The Samuel Swann Connection to Sloop Point Plantation

SLOOP POINT PLANTATION circa 1726 - Hampstead, NC
 Oldest Framed Building in North Carolina
Images Courtesy Pender County Public Library Digital Archive

According to North Carolina State Archives and History, Sloop Point Plantation is the oldest framed building in North Carolina. After dendrochronology testing, it was discovered that this home in Hampstead, Pender County, North Carolina was built about 1726--constructed for John Baptista Ashe (1699-1734) in what was then New Hanover County.

John Baptista Ashe was the son of John Ashe (1657-1704) and Mary Batt (1680-1712), both born in Wiltshire, England. John Baptista Ashe married Elizabeth Swann in 1719 in Bath, North Carolina. 

From A History of New Hanover County and the Lower Cape Fear Region 1723-1800, "John Baptista Ashe was the father of Col. John Ashe of Stamp Act fame, and Governor Samuel Ashe. He went from South Carolina to the Albemarle region of North Carolina, where in 1719 he married the daughter of Samuel Swann, and afterwards removed with his relatives, Porter, Moseley, Moore, and Lillington, to the Cape Fear region and took up residence at Spring Garden in 1727.”

John B. Ashe was distinguished in the annals of the province as early as 1727; he had emigrated to the Colony of North Carolina from England, under the auspices of the Earl of Craven, one of the Lords Proprietors, and settled in Wilmington, then called Newton; he had two sons, John Ashe and Samuel Ashe, both distinguished in the revolutionary history of the state. (Historical Sketches of North Carolina from 1584-1851, Vol. II)

Born in Perquimans, North Carolina, Elizabeth Swann (1699-1729) was the daughter of Samuel Swann (1653-1707) and his second wife Elizabeth Lillington, daughter of Alexander Lillington (1643-1697). (Alexander Lillington was appointed titular Deputy Governor and virtual Governor of North Carolina in 1693.)

Genealogical record of Davis, Swann and Cabell families of NC and VA noted, “Samuel Swann (1704-1775) was born on his father's plantation in Perquimens. He was a member of the Assembly in 1727. He helped survey the line between North Carolina and Virginia in 1729, when he crossed the Dismal Swamp, being the first white man to do so. Some time after completion of the work, Samuel Swann removed to the Cape Fear, naming his plantation "ye oakes." He became a distinguished lawyer and the most influential man of his time in North Carolina. He was a member of the Assembly, and speaker of that body continuously from 1743 to 1762, with the exception of 1754, which in Colonial times was next in dignity to that of governor. His power and influence were so great that Governor Dobbs several times dissolved the Assembly in the hope that a new election would result more favorably for British policies in North Carolina. He was one of the compilers and finished the work of the Rivisal of the Statute Laws of the Province of North Carolina of 1752, known as 'Yellow Jacket' from the color of the binding--the first book printed in the Province. He was a leader in the armed movement of February, 1766, that nullified the British Stamp Act in the Wilmington district. Though advancing in age, he continued to give his services for Independence until his death.” 

According to the Pender County Historical Society and Museum, John Baptista Ashe and Elizabeth Swann Ashe left three small children who were reared by Elizabeth's brother, Samuel Swann (1704-1774).

In 1783 the Onslow County, North Carolina sea-side village previously known as Week's Wharf, Bogue and New Town, was incorporated and named Swannsborough in honor of Samuel Swann, Speaker of the Colonial Assembly and official representative of Onslow in the Assembly. The name was later changed to “Swansboro.”