Saturday, December 7, 2013


A Pioneer History of
7 March 1829 --JAMES VINCENT—9 Oct. 1922
12 June 1829 --MARY HOLMES—5 May 1924

A History by Iris Crump, Anne West, Louise Robertson, Mary Halverson

Iris Crump’s story
James and Mary Vincent left England for America on 1 May 1864.  They were converts to the Mormon Church. 
They were among the many of the poorer classes of their time, who were desperately looking for a better way of life, without all the class distinction.  They were forced by extreme hardship, to find employment with wealthy landowners as house or farm workers.  It was hard to endure the haughty, superior attitude of the landowners, many of whom were not too bright themselves. 

They came here on the “Hudson”, took nine weeks to cross the ocean.  It seems like they came to Iowa City and drove the “bacon wagon” to Salt Lake City, arriving 9 October 1864.  Mary hocked her wedding ring for some four and never got it back. 

When they arrived they were met by a friend from England that we called Grandpa Jex.  They settled in Spanish Fork where they stayed for the rest of their lives.  They built their own two room, adobe brick home.  They made the bricks from the clay beds in northwest Spanish Fork with the right amount of water.  It was worked with bare feet and put into wooden molds to dry.  Then they were laid up with clay mortar.  The rock for the foundation and the lumber was hauled from the Canyon.

They proceeded to make it a home by arranging the furniture he had built; bedsteads, chairs, table, and cupboards.  It was beautiful to them.  Mary then set up her spinning wheel on which she made yarn to make cloth for clothing and yarn for socks, shawls, etc.  The mattresses was ticking filled with straw after the threshing.  There was no floor covering.  She scrubbed the floor with lye to a glistening whiteness.  They gathered alkali was also used for making soap and whitened washed clothes.  She had no money for table linens so she laid their meals on the clean scrubbed pine table.

James was very good at gardening and Mary would string apples and other fruits as well as squash and other vegetables the walls and attic to dry for winters use.  She made tallow candles for light.  Although they worked so hard they went to bed early, needing very little light. 

They had an open fireplace for warmth, cooking and light.  Their firewood came from the Canyon.  Their house was still standing in good condition in the 1950’s. 

Grandpa was neat and tidy with himself and all the work he did.  His yard and garden was a sight to behold with fruit trees, shrubs, vegetables and flowers.  (I think he had asparagus, horse-radish, rhubarb and other herbs. 

Elmer and his mother, Elisabeth Vincent Crump and his father went to the Vincent home often because there was an atmosphere of welcome.
Grandmother Vincent must have been very pretty as a girl, with a pert, round face and twinkling eyes.  Grandpa was a very good man but in his later years he began to lose his sight and become somewhat waspish in his disposition.  He was a veteran in the Black Hawk Indian war.  At one time he was kept in the fort to guard the women and children.  The Indians kept bothering the people.

History of
Willard James Vincent
Anne West’s Story
Willard James Vincent was born 20 March 1864 in Crosswick, Norfolk County, England.  He was the son of James and Mary Holmes Vincent and was one of a family of eight children.  Five of these died in infancy.  Survivors were, Charlotte and Willard who were born in England and Elisabeth who was born in Spanish Fork, Utah. 

His father, James was born 7 March 1829, and his mother, Mary was born 12 June 1829.  Grandfather and Grandmother’s was pleasant and lasting.  Grandfather was 93 and Grandmother was 94 years at the time of death. 

 After being contacted by the L.D.S. Missionaries and becoming interested in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, my grandparents packed a few belongings and abandoning the remainder and left England when my father, James was six weeks old.  They did this so that they might earnestly pursue their interest in their religious beliefs.  Hesident but hopeful they boarded the ship, Hodson and settled down for six months on the high seas.(more than likely six months to Spanish Fork)  Almost immediately after reaching the U.S.A. in 1864 they began their pilgrimage across the plains with ox teams.  Father’s sister, Charlotte was only thirteen, she walked the whole way across the Plain. 

Others who came from England at the same time as the Vincents’, were; John B. Jones family, Thomas William family, Thomas Davis family, the Pynes family of Provo, the Byrds family of Nephi.  A year later the Hail family and the Hayes family came across the Plains. 

