George MCSWAIN Mary G MCSWAIN Sally H MCSWAIN Maggie Ella MCSWAIN Ada Loora MCSWAIN Joseph Edward MCSWAIN Tissie MCSWAIN Robert Perry MCSWAIN Benjamin Dean MCSWAIN Lillie May MCSWAIN Leona E MCSWAIN Martha Elizabeth PADGETT Francis M MCSWAIN Julius Logan MCSWAIN George B MCSWAIN Nancy C MCSWAIN William W MCSWAIN James L MCSWAIN Catherine WEATHERS Mini tree diagram

Phillip K MCSWAIN2,5,7,8,1,3,4,6,9,10

30th Jan 18471,2,3,4,5,6 - 25th Feb 19172,11

Life History

30th Jan 1847

Born in Cleveland County, North Carolina.1,2,3,4,5,6

between 1850 and 1860

Resident: In 1850 and 1860 censuses with his parents in Cleveland County, North Carolina.3,6


Military: Elisted at age 17 as Private in Company D, North Carolina 2nd InfantryBattalion, Junior Reserves in North Carolina.9,10


Resident in Pulaski, Giles, Tennessee.5

about 1875

Married Martha Elizabeth PADGETT in Tennessee.7,50

30th Aug 1876

Birth of daughter Maggie Ella MCSWAIN in Ethel, Arkansas, Arkansas.12,8,13,14,15,16,16,17

22nd Jun 1878

Birth of daughter Ada Loora MCSWAIN in Ethel, Arkansas, Arkansas.16,18,19,8,20,21,22,23,24,25

17th Nov 1879

Birth of son Joseph Edward MCSWAIN in Ethel, Arkansas, Arkansas.26,27,1,8,28,29,30,31,16

between 1880 and 1910

Residence2 in Ethel, Arkansas, Arkansas.1,7,8,6

after Jun 1880

Birth of daughter Tissie MCSWAIN in Ethel, Arkansas, Arkansas.8

9th Sep 1882

Birth of son Robert Perry MCSWAIN in Ethel, Arkansas, Arkansas.35,36,37,1

23rd Jun 1886

Birth of son Benjamin Dean MCSWAIN in Ethel, Arkansas, Arkansas.38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45

Feb 1888

Birth of daughter Lillie May MCSWAIN in Ethel, Arkansas, Arkansas.1,7,46,47,16

1st Mar 1891

Birth of daughter Leona E MCSWAIN in Ethel, Arkansas, Arkansas.48,16,1,7,49

16th Mar 1899

Death of daughter Tissie MCSWAIN in Ethel, Arkansas, Arkansas.32,33,34

25th Feb 1917

Died in Ethel, Arkansas, Arkansas.2,11

after 25th Feb 1917

Buried in Mt Pleasant Cemetery, Ethel, Arkansas County, Arkansas.2


  • The starting point for understanding this family was the bareinformation of the 1880 census.  There it appeared that Katy, livingin a household with only her single son James, was the widowed motherof Phillip and George.  They all lived in adjacent houses in PrairieTownship of Arkansas County, Arkansas.   Other likely brothers wereWilliam, who also appears in a house next door to Katy, and J L, nextdoor to William, in the 1880 census.

    "My great great grandfather was P.K. McSwain he came to Arkansas fromSouth Carolina [North Carolina] in the 1860's after the civil war. Hesettled in a small white river town known as Ethel. I would like moreinformation about him and the rest of his family. I do know he foughtin the civil war on confederate side."
    --  Kevin McSwain, email to Orville Boyd Jenkins, March 11, 2001

    1880 Federal Census, Arkansas County, Arkansas, 10 June, PrairieTownship, page 16D, Hse #105, Fam #108
    P K McSwain  W M  31   Farmer  NC NC NC
    Elizabeth McSwain W  F 32 Wife Housekeeping  NC SC NC
    Maggie E McSwain W  F 4 Daughter AR NC NC
    A L McSwain W  F 2 Daughter AR NC NC
    J E McSwain W  F 7mos b Nov 1879 Son AR NC NC

    They were confirmed as one family when I finally found the censusesreporting the family in 1850 and 1860 in Cleveland County, NorthCarolina.  Their father George was in those censuses, but Katy appearsalone in 1870 and 1880.

