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 Jane C 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.20,21,22,23,24,25,6,26,27

16th Mar 1899

Death of Tissie MCSWAIN in Ethel, Arkansas, Arkansas.28,29,8

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.3,7,6


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.3,4,14,15

12th May 1922

Birth of son Henry Durward MCSWAIN in Logan County, Arkansas.16,14,17,18,6,19

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 is reported to have moved to Texas and married there.

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

    The brother John matches the John McSwain reported by a cousin line of McSwains from Arkansas County, Arkansas, who was the father of Cyrus Lester McSwain.  Cyrus' mother died at or soon after his birth in 1899,  The family remembers that the parents were cousins and were not married.

    In January 2007, Cyrus Lester' grandson Kevin told me that his 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 had found, it was not clear who John McSwain was.

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

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

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

    In initial family research done by Bobby Butler on the McSwains of Ethel, Bobby reports some names not found in the censuses.  From the records of Belleview Baptist Church, Bobby found several individuals with 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 the significance of the year he shows by each name:  born this year, baptized in this year, joined this year, mentioned in a business meeting, prayer request or news?

    In the 1900 census, John was reported in Delta County, Arkansas, in the northeast corner west of Texarkana.  He is boarding with a family there.

    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 KY Farmer Owns
    Mansell, Lou A Wife W F Jan 1875  25 Married 6 years 4 children/4 living 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 Bessie Weaver on 29 Jun 1902 in Delta County.  This is also the date a genealogy reports for the marriage of John Allison McSwain to Vessie Estelle Weaver.  John registered for the WWI draft under his full name of John Allison McSwain and gives the name Vessie McSwain for his contact. See this genealogy below, along with the transcription of his WWI 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 genealogy below reports they were married in Crossroads, Texas.  There is an official town and post office named Cross Roads in Denton County, north of Dallas. But in Delta County, there is also an informal community calls Crossroads, which would reconcile the official record and the genealogy.  Interestingly, however, the Texas Historical Commission summary reports it is "a small black community."

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

    One genealogy identifies John as John Allison McSwain.  Little documentations provided for the details provided.  But they cite the WWI draft registration, which was filled out in Paris, Arkansas, in Logan County near Ft Smith.  This document reports his birth date as 22 Oct 1873.  This is not too troubling, since the 1900 census is usually 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 [Delta County], Texas
    --  Martin & Ritch,

    The genealogy matches the Texas marriage record date reports that John was married in Texas in 1902, matching the family story and the move of his family there.  No documentation is provided, but the full name of the wife is reported, which matches the first name reported in the WWI draft registration.  They report he died in Oklahoma.  The year 1938 conflicts with the family memories reported by Kevin McSwain that John died in the mid 60s.  So this John may not be the correct one as the father of Cyrus McSwain in Arkansas County, Arkansas in 1899.

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

    Vesta is a name we know.  I have an aunt named Vesta.  As in many records of the late 1800s and the first half of the 1900s, especially in rural counties of the US, nicknames were the common form of name in censuses.  This trend increases as you move west from the early colonies to the frontier.  From census reports of the birth sates of the children, we can tell that after Gussie was born, they moved to Arkansas about 1905.  Note that John's parents are now both reported as 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 AL AL
    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 stump article mentions Chismville:  "Chismville is an unincorporated community in Washburn Township, Logan County, Arkansas, United States."
    --  "Chismville, Arkansas," Wikipedia,,_Arkansas

    When he registered for the WWI draft, John signed with the full name John 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.  Their first child, Gussie, is reported in at least one genealogy as a boy named William August.  And in 1910, he was reported as William A.  But Gussie is clearly reported as a girl in the 1920 census.  Since Gussie is normally a girl's name, we can understand how the enumerator could misunderstand as he wrote down the list of children.

    1920 Federal Census, Logan County, Arkansas, 6 January, Revilee Township, 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 to Beckham 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 NC Cotton Farmer
    McSwain, Bessie [Vessie] Wife F W 44 First married at age 19 [abt 1923] 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, Elk City, 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)
    Ruby M McSwain Sullins 1905-1992
    Jewel Rebecca McSwain Loyd 1907-1953
    John Edwin McSwain 1912-1968
    Burial Fairlawn Cemetery, Elk City, Beckham County, Oklahoma
    Created by Cokeman2 Dec 18, 2011
    --  Find A Grave Memorial # 82101396,

    After John passed away in 1938, his family stayed together, even after Allen married.  In the 1940 cernsus, Allen has married and is reported as the head of the McSwain household, with his mother and brother in the 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 in 1935 Farmer [b abt 1938]
    McSwain, Mariam N Wife M W 22 Married Grade 6 b Oklahoma Rural Beckham County OK in 1935 [b abt 1918]
    McSwain, Vessie Mother F W 55 Widow Grade 6 b Alabama Same house in 1935 [b abt 1885]
    McSwain, Henry D Brother M W 17 Single Grade 8 b Arkansas Same House in 1935 No Occup [b abt 1923]

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


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