The Swaim Family of Indiana and Oklahoma

Henry Lindsey Swaim (b 1858)

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Henry Lindsey Swaim (b 1858)

The father of John Emory Swaim (my grandfather) was Henry Lindsey Swaim. The 1900 Census in Jackson Township, Indiana (Wells County) lists three Swaim generations in the same house – Henry L. Swaim, his mother Julia Ann (Huffman) Swaim and Henry’s children including John E. Swaim. It would appear John E. Swaim named his son Ivan’s middle name after his father, Henry, while also basing Ivan’s second middle name, Champion, on his wife Belle’s surname.

Henry L. Swaim was born in 1858 and raised in Jackson Township, Indiana located in Wells County near Bluffton. During the 1880 census Henry was shown living in his father Zebedee W. Swaim’s household and was 21 years old. My grandfather, John E. Swaim, was born in 1885 in Bluffton, Indiana. There is a commencement record from 1907 for the Wells County (Indiana) Common Schools held in Bluffton, Indiana where H. L. Swaim is listed as a Trustee of Jackson Township (Bluffton). Henry’s occupation was listed as “farmer” in the 1910 Census. An article in the Fort Wayne News and Sentinel dated August 23, 1918 on John E. Swaim, referred to his father H. L. Swaim as a “commissioner”. Henry appears in the 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 censuses as living in Bluffton, Indiana. Although we do not know Henry Swaim’s complete life history, it appears he did not wander far from Bluffton, Indiana during his lifetime.

Henry’s first wife was Mary “Indiana” Tomlinson. Mary was known as “Indiana” based on the Indiana Marriages record and the 1880 census. “Indiana” was the daughter of Ezra Tomlinson and Evelina Tomlinson. Henry married her in 1880 based on the Swaim Family Record but the marriage did not last long. Mary died in 1888 (I am not sure of her cause of death).

Ezra Tomlinson (b ~ 1832) and Evelina Tomlinson (b ~ 1834) had a large family of at least 11 children:

  • James Tomlinson (b ~ 1845)

  • Emma Tomlinson (b ~ 1847)

  • Mary E. Tomlinson (b ~ 1849)

  • John Tomlinson (b ~1851)

  • Ezra Tomlinson (b ~1853)

  • Hannah Tomlinson (b ~ 1851)

  • Kate Tomlinson (b ~1853)

  • Horace Tomlinson (b ~ 1855)

  • Rueben Tomlinson (b ~1857)

  • “Indiana” Tomlinson (b ~ 1859)

  • Henry Tomlinson (b ~ 1861)96.

As of the 1870 Census the Tomlinsons were living in Pike Township, Indiana (Marion County). Ezra Tomlinson was a farmer.

The 1880 Indiana census for Wells County included “Indiana” Tomlinson who was listed as a 17 year-old “step-daughter” living in the household of James H. Deaver (b May 184697, d ~ 29 Jul 193498) and Lucretia Tomlinson Deaver99 (b Jan 1843100, d ~ 16 Apr 1912101). She was listed last under John R. Tomlinson, 74 years old, who was listed as a “father-in-law” (in relation to the head of household, James Deaver). John R. Tomlinson was, perhaps, “Indiana” Tomlinson’s grandfather but this is speculation.

“Indiana” Tomlinson was born in Indiana and her father and mother were also born in Indiana based on the 1880 census. However, the 1870 census lists Indiana’s father and mother as having been born in Kentucky. In the 1880 census, John R. Tomlinson’s occupation was shown as “farmer” and Indiana’s occupation was listed as “Servant” (with her race being White).

As further information, there are only two “Indiana” Tomlinson’s listed in the 1880 Census Index. The other Indiana Tomlinson is listed in the 1880 Census, Iowa, as 48 years old and married to a James Tomlinson, 49 years old27. Although I can think of several theories to explain this I am still not sure of the relationships between these two “Indiana” Tomlinson’s, if any. It does seem that the name “Indiana Tomlinson” is an unusual name and that there could be some connection between these two people.

