Civil War Bible of Martin Swick

Bible of Martin Swick

Photo courtesy of Mark D. Green of Occoquan, VA.  Photo of the Bible of Martin Swick

Photo courtesy of Mark D. Green of Occoquan, VA.  Title page of the Martin Swick Bible

In July of 2006 I received an email from Mark D. Green of Occoquan, VA., asking me if I knew anything about the Martin Swick of Rushville, Fairfield Co., Ohio, as well as his wife. "I'm trying to do some research on a Civil War soldier from Fairfield County, Martin Swick. He served with the 126th Ohio regiment and died of wounds received at Spotsylvania in 1864. He is buried in the Alexandria, Va., national cemetery. Several years ago I came into possession of a soldier's pocket New Testament bearing Martin Swick's name...". Intrigued, as I've run into this Martin Swick in my research, I spent the afternoon gathering easily accessible records and sent him the following:

      Name: Martin Swick
      Enlistment Date: 18 August 1862
      Distinguished Service: DISTINGUISHED SERVICE
      Side Served: Union
      State Served: Ohio
      Unit Numbers: 1752 1752
      Service Record: Enlisted as a Private on 18 August 1862 at the age of 38
      Enlisted in Company I, 126th Infantry Regiment Ohio on 11 October 1862.
      Promoted to Full Corporal on 15 April 1863 (Estimated day of Promo)
      Wounded on 12 May 1864 at Spotsylvania Court House, VA
      Died of wounds Company I, 126th Infantry Regiment Ohio on 22 May 1864

      CENSUS: 1850 Richland Twp., Fairfield Co., OH, p 389
      BAKER, Mary, 38 or 30y farmer b OH, $900 real estate
      ", Wm., 22, b OH - no occupation listed for him, can't read or write
      ", Andrew, 9y b OH
      ", Catherine 7y b OH
      SWICK, Martin, 24y laborer b OH
      ", Willm., 20y laborer b OH
      CARSON/CORSON, Wilson, 24y miller b unknown

      CENSUS: 1860 Richland Twp., Fairfield Co., OH, p 70
      SWICK, Martin, 34y carpenter b OH, $30 personal estate
      ", Elizabeth, 27y b OH
      ", James, 9y b OH
      ", Jerome, 6y b OH
      CRONER, Elizabeth, 58y b NJ

      “As you all know, Martin Swick was a member of Company I, 126th Ohio Volunteer Infantry that was organized out of Fairfield County, Ohio. After visiting the National Archives this weekend I found out the following information: He was captured at Martinsburg, VA on 14 June 1863 and was confined at Richmond, VA 23-24 June 1863. Paroled on 8 July 1863, reported to Camp Parole, MD on 9 July 1863. Returned to his Regiment on 5 Oct 1863. He received a gun shot wound in the left shoulder with the ball entering just above the superior angle of scapular, passing downward, forward and outward exiting the body near the anterior surface of the head of the humerous with the ball exiting on the field. He died at 3rd Division Hospital in Alexandria, VA. He was 41 at the time of his death. His wife, Elizabeth (Harper) Swick, filed for a pension on 17 August 1864 and her their two minor children, Emily and John, filed for a pension claim through their legal guardian upon Elizabeth's death in 1873. He was also promoted to Corporal (April 1863) and reduced to Private (April 1864)”.(Sce. SGT Brent Reidenbach, Strength Manager, 325-4504 (DSN 221).

      The above paragraph came from "My Swick Line" by Dennis A. Swick at I was in touch with him many years ago. He was probably one of them that talked to me about Martin Swick. In a marriage index book I have, it shows "Martin Swick" and "Lizer Jane Palmer", 06 November 1848, and the author put in "note from Mary Palmer mother of Lizer Jane not to issue marriage license as Elizer Jane was not seventeen". Hmmm. Now I'm curious. I want to see if there's an Eliza Jane Palmer in 1850 near them... nope, couldn't find one in Richland twp.

      Oh... I did find a marriage entry for a Mary Swick and Conrad Baker 25 Nov 1838... this is probably the Mary Baker that Martin is residing with in 1850.

      An Elizabeth Harper appears on the exact same page as Martin in the 1850 census, so it's probably the correct one. Age agrees with 1860, too:

      CENSUS: 1850 Richland Twp., Fairfield Co., OH, p 389
      HARPER, James, 45y laborer b Mass., can't read or write
      ", Rebecca, 55y b Mass., can't read or write
      ", William, 21y laborer b Mass.
      ", Benjamin 19y laborer b Mass.
      ", Joseph, 19y laborer b Mass.
      ", Elizabeth, 17y b OH
      " Susan F., 14y b OH

It's always interesting to find out where or how these kinds of artifacts turn up, so I asked him how he acquired the Bible.

