Benjamin Swift

Benjamin Swift (April 9, 1780 – November 11, 1847) was an American lawyer, banker and politician from Vermont. He served as a United States Representative and United States Senator, and helped found the Whig Party.

Benjamin Swift
United States Senator
from Vermont
In office
March 4, 1833 – March 3, 1839
Preceded byHoratio Seymour
Succeeded bySamuel S. Phelps
Member of the United States House of Representatives from Vermont's 4th congressional district
In office
March 4, 1827 – March 3, 1831
Preceded byEzra Meech
Succeeded byHeman Allen
Member of the Vermont House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1781-04-03)April 3, 1781
Amenia, New York, U.S.
DiedNovember 11, 1847(1847-11-11) (aged 66)
St. Albans, Vermont, U.S.
Resting placeGreenwood Cemetery
St. Albans, Vermont
Political partyDemocratic-Republican
National Republican
Spouse(s)Rebecca Brown Swift
ChildrenCharles Henry Swift
Cordelia Swift
William Swift
Catherine Sedgwick Swift
Alfred Brown Swift
Jane Harriet Swift
George Sedgwick Swift
Caroline Swift
Charles Benjamin Swift
Parent(s)Job Swift
Mary Ann (Sedgwick) Swift
Alma materLitchfield Law School

Early lifeEdit

Swift was born in Amenia, New York, the son of Job Swift and Mary Ann (Sedgwick) Swift.[1] In 1786, at the age of five, he moved with his father to Bennington in the Vermont Republic. He attended the common schools in Bennington before attending Litchfield Law School in 1801.[2] He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1806. He began the practice of law in Bennigton before moving to Manchester to practice law. In 1809 he moved to St. Albans to practice law. He also engaged in banking and farming in the area.

Political careerEdit

He held various political positions in Vermont, and was elected to the Vermont State House in 1825.[3] He served in the State House until 1827. He was then elected to serve Vermont as a National Republican Party candidate in the United States House of Representatives. He served in the Twentieth and the Twenty-first Congresses from March 4, 1827 to March 3, 1831.[4] While in Congress, he was on the executive committee of the Congressional Temperance Society.[5] He declined renomination.

In 1833 he was elected as an Anti-Jacksonian candidate to the United States Senate, serving from March 4, 1833 to March 3, 1839.[6] While in the Senate, Swift was a strong opponent of President Andrew Jackson and helped found the Whig Party.[2] Swift was not renominated for a second term in the Senate and returned to St. Albans where he continued to work as a lawyer and farmer until his death. He died on November 11, 1847 in St. Albans, Vermont[4] and is interred in Greenwood Cemetery in St. Albans.[7]

Family lifeEdit

Swift married Rebecca Brown on October 26, 1809.[3] He and his wife had nine children: Charles Henry Swift, Cordelia Swift, William Swift, Catherine Sedgwick Swift, Alfred Brown Swift, Jane Harriet Swift, George Sedgwick Swift, Caroline Swift and Charles Benjamin Swift.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Benjamin Swift". Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Benjamin Swift". Litchfield Historical Society. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Middlebury College (1917). Catalogue of Officers and Students of Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont: And of Others who Have Received Degrees, 1800-1915. The College. p. xiv.
  4. ^ a b Herringshaw, Thomas William (1904). Herringshaw's Encyclopedia of American Biography of the Nineteenth Century: Accurate and Succinct Biographies of Famous Men and Women in All Walks of Life who are Or Have Been the Acknowledged Leaders of Life and Thought of the United States Since Its Formation. American Publishers' Association. p. 910.
  5. ^ American Temperance Union (1837). Journal of the American Temperance Union, Volumes 1-4. The Union. p. 36.
  6. ^ U.S. Government Printing Office (1913). United States Congressional Serial Set. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 1039.
  7. ^ "Prominent People Buried in Vermont". Vermont Old Cemetery Association. Retrieved May 6, 2014.

Further readingEdit

  • Smith, Worthington. "A Discourse, Delivered November 17, 1847, at the Interment of the Hon. Benjamin Swift, Late a U.S. Senator from the State of Vermont". St. Albans, VT: E.B. Whiting, 1848.

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Vermont's 4th congressional district

March 4, 1827 – March 3, 1831 (obsolete district)
Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 1) from Vermont
March 4, 1833 – March 3, 1839
Served alongside: Samuel Prentiss
Succeeded by