John F. Swift

John F. Swift was born in 1805 in Vermont. He moved to Indiana about 1830. There is a record of a land transaction in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on 15 August 1836.

He joined the Gold Rush to California in late 1848. The family made the trip to California in 1848 is two large covered wagons. He resided at the south fork of the American River in 1850 in El Dorado Co., California. The value of his real estate in 1850 was $800.

Some of his children were born at Yankee Jim's, which was prominent in the early days of the gold rush of 1849 because of its rich diggings. It was named after either Jim Goodland or Jim Robinson (a horse thief who was hanged in 1852). It was burned severely in 16 June 1852. But, it soon again was the largest in the county.

John F. Swift accumulated a small fortune in gold and then returned to Allen County, Indiana by way of land to Panama then by ship to New York and, probably, by rail back to Indiana.

He resided at his home in 1860 in Monroe Township, Allen Co., Indiana. He lived here without his family. The value of his real estate was $3,000 and of his personal estate was $500. He was a real estate speculator in June 1860 in Monroe Township, Allen Co., Indiana. He died on May 24, 1861 in Allen Co., Indiana. He died without a will and no will could be found in Allen County, Indiana. There was an Alpheus Swift & Brothers Company who bought the Monroeville Flouring Mill about 1866 who ran it for four years then sold it. This may have been Johns brother. His middle initial may have been "W". There are indications of many children in this family.

He married Melissa Jacobs on June 21, 1840 in Allen Co., Indiana. A record is recorded in the Allen County records:

Be it remembered that on the 19th of June 1840 a marriage license is issued from the Clerk's office of the Allen Circuit Court in these records. State of Indiana To any person legally authorized Allen County to solemize the state of marriage Greeting: You are hereby authorized and confirmed to join together as husband and wife - John F. Swift & Melissa Jacobs and for so doing this shall be your warrant -Winthrop Keith Innis Clerk & Recorder hereby certify that on the 21st of June 1840 I joined togethere John Swift and Melissa Jacobs in marriage.

George Pealton, Pastor July 18th 1840.

Melissa Jacobs was born in 1822 in Prussia, Germany. She resided at a boarding house in July 1860 in Gibsonville, Sierra Co., California. Her birthplace is recorded in the census as Ohio. She lived at the Whiskey Digging, Township #8. She lived without her husband and children, but with her boy, Henry in 1860. She resided at her home in February 1862 in Allen Co., Indiana. Melissa Swift brought a case against her children, Alpheus, Bayless and Florence for the partition of the estate of her husband, John F. Swift. There was 3590 acres owned by John F. Swift at his death. It was divided up between Melissa (widow), Alpheus (son), Bayless (son) and Florence (daughter) in the proportions 3/9, 2/9. 2/9 and 2/9 respectively. This is recorded in the Book of Common Pleas, #29, Page 318.

She died in 1864 in Allen Co., Indiana. There is a recording dated 27 February 1864 titled "In the Matter of the Estate of Melissa Swift, Dec'd" recorded in the Superior Civil Order Book, Probate Order Book H, Page 487. It indicated that about 800 acres of land be sold.

There was a probate order dated 25 October 1864 in Allen County, Indiana, to settle the estate of Melissa. The administrator was William H. Combs.

One parcel of land that Melissa owned was the east half of the southwest quarter of Section 15 in Township 29 North of Range 11 East. It was sold to Samuel Fogwell. Alpheus Swift, her son, purchased the west half of the southeast quarter of Section 25, and the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 36 in Township 31 North of Range 14 East for $1,120.

Other land was sold to John Hough.

Here is a family story that Grandma Melissa had "run away with an Indian - wasn't that a terrible thing to do?". This may have been about 1855 or 1860, since John had returned to Indiana by 1860, and was living there alone. Melissa was living with her son Henry in California. No record of Melissa could be found in California in 1900.

John F. Swift and Melissa Jacobs had the following children:

  • Alpheus Swift was born about 1840 in Indiana.
  • Byron Swift was born in 1845 in Allen Co., Indiana. He died on July 5, 1845 in Allen Co., Indiana.
  • Bayless Swift was born in 1846 in Iowa. His obituary indicates that he was born in 1840. He resided at his home in February 1862 in Monroeville, Allen Co., Indiana. He may have had a family according to a descendent.
  • Florence Swift was born on May 24, 1852 at Yankee Jim's, El Dorado Co., California.
  • Henry Swift was born in 1853/54 in California. He is not mentioned in his mother's will nor in the land litigation records of his John F. Swift's estate. So, he may not have been John's child.

Submitted by Barbara Wison

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