JOHN D. SWEENEY
John D. Sweeney, superintendent of the city schools of Red Bluff, was born in New Jersey in 1868, of Irish parents, and in his youthful days the family came to California, establishing their home near the town of Ceres, not far from Modesto. A little later they removed to San Joaquin county, at which time they located near the village of Peters. He made his first contact with the public schools in what was known as the old Everett school and from that time to the present he has been connected with the system of public education, either as a student or teacher. In 1877 his father purchased a farm in Solano county, not far from Elmira, and for some years thereafter John D. Sweeney attended the Owens school, while later he continued his studies in the Elmira school. There he came in contact with such strong representatives of educational activity as J. K. Bateman, S. G. Creighton and J. T. Wallace and was among the first of the graduates under the state system from the grades. After attending the California Normal School in Vacaville he came to Red Bluff as an assistant in Red Bluff College, then a private school. Later he took up work in the State University and a short time afterward obtained his credentials as a teacher. He secured the principalship of the Tehama school, then the second in size in Tehama county, and for fifteen years was continued in the position through reelection, or until invited to take charge of the Red Bluff schools, constituting the largest system in the county. His position was made that of district superintendent and for several terms he has been reelected, a fact indicative of the confidence reposed in him and of the appreciation of the public for his thorough and effective service. For twenty years he has served on the county board of education, also making an enviable record in that connection.
Mr. Sweeny’s contribution to educational progress in this section of the state has been a notable one. He was one of the founders of the Northern California Teachers Association, served as president of that body and for thirty years has been its treasurer. He is also a member of the National Education Association, the National Geographic Society, the American Historical Association and the California History Association, and he has written largely along historical lines.
Mr. Sweeney’s parents have long since passed away but he has three brothers and two sisters yet living. In 1890 he married Miss Hattie Carlson, a native of Sweden and at the time of her marriage a teacher in the county schools. They take a prominent and active part in the work of the Presbyterian Church and Mr. Sweeney is now clerk of the session and three times has been chosen to represent his presbytery in the general assembly. In politics he remains a free lance with leanings toward the democratic side. During the World war period he was active in many capacities that furthered the interests of his country and its military forces and he is now county chairman of the Junior Red Cross work. Fraternally he is an Odd Fellow and has served as noble grand of his lodge, while twice he has been its representative in the Grand Lodge. His entire life has been characterized by progress along those lines which make for culture and for intellectual strength and he has done much to further educational advancement in the Sacramento valley.
Transcribed by Marie Hassard 13 April 2010.
© 2010 Marie Hassard.