Select Vincent Miscellany

Here are some Vincent stories and accounts over the years:

St. Vincent the Martyr

This most renowned martyr of Spain was Saint Vincent, the deacon of Saragossa, who died under the Romans in AD 304.   By order of Governor Dacian he had been dragged in chains to Valencia and there kept in prison for a long time and was subjected to many cruel torments, the rack, the gridiron, and scourgings.

He was next placed in a soft and luxurious bed, to shake his constancy, but there he expired.  His body was thrown to be devoured by vultures, but it was defended by a raven.  Dacian had the body cast into the sea, but it came to shore and was buried by a pious widow. 

After peace was restored to the Church, a chapel was built over the remains outside the walls of Valencia. In 1175 the relics were brought to Lisbon.

Vincent and Vinson

Sometimes Vincent became Vinson in America after losing its "t."   The current numbers are approximately:

Numbers (000's)

The Vincent name is concentrated in Louisiana, but is also found in the northeast and elsewhere in the country. 

The Vinson name on the other hand is generally confined to the South, notably in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina although not in Louisiana.  Groves Vinson of Meckenburg county, North Carolina gave the following information about a pitcher that had been handed down in his family:

"We have a note that is in a cream pitcher that has been passed down to the youngest girl in each generation.  The note reads: '1909.  Pitcher from my grandfather Groves Vinson, born in Ireland in the 1700's.  The pitcher is 160 years old.  Mrs. J. W. Osborne.'"

Among well-known Vinsons, Carl Vinson from Georgia was a long-time member of the US House of Representatives; and the Vinson family from Virginia and Kentucky included Fred Vinson, the Chief Justice of the United States in the 1940's.  

Most Vinsons would seem to have come to America first as Vincents.

Vincents in Monmouth's Rebellion

Seven Vincents were among the rebels who rose up in the West Country in 1685, supporting the illegitimate Duke of Monmouth in his unsuccessful short-lived claim to the throne against the Catholic James II.  They were described as follows:

  • Francis, pardoned of all treasons.
  • John, who had come from Holland.  He was an Ensign in the Red Regiment and as Captain Vincent commanded 50 musketeers at the barricade at Norton St. Philip.  He was tried at Dorchester and transported from Weymouth on the Betty to Barbados.
  • John or Joshua, a Nonconformist minister.  He was released from prison in Taunton; helped to seize weapons stored in St. Mary Magdalene's.  He was arrested in Exeter, imprisoned in Devon workhouse, and taken to Newgate.  He was excepted from the General Pardon.
  • Joseph of Taunton St. Mary, a fuller.  He was charged with 'aiding.' the Blue Regiment.  Taken from Exeter to Sherborne and presumably released under General Pardon.
  • Nicholas of Taunton St. Mary, a worsted comber.  Accused of 'aiding' the Blue Regiment.
  • Robert of Stratton on the Fosse.  Said to be "in the rebellion and not come in."
  • and William of Cheddon Fitzpaine, reported as "absent."

Pierre Vincent, Acadian to Louisiana

When the English took over the French colony of Acadie in Canada in 1755, Joseph Vincent with his wife and two children, Marie-Josephe and Pierre, were taken to Liverpool, England as prisoners of war.  Joseph died there in prison.   The rest of the family ended up in France, as did many other displaced Acadians.

Some thirty years later, the Spanish Government, which then owned the Louisiana territory, was anxious to encourage Acadian settlement.  Acadians in France started boarding ships for Louisiana.  On June 11, 1785 the third of these ships, Le Beaumont, departed France with Acadians.  On board was Pierre Vincent, then aged 36 and by occupation a cooper.  

He would eventually settle in Louisiana on lands at the intersection of the Vermilion river and Bayou Que de Tortue, near what today is the town of Milton and almost the dead center of Acadiana.  When Pierre died in the early 1800's (after the sale of Louisiana territory to the Americans), he left a widow and nine children - all of whom were American citizens without their knowing it.

Pierre Junior would later marry an American, Sally Ryan.  The Ryans had founded the town of Lake Charles. But the Vincents just stayed on their farm across the river and raised cattle and kids.

The Vincent Family Reunion

Kaplan, Louisiana was selected as the location for the Vincent Family International Reunion of 1999  The oldest reunion participant in attendance was Sosthene Vincent from Gueydan, Louisiana at the age of 95. Eight different states and one foreign country were represented by the people who attended.  

The special guest, Jean Francois Vincent from Brossard in Quebec, gave the reunion informative details about Vincent family genealogy.  As Jean walked throughout the crowd asking who was their favorite pop singer, he then informed the crowd of two famous singers with Vincent family connections, Celine Dion and Madonna.

Clyde Vincent from Beaumont, Texas spoke on the history of the Acadiens, Joseph and Pierre Vincent, and their hardship travels from Nova Scotia to Louisiana.  City Councilman Warren Whaley presented a proclamation declaring August 14 as the Vincent Reunion Day.  Whaley also presented Jean Francois Vincent an honorary citizenship to the city of Kaplan.

Monsignor Amos Vincent from the diocese of Lake Charles gave the closing blessing.  Martin Vincent and the Lacassine Playboys capped off the evening with Cajun/French music.  Completing the reunion activities, a mass was was held Sunday at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in honor of the Vincent family.

Benjamin Vincent - from East to West Coast

In 1854 at the age of twenty, Benjamin Treen Vincent left home for Boston where he drove a milk wagon, took a factory job and learned shoe manufacturing.   He married there in 1864 but didn't settle down.  Two years later he took passage to Nicaragua, travelled overland to the Pacific, sailed to San Francisco and Portland, and then walked to Seattle to join his cousin in boot and shoe making.

The partners moved their shop to Olympia and then Benjamin returned East to fetch his family.  Benjamin later took over the enterprise and other Vincents from the East joined him (at that time Washington was still territory and did not - until 1889 - become a state of the Union).  A biography of Benjamin Vincent was published in a book on the history of Washington state.  

Reader Feedback - John Vincent from Croatia

John Vincent was not the first Croatian in Australia.  He was certainly a pioneer but he came after his second cousin Antonio Vukovic or Wolfe who arrived in 1853.  There is a fantastic book about Croatians in Australia by Dr. Ilya Sutalo that records the arrival of Croatians in Australia.  And there were certainly Croatian men who settled in Australia before either of the above gentlemen.

Rosalie Raftis (

The Vincent Black Shadow and Black Lightning

The most renowned and famous of its motorcycles, the Vincent HRD 998 Black Shadow, first appeared in 1948.  It was easily distinguished by the motorcycle fraternity by the gleaming black finish of the engine and gearbox that had all internal parts highly polished and fine tuned.  Sporting a big five inch chrome Smith speedometer also enhanced its appearance.  The bike was also very fast and could easily maintain a constant 100 mph with a top end of 125 mph.

Also in 1948 a full race spec custom machine, the Vincent HRD 998 Black Lightning, appeared and won acclaim as a living legend almost straight away as the world's fastest standard motorcycle.  It was on September 13 1948 that a man by the name of Rollie Free smashed the world motorcycle speed record by riding a Vincent Black Lightning at 150.3 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

However, the party came to an end in 1955 when Philip Vincent announced that the company would cease to manufacture its bikes due to heavy financial losses.  

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