Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Centenary Bangs Bradshaw (1839-1916)

Portrait from the History of Tama County, Iowa, Volume II, published 1910.
  
   The following profile examines the life of a man with a truly bizarre name....Centenary Bangs Bradshaw. Without a doubt one of the few people in recorded history to have had "Centenary" as a given first name, Mr. Bradshaw was a native Ohioan who would find distinction in Iowa, being for many years an attorney based in Tama County. Bradshaw would go on to serve that county as its District Attorney and later was elected as an Iowa District Court Judge for the 17th district. 
   One of two sons born to the Rev. Harvey and Susan Sullivan Bradshaw, Centenary Bangs "C.B." Bradshaw was born in Richmond, Jefferson County, Ohio on December 26, 1839. His early education occurred in schools local to Jefferson County and in 1858 relocated to Iowa with his family. Shortly after his removal Bradshaw began studying at the Grinnell College and remained here until 1862, when he enlisted for service in Company F. of the 24th Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He participated in the Battles of Champion Hills and Port Gibson, Mississippi and would also see action at the Siege of Vicksburg in May 1863. 
  Discharged from duty in July 1865, Bradshaw had attained the rank of Captain and within a few months of leaving the service went to enroll at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Here he began the study of law and after graduating in 1867 returned to Iowa, settling in the town of Toledo in Tama County. Bradshaw would establish a law practice here in 1867 with attorney George Rix Struble (1836-1918), later to serve as a state circuit judge and Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives. Their partnership lasted until 1870, whereafter Bradshaw continued operations alone.
  On his 28th birthday in 1867 Centenary Bradshaw married to Mary Ann Hayzlett (1846-1892), with whom he would have two children, a daughter, Alice (1869-1942) and a son, Charles Sullivan Bradshaw (1871-1952), later to follow in his father's footsteps as a Iowa district court judge from 1911-12. Bradshaw would remarry following Mary Ann Bradshaw's death to Rachel Morrison in 1904.

                    Centenary B. Bradshaw during his Civil War service, courtesy of Find-A-Grave.

  With decades of legal practice in Tama County "C.B." Bradshaw became acknowledged as one of that county's sterling legal minds, with the Iowa Bar Annual Report of 1916 describing him as:
"A lawyer of the old school who scorned to solicit business or permit anyone else to solicit business for him. He was a capable trial lawyer and always courteous to his opponents. He won high repute as a lawyer and was regarded by the profession as one of the ablest judges of the state."
   While he may have been a prominent member of the Tama County bar, Bradshaw was firm when it came to refraining from political activity, refusing to become a candidate for public office. This changed in 1885 when he was appointed by the county's board of supervisors as the Attorney for Tama County, serving until 1887. After the position of ccounty attorney was made elective, he was elected to another term as attorney in 1892, serving another two year term. He was defeated for reelection in 1894 by his Democratic opponent Ezra C. Ebersole. Following his defeat Bradshaw returned to his practice in Toledo until 1906, when he was nominated for District Judge for Iowa's 17th District, comprising the counties of Tama, Marshall and Benton. Bradshaw won the election and entered upon his duties in 1907. He was reelected as judge in 1911 and retired from the bench in 1915 due to health concerns.
   After resigning Judge Bradshaw spent the last year of his life practicing law in Toledo, dying there on January 11, 1916 at age 76. He was survived by his wife Rachel and was later interred alongside his first wife at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Toledo, Iowa.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Delford Urson Arird (1851-1945)

                                   Portrait originally published in the Warren Evening Mirror, April 11, 1911. 

