Davis Uriah I | Born 1707

SWAIN, Joseph

Male 1673 - 1766  (92 years)


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  • Name SWAIN, Joseph  [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
    Born 17 Jul 1673  Nantucket, Nantucket County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [6, 7, 8, 9
    Gender Male 
    Died 1 Jun 1766  Nantucket, Nantucket County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Person ID I14605  Uriah Davis I - Genealogy
    Last Modified 21 Jun 2018 

    Father SWAIN, John,   b. 5 Oct 1633, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1716, Nantucket Island, Nantucket County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 82 years) 
    Mother WYER, Mary,   b. Abt 1633, Newbury, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1714, Nantucket, Nantucket County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 81 years) 
    Married 15 Nov 1660  Hampton Falls, New Hampshire Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Family ID F4475  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 


    • [Birch genealogy by Terry Birch - 680559_GM.GED]

      Joseph Swain (1673-1766) was the fifth born child of John & Mary (Weare) Swain, born in Nantucket where he lived and farmed after reaching manhood. He resided near his parent's home in the Polpis area located on the east side of the Island. He is mentioned in his father's Will, receiving part of the estate. His wife was Mary Sibley of Salem, Mass., the hotbed of witchcraft during the early years. Her father was a traymaker in Salem and was among a number of 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, making their way to Guilford Co., N.C. A number of Nantucket families left together before the Revolutionary War and several groups followed after the war. The largest number leaving in September 1773, mostly Quakers, were: Barnard, Coffin, Bunker, Worth, Macy, Folger and Swain descendants from the original inhabitants of Nantucket. The entire family of Nathaniel Swain, 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 and Virginia, and most of the traveling was done in the winter months which created more hardships for them. Most of them stayed in Meeting Houses in three locations, New Garden, Center and Deep River. The New Garden Monthly Meeting had been established by Quakers from Pennsylvania some twenty years earlier. Although coming from Nantucket where many of them were seafaring people, they turned to farming and most of them continued in that occupation. But there were some sailors among then, as will be noted later. There is indication that some Nantucket Quakers, who had located in the eastern part of the state migrated to Guilford Co. NC. A large group came after the Revolutionary War.

      Perhaps the best picture of Quaker life in Guilford County is shown in some of the History of Guilford County. To augment this report and the information given in the histories and stories of their lives, a visit to the area where they first lived will provide a better insight into that early period, the hardships, their perseverance and courage in carving out a new nation for subsequent generations, The following is from the HISTORY OF GUILFORD COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: "In the Quaker settlement the hip-roofed houses and the various crafts are manifestations 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 Quakers came here from eastern North Carolina; others still were Welsh extraction. Among these last were the Benbows, Brittains, Hoskins, and others."

      The following, taken from "Southern Quakers", by S. B. Weeks, gives us some more interesting facts concerning the Guilford Co. Quakers: "The Island of Nantucket being small and its soil not very productive a number of people could not be supported thereupon. The population of the island still increasing, many of the citizens turned their attention to other parts and removed elsewhere. A while before the Revolutionary War, a considerable colony of Friends removed and settled at New Garden, in Guilford Co., NC. William Coffin (1720-1803) was one of the number that thus removed about 1773. Obed Macy, writing of the period about 1760, says that because of the failure of the whale fishery some went to New Garden, NC. About the outbreak of the Revolution, because of derangement of their business by the war, some went to New York and North Carolina. In 1764, Friends had begun investigations to find out who were the 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 the Cheraws, who had been since much reduced and lived with the "Catoppyes", Catawbas. In 1780 two-thirds of the inhabitants of Nantucket were Quakers. Among their leaders were the Coffins, Starbucks, Folgers, Barnards and Husseys."

