Vincent Ranch, Hamilton, Montana, 1920 - 1930

Sleeping Child School

1590 Sleeping Child Road

Darby, Montana

2020 Photograph from Google Earth

2020 Photograph from Google Earth

Flossie Pyle - Vincent

was hired to teach

grammar school at 

Sleeping Child School

in Darby, Montana

in the summer of 1918.

A community dance was

held at the school

in September 

to celebrate the end of summer

and welcome the new 

school teacher.

Frank Vincent met Flossie

at the dance.

Due to the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic, the school was closed for the year, and  Flossie never taught there.

Flossie and Frank were married on November 9, 1918

Sleeping Child School

The 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic

Frank and Flossie Vincent

“If you knew our story, you’d have a good story to tell”

Paraphrased from the Broadway musical, “Bright Star.”

 

The 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic and our family’s history

 

In the summer of 1918 our grandmother, Flossie Pyle, at the age of 21, accepted a teaching position at Sleeping Child School, a one-room schoolhouse south of Grantsdale, Montana. She left her parents, John and Mary and other family members who in 1916 had migrated from Jerico Springs (northeast of Joplin), Missouri, to live in Anaconda, Montana.

 

Flossie traveled over the beautiful Sapphire Mountains on Highway 38, known as The Skalkaho Road. Highway 38 is a very steep, narrow and windy road that offers breathtaking views. It is closed from November to June due to snow.  In some ways the Skalkaho Road foreshadowed the life that Flossie would live in the Bitterroot Valley in Montana and later in Southern California. She had a life filled with great joy and optimism, and at times, seasons of grief and despair.

 

As fate would have it, without knowing, Flossie traveled on Highway 38 right past her future husband’s 320-acre family farm, know as Vincent Ranch, near Grantsdale on her way to her new job at Sleeping Child School.

 

Frank Vincent met the new schoolteacher at a community dance that I am sure Flossie organized, at the Sleeping Child Schoolhouse. Flossie was very impressed by his nice shoes and fancy dance steps. Soon they started dating.

 

Flossie’s teaching career was cut short when the school closed in the fall of 1918 due to the Spanish Flu Pandemic. In the first case of what is known today as, “Safer at Home, Self –Quarantine,” Flossie and Frank had a lot of time to spend with each other.  Turns out, they did not practice, “Social Distancing and were not, “Safer at Home ”

 

Flossie became pregnant in mid-September.

 

About 8 weeks later, Frank and Flossie were married on November 9, 1918 in Missoula, Montana

 

In the summer of 1919, 33 weeks after they were married, Marjorie June was born on June 22nd.

 

My uncle Frank jokingly wrote that our grandfather, Frank Seymour Vincent; “was a victim of the Spanish Flu.” You would have had to know our Grandma Flossie to understand that joke! Flossie was what we would call today, eccentric.

 

Our current generation of Vincent’s, and many to come, owe their existence to the, “Safer at Home Quarantine” of the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic.

 

This biography of Frank and Flossie Vincent is in no way meant to be judgmental of our grandparent’s choices.

At the time of this writing, April 9, 2020, the world was experiencing the Coronavirus Pandemic,

the worst pandemic since the 1918 Spanish Flu.

Bob Vincent

 

 

Robert Vincent, April 9, 2020

Sleeping Child School 1982 

Photos by, Robert Vincent

Sleeping Child School 2012

Photo Credit: Charlotte Caldwell

Visions and Voices:

Montana's One - Room Schoolhouses

This beautiful book is 

available onAmazon

Charlotte Caldwell <c3caldw@gmail.com>

Sat, Jul 11, 4:29 PM 

Hello Robert, 

How nice to hear from you. I’m so glad you found my book and are enjoying it. I love that your grandmother, Grandma Flossie taught at Sleeping Child School and met your grandfather there in 1918.  Sleeping Child was one of my favorite schools, with beautiful architecture, and of course I loved the name.

 

Robert, by way of this email I am putting you in touch with Chere Jiusto, director of Montana Preservation Alliance.  Chere and MPA are compiling information about these historic schools, the people who went to them, and their stories. I’m sure you will have interesting information for her.  

 

Thanks again for taking the time to contact me.

Best, 

Charlotte Caldwell 

 

 

Charlotte Caldwell
Author and Photographer
www.CharlotteCaldwell.com

The Montana History Foundation

E-mail sent by Robert Vincent

July 5, 2020

To: Montana History Foundation

July 5, 2020

Dear Charlene,

I was delighted to find information about Sleeping Child School on your website. My grandmother, Flossie Jewel Pyle-Vincent was a teacher at Sleeping Child School during the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic. Here is the story of how she met my grandfather during a community dance at Sleeping Child School.

https://robertlouisvincent4.wixsite.com/grandmaflossie/1918-spanish-flu

This is a temporary working address during development. Within a few months the permanent address will be:
www.grandmaflossie.com

Sincerely yours,
Robert Vincent
robertlouisvincent@gmail .com

The Montana History Foundation

E-mail response July 7, 2020

Dear Mr. Vincent,

 

Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story!!!

 

We love it when a project we have supported resonates with someone – it helps all of us understand how important it is to save these wonderful places. We will reach out to the good folks who are caring for the school and see how they are getting on these days. Will keep you posted on what we learn.

 

Good luck with your family story website and let us know when it goes live!

 

Thank you again, and be well.

Charlene

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Charlene Porsild, PhD

President/CEO

The Montana History Foundation

1750 N. Washington St., Helena, MT 59601

(406)449-3770  cell: (406)475-4383

www.mthistory.org

Ian and Carol Northcott <northcotts@gmail.com>

Jul 12, 2020, 7:25 PM 

Hi Robert,

 

I am Ian Northcott and am presently the pres of the Sleeping Child Planning Group. In the winter we meet at the school for potluck and during the summer we have cleanup and painting crews and enjoy a rummage sale for the community.  We have been taking care of the school for many years and even had a grant to restore some of the building about 5 yrs ago.

 

We have enjoyed our time at the school and learning a little of the past from community members. One of our residents had her husband in the graduating class of 1958.

 

Your story is so interesting. I have a picture of a group of kids with their teacher (school marm) of 1920-21 right in front of the school. Do you have any pictures like that? Our group has done some history searching and for a while we had a newsletter that documented our activities and made historical stuff available to the group.

 

I would like to post this story and have the members aware of your family history and connection to the community.

 

Thanks.

 

Ian Northcott

Sleeping Child School is located 4.6 miles from Vincent Ranch

For The Next Story

"Frank and Flossie's Home on The Ranch"