The Blackwooders

Nelson M Swarthout, PUBLISHER           

Whittier, CA                                 Third Edition                               July/August 2001

Italics indicate comments by the web master, Mark Swarthout. 

Family Profile I

Among the "first timers" at our 2000 reunion in Geneva, N.Y., were Harlowe D. and Marion Iversen from Toledo, Ohio. Harlowe descends from the younger (Barnardus) branch of the family; his great-grandfather arrived in Michigan (as a child) in the 1840's. Harlowe's grandfather opened the first commercial photography studio in Ludington. His father, Gerald Sr., worked in Detroit at the Lincoln plant in World War 1. After the war, Gerald returned to Ludington and became general manager of the Stearns Motor Co. which manufactured Marine Gasoline Engines for fishing tugs and the Coast Guard. The story goes that during Prohibition Gerald sold fast engines to bootleggers plying their trade on the Great Lakes but faster engines to the Coast Guard. Harlowe was born in Ludington in 1926; he and Marion still return there for the summer. They have two sons and three daughters and seven Grandchildren. Harlowe's great-aunt Ethel married a Fleming who gave her the SWARTWOUT-KETELHUYN CHRONICLES as a wedding gift. It seems that Mrs. Fleming's favorite nephew was Harlowe's father Gerald, who later received the volume as a gift.

The webmaster picked up this photo at a flea market, not for the picture, but for the fact that it was from the Swarthout Studio in Ludington, Michigan. Harlowe thinks this could be a picture of a great aunt.

Family Profile II

The late Glendon S. was a native of Pinckney, Mich., who became a writer. He studied at both the Univ. of Michigan (AB and AM degrees) and Michigan State Univ. (Ph D. in 1955). Glendon served as an infantry sergeant in WWII and earned two battle stars. Later he taught literature at the University of Maryland, Mich. State U., and Arizona State U. His literary output consisted of 13 short stories and 23 books, many for children. Amongst the latter was BLESS THE BEASTS AND THE CHILDREN (1970) which sold over 2,000,000 copies. Four of Glendon's books became films including THEY CAME TO CORDURA in 1957 and THE SHOOTIST in 1976. He also collaborated with his wife Kathryn, a magazine columnist and author, in writing six novels for children. In recent years Kathryn has updated one of these, WHICHAWAY, for new release.

Birth of a Swarthout

Add Alexander Lee S. to our family directory. he is the newest Grandson of Harlowe D. Swarthout who is profiled in this issue.

The Map of New York

Regardless of your current residence, most Swarthouts can trace their roots to the state of New York and many to the Finger Lake District circled around the W of N.Y. on this map. As many (or most) of our ancestors were farmers, they were associated with the various counties shown on the map. Your correspondent has traced his forebears to Ulster, Orange, and Ontario Seneca Counties before their migration to Michigan in 1837. Hopefully, you can do the same. Recent family reunions have been held in Ontario County.


Outside of contacts with Kathy Hoeldke and Harlowe S., we have heard from -

Minnesota - Joan S. sent out her own newsletter telling of their (with husband Neil) travels to New England, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Alabama, and Iowa. Sounds like quite a series of trips. She also included a tailoring as from Swarthout & Brown in Ovid, N.Y. date 1841 - very interesting.

Illinois - Gladys Druger has an interesting story about the origin of her name. Maybe she can share it with us at the reunion.

Florida - Victoria Punnett of La Belle writes that she had received a copy of our newsletter from Penny K. and that she's planning on attending our 2002 reunion. Welcome aboard, Victoria.

Mississippi - Penny K. is our computer expert and has come up with two of my namesakes who fought for the Union in the Civil War, one from N.Y. and the other from Illinois. Neither one appears in the CHRONICLES, unfortunately.

New York - Mary R. had several suggestions in her March letter and sent a clipping from the local newspaper, which reported on our 2000 reunion.


The Dutch were the first Europeans to explore Connecticut (1614) and built the first trading post in Hartford. Later they moved west to greener pastures in N.Y. when English settlers started to move in. Otherwise we might be clebrating our 350th in the Constitution rather than the Empire State.

Swarthout Valley

Northwest of San Bernardino, Calif., and off the Cajon Pass Highway (I-15) lies the Swarthout Valley which is 6000' high. The mountain valley of Wrightwood was featured in the July/August edition on Westways, the publication of the Automobile Club of Southern Calif. On a more gruesome note... a local man confessed to killing his Girlfriend and burying her near Swarthout Canyon Road and Lost Lake - this from the Whittier Daily News on July 3.


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Copyright Mark W. Swarthout, 2001
Updated 9/9/2001