John Swan was born in Waterford, Maine, on September 30, 1849. After completing his education and working for a time throughout the New England region, he returned to Maine to care for his aging parents. In 1870, he married Miss Sarah Swan (no relation). After his parents passed, the Swans came to the Livingston-Cressey area in 1882 and established a grain farming operation which, at one point, included more than 5,000 acres of cultivated land. He also ran a livery stable in Merced and was involved in the buying and shipping of hogs.
In 1902, he was elected Sheriff and moved to Merced, taking up residence at 329 West 21st Street, and was re-elected in 1906.
Sarah passed away in their home in January of 1915 at the age of 65. Swan then married Miss Eldora Fuller of Rhode Island.
Swan served as a City Trustee for two terms and was also employed as the head janitor of the high school building, a “responsible position which he capably fills” as described by a contemporary history.
On the night of November 15, 1929, Swan suffered a heart attack at his residence and died at the age of 81. Other than his advanced age, there was no indication of poor health.
Eldora Swan moved to Oakland in 1930 and passed away in April of 1934 after a long illness.