THOMAS CARSWELL. - Thomas Carswell is a self-made man, whose life illustrates what may be accomplished through force of character and untiring energy. He is now a resident of Pawnee, but for forty years was actively engaged in farming in Cotton Hill and Pawnee townships, for he has made his home in Sangamon county since the 2d of July, 1859. He was born on the Island of Bute, on the coast of Scotland, April 9, 1834. His father, Andrew Carswell, a native of the land of hills and heather, was reared in that country and there married Janet Scott, who was of Scotch birth and ancestry. During a part of his life, Mr. Carswell was a seafaring man, connected with the fishing industry. His death occurred in his native country in 1860 and his wife passed away in 1843.
Thomas Carswell, spending the days of his boyhood and youth in his native country, came to America in 1859, when twenty-five years of age. He made his way to Springfield, where he had friends living, and soon he secured work as a farm hand by the month, being thus employed until 1864. On the 20th of August, of that year, in Sangamon county, he wedded Mary Byers, a native of Ohio and a daughter of Isaac Byers, who became one of the early settlers of this county when it was a frontier district. The young couple began their domestic life upon a rented farm, where Mr. Carswell lived for about six years. During that time he lost his wife, who died in 1869. Of the four children of that marriage, two are now living: Andrew, who is married and resides in Oregon, and Arthur, who is now in New York. In 1870 Thomas Carswell was again married, his second union being with Jane E. Clark, a native of Scotland, who was brought to America when a little maiden of six summers.
In the year of his second marriage. Mr. Carswell purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Cotton Hill township, and this he began to cultivate and improve, soon erecting thereon a comfortable residence. Later he purchased an adjoining tract of land and his realty possessions now aggregate about six hundred acres. He erected many of the buildings upon his place and made many of the substantial improvements, adding to his farm all modern equipments and accessories. There he resided for a long period, cultivating the soil and pasturing cattle. He also raised hogs on quite an extensive scale and became well known as a stock dealer. He was engaged in active agricultural work until 1896, when he purchased near Pawnee a tract of land of thirty-two acres, and now his attention is given to the improvement of his home property.
Mr. Carswell had three children by his last marriage: James is married and resides upon the home farm with his wife and three children, James, Arthur and Alice; Jessie is the wife of Harry Colean, of Pawnee; and Luther is married and resides on a farm in Cotton Hill township.
Mr. Carswell gives his political support to the Republican party and has endorsed its principles since casting his first presidential ballot for Abraham Lincoln in 1864. He has served as collector of Cotton Hill township and was commissioner of highways, while for a number of years he served on the school board, both in Cotton Hill and in Pawnee, doing effective service in behalf of the cause of education. He was also elected a member of the town board of Pawnee on the anti-license ticket and served as its president. Both he and his wife are members of the Presbyterian church, of which he is now an elder, and his career has been characterized by all that is honorable and straightforward in his dealings with his fellow men, in citizenship and in his home relations. He started out upon his business career without capital, but he possessed determination, and his energy has enabled him to overcome all the difficulties and obstacles in his path. Steadily he has worked his way upward and his career is worthy of high commendation. His life is another illustration of the fact that some of our most progressive and enterprising citizens are men of Scotch lineage, who, taking advantage of the opportunities of the new world, have gained not only prosperity but also the good will and unqualified regard of their fellow men.