The Swaim Family of Indiana and Oklahoma

John Hinds34 Swaim (b 1797)

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John Hinds34 Swaim (b 1797)

The Swaim Family Record describes the ancestry of Robert Swaim (my father) back to John H. Swaim (born February 28, 1797). That is as far back as our family information traces the Swaim ancestry. A key link in tracing back my father’s ancestry was to determine which specific Swaim branch John H. Swaim descends from. The Swaim Family Record records that John H. Swaim was married July 16, 1816 to Elizabeth Swaim (born July 10, 1795) although based on his obituary (included later) and other sources it appears they were actually married July 5, 1816.

There are only two “John H.” Swaims’ I am aware of with dates of birth close enough to be the John H. Swaim referred to in the Swaim Family Record:

  1. John H. Swaim born in 1799 (two years off from the birth date of the John H. Swaim listed in the Swaim Family Record).

  2. John H. Swaim listed as born on February 28, 1797, son of Christopher, and who was married to Elizabeth Swindell.

The birth date in the last item matches the birth date for John H. Swaim listed in the Swaim Family Record. A Warren Independent obituary in February 16, 1896 for John H. Swaim (see Appendix) lists John H. Swaim’s father as Christopher Columbus Swaim. This relationship is also mentioned in the Swaim-Tysen Family book. John was Christopher’s second child. His third child, Simeon, was born in 1799. Therefore, the Swaim Family Record birth date of 1797 would appear to be correct.

There is other collaborative evidence that this John H. Swaim is the same John Swaim mentioned in the Swaim-Tysen Family books and the son of Christopher Swaim. The birth dates, marriage dates and children named in the Swaim-Tysen Family book line up perfectly with the information in the Swaim Family Record.

The listing of John H. Swaim’s middle name as “Hinds” or “Hines” is also interesting since “Hinds” (or Hines) also happens to be his mother’s maiden last name (Sarah Hinds or Hines). This provides further circumstantial evidence that this John H. Swaim is the son of Christopher Columbus Swaim (discussed later).

Correspondence with Ken Hinds has convinced me that the spelling of Sarah’s name was likely spelled “Hinds” rather than “Hines”. It should be noted that Hinds was a more unusual name for this area. A check of 1800 census records lists 33 families in North Carolina named Hines and four named Hinds.

John H. Swaim’s spouse listed in the Swaim Family Record was Elizabeth Swaim (born Jul 10 1795). There is general consensus that John H. Swaim’s wife was Elizabeth (Polly) Swindell. Elizabeth Swindell was the daughter of Robert Swindell (b ~ 1765, d ~ 1823) and Sarah Emory (b ~ 1765) who were married in 1794217 218. This is confirmed in the will of Robert Swindell which specifically mentions an “Elisabeath Swaim”.

The following is a transcript of the Will of Robert Swindell:

“Will of Robert SWINDELL

In the name of God Amen. I Robert SWINDELL of the state of North Carolina and County of Hyde being weak in body but of sound and disposing mind and memory blessed be God. Do make publish and declare this instrument of wrighting to contain my last will and testament (Viz first I recommend my soul into the hands that gave it and my body to be buried in Christian like maner and whats worldly estates it hath been please God to blys me with I devise and dispose in the following manner. First I linds to by beloved wife Sally SWINDELL the one half of my plantation where I now live with all the privilidges thare to belongging during her natural life. I also lind her by horse and rocking chair and one bed and furniture her chair and all the kitchen furniture and my horse cart ______ _____ negro woman by the of mosearr and one Linen Wheal the above land given to my wife at her dicease I give to my son Oliver SWINDELL the half of my chairs in the house. I give to my wife. Item 2 I give and bequeath to my son W. G. SWINDELL one bed and furniture and one trunk. Item 3 I give and bequeath to my son Emmery SWINDELL one bed and furniture. Item 4 I give and bequeath to my daughter Mahala SWINDELL one bed and furniture and one trunks and one Linen Wheal. Item 5 I give and bequeath to me daughter Prifsilla SWINDELL one bed and furniture and one linen wheal. Item I give to my son Samuel SWINDELL one bead and furniture and one chest. Item I give and bequeath to my son Thomas D. SWINDELL one feather bed and furniture and one negrowoman by the name Moreaer after the dicease of my wife and one hundred dollars in cash. Item I decree that out of the crop and ______ myy wife and family shall have one years support and the use of my hose mill. So long as they keep her up in good order. Item all the above property lots of to my wife Sally SWINDELL. Viz the beds and furniture _____and chare kitchen furniture and chares and horse carts at her decease I give to my son Oliver SWINDELL. Item all my plantation and maeunical? And blacksmiths tooles I give in manner as follows to be equilly devided between my wife Sally SWINDELL and W. G. SWINDELL, Emmery SWINDELL and Oliver SWINDELL, Samuel SWINDELL and Thomas SWINDELL and Elisabeath Swaim and Mahala SWINDELL and Pryscla SWINDELL. I also constitute and appoint by wife Sally SWINDELL and my son W. E. SWINDELL my Ecetrin and Ececutor. To this my last will and testament in witness where of I have here unto set my hands and seal this seventeenth day of April 1823.

Robert SWINDELL (seal)

in prisince of Emory SWINDELL & Heremiah Farrow”219

John H. Swaim and Elizabeth Swindell were married on July 5, 1816220 in Randolph County, North Carolina. The bondsman was a Michael Swaim although I am not sure which Michael Swaim.

