Died: April 10, 1899, Chester, Pennsylvania.
Buried: Chester Rural Cemetery, Chester, Pennsylvania.
Sweney’s 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, Sweney 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 composed music for more than 1,000 Gospel songs, and collaborated on a number of collections.