Saturday, July 18, 2009

Grandma Swain

I have talked a bit about my Grandpa Swain and now it is time to talk a bit about Grandma Swain. She was born Annie Hogan 06 December 1888 in Irwinville Georgia. Her parents are John Wesley Hogan and Clora Aurora Porter. Grandma was the eldest of 11 girls and all but one made it to adulthood. She married George William Perry Swain on 15 February 1906.

I wish I had great pictures, but the old pictures have deteriorated. This is Grandma with her hair down. She is wearing a maternity dress.

Grandma Swain with her hair down

I remember being a child and watching Grandma sit on her hassock and comb her hair. Her hair was mostly black then with a bit of white. Sitting there on the hassock her hair would almost brush the floor. Grandma slept with her hair plaited into two pigtails. She would carefully unplait her hair and comb through it each morning. If she found a frizzy or broken end she would burn it. She never cut her hair. It was a sin in her eyes to cut her hair. So a match would be lit to take care of the frizzy or broken ends.

Grandma was very religious and attended church whenever she was able. She read her scriptures every morning after dressing for the day and combing her hair. If we were visiting I would sit on the arm of her chair and listen to her as she read the scriptures aloud.

She had little bits of life and death tucked into her bible. She had everyone's birthday written on a piece of paper and tucked in between the pages. Obituaries, engagements and wedding clippings were also tucked inside. A flower sometimes was pressed between the pages. I now have Grandma's bible, but all the little bits placed between the pages are gone. The cover is falling off... it is safely tucked away in an acid-free environment.

Grandma was just a perfect grandma. She always had tea cakes for us when we came to visit. She sent us birthday cards... they always had a dime taped inside. To us a dime was a lot of money. But those dimes did not come off the cards until we were adults. When I graduated high school she sent me a card with a dollar check inside. I still treasure the card.

I was so scared when I went to cash the check... I had never done such a thing before. Mama showed me where to endorse the check and I shyly went to the teller's window and cashed it. I saved the dollar and later in the year the dollar helped me... along with other cash I received as graduation gifts... to purchase a very warm coat off the clearance rack at Penney's. I think the coat was $15. Why did I need a very warm coat in Georgia? Well Frank and I married in August and Frank joined the Army in October. We were going to Virginia where the winters are much colder.

When we visited Grandma as children she would have us roll her crochet string off the cones into balls. Grandma crocheted and tatted. Sometimes she would cut pieces of the string and teach us string tricks... I'm afraid I don't remember how to do them any more... cat's cradle, Jacob's ladder, grandpa chewing tobacco and many others.

She let us look at Grandpa's stereographs. The stereoscope was similar to this one. The stereographs were fun to look at. There were pictures of many places all over the world.

I started genealogy research many years ago. I wish I had started sooner. I could probably have gotten a lot of interesting stories from Grandma.

In my research of the Hogan line I came across the following newspapers article.

The Irwin County Courier

Nazery Shot Hogan at Bone Lake

On last Sunday about 2:30, at Bone Pond, four miles west of here Mr. John Hogan, a prominent man of this county, received a painful, if not fatal; pistol shot wound, at the hands of Jake Nazery. This was the culmination of a trouble that has been existing between these parties for about a year. Sometime last fall Mr. Thomas Marshall stole Mr. Hogan’s fourteen year old daughter and started for Irwinville to get married. They were overtaken, however, by Mr. Hogan and his friends and the girl was taken away from young Marshall. Trouble was only prevented then by their friends. Yesterday was their first meeting since then and this old trouble was renewed, when Mr. Hogan and Marshall came to blows. Hogan had Marshall down and was administering a sever beating when Nazery, who was a friend of Marshall, ran up and drew his pistol. Mr. Hogan seeing this, let go of Marshall and knocked down Nazery, who immediately fired upon him. He shot him three times only one bullet hitting him, which struck him in the leg just below the thigh.

Don't you love the way they wrote back then. Grandma is the only girl that fits this age, so this story is of my grandma. Mama tells me that her granddaddy was a large man... over 6 feet tall.

The Hogans owned land that was next to Bone Pond. The land passed through Clora Aurora Porter Hogan's mother, Penelope Ann Prudence (nee Stanley) Porter. Bone Pond is nowadays known as Crystal Lake.

Here is the youngest photo I have of John Wesley Hogan.
John Wesley Hogan

I wonder how he managed to survive raising all those girls?

I did not find a marriage certificate in Irwin county for my Grandma and Thomas Marshall. I did find one in nearby Wilcox county dated 19 July 1902. It does not show them as being married. It only showed that they had applied for a license.

I would have loved to have heard what really happened from Grandma.

Here are a few more pictures I have of Grandpa and Grandma Swain.

