Betty More found us and contributed this information about these two families. George Swaggart was her
grandmother's brother and these are letters that were written to his parents. I am hoping they might
reach some of his family who would like to have more information about them. One from his daughter Zola,
mentions the city of Douglas and new city hall and a baseball park they were building. Another from her
mentions a Mr. Lutz who was principal of her junior high. Two letters mention the smelter (C & A) and
ranching in general. I was left with over 220 letters written by the families over the period of 1853 -
1930s. She compiled a book named Soldier Boy: Letters and History of an Illinois Union Soldier, that was
published by Heritage Books, 2000. It is comprised mainly from letters of George's father Eugene, written
between February 3, 1895 and September 30, 1904. George Swaggart's father, Eugene McBride Swaggart was
a prospector and drifter who wrote many letters that will also be donated to the various points that
he visited. A lot of it has been donated to the Caldwell, Kansas website. This family scattered in all
George came from a long line of adventurers. On his father's side, his grandfather, George, fought in the
War of 1812, when he was only seventeen years old. He fought beside his father and uncles. Later, he
fought in the Blackhawk Indian Wars. His father, Eugene McBride Swaggart, fought during the Civil War in
the 92nd IL Mounted Infantry and George Swaggart was born on March 4, 1863, during the Civil War while his father was fighting with the 92nd Illinois Mounted Infantry.
George's grandmother on his father's side was Sarah Whiteside/Miller/Swaggart. Her father, Uel Whiteside
and his father before him, William Whiteside moved to Illinois from North Carolina and were some of the
first settlers there about 1792. William Whiteside fought in the American Revolution. The Whiteside
families were renowned as Indian fighters in Illinois. His mother, Elvira Van Alstine/Swaggart, was from
the families of Van Alstyne and Dodge. Both were in the United States in the 1600s. George's family
moved from Illinois to Caldwell, Kansas, following the Civil War, arriving there between 1872 - 1875.
George became a cowpuncher at a very young age as did several of his cousins who traveled there with the
Olie Van Alstyne/Swaggert
George Swaggart and his family, Olie, Zola, Walter and Olive had moved to Arizona. They lived in Apache,
about 50 miles north of Douglas, Arizona. His daughter, Zola married Ross Sloan and George and Ross had a
small ranch. Olive Swaggart married Leonard Been. His parents, Eugene McBride Swaggart and Elvira Van
Alstine/Swaggart moved to Kingfisher, Oklahoma about the same time George and Olie moved to Arizona.
Eugene McBride Swaggart's wife, Elvira Van Alstine/Swaggart died sometime between 1908 and 1910 when he
remarried. His second wife, Josephine Reynolds/Woodin/Swaggart died several years later and he moved into
the home in Chickasha, Oklahoma with his daughter, Josephine and her husband, Ike Jones.
Swaggart/Sloan, Ralph (her son)
and Ross Sloan, her husband
The Flying V bar Ranch. The front says Flying V bar ranch and has a brand that looks like a V with wings
and a bar underneath. This was Ross Sloans brand. Folks tell us it's up near Skeleton Canyon.
The Swaggart and Sloan ranches
| The Sloan house in Skeleton Canyon
Zola Swaggart Sloan
Step-Son Ralph Sloan
April 20, 1923, George Swaggart died at Apache, Arizona after a long illness. One of his caretakers was the
well loved "Jen" Miller Wheeler, who lived in the Sloan house while taking care of him. The following
obituaries were written. I don't know the names of the newspapers but most likely one was the Douglas
DEATH OF SWAGGART MARKS PASSING OF SOUTHWESTERN PIONEER; FUNERAL FRIDAY
The funeral of Geo. W. Swaggart, who died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Ross Sloan, near Apache, on
Tuesday, will be held at the Elks Hall tomorrow afternoon at 4 o'clock. Mr. Swaggart is an old resident of
this county, engaged in the cattle business. For many years before coming to Arizona, he was a pioneer of
New Mexico, where he was active in combatting hostile Indians in that part of the southwest. At the age
of fourteen, Swaggart was held captive by the Apache Indians for six days, escaping by riding to a home
forty miles without bridle or saddle. The death of Mr. Swaggart has brought sincere sorrow to his many
friends in this county where he was well known and highly respected. He had been a member of the Elks
lodge for eight years.
