Showing posts from November, 2022

Five more daughters, five more stories

In my previous post , I traced the life stories of the two eldest daughters of Thomas Crayden Swift, and described their emigration to Iowa to build new lives in the United States. In this post, I tell the stories of the five younger daughters. In the 1861 census, four of these five daughters - aged from 22 through to 11 - are listed as living at home with their parents, Thomas Crayden and Ann Swift, together with their older brother, William, and older sister, Elizabeth. (Sarah Sands Swift is somewhere else it seems). The young women must have formed a close relationship because, as will be seen below, some of the sisters end up living under the same roof again at various points in their later lives.  As the Victorian daughters of a man of at least some local standing - the local butcher, registrar, and post office agent - their father's plans for their futures may well have revolved around arrangements for their marriages. The stories below show, however, that one of the daughter

Mary and Elizabeth Swift - from the Isle of Sheppey to the Iowa prairies

The life choices for a young Victorian woman were limited. So, while   Thomas Crayden's Swift's eight sons   had to decide on what trade to follow, the main choice facing his seven daughters was who to marry (and that, of course, may not always have been entirely their choice). Only the youngest, Susannah, remained single. But his first two daughters - and their husbands - then made another choice - to emigrate to the United States to try and build their lives there. This post tells their stories. Mary Ann Swift - starting out as a servant By a quirk of the reproductive odds, although the sexes of Thomas Crayden Swift's fifteen children ended up almost evenly spread, Mary Ann Swift was the only daughter born from the first two of his three marriages. She was born to his first wife, Susannah Foord, in 1822 in Minster-on-Sheppey. In the 1841 census, as was so common for young women at the time, Mary Ann is working as a servant in Gravesend, the town along the Thames from Shep