Ben H. Swett
Updated 28 May 2010

The Swett families of South America are descendants of John Swett of Newbury:

[1] John Swett of Newbury was born about 1590 in England, probably County Norfolk (parents unknown). He married Phebe Unknown about 1612. They had five children, all born in Wymondham, Norfolk, England: John 1613, Dorcas 1618, Stephen 1620, Joseph 1622 and Benjamin 1624. He and his family sailed to America in 1641 (ship unknown). He signed a pasture agreement at the settlement on Parker River, Essex, Massachusetts, 12 Mar 1642, was admitted to the Massachusetts Colony 18 May 1642, and was one of the 91 Grantees of Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts, when the town was established on 7 Dec 1642. John Swett was a leather worker, probably a cordwainer (shoe maker) as several of his descendants were. He died 13 Jan 1652 in Newbury. Phebe died 6 May 1665 in Newbury.

[2] Stephen Swett was baptized 18 Apr 1620 in Wymondham, Norfolk, England, and came to America with his parents in 1641. He married (1) Hannah Merrill in Newbury 24 May 1647. She was born 1630 in England. They had seven children, all born in Newbury: John 1648, Stephen 1650, Hannah 1651, Stephen 1653, Elizabeth 1655, Joseph 1657, and Mary 1660. Hannah (Merrill) Swett died 4 Apr 1662 and he married (2) Rebecca Smith 4 Aug 1663. She was born 20 Feb 1640 in Newbury. They had two children: Rebecca 1665, and Rebecca 1669. Rebecca (Smith) Swett died 1 Mar 1669. Stephen Swett kept an Ordinary in Newbury from 1653 to 1670. An Ordinary was a house where a 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. The Ordinary built by Stephen Swett, later known as the "Blue Anchor Tavern," was purchased by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities in 1911 and is still standing at 4 High Road, Newbury. Stephen Swett died in 1693.

[3] John Swett was born 20 Oct 1648 in Newbury. He married (1) Mary Plummer 6 Dec 1670. She was born 8 Feb 1649 in Newbury. They had seven children: Miriam 1672, Hannah 1674, John 1677, Samuel 1680, Stephen 1683, Joseph 1687, and Benjamin 1688. Mary (Plummer) Swett died about 1712 and he married (2) Esther Jackman 12 Jan 1714. They had no children. John Swett was a farmer and owned a considerable amount of property in and around Newbury. He died 17 Mar 1718 in Newbury.

[4] Samuel Swett was born 10 Sep 1680 in Newbury. He married Jane Gerrish 18 Oct 1705. She was born 3 Oct 1678 in Newbury. They had five children: Samuel 1706, Moses 1708, Jane 1711, Benjamin 1713, and William 1717. Samuel Swett was a farmer and inherited some of his father's property. He died 1738 in Newbury.

[5] Benjamin Swett was born 6 April 1713 in Newbury. He married Judith Allen 17 June 1738 in Boston. She was born 26 Sep 1712 in Boston. They had two children, both born in Hartford, Connecticut: Elizabeth 1738, and William 1739. Benjamin Swett was a bookseller. In those days, a bookseller who did not have his own store was a traveling salesman, which explains why his children were born in Connecticut. He died 1745 in Boston.

[6] William Swett was born 1 Jul 1739 in Hartford, Connecticut. He married Mary Torrey 3 Oct 1766 in Boston. She was born 10 Nov 1745 in Boston. He was a mariner (sailor) and died about 1783 leaving a widow and two young children. His estate was administered in 1784 by Joseph Torrey. His widow, Mary (Torrey) Swett, married Robert Ruggles 24 Nov 1784 in Boston. She died Sep 1792 in Boston. [Vital records]

[7] Samuel Swett was born 14 Aug 1774. The Vital Records of Dedham, Norfolk, Massachusetts, have "Samuel Swett died 12/25/1853, liver complaint, age 79-4-11 born [14 August 1774] in Boston of ___ and Elizabeth," but parts of this entry are wrong. His birth isn't in any of the vital records of Massachusetts. The LDS Main International Genealogical Index  has "probably of Rumford, Oxford, Maine." And evidence has been found that shows his parents were William Swett and Mary Torrey.

