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Descendants of Richard Swain

Generation No. 2

2. JOHN4 SWAIN (RICHARD3, WILLIAM2, WILLIAM1) was born 05 Oct 1633 in Binfield Parish, Berkshire Co., England, and died 09 Feb 1714 in Nantucket, Massachusetts. He married MARY WYER 15 Nov 1660 in Hampton, daughter of NATHANIEL WEARE WYER. She was born 1633 in Nantucket, Massachusetts, and died 1714 in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Notes for J
From the book SWAINS of NANTUCKET, by Robert H. Swain

"Nantucket. If you have ever been there, you know what it means. It was named by the Indians who occupied the island before ten founding families purchased it in 1659. The name Nantucket means "Land Far Out to Sea" and the whalers use to call it the "Grey Little Lady". There were two tribes on the island, Sachem Autopscot and Sachem Wanackmamack, when Thomas Mayhew sold Nantucket for 10 Pounds and 2 Beaver hats. The nine original purchasers were;
Thomas Macy
Richard Swain
John Swain
Tristam Coffin
Peter Coffin
Christopher Hussey
Stephen Greenleaf
William Pike
Thomas Bernard
Thomas Mayhew kept one-tenth of the island for himself on the Western part of the island. The Eastern half remained to the Indian tribes until the entire island was slowly taken over by settlers.
Before Thomas Macy and other settlers moved to Nantucket, they lived in Rowley and Salisbury, Massachusetts where the Quakers were often persecuted. Thomas Macy gave them shelter and protection until they found their permanent settlement on Nantucket. When they finally moved to the island, each was given a plot of land near Sherbourne, the first town on Nantucket Island. Unfortunately, the land that they originally settled was in the swamps of Madaket, an Indian term for "bad lands", and was unsuitable for farming. They tried other trades such as sheep raising and fishing, but were unsuccessful in both.
Eventually the town of Sherbourne was deserted because of its poor harbor. Their access to the ocean was blocked by soil settlements and salt deposits. The town was moved to a more central area on the Northern coast of the island and renamed "Nantucket". This is the current location of the town today, and there remains the small village of Madaket where Sherbourne once was.
After the first settlers had survived a Nantucket winter, they each invited one other family to the island, including the Folgers and the Starbucks, which doubled the population. From these 20 families, the island developed through the years to become the number one whaling port in the world in the mid-1800s. Today it is a popular summer destination for the wealthy.
The land near Sherbourne on the Western half of the island was divided up among the first twenty families. Richard Swain and John Swain had the Southern most area of the island".
"John Swain moved his family from the swampy lands in Madaket to Polpis Harbor. There he owned a great deal of land as well as many homes (which my have been built after his death). The John Swain house was the oldest standing home on the island until it burnt from a lightening strike in 1902. A recreation has been built elsewhere on the island, and the John Swain property is now personally owned.
There are many landmarks on the island named after the Swain Family. One of the wharfs, the one farthest South, is named Swain's Wharf after a great Swain seaman of the mid-1800s. There is also Swain's Neck, a small peninsula that stretches into Polpis Harbor near the John Swain property. There is a Swain Street and two Swain houses within the city limits that were built in c. 1795. Both are personally owned today and not open to visitors".

Joseph Swain (1673-1766) was the fifth born child of John & Mary (Weare) Swain, born in Nant ucket where he lived and farmed after reaching manhood. He resided near his parent's home i n the Polpis area located on the east side of the Island. He is mentioned in his father's Wil l, receiving part of the estate. His wife was Mary Sibley of Salem, Mass., the hotbed of witc hcraft during the early years. Her father was a traymaker in Salem and was among a number o f families there named Sibley. Joseph & Mary Swain had seven children.

In the genealogy of Joseph Swain you will find many of those who left the Island in 1773, mak ing their way to Guilford Co., N.C. A number of Nantucket families left together before th e Revolutionary War and several groups followed after the war. The largest number leaving i n September 1773, mostly Quakers, were: Barnard, Coffin, Bunker, Worth, Macy, Folger and Swai n descendants from the original inhabitants of Nantucket. The entire family of Nathaniel Swai n, son of Caleb Swain, left with the 1773 contingent. All the names listed above, and others , may be found among the well-kept records of the Society of Friends of Guilford Co., N. C.

The Nantucket Quakers came to Guilford Co., N. C. by land through Pennsylvania, Maryland an d Virginia, and most of the traveling was done in the winter months which created more hardsh ips for them. Most of them stayed in Meeting Houses in three locations, New Garden, Center an d Deep River. The New Garden Monthly Meeting had been established by Quakers from Pennsylvani a some twenty years earlier. Although coming from Nantucket where many of them were seafarin g people, they turned to farming and most of them continued in that occupation. But there wer e some sailors among then, as will be noted later. There is indication that some Nantucket Qu akers, who had located in the eastern part of the state migrated to Guilford Co. NC. A larg e group came after the Revolutionary War.

