Mary E. Sweigert McCulloh
Compiled by Maureen McCulloh Hollmeyer, great-granddaughter of Mary Sweigert McCulloh
Mary E. Sweigert and William E. McCulloh both had their roots in Franklin County, Pennsylvania but apparently did not meet until the mid-1880s in Whiteside County, Illinois.
Mary was born near Chambersburg in HamiltonTownship, Franklin County, Pennsylvania on January 2, 1860, the fifth of nine children born to Henry and Margaret Bender Sweigert. Henry was a farmer in Franklin County.
Her Schweickhardt (Sweigert) family ancestors immigrated to the Pennsylvania colony in 1727 from Eichtersheim, in the modern day state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The family was Lutheran and originally settled in LancasterCounty before moving to FranklinCounty in the late 1700s. Mary’s personal Catechism and hymnal indicate she was raised in the Lutheran faith.
Mary moved to Whiteside County in mid-1884 with her younger sister and brother-in-law, Emma Jane Sweigert and John Emanuel Cleverstone. They settled in Union Grove Township. Emma remained in Whiteside County where she died in 1938. Two of Mary’s other siblings also resided in Illinois. Her older brother, Gideon Andrew Sweigert moved his family to Rockford, Winnebago County in the early 1900s. He died there in 1926. Her youngest brother, George Edward Sweigert, and his wife moved to Mt. Pleasant Township, Whiteside County about 1899 where two of their children were born. They returned to Franklin County, Pennsylvania about 1903.
Mary and Will were married October 4, 1888 in Morrison, Illinois by the Rev. J. W. Skinner of the Morrison Presbyterian Church. Their marriage was witnessed by Haddie McCulloh, Will’s younger sister, and J. A. (Jeremiah Augustus) George.
They settled into farming in ClydeTownship. Their first children, boy and girl twins, were stillborn in 1889. Another child, George W., was born October 30, 1891 but died three days later on November 2, 1891. A healthy eight-pound baby boy was born on December 14, 1892 and was named Archibald Scott for Will’s youngest brother and for “the first of our line who came to America from Ireland.”
On Sunday, December 18 Will did the morning farm chores before leaving for Brethren in Christ church services and Bible study. When he did not return home in time for the evening chores Mary did them. On Monday she was described as being “dangerously sick.” She died Tuesday, December 20, 1892, a “bitterly cold and stormy day,” when her only child to survive was six days old. Whiteside County does not have a record for Mary’s death so the official cause is not known but she may have suffered a postpartum hemorrhage. Mary was buried on December 23, 1892 at the Brick Church (Mennonite) Cemetery in Ustick Township. All four of her children and her only granddaughter are also buried there.
Following Mary’s death, Will broke up housekeeping and went to work for his oldest brother, John W. McCulloh. His infant son, Archie, was cared for by his sister, Haddie McCulloh George, until Will remarried.
An interesting addendum to this account of Mary’s life is the foreshadowing that occurred in the months preceding her death. One day in the summer of 1892 Mary and Will, who were acquainted with the Samuel Longanecker family, were riding past the Longanecker farm. Mary pointed out a teen-aged girl in the yard tending to some small children. She commented to Will that Maria Longanecker was a “nice, motherly girl” and “will make some man a good wife and lovely mother for their children.” In December of that year, Maria Gsell Longanecker (Mrs. Samuel) helped prepare the body of Mary McCulloh for burial. Two years later, in the summer of 1894, when Will was riding past the Longanecker farm he heard Mary’s voice once again telling him about Maria…”a nice motherly girl…and she will make some man a good wife and a lovely mother for their children.” Will heeded Mary’s words and got Samuel Longanecker’s permission to court Maria. In December of that year, Will McCulloh and Maria Longanecker were married and she did, in fact, become a devoted and loving mother to Mary’s and Will’s son, Archie.
 Mary’s date of birth was determined using her date of death and her age at death (32 years 11 months 18 days) as inscribed on her grave stone.
 1860, 1870 and 1880 Federal Census records
 Sweigert family history posted on Ancestry.com by Sweigert descendents
 Oral family history told by Archie McCulloh to Merlin McCulloh to Maureen McCulloh Hollmeyer
 Sterling Gazette, Monday, November 7, 1938, page 3 and Emma Cleverstone descendent
 Sweigert family history posted on Ancestry.com by descendents of Gideon and George Sweigert; 1900, 1910 and 1920 Federal Census records
WhitesideCounty marriage records
BrickChurch (Mennonite) Cemetery records on file with the Odell Public Library, Morrison, IL
 The Whiteside Sentinel, December 22, 1892, page 1 (dateline December 19, 1892)
 Vida M. Yoder, “Scenes from a Brethren in Christ Childhood in Illinois”, Brethren in Christ History & Life, Volume XIX, No. 2, August 1996, p. 349
Oral family history told by Haddie McCulloh George to Abbie Sider McCulloh to Merlin McCulloh to Maureen McCulloh Hollmeyer
 The Whiteside Sentinel, page 1 (dateline December 19, 1892)
 Yoder, p. 349
 Presumed cause of death held by three generations of Mary’s descendents
 The Whiteside Sentinel, December 29, 1892, page 1 (dateline December 26, 1892)
 The Whiteside Sentinel, page 1 (dateline December 26, 1892)
Oral family history told by Archie McCulloh to Merlin McCulloh to Maureen McCulloh Hollmeyer
 Yoder, pp. 350-351