John Franklin MCSWAIN George Franklin MCSWAIN Cyrus Lester MCSWAIN Tissie MCSWAIN William August MCSWAIN Ruby Mae MCSWAIN Jewel B MCSWAIN John Edwin MCSWAIN Chester Allen MCSWAIN Henry Durward MCSWAIN Vesta Estelle Inie WEAVER Charlie MCSWAIN Russell Arbery MCSWAIN Mary G MCSWAIN Mini tree diagram
John Allison MCSWAIN

John Allison MCSWAIN1,2,9,3,4,10,5,6,7,11,8

22nd Oct 1873 - 8th Sep 19389

Life History

22nd Oct 1873

Born in Arkansas.1,2,3,4,5,6,7

(most likely)

about 1878

Born in North Carolina

(less likely)

Citation Text: Censuses of son Cyrus Lester report father born in NC,but some say Arkansas

16th Mar 1899

Birth of son Cyrus Lester MCSWAIN in Ethel, Arkansas, Arkansas.19,20,21,22,23,24,6,25

16th Mar 1899

Death of Tissie MCSWAIN in Ethel, Arkansas, Arkansas.26,27,8

29th Jun 1902

Married Vesta Estelle Inie WEAVER in Crossroads, Delta, Texas.9,3,10

8th Apr 1903

Birth of son William August MCSWAIN in Delta County, Texas.3,7,12,13

about 1905

Birth of daughter Ruby Mae MCSWAIN in Texas.3,7


Birth of daughter Jewel B MCSWAIN in Arkansas.3,7,6

13th Dec 1912

Birth of son John Edwin MCSWAIN in Magazine, Logan, Arkansas.3,4,6

9th Mar 1918

Birth of son Chester Allen MCSWAIN in Magazine, Logan, Arkansas.3,4,14

12th May 1922

Birth of son Henry Durward MCSWAIN in Logan County, Arkansas.15,14,16,17,6,18

8th Sep 1938

Died in Elk Township, Beckham, Oklahoma.8,5,6

(most likely)

after 8th Sep 1938

Buried in Fairlawn Cemetery, Elk City, Beckham County, Oklahoma.6,5

9th Sep 1938

Died in Elk City, Beckham, Oklahoma.9

(less likely)

Other facts


Married Tissie MCSWAIN


  • The couple were not married.  The mother died in childbirth.  John isreported to have moved to Texas and married there.

    In November 2011, I received an email from Judy McSwain Millerdiscussing her McSwain ancestors.  She reported that her greatgrandfather George had three brothers, according to entries in hisBible.  They were named John, Russell and Charlie.  George seemed tomatch the George Franklin McSwain in my genealogy, who was the son ofJohn Franklin McSwain.  Other genealogies also report John Franklinand his wife Mary G (Unknown maiden name) as the parents of hergrandfather George.

    The brother John matches the John McSwain reported by a cousin line ofMcSwains from Arkansas County, Arkansas, who was the father of CyrusLester McSwain.  Cyrus' mother died at or soon after his birth in1899,  The family remembers that the parents were cousins and were notmarried.  In January 2007, Cyrus Lester' grandson Kevin told me thathis family did not know any details about John.  They knew John was"some kind of cousin" of Lester's mother.  From facts in records I hadfound, it was not clear who John McSwain was.

    John moved to Texas, and they had no information. I had been unable toidentify which group of Texas McSwains might be the family of John.  Ihad not been to match any John McSwain definitely to John the fatherof Cyrus.  These facts fit for John, the son of John Franklin.

    Cyrus Lester McSwain Jr reports that his grandmother, John's wife, wasnamed Tisey, the daughter of Phillip McSwain.  The family memory saysthat the mother of Lester died in childbirth.  Further, she was buriedin an unmarked grave.  I have not yet been able to find any record orfirm reference to anyone of the name Tissie (Tisey) or a related name.

    Tisey (Tissie) may have been another daughter born after the 1880census, and her death must have been before the 1900 census, since hername is not documented in the censuses.  In 1880, only two daughtersof Phillip are reported, Maggie, age 4, and Ada Loora, age 2.  We knowof Ada Loora's later marriage to William Morgan Butler.

