Among the prominent public officials of Haskell is numbered Judge J. Sidney Swinney, judge of the police court and justice of the peace, whose record upon the bench is in harmony with his record as a man and citizen-distinguished by marked fidelity to duty and a thorough grasp of every problem presented for solution. He was born in Williamson county, Texas, April 2, 1879, and is a son of Wilson R. and Sarah A. (Skinner) Swinney, the former a native of Georgia and the latter of Kentucky. In 1834 the father removed to Texas, where he engaged in ranching and stock raising on an extensive scale, and in early day he and his eldest sons drove cattle and horses across the country from that state to the territory then occupied by the Osage Nation. He continued active along those lines until his demise and passed away in the Lone Star state, December 27, 1902, when eighty years of age, his birth having occurred on the 27th of December, 1822. He was an honored veteran of the Civil war, joining Company B of the Twenty-sixth Division of Texas Cavalry. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant and served throughout the entire period of hostilities. The mother’s demise occurred in November, 1910. Mrs. Attie Barber, a sister of the subject of this review, is one of the most prominent women in the state and has always taken an active interest in public affairs. She came to what was then Indian Territory in 1879 and is now a resident of Ramona, Washington county, Oklahoma.
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Judge Swinney was reared and educated in Lampasas county, Texas, where the family home was established during his boyhood days, and in early life he acted as a guide in association with the state rangers of Texas.
Later he took up the study of accounting and for the past ten or twelve years has been identified with that pursuit, having developed expert ability in that line of work. In 1913 he came to this state settling at Okmulgee, where he became manager for the Burk Motor Supply Company, filling that post two years, while for three years he was Station manager for two years of the L. & M. Garage and also did some public accounting for several oil companies and for W. O. Bassett. In 1917 he came to Haskell and for a year acted as manager of the Haskell Garage Company, while later he became connected with E. B. Harris, a general merchant, with whom he is still associated, being interested in three Ford agencies in Oklahoma.
Recognizing Judge Swinney’s worth and ability, his fellow citizens called him to public office and in the spring of 1921 he was elected judge of the, police court, a position which carries with it the office of justice of the peace. He is well qualified to discharge his present responsible duties, his decisions being strictly fair and impartial, and his course has received high endorsement. In addition to his home, he owns residential property in Haskell which he rents and he also has made judicious investments in oil, being a most astute and successful business man.
On the 26th of November, 1900, Judge Swinney was united in marriage to Miss Josie A. Smart, and they have become the parents of two children: J. Sidney, Jr., who was born May 31,
1904, and is now a high school student; and Sarah Margaret, who was
born December 27, 1907, and is also attending school.
Judge Swinney gives his political allegiance to the democratic party, and in religious faith he is a Christian Scientist, while his fraternal connections are with the Masons and the Knights of Pythias. He has always been loyal to any public trust reposed in him and puts forth every possible effort for the benefit of the city in which he makes his home.
His entire career has been actuated by a spirit of progress that has been productive of substantial results and his worth to the community is widely acknowledged.