Local Pictures
Classified Ads
 Announce Births
Email Us
Buy A Copy
Local Links

click here to
The Daily

web page consultants:
Servant Technologies


03-14-03: Twins looking forward to 90th birthdays
Standard Correspondent
    The great flood of 1913 was the worst natural disaster in the history of the Miami Valley. Heavy spring rains began in April, coursing over the frozen ground. When it was over, 361 people had drowned and thousands were left homeless.
    Even as far north as Mercer County, the effects of the flood were felt. One rainy day, in the countryside near Macedon, north of Fort Recovery, a doctor had to swim his horse across a swollen stream to get to the farmhouse of Joe and Bertha Sweigart, where Mrs. Sweigart was laboring. He helped her deliver twins, a boy and a girl.
    That began the long, full lives of Martha Sweigart Enyart and her twin brother, Bob Sweigart, who will celebrate their 90th birthday on April 5.
    "Mom didn't know she was going to have twins, although she said she was twice as big, twice as clumsy and twice as sick," Enyart said.
   The twins' siblings, an older brother and an older sister, were delighted to have a baby each to hold.
   The twins grew up happy and healthy. "Martha was a live wire," said Bob Sweigart, and he loved to hunt and fish. "I was like an Indian."
    When she was a junior in high school, Martha met John Enyart at a family party. "He took me home, and that was it," she said. They ran off and got married in December, 1929, when Martha was just 16.
    Those were hard years to start housekeeping. John Enyart worked for a while at the New Idea manure spreader factory, still a new enterprise in Coldwater. "He drove a gravel truck, he farmed a little - anything to make a living," she said.
    By 1934, they had two little girls, Harriet, born in 1931, and Joyce, in 1933. The family moved to the Dayton area so that John Enyart could go to work for Frigidaire, a manufacturer of refrigerators and other appliances. They settled in the suburb of Moraine, where their son Arthur was born in 1936.
    Martha Enyart took her husband to work every day, and picked him up at the factory gates at 3:30 sharp.
    "The men in the factory teased him that he didn't know the way home," she said. But the truth was, he wanted to be able to get away from the factory as quickly as possible, and she wanted to help him.
    Martha, in the meantime, had established a career of her own, as a professional wallpaper hanger. She was trained on the job, as she tried to hang paper in one of the first homes she and John had ever shared.
    "A neighbor lady told me that if I got into trouble, I should ask her for help. So a friend and I started in. And we got into trouble on the first strip. We put our finger through the wet paper, we got it all dirty. The neighbor had to come help us out."
    Later, the neighbor laughed and said, "I didn't know I was setting you up in business." Martha Enyart was a quick learner, and got better with every room she did. She was soon papering for others in the neighborhood, for $2.50 per room.
    "I charged cheap rates because I thought I couldn't do it right," she said. "But I always loved to paper. It changes things so much, and everybody was happy."
    Her brother Bob was working hard too. He worked around home for farmers at first, and then drove a huckster wagon out of Neptune. The wagon was filled with trinkets and necessities, and he drove it from home to home. He served in army field hospitals in New Guinea and the Philippines during World War II, never hinting to his family just how close he was to the fighting.
    After the war, he married Vannie Jean Now, and they traveled around the state as he worked first for the Farm Bureau, then for a funeral home in Wooster before returning to Mercer County and settling in Rockford in the 1960s.
    The Enyarts also returned to the area, in 1962. John had worked nearly 30 years in the factory, and he had had enough of city life.
    "Our kids were married, and he wanted to come back to where he was happiest," Martha Enyart said. "I told him I would come with him. It didn't matter to me where we lived, as long as we were together."
    They found a little farm on Pine Road, outside of Wabash, and began a dairy herd. John died just six years later, in 1969.
    "Everybody thought that I'd go back to Dayton, but I didn't want to," she said. "Our children had all settled in Dayton, but they loved the farm. It has 15 acres of woods and lots of room for everybody. The grandkids and everybody loves the farm."
    Once back in the area, she continued to wallpaper - right up until 1990, when an accident sidelined her.
    "I didn't fall off a ladder, the ladder fell away from me," as she was putting some Christmas decorations into the attic, she said. She was in a brace for five months but had returned to papering when her Chevy station wagon collided with a pickup truck. That led to a stay in the intensive care unit, and it ended her wallpapering career.
    "My grandson would come see me, and he would sing, 'Grandma got run over by a pickup,' and we would just laugh," she said. "But I didn't realize at the time how bad it was."
    She recovered enough to stay on her farm, where she still lives. She is still active in her church, a little country church that she calls Happy Corner, west of Celina on Ohio 29. She raises flowers; she sews baby quilts for her ever-expanding family (10 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren, 16 great-great grandchildren, and two more on the way).
    Bob Sweigart has retired to Otterbein, where for years he kept busy helping others, volunteering to carry trays in the lunchroom and helping with the yard work. Together, the twins will celebrate their upcoming birthday with an open house planned by their families on April 5, from 2-5 p.m. in Shane's Park in Rockford.
    It is faith and hope that has kept them strong, Martha Enyart said - things they first learned from their parents on the farm so many years ago.
    "You've got to have hope, or you become desperate," she said. "You've got to have faith in God. If there is no God, when you get to the end of yourself, where do you go? I was 12 when I accepted the Lord, and I have kept true. That's the main thing in my life - put your trust in the Lord, and follow as best you can."


Phone: (419)586-2371,   Fax: (419)586-6271
All content copyright 2003
The Standard Printing Company
P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822