The Swaim Family of Indiana and Oklahoma

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The Swaim Family of Indiana and Oklahoma

(and allied Adams, Best, Davies, Flammang, Mundy, Peirce and Robinson families)

Compiled by Jack Stuart Swaim

JSepuly 45, 2010

Table of Contents



Document Organization, Notations and Conventions

1.Introduction 11

2.Overview of the Swaim Family


3.Robert Jack Swaim (my father) 21

4.John Emory Swaim (my father’s father) 27

5.Henry Lindsey Swaim (b 1858) 39

6.Zebedee W. Swaim (b 1829) 46

7.John Hinds Swaim (b 1797) 51

8.Christopher Columbus Swaim (b 1774) 67

9.John Swaim (b 1748) 77

10.John Swaim (b ~ 1719) (or Michael Swaim) (b ~1715) 87

10.1.Michael Anthony Swaim (b ~ 1711 or 1715) 93

10.2.Johannes (John) Swaim (b ~ 1719) 102

11.Willem Sweem (Swaim) (b ~ 1677) 105

12.Immigration to America 107

12.1.Thys Barentsen 112

12.2.Conclusions 119

13.Adams family ancestry (my father’s mother’s mother) 120

13.1.James Adams (b 1810) 122

13.2.William W. Adams (b 1840) 125

13.3.Laura Jane Adams (b 1868) 130

14.Best family ancestry (my mother’s sister’s husband) 137

15.Davies family ancestry 149

15.1.Davies 150

15.2.Couch 156

15.3.Tapley 163

16.Peirce family ancestry and allied families 170

16.1.Peirce ancestry 176

16.2.Stark ancestry 188

16.3.Young ancestry 192

16.4.Thorne ancestry 197

17.Robinson family ancestry (my mother’s father) 200

17.1.Richard Preston Robertson (b ~ 1814) 207

17.2.William Joseph Robinson (b 1837) 213

17.3.Lee Andrew Robinson (b 1868) 220

17.4.Daniel Stuart Robinson (b 1892) 225

18.Flammang (and Mundy) family ancestry (my mother’s mother) 227

18.1.Mathias Flammang (b 1822) 227

18.2.Elizabeth Flammang Mundy (b 1863) 236

Appendices: Supplementary Information 243

A. Summary of References – Swaim Family Research 243

B. Source References (all ancestry lines researched) 248

List of Figures

Figure 1 Overview Chart of my Swaim and Robinson Ancestry 11

Figure 2 Swaim Family Record 13

Figure 3 Swaim family migration in America (my ancestry) 18

Figure 4 Swaim paternal ancestry – Jack Stuart Swaim to John H. Swaim 19

Figure 5 Swaim Paternal Ancestry – John H. Swaim to Thys Barentsen 20

Figure 6 Selective Purdy Family Ancestry 36

Figure 7 Photo of Nancy Swaim Ricketts 64

Figure 8 Gravestone of Christopher Columbus Swaim 68

Figure 9 – Location of Surry, Stokes, Guilford and Randolph counties in North Carolina 89

Figure 10 Handwritten ancestry of John Swaim to Anthony Swaim by Ella Thomlinson 109

Figure 11 Adams Ancestry 121

Figure 12 Map of Tyrone County, Ireland 137

Figure 13 Summary of Children of William Best (b 1843) and his two wives and sources 146

Figure 14 Map of Wales reflecting migration of Thomas Davies and family 154

Figure 15 Photos of Francis Couch (1882 at age 56) and Perley T. Couch (1878 at age 30) 161

Figure 16 Davies, Couch and Tapley ancestry 167

Figure 17 Old Salem Map designating Gilbert Tapley’s house 168

Figure 18 Tapley houses 170

Figure 19 Peirce Paternal Ancestry (Part I through John Pierce b 1768) 173

Figure 20 Pierce Paternal Ancestry (Part II through Captain Michael Pierce) 174

Figure 21 Young Paternal Ancestry 175

Figure 22 Synopsis - Robinson Family (pg 1) 202

Figure 23 Synopsis - Robinson Family (pg2) 204

Figure 24 Robinson ancestry 206

Figure 25 Map depicting the Trail of Tears migration of Cherokees from North Carolina to Oklahoma 215

Figure 26 Photos of Mathias Flammang’s patented cameras 231

Figure 27 Patents of Mathias Flammang 234

List of Tables

Table 1 John H. Swaim family based on 1830 Census, NC, Stokes County 53

Table 2 John H. Swaim family based on 1840 Census, NC, Stokes County 53

Table 3 Elizabeth Swaim and family - 1850 Census, Indiana, Wells County 54

Table 4 Age Discrepancies in 1850 Census for Elizabeth Swaim family 55

Table 5 - Swim/Swaim/Swain’s in the 1790 Census, North Carolina 90

Table 6 Names and aliases of Anthony Swaim 117

Table 7: 1900 Census, Indiana, Jackson Township, Wells County – John and Laura Champion 130


I began my genealogical research during the mid-1980’s. I have intermittently worked on it on and off ever since. I’ve always wondered about my father’s surname ‘Swaim’, where it came from and what relationship it had, if any, to the more prevalent ‘Swain’ surname. As I continued to probe I expanded my work to research my maternal ancestry on my mother’s side, the Robinson’s, as well as allied families including the Adams, Best, Mundy, Peirce and Flammang families.

