WILLIAM H. SCHWAAB was born in Pennsylvania around 1837. The family appears in the 1850, 1860, and 1880 Census as Swope, and in the 1870 Census as Schwab. That these are the same people is proven when records other than the Census yields both spellings for the same addresses and the same first names at the same times. 

The 1850 Census shows German-born Ignatius Schwaab (or, in this Census, Swope) and his wife Maria living in Camden's South Ward. Also at home were the following children, Joseph, 15; William H., 12; Mary A., 10; Elizabeth, 7; John, 3; Christian Edward., 2; and Mary C., a newborn. Ignatious Schwaab died on April 2, 1857.

When the 1860 Census was enumerated, William Schwaab's father had passed, and oldest son Joseph had married, moved out, and started a family. Daughter Elizabeth had also wed, and was living with her husband, John Olden. Anna Maria Schwaab (or Swope) worked as a washerwoman to support five sons, William, 21; John, 14; Christian Edward, 10; Andrew, 8; and George, 3. It should be noted that in the hand-written censuses of the 19th century, variations in ages were not at all uncommon, and also that the censuses were not always taken in the same month of the year from decade to decade. In 1860 William H. Schwaab worked as a laborer. Boarding with the family was son-in-law William Gordon, married to Mary Schwaab, and their baby, also named William. 

When the Civil War came, William H. Schwaab answered his nation's call. On April 25, 1861 he enlisted in the Union Army as a Private. He was assigned to Company C, Fourth Infantry Regiment New Jersey on April 27, 1861. 

The Fourth Regiment--Militia, was commanded by Colonel Matthew Miller, Jr., serving under him were Lieutenant Colonel Simpson R. Stroud and Major Robert C. Johnson. This regiment was mustered into the U. S. service at Trenton, April 27, 1861, to serve for three months, and left the state for Washington, D. C., on May 3, with 37 commissioned officers and 743 non-commissioned officers and privates, a total of 777. On the evening of May 5 it reached the capital, and on the 9th it was ordered to go into camp at Meridian hill, where, within a few days the entire brigade was encamped, and where, on the 12th, it was honored by a visit from the president, who warmly complimented the appearance of the troops. On the evening of May 23 it joined the 2nd and 3d regiments and about midnight took up the line of march in silence for the bridge that spanned the Potomac. This bridge was crossed at 2 o'clock on the morning of the 24th, the 2nd was posted at Roach's spring, and the 3d and 4th about half a mile beyond on the Alexandria road. On July 16, a guard was detailed from the 4th for a section of the Orange & Alexandria railroad, which it was important to hold; one company from the regiment guarded the Long bridge; still another was on duty at Arlington mills; and the remainder of the regiment, together with the 2nd, was ordered to proceed to Alexandria. On July 24, the term of service having expired, the 4th returned to New Jersey and was mustered out at Trenton, July 31, 1861. The total strength of the regiment was 783, and it lost by discharge 6, by promotion 2, by death 2 and by desertion 7, mustered out, 766.

William H. Schwaab was among those who mustered out with Company C, Fourth Infantry Regiment New Jersey on July 31, 1861 at Trenton, NJ. He reenlisted as a Corporal on August 9, 1861 and was assigned to Company 5. 6th Infantry Regiment New Jersey on August 26, 1861.

The Sixth Infantry Regiment was organized under the provisions of an act of Congress, approved July 22, 1861, and was fully organized, equipped and officered by August 19, at which time it was mustered into the U. S. service at Camp Olden, Trenton, for three years. It left the state on Sept. 10, with 38 officers, 860 non-commissioned officers and privates, a total of 898. Among the 898 was Private John J. Olden, whose wife, the former Elizabeth Schwaab, was most likely William Schwaab's sister. Both William H. Schwaab and John J. Olden would serve with the Camden Fire Department in the 1870s.

Upon arrival at Washington the regiment went into camp at Meridian hill, and remained there until the early part of December, at which time it was ordered to report to General Hooker, near Budd's Ferry, Maryland, where it was brigaded with the 5th, 7th and 8th N. J., composing what was generally known as the 2nd New Jersey Brigade, the 3d brigade, Hooker's division. 