Years ago a friend of mine came across it in a used bookstore, in the Shenandoah Valley a little west of where I live in Virginia. He knew of my interest in the Civil War and picked it up as a birthday gift.

I saw the ID slip in the front cover and did some checking. Found Swick's grave in Alexandria, which probably was near one of the many army hospitals in and around the capital at the time. On a visit to the Spotsylvania battlefield, which is about 45 minutes south of where I live, I was walking the battlefield and saw a monument to the 126th Ohio, which was heavily engaged in the fighting there. Swick's name was among those on the monument. So that was pretty neat.

On a trip to the archives, I saw the pension records you mentioned. I don't know whether it's significant, but I noticed a document/claim that Elizabeth Swick submitted was required a signature, and she signed with an "X."

BTW, here's the text of the identification slip inside the Bible. It's a pre-printed form with blanks the user can fill in. I'll indicate the parts that were filled in by Swick (or someone on his behalf) in underlined italics. Swick used pencil. Here it is:

Bible House, Baltimore,

December 21, 1863

From the Maryland State Bible Society. To Martin Swick, a Soldier in
Comp'y I 126th Reg. Ohio Vol'rs.

Should I die on the battle field or in
Hospital, for the sake of humanity, acquaint
Elizabeth Swick my wife residing
at East Rushville Fairfield County Ohio
of the fact, and where my remains may be found.

Mark further notes, [This photo] is the identification Swick filled out from the Maryland Bible Society, which he then fastened to the inside of the front cover. On the adjoining page is what looks to be the signature "Piercy A. Lambert," and the words "her book Jan 28, 1866." I take this to have been written by someone who somehow acquired the Bible after Swick's death

Photo courtesy of Mark D. Green of Occoquan, VA.  Photo of the inside front cover of Martin Swick's Bible

Since corresponding with Mark, I've found Elizabeth in the 1870 census:

CENSUS: 1870 Thorn Twp., Perry Co., OH; p 241
SWICK, Elisabeth, 38y keeping house b OH, can't read or write
", John, 9y going to school b OH
", Emma, 7y going to school b OH

In 1880, the now orphaned Emma Swick is possibly the one show below, still in the same township: CENSUS: 1880 Thorn Twp., Perry Co., OH, p 8D
ANDREWS, Frank M., 40y farmer b OH, parents b OH
", Rebecca E., 36y wife keeping house b OH, fa b PA, ma b VA
", Bertha M., 9y dau. b OH
SWICK, Emma V., 18y servant b OH, parents b OH
There is, however, an Emma Swick who married Martin Van Buren Spangler in 1879 Perry Co., Ohio -- however, in searching the 1880 census she is listed as age 21 and doesn't fit the age bracket.
CENSUS: 1880 Thorn Twp., Perry Co., OH, p 40A
SWICK, Jerome, 26y farm laborer b OH, parents b OH, married within census year, can't write
", Sarah, 27y wife keeping house b OH, parents b OH, married within census year
[Jerome Swick m Sarah C. Miller 16 Oct 1879 Perry Co., OH; FHL Batch M514133, Perry Co., OH probate marriages]

The next residence is that of Manly WISEMAN, age 34, and wife Caroline. This is probably the "John M. WISSMAN" listed as the guardian in Martin Swick's pension papers.

I checked at to see if anyone was interested in this specific Martin Swick family, but no gedcoms were posted for them.

Mark D. Green later sent the scanned photos of the Bible shown here on this page. He said that the book is about the size of a 3 x 5 index card. The last photo bearing Martin Swick's signature also has the date of July 4, 1863. As Mark noted, this is the day after the battle of Gettysburg, though Swick's regiment wasn't engaged there. This photo, with his signature, is from the inside rear cover of the Bible.

Photo courtesy of Mark D. Green of Occoquan, VA.  Inside rear cover of the Bible of Martin Swick

An above quoted paragraph from the website of Dennis A. Swick says: "He was 41 at the time of his death". Info elsewhere on his site shows that Martin was born 1826, died May 22, 1864... "mortally wounded at the battle of Spotsylvania Court House, VA., on 12 May 1864". This would make him around 38 years old. The 1850 and 1860 census's also indicate he was born about 1826. His Civil War record states he was 38 when he enlisted August 18, 1862, which would make him born about 1824.

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