“HUMILITY”…humble beginnings…

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.   1Peter 5:6,7

While I wish I could say that I know all about “young Daniel Swigart”, I cannot…but I will tell you what I know, and will gladly welcome any additional information that might possibly come about as a result of this writing…

Daniel Warren Swigart was born on June 28, 1838, three miles west of Kittanning, Pennsylvania, in the county of Armstrong…Daniel was the eighth of ten children born to John and Sarah Swigart…John Swigart was a stone mason and a brick-layer like his father Abraham, and helped to build the “Eagle Hotel” in Kittanning, as well as other brick structures in the town…

The Swigart family lived on Wilson Avenue in what was known as Wickboro [now Wick City]…my uncle remembers being neighbors with the Swigart’s in his younger days, long before the whole “connection” was known…my grandmother Bowser was a Swigart…in 1860, Daniel, now twenty-two years old, would marry Margaret Starr…they would have five children, Ella [1861], Emma [1863], John [1864], Frank [1866], and Margaret, who was born September 25, 1868…the following day, Daniel’s wife Margaret would pass away…

Later census records show parts of the Swigart family residing near Bridgeburg, which is on the opposite side of the Allegheny…some of the family would eventually be laid to rest on a bluff not far from the river in the Croyle Cemetery, including brother Abraham and sister Nancy…

In the midst of the Swigart’s marriage came the outbreak of the American Civil War…On July 4, 1861, Daniel W. Swigart enlisted in Company D, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry [originally the 33rd Independent Blues]…his service in that regiment will be well documented in the coming posts…not long after twenty-three year old Daniel left Kittanning with the 62nd PVI, his older brother Abraham enlisted on October 1, with Company A, 2nd Regiment, Pennsylvania Cavalry…both would survive the conflict and return to the area following the war…

During my time as a living historian, I found myself in the position to speak publicly during ceremonies, Memorial Day services and other events, ironically at times, standing in Daniel’s very footsteps to do so…one point that I consistently tried to convey was that as living historians, we can replicate the uniforms that they would’ve worn, the weapons they would’ve carried, the tents they would’ve slept in, and even the food they would have been rationed…but, there is no way that we can duplicate the hard choices that they would have been faced with–leaving family and friends behind to go off to war!…your very country becoming divided…these were trying times for sure…

While I don’t have any diary transcripts or family letters describing how the Swigart brothers felt at that time, or their reasons for enlisting, I believe they would have been well acquainted with the free black families living just across the river in what was known as Belltown, and as Christian men, would have felt the weight of the growing list of issues dividing the nation as they made their way to muster in…

**A note of interest: There are a number of U.S.C.T. [United States Colored Troops] laid to rest in the Belltown Cemetery, also known as the Enty Cemetery, Enty being the last name of some of these soldiers and their families.

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“HUMILITY, HONOR AND GLORY” [the story of Daniel Warren Swigart]

DWS TINTYPE[blog]

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After finally deciding to revisit my site and tell you the story of Daniel Swigart, as I know it, I was immediately faced with a decision: to take the time to write the whole story and publish it all at once, OR, to write[and post] as time allows, telling the story in chapters, so to speak, with the hopes that those of you who are following along will start looking forward to the next chapter…

Well, I am opting to tell the story a little bit at a time, which I think will enable me to be more thorough, and hopefully make it more interesting for you…

That being said, let’s start with a refresher on the “background”–why Daniel; why me…

Back around the “turn of the century”, around 1999, 2000, I started traveling to Gettysburg with some friends[and co-workers] who were part of a Civil War Living History group, Company D, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry…my interest at that point, was as a photographer…my friends had lineage to men in the regiment–I did not[or so I thought]…

After returning from a weekend in Gettysburg with the 62nd, taking photos of their meeting, the battlefield, etc., my Uncle Joe called me to inform me that I/we had an ancestor who served as a non-commissioned officer in the 62nd PA!…Daniel Warren Swigart…my great, great, great uncle…the search, as they say, was on…

