Alvin Eugene Vincent 

Grover Cleveland Vincent (1885-1968)

last page update: Feb. 10, 2018
Alvin Vincent
b. 31 Jan 1885 Talladega County, Alabama
     Uncle Grover gave his date of birth on several official government records as Jan. 31st, 1985.  This is consistent
     with his age given at the 1901 settlement of his father's estate after his father, Aaron Vincent, died intestate.
d.  5 May 1968 VA Hospital, Oteen, Buncombe County, North Carolina.
m. 29 Dec 1923 New Hanover County, North Carolina
Laura Hill Jacobs
     She was b. 26 Apr 1895 in Wilmington, NC to Charles Deems Jacobs and Mary Eliza Willis.
     Laura died 27 Oct 1966 in Wilmington, NC.
Laura's brother-in-law, Frederick J. Robinson (1894-1980) of New Hanover County, NC, wrote me a nice 2-page letter 1 (see below).


Unknown.  I found a 1918 WWI draft registration for a Grover Cleveland Vincent b. 1885.  It gave a description of him but turned out to be some fellow in New York who was already married to someone named "Clara."  Uncle Grover didn't marry until 1923, married Laura Jacobs (not "Clara") and, as far as I know, never lived in New York although he did work for the railroad and apparently resided all over the country at various times in his life.  We don't know how tall he was or what color his hair and eyes weree but there are a couple excellent photos of him.  The links to these are below.

Grover served during World War I as an officer in the Transporationi Corps.  Keep in mind that, although they had cars and trucks then, transportation during this war was most often by rail or draft animal (horses and mules).

For years I chased family legends about Grover's service record and whether or not his commitment to a Veteran's Hospital most of his life was due to being mustard gassed during WWI (according to my brother) or simply "gassed" according to my father and mother.  For the story of what actually happend to Grover, click this link:
Vincent-Grover WWI record

For more about Grover's military record, see the link to Frederick J. Robinson below.

Bachelor Degree in Engineering, University of Alabama.  He specialized in civil engineering which, according to Wikipedia, a civil engineer deals with the "planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating [of] infrastructures", in this case, railroads.  I like to think of them as architects whose building material is DIRT!  If that sounds demeaning, think of them as people who move mountains because they often do reshape landscapes.

We're more familiar these days with civil engineers who design and build interstate highways but back in Uncle Grover's day, the principle mode of interstate travel was by rail.  Grover's brother, my grandfather Oakley, worked for and retired from the railroad.  They never owned a car.  He had a free railroad pass and they went everywhere by rail.  If they had to travel locally, they went by mule wagon or had someone else drive him until he died in 1955.  Throughout their lives, railroads were king.

Grover Vincent was a railroad maintenance engineer.  According to his brother-in-law, Uncle Grover
... worked as a Civil Engineer for the old Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in Wilmington, N.C.; Davis Shores (Tampa-in-the-Bay), Tampa, Florida, Davis Shores, St. Augustine, Fla., Missouri Pacific Railroad, St. Louis, Missouri, and the State Highway Dept. of Iowa, until his illness with tuberculosis in the spring of 1929.  

Sources and Other Information:

Frederick J. Robinson 

I was told in a letter from the VA Hospital in North Carolina that Frederick J. Robinson (1894-1980) was the "son-in-law" of Grover Vincent.  Here's an image of the letter I received from the hospital 29 Dec 1977:
1977-12-29 letter from Veterans Administration Hospital, Asheville, North Carolina 28805.
Lest the the address in Asheville is confusing, please click this link for his death certificate which shows he did indeed die at the VA Hospital in Oteen, NC:
Death Certificate for Grover Vincent from the Oteen, NC VA Hospital records.  The BACK of the certificate certifies it.

To further clarify the hospital's location, the 1930 U.S. Census (click link below) shows that Grover was then a patient of the hospital.  The Census was for the State of North Carolina, Buncombe County, Swannanoa Township.  According to this Census, the town of Oteen was an unincorporated place in 1930.  All the census taker said about the hospital was that the institution was the "U.S. Veterans Hospital."  
According to Wikipedia the "Oteen Veterans Administration Hospital Historic District" is located in Asheville.  Wikipedia says the Asheville Metropolitan Area covers 5 counties.  It still lists "Oteen" as one of the unincorporated communities.

