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  William Swan and Edward Sherley mentioned as overseers in the will of William Beard in 1636, Surry Co. VA. (see BEARD)

Col. Samuel Swann, grandson of William, linked to Ralph Sherley who died 1693 Surry Co. VA.

Robert Sherley, dyer, married Martha Swane, July 26, 1624 of Little All Hallow Church, Thames Street, London. She was the daughter of Robert Swane, dyer. Children born to Robert and Martha SHERLEY, registered in same church... Daniel 1626, John 1629, Samuel 1631, Ann 1633, Robert 1639, Martha 1642,

The following information is from Brian Swan. We thank him for letting us post it on our web site.


The Family of William Swan of Virginia 

William Swan died in Virginia in February 1638/9, in his 52nd year, and was buried at Swann's Point in Virginia.  His wife was Judith Greene of Ratcliff, which was part of the parish of Stepney, London.

Judith Greene was baptised on 26 January 1588/9 at St. Dunstan, Stepney, the daughter of Richard Greene of Ratcliff; who is described in the parish register as a sailor. Her father, Richard Greene, had married Margery Showell on 19 September 1586 at Stepney. Judith Swann died in Virginia around March 1636.

William Swan married again on 1 May 1637, although the name of his second wife is unknown at present, and died the following year, leaving no children by his second wife.

The children of William and Judith Swan were:

1. THOMAS SWAN(N), born May 1616. On 1 March 1638/9 Thomas Swann of Swann's Point, Surry, re-patented land in James City County on the south side of the river, as held previously by his father. Most of the Headright patentees named are the same as those on the claim of his father. He also came into possession of an additional 300 acres on the south side of the James River, adjacent to land "Lately belonging to Captain Ralph Hamor, and now in possession of Jeremiah Clements". Thomas Swan was a Burgess for James City from 1645 to 1649; and for

Surry from 1657 to 1658. He was a Lieutenant Colonel in 1658, and was appointed a Member of the Council in 1659, which place he held until his death. His name occurs frequently in the records of Surry, of which County he was appointed a Justice and Lieutenant Colonel of the Militia in 1652.

A letter survives written to him from Roger Green at Gravesend on 13 October 1663. It is not known if this Roger Green is a relation, although the tone of the letter seems to imply this. Roger Greene was an emigrant to Virginia in 1635 on board the ship "Abraham", when he was aged 24, and was therefore born around 1610/11 [J. C. Hotten, Original Lists of Persons Emigrating to America 1600-1700, Chatto & Windus, 1874]. On 2 December 1665 Thomas Swann was appointed, along with William Drummond, by Governor of Virginia to look after the ship "Recovery" which had lost her Master owing to his arrest by the Governor, Sir William Berkeley. Berkeley persuaded Roger Newham to accept the post; and after hire by Thomas Swann and William Drummond, he set sail from Jamestown with a cargo of tobacco. This included 44 hogsheads for Henry Spratt, 66 hogsheads for William Drummond and 36 hogsheads for Thomas Swann, as the three main freighters. Their Agents in London were Mr. Shakerly for Swann; John Carrill for Drummond and William Yeoman for Spratt [HCA 13/76].

Thomas Swanne was one of the signatories to a letter sent by the Governor and Council of Virginia to the King and Privy Council, which was presented there on 16 October 1667. This was a complaint against Lord Baltimore, Governor of Maryland, for disallowing the cessation from planting of tobacco for a year, as stipulated by his own Commissioners. The full list of signatories was: Sir William Berkeley, Governor; Thomas Ludwell, Secretary; Robert Wynne, Speaker; Robert Smith; Richard Bennett; Theodore Blande; Thomas Stegge; Nathaniel Bacon; Henry Corbin; Miles Cary; Francis Willis; Thomas Swann; George Reade and Edward Carter.

Colonel Swann, contrary to the majority of wealthy men in Virginia, was a supporter of Bacon in his revolution against Governor Berkeley. For the part he played in the rebellion see the Chapter on "Bacon's Rebellion" in "Colonial Surry".

Thomas Swann died on 16 September 1680 "Being 64 years of age, and was buried at  Swann's Point at my grandfather's feet".

Colonel Swann's first wife was Margaret Delton, daughter of William Delton, son of Rychard Delton, was bapt. on 13 May 1582 at West Peckham, Kent. He married on 13 January 1639/40 in England. Thomas Swann was granted a Headright claim on 7 February 1655/6 for her arrival in Virginia, as part of a Land Patent claim for 900 acres. William Delton, her father, had married Francis Bassett  on 21 May 1611 at St. Dunstan, Stepney.

