Biography – Emma (Emily) Swayze Darling (1852-1918)

An Uncle Sam cartoon from 1852
(Thanks to the Marchand Archives,
The History Project, UC Davis)
[On this 161’st anniversary of Emma (Emily) Swayze Darling’s birth I  remember her and her life.] 

The Studebaker Brothers established their wagon company, the Uncle Sam cartoon character made its debut in the “New York Lantern,” Harriet Beecher Stowe published Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and the twins Eva and Emma (Emily) Swayze Darling were born in Kalamazoo, Michigan on the 24th of July, 1852. 

Their father was Rufus Holton Darling, the builder and former owner of the Goss and Darling general store, the first store in Kalamazoo. He was a railroad man, and a Whig candidate for local office.  Her mother, Elizabeth Jane Swayze Darling was the daughter of David Swayze, the son of David Swayze, Sr., a patriot of the revolution. 
After the amazing prosperity of the 1840s, Kalamazoo had seen a huge population drop from 1849 to 1852 because of the California Gold Rush. Many of the city’s able bodied men, such as her father’s business partner Milo Goss, had left the city for California before her birth.
While she was still a baby, tuberculosis ravished her house.  Her twin sister Eva died in the year following their birth.  Her father took ill and was debilitated and bedridden until he died four years later. She too was disabled by the disease and would remain sick off and on throughout her life. After the death of her father, her grandmother, Catherine Swayze, and her uncle Theodore P. Swayze lived with her mother, Elizabeth Jane Darling, her half-sister, Mary C. Wiseman, her older brother, Abner, an older sister Elizabeth and  younger brother Rufus Henry. She attended school and the family lived in the large home Rufus built at the corner of Cedar and Rose streets.
She was still a child, only eight years old, when the civil war broke out. Her uncle Theodore had enlisted in the army the year before war began. Her grandmother Swayze died in 1868 leaving her at home with her mother and younger brother Rufus. The house was said to be valued at $14,000 in the 1870 census, a substantial valuation in the day.
Her half-sister, Mary Catherine (Kate) (now Churchill) returned home with a daughter Kitty before the 1880 census was taken. Rufus, 22, worked for the Railroad his father helped build. Emma herself was at home, not working is was listed as “maimed, crippled, bedridden or otherwise disabled.” Certainly, hers was a tough life. 
In August of 1892, Elizabeth sold her 1/5 share of the property that the Goss and Darling Store was originally on to Emma for $2000.  Emma sold the property to Melville Bigalow (her sister Elizabeth’s husband) in 1896 for $3000.
Emma’s mother, Elizabeth passed in 1896 and the large house was apparently split so both a lodger and another family lived at the same address. Her sister “Ida” was living with her then. Ida was fifteen years younger than Emma and doesn’t show up in any other records. She was apparently either a first wife of her brother Robert Harry, or a wife of her other brother Abner. Ida had been married for five years to someone in 1900.
The 1910 census is an absolute mess in regards of reporting those living at 204 Rose Street. No details of Emma are recorded other than her name, gender, and address.  Beneath her name is a listing of ten inmates at the Kalamazoo County Jail down the street from Emma’s house.
Emma (Emily) was a member of the M E Church (Methodist Episcopal Church – later the First Methodist Church of Kalamazoo).  
The Kalamazoo Gazette reported that Emily (Emma) died on 5 March 1918, at the age of 65; however, her death certificate indicates she died of chronic bronchitis and chronic ulcers on 5 April 1918. She died in the house she was born in and lived in all of her life at the corner of Cedar and Rose in Kalamazoo.
She was buried at Mountain Home Cemetery in Kalamazoo. 

Many thanks to Ancestry.Com, Family Search.Org, Kalamazoo Genealogy.Org,
Genealogy Bank.Com, and Seeking Michigan (Library of Michigan), and Find-a-Grave.

Our sponsor

Rufus Holton Darling – Built First Store in Kalamazoo

Headline from Kalamazoo Gazette, July 9, 1916

Thanks to Genealogy Bank
I am reminded of the importance of looking closely at all of the family members and their actions and activities.  Rufus Holton Darling was born about 1816 and died in 1857. He had several children including a spinster daughter, Miss Emma (Emily) Darling (1852-1918). The Kalamazoo Gazette, dated July 9, 1916, mentions that, 

“These were the early days in the history of Kalamazoo and it is only a few who now remember that the first store built in Kalamazoo was that of Goss and Darling on Main and Burdick street, built by Rufus H. Darling and David Swayze. This corner was only at that time a wooded spot.”

I had known that Rufus operated the Goss and Darling general store, but didn’t know that it was the first store built in Kalamazoo and that Rufus and his father-in-law, David Swayze  built it. 
Later in the article, Miss Emma reflects, 

“My father had the contract for building the Michigan Central railway from Michigan City through to Grass Lake and on its completion a banquet was given for which [she had] the original invitations sent to [her] parents.”

