Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Sweat Family

Once upon a time, in the distant past, the Sweat family name had a different spelling: Swett. There are also the variations Swete and Sweet. It all came down to how a clerk/transcriber/whoever heard the name and, well, spelled it out. At some point, the variation stuck. For my line of the family, the Sweat spelling is what stuck.

So far, I've been able to trace the Sweat (my mother's paternal line) back to John Swett who was most likely born about 1590 in County Norfolk, England. John married Phebe (Surname Unknown) about 1612. They had the following children . . .
  • John Swett II - b. 1613 in Wymondham, Norfolk, England; d. May 18, 1693 in Charlestown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
  • Dorcas Swett - b. May 31, 1618 in Wymondham, Norfolk, England; d. unknown
  • Stephen Swett - b. April 18, 1620 in Wymondham, Norfolk, England; d. before January 1694 in Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts
  • Joseph Swett - b. January 21, 1621 in Wymondham, Norfolk, England; d. February 21, 1689 in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
  • Benjamin Swett - b. May 12, 1624 in Wymondham, Norfolk, England; d. June 29, 1677 in Black Point, Scarborough, Maine
From everything I've been able to find, John Swett and his family emigrated to America around 1641.

Benjamin Swett married Hester Weare (b. 1629 in Nantucket, Nantucket County, Massachusetts; d. January 16, 1718 in Hampton, Rockingham County, New Hampshire), daughter of Nathaniel Weare and Sarah (Surname Unknown) on November 1, 1647. They had the following children . . .
  • Hester Swett - b. June 17, 1648 in Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts; d. September 24, 1703 in Hampton, Rockingham County, New Hampshire
  • Sarah Swett - b. November 7, 1650 in Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts; d. December 8, 1717 in Hampton, Rockingham County, New Hampshire
  • Mary Swett - b. January  7, 1651 in Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts; d. before 1654
  • Mary Swett - b. May 2, 1654 in Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts; d. unknown
  • Benjamin Swett II - b. August 5, 1656 in Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts; d. December 1719 in New Castle County, Delaware
  • Joseph Swett - b. January 21, 1658 in Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts; d. 1721 in Hampton, Rockingham County, New Hampshire
  • Moses Swett - b. April 16, 1661 in Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts; d. 1729 in Hampton Falls, Rockingham County, New Hampshire
  • Hannah Swett - b. March 16, 1665 in Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts; d. unknown
  • Elizabeth b. May 2, 1667 in Hampton, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. unknown
  • John Swett - b. March 17, 1670 in Hampton, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. September 3, 1753 in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire
  • Stephen Swett - b. July 13, 1672 in Hampton, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. 1746 in Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts

John Swett married first Bethia Page (b. May 23, 1679 in Hampton, Rockingham County, Massachusetts; d. April 16, 1736 in Hampton, Rockingham County, Massachusetts), daughter of Thomas Page and Mary Hussey, on December 3, 1696 in Hampton, Rockingham County, New Hampshire. He married second Sarah Treadwell.

John and Bethia had the following children . . .
  • Huldah Swett - b. July 16, 1699 in Hampton, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. September 24, 1738 in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire
  • Sarah Swett - b. December 23, 1700 in Hampton, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. August 29, 1797 in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire
  • John Swett - b. December 4, 1702 in Hampton, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. May 27, 1748 in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire
  • Elisha Swett - b. September 30, 1705 in Hampton, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. April 1, 1788 in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire. And, if you're wondering, this is a man, not a woman. Go figure!
  • Benjamin Swett - b. October 17, 1707 in Hampton, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. November 2, 1787 in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire
  • Nathan Swett - b. June 9, 1711 in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. February 3, 1796 in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire.
  • Moses Swett - b. November 28, 1714 in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. November 28, 1714 in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire.
The Last Will and Testament of John Swett

