Pictorial and Genealogical Record
of Greene County, Missouri

Together with Bibliographies of Prominent Men of Other Portions of the State, Both Living and Dead


SWINNEY'S BANKING COMPANY. The banking business is a clean and honorable one and the most astute and able minds of the country find in that line the most congenial work. No branch of business can make a stronger showing of solid thinkers, brilliant financiers, or more subtle organizers. Greene County, Mo., can show its quota of strong and capable bankers and a sufficiency of banking capital to meet the demands of business. Swinney's Banking Company merits special mention because of its prominence in the community, notwithstanding its very. short career. It was established in October, 1892, under the State law with a capital stock of $10,000, which was increased in September, 1893, to $20,000. The first president was J. F. Silver, the vice-president L. Swinney. Their handsome bank building was erected at the time of its organization, on Main Street, Ash Grove, it having a frontage of twenty-five feet, with a depth of sixty-five feet. This bank is one of the most complete and substantial of its kind in the northern part of Greene County and its vault is a fire and absolutely burglar-proof affair. The bank is doing a general business; assesses, loans money on real estate and personal securities, and the deposits will amount to about $12,000 to $17,000. The present president of the bank, J. S. Silver, is a resident of Clinton, Mo., but was born in New Jersey, where his youth and early manhood were spent. He is an engineer on the Kansas City, Chester & Springfield R. R., having followed that occupation for many years. He was married to Miss Lulu Swinney, daughter of Dr. Swinney, late of Ash Grove. The vice president of the bank is Laura Swinney, daughter of Dr. Swinney. The cashier, W. H. Swinney, is a young man of superior business qualities. He is a native of Ash Grove, born in 1864, and was educated in the schools of that place. Upon reaching manhood he started in business as a clerk and organized the Bank of Fairplay in 1891, and in this line of business has always made a specialty of money loaning. He is a member of the Masonic Order, Lodge 436, Ash Grove, and also the I. O. O. F. of that place. Mr. Swinney has a large amount of real estate, owns valuable property in Pittsburgh, Kan., and also valuable farm property at various points. He was at one time one of the directors of Christian College, is public spirited and active, and although now a Populist in politics was formerly a Democrat. The Swinneys came to Ash Grove in 1868, from Stanford, Ky., where Dr. W. O. Swinney was born, his wife being also a native of that State. Three children were born to them: W. H., Lulu M. and Laura. The mother is still living at Ash Grove, where the family are well known, highly respected and have the utmost confidence of the citizens. Dr. Swinney was a son of Robert and Lydia Swinney, who were natives of Rock Castle County, Ky., the family having originally come from Ireland. They first settled in North Carolina and later removed to Kentucky. Dr. Swinney received his medical education in the Louisville Medical College and practiced his calling in his native State until his removal to Missouri in 1867. He was a heavy dealer in stock and real estate and an energetic business man who made a fine property which he left to his family at the time of his death, in 1886. He had been a Democrat in politics and has shown his approval of secret organizations by becoming a member of Ash Grove Lodge of the A. F. & A. M. and the A. O. U. W. He was a man who made medicine a life study and was the inventor of the preparation known as the Swinney Family Cough Syrup, and other useful medicines which are still on the market. He lent valuable aid in raising money for the establishing of the Christian Church in his neighborhood, and mainly to his efforts is due the establishment of Christian College, a noble and well-conducted institution of learning. He also built the large and handsome college building in Ash Grove, but for some it has not been prosperous. During the Civil War he was a resident of Kentucky but did not take an active part in that struggle, during which he lost a large amount in slaves, of whom he had many. He possessed keen business discernment, became the owner of a large amount of property, but shortly before his death disposed of a considerable amount of his real estate. He was remarkably successful as a physician and a skilled surgeon and was a member of the Greene County Medical Association and the State Medical Association. He was very benevolent in disposition and liberal in his views and his death was deeply felt by the citizens of Ash Grove. In connection with his brother, R. H. Swinney, he was interested in the drug business, the firm being known as Swinney Bros. up to his death. He was one of the following children: N. A., W. C. and B. L. (twins), J. M., F. M., A. C, J. J., R. H. and N. D., and two girls. Those living are: W. A., B. L., J. M., A. C., and R. H. The father died at the age of seventy-three years and the mother at the age of ninety. The grandfathers on both sides lived to be about one hundred years old. The grandfather, William Swinney, took part in the War of 1812. R. H. Swinney spent his early life in Kentucky, where he attended Gilman Seminary and the Kentucky University, graduating from the former institution. After teaching school for some time in his native State he came to Missouri and turned his attention to the drug business in Bois d'Are, in 1880, but since 1883 has been a resident of Ash Grove. He carries a fine general line of drugs and is an extensive dealer in Dr. Swinney's Cough Syrup and Corn Salve, the merits of which cannot be denied. He is a business man of undoubted ability and has built up a large patronage in the town and surrounding country. He has always taken an active part in the councils of the Democratic party and for some time has been a member of the City School Board, his interest in matters pertaining to education being spontaneous and from the heart. Like the majority of the members of the family, he is a member of the Christian Church, in which he is an elder. He belongs to the A. F. & A. M., the I. O. O. F., and also the A. O. U W. He is district grand master of the southwest district of Missouri in the I. O. O. F. and has always taken a deep interest in the doings of that order. He is a member of the State Pharmaceutical Association, of which he has been vice president, and he is now serving as a member of the city council. He was married first in Kentucky to Miss Susan E. Lawrence of that State, daughter of Thomas G. Lawrence. She died in Ash Grove in April, 1886; an intelligent and finely educated lady and a teacher in both Kentucky and Missouri. She became the mother of four children, two of whom are living: O. F., who is a clerk in his father's drug store. married Miss Lelia Williams, of Kentucky, and Henly H., who is now thirteen years of age and is attending the schools of Ash Grove. Mr. Swinney was married a second time, to Miss Addie Gardner, a daughter of James Gardner, and by her has three children: Lelia, Morris M. and James S.

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