The face of John Langdon Swain peers out from a postage-stamp sized (i.e. gem) tintype photograph. He was the fourth great-grandson of Jeremiah & Mary (Smith) Swain of Reading, Massachusetts. The tintype was another of my online auction ‘finds’ which I purchased because John had such an interesting face. No doubt the photograph was cut out from a much larger album with related photos.
You would never guess that John “Lang” Swain met an untimely death on Christmas Day of 1866. He was only 42 years old. Other than his death certificate which quite simply states”killed by locomotive,” two newspaper stories shed a little light on what happened. We probably will never know why he ignored the loud whistles of the train’s engineer, or why he was walking on the railroad tracks in the first place.