He is the son of Thomas and Catherine Swain, natives of England. In pioneer times they came to Illinois, in 1831, and took up land in this county, on which they lived till 1864, when they purchased the farm now owned by our subject, on section 16, township 3 north, range 8 west, and immediately removed to it with their family. They resided here till 1885, when they took up their abode in Jacksonville, where they live in retirement, in one of its numerous pleasant homes, in the enjoyment of an ample income, the fruit of their united labors. They are people whose worth and high character are well known and appreciated. The father is well endowed with firmness and sound common sense, with decided opinions of his own. He has always been a strong Republican, and stood stanchly by the party when he was distinguished as being the first to cast a vote in its favor after five years of exclusive Democratic reign in this precinct.
Our subject was a boy of ten years when his parents removed to this farm, and here he was reared to a stalwart, independent manhood, and adopting the calling in which he had been thoroughly trained, when he was ready to establish himself in life, in the spring of 1875, he bought 115 acres of the homestead of his father, and immediately after his marriage brought his bride here to live, and entered upon the management of his property. His farm is in fine order, with substantial buildings, and equipped with first class machinery of all kinds, and is classed among the finest estates in the vicinity. Mr. Swain has it well stocked with cattle, horses, and hogs of excellent grades, as he engaged in general farming. He has two threshing machines and a corn sheller, also a sawmill which he operates in this part of the county in the proper seasons, making much money by his enterprise.
Mr. Swain has been twice married. His first wife was Luella, daughter of Blackburn Sims, one of the first settlers of this county. After a happy wedded life of two years the young wife died, in 1877, leaving one child, Edwin L. She was a sincere Christian, and a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and her memory is cherished in the hearts of those who loved her.
In 1879 Mr. Swain was married to Miss Hannah Parrish, who has been to him a faithful wife, and is devoted to his interests. To them in their cozy home have come five children - Carl, Rilla, Edith, Lloyd and Homer - all of whom are living, and are enjoying fine educational advantages. Mrs. Swain's father, James L. Parrish , settled on the frontier of this State, in Menard County, and died last October at the age of seventy-six years. His wife, whose maiden name was Matilda Stout, survived him but a short time, dying Jan. 1, 1889, aged seventy-nine years, passing away on the anniversary of her birth.
Mr. Swain is ambitious and progressive, and his high personal character, purity of aim, and fine business tact make his influence felt in the public and political life of his township, and in social and religious circles. He and his wife are prominent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, are identified with all its good works, and he has been Superintendent of the Sunday School since he was twenty-one, and is also one of the Trustees of the church and of Ashland circuit. He has served as Justice of Peace four years, and has been Overseer of the Poor of this Township for nearly seven years. He is a member of the I.O.O.F. Oak Lodge No. 341, Ashland, Ill., and has filled all the office of that lodge. He is one of the leading Republicans of this part of the county, and has been a member of the Central Committee some fifteen years.