A Short, But Important Life…

I have spent a lot of time researching the family of the little orphan girl, as my grandma, Jewell Elberta Wynn Baker Dover often referred to herself.  This is the second blog about her direct ancestors. Here’s a chart to keep us on track.

We have been through the early life of Jewell’s father, Claude Elbert Wynn.   What do we know about her mom, Pearl Olive Swango?

Pearl ‘Pearly’ Olive Swango was born 2 February 1896[1] in Wolfe County, Kentucky.  We only have one picture of Pearly taken about 1905.  This photo is cropped from a family photo. 

By 1910 her family is living in Craig County, Oklahoma and she is attending school, along with her brothers.  

Grandma told me on several occasions, “my parents ran off and got married in Jay, Oklahoma and Grandpa Swango hunted her father with a shotgun, so they went to Missouri”.   What lends credibility to that story is the fact that she was born in Missouri, however her older brother was born in Oklahoma.  It’s possible he was being hunted by her father for other reasons. 

I was unable to locate a marriage license in 1913 for Pearl and Claude because Delaware County, Oklahoma has lost that particular record book.   I was lucky enough to find a notice of their marriage in the paper.   “MARRIED – Tuesday, August 12 at Jay, Okla., Olive Swango and Claud Winn, both of Sunflower district, near Welch.  The marriage was in the form of an elopement and was a great surprise to their many friends.”[2]

To this marriage three children were born, Loyd Lee “Jack” Wynn on 20 June 1914 in Oklahoma and the twins, James Elbert Wynn and Jewell Elberta Wynn on 13 February 1916 in St. James, Phelps County, Missouri.[3]  Grandma said they were born prematurely at 7 months and they each only weighed about 2 ½ lbs.   They were small enough to fit in a shoebox.   Baby James was born first, however he only survived 1 month and 6 days.  He died on 19 March 1916 and is buried in the St. James City Cemetery, Phelps County, Missouri.[4]  I am sure the heartache was overwhelming for the young family and they soon moved back to Vinita, Oklahoma.  

Two short years later, Pearl died at a young age from the flu epidemic on 6 December 1918 and is buried next to her parents.  Grandma told me that Pearl received notice that her mother was ill but to stay away.  She immediately traveled to her mother’s home with her young son Jack in tow.   Both of them became ill, however Jack survived. 

Mrs. Wynn Dead

               Pearl Olive Wynn, wife of Claud Wynn, died at the home of her father, J.L. Swango, in Sunflower district, Dec. 6, 1918.  Mrs. Wynn took sick with influenza the day her mother was buried and died just ten day later.  She had come here from Vinita during her mother’s sickness.

               Pearl Olive Wynn was born, Feb. 20, 1896.  She was married to Claud Wynn, in August 1913.  To this happy union three children were born two of whom survive.  She as a member of the Baptist church, of Ketchum, Okla.  Funeral services were held Saturday, conducted by Rev. Reynolds, of Ketchum, and burial was made by the side of her deceased mother in Williams cemetery.[5]

Pearl was also remembered in the Miami District Daily News on 10 December 1918, the Bluejacket Gazette on 12 December 1918, and the Vinita Journal on 19 December, 1918.

She never got a chance to see her daughter start school or her son enter the Navy, but she left a lasting impression. Jewell never forgot her mother and spoke of her often.

I promise to never forget you great grandmother, Pearl Olive Swango Wynn!!!! 

[1] Tombstone of Pearly Olive, dau. of J.L. & Rosa L. Swango, Williams Timberhill Cemetery, Craig County, Oklahoma; Family of Jesse L. Swango, Year: 1900; Census Place: Clifty, Wolfe, Kentucky; Page: 1; Enumeration District: 0098; FHL microfilm: 1240555;  Family of Jesse L. Swango, Year: 1910; Census Place: Township 1, Craig, Oklahoma; Roll: T624_1248; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 0024; FHL microfilm: 1375261.

[2] Claud Winn and Olive Swango marriage notice, The Welch Watchman, Welch, Oklahoma, 21 August 1913.

[3] Birth certificate of James Elbert Wynn, St. James, Phelps County, Missouri, 13 February 1916, State of Missouri, Bureau of Vital Statistics; Birth certificate of Jewell Elberta Wynn, St. James, Phelps County, Missouri, 13 February 1916, State of Missouri, Bureau of Vital Statistics.

[4] Death certificate of James Elbert Wynn, St. James, Phelps County, Missouri, 20 March 1916, https://www.sos.mo.gov/images/archives/deathcerts/1916/1916_00011758.PDF

[5] Obituary of Pearl Olive Wynn, The Welch Watchman, Welch, Oklahoma, 11 December 1918.