The Pioneer Cottage Has Been Moved Four Times

(Most of the following information was obtained from articles written by Edna Carr Vincent and Kathryn Vincent Steele.)

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

Wiley Powell Vincent and his wife, the former Mary Catharine “Katie” Crawford, came to Pampa In 1903. With them were two sons, Clifton and Jack (P. C.). Two other children, Joe Tyler and Kathryn, were born later. For a short time the Vincents lived in a small house owned by 3. S. Wynne and in~ a small house owned by the Johnson Mercantile Company. Then (also in 1903) they bought a five acre lot adjacent to the original town site of Pampa. (At that time Browning Avenue was the northern boundary of Pampa.) They hired Walter and 011 Davis to build the small house that became the Pioneer Cottage and Wiley helped in its construction.

The cottage was built at the corner of Browning and Starkweather (now the Central Baptist Church Parking lot~ While the cottage was being built, the Vincents lived in two tents — one was used for a kitchen and the other for sleeping quarters. The foundation for the house was made of cedar posts and lumber was purchased from the Johnson Mercantile Company. The house was 16×30 feet with the front room 16×20 feet and a shed room 10×16 feet There were two windows and a door in the south side of the front room and the shed room had one window in the east and one in the west with a door on the north side. The roof was made of cedar shingles and the house was painted to preserve the lumber. Coal and wood were used as fuel for a heater in the front room and a cook stove in the kitchen.

Kerosene lamps were used for lights, and Katie faithfully polished the lamp chimneys every day. Water for household use was hauled from the White Deer Land Company well in wooden barrels loaded on wagons. Later gutters were put on the house and rain was stored in a galvanized covered tank. The Vincents planted fruit trees and Black and Honey Locust trees which the White Deer Land Company furnished to settlers. Wiley dug a cellar about 10×12 feet to store fruit and vegetables and to protect the family from wind and storms. Pampa’s first school building was across Browning Avenue south of the cottage and Cliff Vincent was one of the ten pupils who attended the first school (1903-04). Both the cottage and the school building were threatened by a prairie fire (started north of Pampa by a burning haystack) which came within 600 yards of the cottage.

(The year of the fire has been reported as 1907, but Leona Martin, whose family came in March, 1908, wrote that she was attending school at the time of the fire.) Wiley was not at home, and neighbor John E. Chapman warned Katie to seek safety for her family. She began immediately to carry bedding, clothing and food to the cellar. She pulled 50 pound sacks of flour and one 100 sack of sugar to tumble down the cellar steps. She took time out to chase Wiley’s new Stetson hat that blew out of her hands as she started to the cellar. When she told this story in later years, she laughed until tears rolled down her cheeks and said that she could never have done what she did if she had not been so scared. Katie did not forget “Rat,” Cliff’s pony; she went to the lot and turned him loose. Cliff said that it was hard to catch the pony after the fire which was contained by men and boys of the community who fought with wet sacks and brooms.

In 1912 Robert and Mary Yeager came from East Texas and later bought a 60 acre tract that stretched from Browning Avenue to present East Harvester (southern edge of Fairview Cemetery). This purchase included the Vincents’ five acre plot on which the pioneer cottage was standing. The Vincents moved to their farm about two miles northeast of Pampa. In 1914 they bought a large white house at 303 E. Atchison and moved there. (This house is now two miles west of Pampa just south of Highway 60.) In 1915 the Yeagers built a lovely home (now at 727 Magnolia) immediately east of the pioneer cottage. Since they did not want the little house at their front door, they moved it to a place about where Yeager and Short streets intersect.

Robert Yeager died in 1918, and in 1920 Edward Spencer Carr and his wife Effie purchased the Yeager holdings. Their daughter Edna had married Cliff Vincent on June 24, 1919, and the Carrs gave the cottage to Cliff and Edna and moved it back to its original location on the corner of Browning and Starkweather. Cliff and Edna lived in what had been Cliff’s childhood home until 1925. They built a porch on the front and back of the house and painted it white. Electricity and water were available but they still burned coal and wood for a time before they used natural gas for heat. From 1925 until 1962 the cottage housed many families and at one time one of Pampa’s first “Helpy-Selfy Laundries” was operated there. In 1962

Cliff and Edna gave the cottage to the Pampa Genealogical and Historical Society and moved it to Starkweather and Yeager where the City of Pampa had allotted a park for its location. On December 6, 1970 the Pioneer Cottage was awarded a Texas State Historical Marker. Mrs. Wiley P. Vincent, Mr. and Mrs. Cliff Vincent and members of the Crawford, Steele, Carr, Vincent and Wynne families assisted in the unveiling. The Pioneer Cottage remained at Starkweather and Yeager until August 2003 when it was moved to Santa Fe Park at the corner of Atchison and Cuyler.It is being restored for public viewing by members of the Gray County Historical Commission.

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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