Taken sometime in the 1940s
Grandpa & Grandma Swain - ca 1940s

Grandma & Grandpa Swain - ca 1940s

On the back of the original photo of the one below was stamped 1947.
Grandpa & Grandma 1947

As far as I know... Grandma made all her dresses. Sometimes when we went to visit she would be cutting a pattern out newspaper. She would look in a catalog and see a style she liked and would draw the pattern out on newspaper, cut and sew the dress together. It was a talent that I did not inherit :-(

Grandma liked colors of lilac and burgundy. She also liked navy blue. Dressing up meant a hat. There are tables and chairs in the background of the above photo, so it was probably a special occasion or a church social.

A picture of Grandma at one of her birthday celebrations. I want to say it was her 75th birthday, but am not sure.
Grandma Swain Birthday - ca mid 1960s

Frank often catches me looking like this in photos. Where you are in deep thought.... or your mind just wandering.

When we visited and ate a meal with Grandma and our family was the only one visiting I would get to sit on the bench at the table with Grandma. She always said something to me... never ignored me.

I wish I had pictures of the bench and the chairs.... Grandpa made them and they were beautiful.

In the late 1960s all five of us Zees went to visit Grandma. We cooked supper together. Fried chicken was the main dish. While turning a piece of chicken the grease popped onto the tip my finger and burned me. Grandma told me to rub butter on it. I told her that they now said that was not the thing to do. As she crinkled her nose and broke into laughter she said that sticking my finger in my nose would stop the burning too . I told her I would just run my finger under cool water :-)

Frank did get to meet Grandma Swain. She worked her special talent on him. Grandma could rub away warts... and they wouldn't come back. It took a few sessions sometimes, but it always worked. I can still see Frank sitting there and laughing as he talked with Grandma.

Grandma passed away on 04 March 1972. Frank and I lived at Ft. Benning Georgia at the time. We made it to the visitation, but not to the funeral. So I do not know what hymns were sang. Grandma did like the song The Old Rugged Cross and she liked Tennessee Ernie Ford.



  1. Zaroga - this was so interesting to read. Your grandma's hair was so pretty. I like that you remember her tea cakes and the dimes she taped to your bday cards. My grandma used to cut patterns out of newspaper too! Thank you for sharing your memories and the lovely hymn.

  2. Zaroga, first off, thanks for the lovely comment on my recent post. It took me a long time to get another dog after losing one many years ago. I just thought that I was not ready. then when my daughter started to beg for one, I figured the time had come cuz she was old enough to care for him. And that is when Cody came along to us. It seems as if it was just the right moment for just the right dog, so you are wise to wait! There will be a sign when the dog for you has come along! :-)

    As for this post, FANTASTIC! Brings back so many memories of my grandma in IL, and the summers that we spent visiting with her there and all of my dad's sisters. My grandma used to tape dimes to our birthday cards too, so that memory of yours was a lovely one for me to remember too. I just love your grandma's long hair! My grandma's wasn't quite as long, but I remember her braiding it and piling it on top of her head, and when I was little I thought that I would love to have my hair the same way when I grew up! A lovely tribute to your Grandma. And don't we all wish that we had started our family ancestry sooner, enabling us to ask the people while they were still with us! have a good weekend, Debby

  3. Zaroga,

    I thought you and your Grandma resembled in that first picture! Her hair was! What great memories you have of her! She sounds like a fun Grandma!


  4. So lovely to hear of your loving relationship with your Grandma. I adored my Gran and all my life have wanted to be like her. It's because of her that I so love being a grandmother. We have been blessed, I think.

  5. What a lovely tribute to such a lovely lady! Running away to get married at 14? What spunk. With her hair down? What a looker!! How blessed are those of us that have such memories. You have caused me to reflect on my own grandma and smile:)

  6. What a fun enjoyable read. I love it how her hair was so long. I have never been able to grow my hair hardly past my shoulders.

  7. Awww Zaroga! I love this, and it reminds me of my own grandmother, and how I look just like her you resemble her. Mine also sewed her own clothes until she could not use a needle or the machine anymore...I remember mine putting on her lipstick in the mirror, and I think she got that from working a part time job to keep her busy at Stricklands Department Store in Fort Worth...

  8. What a marvelous story! I really love your memories like this! I really need to post more of my memories for Charli! I WILL do this in your honor!

  9. That was a great post. I really enjoyed reading about your grandmother and seeing the pictures. Interesting how she took care of her hair.

  10. I enjoyed reading about your grandma. I had posted on my blog a little about my grandmother. Yours sounds similar to mine. I can still taste those wonderful tea cakes. Grandmother also crocheted and tatted. My paternal grandmother had one of the viewers and my sister got it when grandmother died. I remember visiting her and the first thing we always wanted to do was go to the cabinet and get out the viewer and look at the cardboard pictures.
    I wish I had my grandmothers back to ask them so many questions that I did not even know to ask when they were alive.

  11. I enjoyed reading this! I love the old ways they had back then. My grandmother kept all sorts of things in her Bible too.

    Thanks for sharing!


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