A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by staff and students at Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas.

1905 History of Crawford County Kansas


John Schwab

The little republic of Switzerland has sent to the shores of America some noble specimens of sturdy, honest manhood, and among that number was the subject of this review, John Schwab, who is now deceased. He was born in the old and historic city of Bern, January 17, 1834. He was educated in the excellent common schools of his native land. At the age of eighteen, after he had studied a little of the law, he secured a position as clerk in an attorney's office, where he remained for three years, in the meantime improving his spare moments in the acquisition of more knowledge of his profession. During these years he had read of the prospects for a young, ambitious and energetic man in the United States of America, and accordingly, September 5, 1855, he set sail, after bidding a fond adieu to his native republic, and a little later landed in America, a poor but honest lad, with no capital and in a strange land and among a strange people.

He was not disheartened nor discouraged, but was willing to do anything to earn an honest living. He faced to the west and cast anchor in Ohio, where he secured a position on a farm at a small recompense. There he remained one year, and 1856 found him in Henry county, Illinois, where he sought and secured a place on another farm, and remained there until some years had passed away.

October 2, 1862, he married Miss Hester C. Romig. He rented a farm for three years, and then purchased a farm of his own. In April, 1884, he sold his well-stocked and well-equipped Illinois farm of two hundred acres, and came to Cherokee, Crawford county, and here purchased a farm. This locality being in the great coal mining belt of southeastern Kansas, he also entered into the mining and shipping of coal. In August, 1897, he organized the Weir Junction Coal Company, of which company he continued as president until his death, which resulted from injuries and which occurred on October 8, 1897.

The present roster of the Weir Junction Coal Company is as follows: J. G. Schwab, president; Hettie E. Schwab, secretary; Lewis S. Schwab, manager and treasurer.

The Cherokee Commercial Company of Cherokee is composed of the following persons: H. C. Schwab, J. G. Schwab, M. C. Bolick, George P. Norton and Lewis S. Schwab. These commercial enterprises in south and southwest Crawford county are factors of great force and importance in the county. The men who represent these industries are typical business men, of the conservative caste, and merit the full confidence of the public.

Mr. Schwab, the elder, was a gentleman known for his strict honesty and integrity of character. He had co-operated often with the elder Lanyons who founded the bustling, progressive little city of Pittsburg, which now numbers seventeen thousand souls. He was a great lover of his home and family. He was a consistent member of the German Lutheran church.

His wife, formerly Miss Hester C. Romig, was a native of Tuscarawas county, Ohio, born May 25, 1840, and her parents were early settlers of that county. It was September 5, 1855, when she came with her parents to Henry county, Illinois, and the entire country at that time was an open prairie. She remained a resident of Illinois until after her marriage with Mr. Schwab, and since 1884 she has been a resident of Kansas, and is yet living in Cherokee, where she is surrounded by her children.

Her son J. G. Schwab—brother of Lewis—was born in Henry county, Illinois, May 22, 1869, but since 1884 his home has been in Crawford county. He received a careful training in the public schools and at the Cherokee high school. He entered mining in 1889, and was engineer at the mines from 1892 to 1896. He was superintendent of his father's mines until his father's death, when he succeeded as president of the coal company at Weir Junction. He affiliates with the Masonic fraternity, also is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Cherokee, and is independent in politics. He married Miss Ella E. Gadsbury, March 17, 1892.