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Funeral of Claude A. Swanson


Secretary of the Navy Swanson lies in state at the Capital


Casket being removed from the Capitol for the trip to Richmond, Virginia

"Many of those at the services had been youths when the late Secretary began his public career almost fifty years ago as a member of the House of Representatives. Only a handful of the Congress members present were in Congress when he was an already seasoned advisor to President Wilson."      The New York Times

     "CLAUDE A. SWANSON will be remembered in Virginia primarily for the pioneering work done during his gubernatorial administration in the fields of education, health, public welfare and roads. He went from the Governor's chair to the United States Senate, and thence to the Cabinet of President Roosevelt, but the verdict of posterity in Virginia will probably be that his largest contribution to the welfare of his State and his country was made from 1906 to 1910, when he occupied the mansion here.

     "That was several decades ago, and the memory of this generation has become faint concerning events so long past. But the work which Mr. Swanson did as Governor of Virginia ought not to be forgotten. It was highly significant.

     "The State was ready for advances of the character which he furthered, for it had just passed through the progressive regime. of Governor Andrew J. Montague. The stage was set for a forward movement not unlike that which was to come 20 years later under Governor Byrd. The Mann high school bill had been passed, so that the Virginia Cooperative Education Association's notable work on behalf of the common schools had borne fruit. With sentiment throughout Virginia aroused on behalf of public education, Governor Swanson lent the movement his enthusiastic aid, and genuine progress was made toward placing a high school in every Virginia county.

     "The movement for public health In the State also had gotten under way under Governor Montague. The first appropriation for the work of the State Board of Health had been made. In 1903, and under Governor Swanson, provision was made for the post of commissioner. With rare prescience, he chose for that position. Dr. Ennion G. Williams, whose great record In office from 1908 until his death in 1931, was one of the most constructive in Virginia's annals.

     "It was also during the SWANSON regime that public welfare had its official beginnings in the State, and that Dr. J. T. Mastin, still an honored and revered citizen of Virginia, became the first secretary of the State Board of Charities and Corrections. From that small start has grown the present State Department of Public Welfare, with its comprehensive ramifications into every corner of the Commonwealth.

     "But even this was not all, for it was during the Swanson regime that the movement for an adequate system of State highways gathered Impetus. The occupant of the Governor's chair put his shoulder to the wheel, and in 1906 appointed St. Julien Wilson as Virginia's first highway commissioner. Subsequently, an advisory board was set up to work with him, and the highway program which is now so well along toward completion, was gradually evolved in the succeeding years.

     "Such advances as were made under Governor Swanson in the fields of education, health, welfare and roads constitute a significant contribution for any four?year season in the gubernatorial chair. There will be debate as to whether his predecessor in office, Governor Montague, deserves most of the credit for the progress that was made. It cannot be denied that Mr. Swanson was linked with the unprogressive Martin machine, and that Mr. Montague made his successful fight for the governorship against Swanson in 1901 partly on that basis. But when Swanson was elected in 1905, he became more progressive than his backers, just as Harry Byrd did two decades later.

     "What we have said takes no account Of Mr. Swanson's service on the national stage. He was a popular and influential figure in the Senate and the Cabinet, and was one of the few secretaries of the navy in modern times who knew much about naval affairs when he took office. The Times?Dispatch regarded him for years as excessively imbued with the "big Navy" philosophy, and while still convinced that such a large fleet as he advocated years ago was not needed then, we must concede that the current expansion of the fleet Is highly desirable, in view of the existing world situation.

     "But Virginians will remember Mr. Swanson mainly for his service to the State as Governor. They will also recall his loyalty to his friends, a quality which explained much of his political success, and they will take note of the fact that, whereas he could have become rich in questionable ways, he emulated the example of his old mentor, Senator Martin, and after a long career in public office, died leaving what we understand Is only a small estate. A Virginia landmark is gone."
        Newspaper source unknown

"Notables At Burial Rites of Swanson
"Governor Price Heads List of Honorary Pallbearers in Richmond
"RICHMOND, July 10 (AP) - Forty-six prominent Virginians, including Governor James H. Price, will serve as honorary pallbearers at burial services for Claude A. Swanson, Secretary of the Navy, in Hollywood Cemetery here late today.

   "Formal rites for the 77-year-old statesman who had served hte Old Dominion as Representative, Senator and Governor, were at Washington at 1 p.m.

   "The body will be brought by train to Richmond, arriving at Broad Street station at 5:30 p.m. Burial will be in the Swanson family plot with Navy chaplain officiating. A Virginia National Guard unit will fire a 19-gun salute. A military guard of honor will meet the train....."
      Newspaper source unknown

The First Lady:
Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt's comments on Claude Swanson's death.



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