Biography of the Hon. Harlan J. Swift


Swift, Hon. Harlan J., Buffalo, son of Calvin and Sevila (Ault) Swift, was born in New Hudson, Allegany county, N. Y., October 2, 1843. He is descended from William Swift (a brother of Sir Goodwin Swift and an uncle of Dean Swift), who came from England in the Boston immigration of 1631-32 and afterwards settled at Sandwich, Mass., where he purchased in 1687, a farm which is now owned by and and has always been in the family. Judge Swift's great-grandfather, Jirah Swift, died of wounds received while fighting in the battle of Bunker Hill. His father's maternal grandfather. Joseph Campbell, of Scotch-Irish descent, was in the battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill, being severely wounded in the latter. Wyatt Swift, grandfather of Harlan J., participated in the battle of Ogdensburg in the war of 1812; he removed from Burlington, Vt., to Syracuse (then Salt Point), N. Y., afterward to Perry, N. Y., and thence to New Hudson, where he died. Among judge Swifts maternal ancestors was Major Lyon, of the Revolutionary war. His mother's father, Peter Ault, son of Nicholas and Catharine Loucks, married Roxanna, daughter of William and Mehitable (Lyon) Eaton. The Ault family came from Saxony and Hesse, Germany. Judge Swift's parents removed in 1823 to New Hudson, Allegany county, N, Y., thence to Cuba, in the same county and next adjoining New Hudson. He was educated in the common schools of Cuba, at Rnshford Academy, at Alfred University, and at the Albany State Normal School, and in September, 1863, enlisted in Co. H, 2d N. Y. Mounted Rifles, as a private. He was promoted commissary-sergeant, second lieutenant, and was acting adjutant of his regiment, declined the appointment of adjutant, was made first lieutenant and later captain of his company, and was mustered out August 10, 1865, but served two weeks longer making out the rolls. He was under Grant in the Army of the Potomac from the campaign of the Wilderness to Appomattox. serving as infantry until November, 1864, when the regiment was remounted. Judge Swift led his company in every battle and was granted a medal of honor by Congress for gallant and meritorious conduct at the Mine Explosion before Petersburg, July 30, 1864. He returned home September 3, 1865, and two days later entered the law office of N. P. & B. D. Loveridge, of Cuba, N. Y. He was graduated from the Albany Law School, and was admitted to the bar in November, 1866. He began practice in Cuba, and was a partner of B. D. Loveridge from 1867 to 1882, when Governor Cornell appointed him county judge of Allegany county. In 1883 he came to Buffalo, where he has since resided. He is an able lawyer, an unusually strong advocate before a jury, and a man of the highest professional and business integrity. He was a charter member and for five years commander of Bartle Post No. 183, G. A. R., of Cuba, was judge advocategeneral of the Department of the State of New York under Gen. John A. Reynolds, and is a member of Bidwell-Wilkeson Post No. 9. G. A.: R., of Buffalo, and the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, Commandery of New York. He is a member and past master of Cuba lodge No. 306, F. & A. M., was district deputy grand master of that district, and a member of Valley Point Chapter, R. A. M., of Cuba, and of St. John's Commandry No. 24, K. T., of Olean. May 26, 1869, he married Martha A., daughter of Michael D. Higgins, who had removed from Rushford, N. Y., to Orange Court House, Va., in 1867. She died September 7, 1891, leaving a son, Parton Swift, born July 14, 1876, now a student at Cornell University, class of 1898.

Our County and its people
A descriptive work on Erie County, New York
Edited by: Truman C. White
The Boston History Company, Publishes 1898


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