Once I became involved in genealogy, one of the first people I corresponded with in 1982 was Pauline Utzinger whom I noticed in an ad in a Genealogical Helper magazine of my father-in-law Charles Davies. She placed me in touch with Chuck Clampitt (who descends from Mahala Swaim). Ms. Utzinger had a chart from a Mrs. Esther Clifton that listed John H. Swaim’s lineage as follows:

William Sweem


John Swaim (b 1748)


Christopher Swaim (b 1774)


John Hinds Swaim (b 1797)

Later I read about the Swaim-Tysen Family book1 which consists of two red bound volumes, 937 pages total. I corresponded with Joe Mullane, one of the authors (see Appendix), and then purchased in 1990 the last bound set he had. The Swaim-Tysen Family book by Joe Mullane, Marjorie Johnson and Lloyd Swaim is the broadest work I’ve seen on the Swaim family, its origins and various branches. It does not list sources for many items and dates, however. The sources were based on intensive research by these three people on the early Swaim ancestry combined with family bible information provided from numerous sources. So, while the book provides a valuable, broad reference of the Swaim family history, much of the information in my view should be independently verified as much as possible. There is some conjecture included in the book that has always made me a bit uncomfortable. There are also some errors which should not be surprising given the tremendous scope of the document.

As it turns out the Swaim family has completely different genealogical origins from the Swain family. It is true, however, that there have been some surname misspellings along the way which add to the confusion. As a result, I’m sure some of the Swain’s could actually descend from Swaim’s (and vice-versa). However, for the most part, these two families have separate and independent genealogies with certain exceptions.

The reader should be forewarned that much of this material in this document is detailed and dry. It is not an easy read because the intent of this document is simply to compile and source various genealogical facts and information. I do not pretend to be a biographer nor do I have sufficient information on these people’s lives to compile real biographies. So, I offer this information as is, for what it is, a documentation of facts regarding the ancestry of my father, Robert Jack Swaim (along with the other genealogy lines I collected along the way). The focus is on the Swaim family genealogy although I have limited information on related families including the Adams, Best, Davies, Flammang, Mundy, Peirce and Robinson families.

-- Jack Stuart Swaim


Much of the heavy lifting associated with this genealogy research was performed by numerous people of whom I am simply the recipient of information. Genealogy can be an obsession and I have spent many hundreds of hours on this project over the course of several decades. I spent countless hours in the early 1990’s straining my eyes over census microfilm. I now strain my eyes at a computer screen of indexed censuses. The internet has made this work much easier although there is still the basic blocking and tackling required to obtain death certificates and scour history books to find clues and bits and pieces of missing information. The internet has facilitated the sharing of genealogical information. So, in this regard, there are countless people I wish to acknowledge that were helpful to this effort. But first, let me acknowledge several key individuals who were instrumental in helping me complete this book.

I wish to first acknowledge my Mother, Olly Marie Robinson Swaim, and especially thank her for taking the time to transcribe and type the Swaim family information into a “tree” format that helped me visualize my ancestry. At an early age I was fascinated by this family tree. So I owe my Mother a great deal. Without that initial diagram of the family, I probably would have never begun this research. I also thank my wife, Vivian and her Dad, Charles R. Davies who first inspired me to inquire more about my ancestry. Charles also had a passion for genealogical research and it was his Genealogical Helper magazine that I obtained a key contact from (Pauline Utzinger) that resulted in me beginning a research into my family genealogy.

I wish to also thank Joe Mullane2, Lloyd Swaim and Marjorie Johnson, authors of the Swaim-Tysen Family book that provided a significant body of information regarding the early Swaim genealogical information prior to 1800 that is summarized in this document along with material from other sources. I wish to thank Linda Livingstone and Barbara Trujillo who provided solid family information on the early Swaim ancestry.

I would also like to thank my cousins Don, Steve and Tom who have been so generous in their time to help share and capture our more recent Swaim family history. And, of course, I wish to thank many, many others in the Swaim family and in other branches who provided information and gave me their help and encouragement.

Document Organization, Notations and Conventions

The document starts out with an introduction and brief overview of the Swaim family genealogy. Specific chapters are also included that focus on the Adams, Best, Davies, Flammang, Mundy and Robinson family genealogy. Then each Swaim generation is described in a separate chapter.

I elected to organize this document beginning at the current generation and working my way backwards through the various ancestor generations. I have more detailed information on the more recent generations and thought this approach made the most sense to me. But the main reason I chose this approach is to make a step-by-step case for my ancestry beginning with the current generations and working my way backwards in time.

This organization style does have a drawback in that it results in some redundancy between chapters. From an efficiency standpoint, a simpler approach would be to start with the oldest ancestor and works towards the present. But this approach presupposes one already knows the oldest ancestor. Since this subject deals with genealogy and the need to methodically prove the relationships I elected to start with current generation, use that as a base, and then build the case for identifying the ancestor generations one step at a time.

One concern I have had with much of the genealogy being displayed on the internet now is that it is often unclear what sources were used for specific pieces of information. One thing I have sought to accomplish with this document is to reference source materials used for dates and key pieces of information. Another problem I’ve noticed with some genealogy documents prepared by others is that end-notes are not written to be read by themselves out of context of the original material being referenced. This requires the reader to continually flip back and forth between the end-notes and the material being referenced. An alternate approach is to use foot-notes rather than end-notes. However, this approach would result in a third or so of the page “real estate” being used to display footnotes. My approach is to place enough explanation in the end-notes so they can be clearly read by themselves.

Some of the notation conventions used are as follows:

  • Footnotes utilize superscripts.

  • Endnotes utilize subscripts3.

  • Abbreviations used: b (born), d (died), md (married), ~ (about)

  • Parentheses around a date for a person reflect shorthand for a particular person born in a certain year, i.e. John Swaim (1748) reflects the John Swaim born in 1748. Sometimes the notation John Swaim (b 1748) is used.

  • < symbol indicates ‘descends from’, e.g. Jack Stuart Swaim < Robert Jack Swaim. In this example, Jack was the son of Robert.

  • Census references are often listed by City, State (County).

  • Bolding is generally used to denote a direct ancestor of myself or, in some cases, my current extended family.

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