Tombstone Tuesday–Frank E. Swander

Frank Swander, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Frank Swander, located in row 10 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:


Franklin “Frank” Emil Swander was born in DeKalb County, Indiana, on 4 August 1889, the son of Emanuel and Frances (Strabie/Strabee) Swander. [1] The Swander family lived on a farm 2 ½ miles north of Garrett, Indiana. [2] This surname is spelled Swanders in many records.

In 1900 the Swander family lived in Richland Township, DeKalb County, and the family consisted of: Emanuel M, 39; Frances S, 37; Herman E, 13; Frank L, 10; Clyde M, 7; Arthur, 4; and Jonathan Swander, 87,who was Emanuel’s father. Emanuel was reportedly born in Indiana and Frances and Jonathan were both born in Pennsylvania. Emanuel and Frances had been married 14 years and Frances had given birth to 4 children, who were all living. Emanuel was a farmer. [3]

The Emanuel Swander family lived in Richland Township in 1910, likely on the same farm. Their household in 910: Emanuel, 49; Frances, 47; Herman, 23; Frank, 21; Clyde, 17; and Arthur, 14. This enumeration indicates that that Frank’s mother Frances had given birth to 5 children and that 4 were still living and that everyone in the household was born in Indiana. [4]

Frank married Laura Schott in Celina, Mercer County, Ohio, on 27 January 1914. Frank was 24 years of age and worked for the railroad. Laura was 25 years of age and was born in Chattanooga, Ohio. She was the daughter of Michael and Margaret (Kühm) Schott. Frank and Laura were married by Rev. F.G. Reitz, an Evangelical Lutheran pastor in Celina. [1]

In 1914 Frank worked as a brakeman for the Pennsylvania Co Railroad in Fort Wayne. He and Laura lived at 1215 Taylor in the city. [5]

Frank and Laura had a son a year later, Glen Franklin, who died of a cerebral hemorrhage injury at birth or shortly thereafter on 26 November 1915. He was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and is buried at Lindenwood Cemetery there. [6] This was the only child the couple had.

In February of 1917 Frank suffered a serious injury while at work on the railroad.

When he was thrown to the ground last evening, from the top of a freight car he was riding, Frank E. Swanders, 27 years of age, and a brakemen for the Pennsylvania, sustained a broken left leg, just above the knee and numerous bruises about the head and body. The string of cars he was standing upon was violently broken in two at the Lafayette street crossing, with the result that the jolt hurled Swanders from the top of the car. Although rendered unconscious by the fall, the unfortunate man regained his senses when removed to the Lutheran hospital. AT noon today he had shown marked signs of recovery. He lives at 2421 Winter Street. [7]

Newspaper accounts indicate that he had a lengthy hospital stay and he eventually lost his left leg.

Frank registered for WWI Draft in June 1917. He was Caucasian; married; born in Garrett, Indiana, on 4 August 1889; lived at 2421 Winter St, Fort Wayne; was slender, tall, not bald, and had brown hair and eyes. He worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad in Fort Wayne. It is also noted that he had lost his left leg. Hand-written on his draft card–Note: Frank E. Swander sick in hospital-card turned in by W.A.J. Schott. The draft card was signed by W.A.J. Schott. [8] This was likely Laura’s brother. Frank was rejected for military service. [9]

In 1920 Frank worked as farm laborer in Noble County, Indiana. He and Laura were the only two people in their household. Frank was 30 and Laura 31. [10]

In 1930 Frank, 41, and Laura, 43, lived in Fort Wayne, where Frank was a tool keeper for a steam railroad. They owned their own home on East Rudisill Blvd and they had a radio. There were no children in their household. [11]

Frank and Laura moved to DeKalb County, north of Fort Wayne sometime between 1930 and 1935. The Frank Swander household in 1940: Frank, 50; Laura, 51; and Walter Schott, 47, single. Walter was Laura’s brother. Frank was the manager and operator of a filling station and Walter was an attendant at the filling station. Frank and Laura had lived in same house 5 years before the census but Walter had lived in Cincinnati 5 years before. [12]

Frank’s wife Laura (Schott) Swander died of pancreatic cancer on 22 June 1943 in DeKalb County. [13]

Frank married Edith (Haifley) Keller in DeKalb County on 11 March 1946. This was the second marriage for both and Edith was divorced. Frank operated a grocery store and Edith worked in a factory. [14] They owned and operated the grocery store south of Auburn for years.

Frank Swander died on 18 June 1961 at Souder Hospital in Auburn, DeKalb County, Indiana. He died from a coronary occlusion which he had suffered two days before. He had suffered with atherosclerotic heart disease for 9 years. His death certificate notes that he lost his left leg in 1917. His wife Edith was the informant for information on his death certificate. He was 70 years of age and his occupation was retired grocer. He lived at 320 W. 18th Street in Auburn. [15]

Frank Swander, Native Of Near Garrett, Dies
Frank E. Swander, age 70, who operated the country grocery store at Hopewell for 27 years, died at 8:35 p.m. Sunday in the Dr. Bonnell M. Souder hospital in Auburn.

