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. 

January 14, 1925 – M’Allister was Seen Alive Late as Monday Morning

The Savannah Press – January 14, 1925


The county police who are investigating all circumstances in regard to the murder of Edward L. McAllister at his home on Thirty-ninth street, near Ash, will present their findings at the coroner’s inquest tomorrow morning. This is the time tentatively fixed for the inquiry.

The county police also have direct evidence of the fact that Mr. McAllister was alive as late as early Monday morning. R. L. Coleman who gave his address as 222 Taylor street east, went to the county police headquarters at 10 o’clock this morning and gave out the information that he, a friend, C.F. Smith, and a negro saw Mr. McAllister about 7:30 o’clock Monday morning. He had on his raincoat, a chaki work suit, his gloves and was walking west on Thirty-ninth street, going toward the A.C.L. shuttle train, Coleman said. Mr. McAllister stopped long enough to ask Coleman for a cigarette.

Not Mistaken.

Coleman said he could not be mistaken as to the identity of the murdered man, as he worked with him for two years at the Atlantic Coast Line. He did not see the account of the murder until this morning, when he read it in The Press, he said and decided to tell the officers about it. He first went over and related his stor to Chief of Detectives McCarthy, but finding the county police were handling the case, went to their headquarters. The scene of the crime is about sixty feet beyond the eastern city limits.

Coleman said he lived in the basement at 222 Taylor street east. His friend Smith lives on State street west. On Monday he was working on a bungalow being erected by Charles Voss on Thirty-ninth street, just east of Waters road.

Closer inspection of the body of the dead man at Sipple Brothers’ mortuary disclosed that the murder was probably perpetrated in a cool and deliberate manner by the assailant of the lone man who was seated at his dining table when he was struck with the hatchet, according to the theory of the officers.

Wound in Temple.
A wound on the temple is believed to show that Mr. McAllister was first struck on the side of the head and knocked to the floor. He was then set upon, chopped on the head with the sharp blade and the top of his head then beaten to a pulp with the blunt end.

An examination of the dead man’s stomach is said to have disclosed evidence of decomposition believed to prove that Mr. McAllister had been dead at least forty-eight hours before he was found yesterday Morning.

Drew His Pay.
Other interesting details developed by the offices are that Mr. McAllister worked on last Saturday morning and early in the afternoon drew his wages for two ‘weeks, amounting to $84.75. He is said to have paid out only a small amount for groceries at a local store. When found Mr. McAllister only had 75 cents on his person.

Letter From Mother.
Among the effects of the dead man were found a letter from his mother, who lives in Pittsburgh, Pa., in regard to property there in which Mr. McAllister owned an interest. They also found a will in which proceeds of several insurance policies, amounting to several thousand dollars, and all the other property of the dead man was left to his wife. Mrs. McAllister died several months ago but the beneficiary under the policies had not been changed, it was stated.

Facts believed to be inconsistent with the theory that Mr. McAllister was murdered not later than last Sunday are that his watch taken possession of yesterday at 2 o’clock was still running. Two local jewelers have stated that the large “railroad” watches, the kind that the dead man owned, only run about 30 hours.

Although interesting, we didn’t learn much new about Edward’s life. We learned his mother was probably still alive. We also learned that his will not being changed to reflect his wife’s passing means that it probably went to probate. We also learned that there was several thousands of dollars of insurance policies, however, we know he was born in a pauper’s grave which is a reminder that your burial takes place long before your beneficiaries receive any insurance payments.

January 13, 1925 – Edward L. McAllister is Found Murdered In Home

The Savannah Press – January 13, 1925

Edward L. McAllister, employed at the Atlantic, Coast Line Railway shops, was discovered murdered at his home, on Thirty-ninth Street, near Ash, by H. B. Brown of Bee Road and Victory Drive, at 10 o’clock this morning.

Mr. McAllister was found in the kitchen of his home badly mutilated about the head from hatchet wounds apparently received sometime Saturday evening.