Perhaps the best picture of Quaker life in Guilford County is shown in some of the History o f Guilford County. To augment this report and the information given in the histories and stor ies of their lives, a visit to the area where they first lived will provide a better insigh t into that early period, the hardships, their perseverance and courage in carving out a ne w nation for subsequent generations, The following is from the HISTORY OF GUILFORD COUNTY, NO RTH CAROLINA: "In the Quaker settlement the hip-roofed houses and the various crafts are man ifestations of English training. Besides the Quakers who came from Pennsylvania about 1749 , a band of Nantucket Quakers came to this territory in 1771; another band of emigrant Quaker s came here from eastern North Carolina; others still were Welsh extraction. Among these las t were the Benbows, Brittains, Hoskins, and others."

The following, taken from "Southern Quakers", by S. B. Weeks, gives us some more interestin g facts concerning the Guilford Co. Quakers: "The Island of Nantucket being small and its soi l not very productive a number of people could not be supported thereupon. The population o f the island still increasing, many of the citizens turned their attention to other parts an d removed elsewhere. A while before the Revolutionary War, a considerable colony of Friends r emoved and settled at New Garden, in Guilford Co., NC. William Coffin (1720-1803) was one o f the number that thus removed about 1773. Obed Macy, writing of the period about 1760, say s that because of the failure of the whale fishery some went to New Garden, NC. About the out break of the Revolution, because of derangement of their business by the war, some went to Ne w York and North Carolina. In 1764, Friends had begun investigations to find out who were th e original Indian owners of their new homes, in order that they might pay them for the land , as they tried to do at Hopewell, VA. It was reported that New Garden section belonged to th e Cheraws, who had been since much reduced and lived with the "Catoppyes", Catawbas. In 178 0 two-thirds of the inhabitants of Nantucket were Quakers. Among their leaders were the Coffi ns, Starbucks, Folgers, Barnards and Husseys."

During a period of five years there were no less than forty-one certificates recorded at Ne w Garden Monthly Meeting from Nantucket out of a total of fifty certificates received. In thi s number there were eleven families including many that since have been prominent in Guilfor d County. Among them were: Lebni Coffin, William Coffin, Jr., William Barnabas, Seth (and wif e), Samuel (and family), Peter and Joseph Coffin; Jethro Macy, David, Enoch, Nathaniel, Pau l (and family), Matthew (and five children) and Joseph Macy; William Gayer, Paul (and family) , and William Starbuck; Richard, William, Stephen and Stephen Gardner; Tristrim, Francis, an d Timothy Barnard; Daniel, Francis and Jonah Worth; John Wickerham, William Reece, Jonathan G ifford, Reuben Bunker, Nathaniel Swain, Thomas Dixon.

More from the History of Guilford County, N.C:
"The Pennsylvania and Nantucket Quakers did not mingle and intermarry with the Scotch-Irish , whose whole modus vivendi was the opposite of their own. Almost all members of the denomina tion at the present day who are "birth right", can trace their descent from one or both of th ese sources, and those who congratulate themselves upon their Nantucket origin may be interes ted in the following doggerel which was supposed tersely to describe those same ancestors.

(1) The Rays and Russells coopers are,
The knowing Folgers lazy,
A lying Coleman very rare,
And scarce a learned Hussey,
The Coffins noisy, fractious, loud,
The silent Gardners plodding,
The Mitchells good,
The Bakers proud,
The Macys eat the pudding,
The Lovetts stalwart, brave and stern,
The Starbucks wild and vain,
The Quakers steady, mild and calm,
The Swains sea-faring men,
And the jolly Worths go sailing down the wind.

The Nantucket Quakers that came to Guilford County were not the first Friends to come to Nort h Carolina, and it is likely that Henry Phillips, who in 1665, came to old Albemarle from Ne w England, was seeking a refuge from the tyranny of Massachusetts, where Friends suffered mar tyrdom on Boston Common. These people did not live in crude log cabins. Many of them had comf ortable homes, hip-roofed, with dormer windows, built of brick or frame material. They had we alth; they loved beauty. All worked, continually stirring from four o'clock in the morning ti ll late at night. Industry at length brought luxury and plenty. They were a pastoral and agri cultural people such as good living never spoils, but on the contrary, develops in them spiri t and energy.

Spacious fields of wheat, corn, buckwheat and patches of flax and cotton surrounded their hom es. Sometimes a hundred beehives added another charm to the garden, with its lilacs, roses, s weet lavender and daises. The home itself was like a colony of bees in which there were no dr ones. It was a custom that no young woman should marry until she possessed four, or more be d quilts, counterpanes and snowy sheets that she had made herself. These articles of her hand work she embroidered with all sorts of needlework.

The women wove for the whole family, ( 2) tow shirts, barn door breeches and silken gowns .. . They sold great quantities of cloth, wagonloads of butter, cheese and honey. They raised si lk, cotton and wool, and manufactured these products for sale. They sold green apples and che stnuts all winter. Tow shirts were made from coarse flax fiber.

