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1865 - 1940

From the
Nebraska State Historical Society

Schwind Home          Schwind Farm Sale Brochure

The picture at left is believed to be Mr. Schwind.

William F. Schwind, a native of Missouri, was born in 1865. His wife, Laura, also a Missouri-native, was a school friend of Mary (Baird) Bryan. According to family history, the Schwinds accompanied the Bryans to Nebraska in the late 1880s and both families settled in Lincoln.

Upon their arrival in Lincoln, W.F. Schwind undertook the study of law in Bryan's law office. When Bryan entered congress in 1891, Schwind was appointed as his secretary. Schwind also assisted in Bryan's campaign for the presidency in 1896.

During the Spanish-American War, Schwind served under Col. W. J. Bryan in the 3rd Nebraska Regiment. Commissioned as captain, Schwind served as quartermaster to the regiment. He resigned his commission on the same day that Bryan quit military service.

During the next several years, Schwind concentrated on his law practice in Lincoln. Around 1913, however, he became heavily involved in colonization efforts in Texas. With John G. Maher, he organized the Valley Fruit Farm and Garden Company. Through the efforts of this company and Schwind, some 2750 Nebraskans were resettled on 60,000 acres of land at Francitas, Texas. Schwind was personally responsible for relocating hundreds of Nebraska farmers on Texas land that had previously been used as cattle range.

Bryan, meanwhile, ascended to the position of Secretary of State in 1913. After three different men served as his private secretary during a two year period, Bryan appointed his old friend Schwind to that position on May 7, 1915. At the time of his appointment, Schwind had been serving as the president of the lst State Bank of Francitas.

Schwind's tenure as Bryan's private secretary did not last long--he was appointed as secretary on a temporary basis, until the permanent appointee could accept the position a few months later--and Schwind afterwards returned to Texas to look after his business interests.

However, he and his wife, Laura, remained among the closet friends of the Bryans. The affection continued among their children as well as Helen Schwind and Grace Bryan were lifelong friends and correspondents.

Perhaps the degree of the Bryans' special esteem for the Schwinds was expressed best when Bryan wrote to W.F. Schwind in a July 3, 1925 letter, "It is not often that we find a family where Mrs. Bryan thinks as much of the wife as I do of the husband." Laura Schwind died in Francitas, Texas in 1939. William F. Schwind died there in 1940.

[Note: According to Mr. Schwind's obituary included below, he died in Nacogdoches, Texas.]

The picture above is also believed to be Mr. Schwind in his Spanish American War uniform.


William Frederick Schwind passed away at the Memorial Hospital, Nacogdoches, Texas, early Saturday morning, October 25, 1940. He had been seriously ill less than three weeks, first in his hotel room in Houston, then his daughter, Faith, took him to her home at Nacogdoches. When his case was diagnosed as acute myologenous leukemia, he was removed to the hospital, where his daughter, Faith, and niece, Mary Young, were at his bedside. He was conscious up to a few hours before his death.

Mr. Schwind was born at Canton, Mo., October 1, 1864, one of a family of eight children, son of a German Methodist minister. His father was born at Baden, Germany, and his mother at Basel, Switzerland. He was graduated at Central Wesleyan College at Warrenton in the class if 1884 with a B. S. degree and received an M. S. degree in 1887. He was a member of the first class in law graduating from the University of Nebraska in 1889. Thomas S. Allen, a lawyer still practicing in Lincoln, brother-in-law of the late W. J. Bryan, was also a member of this class.

In January, 1889, after establishing a home in Lincoln, Will came back to Missouri for his bride, Laura E. Strother, her mother and niece, Mary Young. The Dryden, Parker and Strother families lived in the early days on the hill north of the Warrenton depot. He and his family resided in Lincoln until 1913, when Mr. Schwind founded the town of Francitas, Texas, and built his home on Lakeland Farm, where he lived until his death.

