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February 26, 2014

Will of Robert Swain of Abbeville, SC

This will may have nothing to do with my Swain line but I'm beginning to wonder if our Swains go through these Abbeville, SC Swains rather than the Nantucket Swains. I found this will as I was looking for documents on other swains and thought I'd share an original record ( I love looking at original records!).

This is the will of Robert Swain of Abbeville, SC written the 2 October 1812 and proved and recorded the 16 November 1812.

Robert Swain bequeaths:
  • Item: to son John Swain one hundred ten acres of land being the place or plantation whereon he now lives to him and his heirs:
  • Item: to daughter Jane Norris - one bay horse, one young cow to her and her heirs.
  • Item: to daughter Mary Swain -  Negro woman named Pat, Negro boy named Allen, Negro boy named Cyrus, and chestnut __ horse to her and her heirs forever.
  • Item: to son Robert Swain - plantation where I now live containing 165 acres or the remainder of the whole tract after the 110 acres already willed to John Swain. One negro man named Tom, one negro boy named Adam, one black horse and one gray horse, to him and his heirs forever.
  • Item: to daughter Elizabeth Reeves - tract of land containing 312 acres in Pendleton District on a branch of Barker's Creek land I purchased from Richard Sadler, one negro boy named George, two cows, to her and her heirs forever.
  • Plantation tools willed to Robert Swain
  • Everything else not mentioned specifically divided equally between Robert Swain and Mary Swain
  • Mary Swain to stay in home with Robert Swain and negro girl named Fanney

Executors: John Swain and Robert Swain
Witnesses: John Weatherall, William Richey, William Hodges

Citation for will: "South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977," images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 Feb 2014), Abbeville > Wills, 1787-1815, Vol. 01 > image 239 of 257.

This is the will of Nancy Swain, wife of Robert Swain who was willed 165 acres in his father, Robert Swain's will. The next page of this will was not scanned in the FamilySearch database. It goes from page 497 and the next image is 500-501.

Also: son, Robert Swain and wife Nancy (making this connection because in the will of Nancy Swain (above) she says that her estate consists of two slaves, one named Fanny) are buried at the Old Greenville Presbyterian Church Link to Inscriptions at Old Greenville Presbyterian Church Cemetery
Swain, Mrs. Nancy, wife of Robert Swain, died Apr. 17, 1855. Age about 65 yrs.
Swain, Robert, died Apr. 4, 1854. Aged upwards of 80 yrs.

This means that Robert Swain, son of Robert Swain of the above will was born around 1874. He would have been about 35 years old when his father died.

My thoughts for my research: It seems like a family who is divided by the civil war would be more likely to have lived in the south for a significant amount of time rather than have just moved into the south one generation earlier. Many researchers on my Swain family say that William W. Swain is the son of Joseph Swain and Jedidah Macy who were Nantucketers and moved to Guilford, North Carolina somewhere around the 1780s. To have moved all the way to North Carolina from Massachussets, and then 15 years later move again to Georgia . . . it just seems like that's a little more far fetched.  William W. Swain Sr. married Rebecca Williamson in 1808 in Franklin Co., Georgia. Abbeville, SC is right along the border between South Carolina and Georgia and is only about three counties away from Franklin, GA.

Also, William W. Swain's census records indicate he was born in North Carolina but his life synopsis in his son's biography indicates South Carolina. Abbeville was in the Peidmont Area of South Carolina. This Peidmont Historical Society of South Carolina says (William W. Swain was born in 1783): "Prior to the early 1800's, North Carolina also claimed the northern portion of the South Carolina Piedmont. So, some of the early records will be found in Tryon County and Mecklenburg County as well as the colonial and state records of North Carolina."s Perhaps this could be why there's a discrepancy as to where William W. claimed he was born.

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