Dear America Wiki
Dear America Wiki

"Willie Faye had said, "You just kind of got to believe," and I realized that she must have meant that we had to have faith. For what is faith but believing what you can't see."
—Minnie Swift[5]

Minerva "Minnie" Swift (born c. 1921) was the daughter of Belle and Sam Swift. She had four siblings, including three older sisters Gwen, Clem, and Lady, and a younger brother Ozzie. Minnie grew up with her large family in Indianapolis, Indiana. In late 1932, a distant cousin of the Swifts, Willie Faye Darling, came to live with them. Minnie became close to Willie Faye, whom was the same age.


Early life[]

Minerva, nicknamed "Minnie," was born around 1921.[2] She was the youngest daughter of Sam and Belle Swift. Minnie had three older sisters, Gwendolyn "Gwen", Clementine "Clem", and Adelaide "Lady", and a younger brother, Francis Osgood "Ozzie". She grew up on North Meridian Street in Indianapolis, Indiana.

December 1932[]

Due to the Great Depression, Minnie realized that Christmas of 1932 was going to be different from their previous Christmases. Two days after Thanksgiving, the Swifts received a telegram about their distant cousin, Willie Faye Darling, coming to live with them. Willie Faye was an orphan from the Texas Panhandle. She was the same age as Minnie and they quickly became close friends, despite their differing personalities. The day after her arrival, Minnie brought her to her school. Willie Faye, to Minnie's dismay, was put in a lower grade than her. Minnie was fascinated about the things Willie Faye did not know, but soon realized that she had many interesting experiences.

The following weekend, Minnie brought Willie Faye to attend a Bernadette Otis's, a classmate, birthday. It was quickly cancelled when Bernadette's father shot himself. Willie Faye was effected by the incident and later told Minnie about her mother's passing. Some days later, Lady whisked Clem and her friends away for a night out. Minnie felt left out since she was "too young" to go with them. The next day, she and Willie Faye began making gifts for the entire family. They asked for Lady for her help in fashioning hats. On December 15, Minnie's father revealed that he had lost his job at Greenhandle Scrap Iron. The next day, Clem's new boyfriend Marlon helped the Swift children cut down a tree.

The day after that, Minnie's father had left suddenly with only a note asking them "not to worry." At the Christmas pageant, Willie Faye helped Minnie when the rude Martine Vontill claimed that he had "deserted" the family. The Swifts attempted to "soldier on" as their mother put it. On Christmas Eve, the family decided to give their dinner to the homeless. When they returned, they found their father decorating the house. He revealed that he had went to Chicago and sold three scripts of a radio show, entitled Ozzie, the Boy Wonder. The family was overjoyed and proceeded to celebrate Christmas. Minerva later reflected on how Willie Faye had changed their lives.

Later life[]

After the success of Ozzy, the Boy Wonder, the Swift family became wealthy. Minnie was able to attend college but put it aside when America entered World War II in 1941. Minnie, who had learned to fly at fifteen, joined the Army Air Force and later the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). She an air force captain, Ashton Brannock. They had two children before he was killed in the Korean War. Minnie went on to write adventure survival novels for girls. She also collaborated with Willie Faye on a series of children's books about "a chicken that flew an airplane." Minnie later remarried and continued to fly well into her seventies. She was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

Personality and traits[]

Minnie was a typical, fun-loving child of her time. She enjoyed going to the movies and listening to radio shows. Some of her favorite programs were Charlie Chan and The Shadow. Due to being named after the Roman goddess of wisdom, she sometimes felt pressure to be smart. She tried hard to study and would become annoyed when she felt she did not due well on a test. Minnie also held an admiration for Amelia Earhart. She went on to learn how to fly as a teenager and flew for the army as an adult.

Family tree[]

The Swift Family Tree
Mr. Darling
(d. 1931)
Edwina Darling
(d. 1932)
Belle Swift
Sam Swift
Willie Faye Darling
(b. 1921)
Gwendolyn Swift
(b. 1912)
Harry Knox
(b. 1902)
Clementine Swift
(b. 1915)
Adelaide Swift
(b. 1916)
(1) Ashton Brannock
(d. 1950s)
Minerva Swift
(b. 1921)
(2) Husband
Francis Osgood Swift
(b. 1923)
Three children
Two children


  • It is stated that Willie Faye Darling is a first cousin once removed of the Swifts, which points to her mother being a first cousin of Belle.

Behind the scenes[]



See also[]

Dear America characters
Main characters

Remember "Mem" Whipple | Deliverance Trembley | Lozette Moreau | Catharine Logan | Prudence Emerson
Abigail Stewart | Lucinda Lawrence | María Rosalia de Milagros | Hattie Campbell | Mary Driscoll
Florence "Florrie" Mack Ryder | Susanna Fairchild | Clotee Henley | Amelia Martin | Emma Simpson
Sarah Nita | Phillis "Patsy" Frederick | Libby West | Priscilla "Pringle" Rose | Mary "Polly" Rodgers
Nannie Little Rose | Angeline Reddy | Sarah Jane Price | Teresa Viscardi | Anetka Kaminska
Zipporah Feldman | Minette "Minnie" Bonner | Angela Denoto | Margaret Ann Brady | Kathleen Bowen
Simone Spencer | Lydia Pierce | Nell "Nellie Lee" Love | Bess Brennan | Minerva "Minnie" Swift | Grace Edwards
Julie Weiss | Madeline Beck | Amber Billows | Piper Davis | Dawn "Dawnie Rae" Johnson | Molly Flaherty

Supporting characters

Antoinetta Viscardi | Leon Nasevich | Daniel Pierce | Erma Jean Love | Patrick Flaherty

Lists of characters by book

A Journey to the New World | I Walk in Dread | Look to the Hills | Standing in the Light
Love Thy Neighbor | The Winter of Red Snow | Cannons at Dawn | A Line in the Sand
Valley of the Moon | Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie | So Far from Home | All the Stars in the Sky
Seeds of Hope | A Picture of Freedom | A Light in the Storm | When Will This Cruel War Be Over?
The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow | I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly | The Great Railroad Race
Down the Rabbit Hole | Land of the Buffalo Bones | My Heart Is on the Ground | Behind the Masks
My Face to the Wind | West to a Land of Plenty | A Coal Miner's Bride | Dreams in the Golden Country
A City Tossed and Broken | Hear My Sorrow | Voyage on the Great Titanic | A Time for Courage
When Christmas Comes Again | Like the Willow Tree | Color Me Dark | Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Christmas After All | Survival in the Storm | One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping
My Secret War | Early Sunday Morning | The Fences Between Us | With the Might of Angels
Where Have All the Flowers Gone?