Maude-- Martha
Ann---  Fanny---  Mary
William Jex, known to us as Grandpa Jex came up to Salt Lake City to meet my Grandparents and lead them down to Spanish Fork. 
After arriving in Spanish Fork, Grandfather worked for a few farmers for a few years until he had enough money to buy a farm.  Father and Grandfather homesteaded this farm and after digging the sagebrush and greasewood from it, it began producing in abundance and proved to be a fine ranch.

At this time grasshoppers and crickets presented quite an aggravating condition.  The people did their utmost to ward off these pests.  They used to dig trenches, fill them partly with straw, and then herd the grasshoppers into these trenches and set them on fire.  This was a tedious disappointing project for they seemed to multiply by tens.  It seemed like all their toil was in vain then the sea gulls came to relieve their plight.  The sea gulls would eat grasshoppers until they were full and then they would vomit them and start over again.  They came in masse and ate so many that there was no longer a problem at all.  However, by the time the sea gulls came the crops so far that many people had to eat such food as they could find.   Sago lily bulbs together with mustard and pig weed roots provided much of this food.    

Grasshoppers were a serious problem, but the Indians presented a problem just as serious to my Grandfather and his family, for it was at this time the Indians were becoming hostile.  Until they were driven away to the Reservation my Grandfather served as a local guard.  He and other men kept watch where the California Packing Plant now stands. 

In those early pioneer days almost everyone was afraid of the Indians, and luckily stayed on their guard, for the Indians meant business.  They scalped a man near father’s farm. 

My mother was always much afraid of the Indians.  I remember once when I was about eight or nine that father came running into the house and told mother to hurry up and fix a meal for some Indians.  I remember them still, with their paint and feathers.  They looked hideous to me.  Mother was always suspicious of the Indians, even in later years when the Indians made their annual trips to Spanish Fork in the fall for supplies.

It seems like father worked hard all his life, and he started out early enough too.  When he was five years old he had a daily chore of getting the families mail.  For this he had to walk four blocks to meet the stage when it stopped.  The stage stopped on the block where the Jex Lumber Yard is located.  Between first and second east on second north. 

At six Father started his schooling.  His first teacher was James Higginson and he was quite strict but his schooling was short lived, however he had little love of school.  Father and several other boys decided to Sluff School, they went swimming instead.  Both the teacher and the mothers came to the pond to get them back in school.  They threatened and coaxed but the boys refused to leave the pond, so they were expelled. 

When father was eleven he started to working for the “Calico Railroad”.  This railroad was a narrow gauge that came through Springville Main Street and up Spanish Fork Canyon.  Father worked near Castellia.  Since most of the work was with pick and shovel, it was easy to see that this a hard job.  However, the thing that Father particularly disliked about this job was the fact that that he always had to go to Springville to get his pay.  It may not be a serious journey today but it was not pleasant in the old buckboard with snow on the ground.

Father helped build the Bench Canal during his early life.  However, most of his boyhood work was railroad construction.  He and Grandfather spent one winter up Mill Fork Canyon making railroad ties.  Grandfather would cut the ties and father would skid them to camp.  Then later on Grandfather would work the logs over and finish them for ties. 

When father was twelve he went to work for Grandpa Jex, he had a Sawmill at Mill Fork up Spanish Fork Canyon.  This job was likewise tedious.  Father’s task was bundling the shingles and he had to keep up with the crew. 

Grandpa Jex had two daughters who were the cooks at the Sawmill.  Father used to talk about them and about how well they treated him.  They brought him several pies while he was at work.  These two daughters were Alice and Rosetta. 
In the year 1881, at the age of seventeen he worked for some contractors in Castle Valley for $1.25 a day.  He had to work ten hours a day in addition to caring for his horses.

In 1882 he again worked on the railroad with his team and received $5.00 a day and board.  His job was herding the horses along the San Rafael River.  The San Rafael River was twelve mile from the construction site, and Father had to haul water to the camp.  Even though he made two trips a day, he still had a little spare time, so several times he picked Buffalo Berries and brought them back to camp where the cooks made delicious pies.

It was during his years while working on the railroad that he saved enough money to send for some of his relatives who were in England.  These relatives were his Grandma Holmes and his mother’s sister, Martha and husband, Jim Mackley, and son were quite to join the Saints in Utah.  Jim Mackley later paid back the money to father, but Father cancelled his Grandmother Holmes’s debt.

