Three Vicars Brothers Left Virginia To Move “Out West”

In 1890 Joseph Clark Vicars was the principal of Sugar Tree High School in McConnell , Virginia . Highly skilled in mathematics, he was adept in algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus. He was also proficient in English grammar and declared that if Harvey ‘s Grammar (standard text of the time) were burned to ashes, he could reproduce it word for word, syllable by syllable, letter by letter.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

In 1906 Joseph Clark Vicars and his brother, Augustus, were coaxed by another brother, James F., to leave Scott County, Virginia, and move “out West.” They spent two years in Pond Creek , Oklahoma , before James F. became convinced that the Texas Panhandle offered greater advantages. The promoters of the White Deer Land Company were offering attractive incentives to lure settlers into their vast domain.

The three brothers bought land and built homes in Pampa . Eventually James F. Vicars moved to San Jose , California . Augustus Vicars was killed in a run-away team and wagon accident in 1909.

The family of J.C. and Mattie E. Vicars moved from Pond Creek to Pampa in 1908. They came by train, but their belongings, which included three horses and a cow, were shipped in a boxcar.

They bought an 8-acre tract in west Pampa , and their children were reared in a two-story, four-gabled house on Market Street near the intersection of Wells. Family members had to carry water from the James F. Vicars home one block north until their own well was drilled.

The five children of J.C. and Mattie Vicars were born in Virginia : De Lea in 1891; Edwin Sedley in 1895; Georgia in 1897; Bobbie in 1900 and Kermit in 1904. Georgia and Bobbie married and moved from Pampa . Kermit spent most of his adult life in California , but De Lea and Edwin were permanent residents of Pampa except for Edwin’s times of service in the armed forces.

De Lea, nearly seventeen years old when his family moved to Pampa , attended the school at 513 East Francis for the 1908-1909 school term. He “finished” in 1909 — that was all anyone did then.

The entertainment at that time consisted of attending parties, box suppers, baseball and football games and going to the depot in the evenings to watch the activities when passenger trains arrived and departed.

On May 25, 1909, exactly one year after Pampa’s first bank became the First National Bank, De Lea eagerly started work there as the boy who swept the floors. His first salary was $15.00 a month. Then he drew $25.00 a month while the president of the bank drew $100.00 a month. He worked his way up through the ranks, and in 1934 he became president of the bank and held that position until 1944.

As long as he lived, De Lea got excited about the bank robbery of March 31, 1927, when five men took $32,542 from the bank after herding employees and customers into the vault and closing the door.

For 20 years De Lea served as chairman of the Selective Service Board for Gray, Donley, Roberts and Wheeler counties. He received a presidential citation from President John F. Kennedy in 1962.

De Lea was a charter member of both the Rotary Club and the Pampa Country Club. He was director and vice-president of Security Savings and Loan and past master of the Pampa Masonic Lodge 966. He was past president of Pampa Chamber of Commerce and gave generously to support numerous civic and charitable organizations.

In 1952 De Lea was treasurer of the committee that planned and executed the 50th anniversary celebration of Gray County and Pampa .

On November 30, 1921, De Lea Vicars and Beryl Wynne were married in Amarillo . Their home at 303 North Frost was built in 1921. They had no children.

Beryl was the daughter of J.S. Wynne and Minna (Davies) Wynne. She and her sister Alice were among the ten pupils who attended the first Pampa school in 1903-1904.

Beryl taught Sunday School in the Union Church which met in the school building, and later she taught Sunday School and Bible classes in the First Christian Church for more than 40 years. She helped with the first library, located on the second floor of the First National Bank building, and with one of the first day nurseries in Pampa .

As an efficient record keeper and history buff, Beryl had a fantastic collection of pictures, newspaper clippings and memorabilia of the Texas Panhandle which she gladly shared. The White Deer Land Museum has been greatly enriched by her contributions.

Kermit, her brother-in-law, used to say that he remembered Beryl with crochet or knitting needles going 90 miles an hour and her tongue keeping pace.

Beryl’s recipes for Caramel Pie (p. 252) and Dutch Cookies (p. 199) are in the Gray County Heritage Cookbook. Following the cookie recipe is this comment: “There’s no way to know how many plates of these yummy cookies Beryl took to friends, the sick, the lonely.

Beryl died in 1974, and De Lea died in 1984.

Edwin S. Vicars, one of the first draftees to leave Pampa during World War I, served from September, 1917 to December, 1918. In World War II, he enlisted in October, 1942, and came back in March, 1945. He attained the rank of Lt. Colonel, retired, in the U.S. Air Force.

Edwin was a charter member of Pampa Country Club and the Kiwanis Club and had a perfect attendance record of 52 years in Kiwanis. He was vice-president and cashier of the First National Bank when he left to go into service in 1942. When he returned he worked for the City of Pampa from 1945 to 1960 and was city secretary for the last several years. He was past master of Masonic Lodge 966.

On May 10, 1923, Edwin married Nina Daugherty, sister of Mrs. Rufe Thompson. Their home was at 608 West Buckler. They had an adopted son, James Edwin, who became a research scientist in California .

Nina died in 1955; Edwin died in 1988.

Edwin liked to tell the story of the head-on collision of the cars of Dr. Brunow and Brady Cobb when the cars were the only two on the road in Gray County . He often complained that he always seemed to miss the most exciting events and regretted that he was at home eating lunch when the memorable bank robbery occurred.

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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