Margaret Delton, the first wife of Thomas Swann, died on 5 April 1646 and by whom he had three children:

(1)  SUSANNAH SWAN(N), born 26 October 1640. She died on 25 November 1660 without issue "Having been married to Major William Marriott eight months and twenty two days - and was buried at Swann's Point".   Major William Marriott made a contract of marriage with Susannah Swan on 7 March 1659/60, promising to bequeath to her £100 sterling in the event of his death (Surry County Records, Book 1, p. 159).

(2). WILLIAM SWAN(N), born 30 October 1644. He died young in London, England, possibly around 1647 (?).

(3). THOMAS SWAN(N) born 23 March 1645 (1645/6). According to the account of the family by Samuel Swann, "He died without issue at St. Edmunds Bury in Suffolk, England, on 19 February 1666/7, and was there interred". This is confirmed by the parish register of St. Mary’s Church, Bury St. Edmunds, which records the burial of Thomas Swan on 13 February 1666/7, son of Col. Thomas Swan in Virginia.

Colonel Swann married, as his second wife, on 13 January 1649/50, Sarah Codd, daughter of Samuel and Susannah Codd, and a member of an old Kentish family.  She died on 13 January 1654/5 "Having been married that day just five years", and was buried at Swann's Point. Thomas and Sarah Swann had three children:

(4). SARAH SWAN(N), born 15 October 1651 and died 9 August 1652.

(5). SAMUEL SWAN(N), born 11 May 1653. He was the compiler of the Records of the Swann Family - see later. David Bard (Beard), in his will, dated 3 February 1687/8, left all his lands, tenements etc. to Major Samuel Swann. He left to Sampson Swann, son of the said Samuel Swann, his livestock. He left to John Browne his clothing and corn. The will was dated 3 February 1687/8, and was proved on 29 May 1688. The witnesses were Robert Randall and Thomas Swann (Surry County Records, Book 4, p. 43). Was he related to the William Beard whose will was dated 20 December 1636, and mentions William Swann to be one of the overseers as was Edward Sherly.

(6). SAMPSON SWAN(N), born 28 May 1654 and died 1 November 1668. He was interred at Swann's Point.

Colonel Thomas Swann married, as his third wife, Sarah Chandler on 30 July 1655, by whom he had two sons and two daughters who died in infancy. Sarah Swann died on 10 November 1662, probably from the after-effects of the birth of their fourth child.  

Their children were:

(7). JUDITH SWANN, born 22 April 1656 and died on 30 March 1668. She was buried at Swann's Point.

(8). ANNE SWANN, born 9 July 1657 and died on 21 August 1659. She was buried at Swann's Point.

(9). SWANN, a son, not baptised, who was born on 11 December 1658 and died on 20 December 1658.

(10). SWANN, a son, not baptised, born on 1 November 1662 and who died at the birth.


The Colonel married, as his fourth wife, Ann Browne, widow of Henry Browne, a Member of the Council, probably on 23 February 1662/3. Henry Browne had been one of the original attendees at the Meeting of the Assembly on 20 February 1636/7, which established the post of Customs Officer in Virginia. He was in Virginia by 1634, and died in 1662. Ann Swann died without issue on 12 August 1668; and was buried at Four Mile Tree, the home of the Brownes.

[Henry and Anne Browne had a son, Barclay Browne, who seems to have died without issue; and a daughter and eventual heiress, Mary Browne. Mary Browne married a William Browne, who was clearly a relation. He had come to Virginia in 1637 as a Headright of Thomas Gray, who patented 100 acres in James City County in 1643 on the east side of Gray's Creek, adjoining his own land, for the transportation of two persons: George Graves and William Browne].

At this time it is clear that Colonel Thomas Swann was involved in the transport and sale of tobacco in England, and had part share in the cargo of a vessel called the "Recovery". Whilst at anchor in the Elizabeth River, Virginia, in 1665 the ship, already in poor condition had lost her Master, who was arrested by the Governor, Sir William Bartlet, to look after the Recovery at this time - Colonel Thomas Swann and William Drummond, he joined the ship The Recovery was carrying a cargo of tobacco: 44 hogsheads for Henry Spratt, 66 hogsheads for William Drummond and 36 hogsheads for Thomas Swann The Correspondents [Agents] in London, to whom the cargo was due to be delivered, were Mr Shakerly for Swann and John Carrill for Drummond.

Colonel Swann then married for the fifth time, on 20 December 1668, to Mary Mansfield, sister of GeorgeMansfield of Surry, merchant.

