Unknown MCSWAIN Charles MCSWAIN William David MCSWAIN James MCSWAIN Margaret Etta SERGEANT Mother UNKNOWN Mini tree diagram

David MCSWAIN7,1,8,4

about 17006,7,1,8,4 - 17707,1,4

Life History

about 1700

Born in Isle of Skye, Scotland.6,7,1,8,4

about 1723

Birth of son Charles MCSWAIN in Isle of Skye, Scotland.10


Birth of son William David MCSWAIN in On the Open Sea.7,11,12


Married Margaret Etta SERGEANT in Isle of Skye, Scotland.3


Birth of son James MCSWAIN in Rutherford County, North Carolina.2


Arrival in American Colonies.9


Resident in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.5

between 1760 and 1765

Residence2 in Rutherford County, North Carolina.1


Died in Rutherford County, North Carolina.7,1,4


Buried in Old McSwain Cemetery, Tryon County, NC.2,3,4


  • The name of the clan derives from Norse word and name, from the Vikingsettlement of northern and western Scotland and Ireland centuries ago. The name and common word "swain" is the same word borrowed into theEnglish language from the related Scots language in eastern Scotland.

    The line of McSwains followed in this genealogy derive from one DavidMcSwain born in the Isle of Skye, who immigrated to the Americancolonies in 1731.  The clan settled in Carolina Colony, in the areathat became Rutherford and Cleveland Counties of present-day NorthCarolina and the neighboring York and Cherokee in what Counties to thesouth is now South Carolina.

    The commercial site Crest.com comments on the history of the name andclan, with focus on Ireland, whence the Scots came in their migrationacross the Hebrides and to the settlement and finally the conquest ofPictland, now known as Scotland after those invading Irish andIrish-Viking tribes.

    The McSWAIN, McSwyne, MacSweeney and McSweeney families are thedescendants of the gallowglass warriors who settled in County Donegal,where they had come first as mercenaries.  By the 15th century theyhad formed three septs named Mac Suichne. The surname is found mainlyin Munster, particularly in County Cork, where a branch of the familymigrated from Ulster, established itself, multiplied and flourished.The Irish MacSuibhne denotes 'pleasant'.  Ireland was one of theearliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames.  Theycame into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a fewwere formed before the year 1000.  When the sparse Irish populationbegan to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personalidentification by moving from single names to a more definitenomenclature.  The prefix 'Mac' was given to the father's christianname, or 'O' to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor.
    --  McSwain Coat of Arms/McSwain Family Crest,http://www.4crests.com/mcswain-coat-of-arms.html

    The Scottish Clans and their Tartans, give the source of our name asfollows: MacQueen (Gaelic) MacCuine for MacShuibbne, from N.Sweyn.Gaelic MacSwan. In Skye MacQueens.

    The MacQueens are of Norse origin, from Iweyn or Suyne, rendered inGaelic MacCuine or McShuibhne. A Sween McQueen signed the Clan ChattanBond of 1609. Although latterly regarded as a sept of the ClanChattes, they are more likely to be of the Clan Ronald origin. In thethirteenth century a family of MacSweens held lands in Kinteze,especially Castle Sween. In Skye we find the Gaelic name McSwaintaking the form of MacSweens, MacSwan and Swan in English.

    Although originally but an offshoot of the Hebridean MacQueens whoowed allegiance to the Lord of the Isles, the MacQueens ofCorrybrough, who settled in Strathdearn, may be said to have occupiedthe positions of the "Head of the haill (whole) name."

    The MacQueens were known as Clan Rovan, the circumstance which theMacQueens left the West Coast and settled in Strathdearn are stated tobe as follows: Early in the Fifteenth century Malcolm Beg MacKintosh(10th of MacKintosh) married Mora MacDonald of Moidart and with thebride came, as was the custom, several of her kinsmen, who took uptheir abode near her new home. Among the followers were RevanMacMulmon MacAntus, of whom the Clan Revan are descended, and DolanMacGillandrisch of whom the Clan Revan is descended.

    Roderick Dee Revan MacQueen is said to have fought under MacKintosh atthe battle of Harlaw in 1411.
    --  Electronic Scotland,http://www.electricscotland.com/webclans/minibios/q/queen_family.htm

    The clan or totem name Revan is also found spelled Rovan in somesources and authorities.

    The McSwains are a sub-sept of the McQueens, and have their center inthe Isle of Skye.  The McSwain name is registered as a separate nameand has a separate crest, coat of arms and tartan in heraldry.  Hereis some background information on the Macsuibhne (McSween/McSwain) andMcuin (McQueen) lineage.