Funeral services for Mr. Schwind were held at the Branch Patton Funeral Home at Nacogdoches, Texas, Saturday afternoon, October 26, Faith's pastor, Brother Crawford of the First Presbyterian Church, officiating. His daughter, Faith and husband, J. H. Summers, accompanied the body to Washington, D. C., where they were met by his eldest daughter, Helen. Interment took place in Arlington National Cemetery at 10 a.m., October 29, with full military honors. He was laid to rest beside his wife, who preceded him in death January 8, 1939.

There was a close friendship between the Bryan and Schwind families which continued until the passing of Mr. and Mrs. Bryan. Mr. Schwind served as Mr. Bryan's secretary in the campaigns of 1896 and 1900, as quartermaster in the Third Nebraska Regiment of which Mr. Bryan was colonel in the Spanish-American War. He was also secretary of Mr. Bryan at the time he resigned his position as Secretary of State under President Wilson. Mr. Schwind was an active, energetic and optimistic citizen, always working for the good of his community. He was an ardent reader and a student of politics. He had a wonderful gift of story-telling and always had an appropriate story for every occasion.

Mr. Schwind was survived by two daughters, Mrs. Allen P. Cowgill, 519 Allen Street, Syracuse, New York and Mrs. J. H. Summers, 815 Raguet Street, Nacogdoches, Texas; three grandchildren, Mary Allen, Louise and William Cowgill, also of Syracuse; one niece, Miss Mary C. Young, 5906 Grand Avenue, Kansas City, Mo.; three brothers, Dr. W. E. Schwind, Evanston, Ill., Milton Schwind, Kansas City, Mo., and John Schwind, St. Louis, Mo.; also two sisters, Mrs. Thomas J. Hudson and Mrs. Joseph of St. Louis, Mo.--Contributed

Warrenton (Mo.) Banner, November 15, 1940

Marker photo courtesy of
Loretta Castaldi

W. F. Schwind

News came to Palacios Saturday of the death of Wm. F. Schwind at the home of his daughter, in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Mr. Schwind was known throughout this section as one of the promoters and founders of Francitas in Jackson county, in 1910, and has been actively engaged in business in South Texas ever since.

No particulars as to cause of his death has reached us, neither when and where funeral services were held.

He is survived by two daughters and several grand children.

Palacios Beacon, October 31, 1940

Additional Biographical Information From The Francitas Bee

Mrs. Laura Schwind Dies At Francitas

Mrs. Laura E. Schwind, age 77 years, eight months, and five days, passed away at the family residence in Francitas at 1:30 Sunday morning after an illness of some duration.

She is survived by her husband, two daughters, Mrs. Allen P. Corogill [Cowgill] , Syracuse, N. Y., and Mrs. J. H. Summers, Nacogdoches; three grandchildren, Mary Ellen, Louise, and William of Syracuse; a niece, Miss Mary C. Young, Kansas City, Mo. one brother, Henry M. Strother, Bowling Green, Mo.

Mrs. Schwind was a member of the Presbyterian Church. Funeral services were held this afternoon at 3 o’clock at Taylor Brothers’ Chapel, with the Rev. R. E. Connell of the First Methodist Church officiating.

The body will be shipped to Washington, D. C., for burial in Arlington Cemetery. Taylor Bros. were in charge of the funeral arrangements.

The Daily Tribune, January 9, 1939

Mrs. Will Schwind Dead
Former Lincoln Woman Close Friend Mrs. W. J. Bryan

Word was received here Monday night of the death of Mrs. Will F. Schwind, about 68, formerly of Lincoln, at Francitas, Tex., Sunday. She had been in ill health for several years.

Mrs. Schwind was a classmate and close friend of Mrs. William Jennings Bryan, and Mr. Schwind, who survives, assisted Mr. Bryan following his first presidential campaign. He was a graduate of the law college and practiced here until 1910 when the family removed to Texas.