   For many years a prominent practitioner of law in the Warren, Pennsylvania area, Delford Urson Arird would later serve a two decade tenure as Judge of the 37th Judicial District of Pennsylvania (comprising the counties of Warren and Forest), being elected to the bench at age 70.  He retired at age 90, one of the oldest serving judges in America at the time of his retirement. 
  Delford Urson Arird was born on May 31, 1851, the son of Joseph Arird (1817-1887, a native of France) and his wife, the former Anna Cooper. Born and raised in the Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania area, Arird began his education in that town's schools and as an adolescent he and his brother Clemons began study at the Jamestown Union School and Collegiate Institute, graduating in 1881. Following his graduation Arird returned to Pennsylvana and began teaching, later holding the post of Superintendent of the Youngsville Union Schools for five years.
  In 1885 Delford Arird entered into public office for the first time, being elected as the Warren County prothonotary and clerk of courts, serving two terms in office (1885-91). Around this same time Arird began the study of law, and in 1892 was admitted to practice by the Pennsylvania bar, later establishing a practice in Warren which he would operate for over fifty years. Through the duration of his practice Arird earned the reputation as an "able trial lawyer" and that "in his profession he is very successful and somewhat aggressive in the trial of causes."
  More than once during his life Arird was called on to defend murder suspects, and several of these occurrences were reported in the April 11, 1911 edition of the Warren Evening Mirror (which also gave a brief overview of Arird's life.) Among these cases was an 1895 incident in which Arird was appointed by Warren County Judge Charles Noyes to defend "four tramps" suspected in the slaying of another tramp in the Warren vicinity. The Mirror reported that upon an indictment being returned, Arird:
"Demanded four separate trials for the defendants. The first defendant, and the one against whom the commonwealth had the strongest evidence, was found guilty simply of manslaughter and sentenced to three years imprisonment as there could be no accessories in cases of manslaughter. The other three who had been indicted for murder were acquitted and released from custody."
   In 1911 Arird was again called to defend a murder suspect in the case of Warren County Water Works superintendent John M. Andrews, indicted for shooting and killing Emile Amann (a water works employee) at the Warren reservoir in January of that year. Andrews, the former head of the company, had been seen with Amann at the reservoir on the day of the killing and was further implicated in the slaying due to information supplied to police by one Arthur Offerlee, Amann's son-in-law. A firearm located near Amann's corpse was later found to be similar to one given to Andrews a few weeks previously by an acquaintance, W.H. Allen, a railroad attorney. Upon being presented with this information Andrews admitted to being given a similar weapon by Allen but had left it in the office of the water works company upon resigning from office some weeks prior to the January 1911 murder. Andrews had also been accused of misuse of company funds and it is believed that Amann would have gone to the authorities to tell of Andrew's alleged deed. 
   Despite a "hard fought trial" Andrews was later found guilty in June 1911 and received a death sentence of hanging by a Pennsylvania jury. However, a new trial was later granted in 1912, and as defense attorney Delford Arird hoped to present evidence at this new trial that it was actually Stella Hodge who had killed Amann at the reservoir. Arird and the other members of Andrew's counsel had interviewed Hodge, who had admitted: 
"Why, I killed Emile Amann, but it was not intentional; it was an accident."
   Andrews' counsel later applied for a change of venue and the new trial was relocated to the Erie County court. This trial resulted in Andrews' acquittal, and the following Find-a-Grave link to Emile Amann's grave in Warren's Oakland Cemetery notes that after his acquittal Andrews and his family later moved to Brooklyn, where he died in 1914.
  A decade after the Andrews trial Delford Arird achieved further prominence in Warren when he was elected as judge for Pennsylvania's 37th district in 1921. Taking office in 1922, he was a successful candidate for reelection in November 1931, with the Buffalo Courier reporting on his candidacy. The Courier also notes that Arird had previously been a member of the Warren School board and "borough council."


 
From the June 22, 1931 Buffalo Morning Courier.

   Arird remained on the bench until his resignation in January 1942 at age 90, one of the oldest active judges in the United States at the time of his retirement. Arird was succeeded on the bench by the significantly younger Judge Allison D. Wade (1902-1954), later to make headlines himself as a homicide victim, being the first sitting judge to be assassinated in Pennsylvania. Arird spent the remainder of his life in Warren and died there on January 15, 1945 at age 93. A lifelong bachelor, Arird was interred in his family's plot at the Youngsville Cemetery and was survived by a niece, Alice Meade (1875-1958), who is buried next to him. 
   As luck would have it, Judge Arird happens to be buried within a half hour drive from where I reside, and, like a few other persons profiled here in the past, I decided to pay the man a visit! The Arird family plot is located on a steep hillside at the Youngsville Cemetery, and besides the judge and his niece, this plot also is the resting place of his brother Clemons D. Arird, who died in 1887 at age 37, and his wife Emma Axtell (1851-1906.

From the Titusville Herald, January 18, 1945.

The Arird family headstone.


The graves of Delford Urson Arird and his niece Alice (1875-1958).


The large stone pictured above belongs to Delford's brother Clemons, who died in 1887.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Olnton Dickman Miller (1896-1981)

From the 1953 Arizona General Assembly class portrait.