    In initial family research done by Bobby Butler on the McSwains ofEthel, Bobby reports some names not found in the censuses.  From therecords of Belleview Baptist Church, Bobby find several individualswith the surname of McSwain.  He mentions these with a year by each.One of these is Triss, in the year 1884.  Triss could be Tissie,daughter of Phillip and Martha.  Bobby does not indicate thesignificance of the year he shows by each name:  born this year,baptized in this year, joined this year, mentioned in a businessmeeting, prayer request or news?

    In the 1900 census, John was reported in Delta County, Arknasas, inthe northeast corner west of Texarkana.  He is boarding with a familythere.

    1900 Federal Census, Delta County, Texas, 27 June, Justice Precinct 3,District 36, page 23A, Hse #404, Fam #421
    Mansell, Richard H Head W F Jan 1867 33 Married 6 years AR AL KYFarmer Owns
    Mansell, Lou A Wife W F Jan 1875  25 Married 6 years 4 children/4living AL AL AL
    Mansell, James W Son W M Nov 1895 4 TX AR AL
    Mansell, Lonnie J Son W M Aug 1896 3 TX AR AL
    Mansell, Henry H Son W M Dec 1898  1 TX AR AL
    Mansell, Claudie L Son W M Feb 1900 3mos TX AR AL
    McSwain, John  Boarder W M Oct 1876 23 AR SC SC

    The Texas Marriage Index reports a John A McSwain marrying BessieWeaver on 29 Jun 1902 in Delta County.  This is also the date agenealogy reports for the marriage of John Allison McSwain to VessieEstelle Weaver.  John registered for the WWI draft under his full nameof John Allison McSwain and gives the name Vessie McSwain for hiscontact. See this genealogy below, along with the transcription of hisWWI draft registration.

    Texas, Select County Marriage Index, 1837-1977
    J A McSwain
    Gender Male
    Marriage 29 Jun 1902 Delta, Texas
    Spouse Bessie Weaver
    (Note that family sources and John himself write her name as Vessie,not Bessie.)

    The place of marriage is reported as Delta County.  The genealogybelow reports they were married in Crossroads, Texas.  There is anoffcial town and post office named Cross Roads in Denton County, northof Dallas. But in Delta County, there is also an informal communitycalls Crossroads, whcih would reconcile the official recod and thegenealogy.  Interestingly, however, the Texs Historical Commissionsuimmary reports it is "a small black community."

    "CROSSROADS, TEXAS (Delta County). Crossroads, known at various timesas Union, Clem, and Hog Wallow, is a small black community at theintersection of Farm roads 2949 and 128, four miles northwest of Enloein northwestern Delta County. It is bordered to the southwest by theEast Fork of Big Creek. The Crossroads school opened as Hog WallowSchool in 1895. In 1903 Emmett C. Norwood opened a post office andcalled the settlement Clem, in honor of a prominent county family. Thepostal service ended after four years, and residents soon began tocall the community Crossroads for its location. Crossroads appeared onmaps as an unidentified community in 1936."
    --  Vista K. McCroskey, "CROSSROADS, TX (DELTA COUNTY)," Handbook ofTexas Online,, accessed 12June 2014

    One genealogy identifies John as John Allison McSwain.  Littledocumentations provided for the details provided.  But they cite theWWI draft registration, which was filled out in Paris, Arkansas, inLogan County near Ft Smith.  This document reports his birth date as22 Oct 1873.  This is not too troubling, since the 1900 census isusually wrong on the year of birth.

    John Allison McSwain
    Birth 22 Oct 1873 in Arkansas
    Death 9 Sep 1938 in  Elk City, Beckham,
    MARY G "IDA" MCSWAIN b 1844
    Marriage to Vessie Estelle Inie Weaver 29 Jun 1902 Crossroads [DeltaCounty], Texas
    --  Martin & Ritch,

    The genealogy matches the Texas marriage record date reports that Johnwas married in Texas in 1902, matching the family story and the moveof his family there.  No documentation is provided, but the full nameof the wfe is reported, which matches the first name reported in theWWI draft registration.  They report he died in Oklahoma.  The year1938 conflicts with the family memories reported by Kevin McSwain thatJohn died in the mid 60s.  So this John may not be the correct one asthe father of Cyrus McSwain in Arkansas County, Arkansas in 1899.

