Family Stories

He Died of a Broken Heart

Charles William Swanson was born September 17, 1837, in Randolph County, Georgia, to John Bolling Swanson and Mary Jane Brown.  John Bolling Swanson was born on Christmas Day, 1809, in Georgia.  He married Mary Jane Brown in Early County, Georgia, October 20, 1836, by J. V. Wilson. 

Georgia – Early County

‘To any Judge of the Superior Court, Justice of the Superior Court, Justice of the Peace or Minister of the Gospel. You are hereby authorized to join John B. Swanson and Jane Brown in the holy estate of matrimony according to the Constitution and laws of this State, and for so doing this shall be your sufficient cause. Given under my hand this 19th day of October 1836. Joel W. Perry, Clerk County Court.”to any Judge of the Superior Court, Justice of the Superior Court, Justice of the Peace or Minister of the Gospel. You are hereby authorized to join John B. Swanson and Jane Brown in the holy estate of matrimony according to the Constitution and laws of this State, and for so doing this shall be your sufficient cause. Given under my hand this 19th day of October 1836. Joel W. Perry, Clerk County Court.

‘Georgia – Early County

‘I do hereby certify that John Swanson and Jane Brown were joined together in the holy state of matrimony before me the 20th October 1836. J. V. Wilson, J.P.’

In the 1850 census of Randolph County, state of Georgia, J. B. Swanson was 40, Jane, 29, Charles, 13, Clementine, 10, Sylvanus, 7, Susan, 5, Addison, 3, and Mary Jane, 6/12.    John Swanson died July 5, 1855.  In the 1860 census Mrs. Mary J. Swanson is head of household, 29 (no increase in age!), with an amount of $2,500 in real estate and $7,000 in personal estate.  Charles is listed as overseer. 

Charles William Swanson enlisted with the Confederate army March 4, 1862, at Cuthbert, Georgia, for 3 years.  He was a Lieutenant with Co. H, 51st Regiment, Georgia Infantry.

Charles Swanson received a payment of $104 from March 22 to April 30, 1862.  He received this payment on July 1st of the same year.  He was a 2nd Lieutenant at this point.

July 1862, Charles was left sick at Charleston, and taken to hospital July 20th.  November of 1862 Charles was admitted to hospital November 6, returning to duty November 18.  Evidently wounded, I found no specific information.

In Charles Swanson’s army records are requisitions he made for clothing for Company H.  Dated June 30, 1864, was a requisition for 10 jackets, 10 pants, 10 shirts, 9 (couldn’t make out), 23 shoes and 12 socks.  ‘I certify that the above requisition is correct, that the articles are absolutely requisite for the public serviced rendered so by the following circumstances.  Viz.  Lt. C. W. Swanson, Commander, Company H.’ Several requisitions are included in his papers.

On June 20, 1865, Charles gave an oath of allegiance to the United States at Johnson’s Island, Ohio.  His place of residence was listed a Coleman Station, Georgia.  He was 27 years of age, of fair complexion and dark hair, with hazel eyes.  He was 5’ 10”.  He was captured at Sailors Creek, Virginia, on April 6, 1865, and held at Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C., until he was sent to Johnson’s Island on May 1.

A marriage bond from Boyle County, Kentucky, is listed between C. W. Swanson and E. H. Thomas, bearing the date December 19, 1867.  I would love to know how Charles made it from Johnson’s Island, Ohio, to Boyle County, Kentucky, in two years’ time.  Did he think he wouldn’t be welcome at home in Georgia since he made oath to the United States?  Eliza Howard Thomas was the daughter of Joseph H. Thomas and Amanda LaRue.  Joseph was a U.S. mail collector from at least 1850-1870, as shown in the census records for Boyle County.  He was born in Maryland.

