Winnebago Co., IL, C. A. Church. Chicago: Clarke, 1905, pp 781-782
Dr. S. J. CASWELL, proprietor of the CASWELL Pharmacy of Rockford, is a native American though his birth occurred in Bangkok, Siam, in 1847, while his parents, Rev. Jesse and Anna (HEMENWAY) CASWELL, were engaged in missionary work in that far-off island. They were natives of VT and represented old and prominent families of MA. In the paternal line the ancestry could be traced back to Thomas CASWELL Sr., who came to MA in 1635, while later generations came from VT, following the Revolutionary war. The family was represented in the struggle for independence by 123 members, and the great grandfather enlisted four different times for service in the cause of independence. [p 782]
Rev. Jesse CASWELL, a minister of the Congregational church, determining to devote his life to labor in the missionary field, was sent to Siam by the American board of commissioners for foreign missions and spent nine years in that country. While there he was the instructor of the father of the present king of Siam. He died in Bangkok in 1848, a year after the birth of S. J. CASWELL, who was the youngest of four children, three of whom were then living. The mother came with her children to America and devoted her remaining days to the education and rearing of the little ones who were left to her care. Her parents removed to Grand Detour, Ogle County, IL, and she too brought her family to IL, living in Ogle County until called to her final rest in 1890. She was the most devoted and loving mother, counting no personal sacrifice on her part too great if it would promote the welfare of her children.
Dr. CASWELL is now the only living representative of the family. He pursued his education in the public schools of Beloit [Rock County], WI, and Rockford, IL, and afterward entered the Chicago Medical College, wherein he pursued a full course, and was graduated with the class of 1868. He never engaged in practice, however, but has devoted his attention almost entirely to the drug business. In 1862 he secured a clerkship in a drug store, where he gained his first experience in that line, alternating this with his general school work. He completed his medical education in 1868, and for the succeeding three years was engaged in the drug business in Rockford. In 1871 he formed a partnership with William WORTHINGTON under the firm name of WORTHINGTON & CASWELL, the relation being maintained until 1876, when the junior partner sold his interest. In the succeeding spring he went to Moline and from that time until 1881 was assistant postmaster there. In 1881 he returned to Rockford and entered the employ of Charles SABIN, a druggist, with whom he continued for four years. In Apr 1885 he purchased a half interest in the drug store at No. 323 West State Street, this business being conducted under the firm name of HAYES & CASWELL until 1901, when by purchase Mr. CASWELL became sole proprietor and has since conducted what is know as the CASWELL Pharmacy. This is a paying business, yielding a good return upon the investment. The store is attractive in its appearance because of its tasteful arrangement and Dr. CASWELL by his long experience in the drug business and the knowledge which he acquired in the study of medicine is particularly well qualified for the conduct of such an establishment. His business methods too are in conformity with commercial ethics, and he is now enjoying a very liberal patronage.
In 1869 Dr. CASWELL was married to Miss Eliza THOMAS, a daughter of the late Dr. Alden THOMAS, of Rockford. They became the parents of four children, but the first two died in infancy. Lewis F. married Miss Ermine WADDELL, of Columbus, GA, and is a stenographer in he government employ under Commissioner James Garfield. Edward J. married Miss Bessie COLKLIN, of Rockford, and is engaged in farming near Grand Rapids, WI. The mother of these children died in 1898, and in May 1905 the Doctor married Mrs. Nellie Rose WAUGH, of Rockford.
Dr. CASWELL has long been a resident of Rockford and a representative of its business affairs, and as a citizen and merchant merits the high regard that is uniformly extended to him. He is the pioneer druggist of the city, having been actively engaged in business for over a third of a century. He is a great student and has one of the finest libraries in northern IL, comprising some 2,000 volumes of valuable works, largely scientific, particularly works on ethnology and antiquities. His books have been his inseparable companions through life and he has become quite an authority and an acknowledged enthusiast in philately and numismatics, having been a collector of stamps and coins for 35 years, as he started his collection in 1870.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.