Mary, widow of Col. Swann married secondly Colonel Robert Randolph or Randall. He was Sheriff of Surry in 1688. A bond survives, dated 8 June 1681, from Robert Randall, who was about to marry Mary, widow of Colonel Thomas Swann. Mary Mansfield was a sister of George Mansfield of Surry, merchant, who made his will in London, dated 21 May 1670. Probate was granted on 27 July 1670 (Virginia Historical Magazine, 11, p. 311) (12). He describes himself as "Of Virginia in parts beyond the seas, Merchant, but now at London". He bequeathed legacies to his sister Mary, wife of Colonel Thomas Swann, £10; sister Anne Sumner, wife of Francis Sumner £10; sister Margaret, wife of William Oldis of Surry, £10; cousin Elizabeth Tanner, widow, £10; uncle John Beale, citizen and grocer of London, £20. He gave all his lands and goods in Virginia to his nephew Francis, son of Francis and Anne Summer. One of the witnesses was a Charles Barham, also David Gryer and Phillip Peirson [Penn 92, 1670].


The Royal Commissioners, appointed by Charles II to inquire into the causes of Bacon's rebellion, met at Thomas Swann’s residence at Swann's Point in 1677, and for   this courteous act he received a pardon.

Swann's long-time friend, William Drummond, was condemned at a Court Martial held on shipboard in the York River on 11 January 1676/7 and was hanged on 20 January 1676. William Drummond of Virginia was the son of John Drummond and Janet Hayes, and was born in 1620 at Inverness, Scotland. William Drummond was appointed North Carolina's first Governor by Lord William Berkeley of Virginia.  He married Sarah Swann, daughter   of Edward Swann of Denton Court, in Kent, in 1651 [This statement needs verification].   William and Sarah Swann Drummond had son, John Drummond, born 10 June 1658 in James City County, Virginia. John Drummond later married Mary Robertson in 1706. Sarah Drummond, a daughter of William and Sarah Drummond, married Colonel Samuel Swann of Swann's Point, Surry County, Virginia (see below).

Colonel Thomas Swann died on 16 September 1680, being 64 years of age, and was buried at Swann's Point.

Other entries in the Records of Surry County [Book II pp. 302 and 303] point to Mary Swann, widow of Colonel Thomas Swann, being involved in transactions with her eldest son, Samuel Swann, on 25 February 1681/2 and 7 March 1681/2.

The children of Colonel Thomas Swann and his fifth wife Mary were:

(11). MARY SWAN(N), born 5 October 1669. She married Richard Bland of Jordan's Point (born 11 August 1665 at ‘Berkeley’, Virginia), the son of Theodoric Bland andAnne Bennett, daughter of Colonel Richard Bennett. John Bland, a grocer of London (1573-1632), was the founder of this family, and was interested in the Colony of Virginia in its early times. He left a large family, and also a large personal estate. Amongst his children were four sons who emigrated to Virginia [Adam Bland, John Bland, Edward Bland and Theodoric Bland]. Theodoric Bland was the fourth such son, and fifteenth child. He was the Speaker of the House of Burgesses, 1659-1660, and a Member of the Council (1666). He had two children, Theodoric Bland of Westover and Richard Bland.

Mary Swan Bland died possibly around 1700.

(12). FRANCIS SWAN(N) [twin], born 14 December 1670 and died on 14 April 1676.

(13). THOMAS SWAN(N) [twin], born 14 December 1670. He married Eliza(beth), daughter of William Thompson, whose will was dated 18 April 1686 and bequeathed his daughter 300 acres in Surry. They moved to Nansemond, as Thomas Swann appears as a Burgess for Nansemond from 1702 to 1704. He was a Member of the Virginia House of Burgesses from Surry in 1693, 1695, 1696, 1698 and Sheriff of Surry in 1697. Thomas Swann, Jr., died in 1705. His wife appears to have married,  secondly, John Lear of Nansemond, Burgess for that County 1718-1722 (Virginia Historical Magazine, 44, p. 199).

The Nansemond records for this period have been destroyed, and accordingly little can be told concerning the family at Nansemond. Captain Thomas Swan's eldest son was Major Thomas Swann, Sheriff of Nansemond in 1740; and who was clerk of Cumberland County 1754-1781 [Another account I have says this was Thompson Swan, eldest son of Thomas Swan]. The descendants of this branch of the Swann Family of Virginia is given in a separate account.