John H. Swaim’s Obituary which lists his date of birth, his children’s names (including Zebedee), his wife’s name and his marriage date. All of this information matches the John H. Swaim family described in the Swaim Family Record account. Based on this obituary, John H. Swaim lived to be 99 years old.

The following is a summary of what we know about John H. Swaim, his immediate family and where they lived. John H. Swaim was born in 1797 in North Carolina and probably in Randolph County since that was where Christopher was living in 1800 (according to the 1800 Census, Randolph County, NC). Some believe he was born near present-day Asheboro, North Carolina which is the county seat of Randolph County.

I have no information on John H. Swaim’s childhood. By 1830 John H. Swaim and his family were living in Stokes County, North Carolina based on the 1830 census. A review of the 1830 census information indicates a positive match against the Swaim Family Record information with respect to the children’s’ ages. There is also an elderly male between the ages of 70-80 living with them. I am not sure who it is.

A review of the information in the 1830 Census is as follows:





Estimated ID



Estimated ID


< 5

Zebedee W. (b 1829, 1 yrs)


< 5

Nancy (b 1827, 3 yrs);
Sarah (b 1825, 5 yrs)



Simeon (b 1823, 7 yrs)



Charity (b 1821, 9 yrs)



Robert (b 1819, 11 yrs)



Mahala (b 1817, 13)



John H. Swaim
(b 1797, 33 yrs)



Elizabeth Swaim
(b 1795, 35 yrs)





Table 1 John H. Swaim family based on 1830 Census, NC, Stokes County

By 1840 John H. Swaim and his family were still living in Stokes County, North Carolina in the Deep River District based on the 1840 census.





Estimated ID



Estimated ID


< 5


< 5



Benjamin (1831, 9 yrs)



Cynthia (b 1834, 6 yrs);



Zebedee W. (b 1829: 11 yrs)



Nancy (b 1827, 13 yrs)
Sarah (b 1825, 15 yrs)



Simeon (b 1823: 17 yrs)
Robert (b 1819; 21 yrs) ??



Charity (b 1821, 19 yrs)



John H. Swaim
(b 1797, 43 yrs)



Elizabeth Swaim
(b 1795, 35 yrs)





Table 2 John H. Swaim family based on 1840 Census, NC, Stokes County

It appears that all of the children shown in the Swaim Family Record still match the 1840 census with the possible exception of Robert. I am showing his birthday as June 21, 1819. I do not know when exactly the 1840 census was taken. If it were in 1839 before June then he is listed correctly. If not, then there is some error with respect to why he was listed as being 15-20.

By 1850 Robert Swaim, John H. Swaim’s oldest son, had married and had started a family in North Carolina. The 1850 Census for Robert Swaim indicates that his five year old son William F. was born in North Carolina while his two year old daughter Livan was born in Indiana. If Elizabeth and the remaining children migrated to Indiana at the same time Robert did, that would mean the family moved sometime around 1845, give or take a few years.

It appears that John H. Swaim did not migrate to Indiana from North Carolina at the same time as his family. The 1850 census for Jackson Township, Wells County, Indiana lists Elizabeth and the children in Indiana without John H. Swaim living in the household. It is clear that this is the same family shown at the top of the Swaim Family Record. The odds of another Swaim family with those same exact names, including Z. W. Swaim, in that same pioneer township is highly unlikely. We also have John H. Swaim’s obituary which confirms his separation from his family.

The 1850 census, however, lists different ages for Elizabeth and the children than what is derived based on dates of birth shown in the Swaim Family Record and subsequent census information on the children. This is confusing to me, particularly since I have been able to validate the birth dates listed in the Swaim Family Record for Elizabeth and her children from other sources. Why were their ages listed incorrectly in the 1850 census? I am not sure. What is clear to me, however, is that this is John H. Swaim’s family and that Elizabeth Swaim and the family were living in Jackson Township in 1850 without John H. Swaim. In 1850 Jackson Township only had 633 inhabitants.


REFERENCE: November 14, 1850, Isaac Covert, penciled number 691


LN HN FN LAST NAME FIRST NAME AGE SEX RACE OCCUP. BIRTHPLACE ======================================================================================

? 18 55 55 SWAIM Elizabeth 50 F N. Carolina

? 19 55 55 SWAIM Simeon 25 M Farmer N. Carolina

? 20 55 55 SWAIM Sarah 20 F N. Carolina

? 21 55 55 SWAIM Z. W. 18 M Farmer N. Carolina

? 22 55 55 SWAIM Benj F. 16 M Farmer N. Carolina

? 23 55 55 SWAIM Syntha 14 F N. Carolina
Table 3 Elizabeth Swaim and family - 1850 Census, Indiana, Wells County
There was also a listing for a Sarah Swaim, 24 years old, living alone that appears to be that of Sarah Swaim, born October 27, 1825.

The following table indicates age discrepancies between the 1850 census and the Swaim Family Record for the Elizabeth Swaim family.

Names listed - 1850 Census, Indiana, Wells County, Jackson Township (taken Nov 14 1850)

Birth Date listed in Swaim Family Record

Derived age in 1850 based on birth dates in Swaim Family Record

Age listed in 1850 Census




Jul 10 1795





Jul 30 1823





Oct 27 1825




Z. W. (Zebedee)

Oct 07 1829




Benj. F.

Aug 07 1831




Syntha (Cynthia)

Dec 18 1834




Table 4 Age Discrepancies in 1850 Census for Elizabeth Swaim family

I can not explain the age discrepancies between the ages listed in the 1850 Census for Elizabeth Swaim and family and the Swaim Family Record. I have been able to validate the Swaim Family Record birth dates based on other sources. This 1850 census would have been taken just a few years after the family migrated from North Carolina to Indiana. Those were difficult times for this family. However, even so, I am not able to fathom a scenario to explain such inconsistent differences listed in their ages. It is my opinion that this is the John H. Swaim family because it is extremely unlikely there was another family with the same children’s’ names in the same area.

