JOHN W. SWARTZ
John W. Swartz has for many years been an active factor in the progress of Tippecanoe City. Educational, church and social interests owe their promotion in a considerable degree to him, and as superintendent of the public schools he has had marked influence upon the thought and action of the town. He is a man of broad, scholarly attainment, of strong mentality and of keen discernment, and realizing the importance of intellectual advancement in the practical affairs of life he has given conscientious and earnest attention to the duties which devolve upon him. His work has been attended with excellent results and through his efforts the schools of Tippecanoe City have taken rank with the best in the state.
Professor Swartz is a native of St. Johns, Auglaize county, Ohio, born December 13, 1868, his parents being Henry and Mary (Lusk) Swartz. His father was born in Columbus, Ohio, and was a son of John Swartz, a native of Stuttgart, Germany, whence he crossed the Atlantic to America about 1830, locating near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In 1835 he removed to Franklin county, Ohio, and about 1855 took up his abode in Auglaize county, becoming one of the pioneer settlers of that locality. There both he and his wife died. Mr. Swartz, surviving his wife several years, attained the age of eighty-four.
Henry Swartz was married in Auglaize county and he and his wife are still living on the original family homestead there. He is one of the most extensive and prosperous farmers of the community, and is a man whose sterling qualities win for him the respect and confidence of all with whom he comes in contact. In his family were four sons and a daughter, Professor Swartz being the eldest. In the usual manner of farmer lads his boyhood days were passed, the work of the fields occupying his attention through the summer months, while in the winter season he pursued his preliminary education in the public schools. Ambitious to learn, however, he entered the Ada Normal University, but prior to this time he engaged in teaching in the country schools. He was also for two years a student in the Ohio Wesleyan University, at Delaware, and subsequently had charge of the graded schools at Uniopolis. He resigned that position in order to complete the course in the Delaware University, in which he was graduated with the class of 1896, winning the degree of bachelor of arts. He ranked sixth in a class of one hundred and five members, and was one of the speakers at the commencement exercises, this honor being accorded him in recognition of his superior scholarship. He taught mathematics in the preparatory department during the last two years of his college course, and after leaving his alma mater he at once entered upon his work in connection with the schools of Tippecanoe City. In April, before his graduation, he was chosen superintendent, and during the summer months he planned his work which he entered upon at the beginning of the school year. In addition to the regular school course there is a four-years high school course and the standing of the Tippecanoe schools is such that high-school graduates are admitted without further examination to the Ohio State University, the Wittenberg, Cincinnati, Miami and Lima Universities. There are now three hundred and seventy students in the school, under the care of nine teachers, one of whom, the primary teacher, Miss Sarah E. Taylor, has been connected with the schools of Tippecanoe City for thirty-three years. Another teacher, Miss Belle Brump, of the fourth grade, has taught here for twenty- eight years, and the janitor has occupied his position for fifteen years. All of the teachers have had college or normal school training, and are very competent to discharge the important duties devolving upon them. On each Tuesday teachers' meetings are held, where the work is planned and discussed and improvements suggested. A Chautauqua circle has been organized, in which the teachers are doing much reading, and several of the teachers have been identified with the University Extension course. The people and the school board are alive to the needs of the school and the work that is being done therein, and give a hearty endorsement to the labor of Professor Swartz. The school building, which was erected at a cost of forty thousand dollars, is modern in every department, stands in the midst of a beautiful campus of six and a half acres, and in many ways the work is made attractive and interesting, as well as beneficial, to the pupils. A high school library has been established, largely through the efforts of pupils and teachers, and now contains more than six hundred volumes. There are sixty- five students in the high school, and one hundred and twenty-five have been graduated therefrom, the class of 1898 numbering sixteen. Among the graduates of the school one is now a surgeon in the United States regular army, another is a rising attorney at Dayton, several are graduates of colleges and universities and others are pursuing their education in advanced institutions of learning.
Marvelous indeed have been the changes which have occurred in the business world as the result of the better educational facilities afforded the youth of our land. No longer is an employee trained to muscular accuracy alone; he must thoroughly understand the principles which underlie his work, and must logically determine the effects which will follow certain causes. The work of the schoolroom is not to furnish the pupil with a certain amount of knowledge, but to give him that understanding of the varied subjects with which he is concerned that will enable him to put his learning to practical use. Professor Swartz manifests in his methods of work a just conception of the educational needs and demands, and his efforts have secured advancement along progressive lines. He is himself constantly growing mentally and keeps in touch with the spirit of progress through his membership in the National Superintendents' Association and the County and State Associations. At the present time be is a member of the executive committee of the county institute work. He has made a specialty of scientific research and of mathematics, and ranked first in a large class taking examinations for life certificates.
On the 13th of September 1890, occurred the marriage of Professor Swartz and Miss Ervilla Brackney, a native of Auglaize county, where the wedding occurred. Both the Professor and his wife are consistent and prominent members of the Methodist Episcopal church and take an active part in the work of the Sunday school and of various church societies. Mrs. Swartz is a member of the Relief Corps. The Professor belongs to the Masonic fraternity, holding membership in Tippecanoe Lodge, No. 174 F.& A.M.; in Franklin Lodge R. A. M., and the Knight Templar commandery of Troy. In the first he has served both as senior and junior warden. At this point it would be almost tautological to enter into any series of statements as showing our subject to be a man of broad intelligence and genuine public spirit, for these have been shadowed forth between the lines of this review. Strong in his individuality, he never lacks the courage of his convictions, but there are as dominating elements in this individuality a lively human sympathy and an abiding charity, which, as taken in connection with the sterling integrity and honor of his character, have naturally gained to Mr. Swartz the respect and confidence of men.
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