Biography of Joseph K. Vincent

More than thirty-seven years have passed since Judge Vincent arrived in Idaho, and he is justly numbered among her honored pioneers and leading citizens. He has been prominently identified with her business life, being connected with mining, agricultural and commercial interests, and although he has rounded the psalmist’s span of three-score years and ten, and although the snows of many winters have whitened his hair, he has the vigor of a much younger man, and in spirit and interest seems yet in his prime. Old age is not necessarily a synonym of weakness or inactivity. It needs not suggest, as a matter of course, want of occupation or helplessness. There is an old age that is a benediction to all- that comes in contact with it, that gives out of its rich stores of learning and experience, and which, in its active connection with the affairs of life, puts to shame many a younger man, who grows weary of the cares and struggles and would fain shift to other shoulders the burdens which he should carry.

Of such an honored type Judge Vincent, now in the evening of life, is a representative. A native of New England, he was born in Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, June 26, 1822, and is of Welsh and English ancestors, who were early settlers of Salem. His grandmother, his father and he himself were all born in the same house, one of the oldest residences of Salem, and long occupied by his ancestors. His paternal grandfather was one of the heroes of the Revolution. Joseph Vincent, the father of the Judge, married Letitia Pease, a native of Salem. He was a sea captain and was murdered in the West Indies by some of the Negroes of the islands, his death occurring just before the birth of our subject. The bereaved mother, however, tenderly cared for her two little children, and lived to the advanced age of ninety-two years, her death occurring in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1879.

The Judge is now the only survivor of the family. He may justly claim the proud American title of a self-made man, for since his ninth year he has earned his own living, and whatever success he has achieved is due entirely to his own well directed efforts. In his youth he learned both the printer’s and the carpenter’s trade, following the former for some time before going to California. In 1849, attracted by the discovery of gold on the Pacific slope, he made his way to the west, going around Cape Horn, being then twenty-seven years of age. He landed at San Francisco and engaged in mining at Coloma, where Marshall first discovered the precious metal: but he did not meet with the success he anticipated in his mining ventures there, and accordingly made his way to Oregon, in 1855. He then mined at Gold Beach with fair success for a time, but the Rogue River war broke out and resulted in his losing what he had made. He volunteered in the war and was at the Rogue River massacre, in 1856. From there he went to Althouse creek, became a resident of Washington in 1859, and in 1862 enlisted in the First Volunteer Cavalry of Oregon, as a member of Company F, expecting to be sent south. The regiment, however, was sent to Fort Lapwai, Idaho, and he remained in the service of his country for three years and three months, being honorably discharged at Vancouver, in 1865. He had served as post commissary sergeant for three years.

After the war Judge Vincent took up his abode at Lewiston and has since resided there and at Camas prairie. He is interested in a number of quartz-mining claims, on the Clearwater, including the Admiral Dewey, St. Patrick, Ida Alay and the Pride of Clearwater, and has assays of the ore gold and copper yielding from sixteen to three hundred dollars per ton. He has also engaged in stock raising for a number of years and has been general auctioneer, conducting many of the leading sales in this part of the state. His business interests have been well managed, and as the result of his honorable dealing and enterprise he has acquired a comfortable competence.

For many years Judge Vincent has been a very prominent factor in political circles and is a stanch advocate of Republican principles. He has been deputy license collector, was justice of the peace for thirty years and filled out an unexpired term as deputy sheriff of Nez Perces County. He was provost marshal during the Indian war in 1877-8 and was police judge of Lewiston for a number of years. In 1898 he was elected probate judge of Idaho County, and is now acceptably filling that position. His duties in all these offices have ever been performed most faithfully, and no trust reposed in him has ever been betrayed.

In 1864 Mr. Vincent married Miss Elizabeth M. Leland, daughter of Judge Alonzo Leland, of Lewiston, now deceased. Of their union nine children have been born, namely: Joseph, the publisher of the Kendrick Gazette; Alonzo P., who resides at Cottonwood; Lettie R., wife of Frank Scott, a resident of California; Edward S. who makes his home with his parents, in Mount Idaho; Charles, who is engaged in business at Kendrick: Harry G.; Alida; Tamanay and William, the last four named being at home. The family is one of prominence in the community, and their pleasant home in Mount Idaho is the center of a cultured society circle. The Judge is a valued member and past commander of Arthur Guernsey Post, G. A. R., of Lewiston. He has not only traveled much in this country, but has also visited the Sandwich and the Philip-pine islands, our two recent acquisitions, and has that culture and experience which only travel can bring. He is highly esteemed for that genuine worth which, in every land and every clime, commands respect and confidence.


Illustrated History of the State of Idaho. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company. 1899.

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