Kate Swann: Accidental Burning

I took this photo at least three years ago, knowing the young child’s cause of death but postponed writing about her in hopes of finding more details.

According to Green Hill’s mortuary reports Kate Swann died at age two from an “accidental burning.”

Initially all I knew about Kate (other than her cause of death) was that she was the second born child of bank teller Flemming/Fleming Dudley Swann and Stella Stella Perry Smith Swann.

I surmised that Kate could have died after an incident with a wood stove, unable to locate anything in the historical newspapers collection about a fatal fire or burning in June 1889.

Kate’s grave is on the edge of one of the circular paths at Green Hill so I would pass it every time I visited, wondering about how she died.

A few weeks after posting this entry I received a correspondence from author and fortean Chris Woodyard of Haunted Ohio who looked at the case with a fresh set of eyes. The result was the knowledge that Kate’s burns were from falling into a tub of hot water.

From The Chatham Record (Pittboro, NC); 11 July 1889
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