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