   Prominent in Arizona agricultural affairs as well as politics, the oddly named Olnton Dickman Miller was a native of Illinois, but would find distinction in "The Grand Canyon State", being a one term member of the Arizona State Senate, later announcing a candidacy for Governor in 1956.
  The son of John McAnelley (a lawyer and professor) and Adeline Dickman Miller, Olnton Dickman "O.D." Miller was born on February 6, 1896 in North Harvey, Illinois. John McAnelly Miller was a past president of the Ruskin College in Missouri, later relocating to Florida to establish not only the town of Ruskin but also a short-lived college (also named Ruskin College) in 1910. With his son's birth in early 1896, John McA. Miller decided to bestow upon him a highly unusual name, and the backstory behind this name is given mention in the 1958 History of Arizona, which notes:
"As an educator, George McA. Miller had a profound respect for the great men in our nation's history; and he also wanted to give his son an original name. He therefore combined the last three letters of Lincoln's and of Washington's names to form Olnton".
    Although bestowed this interesting name due to his father's passion for history, Miller himself was nonplussed, later stating that "I've never used it--just my initials." "O.D." Miller spent his formative years in Illinois, removing with his family to Florida in 1907 where his father founded the community of Ruskin. O.D. Miller would go on to attend the nearby Ruskin College, where he studied agriculture, and while still a young man began work as a "scientific assistant for marketing" at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His work at this department saw him be reassigned to Nebraska in the early 1920s, being a local representative for the USDA's Bureau of Markets and Crop Estimates, and later moved to Phoenix, Arizona to continue agricultural work. O.D. Miller married in Lansing, Michigan on July 23, 1923 to Frances "Frankie" H. McDonald (1890-1967) and later had one son, Donald L. Miller.
   Following his removal to Arizona Miller became the directing head of the Barker-Miller Distributing Co., and as this company's director was also a member of the Arizona Co-operative Produce Association. Through his business interests Olnton Miller would become one of the Arizona's premier growers of produce and produce distribution, and in 1929 was instrumental in authoring the state's Fruit and Vegetable Standardization Act, "which legalized standards and grades for agricultural products in the state."
   Throughout the 1930s and 40s Olnton Miller continued to be involved in various aspects of state agriculture, being a co-owner of the Phoenix based Miller-Johns produce-shipping company and a first vice president of the Western Grower's Protective Association. In 1938 he ran an unsuccessful candidacy for the Arizona House of Representatives as a Democrat, and in 1952 re-entered the political spectrum when he was elected to represent Maricopa County in the Arizona State Senate. Serving in the legislative session of 1953-55, Miller left the senate after one term and in 1956 announced his candidacy for Governor of Arizona. Running as one of three Republican candidates that year, Miller had a bit of explaining to do when it was found that he had run as a Democrat in the race for state representative eighteen years prior. In his speech to the Yavapai Republican Women's Club, Miller stated that he:

 "Campaigned as a member of that party because he felt it improved his chances of being elected, and of being able, as a member of the legislature, to present his ideas on the operations of state government."
    
   Miller later explained that after his 1938 loss he had registered as a Republican and had been a member of that party ever since. Miller's gubernatorial candidacy eventually came to naught, but he achieved some measure of redemption when in 1959 he began an eight year tenure on the Arizona State University Board of Regents.

       Miller (second from left) during his time on the Board of Regents,  from the 1960 Desert Yearbook.

   Olnton D. Miller resigned from the Board of Regents in 1967 at age 71 and in June 1972 was honored by the Arizona State University with an Honorary Degree. He died nine years later on December 12, 1981 and was preceded in death by his wife Frances, who had died in 1967. Both were interred at a cemetery "near Phoenix, Arizona", and are also memorialized with a cenotaph at the Ruskin Cemetery in Ruskin, Florida, the burial location of a number of Miller's family.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Kingsbury Bachelder Piper (1866-1935)

From the November 14, 1933 edition of the Lewiston Daily Sun.

