STEPHEN SWETT (1620-1693)

Ben H. Swett
Colonel USAF (Retired)
18 September 2006


Stephen Swett (John1), born in England about 1620, married (1) 24 May 1647, Hannah Merrill, dau. of John and Elizabeth, of Newbury, who died 4 April 1662; (2) 4 Aug. 1663, Rebecca, dau. of Thomas Smith. She was born 25 Feb. 1641 and died 1 March 1669-70. He kept an "ordinary" in 1670, afterwards known as the "Blue Anchor Tavern." This house, built by him, is still standing and occupied, on the west side of High Street, Newburyport, near the head of Marlborough Street. It has recently been purchased by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. He sold this place 16 Nov. 1691, and he is mentioned as "deceased" 9 Jan. 1693-4. Children recorded in Newbury:

6. John b. 20 Oct. 1648; m. Mary Plummer.
Stephen b. 20 Aug. 1650; d. prob. 24 Sept. 1650.
Hannah b. 7 Oct. 1651; m. John Badger, 23 Feb. 1670-1; d. 1691.
[ ] Stephen b. 28 Jan. 1653; soldier in the Narragansett War, 1675.
Elizabeth b. 17 Jan. 1655; m. prob. Edward Poor.
7. Joseph b. 28 Nov. 1657; m. Mrs. Hannah Knott.
Mary b. 25 April 1660; d. 17 March 1662.
Rebecca b. 4 Dec. 1665; d. 31 May 1667.
Rebecca b. 27 Feb. 1669; m. Nov. 1700 Daniel Gale of Salem, Mass.

1620. Stephen Swett, son of John Swett, was baptized 18 April 1620 in Wymondham Parish, Norfolk, England. [Parish records: LDS Film # 1911510] [Stackpole #4]

1642 March 12: A pasture agreement at Newbury, Massachusetts, called "The Stint of the Ox and Cow Common" is the first record we have of this family in New England. [Newbury Records, Vol. 1, p. 55] Stephen Swett was almost 22 years old.

1647 May 24: Stephen Swett married Hannah Merrill in Newbury. [Newbury VR] She was born in Wherstead, Suffolk, England, in 1630, daughter of John Merrill and Annis Bishop. Annis died, and John Merrill married (2) Elisabeth Vincent in Little Wenham, Suffolk, England, 15 July 1633. They had no children. He and his brother Nathaniel came to Ipswich, Mass., in 1633, settled in Newbury about 1636, and were granted land there in 1638. [Samuel Merrill, "A Merrill Memorial" (1928) and "Thomas Merrill of Wherstead" website]

1648 October 20: John [6] Swett was born in Newbury son of Stephen Swett and Hannah Merrill. [Newbury VR] He married Mary Plummer 7 December 1670.

1650 January 27: Stephen Swett -- jury of trials. [Rolfe, p. 13]

1650 August 24: Stephen Swett was born in Newbury son of Stephen Swett and Hannah Merrill. He died 23 September 1650. [Newbury VR]

1650 December 11: "[---]ra Swett" died in Newbury. [Newbury VR] The assumption that she was Stephen's mother is not supported.

1651 October 7: Hannah Swett was born in Newbury daughter of Stephen Swett and Hannah Merrill. [Newbury VR] She married John Badger in 1671.

1652 January 13: Died at Newbury, "old" John Swett. [Newbury VR, quotation marks in the original.] He was John Swett of Newbury, Stephen's father.

1652 March 1: A committee was chosen, consisting of the selectmen, three commissioners for small causes, and Richard Knight, to settle all claims arising from the sale or purchase of freehold rights. The committee reported: "These persons heer under mentioned are acknowledged to be ffree-holders and to have an interest in all commons belonging to the Towne as having lawfully purchased theyr priviledges from such as had the priviledges estated on them by the Towne. Stephen Swet from John ffry." [Newbury Records, Vol. 1, p. 93. Currier, p. 93-94]

1653 July 27: Steven Swett, chosen by the townsmen to keep an ordinary, was granted a license. [Rolfe, p. 13] An ordinary was a house where a set meal was served regularly at the same price. The owners made and sold their own beer; many ordinaries rented rooms or sleeping spaces, and some also served liquor.