Mr. Swander and his wife moved to Auburn 18 months ago after selling the country grocery seven miles south of Auburn. The late residence is at 320 West Eighteenth Street, Auburn.

The body was removed to the Gerig Funeral Home in Auburn. Memorial services by the Loyal Order of the Moose of Auburn were conducted at the funeral home at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

The body remained at the funeral home until it was removed at 11 a.m. Wednesday to the St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Auburn to lie in state until final rites were conducted at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

The Rev. George Schuette, pastor of St. Mark’s Church, officiated at the services with burial in the Lutheran cemetery at Chattanooga, O., 15 miles southwest of Van Wert, O.

Mr. Swander died following an illness extending over the past six years. He had been admitted to the hospital June 10. His death was attributed to a complication of diseases.

A native of DeKalb County, he was born north of Garrett Aug. 4, 1890, son of the late Emanuel Swander and Frances Strebee Swander.

His first wife preceded him in death. In a ceremony performed March 9, 1946, at Fort Wayne, he married Edith Haifley.

She survives with two stepchildren, Harold Keller of Butler and Eloise Funk of Rt. 1, Grabill; two brothers, Clyde Swander of Rt. 1, Pleasant Lake, and Arthur Swander of Rt. 2, Wolcottville and three step-grand children.

Two brothers preceded him in death.

Mr. Swander was a member of the St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Auburn, the Auburn Moose Lodge, and the Legion of the Moose. [16]

Frank is buried next to his first wife Laura. Frank’s second wife Edith (Haifley) died 7 February 2003 in Auburn, Indiana, and is buried in Riverside Cemetery, St. Joe, Indiana. [17]

Neither Frank nor Laura is listed in Zion Chatt’s death and burial records. The only time the couple is mentioned in Zion Chatt’s records (besides Laura’s baptism and confirmation) is when Laura’s niece Lorina Irene Schott was baptized in 1920. Both Frank and Lora were her baptismal sponsors.


[1] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch, Frank E. Swanders & Laura Schott, 27 Jan 1914; Mercer County Marriages, Vol. 10, p.709; FHL microfilm 914959.

[2] Garrett Clipper, Garrett, Indiana, “George J Clark and John Cain Impersonated Officers?” 31 May 1917, p.8;

[3] 1900 U.S. Census, Richland, DeKalb, Indiana, ED 62, p.8A, dwelling 173, family 182, Emanuel M Swander;; FHL microfilm 1240367, NARA microfilm T623, roll 367.

[4] 1910 U.S. Census, Richland, DeKalb, Indiana, Ed 82, p.13A, dwelling & family 267, Emanuel Swander;; FHL microfilm 1374358, NARA microfilm T624, roll 345.

[5] Fort Wayne, Indiana, City Directory, 1914, p.1200, Frank Swanders;; U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

[6] Indiana, Death Certificates, 1910-1919, Roll 2, no.821, Glen Franklin Swanders, 26 Nov 1915;; Indiana State Board of Health, Death Certificates, 1900-2011, Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.

[7] Fort Wayne Daily News, Fort Wayne, Indiana, “Pennsy Brakeman Injured,” 28 Feb 1917, p.7;

[8] World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Allen County, Indiana, Board 3, Frank E Swanders, 5 June 1917;; WWI Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, NARA, Washington DC, M1509, roll 1503886.

[9] The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, Indiana, “Rejected,“14 Aug 1917, p.5;

[10] 1920 U.S. Census, Swan, Noble, Indiana, ED 146, p.1B, dwelling & family 20, Frank Swanders;;  NARA microfilm T625, roll 459.

[11] 1930 U.S. Census, Fort Wayne, Allen, Indiana, ED 45, p.28A, dwelling 57, family 60, Frank E Swander;; FHL microfilm 2340310, NARA microfilm T626, roll 575.

[12] 1940 U.S. Census, Jackson, DeKalb, Indiana, ED 17-8, p.11A, line 35, frank Swander;; NARA microfilm T627, roll 1036.

[13] Indiana, Death Certificates, 1943, Roll 7, no.18142, Laura Swanders, 22 June 1943;; Indiana State Board of Health, Death Certificates, 1900-2011, Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.

[14] “Indiana Marriage, 1811-2007,”, Frank E   and Edith L Keller, 11 Mar 1946; DeKalb County Marriages, Vol. 38 , p.511, FHL microfilm 1863340.

[15] Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011, Year 1961, Roll 8, Frank E Swander, 18 Jun 1961;; Indiana State Board of Health, Death Certificates, 1900-2011, Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.

[16] Garrett Clipper, Garrett, Indiana, “Frank Swander, Native of Near Garrett, Dies,” 22 Jun 1961, p.1;

[17] Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011, Year 2003, Roll 3, Edith L Swander, 7 Feb 2003;; Indiana State Board of Health, Death Certificates, 1900-2011, Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.

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