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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Rev. Paul Franklin Swarthout

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 29-30 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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One of the youngest members of the ministerial club in Little Falls is the Rev. Paul Franklin Swarthout, who became the minister of the First Baptist church in May, 1922. He is the son of a Baptist clergyman, Leon L. Swarthout, pastor of the First Baptist church of Manchester, New York, who was born in Penn Yan, Yates county, where his Dutch ancestors settled many generations ago. His father, grandfather of the subject of this review, is Frank B. Swarthout, who is living at Penn Yan, at the age of threescore years and ten. The wife of Frank B. Swarthout was Flora Dusenbury, before her marriage. She died years ago, at the age of thirty. Paul F. Swarthout's mother was Caroline Nagedinger before her marriage. She was born in Alsace, France, of German parentage, her people having originally lived in Bavaria, and she came to America as a child of five with her father and mother. They settled in Yates county, where the father, Philip Nagedinger, spent the rest of his life as a farmer. Mrs. Swarthout died in 1907, at Lima, New York, at the early age of thirty-five. Her son, Paul, was a little boy at the time, for he was born on December 8, 1896, at Keuka Park, New York.

Paul Franklin Swarthout obtained his public school education in Lima, after which he entered Genesee Wesleyan Seminary, in the fall of 1910. Four years later he graduated from this institution as a member of the class of 1914. He had been a student at the University of Rochester for three years, when in the spring of 1917 the United States cast in its lot with the Allied powers in the World war. The young man straightway enlisted in the Ambulance Corps and was later transferred to the infantry, going through his training at Fort Slocum, New York; Chickamauga Park, Georgia, and Camp Gordon, Georgia, in the latter camp as a member of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps. The armistice prevented him from being ordered abroad and he was honorably discharged from the service at Camp Gordon as a sergeant, infantry service, unattached, December 17, 1918. For seven months after his return to civilian life Mr. Swarthout filled a pastorate at Altay, in this state, after which he decided to go back to college. Accordingly, he enrolled at Colgate University, Hamilton, New York, from which he graduated in the class of 1921, with the B. Th. degree. During the time that he was studying at Colgate Mr. Swarthout filled a pastorate at South Otselic, where he remained as pastor in charge for a year after finishing his college course. In May, 1922, he was called to the First Baptist church of Little Falls, whose pastorate he now holds. The influence of Mr. Swarthout's personality has gone far beyond the limits of his congregation, for he is well known in Little Falls as a person of progressive civic ideas and broad interests, whose support may be counted upon for every movement designed to promote the public welfare.

As a blue lodge Mason he has made many friends in that order and he is also a member of the Order of United American Mechanics. During college days he was initiated into the brotherhood of the Delta Upsilon fraternity. He is fond of various forms of outdoor life and derives a great deal of wholesome pleasure from athletics and occasional fishing trips. While Mr. Swarthout is affiliated politically with the republican party, he reserves the right to vote independent of party considerations and depart from the party leadership when he feels the public good has something to gain by such a course.

At Cassadaga, New York, on June 22, 1920, Mr. Swarthout and Miss Ellen Elizabeth Waite were united in marriage. Mrs. Swarthout is the daughter of Walter and Nancy Corinna (Millett) Waite of Cassadaga, and was born there November 13, 1897. Her father, a retired merchant, was born and has always lived in Cassadaga, which was likewise the home of his parents, William and Nancy Waite, the former a farmer by occupation. He is a direct descendant of Lieutenant William Putnam, who was born in Upton, Massachusetts, January 7, 1758, and died in Buckland, Massachusetts, July 22, 1818. On the famous April 17, 1775, he marched as a private in Captain Robert Taft's Company, Colonel Wheelock's Regiment, to answer the alarm at Lexington, and was thus one of the first men to fire a shot in the epoch-making American Revolution. Mrs. Swarthout's maternal grandparents lived in Wisconsin. Her Grandfather Millett was a private in the Union army during the Civil war and was killed shortly after his return from the service. Her grandmother was Eliza (Barton) Millett. Mrs. Swarthout is a member of her husband's church and is of great assistance to him in his pastoral work, helping in the Missionary Society, the Ladies' Aid Society and the other branches of the church's work. They have two children: Rachael Caroline, born September 15, 1921, at Norwich, New York; and Paul Franklin, Jr., born May 22, 1924.

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