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The History of Swafford Farms

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.

Swafford homesite postcard
 Reason, Neva, & Dean Swafford in Rayville, MO

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. 

Original barn on the Swafford Farm.
The Dean Swafford home.
Gulley / Swafford Property line gate.

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.

Ethel & sisters
Dean Swafford as a young man.

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.

Ethel Swafford as a young woman.

Dean Swafford married their daughter, Ethel Fern Gulley in 1934. 

Dean with Karen & Richard.

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. 

Carla and Kent.

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 & 8 great grandchildren.

Richard & Dixie Wedding pic.
The family of Richard & Dixie Swafford.
Richard & Dixie Swafford present day.
60 year anniversary.

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. 

Richard & Reason.
Reason & Riggs.
Richard and his grandson Riggs.
Riggs and calf.

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 9 great grandchildren. 

Carl & Karen Swafford honorary Board room.

 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. 

Carl & Karen with baby Carla.

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!

The descendants of Dean & Ethel Swafford.
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