Life’s Challenges

John Oakden SWIFT was the second child born to Thomas Swift and Dinah SAMPSON, about a year after his sister Mary Alice died in Filey in June 1858.

He followed his father into the legal profession and for a while was a successful solicitor in St Helens, as his father had been before him. He did not, however, reach the heights of his half-brother, Sir Rigby Philip Watson Swift.

In early January 1885, John married Mary Adelaide OLDROYD in Dewsbury and Hilda Mary was born towards the end of the year in Prescot, Lancashire. The birth of an unnamed male child was registered in 1888 and Mary Adelaide died aged 28 two years later.

I have been unable to find what became of the motherless children but their father married again in the spring of 1897. The bride, Ruth Cecilia SIMPSON, was about ten years younger than John, born in Norwich, where her father was the City Treasurer. In the next six years they brought four children into the world, their births recorded in four different districts – Mutford, Wirral, Kingston on Thames (sic) and Wandsworth. Clearly, the family was unsettled.

As the twentieth century got under way the London Gazette carried notifications of the dissolution of two business partnerships. John first parted company with Edwin Pierce and, a year later, with his full brother, Ernest William (the fellow who consulted Louis Pasteur about a dog bite). And shortly afterwards –

John and Ruth’s marriage survived these setbacks, but not for long. On 21 April 1909 John died in Telford Avenue, Streatham Hill, London. Ruth Cecilia followed him to the grave a week later.

Two years later, three orphaned Swift girls are with their Uncle Joseph Francis PHILO, Aunt Julia and maternal grandmother Louisa Watling SIMPSON at 11 Tombland, Norwich. I don’t know where their brother Thomas Frederick was on census night 1911 but he died in that city in 1976, aged 77.

Find John Oakden Swift on the Shared Tree.

Sand 37 · Message

Muston Sands (maybe)

A Bigger Challenge

Set by the World Freedom Alliance (at Seemorerocks).

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