    John and Vessie's first two children were born in Texas.  In the 1910census they are reported as resident in Logan County, Arkansas, eastof Ft Smith.  This census is very helpful in clarifying Vessie's oddfirst name, which census enumerators had trouble with.  Vessie isreported as Dessie in 1920 and Bessie in 1930.  In 1910 she isreported as Vesta E.  This makes perfect sense of the odd namereported in other records, including her Texas marriage record.

    Vesta is a name we know.  I have an aunt named Vesta.  As in manyrecords of the late 1800s and the first half of the 1900s, especiallyin rural counties of the US, nicknames were the common form of name incensuses.  This trend increases as you move west from the earlycolonies to the frontier.  From census reports of the birth sates ofthe children, we can tell that after Gussie was born, they moved toArkansas about 1905.  Note that John's parents are now both reportedas born in Tennessee.  Two of Vesta's sisters are living with them.

    1910 Federal Census, Logan County, Arkansas, 2 May, Revilee Township,District 52, Page 14A, Magazine and Chismville Rd, Hse #263, Fam #270
    McSwain, John A  Head M W 30 Married 9 years AR TN TN Farmer Rents
    McSwain, Vesta E Wife F W 25 Married 9 years 3 children/3 living AL ALAL
    McSwain, William A Son M W 7 Single TX AR AL
    McSwain, Ruby M Dau F W 5 Single TX AR AL
    McSwain, Jewel B Dau F W 2 Single AR AR AL
    Weaver, Lilly M Sister-in-law F W 16 Single TX AL AL Farm Laborer,Working Out
    Weaver, Eva V Sister-in-law F W 13 Single TX AL AL Farm Laborer,Working Out

    Their road is named Magazine and Chismville Road.  A Wikipedia stupmentions Chismville:  "Chismville is an unincorporated community inWashburn Township, Logan County, Arkansas, United States."
    --  "Chismville, Arkansas," Wikipedia,,_Arkansas

    When he registered for the WWI draft, John signed with the full nameJohn Allison McSwain, confirming his middle name.

    U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
    John Allison McSwain
    Permanent Home Address Magazine, Logan County, Arkansas
    Age 45, Birth 22 Oct 1873 [compare 1900 census Oct 1876]
    Occupation Farmer
    Nearest relative Vessie McSwain
    Tall, Slender, Blue Eyes, Dark Hair
    Registered 12 September 1918 Paris, Arkansas

    They were enumerated in the same location in the 1920 census.  Theirfirst child, Gussie, is reported in at least one genealogy as a boynamed William August.  And in 1910, he was reported as William A.  ButGussie is clearly reported as a girl in the 1920 census.  Sicne Gussieis normally a girl's name, we can understand how the enumerator couldmisunderstand as he wrote down the list of children.

    1920 Federal Census, Logan County, Arkansas, 6 January, RevileeTownship, District 55, page 2B, Hse/Fam #27
    McSwain, John A Head Rents M W 47 Ar SC SC Farmer
    McSwain, Dessie [Vessie] Wife F W 36 Widow IL IL IL None
    McSwain, Gussie Dau F W 16 TX AR AL Farm Laborer [b abt 1903]
    McSwain, Rubie Dau F W 14 TX AR AL
    McSwain, Jewel Dau F W 12 AR AR AL
    McSwain, Edwin Son M W 8 AR AR AL
    McSwain, Allen Son M W 1yr2mos AR AR AL

    After their last son.Burward, was born in about 1923, they moved toBeckham County, Oklahoma, where they were reported in the 1930 census.

