Swift Brothers & Smith Drug Store Ledgers
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
4.50 Cubic Feet
Biographical or Historical Information
The Swift brothers partnership consisted of Luther Swift (1879-1956) and his brother Oran Fritz Swift (b.1881). Both were born in Melrose, Nacogdoches County, Texas to T. J. and Ella Swift. Luther and his wife Ethel Leake had three sons, Luther Jr., Lance, and Max, and a daughter, Norma. Little is known about the personal life of Oran.
It is not clear from the available anecdotal information how the brothers were involved in the daily running of their store, but records do show that the neighboring Mast family sold out their pharmacy and bookselling company to investors, including the Swifts, in 1912. The store name changed from Mast and Smith Pharmacy to Swift Brothers and Smith Inc. that same year. Census information suggests that the pharmacy may have only been one of several business interests for the brothers. The 1910 census showed Luther and Oran to work in a livery stable while the 1920 Census enumerated them as oil well administrators. Oran also served as postmaster for Nacogdoches County in 1904.
Luther Swift’s family lived at a now famous house on the Camino Real. The “Swift Home,” as it is now known, was originally owned by Hayden Edwards, among others. The house was remodeled in the 1890s after popular Victorian styles by the well-known builder Dietrich Wilhelm Rulfs (1848-1926). Swift purchased the house for $4,000 in 1905. He ran the livery stable identified in the 1910 Census on the property.
When he passed, the home was left to Swift’s sons Luther Jr. and Lance. It remained in the family until 1987, when heirs sold the house to B. Jean Barnhart and Carleta Arrant. They renovated the property into a bed and breakfast.
More about Luther Swift can be found in the Luther Swift Collection (A/279).
Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.
_______. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.
_______. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.
_______. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.
_______. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.
Baker, Edward B. Project Chairman. The Bicentennial Commemorative History of Nacogdoches. Nacogdoches Jaycees, 1976. 173.
“Luther Swift, Sr.” Obituary. Daily Sentinel. 29 March 1956, p.1.
“Oran Fritz Swift.” Obituary. Daily Sentinel. 2 August 1966, p.1.
The Pharmaceutical Era: An Illustrated Monthly Publication for the Drug Trade Vol. XLV No. 1. New York, January 1912. 155.
The Publishers’ Weekly: American Book-Trade Journal Vol. LXXXI January-June, 1912. New York: Office of the Publishers Weekly, 1912. 1272.
“Swift Home: Historic Landmark in Nacogdoches being used for bed and breakfast.” Daily Sentinel. 12 June 1988.
Note written by Mark Musquiz
- Guide to the Swift Brothers & Smith Drug Store Ledgers
- Mark Musquiz