"Let me see generation times, will we hear children singing rhymes? Sweet memories gone by..."

17 September 2012

Typhoid Epidemic

A Mhagaidh na bi tùrsach Maggie, don't be sad
A rùin, ged gheibhinn bàs My love, if I should die
Cò am fear am measg an t-sluaigh Who among men
A mhaireas buan gu bràth? Endures eternally?
Chan eil sinn uile ach air chuairt We are all only on a journey
Mar dhìthein buaile fàs Like flowers in the deserted cattle fold
Bheir siantannan na blianna sios That the year's wind and rain will bring down
'S nach tog a' ghrian an àird And that the sun cannot raise

-- "An Eala Bhàn" by Donald MacDonald

One hundred and twelve years ago today - September 17, 1900 - my third-great-grandfather John Wesley Swindall passed away from typhoid fever at the age of 74.  I wrote a post for Memorial Day about his service during the Civil War.

Sadly, his death was the just the first in the family from the epidemic.  Eighteen days later, on October 5th, his eldest son James, age 48, was the second to pass away.

James Swindall was born on February 28, 1852 in North Carolina.  As mentioned in the article above, he was married four times.  When James was 20 years old, he married Ruth Vanover, with whom he had four children.  Ruth died of lung fever not long after the couple's tenth anniversary.  Their youngest son, Tenny, was only six months old, and was adopted and raised by his Swindall grandparents.  James then married Amanda Stanley, and they had a daughter.  They were only married three years when Amanda died of consumption.  A year later, James married Amanda's sister Sarah, who had come to help care of Amanda while she was ill.  This third marriage lasted almost four months, when Sarah died from consumption.  Around 1891, James married Nancy Hibbitts, with whom he had one daughter.  He was for many years a farmer like his father, and in May of 1899, he was elected sheriff, a position he held for just over a year, until his death.

On October 21st, George Monroe Swindall, John's eleventh son, was the next to succumb to the illness.  He was just 25 years old.

George was born on September 27, 1874.  In 1898, he married Lucina Grizzle, and they had a daughter, Ianthe, who was only eight months old when her father died.

And lastly, Joseph P. Swindall, the family's third-eldest son, passed away on October 30th at the age of 44.

Born on December 5, 1855, Joseph was the last child born to the Swindalls before they moved from North Carolina to Virginia.  He married Adeline Vanover, who was the sister of Ruth, his brother James' first wife.  Joseph and "Addie" had seven children together.

John Wesley and his three sons were all buried in the Swindall family cemetery in Dickenson County.  John received a military marker for his service in the Civil War, while James, George and Joseph each have matching markers with the inscription "In God we trust."

(Grave photos courtesy of Howard Burough)