Archives Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs
Manuscript Group 1189, Swaim Family
Papers, 1771 - 1903, 0.2 linear feet / 23 folders
Call Number: MG 1189
Correspondence, certificates, deeds, estate papers, and other items of the Swaim family of Newark and Springfield, New Jersey. Contains papers of Rev. John S. Swaim (1806-1875), who undertook a pastorate in Jacksonville, Florida during the Civil War and Reconstruction, and of his son, Jacob W. Swaim (1836-1903), who ultimately became an insurance executive in Atlantic City. Included is genealogical data on the allied Worth family and on Ezra Baldwin.
Originally of Dutch descent, the Swaim family long resided in Newark (Essex County) and Springfield (Union county), New Jersey. The majority of the documents in this collection relate to John S. Swaim (1806-1875) and his son, Jacob W. Swaim (1836-1903).
John S. Swaim, a son of Sarah Baldwin (b. 1782) and Matthias Swaim (1770-1868), was born on May 1, 1806 and became a minister of the Methodist Church. He served as a representative of the Newark Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church and, in 1863, was selected as one of the delegates to the U. S. Christian Commission whose purpose was "to promote the spiritual and temporal welfare" of U. S. servicemen. In 1864, he was appointed pastor of a church near Jacksonville, Florida, where he moved with his family. He died in 1875.
John S. Swaim married Catherine T. Worth (b. 1805), with whom he had several children. Their son, Jacob W. Swaim, was born on September 8, 1836 and lived with the family in Florida during the Civil war. He served as treasurer of Duval County, Florida in the Reconstruction era and as an officer in the Freedmanís Savings Bank in Jacksonville. He later moved to Lynchburg, Virginia where he worked in the insurance industry, and by the 1890s, was living and working in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He died in 1903.
This collection was discovered in The New Jersey Historical Societyís Manuscript Group 1, Alphabetical Series in 1983. The documents were accessioned as A 83-6 and made into Manuscript Group 1189, Swaim Family Papers. All of the items were uncataloged, with the exception of seven documents described collectively in the card catalog as D: 5. The original source of the collection is unknown.
The collection consists of 23 folders of correspondence, financial records and other materials that document family and business matters of several generations of the Swaim family. These items record the activities of John S. Swaim as a pastor during the Civil War in Florida and document the condition of the freed black population there. The materials also provide a record of family finances and include an extensive series of insurance policies. Family life and relationships are explored in the correspondence between Jacob W. Swaim and his mother and siblings, which describes the familyís boarding house business and the health of family members. The documents of the collection are organized by person and then document type.
Processed by Irina Peris, January 2000 as part of the "Farm to City" project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
The New Jersey Historical Society