Henry Lindsey Swaim (b 25 Oct 1858102, d 17 Mar 1941103) was married on November 24, 1880104 to Mary “Indiana” Tomlinson (b ~1862105, d 2 Nov 1888106).

Henry Swaim and Mary “Indiana” Swaim had the following four children:

  1. Laura Viola Swaim (b 18 Oct 1881107, d 11 Apr 1882108). Died as an infant.

  2. Nora Alice Swaim (b 8 May 1884109, d 15 Nov 1967110) married January 14, 1903111 to Daniel M. Murray (b 20 Jun 1883112, d 11 Oct 1934113). Daniel was the son of Andrew F. Murray (b 18 Jan 1861, d 11 Jun 1951) and Amanda Melissa Kean (b 15 Mar 1862, d 14 May 1886)114. In 1920 Nora and her husband Daniel Murray were living in Eastland County, Texas next door to her brother, John E. Swaim. In 1930 Nora and Daniel Murray were living in King City Township, Kansas (McPherson County).115 Daniel Murray died in 1934 in Lyons, Kansas according to Keans Family information. John E. Swaim’s 1957 obituary in the Tulsa Daily World mentions “Mrs. Nora Murray, 1808 N. Cheyenne Ave” (Tulsa, OK)

    Nora and Daniel Murray had at least one child:

    1. Mildred Murray (b Sep 5 1905116)

  3. John Emory Swaim, my grandfather (b 27 Sep 1885, d 12 Aug 1957). John Emory Swaim married Alice Belle Hawkins Champion.
    [Already described in previous chapter].

  4. George Earl Swaim (b 22 Sep 1887117, d 30 Jan 1950118). George Swaim married Mabel Gertrude Gilbert (b 13 Jul 1889119, d 12 Feb 1976120). By 1910 George E. Swaim was a teacher in the Bluffton, Indiana Common School.121 George’s Draft Registration Card from June 5, 1917 states as follows:

    Name: George E. Swaim; Address 1101 N. High, Hartford City, IN; Birth: Sep 22, 1888; Occupation: Teacher; Wife, one child; Height: tall; Build: medium; Eyes: black; Hair: black.122

By 1920 George was employed by a bank123 living in Licking Township near Hartford, Indiana in Blackford County. He was an Assistant Cashier of the Citizens’ State Bank in Hartford City and was appointed as a state bank examiner.124 He was also known to have had a dog that chewed tobacco125. George Swaim died on January 30, 1950 based on his obituary which ran in the Bluffton News Banner on January 31, 1950.126 Mabel died in 1976 at the age of 86 and is buried at Elm Grove Cemetery.

George Earl Swaim was married December 24, 1908127 to Mabel Gilbert and they had at least one child, a son:

    1. Gilbert E. Swaim (b 8 May 1911128, d Jun 1983129). Gilbert died in 1983 and his residence at that time was Bloomington, Indiana (Monroe County).130

After Mary’s death in 1889, Henry married Sarah Elizabeth Batson (Smithson) in 1889. Sarah was a widow. She was originally Sarah Elizabeth Batson, daughter of Samuel J. Batson (b ~ 1831131, d 15 Feb 1910132) and Catherine (Kitty) Huffman (b ~ 1832133, d 14 Sep 1908134), both born in Indiana.

Sarah Elizabeth Batson (b 1 Aug 1855135, d 25 Apr 1908136) was married on December 9, 1875137 to John William138 Smithson (b 9 Dec 1848139, d 7 May 1888140). John Smithson was the son of George Wesley Smithson and Sarah Jane Clark141. John Smithson died in 1888 and was buried in Batson Cemetery, Wells County, Indiana.

