By Jack Swift
Johnson County Historian
Swifts and Coles, their connections and others converged on Mountain City June 23, for the Swift-Cole Family Reunion. The reunion had been in the planning stage for some months. A number of folks were instrumental in making the event possible. Held at the First Christian Church fellowship center, the reunion was well attended with several locals on hand as well as some from distant areas. Included were people from Texas, Maryland, Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina and perhaps others as well. The delicious food was varied and plentiful.
First Christian’s fellowship center was spacious enough to accommodate the crowd comfortably. On a personal note: My wife, Mary, and I are members of First Christian and it was good to have the reunion at our home church. For the last several years the event has been held at Sugar Hollow Park near Bristol. Sadly, a vote was taken and it was decided to discontinue the reunions. All the reunions I have attended have been great and Kudos to those who have been a vital part in planning and implementing the event each year.
I understand my Swift ge-nealogy can be traced back to England. But, the first for sure account of my Swift ancestry is Baltimore. From there my ancestral Swifts migrated to a farm in the Yadkin River Valley and from there to the Beaver Dams area of what was then Ashe County, North Carolina (later to become Watauga County, North Carolina.) From there they migrated to the headwaters of Doe Creek in what is the Seventh District of Johnson County.
My grandfather and grandmother Swift were David Elkanah and Sarah Fine Grindstaff Swift. To them were born Joseph, Elizabeth, Richard, Clyda Bell, Arrie, Wilburn and Allen who was my father. After teaching in Johnson County for a few years Joseph (Joe) journeyed to the Philippines and worked there six years in the U. S. Civil Service. He returned to the states, married Leita Cole from Shady Valley and with her returned to the Philippines to spend five years more before coming back to settle into a farmers life in Washington County Virginia. The Cole Family history has been traced to England I’ve been told.