Exhibit: Swaney Family Papers
Andrew Swaney was born in 1860 in Pennsylvania to Hugh and Crissila Swaney. In 1879, at the age of 19, he moved to the Montana territory, working at first in one of the only hotels in the Missoula area, before moving up into the area of Ashley creek (later known as Kalispell) where he worked primarily for the county government as deputy clerk and later clerk for the District Court.. In 1885 he married divorcee Mary Cowen, and raised 5 children with her. He resigned his position in 1898 to volunteer for military service at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War.
Andrew spent the next two years as part of the Montana Infantry Company H, deployed to the Philippines. While overseas, he exchanged hundreds of letters with his wife, children, parents, siblings, and friends. He wrote his first letter while overseas to his youngest son, Alexander, addressing him as "Deal little sir..."
The letters provided an important connection for Andrew to his family and friends--sharing daily life and as a respite from the challenges of military life.
Although as a rule stoic - Alexander once said that his only memory of his father hugging him was when he was 23, just returned from WWI - Andrew keenly felt the sudden loss of both his mother and his youngest daughter whle he was overseas, and kept letters of consolation up until his own death.
Andrew died in 1941 at the age of 81 years and was a frequent writer up to his death.