In the Name of God Amen The 16th Day of June 1748 I John Swett of Kingstown in the Province of New Hamps; in New England Gent
Imp Whereas there is a Jointure Contract, or Agreement, between me & my Well beloved wife Sarah (2nd Wife); before Marriage as by Jointure, or Contract, may at large appear, Over & above what is mentioned & Contained in said Jointure or Contract, I Give & bequeath to my Sd (said) wife Sarah A good New Milch Cow, and All my Swine, (to be at her Dispose) & to be Delivered to her upon her Request after my Decease & Twenty pounds (in Old Tenour Bills) now in her hands, but If I Should make use of sd Twenty Pounds, then to be paid out of my Estate.
Item I Give & Bequeath unto the Children of my well beloved Son John Swett (Late of sd Town Deceased) Twenty Shillings Each (Old Tenour) to be paid out of my Estate, their said father John haveing already had his portion out of my Estate, said money to be paid to said Children as they arrive to the age of Twenty one years.
Item I Give & Bequeath unto my well beloved son Benjamin Swett Thirty pounds (Old Tenour) to be paid in Three years after my Deceas viz: Ten pounds per year, and the One Half of my wearing Cloaths, and also One Cow & Three Sheep
Item I Give & Bequeath unto my well beloved son Nathan Swett fifteen pounds (Old Tenour) to be paid out of my Estate, at the End of one year after my Decease, And also one Cow, & Three sheep, & the other Half of my wearing Clothes, (he the said Nathan haveing also had Considerable out of my Estate)
Item I Givu unto my well beloved son in Law Samuel Winslowe Husband of my Daughter Huldah Deceas’d five shillings, And to the surviveing sons of said Daughter Hulday I Give & bequeath forty shillings to Each to be paid in (Old Tenour) in Two years after my Decease & to Elizabeth, Daughter of the said Huldah (now the wife of William Buswel Ter) Half the Household Stuff that was my first wifes (Bethia to be delivered to her upon her Request after my Decease
Item I Give & Bequeath unto my well beloved son in Law Thomas George (Husband of my well beloved Daughter Sarah) five shillings as also to my said Daughter Sarah fifteen pounds (Old Tenour) to be paid in Three years after my Decease as followeth viz: five pounds per year till the said sum paid; And to Each of the Children of my said Daughter Sarah I Give & bequeath forty shillings apiece (old Tenour) to be paid in Two years after my Decease, and further to my said Daughter Sarah I Give & Bequeath the other Half of the Household stuff that was my fore mentioned first wifes to be at her Dispose __ And I do hereby Declare it to be my will that my Executor hereafter named shall pay all the forementioned Legacies
Item I Give & Bequeath unto my well beloved Son Elisha Swett, who I Likewise Constitute make and Ordain Sole Executor of this my Last Will & Testament, All and singular my Lands, Messuages Buildings & Orchards, wherever, & however, Laying, & being, Butting & Bounding, to him my said son Elisha Swett his Hiers & assigns for ever to his & their own proper Use benefit & behoof forever, the same to Have & To Hold forever, with all my stock of Cattle Horses & sheep that are not yet Disposed of, and also all my Implements for Husbandry, for men or any other Creature to use, or work with and also all my Tools or Implements for any sort of Trade or other Calling, with every other thing (If any there be) not mentioned in this my Last Will & Testament; And I do hereby utterly dissalow Revoke & Disanul all & every other forerm Testaments wills Legacies & Bequests, & Executors by me in any ways before Named & Bequeathed, or Willed, Ratifying & Confirming this & no other to be my Last Will & Testament; In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & Seal the Day & year first above written.
Signed Sealed Published Pronounced & Declared by the said John Swett as his Last Will & Testament in the presence of us the Subscribers
Eben Stevens
Jed. Philbrick
Jeremy Webster
[Proved Sept. 26, 1753}
[Inventory, Sept. 28, 1753; amount, 2171.17.0 pounds; signed by Jedediah Philbrick and Jeremy Webster]
Note: For the most part, I left the words, capitalization, etc., as was found in the document with the exception of Sd, which I took to mean said and Deceasd, which I took to mean deceased, and pr, which I took to mean per.
The above found in the following book: State of New Hampshire. Town Charters – originally published in 1915 under the title Probate Records of the Province of New Hampshire, Vol. 3 1741 - 1749


Nathan Swett married first Mary Dearborn, daughter of Thomas Dearborn and Mary Garland, on January 6, 1731 in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire. Note: Nathan and Mary are third cousins, and share the same great-great grandparents Robert Page and Lucy Ward-Page. Nathan's descent is through Robert and Lucy's son Robert, and Mary's descent is through Robert and Lucy's daughter Ann Page. He married second Jane Stickney-Garland, widow of Joseph Garland. 

Nathan and Mary had the following children . . .
  • Bethia Swett - b. September 27, 1731 in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. unknown
  • Dearborn Swett - b. October 16, 1733 in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. March 17, 1736 in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire
  • Mary Swett - b. March 26, 1737 in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. January 3, 1817
  • Nathan Swett - b. May 11, 1739 in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. unknown
  • Huldah Swett - b. July 29, 1741 in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. unknown
  • Dearborn Swett - b. December 29, 1744 in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. before 1832 in Unity, Sullivan County, New Hampshire
  • Thomas Swett - b. May 11, 1747 in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. 1843 in Loudon, Merrimack County, New Hampshire
Nathan and Jane Stickney-Garland had the following children . . .
  • Jane Swett - b. July 26, 1751 in Hampton, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. March 11, 1833 in Seabrook, Rockingham County, New Hampshire
  • John Swett - b. November 26, 1752 in Hampton Falls, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. unknown
  • Moses Swett - b. May 3, 1757 in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. before 1791
  • William Swett - b. June 12, 1758 in Kingston, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. unknown
The Last Will and Testament of Nathan Swett

His will, dated 21 Jan 1791, was probated 3 Feb. 1796. Jan. 13, 1769, Thomas Sweat of Kingston, Bethiah now the wife of Stephen Ladd of Brentwood, Mary now the wife of Joseph Sanborn of Kingston, N. H., all children of Mary late wife of Nathan Sweat of Kingston, together with Nathan Sweat of Haverhill and Dearborn Sweat of Brentwood, are declared entitled to lands that did belong to their grandfather, Thomas Dearborn of Biddeford.