In 1816 Indiana became the 19th state to enter the United States. By the time of Elizabeth Swaim’s migration, the Jackson Township area was still quite a rough area. Some of the earliest land records for Jackson Township are in the 1833 time frame where families such as Henry Huffman (Section 3 1835-7) and Nathaniel Batson (Section 2 1836-7) are listed221 which could be related to Julia Ann Huffman and Sarah Batson Smithson. So, I am not sure when Elizabeth Swaim and the family settled in Jackson Township since the Swaim’s are not included in this excerpt of land records for Jackson Township. In 1850 Jackson Township had a population of only 633 inhabitants.222

Still another story about John H. Swaim was obtained from a Sandra K. (not sure of her surname) who posted the following at the message board on July 29, 2000:

Family story has it that John Hines Swaim, father to Nancy W. Swaim disappeared around 1840 and was never seen again. An aunt is VERY SURE of this family story, she said that Nancy's father was kind to slaves, making his neighbors angry & they threatened to lynch him. Mr. Swaim sent his family north, ahead of him, saying he would join them after straightening this out & he was never seen again. His wife & children made it to Indiana, but a baby died on the way during a blizzard.

I have included this sketchy family information because several details about the family’s migration to Indiana seem reasonable based on other materials I have seen. This aunt’s story implies that the baby that died on the way during a blizzard was a child of John H. and Elizabeth Swaim. This would mean Elizabeth was pregnant before starting the journey. The last known child of John H. and Elizabeth Swaim was Cynthia Elizabeth Swaim who was born in 1836. This family story could be explained by any number of theories including

  • There was another child we have no record of that was born before the trip and died on the way to Indiana.

  • Elizabeth delivered a baby en route who then died.

  • This represented a baby from another family traveling together with Elizabeth Swaim and her family.

This is an interesting story but I have little information on which to corroborate this story as being pertinent to Elizabeth Swaim and her family. If this story is true this information would seem to indicate that anti-slavery beliefs were at least one reason for Elizabeth’s migration to Indiana. This is not inconsistent with other migrations occurring at the time. There was considerable exodus from North Carolina because of the slavery issue. William Swaim, editor of the Greensboro Patriot, wrote a piece Address to the People of North Carolina on the Evils of Slavery, by the friends of liberty and equality.223

In September, 1866, John H. Swaim was living in Fairfield County, Ohio, and sent a letter to Nancy Ricketts, his daughter, and included the following P.S.:

“From your father-in-law J. H. Swaim to Isaac M. Rickets. My last request: If you have photograph send it to me as I don’t know when I can come but if you send it write soon. Bear this in mind daughter Nancy. This is my urgent request. John H. Swaim”.224

In 1870, Elizabeth Swaim, John H. Swaim’s wife, was living with Nancy and Isaac Ricketts in Harrison Township, Indiana (Blackford County)225.

The After Years~Warren Independent article from January 26, 1895 had the following text:

“The Faithful and deserted wife lived here with her daughter, Mrs. Crum, where she died Sept 17th, 1874, and now lies buried in the Good Cemetery near this city. “226

So this reference seems to confirm that John H. Swaim left the family for unknown reasons and no longer lived with them. John H. Swaim’s occupation was listed as farmer and freight hauler in his listing at the Clampett Family Centre web site. This is consistent with statements in his obituary that state that he became heavy in debt and left the home to pay off the debts and when he returned his family had left and strange people were living in his house.227

On page 135 of the Supplement there is a colorful depiction of a John Swaim (b Apr 16 1799) who became a wanderer and beggar and finally died in 1895. In the Swaim-Tysen Family Supplement, this John Swaim supposedly was a son of Joshua (b ~1770) who was a son of Matthias (b ~1736/1739) who was a son of Matthias (b ~1712) who was a son of William (b ~1677) and who was a son of Thys Barentsen (my apologies for the sloppy grammar).

This John was not listed as a John H. Swaim but simply a John Swaim. The original source for the account is Ethel Swaim Gardner who related the following information in a letter:

“John Swaim, this John is ½ bro of Daniel Swaim. John b Apr 16, 1799, he became a hermit, wanderer, beggar, miser, lived to be abt 96 yrs d of a stroke, had a family and lived in N.C. farmer and teamster hauling freight from seaboard towns to merchants of Salem, etc. He would be gone for sometime, for weeks, when he didn’t come home, the last time his wife took their 9 ch, a yoke of oxen, a cow, and a wagon to Ind. 1847. On the way the ox died, she put the cow in the yoke and continued. John wandered to Ohio where he accumulated some property and after years made his way to N.C. to look up his family. All he could find out was they went “north”. He wandered over Ohio and Ind became a wanderer and a beggar. He would sell whatever he could beg, he bought goods from stores that had fires and sold it, went to sheriffs’ sales, bought and sold property and became wealthy. He would beg jars, put money in them and bury them. In his last sickness he went to his farm where a Mr. Flaigan lived. From there he wrote to his children in Indiana, his children had been searching for him. They came to Ohio to see him (near Columbus). They took him to Warren, Ind and they brought him back. He is buried near Columbus, OH. The brothers and sisters of John tried to claim his estate, so did the children. The descendants claim that by the time the lawyers got through there was nothing left. He died in 1895 and the estate was not settled until 1902.

