Thursday, 13 February 2014

Lillian Mary Johnson Sweigard

Hello All!    it's FEBRUARY! 

It's me; True! again.

I'm going to make this Short and Sweet. I will be travelling to my "Ancestral Home" of Alabama to bury my Mother's Sister. My African American side. So please bear with me. I will add to this later.

It's very challenging when you are grieving and have to keep your daily responsibilities up. I haven't been much in the mood to write as of late. After I get past a few things in the next couple days. My tears will turn to joy and I will get up to task of writing again. I'm just in a lull right now.

I wanted to introduce you all to my Maternal Grandmother!

                                              "LILLIAN MARY JOHNSON SWEIGARD" 

 Lillian Mary Johnson was born on Tuesday, October 30, 1905, in Newville, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. Her  Father was, Joshua William Sharpe Johnson, he was 26. Her Mother, Cora Agnes Rebecca Watson, was 22. 

She was 1 out of 6 children. Her brother William Levi 1904, "Grandma Lillian" 1905, Russell Luther 1907, Dorothy "Aunt Dot" 1910, Rosanna Jane 1914, Viola Catherine 1917. 

She had one child with a man with the last name of  Carpenter in 1925. Geraldine. 

 She then married Harry Clayton Sweigard in 1932. My "Grandpa Harry". They had one child together in 1948.  My "Mother" Sharon

Grandma Lillian passed away on November 27, 1971, in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, at the age of 66.  I was 3 years old.

Lillian Mary Johnson Sweigard

In 1910, Lillie Johnson was 4 years old and lived in Newville, Pennsylvania with her father, mother, and 2 brothers. They are on LINE 22-26. Grandpa Sharpe was working on the railroad.

1910 Census of Lillian in Newville with Parents and Sibs

Newville is the kind of sleepy town full of Mom and Pop's and where people know people. Mostly a Generational family type of town. Like the Walton's if you please. Grandma Lillian's line goes all the way back to William Watson from what I have researched. Watson's have been there since the Revolutionary War. This is my Irish Line. Her Mother Cora's family has been there as well. 

That line goes back to "My Patriot" Johann Nicholaus Barrick born August 2, 1761 in Cumberland County and died July 20th, 1844 in Cumberland County, Pa. He is my 5th Great Grandfather. 

 I only have his Father's name of Henry Berg/Berk. No Mother's name. He married Anna Maria Lambert/Lambertie.

I've only been told stories about Grandma Lillian. I still have to interview my Mother more while she is still in good health and good memory.

My African American Grandparents would tell me because the 60's were so rocky even in Pennsylvania. They would have to sneak and let Grandma Lillian see me. Grandpa Harry was still leary. My Paternal GrandParents would tell me how they would call her and let her know they were gonna be at Sears that day and what time. Sears was by Grandma Lillian's house. She would go and act as she would normally as to shopping. Then she would slowly come up to my Dad who would be holding me then. Strike a conversation about how Pretty of a baby you have Sir. Daddy said she would hold my little hand and gaze and coo at me and I would just look between her and him. 

I wish I could see her in my big eyes. I wish I could smell Grandma Lillian. No one knew I would only have 3 little years with her off and on. 

Mom would tell me also how she would sneak to call late at night or during the day when she could and ask Mrs. Lewis is there anything TrueAnn needs? No, Ms. Sweigard she is doing fine. Don't worry and begin to tell her little things I might of been doing through the week. 

Mom said once she called about a white fur coat she saw at the big department store, she wanted me to have and Mom talked her out of it. Saying, I would get so many things on that. Your spoiling the child. They would laugh. I know Grandma Lillian wanted me to have the best. I still have the white lace dress with a pink bow after my Grandparents passed. They still kept the dress for me to have as Woman now. Every time I would go home I would ask my Parents. Mom where is the dress Grandma Lillian gave me? "She'd say in the back closet", Go! Look at it. I'm still saving it for you! and her and Daddy did.
White Lace Dress

She was tough lady with her Irish bit in her, but she was sentimental. These are the accounts about her that I wish to talk to my Mom about. 