People lived without much expense. They had no fear of work. The men prided themselves on the ir physical strength. A friendly fight as a test was not infrequent, even old men wrestled no w and then. It was customary for a company of men and boys to collect on Sunday evenings a t a mill or crossroads. One described a circle and upon banter being given two men stepped in to the ring and they laughed at black eyes and hard knocks. They boxed each other's ears a s a joke, and gouged and bit each other for fun.

The Slavery Question: Slavery, an institution bequeathed to us like a church, the state or ot her forms of medieval life, was the embryo of a parasite growing from the roots of our republ ic. In Europe this principle had the form of feudalism; in America, that of Negro Slavery. Th ough the institution of slavery had a much stronger hold on industrial life in Warrren, Halif ax and other eastern counties, still there were many slaveholders in the eastern half of Guil ford County. Among the files of the Greensboro Patriot may be found advertisements offering r ewards for run away slaves.

Now, there were those in Guilford County having decided conscientious scruples against all th is business. The western part of Guilford County was occupied by Quakers, Englishmen coming b y way of Pennsylvania and another type not so mild the Nantucket Quaker, who came to this wes tern part of Guilford about the time of the first brewings of the Revolutionary War. This sec tion, was and is today, the center of the Quaker element in the state. For some reasons or im pulse, the Friends or Quakers regarded the freeing of the slaves as their own peculiar missio n. In their yearly meetings as early as 1772, according to Stephen B Weeks, Friends were disc ussing slavery and the sin of it; and in 1774 they freed their own slaves. The North Carolin a yearly meeting of Friends charted a ship called the "Sally Ann", for the purpose of sendin g slaves to Haiti where they might be free. A Captain Swain of Guilford County was the skippe r of that vessel.

Even earlier than the "Sally Ann", soon after the Revolutionary War, societies were formed al l over North Carolina to protect and restore to freedom those Negroes kidnapped and sold int o slavery. In the first decade of the nineteenth century a society was organized in Guilfor d County called the "Manumission Society of North Carolina." Its meetings were held in the De ep River section, and others besides Friends were members. The representative members of th e Manumission Society were the Coffins, the Worths, James and Richard Mendenhall. What to d o with slaves when freed was a question. Emigration to Haiti was encouraged. Many of this Soc iety preferred that the Negroes be kept in slavery to having them remain in the state when fr eed. They were all, however, abolitionists. The Underground Railroad, though in reality an ou tgrowth of the Manumission Society, was not connected with it. This was a secret organization , begotten in the ingenious brain of the Coffins, by which slaves were sent to the Northwest . The scheme remained a secret for a quarter of a century, in which time many a slaveholder f ound his number of slaves quietly diminished, and his Negroes skipped and gone.

In his book "Reminiscences", Levi Coffin credits Vestal Coffin with organization of the Under ground Railroad in 1819 near present day Guilford College. Other operators were Addison Coffi n, a son of Vestal, and a cousin of Levi Coffin, helped until 1826 when he went to Economy, I N.

It may be noted that the Society of Friends did not receive Negroes into their denomination , as did Presbyterians, Baptists and others. This question was seen in the History of Guilfor d County: "Who ever saw a Negro who was a Quaker?"

An old newspaper reported the following in Sept. 1854, "The Schooner Sally Ann sailed from Wi lmington, NC to Belfast, Maine, was induced to give up a slave known to be on board, while i n Boston Harbor.

A number of Quaker families from Guilford County migrated to Economy, Indiana.

From "Swains of Nantucket" by Robert Swain.
Children of J
3. i.   JOHN SWAIN5 SWAN, b. 01 Sep 1664, Nantucket, MA, USA; d. 29 Nov 1738, Nantucket, MA, USA.
  ii.   PATIENCE SWAIN, b. 1685, Nantucket, MA, USA; d. 23 Oct 1747, Nantucket, MA, USA.
  iii.   MARY SWAIN, b. 11 Sep 1661, Hampton, New Hampshire; d. 27 Jul 1714, Nantucket, MA, USA.
  iv.   STEPHEN SWAIN, b. 21 Nov 1666, Nantucket, MA, USA; d. 24 Jan 1712, Chowan County, North Carolina.
  v.   SARAH SWAIN, b. 13 Jul 1670, Nantucket, MA, USA.
  vi.   ELIZABETH SWAIN, b. 16 May 1676, Nantucket, MA, USA; d. 24 Jul 1760.
  vii.   BENJAMIN SWAIN, b. 05 Jul 1679, Nantucket, MA, USA; d. 18 Aug 1757, Nantucket, MA, USA.
  viii.   HANNAH SWAIN, b. 07 May 1681, New Port, Rhode Island; d. 09 Sep 1765, New Port, Rhode Island.
4. ix.   JOSEPH SWAIN, b. 17 Jul 1673, Nantucket, MA, USA; d. 01 Jun 1766, Nantucket Island, MA, USA.

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