   Over the course of its near 200-year history, the state of Maine has placed a number of oddly named public figures on the U.S. political scene. In national politics men such as Cullen Sawtelle, Peleg Sprague and Lorenzo Di Medici Sweat represented the "Pine Tree State" in Congress, and on the home front men like Dependent MerryOramandal SmithEsreff Hill Banks and Retire Whittemore Frees served as state representatives, state Treasurer and Secretary of State. The list of oddly named Maine politicians grows ever larger with the addition of Kingsbury Bachelder Piper, a Bangor educator who served as a member of the Maine state house of representatives for one term, later being named as U.S. Marshal for Maine in 1934.
   The son of Alpheus Felch Piper and the former Susan Hannah Smith, Kingsbury B. Piper was born in Waldo County, Maine on February 4, 1866. Little could be found on his youth or education, although it is known that he began a career as a school teacher in 1882, teaching school in various towns in Maine. In 1886 he relocated to California and continued teaching, eventually serving as the principal of the Plymouth Public School in Plymouth California. Piper returned to Maine around 1893 and married in that year to Estelle Drew (1869-1918), with whom he would have four children, Lois M., Carl P., Josephine L. and Dorothy Eva Piper. Following Estelle Piper's death in 1918 Kingsbury remarried at an unknown date to Ida L. Kearney (1883-1967) who survived him upon his death in 1935.
  In the years following his return to Maine, Kingsbury Piper continued to teach and also took work as a "legislative newspaper correspondent", whilst also becoming politically active, serving as the Secretary of the Initiative and Referendum League of Maine. As secretary Piper became a prominent voice for direct legislation in the state and also authored numerous articles in periodicals of the time, centering on Maine's successful adoption of direct legislation into its state constitution (this occurring in 1908.) Piper also authored a lengthy summation of the group's victory in Volume 40 of the Arena magazine, which later attested to his having been:
"The master spirit in the battle for the people for many years, and but for his persistence, energy, foresight and true statesmanship, the measure unquestionably would have suffered defeat through the well laid plains of the enemies of the people."
 Kingsbury Piper first entered into public service in 1912 when he was named as a state pension agent for Maine, succeeding George Dodge, who had died several weeks prior. Two years afterwards Piper began service as a trustee and secretary for the Central Maine Sanitorium at Fairfield, and would later be employed as a Federal income tax adviser, accountant and internal revenue agent.
  
From the Bay State Monthly, 1907.

   Piper continued to be active in politics well into his sixth decade, being elected as one of Bangor's representatives to the Maine General Assembly in 1932. Serving in the 1933-34 legislative session, Piper's tenure in the house of representatives lasted but one term, and in his final year of service was nominated by President Roosevelt to be the United States Marshal for Maine. Piper was later confirmed and entered upon his duties in March 1934, serving until his death at age 68 on January 14, 1935. He was later buried at the Mt. Hope Cemetery in Bangor, also the resting place of his first and second wives.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Zibeon Chapman Field (1831-1914), Zibeon Lewis Packard (1829-1893)

Portrait from the History of Worcester County, Massachusetts, Vol. II, 1889.

  The following dual profile examines the lives of two native New England political figures named Zibeon. A name with its origins in the  bible, there are two meanings behind the name, one of which is a "Horite chieftain" named Zibeon mentioned in the book of Genesis whose name translates to "little hyena". Another version gives the meaning of the name as "robber"....certainly a peculiar name to give a child, even back in the 19th century!
   First to be profiled is Paris, Maine native Zibeon Chapman Field, who would later find prominence in both business and politics in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving two terms in that state's House of Representatives. Born in Paris on Christmas Day 1831, Zibeon C. Field was one of ten children born to Zibeon and Lydia Howe Field, and inherited his name courtesy of a brother (also named Zibeon Chapman Field) who died in infancy in 1823. His early education occurred near the town of his birth and at age seventeen removed from Paris and resettled in Milford, Massachusetts, where he was employed in the manufacture of boots. Field would later leave Milford out of concerns for his health and traveled to California to make a go at gold mining, remaining here for three years.
   In 1855 Field returned to Massachusetts, marrying in 1856 to one Lydia Ann Corbett (1836-1872). The couple would become the parents of four children, listed as follows in order of birth: Prentice (1859-1863), Francis Dana (1861-1932), Charlotte Thayer (1865-1911) and Grace Prentiss (1868-1962). Following Lydia Field's death, Zibeon remarried in June 1874 to Anna Thwing (1842-1913), mentioned by the Field Genealogy as being a "successful teacher" and "woman of culture."
   For a short period in the 1850s Zibeon Field operated a general store and "provision business" in Roxbury, Massachusetts, returning to Milford in 1858 to join his brother Perley in the formation of a coal and lumber dealership, a business they would successfully manage for over three decades. While attentive to business dealings in Milford, Field found further distinction in local politics, being a member of the Board of Engineers, as well as the Milford Board of Selectmen from 1865-66 and again from 1870-71. In 1864 Field served Milford as a town agent, aiding in the recruitment of soldiers for the ongoing war effort, and in this role visited President Lincoln. His visit with the President later:
"Secured the credit of one-hundred and thirty-seven three years men to Milford--which has not been recorded in its favor at the war department--thereby saving the loss of many thousands of dollars to the town.
    Zibeon Field during his later years, from the 1901 Field Genealogy.