And search we did…for several years my uncle and I would travel all over western Pennsylvania to the numerous churches that Daniel served at as a Baptist minister…we would find several documents, a copy of his signature, and a quilt with his name sewn into, but NO photographs of him…

Then, several years ago I received a phone call out of the blue, ironically on the day before Thanksgiving…I will never forget hearing the sweet voice on the line–Jo, a great, great granddaughter of Reverend Swigart, telling me that she had been led to this blog site, and was fascinated to learn that someone–another descendant–was searching for her, great, great grandfather…

That conversation led us to an image of Daniel through Ancestry.com, and in the coming months, Jo also reached out to her sister, and before long, many more images would surface, as well as a poem that Daniel had penned, and other resources too…I feel very blessed to have an uncle who spent countless hours working on our family history, and then to have the floodgates open up after being contacted by other members of the Swigart family, all helping to piece together the story of a man who served his country, and served his Lord…

So,now, after many years of searching for information and images of Mr. Swigart, all the while doing my best to honor him[and at times portray him], I am very pleased and honored to tell you the story of Daniel Warren Swigart–Humility, Honor and Glory.

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JANUARY 23, 2018: HELLO…AGAIN!

Well, I suppose after several years without posting anything on my blog, it is about time for an update…when I last posted, my entries included information about an “undiagnosed illness”, my early retirement, and my continuing work as a Civil War living historian[and the ongoing search for information/photos of one of my ancestors, Daniel Warren Swigart]…

So, to get you “caught up”, the illness continues to be lacking a diagnosis, BUT, I refuse to let it keep me down, and I recently had surgery to repair some unrelated issues in my back…so far, those repairs seem to have been a success!

As for my early retirement–no regrets whatsoever!…if you can do it, I highly recommend it!

AND, one of the main reasons that I feel compelled to “blog” again, is the positive events regarding my search for my ancestor, Rev. Daniel Warren Swigart, a First Sergeant in Company D, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry[see “Where’s Daniel” in my archives]…since my last entries, there has been “much to tell[and show]” in this area…

The night before Thanksgiving, 2015, I received a phone call from a wonderful lady, who oddly enough found me from this site, who quickly informed me that she too was a descendant of Mr. Swigart…that was a conversation that I will never forget, and as you will see if my upcoming posts, not one, but many images of Daniel have surfaced as a result of our “meeting”…

I feel I owe it to “Jo”, and the rest of the family, and especially to “Daniel”, to put the rest of the story out there…

So, in the coming days and weeks, I hope to put several new pages on here, and to update the “CoD62ndPVI” site as well…the 62nd Living History Family is still a very active group, and in fact, just took over the “adoption” of the 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry monument site on the Gettysburg Battlefield…

Thanks for being very, very patient in waiting for updates…

God Bless,

Robert J. “Slim” Bowser

“THE RICHEST MAN IN TOWN”

Sunday, September 15th, 2013…

For those of you who have followed my blog from the beginning, or those who know me, know that I have always loved the Christmas season, particularly the “sentimental” feelings, and the “true Spirit” of the holiday…of course that includes the “old holiday favorites”, the music, movies and cartoons…one of those favorites has always been “It’s A Wonderful Life”, Frank Capra’s moving telling of the life of one George Bailey…if you’ve never seen it, I recommend watching it this year…if you have seen it, then you’ll understand when I say that “it sure looked like a scene out of that movie at my house yesterday!”…

My previous writing tells of my recent and ongoing battle with some unknown illness, which has me very weak, tired, and short of breath???…and, as summer is now fading into my favorite season, autumn, my thoughts automatically turn to scenic walks, taking photos, and FIREWOOD!…In the tradition of my Grandpa Brumbaugh, my Dad, and my Uncle Butch–I love the sight, smell, and the heat from a wood and coal fire…I will always remember as if it were yesterday, laying on the floor in front of grandpa’s fire–him sleeping on one side, me on the other, and grandma in her chair crocheting…and to this day, my primary heat source remains a wood and coal burning stove…which brings me back to FIREWOOD!…I need to get better fast, ’cause I need to cut more firewood…

