Matching family tree profiles for Mary Jane Virginia Porter
About Mary Jane Virginia Porter (Swaim)
Mary is the mother of short story writer, O. Henry.
The following letter describes O. Henry's maternal ancestry. The original letter from Belle Swaim to Mrs. Smith, can be located in the "Ancestry -- Correspondence" Folder of the Greensboro Public Library's O. Henry Collection.
March 24, 1914
Dear Mrs. Smith
"Mary Virginia, the daughter of Wm. and Abiah Swaim was born in 1833. Her father died Dec. 31st 1835. In 1842 Mrs. Abiah Swaim married Lyndon Swaim. She died in Jan. 1858. We do not know the date of Mrs. Mary Porter’s marriage, but it was previous to Sept. 1858, since in a letter of that date to my father, the writer says “my respects to the Dr. and Mary”.
"After the death of Mrs. Abiah Swaim, when her daughter was married to Dr. Porter, my father made a division of the property -- that is his own property and that of his wife, which they had jointly possessed.
"By this division Mrs. Porter received one half, my father retaining half. The library, also, was divided. Most of the books were father’s personal property, but he gave his step-daughter first choice of them.
"This was told me by my mother. Now, if this library, --these books of her own selection, could only be located, it would probably throw some light upon her taste in literature; and some of her poetry, --if she wrote any -- might be found among the pages.
"Among Father’s old papers, Sister has found some bills for Mary V. Swaim’s tuition at Edgeworth and G. F. College. We have included them since they give information concerning her education. There is also an interesting note from Rev. Solomon Lea.