Surviving, in addition to the husband, are three daughters, Mrs. J. H. Summers, Nacogdoches, Tex., Mrs. Allen Cowgill, Syracuse, N. Y., and Mary Young, Kansas City, adopted. Funeral services will be held at Arlington national cemetery, Washington on Thursday.

Nebraska State Journal, January 10, 1939

Laura E. Schwind

Mrs. Laura F. Schwind, age 77 years, 8 months and 5 days, expired Jan. 8th. Funeral services were conducted by Rev. R. E. Connell under the direction of Taylor Brothers.

The following survive: her husband, Wm. F. Schwind; two daughters, Mrs. Allen P. Cowgill of Syracuse, N. Y., and Mrs. J. H. Summers of Nacogdoches; three grandchildren, Mary Ellen, Louise and William Cowgill of Syracuse, N. Y., one brother, Henry M. Strothers, of Bowling Green, Mo., and one niece, Mary c. Young, of Kansas City.

The Herald extends sympathy.

The Edna Herald, January 12, 1939

Mrs. Laura Schwind Dies at Francitas

Mrs. Laura E. Schwind, age 77 years, eight months, and five days, passed away at the family residence in Francitas at 1:30 Sunday morning after an illness of some duration.

Mrs. Schwind moved from Lincoln, Nebraska, with her family to Francitas when that town was first started. She was a member of the Presbyterian Church, but took an active part in all church activities.

She lent a willing hand, along with her loyal support to all civic work and was deeply interested in everything that was being done for the betterment of the community in which she resided. She has been an invalid for a number of years and her many friends will be glad to know she is at rest.

Following funeral services Monday at 3 o'clock at Taylor Brother's Chapel in Bay City, conducted by Rev. R. E. Connell, of the Methodist Church, the remains were shipped to Washington, D. C., for burial at Arlington Cemetery.

Mrs. Schwind is survived by her husband, Wm. F. Schwind, two daughters, Mrs. Allen Cowgill, of Syracuse, N. Y., and Mrs. J. H. Summers of Nacogdoches; three grandchildren, Mary Ellen, Louise and William Cowgill of Syracuse, N. Y., a niece, Miss Mary Young, of Kansas City, Mo.., and one brother, Henry M. Strother, of Bowling Green, Mo. To these we extend our heartfelt sympathy.

Palacios Beacon, January 12, 1939


Mr. and Mrs. W. F. Schwind of Francitas, Texas, announce the engagement of their daughter, Helen Mary, to Lieut. Allen Parker Cowgill of Company E, corps of engineers, U. S. A. Both the prospective bride and groom are well known in Lincoln. Miss Schwind was born in Lincoln and lived here until her parents removed to Francitas. She graduated from the Lincoln school in 1908, after which she attended the Nebraska university two years. She is a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority. She later attended Glen Eden, a finishing school at Poughkeepsie, N. Y., from which she was graduated in 1912. Lieut. Cowgill is the older son of Dr. and Mrs. Warwick M. Cowgill of this city. He graduated from the high school in 1907, after which he attended the Nebraska university two years. He was just entering upon his junior year when he received an appointment to West Point from Senator E. J. Burkett. He was graduated from West Point in June, 1914. The fourth of last March he was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant. He is now stationed at Fort Crockett, at Galveston, Texas, in company E. U. S. engineering corps, under Captain U. S. Grant III. He has been ordered to the Washington barracks at Washington, D. C., which is a special school for officers of the engineering corps. He will report at Washington September 12.

The wedding date has been set for September 1. The event will take place at the bride's home in Francitas.

 Lincoln Sunday Star, Lincoln Nebraska, July 25, 1915

Cowgill - Schwind Wedding

Charming environments, with military appointments adding a special dignity, characterized the celebration of the nuptials of Miss Helen Mary Schwind of Francitas, Tex. and Lieut. Allen Parker Cowgill of Fort Crocket, U. S. A., September 1, at Lakeland Farm, the home of the bride's parents, Mr. and Mrs. William F. Schwind.

