Soon after leaving college, Swan engaged in teaching at Lawrenceville, New Jersey,
in a boys' school, of which the Rev. S. M. Hamill, D.D., was the principal. While in this
position, he commenced the study of medicine with a resident physician, medicine at this
time being his chosen profession. He remained with Dr. Hamill for two years, pursuing his
medical studies meanwhile, and greatly endeared himself to his fellow teachers and the
pupils of the school. It was toward the end of this period that a strong, compelling impulse
moved him toward the ministry, the profession that from his birth had been the mother's
choice for her son. Through all the years, the burden of her prayers was that this calling
might be this son's choice. His final decision, never regretted, was in accord with his
mother's desires. He entered Princeton Seminary in the fall of 1865. He was licensed to
preach near the end of his second year in the seminary, April 10, 1867, by the Presbytery
of Nassau. Before the close of his course at Princeton, he was called to be pastor of the
Presbyterian church at Stockton, New Jersey, and was ordained and installed over this
church, June 2, 1868, by the Presbytery of Raritan, New Jersey. This was a young church,
having only twenty-five members. Ten years later, when Mr. Swan resigned to accept a call
to a church in Batavia, New York, it had grown to a membership of two hundred and fifty.
After eight and one-half years of successful ministry in Batavia, our classmate
returned to New Jersey and became pastor of a church in Lambertville, one of the largest
and most influential churches in the Presbytery of Brunswick. At the end of seven years'
pastorate with this people, 1887 to 1894, and following a continuous service of twenty-six
years in the ministry, failing health made a period of rest advisable. But within a year, Mr.
Swan resumed work as a pastor of two churches at Swan Hill and Stockton, Maryland, and
remained with these churches till his death, August 13, 1898. Mr. Swan greatly endeared
himself to the churches to which he ministered and to the people of the communities in
which he lived. He was a man of fine intellectual endowment, religious sympathy and
missionary zeal, and he also possessed a vein of poetical talent of no mean order.
In 1901, a little volume, entitled, "A Memorial of the Rev. William Swan," was
privately printed. It is a small book of sixty-nine pages. At the end of this volume, thirty
pages are occupied by hymns and poems, thirty in number, of which our classmate was the
December 23, 1868, Mr. Swan married Miss Emma C. Nassau, daughter of the Rev.
Charles William Nassau, D.D., and his wife, Hannah Hamill. Miss Nassau was born in
Easton, Pennsylvania, where her father was acting president of Lafayette College, but was
living at the time of the marriage in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. They had one child, a son,
born June 1, 1870, who died in infancy.
Class of Sixty-Three Williams College Fortieth Year Report, by
the Class Historian, Thomas Todd Printer, Boston, 1903