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MILUS AND KATIE SWAIN
By Roma Wilkinson and Lela Haynie
My parents, Katie and Milus Franklin Swain, moved to Floyd County in 1917. He learned of the cool plains’ summers through a nephew, Luther Morris, who was a dry goods merchant there. After selling the Knox County farm, he bought 480 acres one and one half miles east of Floydada. Since our family consisted of ten children, the house he constructed reminded passersby of a rural hostelry, it was not unusual for weary travelers to stop in the wee hours of the night to inquire of lodging. One night after an inquiry, Father told him it was only a mile to town, he replied, “ I have been following that light for fifteen miles and haven’t gotten to it yet.” The light was from the top of the city water tower. From our upstairs window we could see the lights of approaching cars that must have been ten miles away. They created a desire of thrift in us and an appreciation of God’s handiwork. Crop failure such as we experienced the first year, and nature’s proliferations sometimes handicapped our economic status. Through the plentiful water from deep wells, and the sufficiency of homegrown foods, which Mother preserved, we did not suffer from improper diet. Our grocery buying consisted of staples, no fancy foods except on occasions. I recall one of my young brothers, who ,while waiting for a guest to serve himself of a special “fruit salad treat”, became concerned that too much was being taken said, “Don’t take it all”. You can imagine my Mother’s chagrin.
One special school room incident that has remained with me dealt with a note that a student passed through the battered partition from one class to another. When the note pushed through the laths, exposed by fallen plaster, it loomed up at the feet of James parks, who was at the blackboard during chemistry class. He gently retrieved it, penned his signature and pushed it back through the crack. When the period ended, Mr. Parks took his stand in the hall to scan the faces of students from the eighth-grade class. He had no trouble identifying the culprit. We all shared in the fun.
Christmas was always a meaningful experience. It was the only morning of the year that we fell out of bed without being coaxed. When we heard Father call out loud and clear “Christmas Gift,” that was all that was necessary.
Our family was a regular attendant at the First Methodist Church. Father served as a steward. Epworth League and Sunday School were truly Christian trainings we experienced.
Father’s death occurred in 1921 f rom a fall from our windmill tower platform. In 1928, the family had begun to disperse. Mother sold the farm and moved to Wichita Falls, where three of the children lived. Later she moved to Mercedes, where she resided until her death in 1960.
The children remaining are Maggie, Lela and Thelma of Albuquerque. Roma of Vernon and Relous of Mercedes.