Surname Saturday - Swinford

Surname Saturday

For my first Surname Saturday post I'd like to share the Swinford surname from my family tree. According to the Ancestry website, the Swinford surname has the following origins.

English: habitational name from places called Swinford in Oxfordshire and Leicestershire, from Kingswinford in Staffordshire, or from Old Swinford in Worcestershire, named with Old English swin ‘swine’, ‘hog’ + ford ‘ford’.

The Swinford line of my family, we believe, goes back to England. I haven't yet documented the origin source as of yet. Still on the hunt. My early Swinford ancestors in America though migrated from South Carolina, to Tennesse, to Missouri, to Oklahoma. My closest male ancestor with the Swinford surname was Jonathan J. Swinford, born 26 JUNE 1852 in McMinn County, Tennessee. His daughter, Della Mae Swinford was my maternal great grandmother. She was born 13 MAY 1888 in Vandalia, Audrain, Missouri. They are both buried in Wellston, Oklahoma, in Wellston Cemetery. Jonathan's father, my 3x great grandfather, was James Swinford, who was born in 1830 in McNairy County, Tennessee. James died in 1863 as a prisoner of war in Alton Military Prison in Alton, Illinois.

So that is a little history of my family tree's Swinford line and origins. Below is a photo of my great grandmother, Della Mae (Swinford) Kephart.

Della Mae Swinford Kephart Surname Saturday

Wednesday's Child - Leona Mae Bigham

For this Wednesday, instead of sharing 'Wisdom' from my ancestors I thought I'd share a photo for another new feature, Wednesday's Child. This week's photo is of Leona Mae Bigham. This photo was taken in 1924, when Leona was about four months old.

Leona Mae Bigham
Leona was my paternal grandmother's sister, born 31 January 1924 in Kansas. She was my great aunt, and my grandmother was Mable Louise (Bigham) Testorff. She was quite an adorable baby.

It Must Be Love

One of my regular features on the blog is going to be called Forget Me Not Friday. This will be a Friday feature to highlight photos of my ancestors and share a little information about them and/or the photo as well. First up for this week is a photo of my paternal grandparents, Leonard Freemont Testorff and Mable Louise (Bigham) Testorff.

Leonard and Mable Testorff Forget Me Not
My grandmother gave me the photo, dated November 1940. She told me that this photo was taken on the day that they became engaged. They would marry on 01 February, 1941, in Columbus, Cherokee County, Kansas. It must have been true love too, because only in death did they part.

They were amazing grandparents, even though we lived across the country from each other for most of my life. I count them as one of my greatest blessings in life.

Susan Kephart - How to Lift the Mortgage

This week's Wisdom Wednesday features a letter written in 1915 by my 2nd great grandmother, Susan Eleanor (Templeton) Kephart, wife of Alexis Elihu Kephart. Susan and Alexis were prominent farmers for over 30 years, and they both won various prizes and awards for their farming, which I will highlight in other posts later on. But for today, I wanted to share a bit of wisdom from Susan by way of this letter, written as part of a writing contest for women that was featured in the Farmer's Champion newspaper of Elgin, Oklahoma in May of 1915. It is entitled, How to Lift the Mortgage

Susan Eleanor Kephart
How to Lift the Mortgage Letter by Susan Kephart
I don't know the results of the writing contest, so I'm not sure if Susan won or not. But I won when I found this article, because it gave me some wonderful insight into the mind of my great, great grandma Susan. She was smart and tough and very well-spoken, and she was dedicated to being the best farm wife she could possibly be. I'll share more about Susan in future posts. She is indeed one of my favorite ancestors.

Alanson Hayes Family Bible

For my first Tuesday Treasure post I thought it would be perfect to share with you one of my favorite family heirlooms: The Alanson Hayes Family Bible.

Alanson Hayes BIble

 Type: Family Bible
Title: A Hayes Family Bible
Periodical: The Holy Bible, containing The Old and New Testaments
Publication: B. Waugh and T. Mason for the Methodist Episcopal Church
at the Conference Office, 200 Mulberry Street, New York, 1834

Hayes Family Bible Page

 This Bible belonged to my 4th great grandparents, Alanson Hayes, Sr. and Rhoda (Slater) Hayes. Alanson was born in Granby, Connecticut on 17 April 1781. Rhoda was born on 23 May 1788 in Guilford, Vermont. They were married 13 August 1801 (per the Bible) in Guilford, Vermont.

Alanson Hayes and Rhoda Slater Hayes

This Bible was preserved by the Kephart and Hayes families and gifted to Carolyne (Kephart) Gould in 2002 by Don Drozdenko, also a descendent of Ormand Kephart (who was son-in-law of Alanson). At Christmas, 2003, this Bible was placed in my keeping, as the daughter of Carolyne Gould.

The Hayes Family Bible contained a few little treasures, including a short piece of material marking the Book of Isaiah, Chapters 34, 35 and 36. There was also a piece of roughly-torn paper marking the Book of Ezekiel, Chapters 27 to 29. A folded snowflake was near the front of the book, made from old advertising.

Snowflake from Hayes Bible

Hidden within a piece of muslin was a small (about 1-1/2 by 2 inches) photograph. On the back is written the words "View from Chimney Rock." A friend of my mom's from North Carolina says the photo was taken from Chimney Rock, NC, viewing a river that no longer exists due to construction of a dam. In the distance is a mountain that is said to be the home of the "Little People."

Chimney Rock Pic in Hayes Bible

The Bible also contained the Quarterly Meeting ticket for Alanson Hayes from the Methodist Episcopal Church. This ticket could have belonged to either Alanson Hayes Sr or Jr. Ormand Kephart's name appears on the back of this ticket, so it's possible that the Bible was passed down to Alanson's daughter, Ann Amanda, my 3rd great grandmother, wife of Ormand.

Alanson Hayes Church Ticket in Bible

There was also a newspaper clipping of a poem, apparently a reprint from "The Ohio Farmer" that was found. And just today I was looking at the Bible again and another poem tucked in the Book of St. John Chapter VI, and a Sacred Song clipping in the Book of II Samuel.

Hayes Family Bible Poems

When I stop and think about the fact that I have a Bible that is 182 years old--and that it belonged to my 4th great grandparents, it amazes me. It has definitely seen better days and it's quite delicate, so I have only handled it a few times since my mother gave it to me. It is truly a treasure to me. I think the only thing that would make it more precious to me is if I had a photo of Alanson and Rhoda Hayes to go along with it. Maybe one day. Even without the photo though this is one heirloom I will continue to treasure until my last breath.

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