EDGAR DENMAN SWAIN, D. D. S.
EDGAR DENMAN SWAIN, D.D.S, is engaged in the practice of dentistry at the corner of Randolph and State Streets, Chicago, and is prominent in both professional and military circles. He was born in Westford, Vt., in August, 1836, and is a son of Dr. Marcus and Charlotte (Woodbury) Swain. On the paternal side he is of Scotch lineage, and on the maternal side is of English descent. The father became a resident of Oshkosh, Wis., in 1857, and during the war he was appointed Surgeon of the Wisconsin Penitentiary at Waupun. About 1878, he removed to Englewood, Ill., and thence to Glencoe, where his death occurred at the age of seventy-nine. His wife died in Waupun, Wis. In their family were four sons and two daughters: Edgar D. of this sketch; Dr. Oliver D., a resident of Chicago; Marcus W., who was killed in a railroad accident in 1862; George A., who died of typhoid fever in the army in the summer of 1863; and Alice M. and Charlotte, both living.
The gentleman whose name heads this sketch remained under the parental roof until seventeen years of age, and then left home, going to Worcester, Mass., where he worked in a machine-shop. He afterward removed to Saratoga Springs, N. Y., where, in 1855, he began the study of dentistry. Two years later he became a resident of Wisconsin and began practice in Oshkosh. Subsequently he was engaged in the prosecution of his profession in Aurora, Ill., and in Batavia, Ill.
Mr. Swain watched with interest the progress of events which preceded the Civil War, and after the South had attacked Ft. Sumter, he resolved to strike a blow in defense of the Union. He raised a company, and on the 22d of July, 1861, became Captain of Company I, Forty-second Illinois Infantry. He was afterward promoted to the rank f Lieutenant-Colonel, in October, 1863, and in 1865 was placed in command of the Second Brigade, Second Division, Fourth Army Corps. He served until the close of the war, and took part in many important engagements, including the Fremont campaign in Missouri. His was the first regiment to enter Columbus, Ky., and with his company he took part in the siege of Island No. 10, being largely instrumental in its capture. Under the command of Gen. Polk, he then went to Hamburg, Tenn., and aided in the capture of Corinth. The following summer he was employed in guarding railroads, and in the fall was ordered to report to Gen. Buell, of Nashville, remaining with the command of Gen. Negley in possession of that city during Bragg and Buell's Kentucky campaign. After the cessation of hostilities his regiment was ordered to Texas for duty. Dr. Swain was finally mustered out in Springfield, Ill., on the 12th of January, 1866. He was wounded in the left knee at New Hope Church, Ga., and for three months his injury would not permit him to engage in active service, but he saw nearly all of the important campaigns of the war west of the Alleghany Mountains, and was in twenty-seven engagements.
Dr. Swain's connection with military affairs has since continued, and in army circles he is a leader. In 1877, he became Major of the First Regiment Illinois National Guards, and took part in suppressing the railroad riots of that year. In August he was made Lieutenant-Colonel, and in December, 1877, was promoted to the rank of Colonel, in which capacity he served for four years, when he resigned. He has long been a prominent member of the Grand Army of the Republic, served for three years as Commander of George H. Thomas Post, and for two years was Commander of the Department of Illinois. He has also served as Senior Vice-Commander in Chief of the National Encampment, and is a member of the military order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.
After the war, Dr. Swain began the practice of dentistry in Chicago, and for a time was associated with Dr. Cushing, and afterward with Dr. Noble. Since 1870 he has been alone in practice, and now finds little time for other pursuits. He is an accomplished microscopist and has given much time to the investigation of histology. He was President of the Chicago Dental Society in 1874, and f the Illinois State Dental Society in 1875. He was also Secretary of the latter for two terms, and was Secretary f the Chicago Octontological Society. At present he is Dean of the dental department in the Northwestern University. The degree of D. D. S. was conferred upon him by the Ohio Dental College in March, 1883.
Dr. Swain was married in 1869 to Miss Clara Smith, who was born in Kane County, Ill., and is a daughter of Benjamin Smith, one of the pioneers of Chicago. The Doctor is a close observer and careful student, thorough and industrious in all undertakings, and has steadily risen in his profession until he is numbered among the leading dentists of the city.
"Album of Genealogy and Biography Cook County, Illinois, with Portraits," 1896, pp. 278-280
Clara Jane Smith Swain
Oliver Delano Swain
42 IL. INF.
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