De­cem­ber 31, 1837, West Ches­ter, Penn­syl­van­ia.

Ap­ril 10, 1899, Ches­ter, Penn­syl­van­ia.

Rur­al Ce­me­te­ry, Ches­ter, Penn­syl­van­ia. A sweet sing­er of Is­ra­el.


John was the son of John H. Swe­ney and Ann Hodg­son. He mar­ried twice, to Eliz­a­beth A. Gould and Liz­zie E. Hink­son.

His mu­sic­al gift showed it­self at an ear­ly age. While still a boy, he be­gan to teach music in the pub­lic schools and lead Sun­day school per­form­anc­es. At age 19, he start­ed stu­dy­ing mu­sic in ear­nest und­er Pro­fes­sor Bau­er, a cel­e­brat­ed Ger­man teach­er. He took vi­o­lin and pi­a­no les­sons, and about this time be­came a choir lead­er. He was al­so in con­stant de­mand for child­ren’s con­certs and for con­duct­ing glee clubs.

At age 22, Swe­ney was called to teach in Do­ver, Del­a­ware. When the Am­er­i­can ci­vil war broke out, he took charge of the band of the Third Del­a­ware Re­gi­ment. Af­ter the war, he be­came Pro­fes­sor of Mu­sic at the Penn­syl­van­ia Mil­i­ta­ry Acad­e­my in West Ches­ter, Penn­syl­vania. He worked there over 25 years, and re­ceived the de­grees of Ba­che­lor of Mu­sic (1876) and Doc­tor of Mu­sic (1886).

Sweney wrote mu­sic for over 1,000 Gos­pel songs, and col­lab­o­rat­ed on many col­lect­ions. His works in­clude:

  1. Sing On
  1. Adopted
  2. All Glo­ry Be Thine
  3. All Is Rea­dy
  4. Almost
  5. Andaman
  6. Anniversary Song of Praise
  7. Arch Street
  8. As the Bird Flies Home
  9. At the Break­ing of the Day
  10. Attainment
  11. Awake! Awake!
  12. Awake, Awake! O Heart of Mine!
  13. Awake, O Zi­on’s Daugh­ter
  14. Balm in Sec­ret Pray­er
  15. Banff
  16. Bells Are Cal­ling, The
  17. Berkeley
  18. Bermuda
  19. Beulah Land
  20. Blest, Blest For­ev­er
  21. Blood Is All My Plea, The
  22. Bratislava
  23. Break Forth, O Joy­ful Heart
  24. By and By
  25. By the Grace of God We’ll Meet
  26. Calvary
  27. Close Thy Heart No More
  28. Come Bold­ly to the Throne of Grace
  29. Come in, O Bless­èd One
  30. Come, Oh, Come
  31. Coming to Je­sus
  32. Conquering Now and Still to Con­quer
  33. Côte d’I­voire
  34. Cova da Ir­ia
  35. Cugnaux
  36. Dalton
  37. Dragicevic
  38. Endure to the End
  39. Everlasting Song, The
  40. Fairer Than the Morn­ing
  41. Falter Not
  42. Faridabad
  43. Flagstaff
  44. From the Cross to the Crown
  45. From This Hour
  46. Galveston
  47. Gather the Reap­ers Home
  48. Glamorganshire
  49. Glorious Day Is Com­ing, The
  50. Glory
  51. Go Work in the Vine­yard
  52. God’s Ho­ly Church Shall Tri­umph
  53. Going Home Re­joic­ing
  54. Golden Key
  55. Good News
  56. Great Judg­ment Day, The
  57. Guatemala
  58. Hamsher High
  59. Handful of Leaves, A
  60. Happy Tid­ings
  61. Have Com­pass­ion, Lord, on Me!
  62. He Feed­eth His Flock
  63. He Has Come
  64. He Saves Me
  65. He Saves Me Through and Through
  66. He Set the Joy-Bells Ring­ing
  67. He Will Ga­ther the Wheat
  68. He’ll Do Bet­ter for You
  69. Hillsdale
  70. Hilton Head
  71. His Child For­ev­er­more
  72. His Love Pass­eth Know­ledge
  73. Hokkaido
  74. Holy, Ho­ly, Is What the An­gels Sing
  75. Hour of Pray­er, The
  76. How Oft We Are There
  77. I Have a Friend
  78. I Have En­tered Beu­lah Land
  79. I Live but in Thee
  80. I Shall Have Wings
  81. I Will Shout His Praise in Glo­ry
  82. In the Morn­ing
  83. Is It No­thing to You?
  84. It Is Good to Be Here
  85. Jesus Is Pass­ing By
  86. Jesus, Keep Me Near Thee
  87. Jesus Pro­mised Me a Home
  88. Jesus Will Wel­come Me There
  89. Joyfully Sing
  90. King’s High­way, The
  91. Knock of the Nail-Pierc­èd Hand, The
  92. Lake Ta­hoe
  93. Launch Out
  94. Leicestershire
  95. Lost Are Com­ing Home, The
  96. Lost but Found
  97. Managua
  98. Medan
  99. Midnight Cry, The
  100. Morning Draw­eth Nigh, The
  101. Mount Wash­ing­ton
  102. Music of the An­gels
  103. My Rest
  104. My Sav­ior First of All
  105. My Soul Shouts Glo­ry
  106. Nagoya
  107. New Song, The
  108. No Cross for Me?
  109. No Shel­ter but in Christ
  110. No Voice but Thine
  111. Not Now, but By and By
  112. Notre Dame
  113. O Bless­èd Word
  114. O Church of God, Arise!
  115. O Fly to Him
  116. O Sin­ner, Come Home
  117. On Let Us Go
  118. On the Hal­le­lu­jah Line
  119. On the Vic­to­ry Side
  120. Only a Beam of Sun­shine
  121. Only Once You Pass This Way
  122. Onward and Up­ward
  123. Onward, Ye Pil­grims
  124. Out in the Sun­shine
  125. Out on the De­sert
  126. Palm Springs
  127. Peace to My Soul
  128. Pensacola
  129. Petersburg
  130. Phares
  131. Phinehas
  132. Praise and Mag­ni­fy Our King
  133. Praise, Praise His Name
  134. Precious Mo­ments
  135. Press On, Press On, Ye Work­ers
  136. Rainbow Round the Throne, The
  137. Redeemed, and with the Price of Blood
  138. Rest By and By
  139. Rock in the Des­ert
  140. Room for the World
  141. Safe in the Glo­ry Land
  142. Schindler
  143. Seek Ye First
  144. Send Out the Sun­light
  145. Shanghai
  146. Shepherd’s Fold on High, The
  147. Shining for Je­sus
  148. Shout in the Camp, A
  149. Show Me the Rock
  150. Simple, Ear­nest Pray­er, The
  151. Since I Found My Sav­ior
  152. Sing Once More of Je­sus
  153. Singing of Je­sus
  154. Smile from Je­sus, A
  155. Some Heart Has Gone This Way Be­fore
  156. Speak for Je­sus
  157. Sunshine in the Soul
  158. Standing on the Bat­tle­ments
  159. Step into the Foun­tain
  160. Sweet As­sur­ance
  161. Sweet Sto­ry of Je­sus
  162. Sweeter as the Days Go By
  163. Take Cour­age
  164. Take the World, but Give Me Je­sus
  165. Tasmania
  166. Tell It Out with Glad­ness
  167. Tell Me the Sto­ry of Je­sus
  168. Tell the Bless­èd Sto­ry
  169. Tell the Whole Wide World
  170. There Is No One Like the Sav­ior
  171. There’s a Bless­ing at the Cross for Me
  172. There’s a Hand Held Out
  173. There’s a Mes­sage from the Lord
  174. Thou Wilt Re­mem­ber Me
  175. Thy Hope for Eter­ni­ty
  176. Till the Boat Comes By
  177. ’Tis Sum­mer in My Heart
  178. Trusting in Je­sus
  179. Uganda
  180. Unsearchable Rich­es
  181. Vadodara
  182. Wait on the Lord
  183. Waiting for Me
  184. Waiting for the Pro­mise
  185. Wake, Bro­thers, Wake
  186. Walking in the Good Old Way
  187. Walking with Je­sus My Lord
  188. Washed White as Snow
  189. We All Can Do Good
  190. We Are Al­most Home
  191. We Are Near­ing
  192. What More Can He Do?
  193. When Each Oth­er’s Face We See
  194. When on Clouds of Glo­ry
  195. When Our Ships Come Sail­ing Home
  196. While the Years Are Roll­ing On
  197. Why Lin­ger?
  198. Will There Be Any Stars?
  199. Will You Come?