John Swaby

1758 - 1825


Natural son of Joseph James Swaby senior and Ruth Burton. Father of James Swaby (whose mother was Frances King, 'a free mulatto'). Trustee and executor of Joseph James Swaby senior. John Swaby Esq. aged 67 years was buried 17 November 1825 (so died November 1825) at Pleasant Prospect Plantation.

John Swaby had ten children with Frances King: James (1787-), Elizabeth Judith (1789-), Ruth (1792-1853), Lewis (1792-), John (1793-), Joseph (1796-), James (1798-1863), George (1800-1859), Eliza Susan (1804-), Frances (1808-).

John Swaby had five children with Ann Eliza French (q.v.): Charles French Swaby (born 18/06/1806), Sarah Ann Swaby (born 15/11/1808), John Swaby (b.c. 1812), Horatio Swaby (b.c. 1816) and Marie Antoinette Swaby (born 11/08/1821). Ann Eliza French owned Redberry estate in Manchester and had two children with Anthony Britton after the death of John Swaby.

Several of John Swaby's children lived in Britain. Ruth Swaby married Thomas Oxley in Pontefract, Yorkshire, 15/06/1816. Thomas Oxley was a physician. In the census of 1841 they were living at Belle Vue Terrace in Campsall, Yorkshire, with a daughter Eliza. By 1851 Ruth was widowed, a Gentlewoman living with her brother-in-law John H. Smith at 8 Finsbury Place South in London. In the same household was Sarah Ann (who married John Smith in Bridlington, York, 01/10/1833), her brother Charles (French) Swaby (Gentleman) and her sister Marie A. (Antoinette) Dunn, a widow age 29 [sic.]. Charles was at 40 St Mary Axe, of independent means, in 1841 and a lodger at 4 Creed Place, Greenwich, in 1861. James Swaby of Thorne House near Great Berkhampstead, son of John Swaby resident in Jamaica, was appointed on half-pay as an ensign to the 49th Regiment of Foot on 01/12/1814 at the age of 16. In 1832, the Chancery case Swaby vs. Swaby resulted in the removal of Marie Antoinette Swaby from the custody of her mother Ann Eliza French in Jamaica and her relocation to England; the Attorney General of Jamaica ruled that Ann Eliza French's living in a state of "concubinage" with Anthony Britton provided "the probability of [Marie] being educated in a manner ill-calculated to promote her future respectability and happiness." In 1840, Marie married Thomas Moyle of the 18th Royal Irish Regiment in Marylebone.

Joseph James Swaby senior left John Swaby £100 Jamaica currency for mourning: "I would give him a much larger bequest but for the amplitude of his own property." John Swaby was listed as owning 140 enslaved people on Pleasant Prospect in St Elizabeth in the Earl of Balcarres' dispatch of 22/03/1800.


See entries for Joseph James Swaby and James Swaby., Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880 [database online].

Papers Presented to the House of Commons of the 7th May 1804, Respecting the Slave Trade (Houses of Parliament, 1804) section G p. 33.

See separate entry for Ann Eliza French for an account of her children and circumstances.

Email from David Wood dated 26/04/2015 sourced to TNA WO 25/775/222 (Returns of Officers’ Services).

We are grateful to David J. P. Wood and Peter Durbin for their assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

With Frances King: 6 sons and 4 daughters. With Ann Eliza French: 3 sons and 2 daughters. See biographical notes for more details.

PROB 11/1716 - precis.

John Swaby of Manchester, Jamaica.

Debts to be charged on all my estate both real and personal.

To my friend Frances King of Manchester £100 Jamaican currency to purchase mourning.

To my beloved son James Swaby, son of the said Frances King, £100 Jamaican currency to purchase mourning, no further bequest to him as he has a sufficency of his own.

To my friend Ann French of Manchester £300 Jamaican currency and also a well broke horse and a side saddle.

To my three grandchildren Frances Oxley, John Swaby Oxley and Lewis Oxley the daughter and sons of Thomas Oxley of Yorkshire, England, by my daughter Ruth Oxley (formerly Swabey) £500 sterling each.

To my daughters Sarah Ann Swaby and Marie Antoinette Swaby (begotten on the body of Ann French) £10,000 sterling each payable out of any monies formerly in the hands of my late friend David Samuda of the City of London merchant or which may be in the hands of any other person for me or to be retrieved from the estate of David Samuda in the [???] Court, invested in consolidated annuities or other Government security in their names until they reach the age of 21 years when the £10,000 should be for their own free and absolute use and disposal. The interest to be applied to their maintenance and education during their minorities.

To each of my daughters Eliza Susan Swaby and Frances Swaby (begotten on the body of Frances King) £5,000 sterling each, under the same terms as for Sarah Ann and Marie Antoinette.

To my grandson supposed to be named George Swaby (son of George Swaby of Yorkshire, practitioner in physic and surgery, £1,500 sterling (also from the hands of the said David Samuda deceased).

To my son Charles Swaby, £40 per annum for the rest of his natural life payable from all the profits and produce of my real and personal estate.

To my daughter Ruth Oxley £3,000 sterling payable out of my aforesaid monies or my general estate in Jamaica or elsewhere.

To my daughter Marie Antoinette Swaby all the ready monies I may die possessed of.

The residue of my estate, land, slaves, cattle and stock to my beloved sons John Swaby and Horatio Swaby as tenants in common.

Jonathan Samuda of the City of London merchant, Thomas Oxley of Yorkshire Esquire, Richard Boucher of Manchester, Jamaica, Esquire and John Salmon the elder and Charles Farquharson both of St Elizabeth Jamaica, and my son James Swaby of Manchester Jamaica to be my executors and guardians of my children.

Signed 16/07/1824.

Codicil dated 06/10/1825. Being at this moment weak in body but sound in mind, to my son Charles Swaby £5,000 sterling the same as my other children by Fanny King.

Proved in London 23/08/1826.


Associated Estates (7)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1817 [EA] - → Attorney
1812 [SY] - → Trustee and Executor
1817 [EA] - 1823 [LA] → Owner
1826 [EA] - 1829 [LA] → Previous owner
1817 [EA] - 1820 [LA] → Attorney
1823 [EA] - → Trustee
1812 [SY] - → Trustee and Executor

Relationships (11)

Extra-marital relationships
Extra-marital relationships
Natural Son → Father
Half-brother → Half-sister
Father → Natural Son
Uncle → Niece
Uncle → Niece
Father → Natural Son