1654 January 28: Stephen Swett, Jr., was born in Newbury son of Stephen Swett and Hannah Merrill. [Newbury VR. Stackpole has 1653.] In 1675 he was a soldier in the Narragansett campaign, during King Philip's War. Stackpole has no other information about him. In 1733 his brother Joseph Swett, Sr. of Marblehead, claimed his grant of land in "Narragansett No. # 3, Souhegan West" (now Amherst, New Hampshire). [George M. Bodge, Soldiers In King Philip's War, 1896, Chapter 28, Part IV] This means Stephen Swett, Jr. died before 1733 with no surviving son, because these grants were for soldiers of the Narragansett campaign or their male heirs.

1654 May 14: Stephen Swett signed the Lieutenant Robert Pike petition presented to the General Court. [Mass. Archives, vol. x, p 299. Currier, p. 162-164] My paper about Benjamin Swett includes the story of this petition.

1656 January 17: Elizabeth Swett was born in Newbury daughter of Stephen Swett and Hannah Merrill. [Newbury VR. Stackpole has 1655.] She married Edward Poore about 1687.

1657 March 27: Ipswich Court: Stephen Swett was deposed in the case of Thomas Davis v. Benjamin Sweat. [Rolfe, p. 13]

1657 April 9: Steven Swett testified in the case of William Titcombe. [Rolfe, p. 13]

1657 November 28: Joseph [7] Swett was born in Newbury son of Stephen Swett and Hannah Merrill. [Newbury VR] He married Hannah (Devereaux) Knott in 1688.

1658 July 28: Ipswich Court: Steven Swett had his license to keep an ordinary and sell wine renewed for one year. [Rolfe, p. 13]

1659 September 27: "Steven Swett license renewed to keep an ordinary and sell wine and strong water." Also at this court: "Steven Swett presents an account dated 2nd:16th:1659 for 13 shillings fourpence for the expenses of ye house by John Johnson more occasioned by him unhappily." [Rolfe, p. 13] I have no idea what that statement meant.

1660 April 25: Mary Swett was born in Newbury daughter of Stephen Swett and Hannah Merrill. [Newbury VR has "Mary Swet"]

1661 March 26: Steven Swett granted license to keep an ordinary and draw wine and liquors for one year. [Rolfe, p. 13]

1662 March 17: Mary Swett, daughter of Stephen Swett and Hannah Merrill, died in Newbury, aged almost 2 years. [Newbury VR]

1662 March 25: Steven Swett granted license to keep an ordinary but not to sell strong water. [Rolfe, p. 13]

1662 April 4: Hannah Merrill, wife of Stephen Swett, died in Newbury less than three weeks after the death of their daughter Mary. [Newbury VR]

1663 March 31: Steven Swett granted license to keep an ordinary. [Rolfe, p. 13]

1663 March 31: Dr. Henry Greenland was charged with making indecent proposals to Mary, wife of John Rolfe. He was convicted and sentenced "to go from hence to the prison, there to remain until the next session of the court and then to be brought forth and whipt unless he pay a fine of thirty pounds." [Ipswich Court Records, at Salem, vol. 1, leaf 115. Currier, p. 142]

1663 May 5: "Joseph Muzey presented for reporting scandalous lies against Mr. Greenland, Mr. Cording, John Emery, sr., and Stephen Sweate. Witnesses James Merricke and his wife and Stephen Sweate." Also: "Steven Swett licensed to sell liquors by retail." [Ipswich Court Records, vol. 1, leaf 118. Rolfe, p. 13-14]

1663 May 5: Ipswich Court: John Emery was presented "on suspicion of breaking ye law in entertaining Mr. Greenland foure months. He was fined four pounds and costs & fees for entertaining strangers." [Court Files, Salem, vol. ix, leaf 13]

1663 May 21: John Emery sent a petition to the General Court, signed by himself, the selectmen of Newbury, and other inhabitants of the town including Stephen Swett, in which he explained why he entertained Dr. Henry Greenland in his home without a license. [Currier, p. 140-141]