Well, Sue, being the wonderful and thoughtful person that she is, without my knowing anything, created a scene right out of “It’s A Wonderful Life” for me…when I returned from a doctor appointment on Friday[the 13th–not superstitious, I was born on the 13th], she was standing in my driveway…originally, my heart sank, thinking something was wrong–perhaps Chloe or Cayden were sick?…but within a few minutes, a fair-sized dump truck pulled into the drive–loaded with FIREWOOD!…CUT–SPLIT–AND LOTS OF IT!…and before I could ask any questions, she said, “I’ll be back–don’t worry about it, you’ll see tomorrow”…she returned with my Mum’s large coffee maker, along with numerous mystery items…

Which sets the stage: Saturday, September 14th, 8AM…

I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I’ve figured out that those 30 cups of coffee aren’t all for me…and sure enough, I looked outside to find a few of my friends[some also Camp members] walking up the driveway…Tim, Karen, Amy, Walt—and Larry!…and before I could shake all of their hands, Jim, Joe, Dan, Debe, Lakota, Ashley…then another Joe, then another Karen…then some family members, Mike, Isaac—Ma and Pa!

 

VOLUNTEER WOODCHUCKERS-1 VOLUNTEER WOODCHUCKERS-2 VOLUNTEER WOODCHUCKERS-3 VOLUNTEER WOODCHUCKERS-4 VOLUNTEER WOODCHUCKERS-5 VOLUNTEER WOODCHUCKERS-6 VOLUNTEER WOODCHUCKERS-7

Within a few minutes, after a few quick introductions, they started a line of “woodchuckers”…a few at the massive pile of wood–a line of handlers, and Tim, Karen and Joe stacking it as fast as it was handed to them…by 10AM, the entire load of wood was beautifully stacked on my porch!–nearly enough to last the winter!…WOW!

AND, without ruining the ending for those of you will now make it a point to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life”, as I’ve said before, like George Bailey, I too am “the richest man in town”–a man that is blessed to have so many friends, a loving family, and of course, Sue, who lovingly [and secretly] made the whole thing happen…I’m not ashamed to say that I was moved to tears several times throughout the day–first, in disbelief that so many were willing to give of their time and money to do this–then, when it “hit me” that “I am really unable to do this for myself” at this time–and again, when everyone had gone to take care of their own obligations, and Sue and I stood there looking at all of that FIREWOOD…

Needless to say, as I set here writing this, there is a warm, crackling fire in the stove this cool, late-summer night…

God Bless.

“RETIRED…TIRED…SICK AND TIRED…”

September 15, 2013…

Well, obviously it’s been quite a while since my last writing, and for good reason…

My first few months of retirement, being winter months, included some walks in the snow, as seen in the McConnell’s Mill article, and some much needed time by the fire, watching the snow falling outside, looking at the telephone from time to time, and smiling to myself, knowing that it would no longer be PennDOT calling me to go to work!

Springtime brought with it a full schedule of Civil War related events, both with the 62nd PVI Living History Unit, and the SUVCW Camp 43, which also includes the Indiana County Civil War Memorial Committee’s “Rest on Arms” project…I will try to expand on each of those on their respective sites in the near future…but with that full schedule, also came the onset of much fatigue, and, as time would go on, a still undiagnosed illness, with the fatigue being just one of many symptoms…

In June, just as the 150th Anniversary events at Gettysburg were about to begin, I started treatment for Lyme disease, as many of the symptoms seemed to lead us to believe that a tick had been behind all of this…but, after 30 days of doxycycline, I was feeling worse, and the search for the cause has led to testing on my heart, lungs, and of course, many tubes of blood…so, as the title says, in the last nine months, I have gone from being retired, to being extremely tired, to the present condition–sick and tired…

I can remember while I was still working for PennDOT, seeing so many of my fellow employees fall ill, either just before they retired, or just after, some, never even living to receive their first pension check…that was certainly in the back of my mind as I was contemplating my early retirement…well, I guess I made the right decision–the way I feel at the present, I’d be missing a lot of work if still employed…

