Lieut. Col. Thomas Swobe
A Native of Perth, Fulton co., NY

Transcribed by Annie Weaver and Lisa Slaski

Source: Record of service of Michigan volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-1865

Swobe, Thomas (Veteran), Bertrand. Enlisted in company E, Twelfth Infantry, as Corporal, Oct. 16, 1861, at Niles, for 3 years, age 18. Mustered Dec. 19, 1861. Re-enlisted as Sergeant March 1, 1864. Mustered April 21, 1864. First Sergeant Sept. 2, 1864. Discharged to accept promotion Jan. 30, 1865. Commissioned Second Lieutenant, company K, to date Dec. 20, 1864. Mustered Jan. 30, 1865. Commissioned First Lieutenant April 12, 1865. Mustered May 5, 1865. Mustered out at Camden, Ark., Feb. 15, 1866.

Source: HISTORY of the State of Nebraska; first published in 1882 by The Western Historical Company, A. T. Andreas, Proprietor, Chicago, IL.

THOMAS SWOBE, of the firm of Markel & Swobe, railroad dining hall Omaha and Union Pacific Hotel, Council Bluffs, was born in Fulton County, N. Y., March 17, 1843. When about fourteen years of age he removed to Niles, Mich., and enlisted October 16, 1861, in Company E, Twelfth Michigan Infantry, as a private. He re-enlisted when the Regiment veteranized, February 4, 1863, and was mustered out as First Lieutenant of Company K, March 6, 1866. He was engaged on staff duty for about two years. He was Quartermaster of the Second Brigade, Second Division, Seventh Army Corps. In 1865 he was appointed Post Commissary at Washington, Ark., by General Reynolds. In December, 1865, he was detailed as Adjutant General on General Dwight May's staff, Southern Division of Arkansas. He returned to Michigan, then went to Chicago, and went through Eastman's Business College. He came to Nebraska in August, 1866, located in Omaha and engaged in County Clerk's office one year, and was then appointed secretary of the Central Land Company, a position he retained for two years. He was then elected County Clerk of Douglas County. After serving one term he was then engaged in keeping books in a wholesale house in Omaha. In the spring of 1876 he entered into partnership with Markel in hotel, and keeping railroad dining hall. He was married in Omaha to Miss Alzina Scott, a sister of Mrs. Milton Rogers. They have two children, Edwin F. and Dwight M. Mr. Swobe is a member of the A. F. & A. M., Lodge, Chapter and Commandery, and junior partner of Shears, Markel & Swobe, of the Millard Hotel, and treasurer of the Hotel Association of Omaha.

Source: The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) 2 Jun 1898

Senate Confirmations

Military Promotions of the President Meet Approval

Washington, June 1, - The senate confirmed the following nominations:

... Assistant quartermaster, with rank of captain - First Lieutenants Charles D. Palmer, George McK.Williamson, Messrs. Thomas Swobe of Nebraska, Moses Walton of Ohio, Charles J. Goff of West Virginia, John M. Patten of Ohio, and Richard J. Fanning of Ohio. ...

Source: New York Times, 22 Jun 1898

The United Service


Capt. Thomas Swobe, Assistant Quartermaster, United States Volunteers, will proceed to Tampa, Fla., and repot to Brig. Gen. John I. Rodgers, United States Volunteers, Chief of Artillery, for assignment to duty as Assistant Quartermaster with the artillery siege train now at Ybor City, Fla.

Source: New York Times, 9 Sep 1898

The United Service


Capt. Thomas Swobe, Assistant Quartermaster, United States Volunteers, is relieved from duty at Tampa and will proceed at once to Montauk Point and report in person to the commanding General of the troops at that place for assignment to duty.

Source: New York Times, 13 Oct 1898

The United Service


Capt. Thomas Swobe, Assistant Quartermaster, United States Volunteers, is relieved from duty at Montauk Point, and will report to the Quartermaster General of the Army for instructions.

Source: The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska), 19 Dec 1898

Captain and Quartermaster Thomas Swobe, U.S.V., better known in Nebraska as "Tom Swobe of Omaha," late of the Millard hotel, has sent to Senator Thurston from Santiago a Mauser rifle with sword bayonet which was picked up on the battlefield of San Juan and obtained through the son of the late General Garcia. ...

Source: The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska), 12 Feb 1899

The secretary of war proposes to give a delightful excursion to the senate and house commitee on military affairs and a number of congressmen and friends as soon as congress adjourns. These have already been invited to accompany him to Cuba and Porto Rico on an official tour of those islands. The party will leave New York on March 6, and will return by the first of the succeeding month. The Berlin, which is the finest transport plying between New York and Porto Rico, was formerly one of the vessels of the Inamn line making the trip between Liverpool and New York. She has all the accommodations to care with comfort for her passenters. The quartermaster in charge is Capt. Thomas Swobe formerly of the Millard hotel of Omaha. He understands how to cater for a vessel as well as he used to know how to make people happy in the rotunda of his Omaha hostelry. He can be depended upon to add greatly to the pleasure of the trip, which will be taken by the distinguished party and to see to it that either afloat or ashore they miss nothing in sight for which they express a desire.

