Henderson County, Kentucky Biography


Southeast of Henderson on a high hill stands a commodious, hospitable house in which several generations of SWOPES have grown to maturity. Before this house was built, two others stood on the same land, first claimed by land grant to the family of Morgan SWOPE, who came here in the middle part of the 19th century from Lincoln County, Kentucky. Morgan's father, David SWOPE, was an artist and carpenter. The line traces from David SWOPE to his son, Morgan SWOPE, through a son, William Henry SWOPE through his son, William Logan SWOPE, to the present well-known generation of Henderson SWOPES.

There is still a younger generation of SWOPES, but they have returned to the Bluegrass, where many of the SWOPES, from York, Pennsylvania, originally from Germany, settled. The younger-fry generation consists of Betty Virginia, Carole Winslow and Mary Lou, all the daughters of Robert Henry SWOPE, only son of Logan: and Lucy Joe TERRY and Linda Kay TERRY, daughters of Alice M. SWOPE and Joe TERRY of Frankfort, and Susan Alice NEAL, and Mary, daughters of Emma Lucille SWOPE and Powell NEAL of Carlisle, Kentucky. The girls are all nieces of Ella. Mr. TERRY is a government tobacco grader in Maryland, Georgia, and South Carolina.

To go back to this house atop the hill. It is built of lumber which was grown on the land which it surveys and commands. Mr. SWOPE, Ella's father, recalls tales about the woods behind the house - especially the one told by his grandfather, Morgan, of the time that a family horse was hidden from the Union soldiers who were ransacking the countryside.

Mr. SWOPE recalls that there was a row of slave houses to the east of the homestead, and a garden filled with yellow roses, honeysuckle vines, and beds of lavender and mint. There is a legend about hiding the family silver from the Yankees, too. Mr. SWOPE recalls that one of the children had just come to the house from hiding the silver in a lye barrel used in making hominy.

"Where have you been, little girl," asked a soldier of the Union Army. "Hiding the family silver?"

"Yes sir," replied the little one. And that, it is said, was that. The silver and the horse were untouched, and the SWOPE homestead remained intact.

The stories come down to the present generation of how the grandfather, Morgan, used to go outside the house following the night meal, and sit on a favorite three-legged stool as he listened to the songs of the slaves. Slaves, recalls Mr. SWOPE, came high - some cost $500 to $600. There was a grist mill on the place, and the stones which ground the meal are still there. The land was bought by the family of David SWOPE at $3 an acre. Before the SWOPES came, the land was undoubtedly frequented, if not inhabited by Indians, for there are still to be found Indian relics in the virgin woods of the SWOPES' 640 acres.

Mr. SWOPE, now 74 has a brother who tops him in longevity. Dr. Eugene SWOPE is 97, and doing nicely, thank you, at his home in Sommerville, N. C. He formerly lived Oyster Bay, N.Y. and used to fish was a rather well-known neighbor, name of Teddy ROOSEVELT. At that time Dr. Eugene, a retired dentist, was head of the Roosevelt Bird Sanctuary at Long Island, New York.

Ella's grandfather, William Henry SWOPE, ran away from school during the Civil War, to join the Confederate forces in Canada, later running the Union blockades at Charleston, South Carolina. He was on a gunboat in the Mississippi River during much of the wartime activity. He lived in Henderson 94 years.

Another brother of Logan SWOPE, Linville, is a farmer in Ballard County at LaCenter. The first-generation SWOPE of the recorded family tree was Hans Jorg, who helped organize Old Christ Lutheran Church in York, Pennsylvania and was one of His Majesty's Justice of the Peace for Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He arrived in Philadelphia from Germany in 1727. Of his eight children, perhaps the most prominent was the Rev. Benedict SWOPE, who in turn had eight children. That generation of SWOPES entered in Kentucky, settling at various spots including Lincoln County, Jefferson County, Fayette and Spencer County.

It is interesting to note that the brother of Ella, Robert Henry SWOPE, is the last male SWOPE of the line. His children are all girls, and of course his sister's children, the TERRYS and NEALS, are also girls. Robert Henry is the SWOPE who, an eighth generation member of the family, compiled the genealogy of his line. He is an University of Kentucky graduate in mechanical engineering, and served for three years under General George S. PATTON with the rank of Captain. He is now with Brock McVEY in Lexington.

No wonder that Ella, who represents the present generation of this venerated family, has taken on the duties of the masculine side of her family. She has varied realty interests, including managing the KASEY Club. Her most outstanding role in the community, however, has been the Henderson County Republican Chairwoman for some time. Perhaps it was that connection with the T-Roosevelt bird sanctuary which clinched it, but whatever, Ella's name is on the anti-roster side of the ledger when voting time comes.

This being the second in a series of articles about the settlers of the Wilson Station neighborhood, it behooves me to close with a list of neighbors who are recalled by Mr. SWOPE, Ella's father. They include the Sen. Starling MARSHALLs, the Cabell MOSELEYs, Seth and Clifford POSEY, Andy KONSELER, the ZEHNERS, the MITCHESONs, NELSONs, the Elijah SELLERS, the Abe ELAMs, McCLURES, FAULKNERs, HANCOCKs, CATES, HUMPHREYs, the George BOONEs, HATCHETTs, BLAKEs, Henry HOWARD, Jack HOWARD, the HAROLDs, Babe SUGG, Bob HICKMAN, the BARRETs, and the MUNCASTERs.



Morgan Swope, 17 Jul 1874, Fernwood, Age unknown, 233, 1
Morgan Swope, 27 Jul 1876, Fernwood, Age unknown, 29, 7
Ethel M. Swope, 18 Nov 1885, Fernwood, Age unknown, 347, 12
Martha A. Swope, 31 Aug 1890, Fernwood, Age unknown, 29, 8
Martha C. Swope, 31 Aug 1890, Fernwood, Age unknown, 29, 5
Herbert Swope, 14 Feb 1906, Fernwood, Age unknown, PG, 4-2-4
Birdie Swope, 19 Jun 1906, Fernwood, Age unknown, 29
Cornelia Swope, 12 Feb 1907, Age unknown, R 1209

Contributed by Netta Mullin, HCH&GS
Copyright 2002 HCH&GS