Who we are ...
The Swafford Valley Creekside Cottage was built in 1962 by Carl J. Swafford and Karen S. Swafford. Both Carl & Karen are well known and respected in the community, especially for their work and dedication to the special needs citizens of Ray County. They have been publicly recognized for their contributions in the development and creation of Ideal Industries Sheltered Workshop in Richmond, MO and were founding board members of the Ray County Board of Services for the Developmentally Disabled. Carl passed away in
2010 and Karen joined him in February of 2020. Theirs was a love story like no other and one that will live on in the hearts of their 2 children, 3 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.
'The Swafford Family Heritage Trust' now owns the home. An extensive renovation of the home was completed in September of 2020.
Carla's daughter, Jill Friends, and sons Caleb & Ben Rumbaugh are co- trustees. Jill handles guest experiences and reservations.
Carla and her children moved from the farm in 1989 to Flowery Branch, GA where she still resides near her children and 6 grandchildren.
Kent retired from Ideal Industries in July 2021 and moved to Georgia to live with Carla. He enjoys spending time with his new friends at the 'Just People' program near their home.
Cousins Reason & Jacki Swafford serve as local property managers for the cottage.
To learn more about the almost two-hundred year history of Swafford Valley Creekside Cottage....
Read on ....
Kent & Carla
Nathan, Jill, Carlie, Neva, & Kali
Cory, Noah, Rhett, Lane, & Caleb
Andriel, Ben, Drew, & Baby Averie
Johnny, Sydni, Sundi, Naason, Sammi, Jacki, & Reason
Our Creekside Cottage was built on farm land owned by the Swafford family since 1856.
The first homestead, an original log house with a stick chimney built by Naason Swafford, was featured on post cards sold in the area and mailed all over the world.
Reason Swafford built a barn and two room home on the farm in 1910. His son, George Richard Dean Swafford was born in the home in 1913.
Reason, his wife Neva, and Dean can be seen in this picture taken in downtown Rayville.
Although additions, improvements and modern conveniences were added along the way, “Dean” was raised in this home. When Neva died suddenly in 1919, Uncle Elbert & Aunt Mattie moved in to help raise Dean who was only 5 years old at the time.
On top of what those of us in the family call "Grandaddy's Hill," all the way up and down the field some, lies an important part of the Swafford family history.
Just on the other side of this gate is property once owned by William "Bill" Gulley & his wife Della McCrae Gulley. They had 7 children.
Farm life was especially tough during the Great Depression and the Swafford family made and sold all they could to survive and keep the farm. They operated a dairy farm, sold eggs, butchered hogs, and sold firewood. Ethel gave birth in the home to Karen Sue Swafford in 1942, and Richard Kenton Swafford in 1946.
Dean Swafford married their daughter, Ethel Fern Gulley in 1934.
Karen married Carl in 1959. They were given land just across the creek to build what is now our Cottage. The two would welcome a daughter, Carla Sue, and a son, Kenton Dean.
Richard and his wife Dixie were married in 1967, and given land on the farm to build their home, where they still work and reside today. They are blessed with 3 children, 9 grandchildren & 1 great grandchild.
Dean died in 2005, in the same home where he was born. Ethel passed in the home in 2008, both surrounded by all their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Dean & Ethel’s grandson, Reason Swafford, recently built a new home on the exact spot of the original stick home, using lumber, milled and cut from the land.
Reason and his wife Jacki have 3 daughters and 1 son ... Naason Swafford, named after the original Naason Swafford, who built that old log house 164 years ago.
Renovations to turn Karen and Carl’s home into "The Cottage” were complete in Sept 2020. Carla & her children stay frequently throughout the year.
For generations the Swafford family and it's extensions have come together as a family to support and carry each other through life's trials and triumphs. Although much has changed, much has stayed the same.
This is The Legacy of Swafford Valley and The Farm.
Following in our "Grandaddy Dean & Grandma Dean's" footsteps, we put God first and family second.
Our prayer is that by sharing a part of "our" farm, you might be as blessed by it as we have been!