The History of the Swarthout Family
Swartwout, Swartout and Swartwood


Elvin Swarthout

Mayor of Grand Rapids 1924-1930 he lived to be seventy years old, died on February 1st. Graduated University of Michigna in 1887. Born at Ovid and resided in Grand Rapids for 47 years. He was survived by his wife and two sons, Donald and Anthony.

Thomas J. Swartwout

Detroit News, April 12, 1944 - Marshall, MI - 71 years old, for 45 years a member of a drug firm here that bears his name, is dead. he leaves his wife, a son, Phillip J., of Dearborn, and two daughters, Miss Isabel Swartwout of Detroit, and Mrs. Robert Wallace, of Marshall.

Perrien - Swarthout

Owosso Argus Press - August 16, 1949 - ELSIE - Miss Mary Lu Swarthout, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Rollie Swarthout, became the bride of Junior Perrien, son of Mr. and Mrs. Julian Perrien of Fowler, in a ceremony performed in the Baptist parsonage, Sunday afternoon, by the Rev. James Lombard. The bride wore for the occasion a two-piece street-length dress of white crepe. The buttoned bodice had a peplum back and lace insert in the sleeves. She wore a white hat and other accessories and her corsage was of white roses. The couple were attended by Miss Donna Perrien, sister of the groom, and Gilson Jack Brodish, brother of the bride. A reception, held at the home of the bride's parents, followed the ceremony with about 60 guests present. Another reception was held in the evening at the home of the groom's parents in Fowler with about 40 guests present. The bride graduated last spring from Elsie High School and the groom is a graduate of Fowler High School. The couple spent Sunday night at their home north of St. Johns and left Monday for a short wedding trip. The groom is employed on the Livingston farm near St. Johns.

Mrs. A. H. Swarthout

August 27, 1892 - Mrs. A. H. Swarthout, daughter of Josiah and Hannah Squires, was born in Bratford, Ont., July 2, 1858, and died on the afternoon of August 8, 1892, aged 34 years. When a child less than a year old her parents came to Saginaw, where they lived a few years, and then removed to their farm near the city, where they have lived ever since. On December 15, 1881, Miss Squires was married to Mr. Arthur H. Swarthout. The first three years of their married life were spent at Grayling, where Mr. Swarthout opened a law office. (The full text, which adds little to this knowledge is available through the webmaster.)

Carrie Swarthout Taken by Death

Owosso Argus Press - September 20, 1947 - [Abridged] - Miss Carrie Jane Swarthout, 84, 209 East Mason street, retired D. M. Christian Company and resident of Owosso for the past 55 years, died Friday at 7:15 p.m. at the home of Mrs. L.E. Hung, Grover street. Miss Swarthout was born in Victor Township, Clinton County, March 29, 1863, daughter of Hugh and Maria Swarthout. Her family were among the earliest settlers of the county, and it was her grandfather, William Swarthout, who named the then-tiny village of Ovid some 110 years ago. She moved to Laingsburg with her family as a young woman, and served for a short time as postmistress there. She was joined here by her elder sister, Miss Sarah Swarthout, about ten years after moving to Owosso, and the two sisters kept house together in the home Carrie had built on Madon street, for about 34 years, up to Sarah's death eight years ago. Her only survivors are a niece, Mrs. Ben Graham of Williamston, and nephew, Paul Swarthout of Alabama. Another sister and a brother preceded her in death.

Mrs. C. A. Swartout

Detroit News - March 17, 1943 - Funeral services for Mrs. C. A. Swartout, 78 years old, 1554 Richton avenue, who died Monday in Highland Park General Hospital, will be held at 7:s0 o'clock this evening in the Barker chapel, 12700 Hamilton avenue. Burial will be in Plainwell, Mich., Saturday, Mrs. Swartout had been a resident of Detroit for many years. She leaves her son, Frank L. Swartout, and several grandchildren..

Clinton County

1850 Census, Ovid Township

10 17 17 Swarthout William 58 M Farmer 4500 NY
11 17 17 Swarthout Betsey M. 56 F     TN
12 17 17 Swarthout Isaac V. 30 M Farmer 800 NY
13 17 17 Swarthout Layton 26 M Farmer 700 NY
14 17 17 Swarthout Hugh 21 M Farmer 400 NY
15 17 17 Swarthout Thomas L. 19 M Farmer   NY
16 17 17 Swarthout Anthony 17 M Farmer   NY
17 17 17 Swarthout William 11 M     MI

The Land Grant to Layton Swarthout shown to the right was provided by Scot Reed. Scot wrote that, "Last summer we were going through some of our grandparents' old papers and came across a land grant document for Layton Swarthout of Clinton county MI, dated 1845. . . . It appears to be printed on genuine parchment, and signed by President James Polk. I must say that I don't know how this document came into my grandparents' possession. They were lifelong residents of Michigan, and both of their families have a long history in the state. My grandmother's side of the family came from Clinton county (near Ovid), so the document most likely would have been passed down through them. I've done research on our family history, and as far as I know, we have no direct ties to the Swartout family. In any case, I think it's an interesting document, and I hope that you and other Swarthout researchers may find the information useful.

Click on the picture for a larger version.



Few men are more familiar with the history of pioneer life in Clinton County than Thomas Lonsbury Swarthout, of Ovid, whose mind bears the impress of the early historic annals of this section of the state for he has been a witness of the growth and progress of the county as it has emerged from frontier conditions and taken its place with the leading counties of the commonwealth, having all of the advantages and improvements known to the older east. He was born in Romulus, Seneca County, New York, October 6, 1831, his parents being William S. and Betsey (Willett) Swarthout, in whose family were seven sons, Thomas L. being the fifth in order of birth. At the age of five years he accompanied his parents to Michigan, the family home being established in Victor township, St. John's county.

It was in 1837 that his father and six other heads of families left New York and started to the west. They had to make roads in St. John's county for none had as yet been laid out and the father built the log house into which the family removed. Dr. Laing at that time was the nearest neighbor, his home being three and a half miles away. In the summer of 1836 Rev. Isaac Bennett came to the Swarthout home to preach as a missionary sent out by the Ohio conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Many settlers came to the county in 1838, 1839 and 1840, which years constituted a period of rapid pioneer growth. All kinds of wild game was to be had in abundance, the fish were plentiful in the rivers and there were wild berries, all of which proved useful to the pioneer settlers, many of whom were in limited financial circumstances. Mr. Swarthout well remembers the Chippewa Indians and their chief, who would visit at the Swarthout home and dine with the family. He was a tall, well-formed Indian and lived to the advanced age of one hundred and five years. In those early days wheat and other grain were threshed on the ground and winnowed by hand. The produce of the farm was taken to Detroit or Pontiac and the trip to the former place required a week. Few are as familiar with the pioneer history as is Mr. Swarthout and his reminiscences are very interesting, showing the conditions of things that existed in the early days before the white man had carried forward to any extent his work of reclaiming this district for the purpose of civilization.

In his youth Mr. Swarthout assisted his father upon the home farm. He was reared amid pioneer influences and surroundings, spending his boyhood, youth and manhood upon the farm in Victor Township. At the age of sixteen years he began teaching in the subscription schools and was thus employed during the winter for fourteen years, receiving from seventeen to twenty dollars per month. He took up his abode on a farm on section 12, Victor Township, in 1854 and there continued to reside for nearly a half century, or until 1903. His farm, which he still owns, comprises two hundred and fifteen acres of rich and valuable land, which he developed from a wild tract. In 1903, however he put aside agricultural pursuits and removed to Ovid, where he is now living retired in a comfortable home. In 1872 he built fine buildings upon his farm, including a substantial residence. He was an extensive raiser of and dealer in sheep and also gave some attention to cattle, but for a long period was known as one of the most successful sheep raisers of Clinton County.

On the 5th of April 1854, Mr. Swarthout was married to Miss Mary Parker, who at that time was living in Victor Township, Clinton County. Her parents were John and Sarah (Cronkite) Parker, and she was born in Romulus, Seneca County, New York, December 21, 1834. She became the mother of a son and daughter: Edson, who is now living in Ovid; and Nora E., the wife of Charles E. Warner, a farmer and prominent citizen of Falkton, South Dakota. They have three daughters, Marjorie Swarthout, Gladys Mildred and Mary Geraldine.

In his political views Mr. Swarthout has long been a stalwart republican and has served his fellow townsmen in various official capacities, acting as town clerk many years, township treasurer and school inspector several years. Since the age of seventeen years he has been a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, to which his wife belongs, and they are widely recognized as earnest, consistent Christian people. He has gained a valuable competence through well-directed effort and untiring enterprise and is now enjoying the fruits of his former toil in honorable retirement from further labor.


Ovid Township - Clinton County - Following the close of the war Captain Potter returned to Ovid and became connected with commercial interests at this place. He secured a situation in the store of Pearl & Faxon, but the firm dissolved partnership in 1866 and from that year until 1871 Mr. Potter was in partnership with Mr. Faxon under the firm style of Faxon & Potter. From 1871 until 1873 the firm was Faxon, Potter & Swarthout and from 1873 until 1883 was Potter & Swarthout. Mr. Potter then purchase his partner's interest but later he sold the business to Mr. Swarthout and was engaged in the conduct of a creamery from 1884 until 1901. Source: PAST AND PRESENT OF CLINTON COUNTY - 1906 CLINTON COUNTY, MICHIGAN

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Updated January 1, 2007