    One of Phillip's sons was JE (Joseph Edward).  Edith McSwain Jenkinsreports that she remembers being told by her family that Joseph'sfather was a brother of George B, the grandfather of Edith's fatherOliver.  George B appears with the first McSwains in Arkansas Countyin the 1880 census, who all came from North Carolina.

    Appearing only as P K McSwain in 1880 census, he is listed as Phillipin the 1900 census.  The grave next to Martha in Mt Pleasant Cemeteryidentifies him as P. K. McSwain.  The one discrepancy is that the nameof the wife of P K in 1880 is reported as Elizabeth.  The wife ofPhillip in 1900 is reported as Martha.

    This is easily reconciled if we understand her name as MarthaElizabeth.  The gravestone reads Martha E.  She is also listed thisway in the 1900 census (actually Marth E).

    Ages are a close match, with the ages for Elizabeth and Martha givingthe same year of birth: 1880 - age 32; 1900 - age 52.  For Phillip,there is a discrepancy: 1880 - 21; 1900 - 53.  We can commonly expectup to two years difference from census to census, depending on when abirthday is and at what date in the year the census is taken.

    1900 Federal Census, Arkansas County, Arkansas, 19 June, PrairieTownship, District 7, Page 13B, Hse #218, Fam #293
    McSwain, Phillip K Head W M  Jan 1847  53 Married 25 years  NC NC NCFarmer
    McSwain, Marth [sic] E   Wife W F Oct 1847 52  Married 25 yearsHousekeeping  NC NC NC
    McSwain, Joseph  Son W M  Nov 1879 20 AR NC NC Farm Laborer
    McSwain, Robert F  Son W M  Sept 1882 17 AR NC NC Farm Laborer
    McSwain, Benjamin  Son  W M  June 1886 13  AR NC NC Farm Laborer
    McSwain, Lillie  Dau  W F Feb 1888  12 Single AR NC NC
    McSwain, Lee O  Dau  W F Mar 1891  9 Single AR NC NC
    Padgett, Lavina  Mother [actually mother-in-law and kin to him acouple of other ways] W F Mar 1819 81 Widowed NC NC NC
    Padgett, Jane Sister [actually sis-in-law & 2nd cousin] W F Jan 184951 Single NC NC NC
    McSwain, Lester Grandson  W M  Mar 1899 1 AR NC NC
    Criswell, Harvey  Boarder W M  Jan 1876 24 Single MS VA AL
    Jenkins, Andrew  Servant W M  Apr 1878 22 Single TN GA GA

    A Lavina [Lavinia] Padgett is reported living in this household, andshe is described as his mother.

    This Lavina Padgett is actually the mother of Edwin Padgett, whomarried Phillip's distant cousin Judith McSwain in North Carolinabefore moving to Ethel, Arkansas in late 1870.  Their third child,Mary, was born in Ethel in 1871.  How the enumerator confused Laviniawith Phillip's mother is a puzzle.  This is one of the numerous errorsin these censuses.

    In 1900, there is also a Jane Padgett, reported as Phillip's sister.But there was no Jane in this McSwain family.  An earliertranscription has been misleading because it had listed this Jane asJane McSwain.

    Multiple facts indicate that this Jane was Lavinia's daughter JanePadgett.  In the 1880 census, Jane Padgett was unmarried at age 26,and still in the household of her parents Wiley and Lavinia, who livenext door to Phillip McSwain, and two doors from Phillip's motherKaty, with William McSwain next door to her.

    Note that Harvey Criswell is living with them.  Harvey later marriesPhillip's niece, Callie McSwain, daughter of George and Harriet.Living next door to Phillip's family is Harvey's oldest brother, JamesCriswell, and his family.