At the battle of Williamsburg, Virginia, which took place on May 5, 1862, the brigade was sent into the left of a road and occupied a wood in front of a line of field-works. Among the killed was Lieutenant Colonel John P. Van Leer, and among the wounded were a large number of officers. William H. Schwaab was promoted to Full Sergeant on May 15, 1862.

At the battle of Fair Oaks the 5th and 6th moved forward under Colonel Starr, cutting their way through a mass of panic-stricken fugitives, the loss of the 6th being 7 killed and 14 wounded. The next morning the two regiments advanced and occupied the ground recovered from the enemy, where they remained until June 25, being almost constantly on duty at the front. In the combat at Savage Station, the New Jersey brigade was not directly engaged, but the 6th regiment had 2 men wounded by shells. At Bristoe Station Colonel Mott was badly wounded in the fore-arm, and in the series of engagements, ending at Chantilly 
on September 1, 1862, the regiment suffered a total loss of 104 men. Going into camp at Alexandria, the brigade remained undisturbed until November 1 when, Lee having been driven from Maryland, it proceeded towards Bristoe Station, where it arrived on the 4th, the 5th and 6th regiments being in advance. For the Chancellorsville affair in the spring of 1863, the New Jersey brigade, which at that time included the 2nd New York and 115th Pennsylvania regiments, as well as the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th New Jersey, all under command of General Mott, crossed the Rappahannock on Friday, May 1. The losses of the 6th during the engagement amounted to 6 killed, 59 wounded and 8 missing, Colonel Burling 
being among the wounded. At the time of the battle of Gettysburg the 115th Pennsylvania and 2nd New Hampshire regiments were attached to the brigade, which was under the command of Colonel Burling, General Mott not having recovered from his wound received at Chancellorsville. At the battle of the Wilderness, at 5 o'clock in the morning of the second day, six regiments of the 
brigade advanced, the 5th, 6th and 11th N. J. being placed under Colonel Sewell. In the assault at Spottsylvania the brigade was in the front line, the 6th acting as skirmishers. The total losses of the regiment during the months of May and June, 1864, amounted to 16 killed, 99 wounded, 8 missing. In August and September, 1864, a large number of recruits were forwarded to the regiment, and with those who had reenlisted and those whose term of service had not expired, were assigned to what was known as Cos. A, B and C, 6th battalion, until Oct. 12, 1864, at which time they were transferred to and consolidated with the 8th regiment. By reason of such transfer the 6th regiment as an organization ceased to exist. The total strength of the regiment was 1,485, and it lost, by resignation 26, by discharge 364, by promotion 53, by transfer 314, by death 180, by desertion 209, by dismissal 3, not accounted for 157, and 179 were mustered out at the end of the regiment's term of service.

Sergeant Schwaab was among those who mustered out of Company E, 6th Infantry Regiment New Jersey on September 7, 1864 at Trenton, NJ.

When the census was taken in 1870 William Schwaab was living at in Camden's South Ward with his wife Amanda at the home of his widowed mother Maria Schwaab. Also living there were Andrew, John, and George Schwaab, who appear to be his brothers, and Anna Schwaab, his daughter. William H. Schwaab's occupation is listed as steam engineer, he is listed in other sources as a laborer. By the December of 1871 the Schwaab family was living at 329 Cherry Street in South Camden. 

William H. Schwaab was appointed as an extra man with Engine Company 1 on December of of 1871. He served until April of 1876, when he was not re-appointed, and was replaced by William Guthridge

William H. Schwaab worked as a laborer and resided at 329 Cherry Street for the rest of his days. He is listed at that address in the 1882-1883 Camden City Directory. William H. Schwaab died in 1883, prior to the publication of the 1883-1884 City Directory. He was survived by his wife Amanda and a son George H. Schwaab, who was born in August of 1877. They were living at 910 South 7th Street in Camden when the 1900 Census was enumerated.

William H. Schwaab's brother, Christian Edward, who went by the name Edward Swope, served as a member of the Camden Fire Department for two years, beginning April 21, 1882 with the Hook and Ladder Company. Camden Fire Department records list a Charles Swope, a stone cutter from Camden's North Ward, who served as an extra man with Engine Company 2 for 1 year, beginning April 8, 1876; and a George Schaub, who lived in the 300 block of Cherry Street and did the same for Engine Company 1. In the case of George Schaub, it is almost a certainty that he is the brother of William H. Schwaab.