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Monthly Archives: November 2014

52 Ancestors – William Swan

William Swan is my Great x 4 Grandfather, he was born in Kirkmahoe, Dumfriesshire in 1793 and died in 1858 from heart disease and general dropsy, he was a Gamekeeper.

The Swans of Kirkmahoe appear to have been Covenanters, strict Presbyterians who believed that God, not the monarch, was head of the church, they were opposed to the “Divine Right of Kings”. It seems they were persecuted for some centuries, many fleeing to Ireland and then later to the USA. All connected up with the border conflicts, opposition to Catholicism and the English Civil War. I had always thought the Irish came to Scotland, but it seems it works the other way too, perhaps many came back.

There was a William Swan who was a hero among the Covenanters, I can’t trace how we are descended from him, but presume there is some connection, he seems something of an actor, contriving an argument with his wife to throw the army off the scent of a covenanter hidden in his barn.

William Swan and the Covenanters.

William Swan and the Covenanters.

Our William Swan was married to Mary Beck and was father to my Gt Gt Gt GrandmotherĀ Flora Swan, John Swan, James Swan and Jane Ann McAlpin Swan. James followed his mother’s brother out to the USA and formed a very successful tool making company there.

I understand the Covenanters who went out to the USA were opposed to slavery andĀ in 1800 the Reformed Church voted to outlaw slave-holding among its members.

525px-Covenanters_in_a_Glen

 

 

 

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