On 27 Aug 1795 Samuel Swett, William Leach and his wife Elizabeth sold a piece of land that was set off to Mary, late wife of Robert Ruggles. William Leach had married Elizabeth Swett 2 Sep 1790 in Boston. The best explanation as to why Samuel Swett and Elizabeth (Swett) Leach had the right to sell this piece of land is that they were the two children of William Swett and Mary (Torrey) Swett Ruggles. [Research reports by Ms. Ann Leinhart of Boston, 1986, cited by Jorge Swett Browne of Chile, 2002]

Samuel Swett married (1) Esther Sprague 7 May 1797 in Boston. She was born 14 Dec 1777 and died Nov 1799. They had two children, both born in Boston [Vital records]:
1. Edward Sprague Swett born 8 Jan 1798 in Boston, died 30 Dec 1821 in Dedham
2. Charles Harrison Sprague Swett born 17 Oct 1799, died Nov 1799 in Boston

The 1798 Boston Directory lists Samuel Swett, merchant commerce, living in a house on Winter Street.

Samuel Swett married (2) Elizabeth Delone Sprague on 15 Sep 1800 in Dedham. She was born 7 May 1776 in Boston, and died 2 Jul 1813 in Dedham [Vital records]. They had six children, all born in Dedham:
1. Charles Grandison Swett born 2 Oct 1801, married Maria Merino, died 1834 in Guayaquil, Ecuador
2. Horatio Harrison Swett born 21 Oct 1805, unmarried, died 1830 in Cadiz, Spain
3. Elizabeth Swett born 9 Nov 1807, married James Greene, died 7 May 1901 in Worcester, Massachusetts
4. James Lloyd Swett born 26 Sep 1808, married Catherine Searle, died 4 Jan 1840 in Valparaiso, Chile
5. John Sprague Swett born 10 Apr 1811, married Nancy Hopkins, died 6 Oct 1872 in Dedham
6. Samuel Delone Swett born 1812, married Martha Alden, died after 1860 in Rose, Wayne, New York

There was a close relationship between Samuel Swett and the Sprague family. He married two daughters of Dr. John Sprague, Jr. -- Esther in 1797 and Elizabeth in 1800. He bought the house at 699 High Street, Dedham, in 1798 from Edward Sprague, son of Dr. John Sprague, Sr., and sold it in 1799 to Dr. John Sprague's widow, Esther (Harrison) Sprague. When she died in 1811 she willed it to Elisabeth Swett, wife of Samuel Swett. Elizabeth left it to him when she died in 1813. The story of this house can be found in "Study of the Dexter Sprague House, 699 High Street, Dedham" by Sarah Chase, Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, 1985. [Email from Jorge Swett Browne of Chile, 2002]

Samuel Swett married (3) Elizabeth Thurston on 24 Nov 1831 in Dedham. She was born in 1771 and died 23 May 1840. [Vital Records] They had no children.

Samuel Swett married (4) Polly Wood, widow of Edward Whiting, on 9 Sep 1847 in Dedham. She was born 18 Mar 1778 in Rutland, Worcester, Massachusetts, and died 3 Dec 1856 in Dedham. [Vital Records] They had no children.

Samuel Swett died 25 Dec 1853 in Dedham, aged 79. He had outlived three of his four wives and five of his eight children. Descendants have wondered why three of his sons moved so far away (Charles to Ecuador, Horatio to Spain, and James to Chile), but he was a merchant involved in commerce, so it seems likely that his sons were interested in overseas opportunities to establish businesses.


