Great-grandpa Albert Swing was born 11 April 1889 in Cissna Park, Illinois, the fourth of thirteen children born to Albert Carl and Catherine Marie (Hoffmann) Swing. He was musical, buying a violin with the first money he earned working in the fields; in later years he called square dances. On 18 June 1913, in Peoria, Illinois, he married Lena Agnes Hunkler. As noted in his obituary, Albert and Lena had three children. The family spent a number of years in Francesville, Indiana, moving between there and various locations in Illinois. In 1951 the couple moved to Harlingen, Texas, for Lena’s health. She died there in 1964. All his life Albert longed for the flat farmland of his youth; he would say that he wished he could have been buried in the cemetery in Francesville among the Indiana wheat fields. However, Albert’s final resting place is with Lena at Restlawn Cemetery in La Feria, Texas.
Leroy Gilbert Sinn, my second cousin once removed, was born in Indiana in 1925. He was the son of Albert C. and Eugenie C. (Swing) Sinn. Eugenie was the daughter of Joseph G. Swing and Lydia Hoffmann and the granddaughter of Jacob and Christina (Schmidt) Hoffmann.
Leroy attended Valparaiso University and became a patent attorney. In March 1957 Leroy married Ivalou Kellam, and they had four children: Brian Thomas, Mark Allen, Eric Bradley, and Julie Ann. Leroy and Ivalou lived in Massachusetts and later moved to Oldwick, New Jersey.
In January 1996 Leroy had a leg infection which required his admission to Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, New Jersey. It was there on January 21 that Leroy unexpectedly died. He was buried in Kouts, Indiana.
Nearly eight years later, on December 12, 2003, after a series of suspicious activities and deaths, hospital nurse Charles Cullen was arrested. He was 43 years old and charged with one count of murder and one count of attempted murder. During his interrogation, Charles Cullen stated he had killed more than 40 individuals during the past 16 years. He pleaded guilty in November 2004 and, to avoid the death penalty, offered to provide authorities with further details regarding his crimes. One of the crimes he admitted seven months later was the killing of Leroy Sinn as well as four other individuals at Hunterdon Medical Center. According to his confession, he injected Leroy with the heart medication digoxin, “And it was my intent to cause his death.” It is suspected that Charles Cullen may have killed many more individuals than he has yet named. Some believe it possible he may have as many as 400 victims and be the country’s most prolific serial killer.
Duane Farney, my first cousin twice removed, was born July 27, 1933. He was the son of Orville Farney and Lucy Hoffmann. Lucy was the youngest child of Jacob Hoffmann, born when he was 57 years old.
The Farney family appears in Fountain Creek, Illinois, in the 1940 census. Less then ten years later, on January 26, 1950, sixteen-year-old Duane was driving his father’s 1949 sedan, with six other boys as his passengers: Paul Hickman and Don Pennick, both also sixteen; Duane’s brother James, fourteen; and three fifteen-year-olds: Tom Bell, John Hertel, and Ulyn Reece. At an unguarded railroad crossing north of Rossville, Illinois, Duane apparently drove his car into the side of a moving train. The three sixteen-year-olds were killed; the four younger boys were taken to Lakeview Hospital but survived.
Tragedy struck our community January 26, when Duane Farney, 16, son of Mr. and Mrs. Orville Farney, was killed in a train-auto crash. Funeral services were held Monday, January 30. Joshua Broquard of Forrest, Illinois, held the services. Arthur Gudeman of La Crosse, Indiana, prayed at the cemetery. James, a brother of Duane, was also in the accident and is seriously injured.
In 1850, my 3G-grandparents, George and Sarah Walker, were living in Batavia, Ohio and were enumerated there with six children:
383 383 George Walker 68 M[ale] Farmer Maryland
Sarah ” 57 F[emale] Kentucky x [can’t read/write]
Hiram ” 21 M Farmer Ohio
Marcus ” 20 M Farmer “
Ruth ” 18 F “
Mary ” 16 F “
Ezra B. ” 13 M Indiana
Ellen ” 10 F Ohio
George was born about 1781-1782; his parents are as yet unknown. Sarah was born Sarah Malott about 1792-1793. The couple was married July 23, 1815 in Clermont County. George and Sarah’s son Marcus, my great-great-grandfather, would marry Mary Ann Conklin seven years later.
