Gen John L. Swift

Gen John L. Swift

Kent, Litchfield County, Connecticut, USA
Death 12 Jul 1814 (aged 53)
Queenston, Niagara Regional Municipality, Ontario, Canada
Burial Palmyra, Wayne County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 75463836 · View Source
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Husband of Rhoda Sawyer and son of Elisha and Mary Ransom Swift. The founder of Palmyra, New York. He came to this area in the Autumn of 1788. He built the first grist mill, held militia training, organized the first church, school and donated the land for them. Palymra was first known as Swift's landing.

At the age of 15 he served as a private in Captain Lathrop Allen's company, Colonel Elmore's regiment, Connecticut troops during the Revolutionary War. In the War of 1812, he unlisted in Captain King's company as a private and was made Sergeant six weeks later. He received an order from Govenor Andrews of New York, to return to Roxbury and raise a company. Being he was a good orator, many men enlisted and he was promoted to Captain.

He was in the Battle of Wyoming. At Queenston Heights, on the Niagara frontier, he led a charge against Fort George (first taken by the Americans on 27 May 1813, it had been retaken the British in December 1813 and then defended against another American invasion in 1814). Swift's men captured a picket post with some 60 men whom he did not disarm. One of the prisoners asked; Who is General Swift? I am General Swift, he answered. The man then fired and mortally wounded the gallant commander. The enemy was driven back to Fort George & the dying general was conveyed to Queenston where he died July 12, 1814. The citizens of Palmyra removed his body from there to his final resting place in Palmyra, New York. "After serving his country 7 years in the War of the Revolution," said General Porter in his brigade order the next day, "he again stepped forward as a volunteer to give the aid of his experience in support of the violated rights of his country; and never was that country called on to lament the loss of a firmer patroit or braver man."

The legislature presented his eldest son, Asa Swift, with a sword as an acknowledgment of the father's patriotic services; and hung a portrait of General John Swift in New York City Hall. His portrait also hangs in Niagara Falls City Hall, Niagara Falls, NY.

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Sacred to the memory of Gen. John Swift who was killed by the enemy of his country, July 12, 1814 near Newark, Upper Canada, age 52years 25days

Gravesite Details Credit to "All Things Swift" by Terence Duniho


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  • Created by: Susan Fuller
  • Added: 25 Aug 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 75463836
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Gen John L. Swift (17 Jun 1761–12 Jul 1814), Find A Grave Memorial no. 75463836, citing General John Swift Memorial Cemetery, Palmyra, Wayne County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Susan Fuller (contributor 47443306) .