My Father’s, Mother, Mary Vincent was also a very hard working woman.  Before Grandfather had established himself very well, Grandmother used to go out and do big washings for fifty cents a day to help make ends meet.  The two of them made ends meet for a long time too, for they lived together until Grandfather’s death in 1922.  Grandmother then followed him in 1924. 

In time Father saved enough money to build his first home- a two room adobe house which still stands on the old homestead.  Later in life he build a fine modern brick home just west of the other one.  He married a very pretty and understanding girl, Elisa Standley, 24 November 1886.  They were married in the Logan Temple. 

Mother was always nice and very clean.  In fact she even kept the yard raked clean.  She raised her family of twelve and started them out right.  Their house being located on a hill meant water was scarce and precious.  Notwithstanding this fact, Mother’s house never suffered for a mopping and her washings were frequent and were always billowing white.  Although her large family kept her plenty busy, she always had time to care for a few turkeys and chickens. 

Several times when they had their work pretty much in order, Father and Mother would get a recommend and go to the Temple and do Temple work.  At all times they attended Church regularly on Sundays.  Father used to harness horses and hook up the buckboard.  When we were all ready we would start out the three mile drive to the Chapel. 

Father was always religiously inclined as were his parents.  One time when he was a small lad, he saw a strange man standing in the doorway.  He attempted to speak to this man, but could not do so.  At this time he became frightened.  Father closed his eyes several times, but each time he opened them, the man was still there.  There were several other children in the room at this time, but none of them saw the man which Father saw. 

It was a month after this strange incident which Father experienced when the family received news that his Grandfather had died in England on that day.  This incident stayed with Father throughout all his life. 

After Father’s family was pretty well grown, Father and Mother would go up the canyon and live in a canyon ranch house they had built where they also homesteaded.  Father would go out and improve his fences while Mother cleaned the house, cooked the meals and then did lots of crocheting.  This helped Mother a lot, for she was ill for a good number of years before her death which occurred Christmas Eve 1927 in her home in Spanish Fork.  She was a wonderful mother. 

Since Father had quite a large ranch there was always plenty to do.  Father always had seven or eight cows, several hogs and a few chickens.  Caring for the livestock was especially tedious since all the water had to be hauled from the Mill-race.  Hauling this water was a daily headache, but Father would hook the horses to a specially built cart and haul two barrels full of water at a time until everything was watered.

In the younger days, I remember the joyous trips to town for groceries and clothing.  Every spring Father and Mother would take a load of grain to the store for food and necessities.  Father used to buy two pairs of shoes a piece for us children, and I remember him saying when there were only seven of us, “Fourteen pairs of shoes for my family”.

Later in the summer, Father and Grandfather would go up the canyon for wood and coal.  They usually let some of us kids go along and how we enjoyed it.  We would ride the wagon a while, walk for a while or maybe ride a horse.  Sometimes we would walk the railroad pick up coal and hunt for pretty rocks.  It was sure a lot of fun.  Father would tell us stories at night around the campfire and, Oh boy, what whoppers they were.  He always enjoyed a good joke though, and liked to laugh.

Donna, Mary Vincent & James Halverson
When his family was about grown, Father sent two sons, Willard and George on missions.  He had a son-in-law and one grandson who were missionaries and later on, a Granddaughter, who is presently a missionary.  The one Grandson who was a missionary became a Bishop in 1949, a still occupies that position.  Another Granddaughter is working in the Church in Huntington Park, California. 
Father had six Grandsons who went to college and thirteen Grandsons in the Service during World War II.

At a ripe old age, he finished his story on this side.  Father passed away 11 march 1949 at the home of his youngest daughter, Alice Wilmont in Springville, Utah.  

Father had one daughter, Fanny Nebeker who preceded him in death and was survived by eleven children; myself, Anne West, Mary Halverson, Willard James Vincent Jr., Martha Pickett, Maude Koyle, William Standley Vincent, Jennie Brown, Alice Wilmont, George Willis, and Reed Vincent.  He was also survived by 51 Grandchildren and thirty eight great Grandchildren.

May his spirit rest in peace.

Anne West---- January 1950

1 comment:

  1. A very interesting piece of history - from a distant relative of Mary Holmes living in England and have visited Crostwick on a number of occasions - names Dave email address,