(“Robert Swaim b 21 June 1819 – probably a grandchild of John and Charlotte Stack 16 Apr 1840 – Franklin, d age 22, Nancy Md – Rickets; Mahala md Clampitt; Sarah md Jones; Charity md Payne; Cynthia md Crum; Simeon md Sarah Rice; Zebedee md Julia Hoffman.”)

Although the birth date for this John Swaim is listed as 1799 rather than 1797 and the date of death is off by one year (1895 rather than 1896), there are numerous details in this account which appear to describe John H. Swaim (b 1797). Before we analyze those details let us first note that the birth date of 1799 is the birth year of another John H. Swaim that we listed at the beginning of this chapter and the person writing this story could have gotten the birth dates of these two John H. Swaims’ mixed up. That’s one possibility.

The story mentions nine children which identically match up with my g-g-g-grandfather John H. Swaim’s children in the Swaim Family Record source. Note also, that the name “Mr. Flaigan”, caretaker, in this account is extremely close to the “Ms. Flanigan” described in John H. Swaim’s obituary. Warren, Indiana is mentioned which is where his wife Elizabeth was ultimately buried. The migration in 1847 occurred right before the 1850 census which records Elizabeth and the family living in Indiana without John. There are simply too many details that match for this not to be a description of my g-g-g-grandfather John H. Swaim. This also somewhat explains why Elizabeth migrated to Indiana without him.

This account states that the “brothers and sister (of John) tried to claim the estate and so did the children”. The paragraph listing the children (that identically match the names of my John H. Swaim’s children) is shown in a separate paragraph immediately below the account. So, this information seems to imply that the children listed were this John Swaim’s children. The phrase “probably a grandchild of John” after Robert Swaim can not be speaking of John H. Swaim because Robert and John H. Swaim’s births were too close together (1799 and 1819). But this phrase implies Robert’s grandfather’s name was John. But which John and what surname did he have?

We do not know the context of the information in the letter and whether there is another John that Jesse Hunter and Ethel Swaim frequently referred to when they corresponded. The word “probably” indicates the writer isn’t sure about the relationship of these children in the family. So the relationship between John Swaim (born 1799) and these children is not clear to the writer. The children may have been from a different part of the family as far as the writer is concerned. So it’s literally impossible to decipher this. But one thing is clear, this reference is yet another source to confirm that there was a relationship between a John H. Swaim and the children listed which all matches the Swaim Family Record.

The listing of John H. Swaim’s children in the Swaim-Tysen Family book (only time they show up in this book) is interesting. However, John is a common name in the Swaim family. So, I somewhat must discount her comment about their connection to the larger Swaim family and John’s birth being in 1799 since she does not seem sure about the relationships. Based on the style in which the children’s names and dates are listed, it would appear that Ethel Swaim may have been including this information based on family sources such as a family Bible, but I am not sure. I wish I had the entire letter.

The following is from the Warren Independent January 26, 1895:


More than Fifty Years Elapse before John H. Swaim is reunited with his children


At the age of Ninety-eight years the old man makes the journey from Ohio to Warren in order to see his children

The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction is exemplified every day and thrilling romances are brought to light from time to time that pale into utter insignificance the fabrics upon which are based the modern novels. The history of John H. Swaim, as related to an independent reporter and corroborated by his children, is a strange tale of the life of a man who has reached the age of 98 years, over fifty of which have been spent in roaming about the country in a fruitless search for those most near and dear to him. What prayers, what heart-burnings and days of misery and nights of woe must have left their imprint on his heart that once beat with kindly sympathy and love for the girl whom he married and the wife and companion with whom he lived for a number of years! What floods of earnest solicitude must have swept his bosom, as the simoon sweeps the desert, when his parental instincts turned to the children of his loins and whom he sought and found not! What faith in an over-ruling providence and a just God must have been his as he tramped the country from one county to another, from one state to another in search of the one thing that could give the weary soul rest and allay the heart-burnings of pity, remorse and endless woe caused by the separation, is beyond the ordinarily constituted man.

John H. Swaim was born February 28, 1797, and Elizabeth Hines was born July 10, 1795. these two joined their fortunes of life by being married on July 11th, 1816, and settling on a farm in Stokes County, North Carolina, where they lived happily until they became the parents of nine children as follows: Mahala, Robert, Charity, Simeon, Sarah Elizabeth, Nancy, Zebedee W., Benjamin and Cynthia. The business of John H. Swaim was that of farming, mostly done by members of his family, while he devoted a large share of his time to the business of hauling freight from the seaboard to the interior towns, which business often necessitated his being away from home for weeks and months at a time.

Mr. Swaim was an honored man among the inhabitants of his section, holding the then honorable position of a squire, being entrusted with the business of his neighbors in financial matters etc. It seems that like many other men of kindly heart he became financially involved by going security for friends and in a desire to go and earn the money to liquidate those obligations, he left home.

The family awaited his return for weeks which grew into months and finally into years, and their property finally going to satisfy the claims against him, the family left their old home and moved to this county, settling at Warren. Mahala was married to Geo. Clampitt and remained in N.C., several years longer but finally also moved here. Robert, the only living son, married and moved to Carroll county and then to Jasper, where he now resides. Nancy married a man by the name of Jones and lives in Wells County, and Cynthia lives in Warren, the widow of Mr. Crum. The balance of the children are dead. The relatives now number over fifty in grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

The faithful and deserted wife lived here with her daughter, Mrs. Crum, where she died Sept 17th, 1874, and now lies buried in the Good Cemetery near this city.

