Berrien County Genealogy Project Presents...

Swem Cemetery

Galien Township, Berrien County, Michigan

One burial is believed to be located on property at Rickerman Road, across from the Swem house (about .5 miles south of U.S.-12). It is reported that one (1) infant was buried there, it was born to William & Lucretia Lee Swem, died in infancy. The story continues that a headstone once marked this grave, it was later removed, placed in a barn that was eventually destroyed by fire. William Swem was a Civil War Veteran and he died during the war. The property was later owned by Elwood Rickerson.

John Swem, a descendant ([email protected]) writes:

My dad, Dean Swem, was 7 years old when his "Grandpa Will" died. Grandpa Will was indeed a Civil War Veteran, but he and his wife, Lucretia Lee, are buried in the Galien Cemetery, not the site on Rickerman Road. Dad is now 86, and I live in North Carolina. When I visited Dad and Mom in Buchanan last year, I asked them to take me on a tour of the places our ancestors had lived so that I could take pictures and pass down some of their stories.

We did visit the Rickerman Road site since William and Lucretia had lived in the house on the west side of the road, across from the grave site, before retiring to a small house in Galien.

Dad had heard the story of a grave on a site on the east side of Rickerman Road across from the Swem House. He thought that Lucretia had given birth to a child who died in infancy, and that child was buried there with a small stone. As I understand it, later the Rickermans built a house and barn on the east side, and at some later time the grave stone ended up in the barn and was destroyed in a fire.

William and Lucretia did not have any biological children, and my grandfather was raised by them in the Swem House on the west side of Rickerman Road.


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