Albert W. SWALEN, b. Nov. 30, 1845


biography from Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887

ALBERT W. SWALEN was born at Womelsdorf, Berks Co., Pa., Nov. 30, 1845. At the age of nine years he removed with his parents to Oskaloosa, Iowa, where as a child he was thrown upon his own resources for a livelihood, and in 1859 apprenticed himself to the Times, and later to the Herald, office to learn the art preservative. At this period, by a diligent course of reading and study at night, he sought to repair as far as possible the lack of educational advantages, and thus early was imbued with the love of political and historical study which has always been the marked characteristic of his mind. In the summer of 1862, when so many young hearts were thrilled with the inspiration of patriotism and war, young Swalen offered himself, but was rejected by reason of his slight frame and age, being then seventeen years old. Again seeking to enlist, he was accepted, on the 9th of November, 1863, and enrolled with Co. D, 33d Iowa Regiment, with which he served until mustered out at Houston, Tex., Aug. 15, 1865. His entire record as a soldier is that of a loyal and brave man in the discharge of duty. He participated in all the campaigns and engagements in which his regiment took part after he joined it, and left the army as he entered it, a private soldier, having refused a promotion to Orderly Sergeant. Soon after the close of the war Mr. Swalen removed to Indianola, where he worked at the printer's trade until 1868, when he was offered and accepted the position of city editor of the Iowa State Register, with Mills & Co., proprietors. Later, his health beginning to show signs of failure, in the spring of 1870 he founded the Grand Junction Headlight, which, under his energetic editorship, attained unusual prominence, and in 1871 he purchased the Bee, at Jefferson, in the same county. During the legislative session of 1871-72 he served as Postmaster of the General Assembly, and extended an already large acquaintance with the public men and politics of the State. On the 1st of October, 1872, Mr. Swalen was united in marriage with Miss Pauline Given, of Des Moines, then associate editor of the Iowa State Register, and a graduate of Iowa College. June 4, 1874, he purchased the Ft. Dodge Messenger. associating his wife with him in its editorial and business control. But the continuance of ill-health, which had its date in the exposures of camp and field during the war, at length compelled a retirement from active work, and June 4, 1877, Mr. and Mrs. Swalen sold the Messenger to Messrs. Howley & Meservey, and after passing the summer on the Western plains set off for Europe in the October following, where, on the continent and in England, nearly two years were spent. In 1881 Mr. Swalen returned to his profession, as editor and joint owner of the Oskaloosa and has actively identified himself with the business and social interests of the home of his youth and early manhood. Here, in a pleasant home, he is surrounded with a good library and sympathetic companionship, and finds great enjoyment in life. To his home has come one child, a daughter, Ione, born at Richmond, near London, England, May 6, 1878. At various times Mr. Swalen has refused to permit the use of his name for official place, preferring the safer path of independence as an editor, and unvexed cares as a private citizen. He has, however, filled many places of trust and honor of a temporary kind. He was connected as private secretary with the commission to make treaty with the Sioux Nation in 1875, and in 1876 was a member of the commission to appraise the Pawnee Indian reservation for the Government. In 1877 he was appointed Assistant Inspector General of Iowa, on Gov. Newboldts staff, with the rank of Colonel. In 1883 Gov. Sherman selected him as a member of the Mississippi River Improvement Convention at Washington, D. C. In 1885 he was elected President of the Iowa Press Association. In 1886 he was appointed by Gov. Larrabee one of the commission for the location of the Iowa Soldiers' home. Later in the same year he was elected Major of the 3d Regiment, I. N. G., and in the subsequent winter was elected Lieutenant Colonel of the same regiment. In March, 1887, Mr. Swalen was elected a member of the Oskaloosa Board of Education for the term of three years until March, 1890. He is also Secretary of the Mahaska County Old Settlers' Association, which numbers a great many of those who have been residents of the county for twenty years. He is a member of the Masonic, Odd Fellows and Pythian fraternities, and the Grand Army of the Republic. He is also President of the local Board of Trade, formed for the purpose of encouraging the establishment of local manufacturing places.

Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887

Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy

Iowa Genealogy

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