    In the 1864 election year Zibeon Field was elected as one of Milford's representatives to the Massachusetts General Court, and during the 1865 term held a seat on the house committee on Horse Railways. Field would serve a second term in the legislature in 1866, serving on the committees on Railways and Canals. Following his two terms in the house Field refrained from political activity, but did serve as the chairman of the Republican League of Milford during the mid 1870s. Remarked by the Field Genealogy as "a Mason in good standing", Zibeon Field was a member of both the Montgomery Lodge and Mt. Lebanon masonic chapter, a director of the Milford National Bank, and was a longstanding parishioner at the Milford Universalist Church.
   After many decades in public service in Milford, Zibeon C. Field died on December 18, 1914, a week short of his 83rd birthday. He was predeceased by his second wife Anna, who died in August 1913. A burial location for both Zibeon Field and his wife is unknown at this time. 
  

   Another Maine native who made his name known politically was Zibeon Lewis Packard of the town of Hebron, who served a term in the Maine House of Representatives in the late 1880s. One of six children born to Lewis and Betsy Webster Packard, Zibeon L. Packard was born in Hebron on May 30, 1829 and as a youth worked the family farm, and was "obliged to assume the head of the family" after the death of his father. Zibeon attended the Hebron Academy in addition to farm work and also taught "in the district schools" during the winter months. 
  In February 1860 Packard married in Hebron to Ellen Bearce (1835-1895), later becoming the parents to four daughters: Bertha Leonora (1862-1908), Ida Ellen (born 1864), Edith Lulu (1867-1967) and Jennie Webster (1871-1942). One of these children, Edith Lulu Packard Cushman, survived her father and mother by over seventy years, dying one month short of her 100th birthday in June 1967.  A few years following his marriage Zibeon Packard enlisted for service as private in the 30th Regiment, Maine Volunteer Infantry. Following his return from service he returned to farming and fruit growing, and was later acknowledged by the Lewiston Evening Journal as "one of the pioneers of apple orcharding in this section and made it a remarkable success." 
  Beginning the mid 1870s Packard was honored by his native town by being elected to a number of local political offices, serving as a Hebron town school supervisor, selectman, town treasurer and collector. In 1886 he was elected as Hebron's representative to the Maine State Legislature and would serve in the sessions of 1887 and 1889. In addition to legislative service, Packard was also prominent in local fraternal clubs, being a member of the Buckfield, Maine Masonic Lodge, the Hebron Grange, and the G.A.R. The Lewiston Evening Journal notes that Packard remained a "firm friend" of the Hebron Academy, serving as the secretary of the school's board of trustees for over twenty-five years.
   Zibeon L. Packard died at his home in Hebron on August 11, 1893 at age 64. His wife Ellen followed him to the grave two years later, and both were later interred at the Maple Ridge Cemetery in Hebron. Following his death, the Lewiston Evening Journal published a lengthy obituary for him, noting that:
"Whoever held a beneficient relationship with Zibeon L. Packard, whether in the Church, in the Grange, in any organized society, in general society or in his family, has met with an irreparable loss."

Monday, April 14, 2014

French Oxford Joy Tarbox (1861 - ?)

Portrait from the Representative Men of Somerville, 1897.

   It isn't often that one stumbles across a man who's name combines a nationality, a city in England, an alternate word for happy and the funny last name "Tarbox", but that is exactly the case of obscure Massachusetts legislator French Oxford Joy Tarbox, a distinguished figure in the city of Somerville. The son of Ephraim and Clara Tarbox, French O .J. Tarbox was born on September 1, 1861 in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He attended the public school system of that city and "graduated from the grammar school in the class of 1877." He would later attend the Boston Commercial College for a period of about six months, leaving behind his studies to begin a life on the high seas. Tarbox would serve on board a number of vessels and is recorded by the 1900 Souvenir of Massachusetts Legislators as:
 "Following the seas for several years in the East India and China trade as well as a coast service on the Pacific between San Francisco and adjacent ports."
   After giving up the sea-faring life Tarbox returned home and was engaged in the oil business and later worked as a steam and air brake fitter, being under the employ of the Fitchburg Railroad and the Walworth Manufacturing Co. of Boston. He married in Boston on September 22, 1890 to Sarah E. Magrath, and the couple would later become the parents of three children: Sarah Jennie (birth-date unknown), Wilfred (birth-date unknown) and Ida (born ca. 1899).
  French O.J. Tarbox entered Somerville politics in the mid 1890s, beginning service on the city's common council in 1896. In the following year he served as a member of the Somerville Board of Aldermen (from 1898-1899) and in the latter year was elected as one of Middlesex County's representatives to the Massachusetts General Court, winning with a vote total of 1552. Taking office at the start of the 1900 term, Tarbox held a seat on the house committee on Taxation during his one term at the state capitol.
   Following his brief stint in state government, little else could be located on the remaining years of French O.J. Tarbox's life, and aside from political activity, he maintained memberships in the Bunker Hill Odd Fellows Lodge # 114 , the Loyal Orange Institute and the Fitchburg Railroad Relief Association. He is recorded in the 1913 Somerville Annual Report as a "mechanic". A death date and burial location couldn't be located for French O.J. Tarbox, although he is listed in the 1920 census as being a 58 year old resident of Ward 7 in Somerville, residing with his wife, children, son-in-law and two boarders. Tarbox is not listed in the 1930 census, placing his death at some point between 1920 and 1930.