I have searched, but with no luck, to find the 1870 census record for Charles and Eliza Swanson.  In the 1880 census we find the family in Russellville, in Logan County.  Charles is a grocer, 42, Eliza is 28.  Children are Mary F., 11, Amanda, 9, Stella R., 7, and Joseph L., 8/12.  James Williams, a grocer, lives with the family.

Mary Jane Brown Swanson married a Mr. Peacock after the death of her husband John in 1866.  Her death notice follows.

The Herald-Ledger, Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky

Wednesday, April 3, 1889

‘Died in Coleman, Georgia, March 26th, 1889, Mrs. M. J. Peacock, in her 70th year.  She was a most estimable lady and the mother of our fellow townsman, Mr. C. W. Swanson.

The Twice-A-Week Messenger, Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky

Thursday, September 24, 1891

A Double Wedding

‘Cards have been received in this city announcing the marriage of Miss Amanda Swanson to Mr. L. E. Buckner, and Miss Stella Brooks Swanson to Mr. B. J. Robinson at the Baptist church, in Russellville, on Wednesday, September 30, at 7 o’clock.  The young ladies are sisters and are the daughters of Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Swanson.’

Charles Swanson had many grocery ads in local newspapers.

The Herald-Ledger, Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky

Wednesday, December 23, 1891

And from Wednesday, August 17, 1892:

Joseph H. Thomas died February 9, 1900.

‘Russellville, Ky., Feb. 9. – (Special) – Col. J. H. Thomas died at 5 o’clock this afternoon at the home of his daughter, Mrs. A. C. Hodgen, in this city.  He was 83 years old.  He had been ill for several weeks, and his death was not unexpected.  Col. Thomas, until a few years ago, was a citizen of Danville, Ky., and was trustee of the Deaf and Dumb Institute of that place, in the affairs of which he took a lively interest.  He was also interested in financial institutions of that city.  He was one of the oldest Masons in the state and was one of the founders of the Masonic Widows’ and Orphans’ Home in Louisville.  He was always prominently identified with church work and was one of the deacons of the Baptist Church of this place.  He leaves six children, Col. W. Larue Thomas, of Baltimore; W. B. Thomas, of Danville; Mrs. J. J. Norton, of Nashville, and Mrs. C. W. Swanson, Mrs. A. C. Hodgen and Mrs. S. V. Leedom, of this city.  No arrangements for the funeral have yet been made.’

Eliza Thomas, wife of C. W. Swanson, November 14, 1849 – October 10, 1905, Maple Grove Cemetery, Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky.

A few years after her father’s death, Eliza Howard Thomas Swanson died October 10, 1905.

Kentucky Advocate, Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Wednesday, October 11, 1905


‘A telegram was received last evening by Mr. W. B. Thomas announcing the death of his sister, Mrs. C. W. Swanson, which occurred at her late home in Russellville, yesterday afternoon.  Mr. Thomas left today to attend the funeral, which will be held tomorrow.  Mrs. Swanson will be remembered as Miss Eliza Thomas and was formerly a resident of Danville.  Besides a husband, she is survived by three daughters and one son.  Burial will be at Russellville.’

A week and a half later the following ad appeared.

Logan County News, Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky

Friday, October 20, 1905

Closing Out

‘Having decided to close out my business, I will sell all of my wares and shelf goods at cost, and in the meantime will keep a line of staples to accommodate the trade, which I will sell at very close prices.  C. W. Swanson.’

Charles’ heart was not in business after the death of Eliza.  He must have found it very difficult to go on without her.  Seven weeks later he died.

Charles W. Swanson, September 17, 1837 – November 28, 1905.

Messenger Inquirer, Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky

Thursday, November 30, 1905

He Died of a Broken Heart

‘Russellville, Ky., Nov. 30. – Mr. C. W. Swanson, of this place, died yesterday about 12 o’clock.  It is said he died of a broken heart.  Not a few weeks ago his wife was taken sick and died after a few days’ illness and he has never seemed to be the same man since that time.  He was about sixty years of age and a consistent member of the Baptist church here, of which he was a deacon.’

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