Sarah and John Smithson had the following children142:

  1. William Elmer Smithson (b 25 Sept 1875).  Born in Liberty Center Twp., Wells County, Indiana. Died 19 Oct. 1937 in Wichita Falls, TX. Buried in Riverside Cemetery.  William married 19 Dec 1899 in Wells County, IN to Ella Dawley (Risser) (b Sept 1872 in Wells County, IN and died 19 Feb. 1965 in Wichita Falls, TX.  Buried in Riverside Cemetery).  Ella Dawley was the daughter of Horace Dawley and 2nd wife Louise McDaniel.  Ella Dawley’s first marriage was to Charles Risser.  They married 6 Apr 1889 Wells County, IN.  Charles born about 1869 and shot and killed himself 19 Oct. 1896 in Wells County, IN.

Ella and Charles Risser had two children:

a.      Floss Olive Risser (b 9 Sept 1889 Petroleum, Wells County, IN)

      Died 4 May 1965 St. Louis, MO

      Married Robert Eugene Shade 18 Aug 1907 Montpelier, IN


b.      Ralph Risser (b 29  Mar 1892 in Indiana)  Died Feb 1969 Kansas City, MO


William E. Smithson and Ella Dawley (Risser) had the following children:


a)      Edith Marie Smithson born 28 July 1900 in IN

Died 30 Dec. 1991 Wichita County, TX
Married George William Burch


b)      Dolly Louise Smithson born 1 Feb 1903 in IN

Died 4 Jan 1977 Harris County, TX
Married Frank Edward Bird


c)      Dorothy Irene Smithson born 15 Aug 1906 in IN

Died 30 Mar 1978 Wichita Falls, TX
Married Doddridge Walter Wiley Jr


d)     Claudine Smithson born 27 Feb 1910 in IN

Died 12 Dec 1988 Wichita Falls, TX
Buried in Riverside Cemetery
Married Leslie Toby Ramsey
2.     Francis L. Smithson (b Aug 1878).  Born Wells County, Indiana. Died 4 Feb 1908 and buried in the Batson Cemetery, Wells County, IN. Never married ?


3.     George Clinton Smithson (b 10 Mar 1882).  Born in Wells County, Indiana.

      Died after 1942   Never married?


4.     Lloyd Avery Smithson (b 27 Apr 1880).  Born in Wells County, Indiana.  Married Myrtle Ann Patterson. Lloyd was married to a woman named Pearl in 1942 and living in Van Buren Twp., Grant County, IN.


5.     Edith Elizabeth Smithson (b Jul 1884, d 29 Sep 1925, Guthrie, OK).  Edith married John Thomas Yount (b 11 Dec 1878, d 4 Apr 1949) on 9 Nov 1899 in Wells County, Indiana.  John Yount was born in Henry County, Kentucky.  John’s parents, Benjamin H. Yount and Sarah Belle Hutcherson, were also born in Kentucky.  John was an oil field tool dresser.  John Yount died in 1949 in Bays Fork, Kentucky (Warren County) he married second wife Roxie Ann Dinkins).  Edith remarried to Harvey F. Lee sometime prior to January, 1920.

Edith and John Yount had the following children:


a.   Delmer Yount (b 2 May 1900, d 27 Oct 1938).  Born in Wells County, Indiana and is buried in State Hospital Cemetery in an unmarked grave, in Vinita, Oklahoma


b.    Homer Yount (b 13 Aug 1901, d 7 Mar 1963) Born in Pleasant Plains, IN.  Died in Greenville, KY

Married first wife - name unknown.  Married second wife Georgetta Staples. Married third wife Dorothy Belle Paris 20 Apr 1953 Muhlenburg County, KY.


c.     Bessie Yount (b 13 Aug 1903, d 11 Jul 1980).  Born in Indiana.

      Died 11 July 1980 in Visalia, CA

      Possibly married to a Pete Peterson, a Mr. Campbell and a Mr. Tallant   


d.     Alvin Denton Yount (b 7 Aug 1906 d 13 Jul 1962).  Born in Indiana. Alvin married Rosie Myrtle Hart on 26 Dec 1925 in Bristow, Oklahoma.  Alvin Yount died 13 July 1962 in Huntington Beach, California.