    1930 Federal Census, Beckham County, Oklahoma, 10 April, Elk Township,District 5-121, page 5A, Hse #78, Fam #79
    McSwain, John Head M W 56 First married at age 26 [abt 1900] AR NC NCCotton Farmer
    McSwain, Bessie [Vessie] Wife F W 44 First married at age 19 [abt1923] AL AL AL
    McSwain, Edwin Son M W 17 AR AR AR
    McSwain, Allen Son M W 11 AR AR AR
    McSwain, Burward Son M W 7 AR AR AR

    Gravestone of John A and Vessie E McSwain, Fairlawn Cemetery, ElkCity, Beckham County, Oklahoma
    Vessie E  1885 - 1964
    John A  1873 - 1938

    John Allison McSwain
    Birth Oct. 22, 1873
    Death Sep. 8, 1938
    Spouse Vessie E. Weaver McSwain (1885 - 1964)
    Burial Fairlawn Cemetery, Elk City, Beckham County, Oklahoma
    Created by Cokeman2 Dec 18, 2011
    --  Find A Grave Memorial # 82101396,

    After John passed away in1938, his family stayed together, even afterAllen married.  In the 1940 cernsus, Allen has married and is reportedas the head of the McSwain household, with hiw mother and brother inthe home.

    1940 Federal Census, Beckham County, Oklahoma, 9 April, Elk Township,District 5-12, page 4A, Hse #68, Rents $2
    McSwain, Allen C Head M W 11 Married Grade 8 Arkansas Same house in1935 Farmer [b abt 1938]
    McSwain, Mariam N Wife M W 22 Married Grade 6 b Oklahoma Rural BeckhamCounty OK in 1935 [b abt 1918]
    McSwain, Vessie Mother F W 55 Widow Grade 6 b Alabama Same house in1935 [b abt 1885]
    McSwain, Henry D Brother M W 17 Single Grade 8 b Arkansas Same Housein 1935 No Occup [b abt 1923]

    Henry here matches Burward in 1930.  With the middle initial here asD, this makes me wonder if the name in 1930 should have been Durward.But he is reported as Burward by genealogies, following the 1920census.  Most genealogies have no reference to the 1940 census andlittle other documentation.


  • 1. 1900 Federal Census, Delta County, Texas
    • 27 June, Justice Precinct 3, District 36, page 23A, Hse #404, Fam #421
  • 2. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942
  • 3. 1920 Federal Census, Logan County, Arkansas
    • 6 January, Revilee Township, District 55, page 2B, Hse/Fam #27
  • 4. 1930 Federal Census, Beckham County, Oklahoma
    • 10 April, Elk Township, District 5-121, page 5A, Hse #78, Fam #79
  • 5. Gravestone of John A and Vessie E McSwain, Fairlawn Cemetery, ElkCity, Beckham County, Oklahoma
  • 6. Find a Grave Memorial Registry
  • 7. 1910 Federal Census, Logan County, Arkansas
    • 2 May, Revilee Township, District 52, Page 14A, Magazine and
  • 8. Kevin McSwain, email to Orville Boyd Jenkins, January 2007
  • 9. Ancestry Trees
  • 10. Texas, Select County Marriage Index, 1837-1977
  • 11. Judy McSwain Miller
  • 12. Arkansas, County Marriages Index, 1837-1957
  • 13. California, Death Index, 1940-1997
  • 14. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014
  • 15. 1940 Federal Census, Beckham County, Oklahoma
    • 9 April, Elk Township, District 5-12, page 4A, Hse #68, Rents $2
  • 16. U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006
  • 17. U.S. Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 1
  • 18. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946
  • 19. 1910 Federal Census, Arkansas County, Arkansas
    • 22 April, Prairie Township, District 13, page 4A, Hse/Fam #58
  • 20. 1930 Federal Census, Arkansas County, Arkansas
    • 21 April, District 25, page 6B, Prairie Township, Ethel & Chute Rd,
  • 21. U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
  • 22. 1920 Federal Census, Arkansas County, Arkansas
    • 4 February, District 16, Page 7A, Ethel & Chute Rd, House #119, Fam
  • 23. Social Security Death Index
  • 24. 1900 Federal Census, Arkansas County, Arkansas
    • 19 June, Prairie Township, District 7, Page 13B, Hse #218, Fam #293
  • 25. 1940 Federal Census, Arkansas County, Arkansas
    • 8 April, Prairie Township, District 1-26, page 3B, Belleview Road, Hse
  • 26. 1900 Federal Census, Arkansas County, Arkansas
    • Hse #221
  • 27. SSDI Broderbund Archive #110, Vol. 1, Ed. 4

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