Along during the sixties Mrs. Ricketts was visiting friends in Ohio and incidentally learned that a man by the name of Swaim had acquired a farm near there and because strangely impressed that the man was her father. No positive proofs, however could be obtained at that time, but soon after Mr. Swaim in some way learned of her visit and wrote her the following letter:

“September 10, 1866

Dear Daughter Nancy: I take this opportunity to let you know that I am in reasonable health and I hope that these lines may find you all well. I aint heard from you for a long while. My health aint been very good for a long time. I wanted to come out there this long time but was not able to travel and I could not write very handy till this present time. I don’t want you to think hard of it that I didn’t convey word sooner. I want to hear from you all as soon as you can write. I don’t know when I can come out there but I will come as soon as I can travel and am able to come. Answer this as soon as you can. Direct your letter to Fairfield County, Ohio, Lockville PO. Write soon. From your affectionate parent

P.S. From your father-in-law J.H. Swaim to Isaac M. Ricketts. My last request: If you have photograph send it to me as I don’t know when I can come but if you send it write soon. Bear this in mind daughter Nancy. This is my urgent request. John H. Swaim”

Mrs. Ricketts answered the letter and also sent her photograph but never received an acknowledgment of the same. Mr. Swaim claims he never got the letter and pictures.

About three years ago the children formed an organization and began to make a thorough and systematic effort toward gathering evidence to prove the old man’s identity and establish the fact that he was really their father. They have made several trips to Ohio collecting evidence and have finally been convinced that they can establish beyond a doubt the fact that he is their father. He has been a noted character throughout certain portions of Ohio, and has been known as “Old John Swaim the Mister”. He has been of an eccentric turn of mind, no doubt much of it assumed for purposes of disguising his real object in roaming around the country, thus the better enabling him to find the objects of his search.

The subject of this narrative becoming enfeebled from old age and no longer being competent to take care of his property, the Judge of the Probate Court of Columbus, appointed John J. Chester as the old Man’s Guardian, who placed him with parties who have since provided for and taken care of him. The old man, however, became restless under the restraints placed upon him, and the ruling passion of finding his own began to again grow upon him, and last year he concluded to make a last effort to find his children and see them before death claimed him. He accordingly wrote to Hugh Alexander, whose address he learned, and whom he concluded was a grandson of his. Following is the letter as written to him by Mr. Alexander:

West Jefferson, Jan 2, 1895

Mr. Alexander: Dear Sir: Hearing that you are married to my grand-daughter, I thought I would write you and find out where my son Robert and Zebedee are. If you know write me immediately. I want to see them on business. I am at Mrs. Flanagan’s who lives on my farm, so you or them will know where to find me as you have been here before. Now if you will please write and oblige I would be very thankful.

Your Grandfather,

John Swaim

West Jefferson, Madison Co, Ohio

Mr. Alexander and Mr. Peter Minnich left for Ohio in a day or two and arrived at the farm of Mrs. Flanagan, and there met the old man. They made themselves known and the old man on seeing them exclaimed: “Thank God you have came at last”. He said he wanted to go to his children in this State, and before retiring for the night he prayed earnestly that his life might be spared long enough for him to make the trip here and see his children. Dr. Minnich returned to this State, went after his son, Robert Swaim of Jasper County, and went back to Ohio with him, Mr. Alexander having remained there.

Last week, Tuesday, Dr. Minnich, Robert Swaim and a son-in-law, Daniel Schnepps arrived at West Jefferson, in Franklin County, and went to the home of the old man. It was after night when they arrived but as soon as the old man saw Robert he pushed toward the light, looking him in the face he exclaimed: “This is my son Robert”. The latter recognized the old man as his father and the scene between father and son was very effecting indeed.

Mr. Alexander and Dr. Minnich spent several days at Columbus making arrangements with the Judge and Guardian to bring the old man home with them to see his children. The finally succeeded and on Sunday morning they arrived in this place taking the old man to the home of his daughter Mrs. Cynthia Crum where he now is.

A reunion of the living children and the old man their father took place at the home of Mrs. Crum last Monday over the scenes of which we draw a kindly veil.

Among others who knew him in N. C. are his nephews, Riley and Zebulon Stanton and Capt. D. L. Elliott and others who have since called and all whom recognized him and declare that it is the same John H. Swaim whom they knew in the south land.

Thus after more than fifty years of separation and wanderings are reunited father and children with prospects of him spending the remainder of his journey of life allotted to him among those who love him best.” 228

According to his obituary, John H. Swaim died in 1896 at the age of 99 having outlived his son Zebedee by eight years. John H. Swaim died in Jefferson, Ohio (Madison County). His wife, Elizabeth, died 22 years earlier in 1874 and was buried at Good Cemetery (Huntington County), near Warren, Indiana35. John was buried in the same cemetery (Good Cemetery).

Elizabeth’s gravestone reads

“Elizabeth E. wife of John H. Swaim, Died Sept 17, 1874, Aged 73 yrs, 3 M, 7 D”.

At the end of his life he was taken care of by a Mrs. Flanagan near West Jefferson (Madison County), Ohio (see Obituary in Appendix). Elizabeth Swindell was born in Hyde County, North Carolina. Elizabeth’s father was Robert Swindell (b ~1765), born in North Carolina and her mother was named Sara.229

John H. Swaim’s obituary reads as follows:

“John H. Swaim, son of Christopher C. and Sarah Swaim, was born in Randolph County, North Carolina, February 28th, 1797; deceased February 3rd, 1896, age 98 years, 11 months and 5 days. He was married to Elizabeth Swindell, July 16th, 1816. To this union was born nine children, as follows: Mahala, Robert, Charity, Simeon, Sarah, Nancy, Zebedee, Franklin, and Cynthia. Four of

these are still living, as follows; Robert, Sarah, Nancy and Cynthia, together with a number of grandchildren. His wife preceded him some twenty-two years. Her remains lie at rest in the Good cemetery, near Warren, together with those of Mahala, Charity, Simeon and Franklin.

