Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Jacob Schwerin--Lost Son Found

Earlier, I wrote about Jacob E. Schwerin (born 1855), my sister-in-law's third great grandfather, who was from Sumter, South Carolina but did not appear on any of the many online family trees for the one Schwerin family from Sumter--that of Julius and Caroline Schwerin and their children.  There are many mentions of Jacob Schwerins and J.E. Schwerins in South Carolina in the 1870s and 1880s, but I wanted to find something definitively linking him to Julius and Caroline.

There were several things that I was able to find that alluded to Jacob's being a son of Julius and Caroline Schwerin.
The Watchman & Southren, November 13, 1883

The Watchman & Southren, December 30, 1884
In 1883 and 1884, there were multiple news notices about land to be sold in Sumter on which Caroline (and, before his death, Julius) Schwerin had lived which would impact Hermon/Harmon (a known son of Julius and Caroline) and Jacob E Schwerin.  This implies that Jacob was quite likely also a son of Julius and Caroline.

Source: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=SJ4FAAAAQAAJ&rdid=book-SJ4FAAAAQAAJ&rdot=1
In the Forty-Fifth Congress in 1877, there was an investigation into election fraud/tampering in Sumter.  Harmon Schwerin was accused being on of several Democrats who threatened African American voters.  There are hundreds of pages of testimony, but one is of particular interest in to connecting Jacob to the rest of the Schwerins:

Source: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=SJ4FAAAAQAAJ&rdid=book-SJ4FAAAAQAAJ&rdot=1

A brother of Harmon, "J.E. Schwerin" is mentioned.  This is quite possibly Jacob--and is not any of the siblings of Harmon found in the 1860 or 1870 census.

Jacob then stops being mentioned in South Carolina (which makes sense since he was married in Baltimore in 1884 and lived in that city ); the next mention of him which I found in that state was in 1899 when J.E. Schwerin of Baltimore visited his mother and brother "J.A. Schwerin" in Sumter.  (Recall that Jacob and Amelia had married in Baltimore in 1884.)  Julius had died in 1875, and Caroline did not die until 1904; they also had a son Julius Abraham Schwerin, so this does imply that Jacob was, indeed, a child of Julius and Caroline.
The Watchman & Southren, November 8, 1899
This article implies that he had not been home for a visit since around 1885 (shortly after his marriage) and that he had left Sumter around 1874--around when someone with his name appears in Wedgefield.  This isn't absolute proof that these are all the same individual, but it's compelling evidence.

What I hoped would be the final proof arrived in the mail this week:  Julius Schwerin's probate documents.  Unfortunately it turns out that Julius died without a will, so his wife Caroline appealed to become administrator of the will.  It also only mentions their children above age 21--and Jacob was only 20 when Julius died.

However, I think the preponderance of the evidence, particularly the newspaper article about J.E. Schwerin of Baltimore's visit, prove that Jacob E Schwerin was, indeed, a son of Julius and Caroline Schwerin--contrary to all of the online family trees.


  1. You mean that online family trees are wrong??!! What is the world coming to?