A Guide to the Richard Montgomery Swearingen Narrative, 1861-1879
Born to Richard Johnson and Margaret (Conner) Swearingen in Noxubee County, Mississippi, Richard Montgomery Swearingen (1838-1898) moved to Washington County, Texas, with his family in 1848. While attending New Orleans Medical College in 1860, secession began, causing Swearingen to join the Confederate Army. During the Civil War, Swearingen served as an officer in the Cumberland Gap and Kentucky campaigns, at Murfreesburo, Tennessee, and in the retreat through Georgia. Following the war, he married Jennie Jessie of Sneedsville, Tennessee, and returned to medical school, moving to Austin, Texas, in 1875 to begin his practice. In 1878, Swearingen volunteered his professional expertise with Dr. T. D. Manning in the yellow fever epidemics of Memphis, Tennessee, and Holly Springs, Mississippi. After Manning succumbed to the disease, President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed Swearingen to an investigatory commission on the epidemic, the report of which led to the establishment of the National Board of Health. In 1881, Swearingen became state health officer of Texas, a position he held for several years in addition to the presidency of the Austin school board.
“Swearingen, Richard Montgomery.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed March 1, 2011.
Comprising Photostats of a reminiscence, clippings, a eulogy, and literary efforts, the Richard Montgomery Swearingen Narrative, 1861-1879, documents Swearingen’s experiences as a Confederate officer during the Civil War, his volunteer work in the yellow fever epidemics of 1878, and his poetic interests. The reminiscence, entitled “Four Years in the confederate Army; or, My Part of the Great Rebellion,” includes descriptions of illness, living conditions, Swearingen’s relationship with his future wife Jennie Jessie, and his participation in the Cumberland Gap and Kentucky campaigns and the retreat through Georgia. A eulogy for Dr. T. D. Manning and a newspaper clipping concern Swearingen and Manning’s medical service in the yellow fever epidemics of Memphis, Tennessee, and Holly Springs, Mississippi. Additionally, the collection contains handwritten poems and an essay on Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “Enoch Arden” by Swearingen as well as clippings of published poems.
This collection is open for research use.
Richard Montgomery Swearingen Narrative, 1861-1879, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s “History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project,” 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers