Salem. Before Seth Swift (1789-1869) founded the settlement of Salem, he and his partner, Paul Gardner, operated a whaling business in Massachusetts. After Gardner's death in 1835, Swift, his wife Lydia, and five children immigrated to Texas. They brought household goods and material for a frame house up the Sabine River to this location on the Big Cow Creek. The road to Opelousas, Louisiana, over which cattle were driven to New Orleans, crossed here. Swift named the trading post for Salem, Massachusetts. Swift owned a ferry which was a point of entry into Texas and continued to operate for 100 years. Riverboats unloaded lumber, cotton, and other goods. Although there were no churches, circuit riders came here. There was no schoolhouse, but Swift brought Martha Percival to instruct the children. Swift ran the post office that started here during the Republic of Texas. He was buried near his home in the pink marble casket he brought from Massachusetts. In 1892 Cow Creek Tram Co. established a logging camp (2 mi. S) which became known as "Old Salem". Salem Post Office moved to the new location. Never incorporated, Salem disappeared after transportation improved and settlements moved inland. - Historical Marker Text. Marker erected 1979. Located 12 miles south of Bleakwood, via SH 87 South to FM 2829, then 4 mi. to Brice Farm (private property).
Swift Cemetery. The trading village of Salem was founded in 1835 by Seth Swift. A Quaker and whaling merchant, Swift had moved to this area from Massachusetts with his wife, Lydia, and six children. When Lydia died about 1852, Swift set aside an acre of land for a cemetery. Upon his death in 1869, Swift was buried beside his wife in a pink marble casket he had brought from Massachusetts. Several other members of the community are believed to be interred in the cemetery, as well. Lost to forest overgrowth for many years, the graveyard has been restored. - Historical Marker Text. Marker ereced 1988. Located 9 mi S of Bleakwood on SH 87.