1663 June 28: In response to John Emery's petition, "The Magst have considered the grounds of this Petn & consent not to any revision of the County Courts sentence." "Consented to by ye deputys provided they may have ye ten shillings agayne." "The Magists Consentyes." The deputies remitted the fine (four pounds), but the costs (ten shillings) were retained by the court in Ipswich. [Currier, p. 141. Mass. Archives, vol. A 15, p. 10. Newbury Records, Vol. 1, p. 140-141]

1663 August 4: Stephen Swett married (2) Rebecca Smith in Newbury. [Newbury VR] She was born 20 February 1639/40 daughter of Thomas Smith. [Newbury VR. Stackpole has 25 February 1641.]

1664 May 5: Stephen Swett license renewed for one year. [Rolfe, p. 13]

1664 May 20: Benjamin Swett was born in Newbury son of Stephen Swett. Newbury VR has "Benjamin, s. Steven [Benjamin. S. dup.]" which means the oldest record has "son of Steven" and a copy has "son of Benjamin". Which is correct? Stackpole has 20 May 1664 as the birth of Benjamin [10] Swett, son of Benjamin Swett and Hester Weare, but Stackpole missed the entry that shows they had a son Benjamin born 5 August 1656, or assumed he died before 20 May 1664. There is no such death in the Newbury VR. Therefore, Benjamin Swett born 20 May 1664 must have been a son of Stephen Swett and Rebecca Smith not mentioned by Stackpole.

1664 June 27: Stephen Swett was a witness to a letter of attorney given by Paul White of Newbury to William Chandler. [Rolfe, p. 14]

1664 September 27: As one of the witnesses to a deed given 15 August 1659 by Joseph Jewett of Rowley to Robert Rogers and William Trotter, Stephen Swett, aged about forty years, deposed that the writing dated August 1659 which he witnessed "he could not remember but he believed it to be his hand and would not deny it upon his life." [Rolfe, p. 14]

1664 September 27: Dr. Henry Greenland and Capt. William Barefoote were both convicted of an assault on William Thomas and Richard Dole in the ordinary kept by Stephen Swett in Newbury, for which they were fined five pounds each. Dr. Greenland appealed to the General Court, who confirmed the sentence and ordered him "to depart the jurisdiction and not to practice physic or surgery." From 1666 to 1672 he was living in Kittery, Maine. [Salem Court Files, vol. x, p. 38. Coffin's Newbury, p. 142. Currier, p. 67-68]

1665 March 27: Steven Swett license to draw liquors renewed. [Rolfe, p. 14]

1665 May 6: "Phebe Swett, widow" died in Newbury. [Newbury VR] Contrary to Stackpole's assumption that she was the second wife of John Swett of Newbury, she probably was his first wife and Stephen's mother.

1665 Stephen Swett signed a petition to the General Court in which Newbury residents asserted their loyalty to their "lawful prince and sovereign and hope it will not be necessary to make their particular address to his majesty" to clear themselves from the implication of disloyalty. [Newbury Records, Vol. 1, p. 176]

1665 December 4: Rebecca Swett was born in Newbury daughter of Stephen Swett and Rebecca Smith. [Newbury VR]

1666 March 27: Stephen Swett license to draw liquors renewed. [Rolfe, p. 14]

1666 May 31: Rebecca Swett, daughter of Stephen Swett and Rebecca Smith, died at Newbury. [Newbury VR. Stackpole has 1667.]

1666. Thomas Smith of Newbury, in his will probated 25 June 1666, made specific bequests to his sons John and Thomas and daughter Rebecca Swet, gave life use of the remainder of his estate to his wife, Rebecca, and following her death, to their eldest son, James Smith. [Essex Probate Docket # 25,779]

1666 September 11: A special session of the General Court was held in Boston to consider the continuing difficulties between the colony and the King. Petitions favoring the adoption of conciliatory measures and the repeal of all legislative acts displeasing to the king were presented from several towns. Stephen Swett signed the petition from Newbury. [Mass. Archives, vol. cvi, p. 168. Currier, p. 175-176]

1667 March 26: Stephen Swett license to draw liquors renewed for one year. This was the last time he had his liquor license renewed. [Rolfe, p. 14]