    Through persistent probing for several years, clues came together toclarify that the main problem in identifying this family was thatGeorge's age is wildly reported differently in various censuses andother records.  The Arkansas families were basically invisible to thegenealogies reporting on the Cleveland, North Carolina, families.George was considerably older than Catherine, the mother who moved herfamily to Tennessee, then Arkansas, after the Civil War.  I graduallyfound breakthrough connections, leading to he proper census records inthe home area of Cleveland County, North Carolina.

    1850 Federal Census, Cleveland County, North Carolina, 4 September, p31, Hse/Fam #587
    George McSwain    57  [b abt 1793, note differences in ages fromcensus to census] Farmer  $600 Real Estate b NC
    Catharine McSwain 34 b NC
    Polly G McSwain      7 b NC
    Sally H McSwain      5 b NC
    Phillip K McSwain     3 b NC
    Francis M McSwain  1 b NC
    Andrew Ruske        21  [Not known who this is] Farmer b NC
    Mary Weathers       75 [b abt 1775] b NC

    It appears that several McSwain and Padgett families moved from thesame area of North Carolina, through Tennessee and finally toArkansas.  This occurred over the period of about 1865-75.  EdithMcSwain Jenkins reports that she recalls it being said that the mencame first, then sent for their families.  The period of the move wasfairly short, however.  I have found that none of the McSwain men weremarried in 1870 in Tennessee.

    We don't know exactly how long they were in Tennessee before moving onto Arkansas, but it was 10 years or less.  We now know that Katy'shusband George died in North Carolina between the 1860 and 1870census.  He is last seen in 1860.

    1860 Federal Census, Cleveland County, North Carolina, 4 August 1860,p 54, Hse/Fam #385
    George McSwain Sr   61 M Farmer $100 Personal Estate b NC
    Catherine McSwain 40  F b NC
    Mary G McSwain 17  F b NC
    Sallie H McSwain  15   F b NC
    Phillip R McSwain  12  M b NC
    Francis M McSwain 10  M b NC
    Julius L McSwain  8  M b NC
    George McSwain  7  M b NC
    Nancy McSwain 6  F b NC
    William W McSwain   5  M b NC
    James L McSwain  1 M b NC
    Mary Weathers 84   F b NC

    Phillip enlisted in the civil War effort on behalf of the Confederacy.

    U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865
    P K McSwain
    Enlisted as Private in Company D, North Carolina 2nd InfantryBattalion
    Sources Index to Compiled Confederate Military Service Records (noimage available)

    Another index record tells us he enlisted in 1864 at age 17 and was ina youth reserve unit.

    U.S., Confederate Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865
    P K McSwain
    Age 17, Birth Date abt 1847
    Enlistment 1864
    Military Unit Second Junior Reserves

    In the 1870 census, Katy and her children are in a household headed byPhillip at age 21.  Phillip (spelled Phelp) is a farmer.  Catherine islisted second as Keeping House.  We cannot tell how long the familyhave been in Tennessee before the 1870 census.

    Phillip and all his siblings are single in the 1870 census.  We findhim and his mother and all the brothers except Francis in GilesCounty, Tennessee.  Francis moved on to Arkansas earlier with acousin, and settled in St Charles on the White River, in the northernsection of Prairie Township in Arkansas County.

    1870 Federal Census, Giles County, Tennessee, 15 August, Pulaski,Civil District 4, Enumeration District page 41, Hse/Fam #306
    McSwain, Phelp 21 M W Farmer NC
    McSwain, Catheron 52 F W Keep House  NC
    McSwain, Login 18 M W Farm Labor NC
    McSwain, George 17 M W Farm Labor NC
    McSwain, Nancy 15 F W NC
    McSwain, William 12 M W Farm Labor NC
    McSwain, James 10 M W Farm Labor NC

    I learned the maiden name of Phillip's wife in November 2008.  AMcSwain researcher working on the family from the North Carolina sideknew the name of Wiley Padgett's wife, Lavinia Nancy McSwain, a cousinof Phillip's father George.  In reviewing the Padgett-McSwainconnections with this new information, I realized I already had thenames of the McSwain boys' wives but had not made the connection.

