For an hundred years and more the Swift family in and about New Bedford has been one of prominence, wealthy and influential not only in their several local communities but out through the Commonwealth and into the nation, where their extensive enterprises have extended. These Acushnet-New Bedford Swifts, a branch of the Cape Cod family, brought to their new field of effort that activity, industry, ability and honesty that had for generations characterized their forefathers and also the line of business that had enriched earlier generations in the old home section – the dealing in live oak timber and its manufacture into water craft, in shipbuilding for not only the United States government, but for those across the water. Reference is here made especially to some of the sons, grandsons and great-grandsons of William Swift, of the town of Falmouth, this Commonwealth, among whose sons were Hon. Elijah, Thomas, William, John and Reuben E.; and among the sons of the latter Rodolphus Nye and William Cole Nye Swift, who with their sons together and in turn figured most prominently in and about New Bedford and abroad, as intimated; and some of their sons are yet active here and in the Massachusetts metropolis.
William Swift, the founder of the family on Cape Cod, was a native of Bocking, County of Essex, England, and came to New England in 1634, stopping first at Watertown, of which he was a proprietor in 1636. He sold his property there in 1637 and removed to Sandwich, where he spent the remainder of his life and where he died about 1641. His wife Joan bore him two children, William and Hannah, and after the death of her husband she married Daniel Wing, Nov. 5, 1642. She died Jan. 31, 1664.
William Swift (2), son of William, born in England, came to the New World with his parents and settled at Sandwich, Barnstable county. He represented his town in the General Court, 1673, 1674, 1677 and 1678. He died in the latter part of 1705.