GEORGE W. SWEET
GEORGE W. SWEET, a popular and successful representative of the agricultural industry in Walton township, is a native of Michigan, a member of one of the pioneer families of the state and was one of the valiant soldiers who went forth from this common wealth to aid in the preservation of the Union when its integrity was jeopardized through armed rebellion. He was born in the village of Dearborn, Wayne county, this state, September 19, 1846, and is a son of Francis H. and Phoebe Jane (Finney) Sweet, both natives of the state of New York, where the former was born November 25, 1817, and the latter January 29, 1819. the father's death occurred in Walton township, Eaton county, Michigan, in 1883, and his wife passed the closing years of her life in the home of her son, and died December 22, 1904, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Marvin A. Hovey, of Bellevue township, while there on a visit. Francis H. Sweet learned the shoemaker's trade in his youth and followed the same as a vocation for a number of years. He came with his family to Michigan in the early '40s, locating in Dearborn, Wayne county, where he followed his trade several years, after which he served four years as keeper of the government lighthouse at Pointe Aux Barques, on Lake Huron. In 1853 he came with his family to Eaton county and located on a farm of eighty acres in section 31, Walton township, where the subject of this review now maintains his home. He was in very modest circumstances financially and when he arrived in the township he had just twenty shillings and a pail of crackers, having hired a team at Marshall to transport himself and his family to the new home in the woods of Walton township, none of the timber having been cut on the land which he secured. During the first four years the family resided in a little log house which had been erected in a clearing on the opposite side of the road. Within the period noted he made a clearing on his own land and built a small house, continuing to reside therein until his death, at the age of sixty-five years. He in the meanwhile effected the development of his farm and was in comfortable circumstances at the time, when he was summoned from the scene of life's activities. He identified himself with the Republican party at the time of its organization, but never held office. Both he and his wife were devout members of the Baptist church, in which he was a deacon for many years. Of the eight children in the family five are living. William H. is a resident of Edmore, Montcalm county, Michigan; Hattie is the wife of Charles E. Osmon, deceased, of Eaton Rapids; Jennie V. is the wife of Samuel Hicks, of Hamlin township; and Sarah is the wife of Marvin A. Hovey, of Bellevue township, mentioned on another page of this publication. George W. Sweet was afforded such educational advantages as were offered by the common schools, which he attended during his boyhood and early youth, soon beginning to work by the month as a farm hand and continuing to turn his earnings over to his parents until he was twenty-two years of age, when he began working for himself. In 1871 he was married, and thereafter he rented land and was engaged in farming the same, a portion of the time in Walton township and at another period in Bellevue township, thus continuing until 1883, when he returned to the old homestead farm, caring for his mother and clearing up the indebtedness on the place, which he now owns and operates, the same comprising the original eighty acres secured by his honored father. He has enlarged and otherwise remodeled the house, has erected a large frame barn and granary and is one of the substantial farmers of this part of the county, having earned his prosperity through his own well directed efforts. He is a stanch Republican, but has held no office other than that of pathmaster, is a member of the Grange and the Grand Army of the Republic, and both he and his wife hold membership in the Baptist church. August 10, 1864, Mr. Sweet enlisted in Company B, Twenty-eighth Michigan Volunteer Infantry, the regiment rendezvousing first at Marshall and later at Kalamazoo, and Benjamin Evans having been captain of Company B. The command proceeded to Louisville, Kentucky, thence to Lexington, from which point it was assigned the duty of guarding a government wagon train on its way to Nashville, taking part in the engagement at Nashville. The regiment was there assigned to the Twenty-third Army Corps, which had been detached from Sherman's army at Atlanta. The corps then proceeded on the march to again join Sherman's forces, at Five Forks, North Carolina, arriving in time to participate in the engagement at that point, and then proceeding onward to the point where General Joseph E. Johnston made his final surrender. Mr. Sweet was attacked with diarrhea, which became chronic in type, and was confined in the hospital at Louisville, Kentucky, for some time, being there at the time of receiving his honorable discharge, June 5, 1866. He has never recovered from the effects of this illness and receives a pension of thirty do1lars a month. His record as a soldier was one marked by fidelity and valor and as a citizen his course has been marked by the same spirit of loyalty and patriotism, so that he has retained the inviolable confidence and esteem of his fellow men. May 29, 1871, Mr. Sweet was united in marriage to Miss Emma C. Sexton, who was born in Wellington, Ohio, May 12, 1845, a daughter of Miles W. and Eveline (Allyn) Sexton, the former of whom was born in Ohio, April 4. 1819, and the latter in Connecticut, October 14. 1818. The father died in Walton township, Eaton county, Michigan, at the age of fifty-four years. His widow still resides in the village of Olivet, this county. They came to Michigan in 1857, and Mr. Sexton purchased forty acres of wild land, in Walton township, remaining on this place until 1865, and then exchanging for another farm in the same township, remaining on the latter a few years and then trading the property for the homestead on which he passed the remainder of his life. Of the four children Mrs. Sweet is the oldest. Mrs. Lucia Murray resides in Calhoun county; Mrs. Mary Wood is a resident of the city of Lansing; and Weston M. makes his home in the village of Olivet. To Mr. and Mrs. Sweet have been born two children: Charles E., who was born April 20, 19S2, died at the parental home, in 1903; Carrie, who was born June 2, 1871, is the wife of George A. Newland, who is engaged in the photographic business at Battle Creek.