JAMES SWISHER, now a retired farmer of Eden township, Lancaster county, was born on the old homestead farm where his useful life has been passed to the present time, March 5, 1852, his parents, being Patrick and Susan (McNeal) Swisher.
Patrick Swisher was born in Colerain township, Lancaster county, May 23, 1825, a son of John and Elizabeth (Brown) Swisher, natives of Germany and Ireland, respectively, but who were married in Lancaster county. After living for a time in Colerain township, John Swisher and wife moved into Eden township in 1800, where they purchased land on which they settled, and which he converted into a productive farm. By trade he was a shoemaker, and for many years he worked at the cobbler's bench. He died on this farm in 1858. His marriage was blessed with ten children, who lived to maturity: Robert, James, Fransina, Catherine, Rachel, Albert, Eliza, Patrick, Mary and John.
Patrick Swisher, the father of James, was reared in Eden township, where he had a district school education. In 1851, he married Susan McNeal, daughter of Thomas and Hannah McNeal, of this county. On his marriage he bought the present Swisher homestead, where he built a large stone house and barn, and secured one of the finest country homes in Eden township. Here he spent his life, and here he died Jan. 20, 1901, loved and respected by all. During his active years he dealt very largely in grain, tobacco and lumber, and had a large warehouse in Quarryville. His sons were able to look after the home farm for some years, leaving him time to attend to his business at Quarryville. In politics he was a Democrat, and was an active worker in the interests of the party. Mrs. Swisher, who died at the home farm in April, 1899, was the mother of a family of seven children, of whom James, whose name begins this sketch, was the eldest. Isabel died young; Mary E., born in September, 1855, married Martin Good, of Bart township, and has two children, Maud and Mary; Hannah, born in June, 1861, married Richard Stewart, a farmer in Paradise township, and they have three children: George, Lillie and Rubie; George, born Oct. 7, 1863, was killed in, the mines in Eden township, Oct. 1, 1880; John, born in November, 1868, is single; and Malissa, born in 1871, married John Raub, of Quarryville.
James Swisher was educated in the schools of Eden township, where he grew up on the farm and became a stone mason, a trade that he followed for twenty-three years. He was married May 28, 1874, to Miss Edith, the daughter of Christian and Catherine Stauffer. She was born in Eden township, March 14, 1858, and was educated in the Bart township schools. Christian Stauffer lived in Bart township until the death of his wife, when he went to Nebraska, where he died in the home of his daughter, Mrs. Joseph Anthony. Of the children born to this worthy couple, nine are living: (1) Mary is the wife of Samuel Anthony, of Chester county; (2) Barbara married Jacob McCord, of Bart township; (3) Julia married John Gyse, of Mt. Joy, Pa.; (4) Rebecca married Jacob Anthony, of Bart township, (5) Lizzie is the wife of James McElwain, of Nebraska; (6) Katie, the wife of Joseph Anthony, of Nebraska; (7) Edith, the wife of Mr. Swisher; (8) Isaac, a resident of Illinois; (9) Jacob, also of Illinois.
James Swisher and wife settled at the father's old homestead, where he has had charge of the farm to the present time. When Mr. Swisher was engaged in erecting a building some years ago in Lancaster, he was thrown to the ground by the falling of the scaffold, had one limb broken, and was left a cripple for life. To Mr. and Mrs. Swisher have come eight children, of whom (1) Ruth and (2) John died in childhood. (3) Albert married Miss Katie Carl, of Lebanon county, and now lives in Burlington, N. J.; they have three children, John, George and Harry. (4) Harry, born in 1877, is single, and at home. (5) Susan, born in 1879, graduated from the Seamstress School in Lancaster, and is now engaged in sewing. She is a young lady of genial character, a bright and sparkling nature, and is a favorite among her many friends. (6) Mary, born in 1882, married Harry Neff, and lives at Safe Harbor, Lancaster county; she has one son, Raymond. (7) Anna, born in 1885, has her home in Quarryville. (8) Bessie was born in 1900. Mr. Swisher is a Democrat, and holds to the religious views of his ancestors, being a stanch and devoted member of the Mennonite Church. He and his wife are among the well-to-do and prosperous families of this county, where they are highly respected by their many friends for their good qualities, kind hearts and generous hospitality.