My Swallows Family Line: Andrew Swallows, Revolutionary War Soldier

Washington crossing the Delaware

Washington crossing the Delaware


One of my family lines is the Swallows line. The Swallows family had many that served in the Civil War-on both sides. Swallows men also served in the War of 1812 and the American Revolution. My sixth great-grandfather was Andrew Swallows (or Swallow).  He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. I was honored to deliver a speech about Andrew Swallows in 2008 at a Swallows family reunion. The text of the speech is provided here for your reading:                                                                                             

                                                        Swallows Family Reunion

                                                           Sunday, June 29, 2008

                                                        Fall Creek Falls State Park                                                  

                                                              Pikeville, Tennessee



                                                   A Word About Andrew Swallows

                                                                   By Bill Nash

                                                  Descendent of Andrew Swallows             


Andrew Swallows would have been pleased to see all us kin folks here today. He might have been amazed at how many Swallows folks there are and to where they’ve migrated too. He probably would have been pleased also to know that so many of his descendants still live in the area where he spent the last years of his life.  Of course he would marvel at some of the things that we all are so familiar with and take for granted, since he died in 1843 while John Tyler was President of the United States. Think of the things Andrew didn’t know: cars, airplanes, television sets, radios, and credit cards (to name a few). I think he would be very pleased to know that the United States of America still exists in the year 2008. I also think he would be surprised that slavery doesn’t exist in the USA in 2008. He probably wouldn’t be surprised at all that “death and taxes” are still with us. One more thing: he would probably be in great wonderment as to why we think he was a great person.

He didn’t run for or hold any office. He wasn’t well known like his contemporaries Daniel Boone and David Crockett. Although it is not known, I don’t imagine he had much formal education. He didn’t invent anything that we know of. He didn’t live in a mansion and wasn’t wealthy.


So he might think “Why all the fuss about me?”


To him, I think, the things he did and the way he lived was kind of “normal”- perhaps. Maybe it was for his day. We look back on the things we do know about him and we say “wow!” Consider the following about our Andrew:


Dateline: October 1813


The United States is at war with Great Britain in what history calls the War of 1812. Andrew’s son Jacob, who had been a Commissioned Officer in 1807, volunteers to serve with Col. Stephen Copeland in a mounted force of 500 hundred men trained as “rangers” to “march against the said nation of Indians or other tribes of the savage foe and fight against them in their own savage way.” Jacob is 27 years old.  His father Andrew signs himself up for service with Jacob. Andrew is 53 years old! If he did serve, we have found no record of it. He sure was willing!


Dateline: 1834


Andrew is 74 years old. He’s been fighting in Overton County Circuit Court for 2 years to get a Pension approved for his military service.  He is ill. He has the “palsy” which usually afflicts elderly people and is characterized by muscular tremors, a peculiar shaking, and tottering gait. We know the “palsy” today as “Parkinson’s Disease.” His memory isn’t what it was, but he recalls to the court his amazing military service:


September 11, 1777. The United States is 14 months old.

                                    Andrew Swallows is 17.


On that day Andrew is dressed in the uniform of a Private. He is a rifleman. He is also in the military as a substitute. He signed up for 2 months and now finds himself in a major battle, the Battle of Brandywine in Pennsylvania. He actually is not far from his home. He doesn’t go AWOL. He survives the fight but the battle is lost. The American forces lose about 1200 soldiers in casualties. There are 400 who become POW’s. The city of Philadelphia falls to the British. His term of service expires. He probably went home.


1778:  Andrew Swallows is 18 years old.


Sings up for another 2 month gig as a substitute. What was he thinking? What did his folks think?  

He serves under a Captain Lesher. Off they march to where? Philadelphia! His force joins up with Washington’s Army. The British still hold Philadelphia.

His term of service expires. He probably went home.


1779:  Andrew Swallows is 19 years old.