All the children of Sarah and John Smithson were born in Wells County, Indiana.  Edith Smithson married John Thomas Yount on November 9, 1899 in Bluffton, Indiana.  Edith died from a concussion received from a car accident on September 29, 1925 and is buried in Summitview Cemetery, Guthrie, OK.143


John Smithson died on May 7, 1888, reportedly from pneumonia.144  I have had trouble locating John Smithson in the 1880 census.  So far, the dates and information match other tidbits I have such as Francis (Frank) Smithson’s birth as August, 1878 which matches the 1900 census where a Frank Smithson is shown living with Henry and Sarah Swaim. 

The youngest daughter, Edith Smithson, married John Thomas Yount in 1899 in Wells County, Indiana which explains why she is not listed as living with Henry and Sarah Swaim in the 1900 census. By 1900 Clinton and Lloyd would have been 20 and 17, respectively, and could have left the home of Henry and Sarah Swaim.

Jackie (Yount) Welsh, a great-granddaughter of Sarah Batson Smithson has corroborated a conclusion I have made regarding Henry’s marriage to Sarah Batson. Henry was the son of Julia Huffman. “Sarah Batson's mother was Catherine Huffman and Julia and Catherine were sisters. That would make Henry and Sarah cousins.” This information indicates that when Sarah Batson Smithson married Henry Swaim after John Smithson’s death, she was marrying her cousin.

By 1920 the U.S. Census shows that Henry, Julia, Orville and Hazel Swaim lived in the same household.

Henry L. Swaim (b 25 Oct 1858, d 17 Mar 1941) was married on November 1, 1889145 to Sarah Batson Smithson28 (b 1 Aug 1855, d 25 Apr 1908146). Henry and Sarah Swaim had two children by this marriage:

  1. Alvin Clayton Swaim (b 18 Nov 1890147, d Jan 1968148) married on November 22, 1910149 to Zola150 Eva Williamson (b 15 Oct 1893151, d ~17 Jan 1956152). Zola was listed as Eva in the 1920 census. Her parents were Oscar Williamson and Otta R. Keel. Zola died in Montpelier in 1956 at age 62.

    Robert Jack Swaim’s 1944 High School graduation card from Alvin Swaim read

    ”From A. C. Swaim, 5-23-44 (on Tide Water Associated Oil Company, Tidal Pipe Line Company stationary), Dear Bob, Am pleased to know you have did so good these years. A happy time for anyone at this time in life. Was pleased to receive your card. How is your Dad, Mother and Grandmother? I have been very busy since I came to Illinois. We have great floods here in the Wabash and Ohio river bottoms which slow up operations. You use this money for something you want which will be more satisfactory for you I know. Bob, write; tell all the news, I would like to visit you again and will when I can”. Love your Uncle Shorty, A. C. Swaim P. O. Box 231, Mt. Carmel, Ill.”

    Based on the previous graduation card it appears A. C. Swaim was known as “Shorty”.

    Alvin and Eva Swaim had the following children:

  1. Kenneth Weir Swaim (b 19 May 1911153, d 16 Oct 1990154). Born in Indiana. Married Iris Ellen (lastname unknown) born 23 Jan 1914 and died 12 Mar 2007 Cuyahoga County, OH.155

  2. Mary Dale Swaim (b 29 May 1916156). Born in Illinois. “Died Sept 1986 Dearborn County, IN. Mary married Robert James Teaney born 25 Sept 1915 in IN. Robert died 18 Nov 1994 Hamilton County, OH. Robert was the son of Charles Teaney and Marie Schaeffer.