PIONEER CATTLEMAN DIES AT HOME NEAR DOUGLAS
George C. Swaggart, aged 60 years, died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Ross Sloan at 7:30 o'clock
Tuesday evening. The daughter lives about fifty miles from Douglas near Apache. The deceased has been in
ill health for some time. He has resided in this section for over 21 years and is a well known cattleman.
The body is being held pending word from relatives in Oklahoma. He is survived by the widow, two daughters,
Mrs. Leonard Been and Mrs. Ross Sloan, and one son, Walter. Ames-Dugan undertakers are in charge.
George's letters to his parents:
Here's a copy of one so you can see his handwriting:
Here's the content:
Douglas, AZ Territory
Oct 17th 1907
received your letter of the 13th ist. But no wire nor letter. Will have some money from the R.R. in a few
days for cows they killed of mine. Olie is about the same. The doctor says she has a kidney that is out
of place or a floating kidney. That is what keeps her in bed so much of the time. Walter is out of the
hospital and has started to school by riding thare and home again. All I know about Zola's Buck he is 18
years old and he stole her from the Douglas High School.
You say you will be worth more dead than alive. You dont hold and the best of me on that. I carry $2000
in the WOW that I got to die to beat. Well I am working at the C & A Smelter 8 hours and then am working
my cattle and it keeps me on the go all the time. I got 3 wind mills to keep servicing and I am on the
go all the time. We were shut down at the swelter. Work every day of the year. I get $4.00 for 8 hour
shift. Well, thare is no use of us trying to say anything about Charley's death for I cannot at presant.
That is more than I can stand.
Letters from Zola:
Zola Swaggart was born October 20, 1891, so was about 14 when this was written. I left the spelling
exactly as she had it.
Dear Grandma -
I will write you a few lines.Was pleased to hear from you. I kepted putting it off thinking I would find
time to write but will take time. I am going to school every day and we are all studying very hard for
the final examination. I think I will pass with out any trouble.
We have had some rains. Everything is beginning to look green. We havent many trees here but what we do
have is very pretty. We sit out an orchard this year. Papa has took up 160 a. of land. We are going to
put up a house and a wind mill soon. The ranch is about 4 miles or 3 1/2. Papa leased a pasture of 640
a. school land up there clost to the ranch. Last faul we have a good bunch of cattle and 45 hed of nice
horses. We have 2 horses here in town. One is our buggy horse. The other is a saddle horse.
Mama is well. She looks better than she has in months. She would weigh about 95 lbs. I was weighed
yesterday and I weighed 132 lbs. I never weighed any more than 128 lbs. but it is summer time and I will
get very fleshy. I always do. I will send you my picture before long.
Papa is still working at the smelter but will have enough cattle so he won't have to work for wages.
I have a very nice teacher this year. We have a very nice 2 story 8 room building. We are going to have
a high school next faul. Ojd 3,000 1 story. The city is putting up a city hawl of brick. It is a very
nice building. We have some very nice dwellings and buildings here. The park is so pretty. There is a
gentle here our city meyor. Mr. Overlock has give us a big park. It is very pretty. It is situwaited
out side of (looks like Louina) half a mile the bace ball and som are out there. Him and some more men
are going to put up a fine hotel the finest in the west. They have their plans alredy made.
Well I will close hoping to hear from you soon. I would write a long letter but can't find time just now.
I will write a long one next time. We got your little package. Papas curls are very pretty and the rist of the things. I will write to dear uncle Charley. It is to bad that he is so unfortunate. Well this is all. Write soon to your grand daughter.
Zola Elvira Swaggart
This is a partial letter written by Zola Swaggart to her grandparents, Eugene McBride Swaggart and
Elvira Van Alstine/Swaggart.
Dear Grandma and Grampa:
I will write you a few lines. Recd. your welcome letter yesterday. We are all well. Hope to find you
the same. I am going to school and will inter high school next year or the autimn of 1907. I am learning
very fast. I have 4 teachers besides my music teacher and drawing teacher. We have a fine piano in our
school this year. Our prinsable in Mr. Lutz. He is very nice. I will be 15 the 20th of October. We
are having a new high school......