Monday, August 20, 2007

Biography: Milo SWEERS

From History of Genesee county, Michigan, her people, industries and institutions, with biographical sketches of representative citizens and genealogical records of many of the old families, by Edwin Orin Wood, Federal Publishing Company, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916, pp. 625 - 628:


Early in 1862, the Civil War then having been in progress long enough to demonstrate that the suppression of the rebellion of the Southern states was going to be a long, difficult job, three young men of Genesee county, Milo Sweers, Marvin Barney and Riley Kipp, enlisted for service in Company C, Tenth Regiment, Michigan Volunteer Infantry, and on April 22 of that same year left Flint for the front. They enlisted on the same day, served throughout the war in the same company, mess-mates and tent-mates, often sleeping beneath the same blanket, came home together at the close of the war, settled down to the peaceful pursuits of a farming community, each marrying about two years later and fifty years later, accompanied by their respective wives, these three comrades revisited the scenes of some of the most hotly contested battles in which they had been engaged during the service. During all the bitter service in which they were engaged but one of the notable trio was ever hit by a bullet, and that was Riley Kipp, who was keeled over, but not seriously wounded, at the battle of Jonesboro. Of the brave company of eleven hundred men who left Flint on that April day in 1862, but ten or twelve are now living and it is to a brief record of the interesting life of one of these that the biographer here asks the attention of the reader.

Milo Sweers, deputy sheriff of Genesee county, was born in this county in the year in which Michigan was admitted to statehood and has spent his whole life in the county, with the exception of the four years spent in the Union army during the trying days of his country's need in the sixties. He was born on a pioneer farm in Atlas township, June 19, 1837, son of Manly and Lydia (Van Cleaf) Sweers, early settlers of Genesee county, who spent their last days here, both living to ripe old ages, and who were the parents of twelve children, namely: Spencer, who is spending his declining years among his brothers and sisters; Rachel, who is the widow of Riley Van Tyne and who is now spending her declining years with her children; Milo, the immediate subject of this biographical sketch; Josephine, who is the.wife of Nelson Confer, of Maple Grove, Saginaw county, this state; Nelson, who died at Louisville, Kentucky, while serving as a soldier of the Union during the Civil War; Ellen, deceased, who was the wife of John Brown; Louisa, now living at Ortonville, widow of George P. Eaton; Oscar, who is now making his home with a married daughter in Goodrich; Freeman, who lives at Davison, this county; Lewis, who is president of a bank at Ortonville; Mary, who married Corwin Skidmore and lives at Fenton, this county, and Daniel, who lives on a farm in Flushing township, this county.

Manly Sweers was the eldest of the three children born to his parents, Manly [sic - Daniel] Sweers and wife, the others having been Daniel [Jr.] and Mrs. Cummings [sic - Mrs. Jeremiah F. York, I]. The elder Manly [sic - Daniel] Sweers and wife were natives of the state of Vermont, who became pioneers in Erie county, New York, and later came to Michigan Territory and were pioneers of Genesee county, where they spent the remainder of their lives and were buried on their home farm. The younger [sic - there was no "younger" Manley...he was the only one] Manly Sweers married Lydia Van Cleaf [also spelled Van Cleve], whose parents, also natives of Vermont, came to Michigan in territorial days and became pioneers in Genesee county, making their home near Goodrich, where they died and were buried. They had three children, of whom Mrs. Sweers was the eldest, the others being Lewis and Adeline. It was in 1836 that the younger [sic] Manly Sweers and his wife came to Michigan from New York and settled in Genesee county. Manly Sweers pre-empted a tract of eighty acres of "Congress land" in Atlas township and established his home there in the forest wilderness, his nearest neighbors at that time having been the family of Ezra K. Parsells, seven miles away. Manly Sweers cleared his forest land and gradually added to the same until he was the owner of one hundred and forty acres and was regarded as one of the most substantial farmers in that pioneer community. He built three houses on his place and his last days were spent in comfort. He lived to the advanced age of eighty-nine years and his wife was seventy-five years of age at the time of her death about six years prior to the time of his death.

