Vincent Ranch, Hamilton, Montana, 1920 - 1930

Memories Of Frank Edward Vincent

January 14, 1921 - September 6, 2013

Frank Edward Vincent

"On the Ranch"

Autobiography 

It was cold and damp in the dark cellar. The young father (Frank Seymour Vincent 1891 – 1936) was working frantically to finish the last pipe connections that would bring indoor plumbing into the small frame home. The young mother (Flossie Pyle-Vincent 1895 - 1981) could hear the pounding beneath her bed. She wondered if the job would be completed in time. Soon a large tub of water was placed on the kitchen stove. More wood was added to the blazing fire. The woman (Mary Catherine Hamner – Pyle 1855-1841) went back to her daughter's bedside. She knew what had to be done as she had given birth to nine children of her own.


I suppose I was the main attraction when I arrived on the scene. My sister, Marjorie June 1919 – 2014), was thrilled to have a baby brother. The first thing she did was to try to wash my feet. My father's parents lived in the tall two-story house surrounded by a large lawn edged with big cottonwood trees. My father had killed a bear in one of them just a few years before I was born. One of my earliest memories was playing on the bearskin rug.


My great grandfather, Frank Stephens (1836 – 1898), was an early merchant in Montana. He hauled goods from the nearest railroad in Utah to the farmers and ranchers. On one of these trips he met my great grandmother Providence Jane Parker (1844 – 1913). The courtship was very short, and the honeymoon was a wagon ride back to Montana. Frank Stephens became a prominent businessman in Butte, Montana, owning a large building known as the Stephens Block. My grandmother, Jennie Stephens (1865 - 1959), was the first white baby born in Montana territory at Alder Gulch near Virginia City. One time when she was very small, the Indians were on the war path. As my great grandfather, Frank Stephens was away on one of his trips, my great grandmother, Providence Jane Parker - Stephens, took my grandmother, Hannah Jane (Jennie) Stephens - Vincent, and her two brothers, Thomas Stephens (1867 - 1925), and William Stephens (1869 - 1949), to the wheat fields to hide. They left the house early in the morning before it got light, and returned after darkness had fallen at night. Jennie Stephens attended college at The College of Montana in Deer Lodge.*  She was a talented artist in her younger years and the walls of her home displayed many of her paintings. My favorite was of some deer by a mountain lake. I called them little doggies.

Note: This picture hung on Frank's bedroom wall until his passing in 2013. 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When grandmother was young, she took a trip to Utah to see her mother’s relatives. Jennie and her brother walked ahead of the wagon train. They had to be careful not to get too far ahead of the wagons because of the danger of Indians.


My grandfather, Clinton Joy Vincent (1857 – 1942), was from northern New York state. As a young man he had travelled west. He met my grandmother while working as a teamster for her father.
My mother, Flossie Jewel Pyle, was the youngest of nine children of John Pyle (1853 – 1938) and Mary Catherine Pyle – Vincent (1855 – 1941). She was born near Jerico Springs, Missouri in 1895. My uncle, Claude Pyle (1875 – 1962), the oldest child was a bachelor as a man was in the Oklahoma land rush. There was a race held in Oklahoma where the settlers were allowed to acquire free land for homestead on a first come basis. It was a mad scramble to get to the best land. Later Claude moved to Montana where he was employed by the Anaconda Copper Mining Company Swelter.


John and Mary heard from Claude about the opportunity in Montana. They sold their farm and moved to Anaconda with their family. John carried a tin drinking cup for each member of his family. They were strung on a loop of string. While changing trains in Kansas City the string broke and tin cups were scattered over the stone floor making quite a racket. This was very embarrassing for Flossie. Flossie’s mother and her sister, Inez (1893 – 1957), lived in Greenfield, Missouri while Flossie attended high school. As a high school graduate, she was qualified to teach. Her first teaching job was at Warm Springs, a small community in the Deer Lodge Valley near Anaconda. She taught there for one year. She moved to the Bitter Root Valley to take a teaching job in 1918. She was the teacher in a one room schoolhouse on Sleeping Child Creek.

 

My father, Frank Seymour Vincent, and his sister, Geneva (1894 – 1989), farmed in Deer Lodge Valley near Anaconda. In 1902 Clinton and Jennie moved to Hamilton when Frank Seymour was 10 years old. For a time, they lived in a large house on second street. Jennie took in boarders there. In 1910 the family moved to their new ranch near Grantsdale.

Frank met the new schoolteacher at a community dance in the schoolhouse. She was very impressed by his small feet and fancy dance steps. Flossie’s teaching career was cut short. First the school was closed for a time because of the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918. She now had more time to spend with Frank. Soon they were married (November 9, 1918). You could say that my father was a victim of the flu epidemic.

A few days before my third birthday my little brother was born. Donald Nicholas (1924 – 1927) had blond hair and blue eyes. I was too young to remember this event.


One time my mother took me with her to buy a present for my father. All the way home she kept telling me not to tell him that we had selected a nice mantel clock as his gift. Upon arriving home, I marched up to my father and said, ‘Daddy, we ain’t got no clock.’

My most valued possession was a red pedal car that I could pedal around in. It was even more fun when I could get Marge to push me. Of course, we had to take turns pushing each other. It was tough turning my car over to a drive on dirt. I really envied the kids living in Hamilton where they had sidewalks to ride on.

Marjorie June and I had great times together as children. She was a little bossy at times, but I guess I needed a guiding hand. From January to June each year she was only a year older than I so I would try to get the upper hand in the arguments and fights that we had. However, from June ‘til January she was two years older than I so I had it tough during those periods.