When at Warren, last spring, he visited the cemetery and the grave of the companion of his youth, and wept bitter tears of repentance. It was the desire of his heart that when he died he should be laid by the side of her. His last birthday was spent at Warren with his four living children; which was as he expressed it, "glory hallelujah". His desire was to remain at Warren with his children the balance of his life but he was here by permission of the court which gave him a months’ furlough, at the expiration of which he had to be returned by those who had him in charge. This account may seem strange to many, indeed his life was a romantic one.

Many years ago, in his far off southern home surrounded by a happy family he become involved by going security for different parties who proved false to him, and being a man of business qualifications, he sought other climes to raise the money in to liquidate the claims that had came against him. He succeeded but when he went back to his old home he found strangers in possession and his family gone. He then became a wanderer up and down the earth. His last sickness was inflammatory rheumatism. He was tenderly taken care of by Mrs. Flanagan and family, at his home, near West Jefferson, Ohio36. This family has the kindliest thanks of his children and friends for the care taken of him in his last illness. Funeral services were held at the house, conducted by Rev. A. F. Hixson, of the M. E. church. He took for his text, the 39th, Psalm: "My days are as a handbreadth and mine age is as nothing before thee. He heapeth up riches and knoweth not who shall gather them". The remains were taken to West Jefferson and place in a vault, by order of the guardian. The writer of this sketch was moved with emotion as he brushed the gray locks back from the forehead that covered a massive brain, and dropped a silent tear as he remembered the many friends scattered over the land.”230
This account also states that John H. Swaim came back home after being away for an extended period of time to find that his family was no longer there. This would appear to describe his wife’s migration to Indiana. This account also states that John H. Swaim was buried in a vault in West Jefferson, Ohio (Madison County).

John H. Swaim (b 28 Feb 1797231, d 3 Feb 1896232) and Elizabeth (Polly) E.233 Swindell (b 10 Jun 1795234, d 17 Sep 1874235) were married on July 5, 1816236.

John H. Swaim and Elizabeth Swaim had the following children:

  1. Mahala Swaim (b 16 Jun 1817237, d 30 Jul 1864238) was married January, 1839239 to George Clampitt240 (b 24 Feb 1816241, d 27 Mar 1878242). Mahala Swaim was born in Stokes County, North Carolina243. George Clampitt was born in Stokes County, North Carolina near Kernersville and Winston-Salem244. George was the son of Ezekiel and Ruth Warren Clampitt245 and the grandson of Richard Clampet born in Keat County, Delaware who married Dinah Pratt246. Mahala and George Clampitt moved from North Carolina to Huntington County, Indiana around 1853247.
    “Mahala is buried at Good Cemetery, Warren Indiana (Huntington County), where Christopher Columbus Swaim and Simeon Swaim are buried”248.
    George Clampitt remarried two times after Mahala’s death but no surviving children were born from the other marriages. George, his mother Ruth Johnston Clampitt and his 2nd wife are also buried in Good Cemetery.

    Mahala and George Clampitt had the following children:

    1. Sarah E. Clampitt (b ~1840249, d 20 Aug 1904). Born in North Carolina.

    2. John H. Clampitt (b ~1841250, d 2 Feb 1862). Born in North Carolina.

    3. Charity E. Clampitt (b 7 Nov 1842, d 10 May 1926). Born in North Carolina.

    4. Martha J. Clampitt (b 6 Jan 1847, d 7 May 1900). Born in North Carolina.

    5. William F. Clampitt (b 13 Apr 1849, d 29 Sep 1883). Born in North Carolina.

    6. Thomas B. Clampitt (b 24 May 1851, d 27 Nov 1924251). Born in North Carolina. Married Emily Poling.

    7. George A. Clampitt (b 24 Oct 1853, d 16 Nov 1930252). Born in Indiana. Married a Mary J. (unknown) (b ~ 1855253). George and Mary Clampitt had at least the following children:

      1. Charity Clampitt (b ~ 1874254)

      2. Zach L. Clampitt (b ~ 1878255)

    8. David A. Clampitt (b 2 Apr 1856, d 4 Apr 1931256). Born in Indiana. Married Belle Irwin (b ~ 1873, d ~ 23 Apr 1929257). In 1880 David and Belle Clampitt were living in Salamonie, Indiana.

    9. Charles W. Clampitt (b 12 Nov 1859, d 4 Jul 1928258).259 Born in Indiana. In 1880 Charles was living with brother, David Clampitt (and Belle) in Salamonie, Indiana.

