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William Swift
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Birth: 1596
Herefordshire, England
Death: 1642
Barnstable County
Massachusetts, USA

William Swift, the immigrant ancestor of the Swift family of early 1600s Sandwich, Mass.

The first treatment of the William Swift family was by George Henry Swift in 1900 in "William Swyft of Sandwitch and some of his Descendants, 1637-1887." This work is incomplete regarding the first generation in America and includes association errors. The more factual sketch of the immigrant was pub. by Jane Fletcher Fiske, FASG in 2002 in The American Genealogist ("William Swift, Citizen and Leatherseller of London, and Planter of Sandwich, Massachusetts," TAG 77(July 2002):161). The latter was used as the basis of the sketch of the immigrant by Robert Charles Anderson in The Great Migration Begins series by the NEHGS (GMB, VI:626). The following is an abbreviation of the more pertinent facts, the reader referred to the latter two works for more extensive detail.

William Swift m. 1) a presumptive Sarah by whom he had at least the four children summarized below, all likely born at St. Mary Magdalen Bermondsey, Surrey, England. Also known as Bermondsey St. Mary Magdalen, since the mid-1800s Bermondsey has been part of metropolitan London south of the River Thames and is its own civil registration district.

Only the last two children have known baptism records and only one came to America with her father and step-mother. William's presumptive first wife Sarah was bur. of record Aug. 24, 1625 at St. Mary Magdalen:

i. Edward Swift, b. circa 1618; was bound an apprentice on May 8, 1633 for a seven year term to George Andrews, butcher, interpreted by the memorialist to likely have been when Edward was at or about the age of 14. He was made "free" July 2, 1640, but no further confirmed record has been found for him.

ii. Hannah Swift, b. circa 1620, d. Jan. 31, 1664/5 at Sandwich, Mass.; m. Nov. 5, 1642 of record at Sandwich as his 1st wife, Daniel Wing, s. of Rev. John Wing and Deborah Bachilor (q.v. Bachelor), b. likely in England. He d. testate Mar. 10, 1697/8 at Sandwich. Nine children of the marriage.

iii. John Swift, bap. June 26, 1622 at St. Mary Magdalen Bermondsey; bur. there three days later on June 29, 1622.

iv. Mary Swift, bap. Aug. 21, 1625 at St. Mary Magdalen Bermondsey; bur. there two weeks later on Sept. 4, 1625.

On Jan. 3, 1625/6 of record at St. Mary Magdalen, William m. 2) Joan Dimbleby, widow of Roger Dimbleby. Joan's first marriage, which would provide her maiden name, has not been found thus there is no proof that she was nee Sisson as often claimed; she had four children of record bap. then bur. in infancy at St. Mary Magdalen. First husband Roger Dimbleby was bur. at St. Mary Magdalen Sept. 15, 1625.

William Swift and 2nd wife Joan had three known children bap. at St. Mary Magdalen prior to immigrating to New England:

v. William Swift, Jr., bap. Apr 25, 1627, d. Jan. 7, 1705/6 at Sandwich, Mass.; m. bef. 1652, wife Ruth, whose maiden name is unknown and who survived her husband. Ten children of the family.

vi. Esther Swift, bap. May 28, 1629; m. bef. 1647 Ralph Allen, Jr. of Sandwich, Mass., who was deceased by Oct. 12, 1662 when his mother-in-law, the widow Joan Swift, made her will at Sandwich. Four known children of the family. The widow Esther (Swift) Allen, not her dau. Esther b. at Sandwich in 1648, m. 2) of record at Sandwich, Mass. on Feb. 14, 1664/5 as his 2nd of 3 wives, Henry Bull of Newport, Rhode Island, b. circa 1610 at England. She d. of record at Newport Mar. 26, 1676. There were no known children. Henry Bull, who subsequently was a Gov. of the Rhode Island Plantation, d. at his own residence at Newport on Jan. 22, 1693/4, "aged" 84.

vii. Sarah Swift, bap. Aug. 7, 1631, bur. four weeks later on Sept. 8, 1631 at St. Mary Magdalen.

By virtue of dau. Sarah's bapt. and burial in 1631 at England, William Swift and family were not passengers of any vessel that sailed by April 1630 for New England as part of the "Winthrop Fleet."

William d. intestate either in late 1642 and certainly before Jan. 29, 1642/3 when his extensive estate inventory was exhibited at the Plymouth Court [MD 4:168]. Although administration of the estate was "graunted unto Joane the wyfe of Willm Swyft of Sandwich lately Deceased," there is no date specified in the record when that action occured. Because of the extensive list of persons William owed at his death, not just those who lived at or near Sandwich, it may have taken an extended period of time to complete the estate inventory, with William dying in the latter part of 1642 versus in January 1642/3.

The inventory is four pages long in the original record, totals 72.11.01 in moveables plus 10 for his house, land and meadow ground at Sandwich. Unfortunately, he owed a mortgage debt of 20.10 on a house at Sudbury, Mass. and the list of 18 persons William owed at his death totals in excess of 225. No corresponding list of persons who owed William appears and the only possible interpretation is that at his death William Swift's estate was substantially insolvent.

Revised 4/4/2013
Family links: 
  Sarah Swift (____ - 1625)
  Joan Swift (1599 - 1663)
  John Swift (1622 - 1622)*
  Hannah Swift Wing (1625 - 1665)*
  Mary Swift (1625 - 1625)*
  William Swift (1627 - 1706)*
  Esther Swift Allen Bull (1629 - 1676)*
  Sarah Swift (1631 - 1631)*
*Calculated relationship
Old Town Cemetery
Barnstable County
Massachusetts, USA
Created by: Don Blauvelt
Record added: Jan 14, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 103553014
William Swift
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Julie Nathanson
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In Remembrance of our 11th Great-Grandfather
- Valerie
 Added: Jul. 29, 2015
RIP William Swift from your 9th Great Grand Son
- Ellwood G Swift
 Added: Jun. 19, 2015

- K Walters
 Added: May. 6, 2015
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