THOMAS BELL SWEENEY, WHEELING
From: West Virginians
Published by The West Virginia Biographical Association, 1928
Submitted by Linda Fluharty.
Mr. Sweeney has for thirty-three years been Manager of the Wheeling Agency of the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, which controls West Virginia and parts of Ohio, Maryland and Virginia. He gave up the study of medicine to succeed his father, John F. Sweeney, who established the Agency in 1887 and was its Manager for eight years preceding his death. This agency has the distinction of being not only the largest life insurance agency of any company within the state of West Virginia and not only one of the largest agencies of any company in the United States, but actually has more insurance in force and collects a larger amount, of insurance premiums annually than do two hundred and seven individual American life insurance companies. At present, the insurance in force in this agency exceeds $85,000,000 on the lives of over 30,000 policyholders. Such an accomplishment does not come by accident, and in this instance is due to the genius and untiring efforts of the Manager. The agency is unique among all similar organizations in the United States in many respects. For example, it limits itself to one hundred representatives, thus being enabled to make careful selection. Each of these representatives goes through a course of intensive training to the end that he may diagnose the financial needs of his clients and prescribe the proper remedy.
The subject of this sketch was born at Wheeling, W. Va., on January 19, 1874, being the son of John F. Sweeney of Wheeling and the grandson of Thomas Sweeney, one of Wheeling's pioneers and outstanding citizens at the beginning of the Nineteenth Century; his mother was Lula John Bell of Washington, Pa., both parents being of Scotch-Irish and English origin. Mr. Sweeney was educated in the public schools and Linsly Institute, and graduated at Washington & Jefferson College in 1895 and was appointed Manager of the Equitable before he left college. In 1901 he married Nelly K. Janney of Council Bluffs, Iowa, to which union have been born two sons, Thomas B., Jr., and John McFerran, at Wheeling.
Mr. Sweeney's residence has been in Washington, D. C., since 1911. He belongs to a number of clubs, including the Metropolitan, Chevy Chase, Montgomery Country, Patuxent Gun, Racquet, and Burning Tree Clubs of Washington; the Kebo Valley Golf Club, the Yacht Club and the Swimming Club of Bar Harbor, Maine; and still keeps his membership in the Fort Henry Club of Wheeling and the Wheeling Country Club.
He has held positions of trust, such as the directorship in the DuPont National Bank of Washington, and during the World War was, for two years, Campaign Chairman of the D. C. Chapter of the Red Cross. He devotes much time to charitable work, chief of which is the Children's Hospital of the District of Columbia of which he is Vice President and Chairman of various Committees.
Home address: 1520 New Hampshire Avenue, Washington, D. C. Office: Hawley Building, Wheeling, W. Va.