  1. Robert Swaim (b 21 Jun 1819260, d 15 Oct 1900261) was married April 16, 1840262 to Charlotte “Charlotta”37 Stack (b ~1818263). Robert Swaim migrated to Indiana around 1947 and prior to the birth of Leven in 1848. Robert Swaim died in Jasper City, Indiana (Dubois County) in 1900 at age 81. Jasper City has been annexed into Madison Township.
    Robert and Charlotte Stack had at least the following children:

  1. John Lindsey Swaim (b ~1840264). Born in North Carolina.

  2. Nancy Lavina Swaim (b ~1842265). Born in North Carolina.

  3. Elizabeth Ann Swaim (b ~1843266). Born in North Carolina.

  4. William F. Swaim (b ~1845267). Born in North Carolina.

  5. Leban38 T. Swaim (b ~1848268). Born in Indiana.

  6. Christopher Swaim (b ~1850269). Born in Indiana.

  7. Zebedee L. Swaim (b 21 Jan 1856, d 9 Apr 1919270). Born in Indiana. Zebedee L. Swaim was married May 8, 1884271 to Ida A. Clark (b 25 Apr 1866, d 23 Oct 1916). Zebedee L. and Ida A. Swaim are buried in the Prater Cemetery (AKA Mt. Tabor Cemetery) located in Jasper County, Indiana. There is a Cecil Swaim (b 15 Sep 1899, d 5 Sep 1909) buried in the same cemetery but I am not sure of the relationship.

  8. Charlotte L. Swaim (b ~1859272). Born in Indiana. Charlotte was married 30 Jan 1881 to Frank Warne273 (b ~ 1861274). Frank Warne was the son of Abram Warne and Elizabeth Warne, born in Ohio.

  1. Charity Swaim (b Apr 15 1821275, d 10 Apr 1861276) was married August 22, 1841277 to William Payne (b ~1818278, d 19 Jan 1864279). William was born in North Carolina and was a farmer. As of 1850, William and Charity were living in Huntington County, Indiana. Charity Swaim Payne was buried at Good Cemetery, Warren, Indiana280.
    William and Charity had at least the following children:

  1. John Wilson Payne (b ~1840). Born in North Carolina.

  2. Isaac Baxter Payne (b ~1842). Born in North Carolina.

  3. Catharine Payne (b ~1844). Born in North Carolina.

  4. Mahala Payne (b ~1848281). Born in Indiana.

  5. Sarah Caroline39 Payne (b 2 Nov 1850, d 4 Mar 1939). Born in Indiana. Sarah married John J. Huffman (b 1847, d 1905), son of Henry Huffman and Catherine Baker. Sarah died in Huntington County, Indiana. 282

  6. David F. Payne (b ~1854283, d 21 Apr 1901284). Born in Indiana. David married Ruth E. (unknown)285. Children:

  1. Nellie Payne (b ~ 1877286).

  2. Cyrus A. Payne (b ~ 1879287).

  1. Simeon Swaim (b 30 Jul 1823288, d 28 Aug 1854289) was married in Wells County, Indiana on January 2, 1851290 to Sarah Rice291 (b 2 Jan 1828292, d 6 Jan 1873293). Sarah’s father was Nathan Rice, Jr and her mother was Lucretia Lans294. Simeon Swaim died in 1854 and is buried in Good Cemetery, Warren, Indiana (Huntington County). The gravestone has deteriorated and is barely readable and reads “Simeon Swaim, died Aug 28, 1854, Age 31y 28d.”295 After Simeon’s death, Sarah remarried to John Penrod (b 1824, d 25 Dec 1877296).

  2. Sarah E. Swaim (b 18 Oct 1825297, d 11 Jan 1915298) was married November 20, 1851299 to Samuel Jones300 (b ~1822301). Sarah Swaim Jones died in 1915 at the age of 89 and is buried in Batson Cemetery, Wells County, Indiana. H. Brown and Sons Funeral Records, Page 275, lists her as follows:
    “Jones, Sarah E., Widow, B. NC D 11 Jan 1915 bur. Batson Cem. Wells Co. IN Fa. John H. Swaim b NC Mo Elizabeth ? b. NC”
    Sarah and Samuel Jones had at least the following children (all born in Indiana):

  1. William Jones (b ~1855)

  2. Emma J. Jones (b ~1860)

  3. Perry D. Jones (b 1861, d 1892302). Died at age 31. Buried in Batson Cemetery, Wells County, Indiana.

  4. Rosetta M. Jones (b ~1864)

  5. Eleanor Jones (b ~1868).303

  1. Nancy W. Swaim (b 27 Aug40 1827304, d 13 Aug 1916305) was married March 10, 1850306 to Isaac M. Ricketts (b Dec, 1827307, d 5 Apr 1894308). Isaac was a farmer born in Ohio. His father was born in Ohio and his mother was born in Pennsylvania. By 1880 they lived in Blackford County, Indiana.

    Nancy and Isaac Ricketts had the following children (all born in Indiana):

  1. Hannah (or Anna) E. Ricketts (b ~ 1850309)

  2. John R. Ricketts (b ~ 1852310)

  3. Sarah F. Ricketts (b ~ 1854311)

  4. Charity A. Ricketts (b ~ 1857312)

  5. Cyrus F. Ricketts (b ~1860313)

  6. Nancy Berthena Ricketts (b 7 Sep 1862314). 1st marriage to Thomas Hartley. 2nd marriage to Charles Columbus Swaim.
    [discussed further in next chapter under Christopher C. Swaim / Moses W. Swaim]

  7. Cynthia R. Ricketts (b ~1866315)

Figure 7 Photo of Nancy Swaim Ricketts

  1. Zebedee W. Swaim (b 7 Oct 1829, d 25 Sep 1888) was married November 12, 1857 to Julia Ann Huffman (or Julia Ann Frost) (b 21 Apr 1836, d 2 Sep 1924). Zebedee W. and Julia Ann Swaim had the following children
    [previously described in the previous chapter]:

  1. Henry Lindsey Swaim (b 25 Oct 1858, d 17 Mar 1941)

  2. Emma Catherine Swaim (b 25 Feb 1861316, d 11 Jul 1941)

  1. Benjamin Franklin Swaim (b 7 Aug 1831317, d 2 Sep 1853318). Born in North Carolina. Benjamin died at age 22. Benjamin was buried at Good Cemetery, Warren, Indiana based on John H. Swaim’s obituary.