    It turned out that three daughters of Wiley Padgett and Nancy McSwainPadgett were the wives of Phillip and two of his brothers.  A son ofWiley and Lavinia Nancy's son Edwin also married a McSwain cousin,Judith, and they moved to the same area.  Padgetts and McSwains wereintermarried for several generations in North Carolina, and theirrelationships continued in Arkansas.

    The McSwains and Padgetts lived in Cleveland County, North Carolina.Martha Padgett's family were in Buncombe County, North Carolina, forthe 1860 census.  In 1870 we see the Arkansas pioneers of bothfamilies on their way west.  Then we find them in Cocke County,Tennessee for the 1870 census.

    For the 1870 census, the McSwains were in Giles County, Tennessee.These counties are quite far apart, so there is no indication thatthey were in touch during the time in Tennessee.  They moved eithertogether or about the same time to Arkansas County, Arkansas, settlingin Ethel, a community south of St Charles, on the White River insouthern Prairie Township.

    Philip's brother Julius Logan (J L) married Martha Padgett's sisterLevina in about 1875.  Their brother George B married another sister,Harriet Padgett, in 1876.  That same year William McSwain marriedSarah Lowe, a daughter of an Arkansas family, born in Arkansas.  Itseems likely that they all married in Arkansas.  I would expect theymoved in the early 1870s, since some or all of them were married by1875 in Arkansas.

    The Padgett family, including the three who later marry Katy McSwain'ssons, are in Cocke County, Tennessee, for the 1870 census.  Their postoffice is given as Newport, which is the county seat, though near theborder with Jefferson County, Tennessee.

    I find this interesting, since the McSwains and Padgett's are my wifeEdith's family, and Cocke County is where all the children of mygreat-grandparents Dock Patrick Gregory and Julia Ann ClementineStrange Gregory were born before the family moved to Indian Territoryabout 1895.

    A descendant of George B McSwain comments on P K McSwain and his rolein the Ethel, Arkansas, community.

    "There's something special about Ethel, and I have lots of forebearsburied at Mount Pleasant, just down the road from the intersection. Ilearned yesterday that PK McSwain, buried at Mt. Pleasant, wasprobably the wealthiest one down there and was the first one to own anautomobile, and established a church. I borrowed my sis's copy of theCentennial Album of Belleview Missionary Baptist Church 1884-1984,with lots of photos and the members listed for each year, includingPK's."
    --  Kenneth Wirt McSwain, email to Orville Boyd Jenkins, 27 May 2016

    In the 1880 census Wiley and Lavinia and their children are in Ethel,Arkansas, living next door to Phillip.  Edwin and Judith are living inthe same area a little farther away.  A couple of years later P Kreceived 120 acres of public land as a land grant.

    U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907
    Philip K McSwain
    Issued 30 Jun 1882
    120 Acres
    Arkansas County,:Arkansas
    Township 5-S, Range 1-W, Section 6
    Little Rock Land Office
    Statute May 20, 1862 Homestead Entry Original (12 Stat. 392)
    Document #1850

    In 1900 Edwin's mother Lavinia (Lavina) and her daughter Jane areliving with Phillip.  In 1910 Jane is still single and living withPhillip's daughter Maggie Nolen and her family.

    The 1870 census reports Phillip's age as 21, but the family has anexact birth date for him as 30 January 1847.  This means he shouldhave been 22 at his last birthday 6 months before the 1870 census.The next thing we know, they are all married with children in the 1880census in Prairie Township (Ethel), Arkansas County, Arkansas.

    In 1900, a Lester McSwain, 1 year old, is reported in Phillip'shousehold as a grandson.  This is Cyrus Lester, a child of a daughterwho was born after the 1880 census, and died in childbirth.  We haveno record of her name.  A grandson of Cyrus Lester, Kevin McSwain,tells me Cyrus Lester's mother's name was Tissie (also spelled Tisseyin some families of that era).  I have other details about the familyof Cyrus Lester in his Notes.

