Part of an old map of the San Jacinto area from the Texas Revolution

Veteran Bio

Texian Location:  Participant

The Kemp Sketch

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SWISHER, JOHN MILTON -- Born in Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee, May 31, 1819, a son of James Gibson and Elizabeth (Boyd) Swisher. He came with his parents to Texas in 1833, as is stated in the sketch of Harvey H. Swisher in this volume. At the age of fourteen he opened a school at Tenoxtitlan but soon abandoned it for the farm, finding that teaching school in his vicinity was very unprofitable.

Mr. Swisher was a member of Captain William H. Hill's Company at San Jacinto and on November 30, 1839, was issued Donation Certificate No. 966 for 640 acres for having participated in the battle. He was not issued a Bounty Certificate for land or other services in the army. On a roll of Captain Hill's Company at muster April 11, 1836, Mr. Swisher is shown as having been enlisted for the army March 1, 1836, by Captain Joseph P. Lynch. On the roll it was stated that he was born in Franklin, Tennessee. He was described as being five feet, nine inches in height; of dark complexion with black eyes and black hair.

Mr. Swisher was issued Headright Certificate No. 269 for one-third of a league of land in 1838 by the Washington County Board and in it it is stated that he came to Texas in 1833. This was lost and a duplicate was issued May 29, 1846.

On May 31, 1837, Mr. Swisher was appointed First Lieutenant in Captain J. G. W. Pierson's Company of Mounted Gun Men for duty in Washing County in a regiment raised for the defense of the frontier. In 1839 he moved to Austin where he obtained a clerical position in the Treasury Department. On November 9, 1841, he was appointed First Lieutenant of Marines, but resigned the next year. He next obtained a position as Chief Clerk in the Auditor's Department. He was Clerk of the House of Representatives in the Ninth and last Congress of the Republic. He was also Clerk of the Constitutional Convention in 1845. In 1864 he was made a Colonel by Governor J. Pinckney Henderson. In 1848 he was appointed State Auditor of Public Accounts. In 1852 he engaged in the banking business in Austin. In 1860 he was appointed Paymaster of the State Troops by the governor, a position he held until after secession. After the war and up to January 1, 1868, he operated a banking and commission house in Galveston. He then organized a stock company and built the Austin Street Railway, of which he was elected president. The position he held until 1870.

Mr. Swisher was thrice married. He was married to Maria Simms at Washington, Texas, May 28, 1844, by Reverend Tyron. Mrs. Swisher died in 1870. Children of Mr. and Mrs. Swisher were two, (1) Mary and (2) John M. Swisher, Jr.

In 1873 Mr. Swisher was married to Hettie A. Nickerson of Ohio. Mrs. Swisher died in 1875, leaving two daughters, (3) Annie and (4) Nellie Swisher.

On October 8, 1878, Mr. Swisher was married to Mrs. Bella French at the home of the Reverend W. H. D. Carrington. There were no children by this marriage. Mr. Swisher died March 11, 1891, and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Austin, where his grave is marked.

(1) Mary Swisher was married but the name of her husband is not known by the compiler. Their children were Eva, who married Judge Hamilton Ward; Josephine, who married Dan Sullivan; John Swisher and Imogen.

(2) John M. Swisher, Jr. was married but the name of his wife is not known to the compiler. Their children were Florence, who married John S. Hoover, and Ada.

(3) Annie Swisher married a Mr. Boone and now resides at 1005 West Sixth Street, Los Angeles, California.

(4) Nellie Swisher married a Willis A. Keys, Box 403, Archer City, Texas.

Written by Louis W. Kemp, between 1930 and 1952. Please note that typographical and factual errors have not been corrected from the original sketches. The biographies have been scanned from the original typescripts, a process that sometimes allows for mistakes in the new text. Researchers should verify the accuracy of the texts' contents through other sources before quoting in publications. Additional information on the veteran may be available in the Herzstein Library.

Battle Statistics

  • Died in Battle: No
  • Rank: Private
  • Company: Lieut. Robert Stevenson
  • Battle Account: John Milton Swisher Items, Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas. Swisher, John Milton. The Swisher Memoirs. San Antonio: The Sigmund Press, inc., 1932.

Personal Statistics

  • Date of Birth: 1819 May 31
  • Birthplace: Tennessee, Williamson County, Franklin
  • Came to Texas: 1833
  • Date of Death: 1891 Mar 11
  • Burial Place: Oakwood Cemetery, Austin, Texas
  • Comments: Mexican War
  • Donation Certificate: 966
  • Profession: Banker, businessman
  • Wife: 1. Maria Simms; 2. Helen (Nellie, Nettie) A. Nickerson; 3. Bella French
  • Children: Mary Swisher; John M. Swisher; Annie Swisher Boone; Nellie Swisher Keys
  • Family at San Jacinto: Uncle Henry H. Swisher fought at San Jacinto.