The marriage service of the Episcopal Faith was impressively read by Chaplain Fleming of the Fourth U. S. Infantry, Fort Crocket, Galveston. The wedding ring was an army ring which had been worn by the groom's grandmother, Mrs. William B. Parker, the wife of Col. Parker, known in her girlhood days as the beautiful Mary Allen of St. Louis, who was married in 1859. The groom was given the family name of Allen Parker, and as a coincidence, the bride's name is Mary. The only attendant was the bride's sister, Miss Faith Schwind.

The bride wore a white French gown, and her only adornment was a pendant of pearls and diamonds set in platinum, the gift of the groom. She carried her mother's wedding handkerchief of point lace. The bridal bouquet was a shower of white roses. Miss Faith Schwind wore a white lingerie gown and carried pink roses. The bridegroom wore his military  uniform. Miss Ella Morrison of Lincoln played the Mendelssohn "Wedding March."

The hour of the wedding was high noon, and as the time arrived for the ceremony, the bride descended the stairway, preceded by her sister. She was met at the foot of the stairs by her father and passed through an aisle of white ribbons held in place by six little boys, members of the bride's Sunday School Class.

The Schwind home was elaborately decorated, and transformed into a veritable flower garden for the event. The walls and ceiling of the reception room, hall and stairway were embowered with southern smilax. The bridal party met before an archway of greenery on either side of which stood tall pedestals surmounted with vases overflowing with Shasta daisies.

Pink and white was the color motif for elaboration in the dining room. The wedding cake was in the center of the table, ornamented with a miniature bride. Bouquets of pink roses ornamented the table and buffet and were placed throughout the room. The bride cut the wedding cake with the groom's sabre. Miss Mary Young of Kansas City, cousin of the bride, drew the piece with the ring, Nile Hemple received the thimble, Byron Williamson of Prairie View ranch drew the wishbone. Mrs. Vernon Phelps, formerly Miss Beth Boynton of Lincoln, received the dime. An elegantly appointed wedding breakfast followed the ceremony.

The following ladies assisted in the dining room, Mrs. Ralph Young, Mrs. Bowers, Mrs. Ellis. Those doing the honors in the living room were Mrs. George J. Phelps and the Misses Williamson of Prairie View Ranch.

Lieut. Floyd Randall Walz, who was Lieut. Cowgill's roommate four years at West Point, was to have been best man at the wedding, but was on duty at stormswept Galveston and could not be present.

The bride is well known in Lincoln, having spent her girlhood days here. Before she went to an eastern school, she attended the Nebraska university and is a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority. The groom is the older son of Dr. and Mrs.. Warrick M. Cowgill of this city. He attended the Nebraska university two years before he went to West Point. He and his bride will make their home in Washington, D. C., where Lieut. Cowgill will enter the U. S. school for army engineers at Washington barracks. The young couple were remembered with a large number of wedding gifts representing wealth and great beauty.

After the wedding, Lieut. and Mrs. Cowgill left at 3 o'clock for Galveston, where they will remain at the Hotel Galvez until September 18, when they will sail for New York on the steamer San Jacinto. After spending a few days there they will go on to Washington. The bride's going away gown was a midnight blue silk jacket suit with which she wore a chic black velvet hat faced with white.

Just before starting on the wedding journey, Mrs. Cowgill threw her bouquet which was caught by Miss Belle Williamson.

Lincoln Sunday Star, September 5, 1915

Maj. Allen Cowgill Dies, Retired Army Officer

Maj. Allen Parker Cowgill, 64, U. S. Army Retired, died suddenly at his home, 519 Allen St., early yesterday morning of cerebral hemorrhage.

He was born in Paducah, Ky., and moved to Lincoln, Neb., where he attended the University of Nebraska. He was appointed to the United States Military Academy from Nebraska and was graduated 11th in his class of 1914. He celebrated his 40th reunion last June.

He served on the Mexican border at West Point in the department of mathematics, and in the Philippines in charge of the department engineers' office as an officer in the Corps of Engineers.

