Transcribed by Pamela Wagler from: Biographical Review of Des Moines County, Iowa: Containing Biographical and Genealogical Sketches of Many of the Prominent Citizens of To-day and Also of the Past, Hobart Publishing Company, Chicago, 1905.


John P. Swygard, one of the prosperous merchants of Mediapolis, and who has held several of this city’s offices of trust with credit and favor, is a native of Iowa, having been born in Louisa county, May 13, 1862. His parents were honest and industrious farmers of the county in which our subject was born, and being farmers of only moderate means they could give their son but a common-school education for a limited time, as they needed his help on the farm as soon as he was old enough to plow and feed the stock. John remained with his father on the farm till he was a man of twenty-one years, when he went to Mediapolis and began to learn the harness-making business. He worked at this trade for about two years with John Laubscher, and then accepted a position in the general store of Parrett & Fulmer, which firm was known later as that of C. H. Parrett. Here he remained for ten years, becoming well acquainted with all departments of the store, making a record as a No. 1 salesman, and winning the good-will of hundreds of the daily customers of this great store.

In 1894 Mr. Swygard bought out the interest of Mr. Morehead in the grocery located in the Tuttle building, known as the grocery of J. D. Clement & Company. At the end of four years Mr. Swygard bought out Mr. Clement, and formed a partnership with his brother, James Edward. They conducted a good grocery together with much profit and success till March 1, 1904, when Oscar Henry Walker became a member of the firm; and in connection with their large grocery they added a new department which was filled with gents’ furnishing goods, carrying about $20,000 worth of stock. Their business grew right along, their trade extending over a large part of this section of the county. In September, 1904, they again enlarged their place of business, and changed it to a general store, carrying only first-class goods, and it is known everywhere as one of reliability. It is one of the largest stores in Mediapolis, and one of which both proprietors and citizens are justly proud.

Fraternally, Mr. Swygard is an honored member of Garner Lodge, No. 379, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in which he has held all the high offices; also a member of Lodge No. 226, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. He is a strong Republican, and has served his party as town councilman and as a member of the school board. He is now serving as treasurer of the cemetery association. The marriage of Mr. Swygard, which occurred Jan. 4, 1888, united him with Miss Lillie Jenora Cassing. She is the daughter of John Henry and Sarah Ellen (Cook) Casing. By this union three children have been born; Jessie Elma; Frederick Stanley, who died Dec. 12, 1896, aged five years; and Chalmer Allison, whose death occurred Dec. 20, 1897, at the age of two years. In religious faith Mr. and Mrs. Swygard are members of the Methodist church, where they attend regularly, and where he has been an honored trustee for several years.

In summing up the record of Mr. Swygard, we find that he has always been a man of honest, upright principles and great activity, one who has always been true to his friends and ever loyal in the discharge of both private and public duties. His fortune has been built upon strong moral principles and unswerving integrity, and it is for these qualities that he is honored among his fellow-men.

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