We had wonderful grandparents (Clinton Joy and Jennie Vincent). Grandma’s house was only a few steps away and we were always welcome there. If we had been punished at home, we could always find refuge there. Many times, I would run away from home and spend the night at grandma’s house. Grandma always had some of her cookies or burnt sugar cake for us kids. She was an excellent cook. Grandpa treated us with either cone shaped decorated covered mints or Lindberger cheese. The Lindberger was my favorite. Grandpa followed a standard procedure with it. First, he would get out his old pocketknife, carefully wiping the blade on his sleeve to sterilize it. Then the tin foil wrapping would be carefully pulled back so as not to tear it. It seemed to take forever to accomplish this. Eventually he would cut off a small slice and hold it out to be eaten. We had to be careful not to cut our lips. The first bite smelled bad but succeeding bites were delicious. He would laugh at my grandmother’s scolding about feeding us that smelly stuff.


Grandpa’s roll top desk stood beside the wood burning stove in the living room. It was a great place to explore. The many drawers and small compartments held most of grandpa’s trinkets. I loved to look through these things. Grandpa was a great planner. He could figure out numerous ways to make a fortune for anyone that would listen. The newspapers on his desk displayed columns of figures penciled along the edges.


One time while playing in the small irrigation ditch in grandma’s front yard, grandma approached with a small stick to punish me for getting wet. I began running in place saying, “grandma put dat switch down. I be good boy.’ I can’t remember her ever hitting any of us kids with a switch. All she had to do was pick it up and we would behave.


Aunt Geneva was our hero. We loved to sleep in her bed. Her bedroom had a small heating stove and it was quite cozy. There were two paddles high on the wall out of my reach painted real fancy. I sure did wish I could play with them.

Auntie drove her own car to work in the Golden Rule store in Hamilton. Later she worked as a sales lady and alteration seamstress at JC Penney’s. I guess I thought she owned the store when I went in to visit her, she seemed to be so important. All the lady customers knew her and depended on her to make their new clothing fit just right.

*Editor’s Notes:

Family records indicate that Jennie Stephens – Vincent was a remarkable student during the three years she completed at College of Montana. A report card from March 1988 show the following grades: elocution 90, Latin 92, music 91, geometry 94, and painting 93.

 

Sallie Vincent-Boden shared Frank’s Autobiography with me in April 2020. Sallie said that her dad worked on his autobiography while he was on lay overs during his years as a Captain with Continental Airlines. Frank retired as a pilot in 1983.

 

Frank and Flossie Vincent’s five children were born over a 16-year period and the four surviving siblings passed away over a 9-month period from September 6, 2013 to June 6, 2014. Frank passed on September 6, 2013, Darryl passed on January 14, 2014, Frank's birthday, Marge passed on May 25, 2014, and last to go was Herb who died on June 6, 2014.

Jennie Stephens - Vincent

Frank Edward Vincent's

Life Story is told in this beautiful song,

A Link, A Chain, A Family

Written by his youngest son

Stephen Vincent

Performed by Cellar Door

Larry and Jeannie Vincent and Stephen Vincent

Click on the picture above to play

A Link, A Chain, A Family

Frank Edward Vincent

 

This excerpt is from Marge Coombs – Vincent’s 1982 biography of Flossie Pyle – Vincent,

“With a Ribbon in Her Hair”

The entire book can be found at www.grandmaflossie.com

 

"Frank was fascinated with aviation and had been from the time that he paid a dollar to ride in a small barnstorming plane that had landed on the land above Vincent Ranch in Grantsdale, Montana."

Memories of Frank Edward Vincent

My Memories of Uncle Frank By Robert Vincent

Frank Edward Vincent

January 14, 1921 - September 6, 2013

Frank Vincent was an exceptional man of great integrity and he left an amazing legacy. I will always remember him from his many visits to Burbank, California, when he came to visit his mother, Flossie, and his brother, Herb, my dad. During the latter part of his career as an airline captain with Continental Airlines, he was stationed in Los Angeles and we looked forward to his more frequent visits.

 

Uncle Frank was a hero to me as a boy. Not only could he fly airplanes, but he could fix them and anything else. I have fond memories of him planning, designing, and building his dream cabin near Winter Park, Colorado. On one of his trips to visit Grandma Flossie, he and my dad took me and my cousin Steve to an air show at the Van Nuys Airport. Uncle Frank paid for me and my cousin Steve to take a ride in a Bell Helicopter. It was my first and only helicopter ride. There were no doors on the helicopter, and to this day, I remember thinking I was going to fall out as took off and banked right. A few years later, on another one if his visits, we went to the Santa Paula Airport to check out the old planes kept there. Uncle Frank got to talking with the owner of a red Yankee American airplane who was also a commercial pilot, and he arranged for me to take a ride in that very small airplane.

 

During spring break, my senior year in college, Uncle Frank and Aunt Lillie were so generous to let me visit them in Colorado for a week. They took me to the cabin and taught me how to snow ski at a ski school near Winter Park. I remember being so impressed with how graceful they were on skis! Before I left for my return to California, Uncle Frank filled my car with gas and made sure it was in top shape for the trip home.

 

Uncle Frank loved Aunt Lillie and his children, grand children, great grand children more than anything.

Frank's Children

Sallie, Stephen, Larry, Ron, Linda

Continental Airlines 1950's

Lillie Green - Vincent

Frank Vincent's Wife

1950's New Mexico

Submitted September 2013

Updated July 20, 2020

By Robert Vincent