Arthur Swain has been ably serving in the capacity of county commissioner Of Cowley County, Kansas, since 1896. He is one who acted upon the advice of Horace Greeley and went west to grow up with the country. He has had a most interesting business career, and is now a prominent citizen of Richland township, residing in section 8, township 30, range 5, east.
Mr. Swain was born on Nantucket Island, near Boston, Massachusetts, in 1846, and is a son of Charles P. and Lyida Coffin, of historic fame. Mrs. Swain was born, was married and died in the same room, in the same house on Nantucket Island , and island, which was noted about 1840, was the principal rendezvous for whalers. Charles P. Swain was also born, reared and died on the island. At the age of twelve years, he made a trip around Cape Horn, as cabin boy, and at twenty years, he made a trip around Cape Horn, as cabin boy, and at twenty-three years of age was master of a Whaling ship; he soon acquired what was then considered a comfortable fortune. He left the whaling business about the time of Arthur's birth and engaged in the merchant marine service, going to China. About 1855, he was appointed postmaster of Nantucket by President James Buchanan, having always been a staunch Democrat. He was later collector of customs at the port, and then retired, to spend his declining years in Comfort on his native years in comfort on his native island Nantucket is about 15 miles long and from three to seven miles in Width, and it is inhabited by some 6,000 people, being a very busy place. The island has a very interesting history, and it recorded that it was purchased of the Indians for $5 and an old beaver hat. Mrs. Swain died in 1886, at the age of eighty years. Our subject's parents has 11 children, of whom three are now living. One of the daughters, fifty-eight years old, has taught school continuously for a period of twenty five years in Boston, Massachusetts. Another daughter, Mary F., deceased, was secretary of the Packer Institute, at Brooklyn, New York, at the time of her death, she had worked there continuously for twenty-six years.
Arthur Swain had the advantage of attending the fine, graded schools of Nantucket. and at the age of sixteen years left home of New York City. He became clerk in the Wholesale hardware house of Sargent & company, the second of the kind established in that city. It was while this employed that he became well acquainted with Horace Greeley, whose advice to young men he decided to follow. In 1867, with Ned Osborne, who now owns a fine home and a farm valued at $400 per acre, 100 miles from New York he left New York for the west. He took his primary lessons in farming in LaSalle county, Illinois, where they made their first stop. After reaming there for two or three years, he and his partner journeyed to Cowley County, in March, 1872. He took up in Richland Township a claim in southwest Quarter of section 8, township 30, range 5, east, which is his present home. From December, 1872, until March, 1873, he and Mr. Osborne were engaged in hunting buffaloes and antelope, the principal game in the country .Well does he remember the time when the western prairie was literality black with buffaloes. Antelope, being wary by nature, the usual style of hunting them was to place a red flag on a rise of ground to attract their attention, and then lie in wait for a shot. Mr. Osborne has located a claim in section 8, Township 30, range 5, east, and near them were but two other settlers, who were south on the old cattle trail.
Mr. Swain took a deed to his property. securing a patent signed by President U.S. Grant. and at once improved the tract. In 1873. he broke 25 acres of land, and built a cabin of black walnut timber. He obtained the lumber from a sawmill operated on what was known then as McCabe's ranch. on Rock Creek. The cabin was 14 by 16 feet in dimensions. and boasted of three glass windows. In this he lived alone until December. 1874. when he marr1ed the first school teacher of district No.74. His present home was erected in the spring of 1879. the lumber having been hauled from Wichita. then the market for this section. After raising corn and wheat for the first few years. he engaged in the sheep business leasing two sections of land. He handled from 1000 to 2000 head of sheep per year. Until the removal of the tariff on wool. which compelled him. as well as many others. to abandon that business. and he sold his last sheep in 1891. Since then he has turned his attention to raising Galloway cattle and Poland China hogs. Having about 200 head of the former. and 75 of the latter. He leased about 2000 acres of land and cultivates 200 acres, raising kafir corn and sorghum for feeding purposes. He had excellent feeding yards. enclosed by high stone fences. He has been exceedingly successful in a business way, and is one of the influential farmers of Richland Township.
Mr. Swain was united in Marriage, in December 1874, in Cowley County, Kansas. to Nola E. Morgon, who was born of William I. and Mary (Lovell) Morgon. both natives of Kentucky. The former is of Welsh-Irish descent. and the latter of English descent. Her father died in 1899. at the age of eighty years. And her mother, December 31. 1900. age seventy-nine years. Mrs. Swain has eight brothers and two sisters living. She accompanied a married brother to Cowley County in 1873, and was the first teacher engaged after the organization of district No. 74. Mr. Swain was one of the foremost in its organization and did much toward the erection of the schoolhouse. Which was built of native lumber. and located on section 7, township 30, range 5, east. He was one of the first taxpayers having acquired title to his property in 1872. Eleven children blessed his union with Miss Morgan, as follows: Mary, Anna L., Lydia Eugenia, Robert E., George A.; Mabel C. Charles William; Elizabeth C. Ruth, Harry L., and Tola Lucille, Mary M,. aged twenty-five years, is a graduate of St. John's Lutheran Collage at Winfie1d. and now has a good position as clerk in a bank at East Hampton. New York. Anna L. who is twenty-three years old. is a clerk in the East Hampton post office; she attended school there for three years, making her home with the family of Ned Osborne. Lydia Eugenia, aged twenty-one years. Will graduate in June 1901 at Glens Fall New York. and contemplates pursuing the vocation of a trained nurse. Robert E. who is nearly of age lives at home. Mabel C. is attending St. John's Lutheran College. at Winfield. and is taking musical instruction under Gertrude H. Hale. In Politics, Mr. Swain is a Republican, and cast his first vote for U.S. Grant. He served on the school board, and was first elected county commissioner in 1896, and he has filled his office since in a most satisfactory manner. He joined Douglass blue Lodge, A. F. & A. M. in 1887, and became a member of New Salem Lodge, I.0.0.F. in August, 1899. He acted as a secretary of the Alliance and Grange for several years. Religiously, he favors the Unitarian doctrines, and is inclined to be liberal. Mrs. Swain is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
(To Mrs. Groom from Mrs. J .M Neer May 3. 1939)