Mary Louisa Swain b. 1841

Mary Louisa Swain 4th great aunt on RootsMagic tree

Mary Swain was born December 5, 1841 in Lake, Illinois. She was the third child of Benjamin and Polly Howard Swain. When Mary’s dad Benjamin died her mom Polly remarried and the family moved to Chickasaw, Iowa. In Chickasaw on March 10, 1858 Mary married John Butler of New York.

Butler, John public photo on Ancestry

John Butler shared photo

On August 12, 1862 Mary’s husband enlisted in the Civil War. On September 9, he joined the 27th Iowa Infantry Company G. On February 27, 1864 Mary’s brother William enlisted and March 21, William joined the 27th Iowa Infantry with his brother in law. William died in September of 1864 in Memphis, Tennessee at Fort Pickering. He is buried in the military cemetery that General Sherman established in 1862. Mary’s husband went on to become a Captain of the 27th Iowa Infantry Company G and mustered out August 8, 1865 four months after the end of the war.

Swain, Mary Louise photo shared on Ancestry

Mary Louise Swain shared photo

After the war Mary, John and their children were living in Pleasant Grove Iowa in 1870, Mary kept house, John farmed. In 1880 the family was in Wadena, Minnesota near Mary half brothers, the Montgomerys. In 1900 Mary and family were in Lane, Oregon living on a farm in Richardson Township on the east edge of Oregon, near Siuslaw National Forest. Some of Mary’s Gaines family cousins were already in the area. Mary died in 1905, John in 1923 both are buried in Franklin Cemetery in Franklin, Lane County, Oregon.

Sarah Swain b. 1838

Sarah Swain 3rd great grandmother on RootsMagic tree.

Sarah was born March 19, 1838 in Waukegan, Illinois to Benjamin and Polly Howard Swain, some of the first settlers in the area. Polly was from Kentucky, Benjamin from New England. Benjamin died when Sarah was about 10 and her mom Polly remarried Jacob Montgomery, also a widow then the family moved to Chickasaw, Iowa, where Sarah married William N. Gaines in 1854 at age 16. Sarah and William had children, 5 lived to adulthood. Sarah kept house and helped her husband with farming, running a hotel and being a postmaster. She was active in her church and was known for her generosity and ‘ministering to the sick and the afflicted’. Sarah Ann Swain Gaines is buried at Oakland Cemetery near Janesville. The headstone from 1889 is fading fast. Inscribed: Sarah A. (wife of) Wm N Gaines born Mar 19 1839 died Sep 21 1889. There were probably carvings along the top edge, flowers or swirls and maybe something at the bottom.

Swain, Sarah 1889 obituary“Janesville
Mrs Gaines whose serious illness I have mentioned several times died last Saturday night. Was buried from the house on Tuesday Rev. Hoekyn officiating. In the death of Mrs. Gaines the community has lost one of its most valuable members. Naturally generous and kind her greatest pleasure was in doing good. In ministering to the sick and the afflicted she had but few equals. She leaves a husband and four children to mourn her loss, all of whom were with her at her time of death. Her brother Mr. Montgomery of Wadena Minnesota and her uncles, John and James Howard, from Charles City and Nashua were down to attend the funeral services.”

Swain, Sarah 1889 funeral card

Sarah Gaines d. September 21, 1889


Benjamin Swain b. 1813

Benjamin Paul Swain 4th great grandfather

Benjamin Swain on RoostMagic tree

Benjamin Swain was born about 1813 and married Polly Ann Howard about 1833 maybe in Indiana. By 1835 they were pioneer residents in Lake, Illinois and lived south of Pettibone’s Creek (which some say should have been named Swain Creek). In 1840 Benjamin was appointed Collector (of taxes). In 1844 he purchased land, 61 acres at about $1.25 per acre.

He and Polly had at least 4 children. Benjamin died at age 34 not sure of the cause, he had a will ready. Polly was the executor. She married 2nd Jacob Montgomery, then moved from Illinois to Floyd County, Iowa where daughter Sarah Ann Swain met then married William Newcomb Gaines.

About Benjamin P Swain: “This man was one of the few Americans among the pioneers, and was known to his neighbors as “Yankee” Swain. He was a big, powerful man, of commanding personality, and was respected by the whole community.” Page 463 A History of Lake County, Illinois at HathiTrust bottom of the page .