Santa Cruz County History - People



Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

SWANTON, SILAS B (1839-1909)

Santa Cruz Sentinel (May 11, 1909)

Portrait of Silas B Swanton
Portrait of Silas B. Swanton

A Well Known Citizen Dies

Sunday at 5 o'clock P.M. Silas B Swanton laid down the heavy burden of his life and passed on to the land of rest. No man in the city was better known on the street than was Mr. Swanton. His tall form and genial face were seen daily on the streets for years. He always had a kind greeting for everybody. His nature was sunny, his disposition gentle and courteous. His promptness to render service to all classes of people who were in need was proverbial. He was the Good Samaritan that rendered assistance to all who needed it.

He was born in the town of Dexter Maine, August 4, 1839, where he lived when the civil war begun. Sept 10, 1862, he enlisted in Company E. 22d Regiment Maine Infantry, and served one year, the term of his enlistment. He saw hard service in the Department of the Gulf in the 19th Army Corps. His service in the malarial swamps of Louisiana left him in broken health, from which he never fully recovered.

He came to Santa Cruz in 1887, where he continued to reside until the end came. He was one of the most prominent and faithful members of Wallace-Reynolds Post of the G.A.R. [Ed. Note: He was a past commander of the post]. He was rarely absent from the meetings of the Post. His counsel and advice were always highly regarded by his comrades.

He will be recalled as the color bearer of the Post upon all public parades and at funerals. It seemed odd and strange not to see him proudly carrying the flag he loved so well, at the right of the line when the remnant of the Union army was in column on our streets Sunday as the post marched to the Presbyterian church for "Mothers Day" service the flag was in the keeping of another which elicited the inquiry, "where is Si Swanton?" At that hour the old patriot was fighting his last battle with a fatal disease at his home. As the word went up and down the line, "Comrade Swanton is fatally ill and will never march with us again", many eyes were moist with tears, and the expressions of grief were pathetic to listen to. Could those men have rescued him from the grip of death no mortal power could have restrained them from doing so. But alas, they were powerless, as was the skill of his physicians. His work was done, his record was made and, like the brave man he was, he drew the drapery of his couch about him and laid down in peace.

At his request the funeral services will be conducted by the Grand Army and the Woman's Relief Corps. Col Lucas pronouncing an eulogy. The service will be today at 2 o'clock p.m. at his late home on South Branciforte Ave. Interment at the Odd Fellows Cemetery.

Mr. Swanton was also a member of the A.O.U.W., members of which order will furnish pall bearers.

Mr. Swanton leaves a devoted and heart stricken wife to mourn his loss and who will have the sympathy of his numerous friends. Also a brother, our well known fellow citizen A.P. Swanton who is several years older than he, and who keenly feels the loss of this brother. F.W. Swanton, who everybody knows, is a nephew of the deceased.

Santa Cruz Surf (May 12, 1909)

The funeral services over the late Silas Swanton were held yesterday afternoon from his late residence on S. Branciforte Ave., and were conducted by Rev. George W. Stone of All Souls Unitarian Church who spoke beautiful words of comfort and gave a short eulogy.

The hymns were sung by the Philomel Quartet. The members of the G.A.R. and of S.C.A.O.U.W attended in a body.


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