[8] Charles Grandison Swett went to Guayaquil, Guayas, Ecuador, where he married Maria De La Concepcion Merino on 4 Jul 1829. She was born 1 Aug 1810 in Guayaquil. They had three children:
1. Isabel Swett Merino born 1830, married (1) Manuel Merino, (2) Pedro Campusano
2. Charles Swett Merino born 22 Sep 1831, married Mercedes Caffari
3. Mercedes Swett Merino born 1832, married Esteban Tama

Charles Grandison Swett, son of Samuel and Elizabeth, died in Guayaquil, Ecuador, in 1834. [Probate Index, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, L-Z 1792-1900, Vol. II, Transcript Press, Dedham, Massachusetts, Guardianship Case Numbers 17749 and 17750. Cited by email from Jorge Swett Browne of Chile]

Charles G. Swett died very young (34 years old) from malarial fever contracted in Puna, an island that lies at the mouth of the Gulf of Guayaquil. His presence on the island (by name) is recorded in a book titled "The Sinking of the Essex" (by a whale off the Peruvian coast, a story that gave rise to Moby Dick), when he and a bunch of Anglos were fighting against Ecuador's first dictator, Gen. Juan Jose Flores. [Email from Francisco X. Swett Morales of Ecuador]

[9] Charles Swett Merino and Mercedes Caffari had four children. She was born 4 Jul 1829 and died 2 Apr 1902.
1. Charles Felipe Swett Caffari born about 1862, married Isabel Ascencio
2. Eduardo M. Swett Caffari born about 1865, married Manuela Ramos
3. Jorge Ricardo Swett Caffari born 19 Mar 1868, married Victoria Coronel
4. Maria Isabel Swett Caffari born 1873, married Arcesio Manrique

[10] Charles Felipe Swett Caffari and Isabel Ascencio had two children.  She was born 1866 in Lima, Peru.
1. Maria Cristina Swett Ascencio born 24 Jul 1888, married Francisco Martinez
2. Carlos Samuel Swett Ascencio born 3 Dec 1889, lived in Bolivia, married ?

[10] Eduardo M. Swett Caffari and Manuela Ramos had seven children. She was born about 1885 and died 3 Mar 1957. He died 16 Jun 1956.
1. Carlos Leodero Swett Ramos born 25 Dec 1913
2. Olga Mercedes Swett Ramos born 15 Jul 1916, married (1) Unkown Esteves, (2) Luis Leuschner, (3) Eugene James Szepesy, (4) Francisco Martinez Swett (son of her first cousin Maria Cristina Swett Ascencio and Francisco Martinez)
3. Angela Judita Swett Ramos born 2 Aug 1917, died young
4. Belgica Angela Swett Ramos born 19 Jun 1919
5. Eduardo Vicente Swett Ramos born 12 Apr 1923
6. Isabel Swett Ramos born about 1925
7. Jorge Swett Ramos born about 1927

[10] Jorge Ricardo Swett Caffari and Victoria Coronel had four children. She was born 7 Apr 1870 and died 21 Jul 1959. He died 7 Jul 1927.
1. Jorge Swett Coronel born about 1891, married Angela Palomeque
2. Carlos Luis Swett Coronel born 1894, married Elvira Sanabria
3. Guillermo Swett Coronel born 14 Nov 1897, married Hilda Montes
4. Alberto Swett Coronel born 8 Apr 1903, married Piedad Morales

Descendants of this family are well known in Ecuador:

[12] Jorge Enrique Swett Palomeque, born 6 Feb 1925 son of Jorge Swett Colonel and Angela Palomeque, is a famous artist, muralist, painter, sculptor, and professor of art in Ecuador. His son Carlos Luis Swett Salas has prepared an excellent presentation of his work and posted it online at http://carlosswett.blogspot.com/

[12] Francisco Xavier Swett Morales, born 26 Oct 1947 son of Alberto Swett Coronel and Piedad Morales, has worked as an international consultant in matters of economic development for institutions such as the World Bank, IADB, USAID, and the UN. In Ecuador he was the Minister of Economic Policy Coordination, Minister of Finance, Member of the Congress, and President of the Central Bank. He has also served as Chairman of some of Ecuador´s largest corporations, including CONECEL (mobile telecommunications), EMELEC (the largest Public Utility Power Distribution Company), and the Noboa Corporation, an international trade organization, where he was Managing Director and CFO. In 2004 he participated in DNA testing which proved that he and his direct line of male Swett ancestors are descendants of John Swett of Newbury.


[8] James Lloyd Swett moved to Chile in 1828 and with other merchants founded a ship chandler firm named McCall and Company in Valparaiso, Chile.

