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Below is a family biography included in the History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania published in 1889 by A. Warner & Co.   These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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HOMER H. SWANEY, attorney, McKeesport, was born July 16, 1856, near Hookstown, Beaver county. His father, John Swaney, who died in 1876, was a prominent and successful farmer, and a strong republican. His eldest son, H. W. Swaney, left his academic studies at the breaking out of the rebellion, entered the 140th P. V. I., and at the battle of Spottsylvania Court House, May 12, 1863, he was killed. The subject of this sketch was thus trained up in the republican faith. He attended the public schools in Beaver county, receiving his preparatory education in the Hookstown Academy, and in the fall of 1877 entered the junior class in Monmouth College, Illinois. Young Swaney was appointed one of four to engage in an oratorical contest for the position of representative of Monmouth College in the Illinois Inter-Collegiate Oratorical association. This contest he won, and represented his college in the association. Eight colleges and universities were represented, and Mr. Swaney carried back to Monmouth College the honor of having won the first gold medal the college received in the association. Mr. Swaney went from Monmouth College to the University of Chicago (a member of the association), and graduated with the class of 1879. During the summer vacation of 1878 he crossed the Rocky mountains with a camping party, and spent several weeks in lower Colorado. The winter of 1879-80 was spent in New York city in the study of special branches. In the spring of 1880 he went to Washington city, D. C., entered the civil service of the United States government and also the law department of the National University. In June, 1882, he graduated and re-entered the law department on the post graduate course, graduating from it in June, 1883, and was admitted to the bar in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. When in the National University the entire class were assigned as a subject for a graduating essay, “The Doctrine of Ultra Vires.” Mr. Swaney’s essay was pronounced by Judge Willoughby to be the best production, and is published.

Before Garfield’s death, Mr. Swaney and a fellow-student in the National University commenced the compilation of a life of James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur from the newspapers and other documentary sources, and shortly after Garfield’s death published the volume. The spring of 1884 found him in Pittsburgh, admitted to the Allegheny county bar, and in an office awaiting developments. To the tariff and emigration questions Mr. Swaney has devoted much time and study, and has frequently stated his views upon these subjects from the stump. As an orator upon Decoration day he has received many high compliments, and he is always ready to lend a helping hand to the Grand Army.

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This family biography is one of 2,156 biographies included in the History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania published in 1889 by A. Warner & Co.

View additional Allegheny County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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