The History of Bent County

by Charles W. Bowman



   Mr. Swink was born June 30, 1836, in Breckenridge County, Ky. In 1840, he moved with his parents to Schuyler County, Ill. There he worked on a farm and attended such schools as the county afforded. A portion of the time, until 1868, he worked in a saw-mill in Schuyler County. For five years afterward, he was engaged in farming and in general merchandising in the town of Bardolph, in McDonough County, Ill. In 1874, he returned to Schuyler County and ran a saw-mill for a year; but in 1871, he came to Bent County, Colo., and entered mercantile life and the cattle business at Rocky Ford, with Asahel Russell as partner. At this point he remained until 1876, when he moved his stock of goods to his present location, at Rocky Ford Railroad Station, on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. Mr. Swink did not remove his family from Illinois until the spring of 1875. They remained one year at the ford near the Arkansas River. Since coming to Bent County, Mr. Swink has been engaged in mercantile life, and ranching and stock-raising, carrying a stock of general merchandise, together with farming implements, grain, food, etc., etc. He has 1,000 acres of land, which he has obtained by homestead, pre-emption and purchases. The mercantile business is conducted in company with Isaiah Denness. For several years, Mr. Swink has made a specialty of raising watermelons, shipping them into the mountains and as far south as Santa Fe. He has a most excellent variety, and is endeavoring to keep it as pure as possible. In 1880, he shipped more than 200,000 pounds, and in 1881 had fifteen acres devoted to melon culture. In October, 1855, he was married to Miss Mary J. Cool. He has eleven children � six boys and five girls. For several years, his oldest son has paid special attention to the baling of hay, taking large amounts under contract to prepare for market. In 1876, he was appointed Postmaster at Rocky Ford, which office he now holds, together with station and express agent.

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