Today’s “Wednesday’s Children” were the offspring of my great-great-granduncle, Joseph Gilbert Swing and his third wife, my great-grandaunt, Lydia (Hoffmann) Swing. Born August 10, 1861 in Akron, Ohio, he was the youngest child of Karl and Saloma (Bollinger) Schwing. His older brother Albert Carl was my great-great-grandfather. About 1877 he moved with his parents to Livingston County, Illinois. As we have seen, he married Annie Schippee about 1885-1886 and had two children, Walter and Anna. Annie died June 19, 1888, and Joseph married Eugenie Hoffmann (sister of my great-great-grandmother Catherine) on February 23, 1890. Joseph and Eugenie had four children: Joseph John, Mary S., William J. and Jacob G. Eugenie died June 12, 1900 at age 35. Joseph then married Eugenie’s half-sister, Lydia (sister of my great-grandfather Paul) on September 1, 1901.
Joseph and Lydia had a total of eleven children: Eugenie C., Elizabeth S., Harvey A., Christine A., Phillip L., Gilbert L., Caroline L., Edna May, Marjory, Jessie Edward, and Ruth Evelyn. Around 1913-14 the family moved from Fairbury, Illinois, to Stillwell, Indiana. It is at Oak Grove Cemetery in La Crosse, Indiana, that three of the eleven children lie buried.
Joseph and Lydia lost two of their children within little more than two months; Edna May died first, on May 17, 1916, one day after her second birthday, and Phillip on July 24, 1916 at age 8. Five years later, on March 13, 1921, the youngest child, Ruth Evelyn, also died. Joseph himself died July 29, 1949 at age 87; Lydia lived another eight years, dying September 21, 1957.
When the 1940 census was made available to the public last year, naturally I began scouring its records to find relatives and bridge the gap since 1930’s enumerations. My parents are too young to appear in this census, so my first line of attack was looking for both sets of grandparents.
Finding my paternal grandparents’ record was fairly straightforward because I already knew where they were. They were enumerated in Scottsbluff, Nebraska on April 18, living at 1710 Avenue F. They were paying $8 a month in rent, and the household consisted of Lawrence C., age 38, a common laborer doing farm work and earning $650 the previous year for 45 weeks’ work. The census taker indicated he had attended school until the 10th grade. “Blanch A.,” age 31, had gone through the 8th grade. Both had been born in Nebraska. The following children were also enumerated: Florence M., age 12; Irene D., age 10; Myrtle C., age 7; Morris W., age 6; Marvin L., age 4; William C., age 2; and “DeAnna E.,” age 10 months. Deanna was listed as born in Nebraska; the other children’s birthplace was listed as South Dakota. Real estate records indicate the house at 1710 Avenue F is 868 square feet in size, has two bedrooms, and was built in 1915. On our cross-country trek last summer, Mom and I visited Scottsbluff and looked up the little house.
My maternal grandparents provided a bit more of a mystery. Married in 1938, they had not yet had my mom, their eldest child. I knew Grandma had worked for the Rock Island Arsenal from May 1938-September 1940 and had assumed she and Grandpa were actually living in Rock Island, Illinois. In the early days after the census release before the records were fully indexed, I scoured the Rock Island records to no avail. I even searched records for Boise, Idaho, since I knew Grandpa and Grandma moved there in 1940. Luckily it didn’t take long for indexing to be complete and for me to be able to search for Grandpa and Grandma by name – and there they were, not in Rock Island itself, but in Moline, about four miles east along the Mississippi River.
Apparently one of four couples living in an apartment complex at 1212 7th Avenue, they were paying $30 a month in rent. Joseph Hoffmann, age 32, having completed the 8th grade, is listed as an electric welder at a sheet metal factory. He had earned $820 the previous year but had only worked 24 weeks. Grandma, on the other hand, had worked 52 weeks and earned $1287 as a clerk/typist at the Rock Island Arsenal. She was 23 years old and had completed four years of high school. Grandpa was listed as born in Illinois, Grandma in Indiana.
You know, I don’t think I’ve ever been to Moline…yet.
