Bon Jellico Families

The Swain Family
Contributed by Virginia Swain White, Jan 2004


    Evan, Frank, Harve, Jim, Matt, Millard, and Preston Swain were brothers who worked at the Bon Jellico mines. They were the sons of Shelby and Barbara Gerdin Swan, who had 12 children. Barbara was Cherokee.

    The Swains came to this country as whalers and settled in Maine. One branch of the family moved to North Carolina in the 1700’s. There were large slaveholders because most of the Swains today are black. David Lewis Swain was governor of North Carolina in the mid 1800’s and there is a county named for him, which borders the Smokies.

    The Whitley County Swains came from North Carolina and were all from the same family. Each one of the men who worked at Bon Jellico had several children except for Jim.

    The Swains owned a large farm on Jellico Creek. Millard married Maude Jones and they had 11 children. In the early days of their marriage they lived in the Bon Jellico mining camp. Milliard died at a young age and Maude, widowed at 36, raised the children alone with the help of her oldest children. Ten of the children lived to adulthood. Among the children of Milliard and Maude was Garrett, father of Virginia Swain White and Ruby, mother of Jerry Taylor.

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