(14). SARAH SWAN(N), born 8th ------- . She married on 17 December 1687, at the house of Mr. Robert Randall of Surry, her step-father, Henry Randolph, son of Henry and Judith Randolph. She married, secondly, Giles Webb of Henrico County. By her first husband they were the parents of:

1. HENRY RANDOLPH, born 1 January 1689 and died August 1726.

2. THOMAS RANDOLPH, born 1 July 1692 and buried in Bristol parish in 1693.


Footnote References

(1) This refers to the incident on 22 March 1621/2 when the native Indians, under their chief Opechancanough, brother of Powhatan, attacked and massacred 347 of the 1,240 inhabitants of the Colony. Jamestown and the neighbouring settlements were saved by this timely warning. This event in no way discouraged emigration to the Colony.

(2) The full list of Headrights claimed by William Swann is as follows: Richard Jones, Henry Dawkes, John Swan, Nicholas Stalling, Joseph Manners, Katherine Crippin, Richard Maddison, Thomas Williams, William Motts, George Yeomans, John Flood, Edward Swan, Richard Thimbleby, Nicholas Foster, Edward Champi(o)n, Judith Greene, Nicholas Barnett, Richard Perry, John Goodson, Richard Flood, Alice Edes, Mary Hawkes, Andrew Jacob and Katherine Cripps.

John Flood was baptised on 18 April 1591/2 at Canterbury St. Paul, Kent, and first came to Virginia in 1610 on the "Swan". He was the founder of the family in Virginia, and if Richard Flood is the same as the person of that name baptised on. 24 April 1607 at Canterbury St. George the Martyr he would be his cousin... [see Historical Southern Families, pp. 301-308; Adventurers of Purse and Person, pp. 175-177 for the Flood Family of Virginia.]. The Flood family appear to have come from Brastead and Canterbury in Kent. John Flood was the son of Nicholas Fludd (born ca 1565); Richard Flood was the son of John Fludd (bapt. 10 August 1572 at Brastead, Kent) and a younger daughter was Katherine Fludd (bapt. 31 August 1579 at Brastead), who married Thomas Lunsford at Greenwich St. Alphage. They were the parents of Thomas Lunsford who was the second husband of Elizabeth Wormeley, who married Richard Kempe, Secretary of Virginia, as her first husband [see Noel-Currer-Briggs, "The Search for Mr. Thomas Kirbye, Gent.", Phillimore and Co., 1987].

(3) An article by Brian Dietz entitled The Royal Bounty and English Merchant Shipping in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, and published in The Mariner's Mirror, Volume 77, 1991, pp. 5-20, has an Appendix listing Bounty Ships known from 1560-1618. A Bounty was paid to Merchant Vessel owners if the ship could also be used as a naval ship. This list includes the Swan of London of 300 tons, built in 1595 ; the Swan of Ipswich (1613) of 204 tons; and the Swann of the East India Company (1616) of 569 tons. The list includes also the Trades Increase which was wrecked on her maiden voyage in 1614. Many of the vessels whose names occur in the early emigration voyages to America are named in this Appendix.

Vessels called the Swan made a number of trips to Virginia, as recorded via the names and entries of inhabitants living in Virginia at the time of the 1624/5 Census, and who claimed to be transported by ships of this name. These include voyages for the years 1608, 1609, 1610, 1616, 1619, 1621, 1623 and 1624. It is unclear at this time if any significance should be attached to the fact that sometimes the vessel is spelt Swann and a couple of entries for 1610 are recorded as 1610-08. Does this refer to the month of the vessel's arrival in Virginia? The Swan of Barnstaple arrived in Virginia in March 1620 with 71 persons (Calendar of State Papers, Colonial, 1574-1660).

John Carter of Sherley Hundred, returned to England in the Swan in 1621 (E 190/24/4).

(4) There is a suggestion in the Virginia Historical Magazine p. 29 that William Swan was the son of Samuell Swone [sic.] of Brasted, Kent, who left a will with a codicil dated 29 June 1604, and proved on 15 January 1604/5 (PCC Hayes 5). Samuell Swone mentions his wife, Martha Swone, who was sole executrix, and was to inherit all his goods and chattels for the bringing up of their children:

Martin Swone, Samuell Swone, William Swone, Elizabeth Swone, Anne Swone, Martha Swone and Marie Swone.

