Many young men from Fairview were caught up in the Civil War. Some of the families represented in the various regiments were Brindle, Caughey, Ferguson, Glazier, Irwin, Sceivis, Weidler, Werntz and many more. One of the earliest families to settle in Fairview Township was that of Captain Richard and Catherine (Boggs) Swan. Their son John saw three of his six sons involved in the `war in some way. Andrew F. and Eugene B. were serving in battle units. A third son, Charles J., was doing business in the south when the war began. He was arrested in Mississippi and transported to a prison in Atlanta. His escape was harrowing and left him “broken in health,” according to the 1884 history of Erie County. He was able to return home but did not recover enough to lead a productive life. Eugene survived the war, but after returning home Andrew led a life of pain due to his war injuries.
Andrew’s military career was quite spectacular. He enlisted as a private in the Sixth Regiment US Regular Cavalry in July 1861 and by the time he “was compelled to resign” due to his wounds, he had earned the rank of Lt. Colonel. He fought in 101 skirmishes and battles and in 1863 was transferred to the 16th Cavalry. At the Stony Creek (Virginia) Raid in December 1864, he “commanded the Sixteenth Cavalry in person.” He was able to serve one term as county sheriff after the war but died in 1876. His death was hastened by the pain resulting from his wounds. (The portrait at left was painted by his sister Eliza.)
Two young men, then, living in the same household, were broken by the Civil War. Their mother Eunice had died in 1855. Left to care for them were a father plus the sisters and brothers who remained at home. John and Eunice had 12 children, with one, Henry H. dying in childhood. The others were Lucinda, Eliza, Harriet, Lavinia, Adelaide, Henry C., Josephine, and Clayton F. It would appear through Fairview cemetery records that only Henry C. and Clayton F. were married. No further record is available about Lavinia or Eugene.
Letters have been donated to the historical society which indicate that sister Harriet (Hattie) was the responsible person who remained at home long after the others had moved on with their lives. Some of the movement of the other siblings occurred during and after the war when government jobs became available. At some point Henry, Josephine and Eliza all went to Washington, D.C. to work.
Adelaide also remained at home but died of health issues in 1867. And so, in this Swan household, it was a daughter, Hattie, who held the family together. She tended two war-damaged brothers (Andrew died in 1876 and Charles died in 1877) and an aging widowed father (John died in 1878). Her brother Clayton was too young to volunteer when the war began and remained at home to care for the farm. (The featured picture is the front of the Swan Tavern. John operated it as a hotel for several years then returned to farming the land.)
Hattie was an unsung heroine, as many women were who received battered, broken men home from the war. They were mothers, wives, sisters and daughters who were not recognized as war survivors but whose “service” was vital to our country’s healing.
To Hattie, then, and to all Fairview women like her – after any war – goes this week’s tribute to Fairview’s Outstanding Women.