1930 U.S. Census for Grover Vincent showing he was a patient in the Oteen VA hospital in Buncombe County, NC.  For viewing purposes, this census is best viewed in full-screen.  

When I received the 1977 letter from the VA Hospital I immediate wrote a letter to Frederick J. Robinson at the address given.  For a bit more about Frederick J. Robinson, CLICK HERE.   After receiving his letter, I wrote Mr. Robinson again.  I mentioned that the VA hospital had told me he was Uncle Grover's "son-in-law" and said that if Grover Vincent and Laura Jacobs had no children, how could he be their son-in-law?  He never replied.

Again, after much recent research, it turns out that Frederick J. Robinson married Lila Jacobs, Laura Jacobs' sister, and was therefore Uncle Grover Vincent's brother-in-law, not his son-in-law.  Here's a record of his marriage to Lila Jacobs:
Frederick J. Robinsons marriage to Lila Jacobs.  When I compared this marriage with the 1920 Census record for Wilmington, New Hanover County, NC some interesting facts became evident.  Here's a link to the 1920 Census:
1920 U.S. Census for Frederick J. Robinson

The Census reveals that Mr. Robinson was then living with Lila's parents, Charles and Mary Jacobs, and all the Jacobs children: Laura (who later married Grover), brother Hardy W., and Frederick's wife, Lila.  It also shows that the ENTIRE FAMILY worked for the railroad!  The home owner, Mr. Charles Jacobs, was a clerk for the RR, his daughter Laura was a stenographer, her brother Hardy was a file clerk in the railroad's Real Estate office, Mr. Robinson was a chief clerk, and his wife, Lina, was a stenographer.

It dawned on me that Grover, being a civil engineer for the railroad, must have had many dealings with the office staff.  He would have had to clear things with the Real Estate office where Hardy worked and likely new everyone in the Jacobs family, including Frederick J. Robinson, long before he married Laura.  It's also interesting that Frederick J. Robinson's marriage record shows he was married in the house of "Mrs. C.D. Jacobs", his mother-in-law and that H.W. Jacobs (his brother-in-law, Hardy) was witness.  It would be nice to know what was the faith Rev. J. Hanchel Taylor.  Uncle Grover's grandfather, John Vincent (1787-1871) was a Methodist Minister.

- Military Record Sources 
The address the VA Hospital sent me for Frederick J. Robinson, they said he lived at "611 Kenwood" in Wilmington, NC.  When I received the reply from Mr. Robinson dated 24 Jan 1978, it came in This Envelope with his correct address which was 517 Kenwood.  Thank goodness the P.O. delivered my letter to the correct person.  I was only expecting a reply.  I got a very nice reply.  Click this link to see it:
- 1978-01-24 letter from F.J. Robinson, page 1

I was shocked at the wealth of information and family heirlooms Mr. Robinson sent me.  Since Grover and Laura both died without anyone to pass on their collectables to, Mr. Robinson sent me the following treasured items:
1978-01-24 Robinson letter, page 2  Page 2 of Mr. Robinson's letter gave me a brief but very complete history of Uncle Grover's birth date and place, death date and place, cause of death, attending physician, place where his death certificate was recorded, names of Grover's parents and his siblings that were known to Mr. Robinson (he had more that weren't known to Mr. Robinson), lots of info about Grover's wife, Laura, a bit about Uncle Grover's military service and career.  Page 1 of Mr. Robinson's letter went into yet more detail about Uncle Grover's work history with the railroad.

- Grovers honorable discharge from WWI - front side

- Grovers honorable discharge from WWI - back side

Death Certificate for Grover Vincent from the Oteen, NC VA Hospital

- Photo of Grover Vincent after he became a civilian.

- Photo of Grover Vincent in U.S. Army uniform.

- Grover's WWI Officers Record book  and other service records explaining his military service.

- Other Records and  Sources 
The following records and sources were from various websites and related research.
- Grover and Laura's Marriage License from New Hanover County which I downloaded from

- Laura Vincent's Death Certificate which I found at

- Grover Vincent's tombstone from

NOTE: Since Grover and Laura Jacobs Vincent had no descendants, it's up to us, his relatives, to remember him and cherish what information we know of him.  I'm grateful to another Vincent cousin, Trish, a descendant of Grover's brother Elmer, for inspiring me to post online these records of Grover I've collected over the years (thanks, cousin).  Grover and Laura will not be forgotten.