1668 April 2: "Stephen Swet deposed in the case of a difference between Mr. Thomas and John Webster regarding a keg of sturgeon." [Rolfe, p. 14]

1668 June: The selectmen and other inhabitants of Newbury petitioned the court at Salem that "Captain Paul White be licensed to sell wine out of dores by retaiale until some man be licensed to keep ordinary here." Apparently there was no ordinary or tavern in Newbury at this time. "From other documents in the general court records we learn that it was difficult, and for a time impossible, to induce any person to open a public house for the accommodation of travelers, and so forth." [Coffin's Newbury, p. 71] This indicates that Stephen Swett went out of the tavern business when his liquor license expired on 26 March 1668, which is confirmed by the lack of further renewals. Stackpole says that he kept an ordinary in 1670; perhaps he continued to serve meals without selling liquor.

1669 February 27: Rebecca Swett was born in Newbury daughter of Stephen Swett and Rebecca Smith. [Newbury VR] She married Daniel Gale in Newbury 9 December 1700. They had four children: Stephen about 1710, Mary about 1712, Benjamin 1706, and Jacob 1708. He died in Bradford, Mass, 30 June 1742. She died 6 May 1760. [Compiled from Stackpole and LDS Ancestral Files]

1669 March 1: Rebecca Smith, second wife of Stephen Swett, died at Newbury two days after the birth of her last child. [Newbury VR] At this time his family consisted of: John (20), Hannah (18), Stephen (16), Elizabeth (14), Joseph (12), Benjamin (5), and Rebecca (newborn).

1669 April 28: Ipswich Court: Stephen Swett signed the petition of protest against the action of the Newbury selectmen in building three seats in the meeting house without authority from the townspeople. [Rolfe, p. 14]

1669 May 25: "Jno Swett took ye oath of fidelity to this govermnt" at Newbury, before Robert Pike, Commissioner. [Norfolk Registry of Deeds, book II, leaf 143. Currier, p. 178] This was John [6] Swett, son of Stephen, aged 21.

1670 March 12: Stephen Swett sold his house to Hugh Marsh. [Rolfe, p. 10: copy of the agreement.] "At last, Hugh Marsh consented to leave his farm and commence tavern keeping on a large scale in the year 1670. His stand, which was, for many years, a noted place, was near the head of Marlborough street, on the spot where Messr. John and Stephen Ilsley now reside." [Coffin's "Newbury" (1845), p. 71] "Stephen Swett's ordinary was afterwards known as the Blue Anchor Tavern. This house, built by him, is still standing and occupied, on the west side of High Street, Newburyport, near the head of Marlborough Street. It has recently been purchased by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities." [Stackpole, p. 8., published about 1914; he includes a photograph of the house.]

The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities was founded in 1910. The Swett-Ilsley house was the first property purchased by the Society, in 1911. It is one of 11 such properties that have largely escaped remodeling and restoration, though it has been internally strengthened for preservation. It is unfurnished, to emphasize the architectural data, and may be visited by appointment. Telephone (617) 227-3956 for further information. The address is 4 High Road, Newbury, MA. My family and I visited the Swett-Ilsley house in 1964 and 1990.

1670 March 16: Stephen Swett was one of those who signed a paper dismissing Thomas Parker as minister, thus siding with Edward Woodman who had led in the election of two ruling elders as replacements for Mr. Parker and the assistant minister, Mr. Woodbridge. [Coffin's "Newbury", p. 82-83]

The issue was whether the minister or the people ran the church. From 1665 to 1669 the whole church and town of Newbury were in a very excited and unbrotherly state, not from any dislike to the doctrine, or objection to the character, of either Mr. Parker or Mr. Woodbridge, for they were both highly esteemed, and honored, but from a real or supposed infringement of their rights and privileges as men and christians. The church was divided into two nearly equal parties, the one called Mr. Parker's party, and the other, Mr. Woodman's party, so called from Mr. Edward Woodman, a man of talents, influence, firmness, and decision. [Coffin's "Newbury", p. 73]
1670 April 28: "Steeven Sweete v. Mr. Hen. Greenland. Debt. Defaulted." [Salem Court records. Rolfe, p. 14]

