Copyright notice

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.

Printer-friendly page
No votes yet

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).

Origin - location: 


Oops - I apologize - in my first email I even got the names/sequence mixed up. It gets very confusing with a Sarah Drummonds widow of Governor and a daughter as well the number of Samuel Swanns in this lineage. I wonder if you can tell me how you verified that Sarah Drummond, the widow of Governor Drummond, married Samuel Swann and is the mother of William Swann. As I read Samuel Swann's will and other documents I have not been able to establish that link. I can establish the link with Gov. Drummonds daughter marriage to Samuel Swann here and in other documents. Thank you for any help you can provide. Suzette Frederick

Thank you for taking the time to submit a question to NCpedia. This article is reprinted with permission from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, published through UNC Press. As such, I’m afraid we do not have the contact information for the author, William S. Price, Jr.

However, I have connected you via email to Reference Services at the NC Government & Heritage Library on this email. Contact information for them may be found at Someone there may be able to help you with your research.


Michelle Underhill
Digital Information Management Program
NC Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC

Add a comment

PLEASE NOTE: NCpedia provides the comments feature as a way for viewers to engage with the resources. Comments are not published until reviewed by NCpedia editors at the State Library of NC, and the editors reserve the right to not publish any comment submitted that is considered inappropriate for this resource. NCpedia will not publish personal contact information in comments, questions, or responses. If you would like a reply by email, note that some email servers, such as public school accounts, are blocked from accepting messages from outside email servers or domains. If you prefer not to leave an email address, check back at your NCpedia comment for a reply. Please allow one business day for replies from NCpedia. Complete guidelines are available at