A few years back on one of our many genealogical field trips, Mom and I realized that she (and I) have seen all eight of her great-grandparents’ tombstones. This is one definite advantage to having most of your relatives stay put in the same general vicinity after emigrating to America; all eight of these ancestors are laid to rest within a 150-mile radius, from Francesville, Indiana, to Washington, Illinois. Here they are in ahnentafel order:
This means, of course, that I have visited the graves of 8 of my own great-great-grandparents. My 8 paternal great-great-grandparents (and even my own 8 great-grandparents) are a little more widespread, but I’m making headway there as well. Now if only I could figure out where Lucinda Blanche (Davis) Wilson is buried…I might just have to plan another field trip.
Albert Carl Swing was born April 11, 1889 in Cissna Park, Illinois, to Albert and Catherine Marie (Hoffmann) Swing. He can be found in four censuses to date; the 1940 census will be released April 2, 2012.
June 23 1900 Ash Grove Iroquois Illinois
Schwing Albert Head [of household] W[hite] M[ale] Oct 1859 40 M[arried] 16 [# of years married] Ohio [birthplace] Germany [father’s birthplace] Germany [mother’s birthplace] Farmer [occupation]
—Kathrine Wife W F Feb 1862 38 M 16 10 [# of children born] 10 [# of children still living] Franz Germany Germany
—Martha Dauther W F Nov 1884 15 S Illinois Ohio Franz
—Charles Son W M Feb 1886 14 S Illinois Ohio Franz At School
—Lena Dauther W F July 1887 12 S Illinois Ohio Franz At School
—Albert C Son W M Apr 1889 11 S Illinois Ohio Franz At School
—Soloma Dauther W F Oct 1890 9 S Illinois Ohio Franz At School
—Joseph Son W M Nov 1892 7 S Illinois Ohio Franz At School
—Katey Dauther W F Mch 1894 6 S Illinois Ohio Franz
—Anna Dauther W F July 1896 3 S Illinois Ohio Franz
—Harry Son W M Mch 1898 2 S Illinois Ohio Franz
—Paul Son W M Feb 1900 3/12 S Illinois Ohio Franz
Salem Twp., Pulaski, Indiana April 26, 1910
Swing Albert Head M W 50 M1 27 Ohio Ger-German Switz-German English [language spoken] Farmer
—Kathryn Wife F W 48 M1 27 13 13 Fr. German Ger-German Ger-German 1886 [year of emigration] English
—Martha Daughter F W 26 S Illinois Ohio Fr-German English Servant At Home
—Charles Son M W 24 S Illinois Ohio Fr-German English Farmhand Home farm
—Lena Daughter F W 22 S Illinois Ohio Fr-German English At Home
—Albert Son M W 20 S Illinois Ohio Fr-German English Home farm
—May Daughter F W 18 S Illinois Ohio Fr-German English At Home
—Joseph Son M W 16 S Illinois Ohio Fr-German English
—Katie Daughter F W 14 S Illinois Ohio Fr-German English
—Annie Daughter F W 12 S Illinois Ohio Fr-German English
—Harry Son M W 10 S Illinois Ohio Fr-German English
—Paul Son M W 8 S Illinois Ohio Fr-German
—Esther Daughter F W 7 S Illinois Ohio Fr-German
—Neoma Daughter F W 5 S Illinois Ohio Fr-German
—George Son M W 3 S Illinois Ohio Fr-German
Salem Twp., Knox, Illinois [unlisted month] 14-15, 1920
Swing Albert C Head R[enting Home] M W 30 M Illinois Ohio France French yes Farmer General Farm
—Roy A. Son M W 5 S Indiana Illinois Illinois none
—Velma M. Daughter F W 2 S Indiana Illinois Illinois none
Illinois, Livingston, Pleasant Ridge Township, May 19, 1930
Swing, Albert C. Head O[wns home] 800 [amount of real estate owned] R [owns radio set] M W 41 M 24 Illinois Ohio France Highway Commission Township Highway
—Lena A. Wife F W 37 M 20 no yes Illinois Switzerland Switzerland none
—Roy A. Son M W 15 S yes yes Indiana Illinois Illinois none
—Velma M. Daughter F W 13 S yes yes Indiana Illinois Illinois none
—Swing, Marilyn M. Daughter F W 7 S yes Illinois Illinois Illinois none