Sunday, December 21, 2014

52 ANCESTORS IN 52 WEEKS#50: ROBERT SWAN "...a passionate man."

Fellow geneablogger Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued the
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. Basically, we have to post something every
week on a different ancestor, whether a story, picture, or research problem. I've
been tracing the ancestral lines of my grandmother Cora Barker. continuing with
her Swan ancestors.

 I've written before about my 7x great grandfather Robert Swan but this excerpt
 pints a picture of quite a personality. Robert sounds like a cross of J.R. Ewing
with a medieval baron:

Robert Swan was early in Haverhill and a lotholder, but he seems to have been often in hot 
water. The famous Council of 1656 thought “ there was too great appearance of much iniquity 
on Goodman Swan's part in this matter.” He was probably a passionate man. In 1666 he was 
fined by the County Court “ 30s. for striking John Carleton several blows," whilst Carleton 
was fined £3 for striking him. In 1673 the town ordered him to “ pull down ” a ditch he had 
made across one of the town’s highways or be prosecuted. In 1674 he was fined 200s for 
being drunk and cursing. July 2, 1694, there was a special meeting at which it was voted to 
resist Swan’s claim to the meadow laid out for the ministry. But be apparently had the confidence
of the people, after all. He served in King Philip's War, was on the committee with Mr. Ward in
1683 to procure an associate pastor, and in 1686 on the committee to view disputed or uncertain 
bounds.He was highway surveyor in 1692, and deputy to the General Court in 1684. In 1689 his
sons Samuel and Joshua were brought before Major Nathaniel Saltonstall as a magistrate, upon a complaint for cutting down some of Simon Wainwright’s best apple trees. Swan sent the major a 
notice which Myrick prints, forbidding him to proceed with the examination, and insinuating his 
opinion that if the major took it, it would “be altered when it comes to corte.” February 17th 
following, the magistrate entered at court a complaint against Swan “for a high contempt of authority and endeavoring to hinder him in the execution of his office as magistrate, and casting abominable, wicked reflections upon him to ye high defamation of his name.” But Swan's sons avenged the public upon him. They appear to have had a feud with Wainwright, for Samuel, the son, was, in 1690, tried, convicted and sent to jail for wantonly stabbing Capt. Simon Wainwright’s valuable horse with a half-pike. The testimony of Samuel lngalls is worth reproducing as a matter 
of justice to old Swan, and illustrative of the parental discipline of that day. He says: “I and Samuel Swan was at work together in the field of Robert Swan, Jun., and Goodman Swan, Sen.,came to us and asked us to goe into the hous with him, and then he asked Sam’l why he stabbed Mr.Wainwright’s horse. Samuel said nothing. Then said his father to him what is the reason yo doe wickedly in sinning against God in abusing the dum creature, and his father was so grievd at it yt he weped, and then he said I am resolved I will give you coreksion, and then he pulled off his close to his shirt and took a stick as big as a good ordinary nailing rod, and then he took Sam’l by one hand and streek him as hard as he cable to strike and streek him many blows. His father was a considerable while beating him and Samuel cryed out and beged of his father vari much yt he would beat him no more." pp1940-1
History of Essex County, Massachusetts: With Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men, Volume 2 (Google eBook)
J.W. Lewis,Pub. (Philadelphia. Pa. 1888) 

Interesting guy, Robert Swan.

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