Dr. Swinfield Howell came to Graham County from Yancey County in 1901. He began the practice of medicine while living near what is now the Thunderbird boat dock, and later moved to what is now known as Howell Gap in the Yellow Creek Township. Later he moved to Robbinsville and opened an office. For several years he was doctor for the Kanawah Hardwood Lumber Company. He used a four-wheeled pedal cycle equipped with flanged wheels to run on the narrow gauge Snowbird Valley railroad. Dr. Howell, in addition to a large practice, was official doctor for the prison camp established at Harris Creek (a road building operation). Dr. Howell's wife, Margaret, often capably assisted Dr. Howell as a nurse.