Mayor George Bell Swift Biography

Mayor of Chicago, 1893, 1895-1897

  • Republican Party
  • Elected mayor pro tem (34th mayor) by City Council November 6, 1893 following the death of Mayor Carter Henry Harrison III pending a special election
  • Elected 36th mayor (second term) April 2, 1895; defeated Arthur J. Bassett (Prohibition), Bayard Holmes (People’s Party), Ebenezer Wakely (Free Silver) and Frank Wenter (Democrat)
  • Inauguration to first term: November 9, 1893
  • Inauguration to second term: April 8, 1895


  • Born December 14, 1845 in Cincinnati
  • Childhood friend of Hempstead Washburne in Galena, Ill.
  • Married Miss Lucy L. Brown; together they had six children.
  • Graduated from the University of Chicago
  • Worked as a drug clerk and later in manufacturing
  • Served as alderman from the 11th Ward
  • President Arthur appointed him special agent of the treasury in 1885.
  • Appointed commissioner of public works in 1887
  • After mayoral terms, he started a contracting firm, George B. Swift Company; he also served as president of Frazer Lubricator Company and of Swift Fuel Company.
  • Appointed to Board of Education in 1911
  • Died July 2, 1912 in Chicago: “G.B. Swift, Former Chicago Mayor, Dies.” Chicago Examiner, July 3, 1912.
  • Buried in Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago


  • "Former Mayor Swift Dies." Chicago Daily Tribune, July 3, 1912, p. 15.
  • Grossman, James R., Ann Durkin Keating and Janice L. Reiff, editors. Encyclopedia of Chicago. University of Chicago Press, 2004.
  • "Obituary 1 -- No Title." Chicago Daily Tribune, July 5, 1912, p. 17.
  • "Swift is the Mayor." Chicago Daily Tribune, November 7, 1893, p. 1.
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