On the 4th of April 1807 the Congressional Cemetery opened its gates and just a week later its first resident would pass through on his way to his final resting place - that of William Swinton who died on 11th April. Two weeks later the second burial occurred when Margaret Tingey, wife of Commandant Thomas Tingey, head of the Washington Navy Yard, passed away. Then on 22nd July the new burial ground was used by Congress for the burial of Senator Uriah Tracy, the first in a long series of members of the House, Senate and executive branch who would be interred there.
"Here lies interred William Swinton, stone cutter, who was an honor to his profession. He was born in Scotland, and died in Washington, 11th of April, 1807. Aged 48 years".
A further memorial inscription appears on a Table Stone in Swinton Kirkyard, shared with that of his parents, siblings that died young & his brother Peter, also a stone mason, who died in 1796 aged 47 years.
"Archibald Swine, mason & feuar in Swinton 14.12.1785........William 13.4.1807 in the City of Washington and Capital of the United States of North America aged 50 years".
NB. George Blagdon met his death accidentally in 1826!
Memorial Stone of William's brother Archibald Swine in Swinton Churchyard at the West entrance gate together with a close up of the inscription.
The church was first renovated in 1593, then rebuilt in 1729 on the site of the 1593 renovations. The feuars aisle (above right) was added in 1782. Note that top left is Archibald Swine, father of William.
The Church bell is one of the oldest in Scotland. It has the words "Mary is my name, 1499" inscribed in Latin around it. The bell was rung in 1513 to sound the death of so many of Scotland's finest men at Flodden. (I managed to squeeze a reference in afterall!)
If anyone out there has any ideas re the above I would love to hear from you!, also for those of you tracing this family I have further information which you may, (or may not) find of use.
A Final Thought
(I have written to the "Architects of the Capitol" in Washington, who have passed my request on to their Archives. Should they uncover any further information about William, I shall make sure to post an update, and I extend my thanks to them for all their help.)