I have faith that we will find out what’s causing all of this, but in the meantime, I am blessed to be surrounded by many loved ones, family, and friends, which will be evident in my next writing…hopefully, soon I’ll be able to get back to just being “retired!”…

“MCCONNELL’S MILL HIKE”

One of my favorite places has always been McConnell’s Mill State Park…if you ever want to “get way from it all” for a couple of hours, “the mill” is the place to go…that being said, naturally[no pun intended], it was also one of the first places that I wanted to go upon retiring…trips to the mill were difficult to arrange when working–snow meant 12 hour shifts many times, and the last thing you wanted to do after plowing snow all night was go out and walk in it!…

"The Bridge"

“The Bridge”

SO, now that snow is beautiful again, I asked my friends and former co-workers, Larry Smail and Frank Maus, if they would like to travel to the mill for a hike[they have a couple of years’ head start on me for such walks]…they agreed to go, and on a cold, frosty, sunny morning, the 8th of January, we embarked on our journey…

"Frankie, Slim, Larry"

“Frankie, Slim, Larry”

Our first priority was breakfast…conveniently, my friend[and bag-piper] Amanda operates her family restaurant, “Hickory Woods”, along Route 422, just a few miles from the park…If you love to eat breakfast, you’ll love “Hickory Woods”, with many traditional family recipes, a relaxing atmosphere, and great hospitality…until his recent passing, I could always count on Amanda’s Dad coming over to sit and talk while we waited on our meal…it’s a great place to meet with friends for a meal, and that’s what we did to start our day…of course, the majority of the conversation[and laughter] this day revolved around our combined nearly 100 years service with Penndot–so many stories, so little time!

"Hey Larry, let's leave Slim at the falls!"

“Hey Larry, let’s leave Slim at the falls!”

Once our bellies were full, it was time to go walk it off…we started at Alpha Pass and Falls, a trail that leads to a waterfall, fed by a mere drainage ditch…the weeks of cold weather had made the falls a series of large icicles, with water still splashing over the cliff…a beautiful display, just a short hike down the trail…

"Alpha Falls"

“Alpha Falls”

Next, it was time to go to the old grist mill, which is flanked by a beautifully restored covered bridge…Slippery Rock Creek feeds the mill, and travels over the dam, and under the bridge…normally, I would climb all over the large rocks above and below the bridge for photos, but the packed snow and ice made climbing a challenge[and Slippery Rock Creek is deep, fast, and dangerous]…and the thing I do best in water is “sink”, so I kept my distance…we would take a short drive up to the cliffs that overlook the creek valley, but again, with deep gorges and slippery conditions, looking out the window would suffice…

"Mill and dam"

“Mill and dam”

From there we headed for one of the more remote[and often overlooked] areas of the park, called “Hell’s Hollow”…I don’t know the “lore” for how it got that name, but feel it is certainly misleading, as a walk down the trail will lead you to a “heavenly scene”–a three tiered waterfall, surrounded by a forest of beech, hemlock, oak, and maples–not to mention the boulders and rock formations, and the old kiln…what beauty!…and on a crisp, cold morning, the only sounds were the birds calling, and the water rushing over the falls…

"From this..."

“From this…”

We took a break from the “work stories” to discuss more serious matters–“lost pets”…Larry’s dog “Susie” being the most recent to pass,[www.larrysmailart.com], but we all had a similar story, and I think “walking and talking” were “good medicine” for Larry this day…by the time we got back to my truck, we had successfully walked off our breakfasts, and went back to laughing all the way home…we agreed to repeat the journey[or another similar one] soon…

..."to this..."

…”to this…”

For more information about McConnell’s Mill, visit: http://www.visitPAparks.com

..."to the falls..."

…”to the falls…”

For information about Amanda Lazzara, “the lady-piper” go to: http://www.ladypiperpa.webs.com

Larry’s blog/website is: http://www.larrysmailart.wordpress.com or http://www.larrysmailart.com

**All photos by the author…copyright laws apply***

 

 

"Beech leave in snow"

“Beech leave in snow”

 

 

"Three Stooges"

“Three Stooges”

 

 

"A Heavenly scene"

“A Heavenly scene”

“CHRISTMAS 2012”

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

"MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

“MERRY CHRISTMAS!”

