It is sometimes difficult to find information about someone when all I have is a picture of their gravestone. This was not quite true of Joseph Swope, because his death was so sad. Let’s start with our photograph.
The first thing I notice when looking at the stone is the Masonic emblem at the top. Joseph was a farmer for most of his life. We find him living with his parents and siblings in the 1870 Powell County Census. I believe his father’s name was Margris (or something similar), the census taker did not write his name clearly. Margris was 51. Nancy P. is his mother, 28 at the taking of the census. An older brother, John W., 12, lives in the household, as well as a younger brother, James H., 2. In the 1880 census there were two additions to the family – Barzilla, 7, male (again the name was not clearly written), and Mary J., 4. Then we have the 20 year gap due to the fire that burned the 1890 census.
In 1900, we find Joseph Swope living in Montgomery County with the Ezra Welch family. He is listed as 30, and was a boarder. It’s too bad there was no other information, perhaps his occupation.
Trying a newspaper search for Joseph Swope for October of 1907 revealed a sad article about his death.
The Lexington Leader, Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Thursday, October 3, 1907
And Mt. Sterling Man Was So Badly Scalded That He Died From His Injuries
Mt. Sterling, Ky., Oct. 3 – Joseph Swope, of this county, was a victim of a horrible accident at the John Shilito building, Cincinnati, Tuesday. A steam pipe burst near where Swope was at work, scalding him so badly that death resulted Wednesday afternoon. Mr. Swope was thirty-nine years old and was a resident of this county where he farmed for many years. His remains will be taken to Clay City, Powell County, for burial Friday.
What a terrible way to die. After this obituary I searched for Joseph Swope living in Cincinnati and found him in the directories starting in 1905.
From the above information we find that Joseph rooms at 819 Elm in Cincinnati and that he works for The John Shillito Company, just as his obituary said. Notice Luke Swope also rooms at 819 Elm. Could this be a brother, or cousin? George Swope lives at 3600 Newton Avenue and is a motorman. There are two other members of the Swope family buried in Kennon Cemetery. Could the three men be brothers?