The Fall of St. Vincent

by

Faye Turner

St. Vincent, the oldest in Kittson county, is a historicalsite. It was once a very prosperous town, but now it is falling and theold is being forgotten. It had many stores, saloons, a fire hall, a railroad,and trading posts. Then everything seemed to fade away until it reachedone store, one post office and two churches.

St. Vincent is the oldest city in Kittson county. Manyof the traditions of the area are set around this old town. The town wasbuilt at such an early date, that no records were kept or known of. Thismakes it very hard to set a beginning date.

The town of St. Vincent was named after St. Vincent dePaul. This man was a founder of missions and hospitals in Paris, France.He died on September 27, 1660. This date helps to set an idea of when St.Vincent could have been established.

From the late 70's and early 80's, heavy steam boat trafficon the Red River brought new blood to the valley. In 1878 came the St.Paul, Minneapolis, & Manitoba railroad. Also the first school boardwas organized on January 7, 1880. This school was the second in the county.

Many people were involved in building the town of St. Vincent.John A. Vanstrom was the first postmaster. Charles Gooding was the firstdepot agent in 1878. R. N. Lapp came from Ontario in 1881 and opened ageneral store. J. R. Ryan owned a livery stable and sales stable, and WilliamMason opened a blacksmith shop in 1878. In the 1890's, John McGlashen wasthe first to take a care load of horses from St. Cloud to Winnipeg, Manitobaand later was the owner of a large farm and saloon.

St. Vincent was made up of Canadian immigrants from PrinceEdward Island. Also Scotch descent have been found in the area. In 1880the bank of St. Vincent was opened. In 1884 it closed after being soldto Lewis E. Booker. A private bank was installed under the old banks namein 1903. The banks capital at that time was $10,000.00.

Many churches came to being because of people from differentreligious areas. On July 17, 1882, the Hope Presbyterian church was built... Later that same year, the Methodist and Episcopalian church-es were added. St. Anns Catholic church dates back when members were of French and Indianblood. A building was brought and was converted into a church in 1913. St. Anns is still standing and being used after a few improvements.

St. Vincent also had a fair once a year which brought ruralexpositions. The fair was conducted by the original title, Kittson CountyAgricultural Society. It was changed in 1884 to the St. Vincent Union IndustrialAssociation and is still called this.

After years of prosperity, St. Vincent began to fade. In 1935, the village officers were; Andy Ryan, Mayor; Al Fitzpatric, HarrisEaster, Mont Clinton, and Lawrence Lapp. Even the old fire house was stillbeing used by Phillip Ahles, fire chief. Many of these people are no longerliving, but the names still are in St. Vincent.

Today St. Vincent has a post office, two churches and onestore that is closing soon. People who come to St. Vincent are told ofthe once active town. They see the large decade side walks and the oldfalling buildings and asked what happened?

After a long big fight, Hallock won the county seat whichtook many important people and business. The railroad took over all transportationwhich was done by boat on the mighty Red River. Then the 1948 flood tookthe railroad and new tracks were laid out of reach of the flood waters andSt. Vincent.

St. Vincent is rich in tradition and historical incidents.Little attempt has been made to dig out details of the rugged com-munity. Historical facts must be brought out and preserved while there are stillpeople able to tell the facts of Prosperous St. Vincent.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Gooselaw, Eli St. Vincent, Minnesota 56755.

2. Kittson County Enterprise July 7, 1935 page 48-49.

3. Turner, L. J. St. Vincent, Minnesota 56755.

4. Turner, R. J. St. Vincent, Minnesota 56755.

4. Turner, R. J. St. Vincent, Minnesota 56755.