A ship chandler is a retail dealer in special supplies or equipment for ships. For traditional sailing ships items that could be found in a chandler might include: rosin, turpentine, tar, pitch (resin), linseed oil, whale oil, tallow, lard, varnish, twine, rope and cordage, hemp, oakum, tools (hatchet, axe, hammer, chisel, planes, lantern, nail, spike, boat hook, caulking iron, hand pump, marlinspike), brooms, mops, galley supplies, leather goods, and paper. The ship chandlery business was central to the existence and the social and political dynamics of ports and their waterfront areas. [Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]

James Lloyd Swett married Catherine Martha Searle Taylor on 7 Apr 1832 in Valparaiso. She was born 24 May 1814 on Madeira when the island was British. (Madeira is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, just west of Morocco, Africa. She came to Chile in 1830 with her parents, John and Catherine Searle.) They had three children:
1. Frederico Swett Searle born 1833, died 1836 after being bitten by a rabid dog.
2. Carlos Swett Searle born 20 Dec 1835, married Adela Otaegui Salva
3. James Swett Searle born 1837, died 1844

James Lloyd Swett died on 4 Jan 1840 in Valparaiso. His widow married Robert Winthrop Simpson on 23 Mar 1840 as his second wife. He was born about 1799 in England, and served with distinction for 53 years in the Chilean Navy, retiring as a Vice Admiral. He died 23 Dec 1877 and she died 13 May 1879 in Valparaiso.

[9] The Swett families of Chile are descendants of Carlos Swett Searle and Adela Otaegui Salva. She was born 1847 and died 1906. He died 21 Apr 1916.  They had thirteen children:
1. Adela Swett Otaegui born 16 Apr 1869, married Enrique Hormann Soruco
2. Carlos Swett Otaegui born 1872, married Sara Claro Lastarria
3. Arturo Swett Otaegui born 9 Aug 1873, married Blanca Madge Cortes
4. Elena Swett Otaegui born 1874
5. Elisa Swett Otaegui born 1875, married Luis Ariztia Lyon
6. Roberto Swett Otaegui born 1879, married Ester Gonzalez Echeverria
7. Ricardo Swett Otaegui born 1880, married Luisa Carvallo Gundelach
8. Guillermo Swett Otaegui born 1883, married Daisy Madge Cortes
9. Alfredo Swett Otaegui born 6 Jan 1885, married Sara Lecaros Garcia
10. Ana Swett Otaegui born 1886, married Arturo Young
11. Olivia Swett Otaegui born 1887
12. Teresita Swett Otaegui born 1888
13. Sofia Swett Otaegui born 1889, married German Ugalde Pinto

[10] Carlos Swett Otaegui and Sara Claro had five children. She was born 1873 and died 13 Sep 1959. He died 7 Sep 1938.
1. Lorenzo Swett Claro born 26 Jun 1910, married ?
2. Carlos Swett Claro born 11 Oct 1911, married (1) Ana McDonald, (2) Rosa Ibanez
3. Eduardo Swett Claro born 31 Mar 1913, married Nieves Rivas
4. Enrique Swett Claro born 3 Oct 1916, married Olga Munoz
5. Eugenio Swett Claro born 22 Aug 1918, married Adriana Beaumont

[10] Arturo Swett Otaegui and Blanca Madge had seven childen. She was born 1886 and died 1980. He died 1935.
1. Blanca Swett Madge born 17 Apr 1907, married Arnoldo Hudson
2. Olga Swett Madge born 1 Nov 1908, married Jorge Bernales
3. Arturo Swett Madge born 7 Jul 1911, married Carmen Serrano
4. Jorge Swett Madge born 16 Feb 1915, married Susana Browne
5. Oscar Alejandro Swett Madge born 10 Apr 1919, married Liliana Yver
6. Francisco Swett Madge born 29 Aug 1924, married Teresa Astaburuaga
7. Jamie Swett Madge born 21 Jan 1930, married Silvia Lacalle

[10] Roberto Swett Otaegui and Ester Gonzalez had two childen. She was born 21 Dec 1889.
1. Roberto Swett Gonzalez born 1918, married Elena Morrison
2. Juan Swett Gonzalez born 13 Aug 1920, married Teresa Calvo