He did it again! This time he is not a substitute. He signs up for one year. Leaves his family again! He also is not a rifleman this time. Now he is an ammunition hauler. Now there’s a safe job! He hauls the ammunition wagons all over the place. He sees service in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New York State. He mentions that he saw General Washington frequently. He was serving under a Captain Archibald. His term of service ends.


1780:  Andrew Swallows is 20 years old.


This time he has moved from his place of birth to Wythe County, Virginia. We don’t know if he did this alone or with his family. He is in a new place-new surroundings and all. What does he do? Signs up for the military! This time he signs up for 9 months. Andrew reports that his commander is a Captain Buchannen.


He is again an ammunition hauler.

He has 76 men in his unit with him. The unit moves into North Carolina. The plan was to join General Green but for some reason not mentioned or perhaps not known to Andrew, the linking did not take place. Andrew’s unit gets into an engagement near the Yatkin River.  They are fighting with Tories (Americans that were loyal to Great Britain). 18 Tories are killed. One man from Andrew’s unit is killed. Andrew now serves under a Captain Ward. We don’t know why the change in leadership. Now his unit moves on to a fort on the Clinch River. They engage in a fight with Indians.

The fort holds to the Americans. After 9 months, his term of service ends.

1781:  Andrew Swallows is 21 years old.


What does he do? He volunteers for his 5th term of service in the American Revolution. We don’t know if he was a rifleman or ammunition hauler. He serves under a Col. Preston. With 150 troops, his unit marched to Guilford County, North Carolina and joined General Green. He is in several engagements. At one point his whole unit is being pursued by the British.

He does not reenlist again. When the British surrendered at the Battle of Yorktown, the war was pretty much over.


Andrew served in the American Revolution a total of 25 months. He was given a Pension of $26.66 a year.

If he had received pay during his service (and he may not have)- it would have been about $9.00 a month. Truth is that most of the soldiers did not get paid. Many of them didn’t get food or clothes. The soldiers lived off the land.


With the war over, what does a young man turn his attention to?


He finds himself a young lady named Catherine Kinder and marries her in the Spring of 1785. We don’t know where or when they met. She was born in Delaware. Andrew is 25 years old. His bride is 30 years old- 5 years older than he! Another interesting fact is that Catherine already had a child, Reubin Finley, born out of wedlock. He was about 2 years old when they married.

They lived in Virginia and began their life together.

By 1811, they lived in Tennessee. Andrew was given a “land grant” of 296.5 acres on the waters of Matthews Creek in March of that year.

They had 7 children together (plus Reubin).

They are listed in the Family Bible (in Dutch):

Reubin, born 1783

Jacob, born 1786

Mary Magdelina, born 1788

Elizabeth, born 1790

Isaac, born 1792

Catherine, born 1794

Rachel, born 1796

Jemima, born 1800



By this we know that Andrew was a Christian man because he certainly obeyed the Biblical command to “Be fruitful and multiply.”

Andrew and family made their last home in Overton County, Tennessee. He died in 1843 at the age of 83.


 He lived to see his son Jacob go off to war in 1814 with General Andrew Jackson as part of the Tennessee militia and return home with the War won for the United States.  

He lived to hear about Daniel Boone dying in 1820 in far off Missouri. He also lived to hear about David Crockett losing his life at the Alamo in 1836.

He saw a very popular Tennessean rise from orphanhood to become President of the United States (Andrew Jackson), 1829-1837.

He lived to see the forced relocation of 14,000 Cherokee people in 1838 resulting in 4,000 deaths along the “Trail of Tears” by that same President.

Although he never rode in a car he may have heard about the invention of rubber in 1839 by Charles Goodyear.

He may have taken a ride in a train (invented in 1804).

He lived to hear about or own the first Revolver invented by Samuel Colt in 1835.

He was alive when the stapler was patented in 1841 and the wrench in 1835.