  2. Cynthia Elizabeth Swaim (b 18 Dec 1834319, d 10 Jun 1916320) was married to Jacob W. Crum (b 2 Mar 1827321, d 16 Mar 1863322). Jacob died in the Civil War and his gravestone marker in the Mitchel Cemetery (near Warren, Indiana, where his wife Cynthia is buried) had the following inscription:

“2nd Lieut. Jacob W. Crum Co E 75th Ind Vol Inf. Buried in Stone River National Cemetery, Tenn”.

Cynthia and Jacob Crum had at least the following children (all born in Indiana):

  1. William F. Crum (b ~1857)

  2. George O. Crum (b 1858, d 1916) married Elizabeth (b 1858, d 1919)323.

  3. Emma A. Crum (b ~1859).

  4. Viola M. Crum (b ~1861).324

--- [Moses Wright Swaim (b 5 Jul 1822). He married Lovina41 Stack and had nine children. 325 Moses was listed as a “foster son” of John H. and Elizabeth Swaim in the Swaim Family Record. He was actually a half-brother of John H. Swaim and the natural child of Christopher Swaim (see next chapter on Christopher Columbus Swaim).

The following is an excerpt from Lovina Stack’s diary provided courtesy of Linda Livingstone

“/Feb 13 – Grandpa Swaim -- Moses Swaim and Lovina Stack/ were married in 1848. She was 17 and he was 26. (Married in North Carolina, in around Greensborough – in Guildford County.) It is possible that their eldest child John was born in N.C. They emigrated to Indiana sometime after their marriage and then went on to Iowa, where they preempted land, but abandoned it, and returned to Indiana. Sometime after marriage, and before leaving the South, Moses raised a company to fight in the Mexican War, and was appointed Captain of the company, but the war ended and they disbanded before mustering out. He had drilled his men. (Old Wright was Grandmother Lovina’s grandfather) They bought about 40 acres in Indiana. This information was received from Dad. (C. C. Swaim) today. He said that his mother used to tell about Old Wright (the owner of the ancient spectacles). He was a miller during the revolutionary war when he grew old, he made baskets. He had a hook which he used in some way in connection with it. One day when all the folks were gone from home (except the children) this hook disappeared and he was accusing the children of having taken it – had them lined up in front of him when grandmother & grandfather came home. Grandmother was his granddaughter. He (Wright) was my great grand father.”

“/Mar. 21 – /Dad (Charles Columbus Swaim) says /Old John Swaim/[1] <#_ftn1> made his money as a “sutler”[2] <#_ftn2> during the Civil War, selling things to the soldiers. Also, had bonds, bog land, which, when drained, became valuable etc. He was a judge in N.C. He fell in love with another woman, and ran off with her.[3] (She is talking about John H. Swaim) <#_ftn3>


[1] <#_ftnref1> This would be son of Christopher.

[2] <#_ftnref2> A supplier to soldiers.

[3] <#_ftnref3> This does not agree with newspaper articles, but later legal issues give credence to her story.”

“/Postal Stamp in left margin – July 14, 1935 Lysite, Wyoming – /John Swaim[1] <#_ftn1> (checked on page 59) was the father of Robert Swaim. Robert Swaim was Mother’s Uncle – and Father’s half-cousin. He was also Father’s uncle my marriage. He married Charlotte Stack – Lovina Stack Swaim’s sister.


[1] <#_ftnref1> This would be John Swaim born 1797. Robert was born 1819 in NC.”326

I have not been able to positively locate John H. Swaim in censuses after 1840. I do know Elizabeth and the children moved to Indiana around 1847. The Swaim Family Record does include a note that all of the children of John H. Swaim and Elizabeth Swaim were born in North Carolina which is confirmed by censuses.

In a letter from Chuck Clampitt to Jack S. Swaim dated January 29, 1982, Chuck said

“According to family stories, George and Mahala moved to Indiana because of their anti-slavery sentiments, but I have no proof of that. They (George and Mahala) moved to Indiana about 1853 and located in Huntington County…. On December 27, 1857 George purchased a 160 acre farm 2 miles east of Warren, Indiana for $645.”

So, based on all the evidence I have, my Swaim ancestry as described and documented in the book to this point is as follows:

John Swaim, Jr. (b 1748)


Christopher Columbus Swaim (b 1774)


John H. Swaim (b 1797)


Zebedee W. Swaim (b 1829)


Henry Lindsey Swaim (b 1858)


John Emory Swaim (b 1885)


Robert Jack Swaim (my father)

A summary of primary evidence for John H. Swaim being the father of Zebedee Swaim is as follows:

  • Swaim Family Record listing John H. Swaim as the father of Zebedee W. Swaim.

  • Obituary for John H. Swaim listing Zebedee as a son and listing the other children shown in the Swaim Family Record.

  • Warren Independent article dated January 26, 1895: “AFTER YEARS More than Fifty Years Elapse before John H. Swaim is reunited with his children”.

  • Censuses which confirm Elizabeth as the mother of Z. W. Swaim and the other children listed in the Swaim Family Record.

  • Marriage records for John H. Swaim and Elizabeth Swindell.

  • 1866 letter from John H. Swaim to Nancy Swaim Ricketts and other letters from John H. Swaim to his children.

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