From the 1900 Souvenir of Massachusetts Legislators.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hardress Nathan Swaim (1890-1957)

Portrait from Swaim's Memorial Record of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

   A leading legal light in Indiana for over three decades, Hardress Nathan Swaim (or H. Nathan Swaim, as most sources list him) entered into the practice of law at age 26 and from there established himself as a prominent Democratic party member in Indianapolis, holding the office of Indianapolis City Controller. Later nominated to a vacancy on the Indiana Supreme Court, Judge Swaim achieved further distinction in 1950 when he was appointed to the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, serving several years on the bench.
  Born in Zionsville, Indiana on November 30, 1890, Hardress Nathan Swaim was a son of Charles R. and Alice Swaim and attended public schools in Zionsville. He would later enroll at the DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana and waited tables as a means of income during his time at the university. Swaim is also recorded as having "tutored other students in Germanand graduated from DePauw in the class of 1913. He continued his education at the University of Chicago Law School and earned his law degree here in 1916. Shortly afterward he launched a practice in Indianapolis, only to be interrupted by the beginning of American involvement in the First World War.  H. Nathan Swaim, like many other young men of the time, joined in the war effort, undergoing training and would becoming an infantry lieutenant in both the 87th and 88th Infantry divisions. He left the Army in 1918 with the rank of first lieutenant and had married during his training period to Clara Lavon Kenner on July 14, 1917. The couple would later have two children, Robert (1924-1990) and Jean Swaim Sutter (born ca. 1926).

                   H. Nathan Swaim's senior class portrait from the 1913 DePauw "Mirage" Yearbook.

   After returning home from the Army Swaim returned to the practice of law, residing in Indianapolis where he would raise his family. He established the firm Ogden and Swaim with local attorney James M. Ogden, and Mr. Ogden would remain the only law partner Swaim would have during all his years of practice. Described in his U.S. Circuit Court memorial proceeding as being "widely respected by the bench and bar",  Swaim was recalled as a
"Studious, thorough, painstaking lawyer of sound judgement. His integrity was always beyond question. He was not a specialist in any field. That general experience was very valuable to him in learning to deal with the endless variety of cases which came before him on this court."
   H. Nathan Swaim began involvement in Hoosier state politics in 1930 when he began service as the chairman of the Marion County Democratic Committee, holding this office for four years. He would go on to serve as Indiana's 12th district Democratic chairman from 1936-38 and in 1937 began a term as Indianapolis City Comptroller (1937-38). In his last year of service as controller Swaim was elected to the Indiana State Supreme Court defeating Republican candidate Edward Blessing by a vote of 31, 177 to 20, 846. Swaim took his seat on January 1, 1939 and would serve one term on the court, being defeated for reelection in 1944.
  Five years following his loss Swaim was selected by then President Harry Truman to be his nominee for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Appointed during the court recess in November 1949, Swaim was confirmed by the senate in February 1950 and took his seat that month. He would serve on the court until his death in Chicago, Illinois on July 30, 1957 at age 66, and was subsequently memorialized as:
"A simple, forthright man of high ideals, a man of gentle power, tolerant, but with the strength of his convictions. He was intellectually honest. He had the common touch. It was part of him. He never lost these qualities even while serving in high places.
Judge Swaim (pictured left) at the Columbus Day dinner celebration at Indianapolis, 1939.

   Following his death Judge Swaim was interred at Indianapolis's famed Crown Hill Cemetery, and was survived by his wife Clara and two children. Clara Swaim survived her husband by twenty one years, dying in August 1978 and was interred at the same cemetery as her husband.