Caswell Family Photos

Possible Young David Swain







Possible Young David Swain

David Swain married Eleanor White, the daughter of Gov. Caswell's daughter Anna and her husband,William White, the first Sec. of State of NC.

This is a photo at the NC Museum of History. Their documentation says it is thought to be Winston Caswell. son or Gov. Caswell (d.1799) However, Smithsonian experts date it in the 1830's

NOTE of Clair Hadley I think this young man is David Swain , who was elected Gov. of NC at age 31, likely occasion for a portrait to be painted. The portrait below looks like the 1860's when Swain was chancellor of UNC. I think they may be the same person. Hair recedes and faces grow longer with age. Take away the lines from nose to mouth and give him a lower forehead and more hair. Many other who have compared the two photos agree. What do you think?




David L. Swain, Buncombe County, jurist, legislator, Governor (1832-1835), UNC president (1835-1867) & founding member of North Carolina Historical Society


David Lowry Swain (1801-1868) was the youngest son of Caroline Lane and George Swain, a farmer. He was born in Buncombe County, NC, and educated at Newton Academy in Asheville, NC. He was admitted to the junior class at the University in 1821 but remained only one week. Reluctant to spend his parents' scarce resources, he went to Raleigh to read law under Chief Justice John Louis Taylor, then returned to Asheville in 1823 to begin his law practice. He married Eleanor White in 1826; they became the parents of three sons, two of whom died in infancy, and two daughters. Buncombe County voters sent Swain to the NC House of Commons four times between 1824 and 1829, when the legislature appointed him judge of the superior court. In 1832 Swain became governor, a role that allowed him to represent western North Carolina interests; promote internal improvements such as roads, railroads, and schools; and reform the state's constitution by bringing together in 1835 a coalition of the state's Whigs and Democrats. Despite his political success, the predominantly Democratic General Assembly of 1835, the last to elect North Carolina's governor, denied Swain a fourth one-year term. He became president of the University in 1835, a position he held until his death in 1868 (Dictionary of North Carolina Biography 5:483-86). Students referred to Swain as "the Governor" or as "Old Bunk."





The portrait of this unknown lady has been dated about 1865. It was offered by Suzy Barile, who is a descendant of David and Eleanor Swain through their son Richard Caswell Swain. Our best guess is that she is Sara Louisa Steele, the mother-in-law of Richard Caswell Swain.





This unknown gentleman (ca1865) appears to be the husband of the unknown lady. The best guess is that he is Volney Steele, a wealthy farmer, and father of Maggie Steele. Maggie married Richard Caswell Swain.


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