1670. John [6] Swett, by the will of his maternal grandfather, John Merrill, dated 8 September 1670 and proved 30 September 1673, was to receive his grandfather's estate after the death of his grandmother Elizabeth Merrill, with two provisions: "if ye sd Jno. Swett die without lawfull heires begotten of his owne body ye sd land is to returne unto ye next heire" and "Alsoe my will is yt my grand child Jno. Swett shall pay unto his two brothers and two sisters tenn pound apeice in one yeare after my wifes decease in case ye children bee of age." [Essex County Probate Files, Docket 18,267] His two brothers and two sisters were the other four children of Stephen Swett and Hannah Merrill: Hannah 1651, Stephen 1653, Elizabeth 1655, and Joseph 1657.

1670 December 7: John [6] Swett, son of Stephen Swett and Hannah Merrill, married Mary Plummer in Newbury. [Newbury VR] She was born in Newbury 8 February 1649 daughter of Samuel Plummer and Mary Bidfield. They lived in Newbury and had seven children: Mary 1672, Hannah 1674, John 1677, Samuel 1680, Stephen 1683, Joseph 1687, and Benjamin 1688 (my ancestor).

1671 February 23: Hannah Swett, daughter of Stephen Swett and Hannah Merrill, married John Badger. [Newbury VR] He was born in Newbury 30 June 1643 son of Giles Badger and Elizabeth Greenleaf, and had married (1) Elizabeth Hayden of Charlestown, Mass, 16 June 1663. She died in Newbury 8 April 1669 leaving their three children: John 1665, Sarah 1667, and James 1668. He married (2) Hannah Swett, and they had ten children: Stephen 1671, Hannah 1673, Nathaniel 1676, Mary Wyatt 1678, Elizabeth Davis 1680, Ruth 1683, Joseph 1684, Daniel 1685, Abigail 1687, and Lydia 1690. [J. C. Badger, "Giles Badger and His Descendants" (1909) referenced by email from Rodney Badger.]

1671 March 28: The court at Ipswich took numerous depositions in the law suit brought by Thomas Parker against Edward Woodman and his party. Because Mr. Woodman's party claimed to be the church, and to have a majority of the members, it was deemed of consequence on one side to establish that claim, and on the other to prove the contrary. [Coffin's "Newbury", pp. 100-112]

"There are," says Mr. John Woodbridge, "according to just computation, reckoned as members of our church, if Mr. Dummer be left out, seventy-nine, if he be reckoned, eighty. Our brethren of the number of eighty lay claim to forty-one to be with them, if Mr. Dummer be reckoned unto them. Steven Swett, one of their number, is a professed anabaptist and hath refused communion with this church for several years. Thirty-four only voted with them, which is far from the major part of the church."

"John Knight and Tristram Coffin testify that it was a minor part of the church that voted for appointing a meeting to hear Mr. Woodman's complaint against Mr. Parker, for thirty-nine have not joyned with them, besides three of forty-one, that Mr. Woodman claims to were not present, namely, Mr. Dummer, John Merrill, John Wells, and Mr. Woodman is the complainer, and there remains but thirty-seven. Benjamin Rolfe and William Moody did not vote, and Steven Swett ought not vote, because he is an anabaptist and hath not had communion with this church, and so only thirty-four voted."

After hearing all the testimony, the court decided that the actions of Mr. Woodman's party in suspending Mr. Parker, electing two ruling elders, and publishing "several falsehoods" were "high and irregular practices unheard of in this country, exceedingly scandalous and reproachful to the way of the churches here established, destructive to the peace and order of the gospel, threatening ruin and desolation of all order. They have alleged nothing but that they were the major part of the church, not charging, much less proving, any offence given by their reverend pastor, Mr. Parker, who for any thing, that doth appear is altogether innocent, though so exceedingly scandalized, reproached and wronged by Mr. Woodman his party."

The sentence of the court was passed May 29, 1671. All but two of the 41 listed as members of Mr. Woodman's party were fined, in varying amounts. Steven Swett, although his vote did not count, was fined one noble (sixteen shillings, eight pence) plus his share of court costs and fees. Interestingly enough, the list of those who supported Mr. Parker also contained 41 names.