    Cyrus Lester, who went by Lester, had a son named Cyrus Lester, Jr,who goes by C L.  Kevin, who gave me information about the descendantsof Lester, is the son of Cyrus Lester, Jr.  In 1910 Lester is stillreported in Phillip's household, as a grandson.  Lester appears withhis wife Mattie as a separate household in 1920.

    1910 Federal Census, Arkansas County, Arkansas, 22 April, PrairieTownship, District 13, page 4A, Hse/Fam #58
    McSwain, Philip  Head  M W 69 Married 36 years NC  NC  NC Farmer
    McSwain, Martha  Wife  F W 67 Married 36 years NC  SC  NC
    McSwain, Lillie M  Dau  F W 22 Single AR NC NC
    McSwain, Ben  Son  M W  4 Single AR NC NC Dry Goods Salesman
    McSwain, Leona E  Dau  F W 18 Single AR NC NC
    McSwain, Lester  Grandson  M W 11 Single AR NC NC

    I note that Lillie is listed before Ben, although the age of Lillieappears to be 22.  This matches the birth year we have for her in1888.  Normally the oldest child is listed first.  Maggie Ella'sgranddaughter gives us a list of all P K and Martha's children andtheir spouses.  This list included one not yet found in other sources,the husband of Lillie, Robert Bostic.  Bostics were another big familyin Cleveland County, North Carolina, with the Padgetts and McSwains.

    The children I show of Phillip McSwain:
    Maggie Ella, married Bedford Forrest Rowland, and Will Porter
    Ada, married Morgan Butler
    Robert P, married Annie Padgett
    Joseph E. (Uncle Joe) married Allie Cook
    Ben D. married Winona Rownd
    Lillie M married Robert Bostic
    Leona E, married Ralph Price
    Lester [grandson], married Eunice Davis
    --  Shirley Rowland Mitchell, email to Orville Boyd Jenkins, 8 April2015

    Kevin McSwain, Lester's grandson, tells us Lester's father was namedJohn McSwain.  It is said John was a cousin of some sort.  He appearsto have been John Allison McSwain, son of John Franklin McSwain andMary G McSwain (maiden name).  After Lester's mother died inchildbirth in 1899, John moved on to Texas and established a familythere, while Lester stayed with his grandfather.

    "Phillip also left him an equal share of his property when he died."
    --  Shirley Rowland Mitchell, email to Orville Boyd Jenkins, 8 April2015

    There is a listing for P K McSwain of Arkansas County in the 1911registry of Confederate Veterans in Arkansas.  No personal informationis available from this.
    McSwain, P.K. - (no personal info) Arkansas

    On 27 May 2016, McSwain cousin Kenneth McSwain said, after a visitback to Ethel and DeWitt,
    "I learned yesterday that PK McSwain, buried at Mt. Pleasant, wasprobably the wealthiest one down there and was the first one to own anautomobile, and established a church. I borrowed my sis's copy of theCentennial Album of Belleview Missionary Baptist Church 1884-1984,with lots of photos and the members listed for each year, includingPK's."
    --  Kenneth McSwain, Facebook comment to Orville Boyd Jenkins, 27 May2016

    There is a grave for both Phillip and his wife Martha E in Mt PleasantCemetery, Ethel, where most of the McSwains are buried.  We also foundgraves for his children Robert and Bennie.

    Date of marriage estimated based on birth date of first child, Joseph,born Nov 18 1879.

    On 15 January 1913, P K wrote his will.  It was an extensive will,with the probate notes and attestations making a 7-page entry in thebook of records.

    Arkansas, Wills and Probate Records, 1783-1998
    Phillip McSwain
    Will dated 15 January 1913 Arkansas County, Arkansas
    Filed 7 Apr 1917 with County Clerk, Arkansas County, Arkansas, USA
    Probate (proven) 16 Apr 1917 Probate Court, Arkansas County, Arkansas
    Recorded 23 April 1917
    Death Abt 1917 Arkansas, USA
    Source Wills and miscellaneous probate records, vol C-D, 1888-1924


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