In 1881, Swampscott Town Meeting members authorized the Board of Selectmen to procure a seal for use on official documents.
Charles W. Reed, a Civil War hero and summer visitor to the town, was contracted to design the Swampscott Town Seal. Reed was paid the sum of $12.00 for his efforts.
His design captured the spirit of the town, showing the aft deck of the Dove - a small fishing schooner purchased in 1795 for offshore fishing. At the tiller stands Captain James Phillips dressed in a sou’wester, and in the background is the rising sun.