I knew that shortly after the Michigan Central railway came through Kalamazoo, Rufus worked for them. However, I didn’t know that he actually built the railroad through Kalamazoo.  
The article goes on to describe the excitement of the first train that arrived in Kalamazoo on a Sunday morning and how its arrival emptied the churches that day.  It is a great article and a great find that fills in more of the detail regarding Rufus and family.

Thanks to
Genealogy Bank for having the Kalamazoo Gazette in its records.

Emily Swayze Darling – Death Date in Question

Just when you think you know a fact, something comes up to make you question what you think you know.  Generally, I’ve always considered the death date on a death certificate to be factual. However, in the case of Emily Swayze Darling I’m questioning.  The death certificate is legible and clearly indicates that Emily died on April 5, 1918. The certificate was signed by the doctor on 4-6-1918 and the date and place of the burial are entered as April 8, 1918 and the document was filed on April 8, 1918.  Everything on it looks proper, it is the right name, right birthdate, parents, home address, all is good and I accepted it completely. Until….

On Genealogy Bank I found a copy of the obituary.  Much to my surprise it was in the March 7th newspaper.  It too has the right name, right age, right home address, all is good except that it says she died on March 5th.  So, the question arises, did the newspaper prematurely report her death exactly a month early or is the death certificate wrong?  I comments or opinions? If so, I’d love to hear them. 

Florence Darling – Death Certificate

(Modern) Google photo of
423 Charles, Pittsburgh, PA

I received Florence Darling’s Certificate of Death from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. (See my previous blog for details on ordering PA Death Certificates.)  The certificate included some interesting information and insights.

Her husband, Robert H. Darling was the informant. He provided Florence’s birthdate of Apr. 23, 1908.  (New Information) He also provided their address of 423 Charles (30th ward) in Pittsburgh.  It is interesting that Harry did not know his wife’s mother’s maiden name of place of birth.  

Original UPMC South Side Hospital
South Side Hospital (Demolished in 1982)

Florence died October 5, 1934, at the age of 26, at South Side Hospital of bilateral pyosalpinx (a collection of pus in an oviduct. [Merriam-Webster]) and pelvic cellulitis of “undetermined cause.” Contributory cause of death was peritonitis. She had been in the doctor’s care for seven days before her passing. I’m sure it must have been seven days of agony. Sadly enough, penicillin, which was discovered in 1928, wasn’t in use until in the 1940. Penicillin probably could have saved her.

According to the certificate, she was buried at Zion Memorial Cemetery on October 7th, 1934. I have created a Find-A-Grave memorial for her and have requested a photo.

Bio – Hannah McAllister Darling White

Hannah McAllister 
Hannah McAllister Darling
aka Anna McAllister White

Hannah McAllister was born in England on 15 August 1886.  She was the fourth of six children- four boys and two girls.  At the time of her birth, her father, Peter, was probably in the United States establishing himself and preparing the way for his wife and children to come to the States.

By 1889, Hannah’s mother and siblings joined her father in Catasauqua, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.  By 1900, the entire family moved to Pittsburgh.  Sometime in 1905, she met Rufus Darling. She was eighteen and he was forty-seven.  In March of 1906, they had a daughter, Elizabeth Grace Darling.  Family history states that there was a rift between Hannah and her father. Certainly, a granddaughter born out of wedlock from a man more than twice the age of his daughter could cause such a rift.

It appears that Rufus and Hannah kept separate households during that time, he in Chicago and Hannah in Wheeling, West Virginia. In December of 1906, Hannah became pregnant a second time. This time Rufus married her, so on 16 February 1907 Hannah and Rufus were married in Kittanning, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, a small town about 40 miles northeast of Pittsburgh on the Allegheny River.  Family history indicates that she changed her name from Hannah to Anna so that she would be “A. Darling” and became known as Anna after that.   An interesting side note is that Elizabeth appears to have modified a copy of the Marriage Certificate to indicate that Hannah and Rufus were married in 1905, thus legitimizing her.  Family history indicates that this may have been a cause of disagreement between her and cousin Katherine Lane.

In August of 1907, their son, Robert Harry Darling, was born in New Kensington (about 20 miles northeast of Pittsburgh on the Allegheny River), Pennsylvania.
In 1910, Anna was living with her two children, Elizabeth and Robert, as a roomer at the home of Robert & Emma Hennig at 2219 Ward Street (Ward 4).

Anna and Rufus divorced by 1911 after which she married Thomas White. Anna died on 15 July 1913 at the age of 26. Family memory holds that Hannah was buried where Thomas White was later buried at Chartiers Cemetery. At her death, her name was recorded as Annie White.