[10] Ricardo Swett Otaegui and Luisa Carvallo had nine children. She was born 20 Dec 1893 and died 19 Sep 1965. He died 18 Jul 1949.
1. Lusia Swett Carvallo born 11 Jun 1907, married Raul Beckdorf
2. Anita Swett Carvallo born 9 Aug 1908, married Pedro Doren
3. Daniel Swett Carvallo born 14 Jan 1911, married Maria Angelica Soto
4. Ricardo Swett Carvallo born 10 Mar 1914, married Gabriela Saavedra
5. Mary Swett Carvallo born 15 Jan 1916, married Enrique Salazar
6. Hernan Swett Carvallo born 26 Jun 1917, married Silvia Lazeano
7. James Swett Carvallo born 26 Dec 1919, married Graciela de la Cerda
8. Alphonso Swett Carvallo born 2 Aug 1921, died 7 Feb 1941
9. Fernando Swett Carvallo born 21 Dec 1923, married Alicia Vicuna

[10] Guillermo Swett Otaegui and Daisy Madge had two children. She was born 29 Oct 1892 and died 13 Jan 1979.
1. Guillermo Swett Madge born 1913, died 1933
2. Eduardo Swett Madge born 2 Oct 1914, married Elena Perez

[10] Alfredo Swett Otaegui and Sara Lecaros had five childen. She was born 6 Aug 1893 and died 13 Sep 1971. He died 14 Aug 1958.
1. Rosa Swett Lecaros born 8 Apr 1920, married Francisco Meza
2. Alfredo Swett Lecaros born 18 Sep 1921, married Rosa Elena Pinto
3. Patricio Swett Lecaros born 5 Dec 1922, married Berta Lira
4. Gustavo Swett Lecaros born 27 Apr 1928, married Maria Alicia Millan
5. Alberto Swett Lecaros born 8 Oct 1931, married Maria Eugenia Gaymer

Several descendants of this family have served with distinction in the Chilean Navy.

[10] Arturo Swett Otaegui (1873-1935), son of Carlos Swett Searle and Adela Otaegui Salva, participated in several hydrographic missions to chart the many islands and other features of the Chilean coast. Swett Penninsula is named for him. He was Commander of the ship (corvette) "General Baquedano" during the Chilean Scientific Expedition to Easter Island in April 1911. Promoted to Vice Admiral in 1925, he was appointed Minister of the Navy from 23 Dec 1925 to 27 Feb 1927 and again from 30 Oct 1932 to 24 Dec 1932.

[11] In 1956 Jorge Swett Madge (1915-2010), son of Arturo Swett Otaegui and Blanca Madge Cortes, was Commander of the tall sailing ship (frigate) "Esmeralda" during its second training cruise in which it made many good-will visits around the world. While in the Italian Port of Civitavecchia, he and 150 of his officers, Midshipmen and cabin boy trainees traveled to Rome where he was received in special audience by Pope Pius XII. The Holy Father gave his Apostolic Blessing to Captain Swett, the members of his crew, the Chilean Navy, and the country of Chile.  After Jorge Swett Madge retired as a Vice Admiral, he was the Rector of the Catholic University of Chile from 1973 to 1985. During his tenure, he restructured the University, reduced its debts, increased its enrollment, and improved its importance in national affairs. For his exemplary character and achievements in this office, he was honored by the Vatican as a Commander of the Order of St. Sylvester.

[12] Jorge Swett Browne (1944-), son of Jorge Swett Madge and Susana Browne Ross,  graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, received his Master of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from the U. S. Navy Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and attended the U. S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He specialized in Naval Electronic Engineering. In 1998 he was appointed as Commander in Chief of the National Squadron, and in 1999 as Chief of the General Staff of the Chilean Navy. He retired as a Vice Admiral in 2001.

[12] In 1976 Andres Swett Serrano (1944-), son of Arturo Swett Madge and Carmen Serrano del Rio,  was Commander of the sailing ship "Esmeralda" during its visit to New York harbor as part of the United States bicentennial celebration. In 1999 he was appointed Director General of Navy Personnel. He retired as a Vice Admiral in 2001.

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