This we do know. Andrew was born when America wasn’t the United States of America. He fought to aid in our country breaking free of Great Britain to become an independent nation. That having been done he found a wife, raised a family, worked as a farmer, went to church, enjoyed a reputation as a man of character and good morals, had friends, obeyed the law, had a long marriage, was a father to his children, and became the ancestor that we who are his kin here today have come to celebrate. We do come to celebrate his memory-and to unite our fellowship of blood together. And in doing so, we honor him.  Thank you.


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36 Responses to “My Swallows Family Line: Andrew Swallows, Revolutionary War Soldier”

  1. Mona Mehas says:

    Andrew is my 6th great grandfather through Jacob. I was thrilled to find this and would love to attend a reunion!

  2. Sharon Wolfe says:

    I’m a direct descendant by way of Parris Swallows who’s father is Tilbert Swallows. I’ve recently been told about Frances Hammock having a twin sister.

    Anyone have any documentation of this?

    Also read where someone was contesting that Frances Hammock actually being NA due to no documented records along with no one having enough proven NA in the Swallows line.

    I’ve also come across a name of Ahi Dee Swallows does anyone know where the heck this name comee from..

    There is no history of a name like this in the line

    When is the Swallows reunion in 2017?

  3. Glenda Bell says:

    Great site Bill! I believe one of your great grandparents was Waymon Swallows. He was the brother to my great grandmother Dovie. My mother actually met and knew of Waymon. Small world this is!

  4. Glenda Bell says:

    I have researched the Tennessee line of Swallows from Andrew and Catherine Kinder. Catherine had Reubin before she married Andrew. Out of her 2 sons Jacob and Isack, we all seem to follow the line down from Jacob. Does anyone know what happened to his brother Isack?

  5. Cassandra says:

    Good Day, Thanks for all the information Andrew Swallows was my 5th Great Grandfather. Nice to see the family !!!

    Wondering if y’all are thinking about another family gathering!!

  6. Lyle Sparkman says:

    Andrew is my 5th great-grandfather. Do you know the unit designations he served in during the Rev War?

  7. Todd m. Swallows Jr. says:

    Hello i am a direct decendent to the swallows blood line and would like to introduce my two kids izacc d. swallows and jazzlynn marie swallows

  8. David says:

    Andrew Swallows was my Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather.

  9. Debbie Lowman says:

    To all you Swallows men – I would like to ask all of you to do the Ancestry YDNA. I have a male Swallows that just did testing and I am hoping to have the results any day now. My Swallows line is Young J Swallows married to Samanthy Patsy Stewart – and that is were we end. I would love to have other DNA to match to which in turn will give me my connection to Andrew.

  10. sharon swallows says:

    my grandfather was john mcdonald swallows born 1838 may 29 any info on him at all thanks

  11. B. Nash says:

    That’s great news! Usually the reunion is in June. We’ll wait and see for news about it.

  12. James "Todd" Swallows says:

    I am a direct decendant of Andrew’s and would love to attend any reunions in the future. I recently moved to Overton County. I was able to close all of the gaps in my part of the family tree yesterday.

  13. B. Nash says:

    Correct. I have found no proof of her Cherokee ancestry. Do I believe she was Cherokee? Yes. She probably had a Cherokee name which has not survived the knowledge trail to succeeding generations. So, unless someone turns up information that proves her ancestry-the search is currently at a dead end.

  14. Tim Scott says:

    Has anyone found documented proof that Frances Hammock Swallows was a full-blooded Cherokee? I have searched all of the indian rolls that I can find and find no one by the name of Hammock. Maybe that is her english name and she had another indian name. Any ideas?

  15. B. Nash says:

    Mitchell: I would like too-but my work schedule prevents me from doing it right now!

  16. Mitchell Swallows says:

    I am a direct decendant btw I think I have it linked right to Andrew but I’m lacking alot I will be adding more in the days of research to follow.. when is the reunion this year?

  17. Mitchell Swallows says:

    Hey Bill.. I am starting my work again on completing my work on my tree so if I email my family tree file (family tree maker) can you see if you could help me out? I may have some info that you could use as well..