The issue which agitated the church at Newbury for more than a quarter century centered on that vital question in church and state: in whose hands is the power of government rightly lodged? Ought or ought not the majority to govern? The decision of the county court was not a final settlement, nor were peace and quietness re-established. Over the next two years, the court continued to send orders and letters of admonishment to the church at Newbury. [Coffin's "Newbury", pp. 100-112, emphasis added.]

Stephen Swett was an Anabaptist, so other members of his family may have been (perhaps his mother), which would explain why this family is so difficult to find in England. Anabaptists did not believe in infant baptism, which was insisted upon by state churches. They were called Anabaptists because they re-baptized adults by immersion. In the 1500's, re-baptism was a crime punished by death in many countries, and Anabaptists were hunted like animals. Nevertheless, they introduced the ideas of voluntary church membership and the separation of church and state.

1672 April 10: Mary Swett was born in Newbury daughter of John [6] Swett and Mary Plummer. [Newbury VR] She married Gideon Lowell in 1692.

1674 May 9: "Hugh Marsh of Newbury Joiner & Judith my wife conveys to Stephen Swett Cordwainer a parcel of land ... " [description] [Rolfe, p. 10] This apparently was a small parcel of land adjoining the piece of property that Stephen Swett had retained when he sold his ordinary in 1670.

A cordwainer was a leather-worker who made things of cordovan, especially shoes. Cordovan is a soft, fine-grained, colored leather, usually of split horsehide, but originally made of goatskin at Cordoba, Spain. [Webster's Dictionary] This is what Stephen Swett did after he stopped keeping an ordinary.

1674 June 15: Hannah Swett was born in Newbury daughter of John [6] Swett and Mary Plummer. [Newbury VR] She married Archilaus Woodman about 1695.

1675 June 24: Outbreak of King Philip's war: nine Englishmen were murdered in Swanzy, by the Indians, as they were returning from the meeting house. [Coffin's Newbury, p. 116] Further information is in my paper about Capt. Benjamin Swett.

1675 December 6: Twenty-four men of Newbury were drafted for an expedition against the Indian fort at Narragansett, Rhode Island, including "Steven Sweet". This was Stephen Swett, Jr. He was 22 years old at that time. [Bodge, Soldiers in King Philip's War, 2nd edition, p. 153. Stackpole, p. 8]

1676 February 28: John [13] Swett, Jr., was born in Newbury son of John [6] Swett and Mary Plummer. [Newbury VR] He married Susanna Page; intentions 4 June 1698. In 1711 he was licensed to operate a ferry across the Merrimack River between West Newbury and Haverhill. [See my paper on Swett's Ferry.]

1676 March 5: Election of town officers of Newbury: "Anthony Morse and Stephen Swett, sealers of leather." [Newbury Records, Vol. 1, p. 110. Currier, p. 111]

1677 April 23: Stephen Swett signed the petition for the abatement of Joshua and Caleb Richardson and Edward Ordway's fines. [Rolfe, p. 15]

1677 June 29: Captain Benjamin Swett, brother of Stephen Swett, was killed in battle with the Indians at Black Point, on the Scarborough Peninsula, in Maine.

1678 Listed in the expenses of the Indian wars: "Ste. Swett senior horc hier 4s.4d." ("Stephen Swett, Sr., horse hire, four shillings, four pence.") [Rolfe, p. 15]

1678 All inhabitants over sixteen years of age were required to take an oath of allegiance to the King. Among the 236 men recorded at Newbury there were only two named Swett: John Swett, age 30, and Stephen Swett, age 58. [Quarterly Court Files, Salem, Mass., book xxx, leaf 56. Newbury Records, Vol. 1, p.181] Note that Stephen, Jr., aged 25, and Joseph [7] aged 21 had left Newbury, and Benjamin (1664) was not yet 16 years old.

1680 September 10: Samuel [14] Swett was born in Newbury son of John [6] Swett and Mary Plummer. [Newbury VR] He married Jane Gerrish in 1705.