Milo Sweers grew to manhood on the pioneer home farm in Atlas township, a valuable assistant to his father in the work of clearing and developing the same. He received his schooling in the primitive subscription schools of his boyhood days and when twenty-one years of age left home and began to work on his own account, working for fifty cents a day on the farm of the father of John T. Rich, afterward governor of the state of Michigan. As noted above, Mr. Sweers enlisted in Company C, Tenth Regiment, Michigan Volunteer Infantry, for service during the Civil War, and with that command went to the front. Upon the completion of his term of service of two years and six months he re-enlisted for three years, or during [sic - the duration of] the war, and served until the close of the war, a total period of four years. During this period of service Mr. Sweers participated in thirty-three battles and engagements, three of which were desperate hand-to-hand battles and marched with Sherman to the sea, but through it all he apparently bore a charmed life, as he never received a wound. He was promoted to the post of orderly sergeant and later was offered a commission, but declined the same.

After the close of the war Mr. Sweers returned home and resumed his work on the farm, presently buying a farm of eighty acres of partly cleared and improved land in Burton township, where, after his marriage in the fall of 1866, he established his home and there lived until his appointment in 1906 to his present position of deputy sheriff of Genesee county, which position he ever since has occupied, having been reappointed by each successive sheriff since that time. Mr. Sweers is a Republican and during his residence in Burton township served in several official capacities, including that of highway commissioner and justice of the peace. He is a member of Crapo Post No. 45, Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Michigan, and has served as commander of that post as well as commander of the Henry H. Knapp Post at Davison. He also has served as colonel of McKinley Camp, Veterans and Sons of Veterans, and for many years has been active in the general affairs of the Grand Army.

It was on September 1, 1866, that Milo Sweers was united in marriage to Locelia Barnum, who was born at Bloomfield Center on October 1, 1845, daughter of Richard and Rachel (Gillett) Barnum, early settlers in Genesee county, who died here and were buried at Goodrich, and who were the parents of seven children, six daughters and one son, Sarah, Harriet, Mary, Locelia, Eva, Francis and Judson. To Mr. and Mrs. Sweers seven children have been born, namely: Riley, a traveling salesman, living at Toledo, Ohio, who married Josephine Shaddock, who died leaving one child, a daughter, Josephine, after which he married Hattie Lamb; Emil, living on the old home farm in Burton township, who married Minnie Rhoades and has four children, Kenneth, Clarence, Harold and Reva; Mertie, who married Walter Green, a farmer of Atlas township, and has four daughters, Hildah, Elva, Anna and Catherine; Lottie, who married F. O. Tanner and, with her husband, lives with her father and mother in Flint; Lewis, a commercial traveler, of Flint, who married Vilda White, who died, leaving two children, Riley and Harry, after which he married Mabel Powell, to which second union three children have been born, Oneta, Leslie and Lewis; Milo A., who married Minerva Parsons and lives on the home farm in Burton township, and Harry G., who died when about fifteen years of age.


Deb Johnson said...

Interesting reading...wanted to ask if there is more to the story on Riley Kipp. My family name is Kipp, we have resided in Gratiot County , in central Michigan for some time. We have another relative, a Thomas Kipp, who was a veteran of the Civil War. He died in the south, of sickness. We have possession of an actual letter written by him in South Carolina. Please advise, and thank you.

Debra (Kipp) Johnson
Wheeler, Michigan

Miriam said...

Hi, Debra,

Sorry to take so long in getting back to you. I don't have further info on Riley, at the moment, although I don't suppose it would be difficult to find more information on him at Ancestry or other genealogical websites.

The Kipps don't seem to be related to me (so far as I know), but were neighbors to my ancestors both in Atlas Township and in Erie County, New York from where they all migrated.