Dearborn Swett, the first of the line to change the spelling of the name from Swett to Sweat, married  three times. First to Mary, surname unknown, second to Elizabeth Smith around 1768, and third to Mary Grindle around 1782. 

Nathan and Elizabeth had the following children . . .
  • Mary Sweat - b. about 1769 in Poplin, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. September 20, 1849 in Keene, Essex County, New York
  • Elizabeth (Betsey) Sweat - b. about 1771 in Poplin, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. January 22, 1837 in Unity, Sullivan County, New Hampshire
  • Israel Sweat - b. about 1773 in Poplin, Rockingham County, New Hampshire; d. July 28, 1841 in Perry County, Indiana
  • Clarissa Sweat - b. May 27, 1781 in Unity, Cheshire (formerly Sullivan) County, New Hampshire; d. 1861 in Dalton, Coos County, New Hampshire
Israel Sweat married twice. First to Sarah "Salley" Russell (b. December 1783 in Fayette, Kennebec County, Maine; d. about 1824 in Breckenridge County, Kentucky), daughter of Abel Russell and Sarah Bryan, on March 31, 1803 in Fayette, Kennebec County, Maine. They had the following children . . . 
  • Hiram Sweat - b. July 23, 1804 in Chesterfield, Franklin County, Maine; d. April 13, 1849 in Leopold, Perry County, Indiana
  • Louisa Sweat - b. about 1807 in Maine; d. unknown
  • Alonzo Sweat - b. 1808 in Kennebec County, Maine; d. before 1800 in Gentry County, Missouri
  • Russell Sweat b. October 6, 1810 in Keene, Essec County, New York; d. 1903 in Clearmont, Sheridan County, Wyoming
  • Sarah Sweat - b. about 1812 in Breckenridge, Kentucky; d. unknown
  • John Wesley Sweat - b. May 30, 1823 in Breckenridge County, Kentucky; d. August 28, 1899 in Perry County, Indiana.

After Sarah's death, he married Charlotte Hare-Sprague (b. August 27, 1800 in New York; d. February 3, 1879 in Grant City, Montgomery County, Iowa), widow of Daniel Sprague, by which she had two children: Sarah and Daniel. They had the following children . . . 
  • Alexander Sweat - b. July 2 . . . well, more on that later; d. August 24, 1911 in New Hope, Nelson County, Kentucky 
  • Agnes Sweat - b. November 13, 1830 in Perry County, Indiana; d. Janaury 24, 1903 in Morton Mills, Montgomery County, Iowa
  • Israel Sweat - b. about 1834 in Leopold, Perry County, Indiana; d. 1878 in Leopold, Perry County, Indiana
  • Anna Sweat - b. January 27, 1836 in Perry County, Indiana; d. November 11, 1893 in St. Paul, Madison County, Arkansas
Alexander's Age

So, with dear great-great grandpa Alexander Sweat, there's this whole age thing . . . as in I don't have a clue when he was born. His age varies depending which Census Record I look at, and then there's his death certificate . . . which lists his year of birth as 1822. Hmmm, that was before Israel married Alexander's mother Charlotte. Strange. 

There's always the possibility that Alexander was not Charlotte's son, but Sarah's son, but another theory, proposed by my distant cousin Ben Swett - Captain Benjamin Swett is our common ancestor - is that . . . 

In 1862 the Confederates started drafting men age 18 - 35 into their army. Kentucky was a border state, but it was heavily influenced by the Confederates until later in the war. Alexander Swett was 30 in 1862 - if 1832 was his actual birth year - but told the local authorities he was 40 to avoid the draft. He was probably too poor to hire a substitute. And then, to avoid being known as a draft-dodger, he repeated that fiction in the 1870 Census by saying he was 48 years old, i.e., born in 1822.

I tend to agree with this theory. I think once he claimed his birth year was 1822, he stuck with it through to his dying day, and such that was the year recorded on his death certificate. His wife Catherine Delana Langdon also has quite the varying years of birth - from 1822 to 1826, but her parents didn't marry until March 1825. Ben and I theorize that she, being pretty much the same age as Alexander, lied about her birth year as well to cover up the fact that he was, well, dodging the draft. Ah, the things a person discovers when dancing with the ancestors.