1680 October 16: Stephen Swett was one of a jury of inquest on the death of George March's negro. [Rolfe, p. 15]

1683 January 27: Stephen Swett was born in Newbury son of John [6] Swett and Mary Plummer. [Newbury VR] He was living in 1717 (aged 34) when he was mentioned in his father's will, but Stackpole has no other information about him, and I have not found any.

1687: Elizabeth Swett, daughter of Stephen Swett and Hannah Merrill, married Edward Poore. [Stackpole. Their marriage isn't in the vital records of any town in Essex County.] He was born in Newbury 22 May 1656 son of Samuel Poore [Newbury VR] and Rebecca Church [RootsWeb]. He was a mariner. The births of Stephen Poer 1688 and Elizabeth Poer 1690 are in the Newbury VR, but the births of Mary 1697 and Joseph 1704 are not. Other children: Joanne, Enoch, and Judith. He died 18 April 1743. She also died in 1743. [RootsWeb] Most of this information isn't in the vital records of Essex County, so they probably lived in Newbury for a few years after they were married, and then lived and died somewhere else.

1687 February 2: Joseph Swett was born in Newbury son of John [6] Swett and Mary Plummer. [Newbury VR] He was living in 1717 (aged 30) when he was mentioned in his father's will, perhaps in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. [Stackpole, p. 10]

1688 April 11: Benjamin [15] Swett was born in Newbury son of John [6] Swett and Mary Plummer. [Newbury VR] He was the ferryman at the West Newbury end of Swett's Ferry. [See my paper on Swett's Ferry.] He married Mary Wheeler in 1712, and they had eight children. Their son Eliphalet [39] Swett was my ancestor.

1688: Joseph [7] Swett, son of Stephen Swett and Hannah Merrill, married widow Hannah (Devereaux) Knott in Marblehead, Mass. They had one child, Joseph [16] Swett, Jr., who became one of the most prominent businessmen in Marblehead. [Stackpole, p. 16-17. See also my paper on the Swett Family of Marblehead.]

1691 March: John Badger and his wife Hannah Swett, daughter of Stephen Swett and Hannah Merrill, both died of smallpox in Newbury. [J. C. Badger]

1691 November 16: Stephen Swett, cordwainer, sold two small parcels of land in Newbury to Hugh Marsh, Jr., "Together with the dwelling house & shopp, fencing, priv. and all." [Rolfe, p.11: Deed, Stephen Swett to Hugh Marsh, Jr.]

Stackpole says that Stephen Swett sold the house in which he kept a tavern on 16 November 1691, but evidently not. He sold that house to Hugh Marsh in 1670, kept a small house, and thereafter made his living as a cordwainer. After he sold the small house and cordwainer's shop to Hugh Marsh, Jr., in 1691, he probably lived with his daughter Elizabeth and her husband Edward Poore. [See next entry]

1693 May 6: "I, Stephen Sweat in consideration of a valuable sum rec'd of my son in law Edward Poor -- which sum was toward my maintenance the time past as also the good security which he hath given me for my maintenance for the time to come, give to him all my freehold & priviledges & common lands in Newbury as also my freehold lott as it was laid out to me in ye upper woods in ye town of Newbury." It amounted to six acres of meadow and six acres of land. [Rolfe, p. 48]

1693 May 18: Stephen Swett's brother John Swett, Jr., died in Charlestown, Mass.

1693: Stephen Swett died late in the year, aged 73. He is mentioned as deceased in a deposition dated 9 January 1694. [Stackpole] His death isn't in the vital records of Newbury or any other town in Essex County, so he may have died at the home of his daughter Elizabeth and her husband Edward Poore, wherever it was.


The life of Stephen Swett is well documented. The fact that he was an Anabaptist may be significant for research to find where he and his parents came from. Twice a widower, he had ten children, of whom seven survived infancy: John [6], Hannah, Stephen, Jr., Elizabeth, Joseph [7], Benjamin (1664), and Rebecca. His sons John [6] and Joseph [7] are well documented. Stephen, Jr., is almost entirely unknown, and a copy of the Newbury VR mis-identified the parents of Benjamin (1664). I have not yet found what happened to Stephen, Jr., or Benjamin.

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