I hope that you all had a Blessed Christmas, and that the New Year has been a happy one so far…Christmas was filled with countless blessings in our family, all wrapped around the true meaning of the day and the real Spirit of the holiday…“Go, Tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere, Go, tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born!”…

On the 16th of December,  Mum, Sue and I, attended a beautiful Christmas cantata at the Harvest Baptist Church[just off the Millerstown exit on Rt.28]…we were invited by my good friends Brian and Cheryl Morris, and were very moved and impressed by the program…

"Christmas 'jammies for Chloe"

“Christmas ‘jammies for Chloe”

Christmas Eve, we attended candlelight service at the Harvest Community Church, also a beautiful celebration–“O Great Light of the World, fill up my heart”…it was priceless to watch the look in Chloe and Caydens’ eyes, as they held their candles and looked around at the glow in he church…we then headed to Sue’s for her

..."and Cayden too!"

"A family keepsake"
“A family keepsake”

traditional gift to the kids–Christmas pajamas!…Sue also had a Christmas eve “visitor”–a wooden toy soldier that her Dad had made years ago…we had brought the family keepsake back from Florida with us in October[in three pieces!–to fit in my suitcase]…I re-assembled him and touched him up, and “posted” him outside her front door as a surprise…

"Beth's a happy camper!"

“Beth’s a happy camper!”

Christmas Day was a beautiful day, starting at Ali and Jared’s, with Chloe and Cayden

"Jared"

“Jared”

seeing that Santa had made a serious delivery there!…“Christmas, is for Children”…

"Ali and Cayden"

“Ali and Cayden”

Then we headed for Ma and Pa’s[Bob-Bob and Flo, as the kids say], for a wonderful ham dinner, and, you guessed it, more presents!…I have to admit, I was the one who was surprised this time, with my parents getting me a flat-screen TV for a Christmas/retirement gift…WOW!…let me tell you, a Sharp Aquos has a great picture!…

 

Christmas 2012[ma & pa]

After the wrapping paper was cleaned up, and we were full of ham[and cookies], it was time to head home for a nap!…I got a nice, crackling fire going, and the gang arrived at my house around 7 in the evening…somehow, Santa had managed to get a sleigh- full around the fire and under the tree[a beautiful 8 foot Concolor fir]…the wrapping paper “flew” there for awhile too!…another beautiful Christmas Day, filled with many memories, was done…but, the Spirit, and the memories, would continue in the coming days, with more visits, more fellowship, and yes, another present or two…Dave and MaryLynn would come over for an evening…Nicole[my little brat!] would visit…and of course, we made our annual “rounds”, visiting with family…

Christmas 2012-[my tree]

And, for anyone that knows me, also knows that it STILL looks like Christmas in my house…I love the tree, the lights, and the candles each evening, and[if you read the previous post], having retired on December 29th, I have more evenings to sit by the fire and enjoy it all…in fact, when we went to pick out our trees this year, I asked Bowser’s [Owen and Tim] if they could get me a “dug” concolor…Tim picked a beautiful little tree, and several weeks before Christmas I planted it by the bird-feeder…I call it my “retirement tree”…Lord willing, I will be able to decorate it each year and say “I planted that tree the year that I retired from PennDOT!”…

"Cayden's Thomas the Train!"

“Cayden’s Thomas the Train!”

"Nurse Chloe's new stethascope"...

“Nurse Chloe’s new stethascope”…

 

"Retirement Tree under a full moon!"

“Retirement Tree under a full moon!”

Well, it’s time to put another arm-load of wood on the fire…

MERRY CHRISTMAS, AND “GOD BLESS US, EVERYONE”

**All photos by the author, except “Pap-Pap’s gifts”, by Maw-maw**

 

 

 

"Pap-pap's gifts"

“Pap-pap’s gifts”

 

 

..."the best gift of all!"

…”the best gift of all!”