Catherine Thompson Clark and her great grandson, Dr. James Edward Swan
Submitter: Gail Swan, daughter & great-great-granddaughter

Catherine Thompson Clark was born into slavery in Rappahannock, Virginia, about 1837. She was the daughter of Burwell and Matilda Thompson. Catherine married Thomas Clark, son of Benjamin Clark and Elizabeth “Betsy” Crenshaw. Their slave marriage took place in 1856 and was registered with the Rappahannock County Clerk of Court in 1866. As far as census records and the Rappahannock Historical Society can determine, Catherine and Thomas were blessed with eleven children: James Edward, Mary Jane, Betty, St. Cyr, Benjamin, Josephine, Thomas, Matilda, Martha, Louella, and Warner.

Benjamin, his son Thomas, and his grandson James Edward Clark, were all expert Blacksmiths.

James Edward Clark, born in 1856, left Little Washington VA about 1898 to start a new life with his family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While working in the Steel Mills, he invented several kinds of steel.

James Edward Swan, his grandson (the son of Minnie Clark Swan) and namesake, was also an expert craftsman. Born in 1918, James Edward Swan used the talents of his ancestors and became a Physician. He performed hundreds of delicate surgeries and used his hands to deliver precious babies.  He died in 1972 in Los Angeles California.

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