THOMAS CARSWELL. - Thomas Carswell, after years of active connection with agricultural pursuits, is living retired in the pleasant home in Springfield at 1224 West Monroe street. In an analyzation of his character and life work we note many of the important elements indicative of Scotch birth and lineage. He has the persistency of purpose, the unfaltering devotion to duty and the fearless defense of right which have long been salient traits in the Scotch character. He was born near Glasgow, Scotland, upon a farm, November 15, 1830, his parents being Thomas and Jane (Hunter) Carswell. The father, who was a farmer by occupation, died in Scotland in 1844, at the age of forty-four years, and the mother afterward came to this country, accompanied by two daughters. Her son Thomas and two daughters of the family had previously crossed the Atlantic. Mrs. Carswell made her home most of the time with her son Thomas, but she passed away at the home of her daughter near Pawnee, Illinois, when eighty-nine years of age. In the family were seven children, but the subject of this review is the only son. Margaret was married in Scotland and died in that country when about sixty-five years of age. Mary came to the United States and married Duncan MacTaggart, by whom she was left a widow. She has seven children and she now resides in Pawnee. Jeanette, after coming to this country, became the wife of Alexander MacTaggart and both are now deceased. They lived near Pawnee and the lady died at the age of fifty-eight years, leaving four children. Jane, who came to the United States, was married to Robert MacTaggart and died near Pawnee at the age of forty-five years. She had two sons and two daughters. Rebecca was married in Scotland and died in that country when about fifty years of age, leaving six children. Marian, the next, is the wife of Alexander Montgomery, of Smith's Center, Kansas, and has two children. The members of the Carswell family were all born in Scotland and attended pay schools of that country.
Thomas Carswell of this review, opened his eyes to the light of day on the old home farm in the land of the hills and heather. After attending private schools he pursued a two years' course in the college at Glasgow, and in the year 1857 he severed the ties that bound him to his native country and sailed for America, making his way direct to Springfield, Illinois. In the vicinity of this city he worked as a farm hand for about seven years and then went to Pawnee, where he engaged in farming on his own account. For two years he resided in Pawnee township, and in 1866 he purchased a farm in Christian county, Illinois, about two and a half miles east of Pawnee township, paying thirty-five dollars per acre for this land. He became the owner of a tract of one hundred and sixty acres which was partially improved, and to its further development and cultivation he devoted his energies, continuing to engage in general farming there with good success until his removal to Springfield in 1889.
In 1866 Mr. Carswell was united in marriage to Mrs. Caroline D. (Fox) Payne, who was born in Virginia, August 1, 1832, a daughter of Dr. J.B. Fox, who lived in Sangamon county and here practices medicine for more than forty years. Mrs. Carswell attended school in the Old Dominion and later in Springfield. She has two sisters and two brothers: Thomas L. and James B. D., who are residents of Quincy, Illinois; Mrs. Amanda Pease, of Springfield; and Mrs. Victoria V. Tipton, who is living in Peoria, Illinois. The Fox family was one of prominence in this city. The Doctor became a leading medical practitioner and had an extensive practice in Sangamon county. He was widely known because of his professional skill and his personal characteristics and he commanded the esteem of all with whom he was associated. His death occurred at the home of Mr. Carswell in 1874, when he was seventy-four years of age, for 1800 was the year of his birth.
At the time of his marriage Mr. Carswell took his bride to his farm and he continued to engage in its cultivation with marked success until 1889, when they took up their abode in Springfield, and at a later date he sold his land. Unto him and his wife were born four children, but Ann E. and William A. both died in early childhood. Thomas Braden, the elder living son, is employed by the Johnston, Hatcher company, of this city. He was married in Christian county, Illinois, to Miss Anna Byers, and with his wife and daughter Fern resides at 1404 West Edwards street. Albert B., the younger son, is the president of the Johnston, Hatcher company. He married Mamie E. Bolles and is represented elsewhere in this work. Both sons were educated in the ward schools of this city and the latter is a graduate of the Springfield Business College.
In his political views Thomas Carswell is a stalwart Republican and in his younger days was active in party work, doing everything in his power to promote the growth and insure the success of Republican principles. For eight years he served as justice of the peace in South Fork township, Christian county, and after coming to this city he filled a similar position in Springfield township for four years, before the annexation to the city of the district in which his home is located. He belongs to the Methodist Episcopal church and has been very generous toward the building of churches. He assisted in organizing the congregation and in building the house of worship for the Methodist church at Pawnee and also was largely instrumental toward the building of the church in Christian county. He has held various official positions in the church and at all times he has lived a consistent Christian life. When a young man he was identified with the Presbyterian denominations and was made a deacon in Scotland when eighteen years of age. He is now a member of the official board of the Kumler Methodist Episcopal church of Springfield and at all times his life has been actuated by the teachings of Christianity, so that his career has been in harmony with the golden rule. He has lived retired since coming to Springfield, enjoying a richly earned rest from further business cares. Respected for his fidelity of principle and honored for his sterling worth, he well deserves representation in this volume.