My other gift is her China punch bowl set in it's original box from Anchor Landing. I'm about to put it in a hutch now that I have a Home of my own now. That was saved for me as well. I love it. 

Also I have my most cherish gift which is my baby Rocking Chair.......Grandma Lillian bought that for my Grandma Lewis to rock me in. I have kept that chair in my baby room and then when I moved from my nursery that was through my Parents room and graduated to my Tween room it went with me down the hall. Well...I have that rocking chair in my Grandbaby's room at my House now. Mom always told me you take care of that chair, it was my job every saturday to dust it down and make sure nothing got on it or to break it. 

My baby Rocking Chair

This Spring I plan to meet my DNA cousins who are Grandchildren of Grandma Lillian's siblings. I hope my Mom will show me new pictures and I hope there is one of me and Grandma Lillian together. My Aunt is suppose to give me her Bible.  I wonder what treasures I'll find in there?

I'm so grateful My Grandparents saved those things for me.

 Grandma Lillian is part of who I am. My Grandparents kept her memory and presence near me. It's those little things that they did that they knew would make a world of a difference to me later in life.... So it has.

They say you can never miss something you never had. Well... I do miss my Grandma Lillian. I love my Grandma Lillian. 

See ya Soon!

Best Regards, 

 *1. Cumberland County was first settled by a majority of Scots-Irish immigrants who arrived in this area about 1730. English and German settlers constituted about ten percent of the early population. The settlers originally mostly devoted the area to farming and later developed other trades.

*1.  REFERENCE:  Wayland F. Dunaway, The Scotch-Irish of Colonial Pennsylvania; University of North Carolina Press, 1944, p. 60.


  1. True, this is a lovely story. It is wonderful that you have that special connection. Yes you must talk more to your Mum and find out all you can as she obviously cared for you greatly.

    1. Thank You Diane. I'm anxious to visit with her this Spring. I know Grandma Lillian would be so Happy to see me all Grown up.

  2. So sorry to hear of your loss, True.

    Thank you for posting your story at this trying time for you.

    1. We are a large family. We will pull together for my Cousins. Thanks For your Thoughts.

  3. A beautiful tribute to your gran. written with such feeling at a time most poignant for you.

    1. My Aunt Nettie is a Grandma so many times and it made me think of my Own at this time. Aunt Nettie was so Good to me.

  4. True, I see your love for you grandma in every word you chose for her story. You have shown the power of how life and love lives in the heart and we never lose those spiritual footprints. Stay well.

    1. Thank You Tina....So many memories. We keep them alive as well. Thanks for stopping by. It's appreciated. I wish I had more time with her.

  5. My grandmother had a rocking chair like the one your grandmother gave you. One of my daughters has it now. I hope your mother has a picture of you and your grandmother and yes, talk to her soon!

    1. I will talk to her soon Kris. She says she has more photos and things for me. I'm glad she held on to them. She gave me all her Sixties records. Glad she asks me before she moved into her condo on the things she didn't want to take with her. Appreciate you stopping over!

  6. True, I am so sorry for your loss. I truly enjoyed your story and the sentimental gifts that were left for you. What a blessing to have such momentos of love.

    1. Yvette Thanks for stopping by. I have a lot of gratitude my Parents who were Older saved those things. They really mean a lot to me now. My Aunt and Cousin had beautiful Homegoings. I'll post soon about them. xoxos.

  7. My uncle died recently and the minister said something that really resonated with me during the funeral service. A person is reborn the first time we talk about our memories of them. True, it's obvious you have kept her alive with your moving tribute.

  8. Schalene Thank You. It does go back to that saying from Pearl Cleage. As long as we "Speak Their Names" they will live on.

  9. What a sweet story - love the photo of the dress with the pink now / sweet treasure:)


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