    "Ireland:  My brother once found something that told him David hadmarried a Betty Sergeant that he might have met while they were livingin Ireland, waiting on the next ship to America, it could have beenall rumor though."
    --  Larry Dean McSwain, Comment on this genealogy on Acnestry.com, 4Dec 2014

    Passenger records seeming to be for this David McSwain are documentedin a book by David Dobson.

    Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s
    David McSwain
    Arrival in America [nio port stated here] in 1731
    Source Publication Code: 1639.20
    Annotation: Date of emigration with intended destination, date andplace of naturalization, or date and place of first mention ofresidence in the New World.
    Source Bibliography: DOBSON, DAVID. Directory of Scots in theCarolinas, 1680-1830. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986.322p.
    Page 227

    Some confusion has been caused by the DAR about the spouse of thisDavid McSwain.  Some genealogies have paired this David with SusannahHamrick, the wife of his son William David (also called David).  Adescendant Douglas details the family and explains this historicalanomaly. Douglas has done very good critical work in reconstructingthis family.  I am including some of the good commentary from hiswebsite, which you should visit for high-quality information on theearly American McSwains in the line I detail in this genealogy.
    --  Doug McSwain,http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/m/c/s/Doug-Mcswain/

    Doug comments on the burial place and replacement headstone on David'sgrave in the McSwain Cemetery in Cleveland County, North Carolina:
    "This stone was erected in the 1930s by the DAR.  It is located at theMcSwain Family Cemetery in Cleveland County, NC believed to be theburial site of David McSwain."  Douglas indicates the DAR put thewrong wife's name on here, putting Susannah Hamrick, the wife ofDavid's son, William David.  This error has been picked up by someother genealogies.

    I have also found that some genealogies seem to have confused (mixed)two different McSwain lines.  A family in Baltimore, Maryland, wholater also migrated into North Carolina, are inserted in this or thenext generation, showing the wrong parents for William McSwain whomarried Judith A Moore.  My wife's ancestor George was one of Williamand Judith's sons.  The David shown here is thought to be the correctancestor of William, husband of Judith Moore and father of GeorgeMcSwain who married Catherine Weathers, who moved to Arkansas with hersons, after the death of George.

    Here is Douglas' summary statement of the family's progress fromPennsylvania to North Carolina:

    My MCSWAIN branch is found almost exclusively in what is todaysouthern Cleveland County, NC. Cleveland County was formed in 1841when the N C Legislature created it from Rutherford County. RutherfordCounty came into existence in 1779 during the American Revolution.Prior to 1779, Rutherford County was part of Anson and Old TryonCounties. The earliest McSwain moved to this area between 1760 and1770 when it was still a colony of the Crown and very much a frontier.

    Most researchers claim the Isle of Skye, Scotland as the ancestralhome of the McSwains. Many feel the McSwains are a branch of theMacQueen clan. The spelling of McSwain sometimes appears as MacSwain,McSween, McSwaine, or other variations, depending on how the censusenumerator heard it pronounced. It is doubtful that many of the earlysettlers in this area were literate or even able to write their names.

    David McSwain, the patriarch, is thought to have arrived inPhiladelphia with his family in 1731 probably as an indenturedservant. This was the most common way an immigrant earned his passageto the New World. He would have been required to work seven to tenyears before being released from his indenture. During this time hewould have been seeking land of his own so that he too could prosper.

    But eastern Pennsylvania was getting crowded and as a result land wasbecoming expensive. Many immigrants chose to leave for the frontier ofwestern Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia.  It appearsthat David and some of his family began the trek south between 1750and 1760. By this time all of his known children were adults. Theywere the ones most likely to feel the pressure to go. David wouldfollow them because in those times, family was your only support inold age and he would not wish to be left behind.

    The family's route south would take them on the Great PhiladelphiaWagon Road from east-central Pennsylvania through western Marylandinto the Shenandoah Valley of western Virginia. This would not be atrip with a beginning and a quick end but more of a quest for a betterway of life. They would travel and settle in an area for a period ofperhaps two to three years.  Some of David's children andgrandchildren may have married and stayed as the family group movedon.

    The Great Philadelphia Wagon Road south continued from Virginia intothe northern piedmont of North Carolina. Their route would have gonepast present day Winston-Salem and Salisbury into the Yadkin RiverValley. The McSwains would have followed the rise of the Appalachianmountains to the west into what would become Cleveland County, NC.Some of the family found a home in the rolling hills along the BroadRiver. Others moved on into South Carolina and northern Georgia whileDavid, the patriarch, most likely in his sixties and weary, stays withhis son, David.
    --  Douglas McSwain,http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/m/c/s/Doug-Mcswain/

    Gerald K Cunard provides the following references to sources:

    Source: FGS 1236.001
    Harvey GREEN, starts his McSWAIN family with David McSWAIN (b. 1700)
    of "Isle of Skye," Scotland. m. Margaret MOORE (b. 1702) only onechild traced, "David" McSWAIN (no dates) ..prs [?] Not Wm. David!