He mentions his lands in Sondrish [Sunridge] lately purchased by him from his nephew, William Smith, called Shutwell Bothome; and 3 acres of land called Longe Croft which he had purchased from William Mydleton, lying in Brasted; and one acre of meadow which he had purchased from Henry Crow, also of Brasted. The land was to be sold by his kinsmen and friends, William Crow, Gent., Thomas Marsham, Citizen and Merchant Taylor of London; and Edward Ducket, Citizen and Mercer of London. The proceeds of such a sale were to be paid to his daughters Elizabeth Swone, Anne Swone, Martha Swone and Marie Swone. This main part of the will was witnessed by Giles Crowe, Robert Mellersh and Bryan Wilton and dated 1 January 1603/4. A codicil, dated 29 June 1604 declared that whereas Thomas Overy had mortgaged to him one acre of meadow in Brasted, which was now forfeited to him, he bequeathed the same back to him, upon condition that he pay such debt as is owing to his executrix, Martha Swone. This codicil was witnessed by Edward Duckets, Robert Mellersh and Thomas Marsham and dated 29 June 1604.

(5) William J Swann claimed that William Swan came to Jamestown in 1616. He also claimed that Edward Swan, James Swan and John Swan were other, younger sons of William and Judith Swan (Internet Website, California, 1997). Edward Swan, founder of the Swan of Maryland family, was alleged to have been born in 1630 at Denton Court and was "the great-grandson of Sir Francis Swann of Wye, Kent". He served in the Royalist Army of Charles I, and fled to Virginia with his brothers after the Cromwellian defeat. Some of this information is probably taken from Adventurers of Purse and Person. by Annie L. Jester, 1956.

The parish register of Gravesend records: 21 March 1616/7, Rebecca Wrothe, Wyff of Thomas Wrothe, Gent., a Virginian lady borne, here was buried in ye Chauncell. This is the burial of Rebecca, wife of John Rolfe, also known as the native Indian princess, Pocahontas. John Rolfe is alleged to come from the Rolfe family of Heacham, Norfolk. There is a statue to the memory of Pocahontas, erected at Gravesend. See Pocahontas and Her World by Barbour for a summary of the Rolfe Family Tree. This has some question marks over it, especially regarding the identification of Henry Rolfe, who came to Plymouth (England) to collect and act as guardian of Thomas Rolfe, the infant son of John Rolfe and Pocahontas, after her death.

(6) Because of the probable importance of Richard Kempe in William Swan's appointment to the post of the first Collector of Customs for Virginia, the pedigree and family relations of Richard Kempe is given in some detail in Appendix 1 to this article.

(8) Also mentioned in the will were Thomas Crowe (who may have been dead); Ms Docke, his sister in Rye, Kent; Mr. William Barker and Lawrence Mones, Joyes (Joyce) Mones and Elizabeth Mones.

(9) Those present at this Assembly on 20 February 1636/7 were: Governor Harvey, Secretary Kemp, Sergeant-Major George Donne, Captain Thomas Purifye, Captain Henry Browne, John Hobson, Adam Thorowgood and William Brocas, together with the Burgesses.

(10) Thomas Butcher left a will, dated 22 July 1646, and proved on 13 September 1646 (PCC), which has legacies to many people including Anne and Elizabeth Delton, daughters of his uncle William Delton, and to Margaret their sister, wife of Mr. Thomas Swanne, now resident in Virginia. This fits completely with the Delton family at Stepney, in terms of the names of the children.

(11) There is a marriage contract, dated 5 February 1662/3 between Thomas Swann and Ann Browne, widow of Colonel Henry Browne (Surry County Book 1, p. 197). There is also claimed to be a bond, dated 20 October 1662, from Colonel Thomas Swann, who was about to marry Anne, widow of Colonel Henry Browne. This comes from Virginia Historical Magazine p. 154 (year not recorded by me). This seems at variance with the main account. Further work is in progress on the Browne Families of Virginia.

(12) I have an abstract copy of this will also, and have incorporated all relevant details into the account.

(13) Mr John Sumner was granted 67 acres in the upper parish of Nansemond County on 14 April 1670. John Sumner and John Stallenge were granted 1,000 acres in the upper parish of Nansemond at a place called Orapeake on 19 April 1683. It would be interesting to known the connection of John Sumner to Francis Sumner; and did such a connection help provide the motivation for Thomas Swann to move to Nansemond? A Nicholas Stalling was also one of the Headrights claimed by William Swan in 1635.

(14) Audit Office Records A.O. 3/297 contains Accounts of the Farmers and Commissioners of Customs 1638-1641, but has no entries relating to America. The Members at a meeting held on 17 March 1638 were George, Lord Goring; Sir Abraham Jones; Sir John Jacob; Sir Joe Hardy; Nicholas Crispe and John Nulls. A.O. 3/305/1-3 contains Receipts at American Plantations 1677/8; 1681/2 and 1685/6 respectively.




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