His wife had died last November, and he since had lived in his story house alone. Mr. McAllister was last seen alive Friday afternoon when he left the A.C.L. shops.

Mr. Brown, who also works at the A. C. L., discovered Mr. McAllister’s body when on an investigation to determine why McAllister had not been at work in several days. Mr. and Mrs. Brown went to the house together. The house is owned by Mrs. Brown’s mother.

Body Discovered.

Mr. McAllister was discovered by the Browns after they had inspected the house and decided that no one was at home. They had knocked repeatedly at the door, but had received no response, and were on their way home when they were joined by Tom Carr, another neighbor. Mr. Carr accompanied the Browns to the back of the house, where some of Mrs. Brown’s chickens were kept by Mr. McAllister. The body was first seen through a window. It was after going through the back door that the body was found in the kitchen.

As discovered by Detectives McCarthy and McCord this morning. McAllister was lying in a pool of blood with a big hatchet wound in the top of his head.

Hatchet on Table.
The hatchet with which the crime was committed is lying on the table. Blood is splattered on the wall. The body was lying on the floor with rice from a dish on the table scattered about. The room is otherwise in excellent order with no apparent sign of a struggle. The dead man was supposedly eating a meal when his assailant struck him in the head.

In his hand is a spoon and the remains of a partially eaten meal are scattered on the floor. The clothing of the dead man not ruffled and there is no sign in or out of the house to indicate any conflict. In the room were two chairs facing one another. On the wall above the body were blood stains. These stains are also on the table where the hatchet had been placed.

Mr. McAllister is survived by a brother, J.M. McAllister of Pittsburgh. Letters sent to the dead man from relatives in Pittsburgh were found in the room.

Unused Still.
On the table of the kitchen a partially filled bottle of corn whisky was found. In the front room was an unused copper still sent from a mail order house in Chicago.
The belongings of his deceased wife were gathered in a bundle, in the front of the house and the dwelling had apparently been used solely by McAllister since last November, when she had passed away.

Among the dead man’s effects was a letter from the county police, directing that he not bring his wife in for treatment until a few days later than had been planned. Mrs. McAllister had been under the care of the physician at the jail.

His Clothing.
The dead man was dressed in a corduroy suit and khaki shirt. He was stretched upon the floor, with the chair upon which he had apparently been sitting standing upright near at hand, close enough to the table to have been used while eating a meal.

The only mark of disarrangement in the room was a small fragment of arm cushion used as a rest on the only other chair in the

(Continued on Page Seven)

room, a rocker. This small fragment was found on the floor. 

Time of Crime.

That the crime was committed at least twenty-four hours before the discovery of the body is the opinion of an authority. Sipple Bros., morticians, are in charge of the body.
The time of the crimes believed to be about Saturday around dusk. The oil lamps found In the house were partially filled. None of these had burped down as would have been the case if they had been lighted at the time of the crime. A copy of the Saturday afternoon newspaper was found in the room close beside the dead man.

All other papers found in the room were folded away in a corner.
The McAllister house is situated more than the distance of one city block from any other dwelling. It is the only two-story in the neighborhood and it is separated by an overgrown field from several of the other homes. 
Up to the time of the printing of this edition of The Press no relatives of the murdered man had been located in Savannah.

Brown’s Account.

McAllister had not been to work for three days. H. B. Brown, who
found the body, said:

“This morning my wife and I wend to the place. My wife went to the rear door to see some chickens McAllister was keeping for us. I went to the front door and knocked, but, got no response. Tom Carr a neighbor, came up and went to the kitchen window to see what was inside the house. I saw Mr. McAllistser’s legs sticking out toward the center of the room. I at first thought he was hurt, but finally saw be was dead.”

McAllister had worked in railroad shops at Hamlet and Columbia before coming to Savannah.
Dr. G.H. Johnson, the coroner, has taken charge of the case and  will conduct the inquest.

Ash street is located several blocks east of Waters Road and runs north, and south. It starts at Anderson street.
Thanks to the 
University of Georgia, Main Library
Athens, GA 30602 United States
for possessing a microform holding of the paper.