Welcome to Swansea

History of Swansea

(Narrative borrowed from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development website)

"Swansea is a suburban/rural community founded on the premise of religious tolerance for all. Unfortunately, the town also turned out to be the starting place of King Philip's war in 1675 and the site of the first bloodshed of the war. Before that war there were several historic Indian settlement sites and trails in the town. Colonial settlement began in 1663 and the town was named after a minister's home village in Wales. In 1664, King Philip had conveyed the land in the community to William Brenton of Newport and by the start of the Indian war, there were 70 people staying in the garrison fortified house in town and several occupied houses on the Neck. During the war, Indian attacks destroyed every house in town including the garrison."

"After the war, forges, ironworks and fishing on the town's rivers made up a substantial part of the community's economy. The small villages that made up the community were the sites of stores, cotton mills, grist and yarn mills and fishing boats. When the bigger industrial cities such as Fall River, Taunton and Providence absorbed the town's industries, Swansea's large agricultural capacity remained important. In the 1890's, the street trolley connected Swansea to Fall River and Providence and suburban and summer homes were developed. A picnic grove called Shady Isles was established by the streetcar company and brought city people out to the country on day trips."

"Now a suburban community with much of its agricultural land still open, Swansea also retains Colonial houses."

"It is located in southeastern Massachusetts, bordered by Barrington and Warren, Rhode Island, on the west and southwest; the mouth of the Taunton River on the south; Somerset on the east; and Dighton, Rehoboth, and Seekonk on the north. Swansea is about 4 miles west of Fall River; 47 miles south of Boston; 12 miles southeast of Providence, Rhode Island; and about 190 miles from New York City."


350th LogoIn October of 2017, The Town of Swansea will celebrate its Sesquarcentennial, or 350th birthday! The town will be celebrating each month leading up to October with a different event. Check the Celebrate_350 page or the Bulletin Board for events.

Swansea was established on October 30, 1667 when Pastor John Myles, Captain Thomas Willett and their neighbors petitioned the Court at Plymouth to establish a town. The fourth town founded in Bristol County, Swansea originally extended from the boundaries of Taunton and Rehoboth to Mount Hope Bay. The area was reduced three times, first by the incorporation of Barrington as a town in 1717, then by the annexation of Warren by the state of Rhode Island in 1747, and finally by the incorporation of Somerset as a separate town in 1790. The first state census taken in 1765 showed Swansea's population to be 1,840. The 1994 town census showed a population of 15,100.

Local History and Folklore

Information about notable events in the history of the town

Photo Gallery of Historic Buildings and Places

Lots of photos of historic buildings from numerous sources. Due to the large number of images, viewing of this page on a phone is not recommended.

Places Then & Now

A list of places 'then and now' that might come in handy when trying to figure out what area of town some of the photos & postcards are from

Historical and Historic Documents & Books

Links to numerous online historic documents, historical documents and books about the history of the town

Newspaper Articles

Scans of some interesting articles from local newspapers regarding the history of the town


A list of historic cemeteries in town with links to a search utility for interments in each cemetery.

This list of cemeteries in Swansea is based on the result of a 1970 cemetery survey. This may not be a complete listing of cemeteries in town and the "cemetery names" may not actually be the names of cemeteries but may have meant something else to the person compiling the data. Based on this survey, there are 43 cemeteries located in Swansea. The map shows a rough estimate of where the cemeteries are located.

Time Capsules

Photos, articles, videos and information about the 1967 Time Capsule, the 2000 Millenium Time Capsule and the 2017 350th Celebration Time Capsule

Other Swanseas Around the World

A little information about other Swanseas around the world including Swansea Wales UK, Swanseas in Australia, Swansea South Carolina, Swansea Illinois and Swansea Ghost Towns. The page also includes some interesting writing provided by a Swansea, Wales neighbor that gives a glimpse into the way the Welsh live, work and travel.

"Unique research undertaken by the South Wales Evening Post has revealed the existence of 12 'Swanseas' in America, 10 in Canada, two in Australia, one in South Africa and one in Jamaica."
- taken from "The Other Swanseas" published in the South Wales Evening Post