By the Bridge

The Swantons of County Cork,
Boston, MA and Brooklyn, NY

by Ginni Swanton

Robert Swanton
Rosanna Hanlon
Robert Swanton and Rosanna Hanlon Family Tree

Robert A. Swanton was born on April 24,1865. He was the tenth and last child of Michael and Elizabeth (Bessie) Bradfield Swanton. Michael would have been about 50 when Robert was born, and Bessie would have been about 44. When Robert was born, his family lived in the townland of Boulteen, in the parish of Desertserges, County Cork, Ireland.

Robert A. Swanton was my great-grandfather.

Robert Swanton
Robert A. Swanton

Robert A. Swanton was baptized on April 26,1865 in the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Enniskeane. His baptismal sponsors were Michael Cleary and Mag Brien.

Robert Swanton's Baptism
Robert A. Swanton's Baptismal Record

Robert was confirmed in the parish of Desertserges in 1876 when he was 11 years old. Four years later, when Robert was 15, he traveled to Boston aboard the S. S. Samaria with his parents and his brother, James, who was 18. They left the port of Cobh (once called Queenstown after Queen Victoria) and stopped at Liverpool, and then on to Boston. They traveled in steerage (third class), and conditions there would have been fairly rough. However, to a young boy, it all probably seemed like a great adventure!

Steerage Passengers

Michael, Bessie, Robert and James arrived in Boston on August 15,1880. Boston was in the throes of a heat wave, with many deaths reported due to the heat.

They moved in with Michael and Bessie’s oldest son, John, his wife, Mary, and their five children at 306 West Second Street in South Boston, Massachusetts.

From 1886 to 1888, Robert lived with his brother, William, at 70 Bromley Street, and was working as a carpenter. In 1889, he and William lived on Welden Street.

Robert Swanton became a naturalized citizen of the United States on October 15, 1890. His naturalization witnesses were Thomas Flynn and Jeremiah J. Keane. When Robert became naturalized, he lived at 20 Indiana Place in Boston and was working as a carpenter. From 1891 to 1895, Robert boarded at 12 Corning Street.

On November 24, 1896, Robert Swanton married Rosanna Agnes Hanlon in St. Gregory’s Church, Dorchester. They were married by Father W. H. Fitzpatrick, a Catholic priest. Their marriage witnesses were Edward Flynn and Rosanna’s sister, Christina Hanlon.

On October 25,1897, their first child, George Swanton, was born. The family was living at 40 Hall Street in Boston. Their second child, William Anthony Swanton, was born on June 25,1899. William was my grandfather.

Robert and Rosanna’s third son, Robert Swanton, was born on July 25,1901. Robert married Rose Davis on September 2,1929. He died of acute appendicitis on September 5,1931. They didn’t have any children.

In 1903, Robert and Rosanna’s oldest son, George, died. He was buried in Calvary Cemetery. On February 03,1904, their first daughter, Rosanna Agnes was born. Unfortunately, she died on the same day she was born.

Robert and Rosanna’s second daughter, Mary Margaret Swanton, was born on August 18, 1905. Mary was married late in life to Palmer Pinkham. She is my Auntie Mary, and she turned 98 in 2003.

Robert and Rosanna’s last child, Elizabeth Camille Swanton, was born on April 10, 1912. She was my Aunty Betsy. She married Kenneth Geerer and had two children: Rosalind and Kenny. Auntie Betsy died in Boston, although her death certificate indicates that she died in Connecticut.

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