Rosina Love keeps Bermuda alive in Seattle

More than 45 years have elapsed since a popular and attractive young Valley Lane, Somerset woman, Harriett Rosina Swan, left Bermuda to make her home in the US. She was very much in love with Larry Love, the American airman she had met and married when he was stationed at Kindley Air Force Base.

The couple are still happily married, having raised two daughters and being parents of two grandchildren in Seattle, Washington, which has been their home for the past 43 years. Though not the least bit homesick, and quite involved in the life of her Pacific northwest community, Rosina deserves a special salute for the deep-seated patriotic passion she has for the land of her birth and things Bermudian ... And the fact that she has not lost her distinctive mid-Atlantic Bermudian accent, unwittingly results in strangers she meets enquiring from whence she hails.

Rosina says she keeps her fingers on the pulse of Bermuda, through family and friends, and especially going online for years, reading The Royal Gazette, and particularly The Island Notebook from the time it was originally published in the Mid-Ocean News. It is interesting to note that she is an aunt of Kim Swan, MP, Leader of the Opposition United Bermuda Party.

  • <b>Eldon Swan</b>

    Eldon Swan

  • <b>Sweetness in Seatttle:</b> Rosina Swan

    Sweetness in Seatttle: Rosina Swan


More than 45 years have elapsed since a popular and attractive young Valley Lane, Somerset woman, Harriett Rosina Swan, left Bermuda to make her home in the US. She was very much in love with Larry Love, the American airman she had met and married when he was stationed at Kindley Air Force Base.

The couple are still happily married, having raised two daughters and being parents of two grandchildren in Seattle, Washington, which has been their home for the past 43 years. Though not the least bit homesick, and quite involved in the life of her Pacific northwest community, Rosina deserves a special salute for the deep-seated patriotic passion she has for the land of her birth and things Bermudian ... And the fact that she has not lost her distinctive mid-Atlantic Bermudian accent, unwittingly results in strangers she meets enquiring from whence she hails.

Rosina says she keeps her fingers on the pulse of Bermuda, through family and friends, and especially going online for years, reading The Royal Gazette, and particularly The Island Notebook from the time it was originally published in the Mid-Ocean News. It is interesting to note that she is an aunt of Kim Swan, MP, Leader of the Opposition United Bermuda Party.

It was the recent feature on the Somerset Brigade Band celebrating its 80th anniversary that prompted her to contact this writer. Her father, Eldon Swan, a leading building contractor by trade, was also a musician and one of the original members of the band. Incidentally, one of the present officers of the band is Reggie Tucker, whose wife Emily is Eldon's youngest daughter.

More particularly, Rosina, in calling me from Seattle Rosina wanted to draw attention to the fact that her father's birth date, a century ago was on March 6, 1910. Rosina was number eight of the seven girls and two sons Eldon Swan and his wife Ismay raised in their homestead a couple doors down from that of Arthur Knights, the Brigade Band's founding bandmaster.

While Eldon taught his sons Basil and Hubert (Kim Swan's father) to be skilled masons and builders like himself, daughter Rosina was sent first to work at The Royal Gazette or Bermuda Press and later The Island Press.. She said the skills she learnt there as a bookbinder, have served her well to this day.

In Seattle she has worked as a bank teller and head vault teller, gaining a reputation for having "the best lined-up currency" in her bank. More recently she says she has enjoyed her employment with Molly Brown Temps being a contractor at Pemco Insurance Company.

Back to Rosina's father Eldon. She said though he's gone, he'll never be forgotten. He was proud of is own heritage, being the great-grandson of the celebrated Charles Roach Ratteray.

Charles Roach Ratteray was a black man, born in 1799. He has left an indelible imprint in the pages of Bermuda's slave-period history, being a highly skilled builder of ocean-going boats, a successful entrepreneur. He was among other things, builder of the Wesley Methodist Church on Long Bay Road, Somerset, and donated the land on which Allen Temple AME Church, Somerset is built.

Roach was born in Nassau and brought to Bermuda by his mother when 18 months old. She had taken sick soon after she was said to have had the child for her slave master, a Scottish nobleman named Ratteray, who at the time was Acting Governor of the Bahamas. The mother died in Bermuda, leaving her child in the care of two white spinsters who resided in Scaur, Somerset. Together with two white godfathers who cared for him. They ensured he had a good start in life, having him apprenticed in the trade of home and shipbuilding.

Roach married at age 18. His first wife died after bearing 31 children, including a set of twins and triplets and nine daughters. Three months after his wife's death, he remarried a widow of five years, who bore him five children.

On March 6, 1910, Eldon Stuart Swan was born to Jacob Bean Swan and Harriet Rebecca Ratteray Swan. He was the youngest of six children in the family, and was 18 when his father died. The training he received as a mason was his trademark and his expertise in building family homes of quality and beauty can be seen throughout Bermuda today.

Eldon married the love of his life, Ismay Agatha from St. Kitts, in 1933 at St. James Church. Together, they raised their nine children with all of the Bermuda customs and traditions. Rosina states that one of the most memorable times in the Swan homestead was Christmas morning when fellow members of the Somerset Brigade Band descended there to play Christmas carols, and to enjoy some Yuletide fare.

It would appear that Rosina, holding to her living memories in far off Seattle, Washington is of a similar cut as her cousin, Oda Ratteray, who hosts the weekly VSB Radio show "Living Memories".

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