  18. Sydney (Rose) Swallows says:

    I find it interesting that my grandparents came to the U.S.A. in 1936 from Swallowcliffe, Salisbury, England ( though my granmother was born in Gravelines, France) I am finding American relatives

  19. to Todd Swallows Sr.: i have information about the cherokee woman. her name was Francis Hammock Swallows. (a full blooded cherokee indian) she married Isaac Swallows i(son of Jacob Swallows, grandson of Andrew) if you would like more information, please email me. hope this helps!

  20. B. Nash says:

    Hello Cousin! Awesome!!!

  21. Kathy (Edmonds) Joan's daughter says:

    Just great stuff. I have wondered about so much of this for a while. I am so glad to learn this info. thanks so much for making it available.

  22. B. Nash says:

    Hello Todd and welcome. It’s good that you are undertaking to learn more about your family tree. You and I are related! It is very rewarding but requires a lot of work. Andrew Swallows (the Revolutionary War soldier) was not married to an American Indian female. Neither was his son Jacob. You are going to have to start with yourself and go backward into your family tree. Obtain all the documentation you can-birth certificates, death certificates, miliary records, etc. Use the internet as a guide. Good searching!

  23. Todd Swallows Sr. says:

    Hello, I have just recently began a search to build a family tree and i believe you might be a lead on myself being a decendent of andrew swallows. my GGgrandparents lived in tennessee. i do not know there names for we just called them mamy and papy but i do know she was a cherokee women. i was wondering if GGG could have been jacob son of andrew who married a cherokee. Please respond i know i have alot of family in tennessee. My father was born in rockford and grandfather from crossville. great uncle and aunt named james and daisy. who lived on a huge farm. i would love to see some family. thank you

  24. Ryan Copeland says:

    Bill. This is a great page!! Lots of information to pass on to the Copeland side of the family. It’s funny that my mom’s side of the family, Millegan, came from Guilford County, NC, the same place that Andrew fought. I am thinking that Andrew probably fought at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse as I believe that is where Green fought.

  25. B. Nash says:

    Not that I’m aware of-but of course it’s possible!

  26. Hi,Wondering if any of your family came north to Ontario,Canada.My Great Grandpa George Swalllow(think there were brothers Charlie and poss. Wallace.Came west from there in the 1880’s.

  27. B. Nash says:

    Hi Justin! Don’t know the answer to your question. Not aware of my branch of Swallows men serving in an Indiana unit. On the other hand, because he was a Swallows he probably was a kin of mine. You’re fortunate to have his CDV! Are you, by the way, related to the Shaw of the 54th Mass. fame?

  28. Justin Shgaw says:

    hi was there an S.S. Swallow? I have a CDV signed by S.S. Swallow, Capt. 7th Indiana Battery. I know Robert was the Capt., just wondering who S.S. was. Thx,

    Justin Shaw

  29. Donna Thornton says:

    Swallows Descendants Reunion June 4 2011 at Rock Island TN at the Lions club Building near entrance of state park Rock Island TN start at 11 am we do a big family Photo send us address and we make sure you get a invatation Donna Thornton

  30. B. Nash says:

    Thanks cousin Donna for all you do to carry on the legacy of this great family!

  31. Donna Thornton says:

    I will be setting a date soon for the next one. in 2011 we just had this yrs yesterday and we will have it at the lions club in Rock Island TN around June some time next yr I am calling on a date now u can contac to keep you updated on our reunions Thank you Donna

  32. Nate says:

    The Swallows reunion was all over the internet

  33. B. Nash says:

    Sorry…it was not intentional. There is talk of another reunion this year. I’ll be sure to let you know.

  34. Aunt Joan says:

    You should have told me about this reunion I would have went.

  35. B. Nash says:

    Count em!

  36. Nate says:

    Pretty cool guy. How many times did he re-enlist?

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