      During a period of five years there were no less than forty-one certificates recorded at New Garden Monthly Meeting from Nantucket out of a total of fifty certificates received. In this number there were eleven families including many that since have been prominent in Guilford County. Among them were: Lebni Coffin, William Coffin, Jr., William Barnabas, Seth (and wife), Samuel (and family), Peter and Joseph Coffin; Jethro Macy, David, Enoch, Nathaniel, Paul (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, and Timothy Barnard; Daniel, Francis and Jonah Worth; John Wickerham, William Reece, Jonathan Gifford, 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 denomination at the present day who are "birth right", can trace their descent from one or both of these sources, and those who congratulate themselves upon their Nantucket origin may be interested 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 North Carolina, and it is likely that Henry Phillips, who in 1665, came to old Albemarle from New England, was seeking a refuge from the tyranny of Massachusetts, where Friends suffered martyrdom on Boston Common. These people did not live in crude log cabins. Many of them had comfortable homes, hip-roofed, with dormer windows, built of brick or frame material. They had wealth; they loved beauty. All worked, continually stirring from four o'clock in the morning till late at night. Industry at length brought luxury and plenty. They were a pastoral and agricultural people such as good living never spoils, but on the contrary, develops in them spirit and energy.

      Spacious fields of wheat, corn, buckwheat and patches of flax and cotton surrounded their homes. Sometimes a hundred beehives added another charm to the garden, with its lilacs, roses, sweet lavender and daises. The home itself was like a colony of bees in which there were no drones. It was a custom that no young woman should marry until she possessed four, or more bed quilts, counterpanes and snowy sheets that she had made herself. These articles of her handwork 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 silk, cotton and wool, and manufactured these products for sale. They sold green apples and chestnuts 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 their physical strength. A friendly fight as a test was not infrequent, even old men wrestled now and then. It was customary for a company of men and boys to collect on Sunday evenings at a mill or crossroads. One described a circle and upon banter being given two men stepped into the ring and they laughed at black eyes and hard knocks. They boxed each other's ears as 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 other forms of medieval life, was the embryo of a parasite growing from the roots of our republic. In Europe this principle had the form of feudalism; in America, that of Negro Slavery. Though the institution of slavery had a much stronger hold on industrial life in Warrren, Halifax and other eastern counties, still there were many slaveholders in the eastern half of Guilford County. Among the files of the Greensboro Patriot may be found advertisements offering rewards for run away slaves.

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

      Even earlier than the "Sally Ann", soon after the Revolutionary War, societies were formed all over North Carolina to protect and restore to freedom those Negroes kidnapped and sold into slavery. In the first decade of the nineteenth century a society was organized in Guilford County called the "Manumission Society of North Carolina." Its meetings were held in the Deep River section, and others besides Friends were members. The representative members of the Manumission Society were the Coffins, the Worths, James and Richard Mendenhall. What to do with slaves when freed was a question. Emigration to Haiti was encouraged. Many of this Society preferred that the Negroes be kept in slavery to having them remain in the state when freed. They were all, however, abolitionists. The Underground Railroad, though in reality an outgrowth 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 found 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 Underground Railroad in 1819 near present day Guilford College. Other operators were Addison Coffin, a son of Vestal, and a cousin of Levi Coffin, helped until 1826 when he went to Economy, IN.

      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 Guilford 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 Wilmington, NC to Belfast, Maine, was induced to give up a slave known to be on board, while in Boston Harbor.

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


      From "Swains of Nantucket" by Robert Swain.
      =============================== End of Notes ==============================

  • Sources 
    1. [S463] Descendants of Jeremiah Tallman (3).GED.
      Date of Import: Dec 24, 2003

    2. [S476] Birch genealogy by Terry Birch - 680559_GM.GED.
      Date of Import: Feb 25, 2004

    3. [S477] One Hundred and Sixty Allied Families.

    4. [S491] Terry Lytle BIRCH.
      453 Glendon Road, P.O. Box 850, Cave Junction, OR 97523-0850, 541-592-6575

    5. [S492] Lucy Folger.
      lucyfol@aol.com, http://awt.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GED&db=:2537872. Folger genealogy by Lucy Folger. GEDCOM imported on 25 February 2004.

    6. [S493] Folger genealogy by Lucy Folger - 2537872_GM.GED.
      Date of Import: Feb 27, 2004

    7. [S495] New England Historic Genealogical Society Register (Boston, MA), 7:181 (17 Jul 1673).

    8. [S496] Alexander Starbuck, The History of Nantucket (Charles E. Tuttle Co.: Publishers, Rutland, Vermont, 1983).

    9. [S497] Vital Records of Nantucket Massachusetts to the Year 1850, Volume II (New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston,, p. 549 (O.S.).