So, for the record, I'm going with July 2, 1832 as Alexander Sweat's birth date.

Alexander Sweat married Catherine Delana Langdon (b. October 15, 1826 . . . see above about Alexander's age, in Liverpool, Perry County, Indiana; d. October 15, 1925 in New Hope, Nelson County, Kentucky), daughter of Roswell Lee Langdon and Charlotte Chloe Richardson, and widow of Alonzo Richardson, by which she had a son named Daniel. Alexander and Charlotte were married on November 25, 1851 in Perry County, Indiana. They had the following children . . .
  • Emily Sweat - b. August 29, 1857 in Hancock County, Kentucky; d. unknown
  • William Joshua Sweat - b. March 1, 1859 in Hancock County, Kentucky; d. unknown - more on that in a bit
  • Nancy A. Sweat - b. August 26, 1861 in Hancock County, Kentucky; d. September 7, 1861 in Hancock County, Kentucky
  • James Sweat - b. December 4, 1863 in New Hope, Nelson County, Kentucky; d. February 4, 1959 in Lebanon Junction, Bullitt County, Kentucky
  • Elizabeth Ann Sweat - b. October 10, 1870 in New Hope, Nelson County, Kentucky; d. November 3, 1957 in New Hope, Nelson County, Kentucky.
William Joshua Sweat married Margaret Morris (b. December 14, 1869 in Nelson County, Kentucky; d. August 11, 1920 in Bullitt County, Kentucky), daughter of Joseph Morris and Elizabeth Hall on October 26, 1886 in New Hope, Nelson County, Kentucky. They had the following children . . . 

  • Joseph Leo Sweat - b. November 26, 1887 in New Hope, Nelson County, Kentucky; d. September 6, 1969 in Lebanon Junction, Bullitt County, Kentucky
  • James Monroe Sweat - b. December 23, 1888 in New Hope, Nelson County, Kentucky; d. September 1967 in Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
  • George Alexander Sweat - b. February 22, 1890 in New Hope, Nelson County, Kentucky; d. August 11, 1890 in New Hope, Nelson County, Kentucky
  • John Patrick Sweat - b. March 17, 1891 in New Hope, Nelson County, Kentucky; d. April 27, 1891 in New Hope, Nelson County, Kentucky
  • Benjamin Franklin Sweat - b. May 14, 1892 in New Hope, Nelson County, Kentucky; d. unknown
  • William Oscar Sweat - b. March 24, 1894 in New Hope, Nelson County, Kentucky; d. January 27, 1987 in Lebanon Junction, Bullitt County, Kentucky
  • Catherine Elizabeth Sweat - b. July 18, 1895 in New Hope, Nelson County, Kentucky; d. June 7, 1916 in Marion County, Kentucky
  • Mary Ida Sweat - b. March 2, 1897 in New Hope, Nelson County, Kentucky; d. January 9, 1988 in Hennepin County, Minnesota
  • Charles Daniel Sweat - b. February 2, 1899 in New Hope, Nelson County, Kentucky; d. November 5, 1981 in Lebanon Junction, Bullitt County, Kentucky
  • Mary Isabell "Mamie" Sweat - b. October 6, 1902 in New Hope, Nelson County, Kentucky; d. January 10, 1970 in Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
The Disappearance of William Joshua Sweat

Sometime in 1907, William Joshua Sweat left New Hope, Kentucky, leaving behind his wife and ten children, never to be seen or heard from again. My grandfather - William Oscar Sweat - spent the remainder of his life, off and on, searching for his father. At one point, an uncle by marriage, working at Fort Knox, met a man who bore a striking resemblance to one of my uncles, the son of William Oscar Sweat. He struck up a conversation with this young man and discovered that this man's family had a big secret that they didn't talk about. My uncle told him the story and gave him my grandfather's address. The man went to see my grandfather and knocked on the front door. Nobody answered. He left. The problem: my grandfather never answered the front door, because anybody that knew him would have come around to the side of the house to the kitchen door. Ah, if the man had only gone to the side door . . . we might have solved the mysterious disappearance of William Joshua Sweat. Instead, my uncle never encountered this young man/soldier again. It is my hope that, somewhere out there, if William Joshua did start another family, that one of those descendants might stumble across this blog or the trees on Ancestry and get in touch with me. One can always hope.

For a picture of William Joshua Sweat go here . . . 



William Oscar Sweat married Mary Willie Boone (b. October 21, 1898 in New Hope, Nelson County, Kentucky; d. April 4, 1981 in Lebanon Junction, Bullitt County, Kentucky), daughter of Victor Ivo Boone and Mary Willie Watson, on December 30, 1919. They had ten children, 36 great-grandchildren, and a number of great and great-great grandchildren by this point.

And here ends this bit of dancing with the ancestors related to my mother's paternal line, the Sweat Family!

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