He was graduated from the Engineer School, Washington, D. C., and was retired as a major for disability in the line of duty as a result of wartime service and Philippine duty.

Maj. Cowgill served as a councilman and superintendent of streets and public improvements in Lincoln, Neb. He returned to the University of Nebraska and was awarded the degree of master of arts in mathematics and astronomy in 1930 and doctor of philosophy in mathematics and civil engineering in 1935.

He was a member of Sigma Xi Society, Pi Mu Epsilon and the American Mathematical Society. He was head of the department of mathematics at Indiana Technical College, Fort Wayne, Ind., from 1935 to 1938, coming to Syracuse where he taught engineering mathematics in the College of Applied Science at Syracuse University from 1938 to 1947.

He is survived by his wife, Helen M. Cowgill; two daughters, Mary Allen Cowgill, Oneonta, and Louise Cowgill, Cooperstown; a son, William P. Cowgill, Pittsford, and four grandchildren, Jody, William Parker Jr., Molly and Peter, all of Pittsford; a brother, William W. Cowgill, of Fairfield, Conn., and Washington, D. C.

He was a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, the Technology Club of Syracuse, the Association of Gradates of USMA, Army Athletic Association, Constitution Island Association.

Services will be held in the Old Cadet Chapel at the United States Military Academy at West Point Tuesday morning. Interment will be in West Point Post Cemetery.

The Post-Standard, Syracuse, New York, February 28, 1955

Major Allen Parker Cowgill
Husband of Helen Schwind Cowgill

Photo courtesy of
The Meriwether Society

Cowgill Find A Grave Page
WWI Honor Roll, Lancaster Co., Nebraska

Faith Schwind Summers and Jesse Hubbard Summers
Sunset Memorial Park, Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches County, Texas

Marker photos courtesy of Deb in Angelina County

A telegram from Lieutenant Cowgill, received by his parents, Dr. and Mrs. Warwick M. Cowgill, at midnight Thursday, read, "All is well, but all clothes and all personal effect are lost." The said to be the first telegram of a private nature to reach Lincoln from Galveston. Lieutenant Cowgill had equipment with him worth from $1,500 to $2000, including a valuable horse, all the books collected during a four years' course at West Point and new uniforms, civilian clothes and other personal effects purchased recently, preparatory to his marriage on September 1. He had been stationed for the last month at Fort Crockett, which was situated only about one hundred yards from the Galveston sea wall.

John G. Maher sent a telegram to inquire into the safety of William F. Schwind and family who are living at Francitas, Tex. Mr. Maher, however, believes that there was little danger of any serious storm at Francitas as the place is located some sixty miles from the coast and about 120 miles from Houston. Miss Ella Morrison of this city is also at the Schwind home having gone there to attend the wedding of Miss Helen Schwind and Lieutenant Cowgill which will take place September 1.

Lincoln Evening Journal, August 20, 1915

Mary Louise Reynolds Strother

Seeing we have no correspondent from Francitas, we wish to state that death has visited our quiet town. The writer [W. C. H. Marshall] was called upon Sunday, Sept. 9, to conduct a short Scriptural lesson and prayer at the home of our honorable W. F. Schwind, as Mrs. Schwind's mother had passed to the great beyond.

Mary Louise Reynolds was born in Newfield, New York, December 10, 1834. From early youth she has been a member of the Presbyterian Church. She came with her parents to Illinois in the early days, and there she was married to Churchill Strother in 1851. Surviving are one son and one daughter, H. M. Strother of Bowling Green, Mo., and Mrs. W. F. Schwind of Francitas. There are also five grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren. She was known to everyone as "Grandma Strother;" a fine Christian woman and a patient sufferer for many years, and was ready to go home to rest. The remains were taken to the old home in Warrenton, Missouri, and placed beside those of husband and children.

Palacios Beacon, September 21, 1923



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Mar. 24, 2005
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