Capt. Thomas A. Swaringuin

Swaringuin, Capt. Thomas A. (1831-1908) was born on December 15, 1831, in Illinois, the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Shepherd Swearingen. (Thomas' name and that of other members of the family is sometimes listed as Swearingen or Swearengen.) T. A.'s father was born in Pennsylvania, but the family moved to Adams County, Ohio, before migrating to Illinois. Capt. Swaringuin married Mary Ann Hartswell on August 31, 1851, in Menard County, Illinois. Thomas A. “Swearingen” is listed in the 1860 as being a plasterer, living in Athens with his wife Mary and three children. Their children and spouses were: John Thomas (Alvira Dyer), Clarentine “Clara” (Eugene O. Holland), Joseph (died as an infant), and Chauncey (Martha Elvira “Ella” Stone).

Thomas A. Swaringuin was enrolled as a 2nd Lieutenant in Company T. 28th Regular Illinois Volunteer Infantry on August 2, 1861. The regiment, fought in the battles of Shiloh, and Corinth. Thomas, as First Lieutenant, at age 29, was promoted to Captain in 1863 and was later was promoted to Major of the 28th Reg. when it consolidated with another regiment. He mustered out as Captain on March 15, 1866, at Brownsville, Texas, having served four years and seven months.

Capt. Swaringuin’s first wife died only months after he returned to Athens, leaving him to raise their three young children. Thomas married Martha Hall England, the widow of William Banks England (killed 1863 at the Battle of Chickamauga) on September 07, 1868, in Athens. She was the daughter of James Wesley and Catherine Claypool Hall, and granddaughter of Abner and Jane Overstreet Hall. Capt. T. A. and Martha had his three children, her three children: Laura F. (Jeremiah “Judd” Casey), Hettie Ann (Michael Christian “Cal” Jensen), and William Henry (Clara M. Sprouse), and Martha’s brother Charles Hall living them in Athens in 1870. He and Martha had a daughter, Kitte Daisy, who died at age nineteen in 1890.

Capt. Swaringuin was a partner in a wagon and carriage shop, opened the first lumber yard in Athens, and owned 26 rental houses, mostly in east Athens. At various times, Thomas also farmed and operated a small factory which built chicken coups. After living on Main Street since the mid-1860s, Thomas Swaringuin built a large home on the southeast corner of Wood and Hargrave Streets in east Athens in the late 1880s or early 1890s. Martha Hall Swaringuin died in 1902. Capt. Swaringuin died at the home of his eldest son, John Thomas, in Springfield, Illinois, on May 12, 1908. He is buried in Hall Cemetery in Athens in a plot that includes the remains of both of his wives and daughter, Kitte Daisy.

Submitted by Barbara Shannon Cox

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