    Source: FGS 1236.002
    Mrs. Ray Mode (Mary), in the Cleveland Hist. Soc, 1980, Pg 402-3
    F.G. 758.
    "Son William McSWAIN and wife Susanna Hamrick, settled near his fatherDavid McSWAIN on the East side of the 1st Broad River and is buried inthe old McSWAIN graveyard, which is now known as the old Buck McSWAINgraveyard."

    Source: FGS 1236.003
    Mrs. Jean Oates McSWAIN, in the Cleveland Hist. Soc, 1980, Pg 406-7
    F.G. 764
    "There is a controversy in the research of the McSWAIN Family.  S. C.JONES in his book 'Hamrick Generations' states that David, 1 & his sonDavid, Jr came to Rutherford County, NC, and David, 1 was the firstwhite man to be buried in this part of the country. He also statesthat David, 1 son James married Elizabeth MOORE and left no 'heirs.'"

    In Eleanor McSWAIN's book 'Some Descendants of David McSWAIN Isle ofSkye,' she reports David, 1 as being born in 1700 in the Isle of Skye,Scotland. He came to America aboard the ship 'The Snow Louther' (perJoseph Fisher Master from Rotterdam last from Dover, Oct. 14, 1731)

    "David, 1 his wife, and two sons David, Jr. and Charles left Skye. SonWilliam was born en-route."

    I have been unable to find any documents of the McSWAIN family name inthe Old Tryon, Lincoln, or Rutherford Counties prior to the Deed of 13May 1789, in Rutherfordton, NC.

    John LOAGAN conveys to William McSWAIN, some 500 acres of land lyingon "Bowen's Creek" adjoining land of Jacob RANDAL
    Wit: Abednego ADAMS
    Wit: David McSWAIN
    --  Gerald K Cunard,http://gw.geneanet.org/kcunard?lang=en;pz=jonathan+riggins;nz=cunard;ocz=0;p=david;n=mcswain

    David was buried in the Old McSwain Cemetery, or Buck McSwainCemetery, Tryon (later Rutherford, now Cleveland) County, NorthCarolina.  It is south of Shelby close to the South Carolina border.
    --  RootsWeb Trees,http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~prsjr/families/sc/mcswain/fgs0731.htm

    David McSwain
    Birth 1700, Scotland
    Death 1770 North Carolina

    1723- Married at the Isle of Skye, Scotland.
    1731- Came to Virginia on the Lowther.
    1765- Moved to North Carolina.
    1770- Died in Cleveland County.
    His wife was Margaret Sargent, born 1702 in Ireland.

    Spouse Margaret Seargent McSwain (1702 - ____)
    Children David McSwain (1734 - 1805)

    Burial McSwain Cemetery, Shelby, Cleveland County, North Carolina

    Created by Elizabeth Olmstead Jun 09, 2009
    --  Find A Grave Memorial #38136539,http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=38136539


  • 1. Douglas McSwain Genealogy
    • http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/m/c/s/Doug-Mcswain/WEBSITE-
  • 2. RootsWeb ID: I4725 -- William David (II) McSwain
    • Name: Name:http:/worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=prsjr&id=I4703;;
  • 3. Cunard Genealogy
  • 4. Find a Grave Memorial Registry
  • 5. Douglas McSwain Genealogy
    • http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/m/c/s/Doug-Mcswain/
  • 6. McSwain Cemetery Transcription, by W D Floyd
    • Name: Name:http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/nc/cleveland/cemeteries/mcswain.txt;;
  • 7. Ancestry Trees
    • Lawson Family Tree
  • 8. RootsWeb ID: I4695 -- William McSwain
    • Name: Name:http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=prsjr&id=I4695;;
  • 9. Directory of Scots in the Carolinas, 1680-1830
    • Name: Name: Genealogical Publishing Co, 322p; Location: Baltimore;Date: 1986;;
    • Page 227
  • 10. RootsWeb ID: McSwain Skye to North Carolina
    • Name: Name:http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=prsjr&id=I4693;;
    • references top-level individual
  • 11. Ancestry Trees
    • http://awtc.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm-cgi?op=GET&db=*v133t0575&id=I1176
  • 12. RootsWeb ID: I4695 -- William McSwain
    • Name: Name:http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=prsjr&id=I4695;;
    • references top-level individual

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