father, Richard S. Swift
, a native of New Jersey, owned a large flour mill and a line of canal boats on the Ohio Canal, used for shipping flour to New York before the days of railroads.
After leaving school, Mr. Swift
worked in a wholesale notion store for two years.
later went to southern Ohio and worked for an uncle on a farm.
From there he
went to Portsmouth, Ohio where he
spent three years learning brick masonry, teaching school in winter.
He then went to Jackson, Ohio and engaged in contracting, being the contractor for the M.E. Church, a large mill, a block of store buildings and a number of private dwellings.
In 1855 he built a court house at McArthurs Town, Vinton County and later at Point Pleasant, VA. In the fall of 1856 he went to Keokuk, IA where he worked in the contracting business for two years before coming to Jefferson City May 26, 1858.
In 1859 he
built two additions to the Lunatic Asylum at Fulton, MO.
served a short time in the Home Militia during the Civil War.
Appointed warden of the Missouri Penitentiary by Governor Fletcher, January 4, 1865, he served four years.
He also served eight years as Judge of the County Court.
Mr. Swift was a member of the M.E. Church, the AF & AM, and the AOUW.