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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Swann, William

by William S. Price, Jr., 1994

ca. 1685–ca. 1723

William Swann, legislator, was the eldest son of powerful Albemarle leader Samuel Swann and his first wife, Sarah Drummond, who had been the widow of North Carolina's early Proprietary governor, William Drummond. In all likelihood William Swann was born in Virginia at Swann's Point near Jamestown. In the fall of 1694 he entered North Carolina with his father; Sarah Drummond had died recently, and Samuel married Elizabeth Lillington, the daughter of a prominent Albemarle planter.

By 1709 Swann had entered North Carolina politics as a member of the lower house of the Assembly from Currituck Precinct. Two years later he was speaker of the house and spearheaded passage of punitive measures against the leaders of Cary's Rebellion, especially Thomas Cary and Edward Moseley. Swann also served in the assemblies of 1715/16 and 1722. He was a vestryman and militia colonel for Currituck in 1715.

After 1722 Swann does not appear in the extant records of North Carolina. It seems likely that he died (probably intestate) around 1723.


Mattie Erma E. Parker, ed., North Carolina Higher-Court Records, 1670–1696 (1968).

William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vols. 1–2 (1806).

Additional Resources:

"Samuel Swann's Will." North Carolina wills and inventories copied from original and recorded wills and inventories in the office of the secretary of state. Raleigh, Edwards & Broughton printing company, printers. 1912. 427. (accessed August 7, 2013).

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