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SWEENY, JOHN, SR. (1783–1855). John Sweeny, Sr., Brazoria County planter, was born on September 17, 1783, in Norfolk County, Virginia. After arriving in Texas from Tennessee around 1832 with a "large gang of Negroes," he cleared the forest, settled on the Breen league, and developed a large sugar plantation on the San Bernard River. On August 18, 1808, he married Nancy Ann Fuller, with whom he had five or seven children, according to various sources. In time he acquired extensive landholdings, established gristmills and several cotton gins, bought seed cotton, and accumulated considerable debts. Despite this, he was able to provide each of his children with a plantation. He participated in the Somervell expedition in 1842. In 1852 the Sweeny plantation produced sixty hogsheads of sugar. Sweeny died on January 7, 1855. Sweeny in Brazoria County in named for him.


Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Founders and Patriots of the Republic of Texas (Austin, 1963-). Andrew Phelps McCormick, Scotch-Irish in Ireland and America (1897). Abner J. Strobel, The Old Plantations and Their Owners of Brazoria County (Houston, 1926; rev. ed., Houston: Bowman and Ross, 1930; rpt., Austin: Shelby, 1980).

Diana J. Kleiner


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Diana J. Kleiner, "SWEENY, JOHN, SR.," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed January 31, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on October 24, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.