Source: The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska), 20 Jun 1899

Captain Thomas Swobe, the young veteran quartermaster of the civil war who was appointed a quartermaster for the Spanish-American conflict, is at his old home for a few days. He has been, since leaving Tampa and doing duty at Mantauk Point, in charge of the transport Meade, formerly the City of Berlin. He is yet on that assignment, the steamer plying between New York and Cuba and Porto Rico. The captain is enjoying excellent health and has not been sick at all.

Source: The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska), 24 Dec 1899

Quartermaster Swobe

Captain Thomas Swobe has by a change of orders gone to Jolo, Island of Jolo, the seat of government of the Sulu kingdom, where he has orders to report to the commanding general of the military district of Mindanoa and Jolo for duty as quartermaster. He succeeds the regular army quartermaster at that place.

Source: The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska), 9 Nov 1901

Place for Thomas Swobe

President Reappoints Him Army Quartermaster.

Washington, Nov. 8, - The president has appointed Thomas Swobe of Nebraska an assistant quartermaster in the army with the rank of captain to fill a vacancy.

Captain Swobe served in the civil war first as corporal of the Twelfth Michigan volunteers and afterward as first lieutenant of that regiment. He also served as a captain and assistant quartermaster of volunteers during the recent war with Spain.

Source: The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska), 13 Nov 1901

Will Go to Philippines

Captain Thomas Swobe, who was recently reappointed to the United States army, with the rank of captain and quartermaster, is in the city visiting his family. He is making his headquarters at the Her Grand. Captain Swobe expects soon to leave on a government transport, of which he will have charge, for the Philippines, by way of the Suez canal.

Source: New York Times, 15 Nov 1901

The United Service


Capt. Thomas Swobe, Quartermaster, will report to the Depot Quartermaster in New York City Nov. 17, for duty as Quartermaster and Acting commissary on the transport Crook.

Source: The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska), 6 May 1902

Capt. Thomas Swobe, U.S.A., who is at the Her Grand for a few weeks, together with Mrs. Swobe, says that he will remain here until he is assigned to his new station as paymaster. The impression has gotten out in army circles that Captain Swobe will be stations at Chicago, or else with the department of the Dakotas, but the captain himself says he does not know where he will go. Dwight M. Swobe, traveling passenger agent of the Union Pacific, with headquarters at Chicago, spent Sunday here with his parents, Captain and Mrs. Swobe.

Source: New York Times, 14 May 1902

The United Service


Capt. Thomas Swobe, Quartermaster, upon the expiration of his leave will proceed to Sheridan, Wyo., and assume charge of the construction of public buildings at Fort Mackenzie.

Source: New York Times, 2 Oct 1904

The United Service


Capt Swobe, upon being relieved, will proceed to Omaha and report for duty as assistant to the Chief Quartermaster, vice Major Zalinsky, relieved.

Source: New York Times, 1 Oct 1907

The United Service


Major Thomas Swobe, in addition to his present duties, will report to the commanding General, Department of the Missouri, for temporary duty.

Source: The Broadalbin Herald, [Broadalbin, Fulton Co., NY] - 12 Mar 1908



Major Thomas Swobe, U.S.A., a native of Perth, Fulton County, has reached the age limit and will retire from the service of the army during this month. Major Swobe is a cousin of Miss Katherine Abbott and Mrs. L. B. Wolfe of this city and also of Jesse Swobe of Albany who married a sister of Dr. D. V. Still of this city. The Omaha Bee, of Februarty 23, contains a fine picture of the major and has the following interesting story of his career:

"Major Thomas Swobe has distinguished himself during his life. Activity has been the key not of his career. He is a veteran of two wars, the Civil and Spainish-American. He is a pioneer of two cities, Omaha and South Omaha. He has been as powerful a factor in building up the country in times of peace as he has been in fighting for it in times of war. On March 17 of this year, he will retire from the army. On that day he will have reached the age limit, 64 years. He was born March 17, 1844, an ideal date for an Irishman, though Major Swobe is not an Irishman. His birth was Perth, Fulton County, N. Y. There he lived until his fourteeth year, when his parents removed westward and settled in Michigan. Three years later, when a boy of seventeen years old, the event which had cast its shadow before several years, occurred. The country was rent asunder, brothers took up arms against each other, the great rebellion had begun. When he first read in the newspapers of the attack on Fort Sumter his blood, like that of a million others, was fired. He was inspired with patriotism. He urged his father to allow him to beat the plow share into a sword and to enlist in the army. But his parents pointed out with strong argument and with still stronger hands, the advantages of a pastoral life compared with the more exciting, but more dangerous career of the battle field. The busy season on the farm was opening and Thomas was kept sufficiently employed during the spring and summer to do more than think of glory.

