From A Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. II, p. 1476
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902

HENRY SWARTZ

   Henry Swartz, who is a prominent and influential citizen of Sterling is at the present time practically retired from active farm life, but he is yet a busy man, looking after his many investments in Rice county.  He was born in Sandusky county, Ohio, March 26, 1857.  His father, Samuel Swartz, is an enterprising Ohio farmer and was born in Pennsylvania, in 1832, being a son of Henry Swartz, who was a pioneer of Sandusky county, Ohio.  Making his way to that district with teams and wagons, he settled in the midst of the dense forest and there developed a farm.  His wife was likewise a native of Pennsylvania, and they reared three sons and four daughters, all of whom reached maturity, were married and had from five to eight children each.  With the exception of two all of the number are yet living.  The grandfather of our subject died about 1859, in the seventieth year of his age, and his widow passed away some years later, at the age of about eighty-three years.  They now rest in the Lutheran churchyard in Thompson township, and in the vicinity of their old home.  On the old family homestead Samuel Swartz was reared to manhood and then married Jemimah Harmon, also a native of Pennsylvania, reared in the same neighborhood where her husband spent his boyhood days.  They were married, however, in Ohio, about the year 1849, and their union was blessed with five sons and five daughters, of whom they lost two, one daughter, Anna, dying at the age of nineteen years.  The living are:  Mrs Sarah Nerhood, of Sterling township, Rice county, who has four sons and a daughter; Jesse, who is living on the old homestead in Ohio; Henry, of this review; William, who follows farming in Sterling township and has one child; Mrs Phebe Payne, of Ohio, who has one son and two daughters; Mrs Emma Philsinger, who is also living in the Buckeye state and has a son and a daughter; Mrs Ida Bowersock, of Ohio, who has three children; and Frank, who makes his home in Sterling.  The mother of this family died in 1898 and the father has since been again married, his second union being with Mrs Grove, a widow.  He is an able farmer and owns three extensive tracts of land, from which he derives an excellent income.  He is a man of energy, determination and strong purpose and has carried forward to successful completion whatever he has undertaken in a business way.  At the time of the Civil war he offered his services to the government, being a loyal advocate of the Union cause, but was not accepted on account of his physical disability.

   Henry Swartz left the home farm at the age of twenty years, in the spring of 1877, and from that time has been a resident of Kansas.  He acquired a fair district-school education and was reared to farm labor, early forming habits of industry, self-reliance and energy.  He determined to get out from among the stumps of a timber country and see if he could not find better farming facilities upon the prairies of the west.  He accordingly started for the Sunflower state with about nineteen hundred dollars in cash, most of which he had saved from his own earnings.  His first purchase comprised one hundred and sixty acres of raw prairie land, and being a minor, he had a deed in his fatherís name.  He paid nine hundred and fifty-five dollars for this tract, and during the first year he built upon it a small barn.  Since that time he has made many judicious investments in real estate.  His second purchase comprised eighty acres, his third also included eighty acres, and to that he added thirty-seven acres in one farm.  His next purchase was two hundred and forty acres adjoining, of which he became owner in 1886.  In 1887 he purchased sixty-eight acres, and thus his second farm then comprised three hundred and eight acres.  His fine town property was purchased in 1888, for forty-five hundred dollars, and is one of the most desirable homes in Sterling.  In 1890 he bought a tract of eighty acres east of the town.  Later he made a purchase of one hundred and twenty acres east of his first farm, and for this he gave twenty-eight hundred dollars.  The same year he added another twenty acres, in 1893 he bought eighty acres, in 1894 a similar amount and in the spring of 1895 added a third tract of the same size.  In 1898 he was the purchaser of a farm of one hundred and sixty acres and in 1900 he bought another farm of a quarter section.  These farms are all valuable and productive land, as fine as can be found in this portion of the state, and are well located.  In addition to the cultivation of his fields Mr Swartz engages in stock-raising, and though he is now largely retired from active business cares he still has over two hundred head of cattle and from fifty to sixty horses.  He does not personally engage in farming at the present time but his time is fully occupied by the supervision of his farming interests, - looking after his tenants and seeing that his property is kept in good condition.  The firm of Swartz & Bickett was at one time the owner of a very extensive cattle ranch, comprising four sections, upon which they had eight hundred head of stock.  The firm of Ricksecker & Swartz did a very large livery business in Sterling, clearing eight hundred dollars during the first year.  During the three years in which they conducted the enterprise they spent their profits in booming the town.  Mr Swartz has had a very successful and notable career for so young a man.  His landed possessions now aggregate twelve hundred acres, a very valuable property, and he is regarded as one of the wealthy citizens of his community.  The most envious can not grudge him his success, so honorably has it been secured and so worthily has it been used.  While he has gained prosperity he has at the same time contributed in a large measure to the best interests of the community, through advancing the grade of stock and through his active co-operation with many measures for the general good.

   On the 10th of January, 1882, Mr Swartz was united in marriage to Miss Ella L Miller, a native of Sandusky county, Ohio, her birth having occurred at Mount Carmel, in 1861.  She is a daughter of George and Kate (Rarick) Miller, both now deceased.  Her father was a native of Georgia and her mother of Pennsylvania.  Mrs Swartz has one brother, Adam Miller, who is living in Washington township, and who has two sons.  She also has two sisters, one in Sterling and one in Ohio.  Socially Mr Swartz belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and has taken all the degrees in this fraternal organization.  He is deeply interested in its work and in his life exemplifies its beneficent principles.  In politics he is a Republican at state and national elections, but at local elections, where no issue is involved, he considers only the fitness of the candidates and votes for the men whom he regards best qualified for the discharge of the duties of the office.  He has never found time to seek public preferment, but has served as alderman for two terms, proving a capable officer and laboring earnestly for the welfare of the city which he represented.  His wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which he is one of the trustees, and he took an active part in the erection of the fine, new brick house of worship which was begun in 1900 and completed in 1901.  He gave seventeen hundred and fifty dollars to the Cooper Memorial College and has responded freely and with a generous hand for the upbuilding of every movement and measure calculated to prove of general good.  He and his wife spent one summer, in company with neighbors, traveling through the west in their covered wagon, which is a house on wheels, having all of the comforts of a home.  In this way they visited Wyoming, Montana and Washington, viewing the splendid scenery of the mountains, and having a most unique and delightful outing.  They are genial people of sterling worth, and have many friends in the community.  Mr Swartz has had a career that has been remarkably successful, yet his prosperity has been won entirely through legitimate channels.  He has labored earnestly and persistently, and his efforts have been guided by sound judgment.  He has worked at times when others have enjoyed seasons of leisure, and his unflagging energy, keen sagacity and persistency of purpose have enabled him to advance steadily until he now occupies a very prominent and enviable position among the wealthy agriculturists of his adopted state.