  1. Daniel Boone Teaney born 12 Aug 1938 IN. Died 14 Aug 1985 Dearborn County, IN. Married Mary Ann Clark (they had 4 children).” 157

  1. Orville Clifton Swaim (b 16 Feb 1893158, d Aug, 1980159) was married (actually obtained marriage license) on 4 Nov 1915160 in Montpelier, Indiana to Hazel Ellen Kitterman161 (b Jun 1895162, d Dec 1986163). The marriage announcement was described in an article in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette dated November 5, 1915 “BLUFFTON, Ind., Nov 4 – Orville C. Swaim, 22, a son of Henry L. Swaim, of this county, and Miss Hazel Kitterman, of Hartford City, today procured a marriage license at the latter place”.

Hazel Kitterman was the daughter of Harvey and Etta Kitterman. Orville’s Draft Card from WWI indicates he was medium height, medium build with blue eyes and light colored hair.164 By 1930 Henry Swaim, his father, had moved in with him. Orville also ran a farm.

Orville and Hazel Swaim had at least one child:

    1. Sarah Kathleen Swaim (b 15 Mar 1929165) in Wells County, IN. “Sarah married Charles Leroy Kindlesparger born 2 Dec 1928. Charles died 4 Jan 1982 and was buried in Brookside Memorial Park Cemetery, Montpelier, IN. Charles was the son of Ralie Horatio Kindlesparger and Mary Schuller.”166

In the 1900 Census (IN), Julia Swaim, Henry’s mother, is listed as Head of Household with Henry, his wife and his children (Nora, John, George, ‘Alva’ and ‘Orval’) apparently all living at the same location. It is not clear whether listing Julia as Head of Household was out of respect for her or because they were all actually living in her house. Also living at this house was Frank Smithson, age 21. Frank Smithson as well as Nora Swaim, John Swaim and George Swaim (from Henry’s marriage to Mary) were each listed as “step-son” or “step-daughter” in the census. ‘Alva’ and ‘Orval’ are listed as “Son”. I believe Frank Smithson is Francis L. Smithson, a son of Sarah’s from her first marriage to John Smithson.

Sarah Swaim died on April 25, 1908 in Montpelier, Indiana (Blackford County) at the age of 52 of apoplexy - tuberculosis.167 Sarah Swaim was buried at Oddfellows Cemetery, Montpelier, Indiana (Blackford County) 168.

By 1910 Henry Swaim was listed as a widower again in the 1910 census for Wells County, Indiana. By 1920 Henry was still a farmer living in Jackson Township and his 84 year old mother Julia Ann was living with him in a farm house on McGrew Road169. By 1920, Alvin had left home but Orville who was 26 was still living with him along with Orville’s wife Hazel listed as 24 years old.

In the 1923 Directory of Wells County, Henry’s named is misspelled as Swain and he is listed as

Swain, Henry L. (Sara Batson)29 *John, *George, *Alvin, *Orville, *Nora; Julia A. Swain; 64 yrs. Montpelier R2 Jackson Sec25 O125a T40a Julia A. Swain.”

Then the next listing is for Orville C. Swain as follows:

Swain, Orville C. (Hazel Kitterman) 27 yrs. Montpelier R2 Jackson Sec24 T166a H. L. Swain, Montpelier.“

By 1930 Orville Swaim was listed as Head of Household in the census and Henry was living with him in Bluffton, Indiana. By this time, Henry was listed as a 71 year old widower17030.

Henry Lindsey Swaim died on March 17, 1941 at the age of 82 of arteriosclerosis and chronic nephritis. He was buried alongside Sarah at Oddfellows Cemetery, Montpelier, Indiana (Blackford County) with a combined gravestone covering the gravesite. Warfield Funeral Home handled the funeral. 171

A summary of the primary evidence for Henry Lindsey Swaim being the father of John Emory Swaim (my grandfather) is as follows:

  • Swaim Family Record

  • My mother Olly Swaim’s and father Robert Swaim’s recollections and statements over the years

  • Census data (1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 for Wells County, Indiana) including the 1910 census that showed Henry living in same household with son’s Alvin and Orville and mother Julia Swaim with George Swaim (Grandfather John E. Swaim’s brother) living next door.

  • Newspaper articles which showed associations between Henry Swaim and John E. Swaim.

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