In the fall, however, he slipped the parental leash and presented himself at a recruiting station in the town of Niles, Mich. He was not yet eighteen years old, but he managed to persuade the officer to enroll him and he became private of Co. E, 12th Michigan Infantry, on October 16, 1861. He was promoted to be a corporal on December 19 of the same year. From this time on his rise was rapid. He was made a sergeant for gallant conduct at the battle of Shiloh and the siege of Corinth, and on December 20, 1864, was made second lieutenant, an appointment which was followed by a first lieutenant's commission in the following April. He was then detached from the regiment and assigned to duty as assistant quartermaster and finally became commissary of the staff of General Dwight May, of the department of Kansas.

In April, 1866, he was mustered out and immediately engaged in business, and the pioneer instinct in him being strong, after returning to his Michigan home, he decided to locate at Omaha. He first secured the position of deputy county clerk and at the expiration of his chief's term, was made successor, and several times elected councilman. He afterward engaged in the hardware business, later becoming a hotel and restaurant keeper, in which he was very prosperous. After that he took hold of real estate and stockyards, in all of which he attended success, becoming very prominent in business circles.

When the Spanish-American war broke out he offered his services and was made captain and quartermaster, and was sent to Tampa, Fla., to equip the siege, artillery under General John I. Rogers, chief of artillery. At the close of the war he was assigned to duty on the transport City of Berlin and made fourteen trips between New York and Cuba and Porto Rico. Since that time he has seen service in the Philippines and other places and was promoted to be major and quartermaster on February 16 of last year.

He has now been granted a month's leave of absence, which he is spending with his son, Dwight Swobe in San Francisco, traffic manager of the Mt. Cloud River and Railroad company of California. On the 17th of the present month he will be retired under the age limit with the rank of Lieutenant colonel.

Source: The Washington Post, Thursday, March 19, 1908.

Three Officers Retire.

Co MacNutt, Lieut Col French, and Maj Swobe Quit Active Service

Three officers of the army were placed on the retired list yesterday under various laws.

They are Col Ira MacNutt of the Ordnance Department now at Atlantic City on a leave of absence who is retired at his own request after more than forty one years of service, Lieut Col John T. French jr., deputy quartermaster general who is retired because of disability incident to hte service and Maj Thomas Swobe quartermaster who is retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel on account of services during the war of the rebellion.

Source: New York Times, 19 Mar 1909

The United Service


Major Thomas Swobe, Quartermaster, is retired with rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Source: The Washington Post, 9 Jun 1917

Army Orders

Lieut. Col. Thomas Swobe, U.S.A., retired, is placed on active duty. He will report to the depot quartermaster, San Francisco, Cal.

Source: Nebraska History and Record of Pioneer Days, Vol II, no. 1 Jan - Mar 1919


Thomas Swobe, who died at Berkeley, Calif., January 20, 1919 had a long and notable career in Nebraska. He was born in Johnstown, Fulton county, N. Y., March 17, 1843; went to Niles, Mich., in 1857; October 16, 1861 enlisted as a private in Company E, Twelfth Regiment, Michigan infantry Volunteers; reenlisted in the veteranized regiment, February 4, 1863; was mustered out as first lieutenant of Company K, March 6, 1866. He was on staff duty about two years; quartermaster of the Second Division, Seventh Army corps; post commissary at Washington, Ark., in 1865, and in December of that year was detailed as adjutant general on Brevet Brigadier General May's staff, Southern Division of Arkansas: came to Nebraska in August, 1866; was employed in the city clerk's office for a year then became secretary of the Central Land Company; elected city clerk of Douglas county in 1869; elected councilman of Omaha in 1872 and in 1874; in 1876 engaged in the hotel and railroad dining hall business with J. F. Markel; was one of six men who built the Millard Hotel, in 1882, which was conducted by himself and J. E, Markel until 1891, and afterward by himself alone. In 1883 he became a member of the syndicate which founded South Omaha and the Union Stock Yards Company and brought the packing houses there, and was one of the trustees of the site and their secretary; 1890, director of the Omaha Driving Park Association; 1891, director of the Real Estate Owners' Association of Omaha; 1892, member of the council of Nebraska Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion.

Source: The Evening State Journal And Lincoln Daily News, 22 Jan 1919

Colonel Swobe is Dead

Omaha, Jan. 22 - Taps were sounded for Col. Thomas Swobe, veteran of four wars, one of the founders of South Omaha and prominent in Omaha and Nebraska lodge and home circles, who passed away at his home at Berkley, Cal., Monday. Mrs. Swobe and his son, D. M. Swobe, vice president of the McCloud River railroad, were at the side when death came. Another son, Edwin T. Swobe, of Omaha, also survives. While no definite arrangements have been made it is expected that the body will be brought to Omaha and buried in the family lot in Prospect Hill cemetery.

Born in Johnstown, N. Y., March 17, 1844, he enlisted October 16, 1861, in Company E, 12th Michigan Infantry, for the period of the civil war. His regiment was ordered to St. Louis the following March, and on St. Patrick's day, his birthday, he was promoted to the rank of a corporal. His regiment later was transferred to the 1st brigade, First division, Army of Tennessee.

He was a member of the Omaha Council, serving with John W. Thurston. He was a big dealer in real estate for years and served his country again in 1898 during the war with Spain.

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