Wine Making is in our blood-
Rich with stories of pioneer life,
many of Wooden Wheel Vineyards
wines are dedicated to the Vincent ancestors.
Wooden Wheel Family History
Last year during the Iowa State Fair (2022) our family farm was recognized as a Heritage Farm for being owned by the same family for more than 170 years.
Our family’s history began on our farm in 1850 when Isabella Clark (my Great-Great Grandmother) filed the paperwork to exercise her father’s benefit to receive 80 acres as a veteran of the War of 1812. She was able to do so as the only remaining minor child of her father who died from cancer in 1835. Isabella lost her mother during childbirth when Isabella was only 2.
In April of 1854 she married John Wright and they came to Iowa by riverboat. On May 1, 1854, they landed in Burlington, IA and made their way by wagon to what is now the site of Wooden Wheel Vineyards.
Isabella’s first-born children were twins, Martin and Tessie. They had 10 children altogether, 5 born before the Civil War and 5 after the Civil War when John returned home after 4 years in the Iowa 25th Infantry, part of Grant’s Army.
A few years later Tessie married George G. Vincent (Great-Grand Parents) and they became the 2nd owners of our farm. My Grandfather and then my father also owned the farm for a period of time. Then in 1978 Connie and I purchased the farm and raised our children, the 6th generation of our family, on the farm.
We celebrate the lives of many of our ancestors by naming the wines after them and by sharing the interesting lives that they have led. Please read and enjoy the short stories about their lives.
WINE NAMESAKE: JOHN VINCENT
John was born on April 8th, 1796 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania and moved to Washington County, Iowa in April of 1842. The father of 10 children who survived to adulthood, he gave each 80 acres in the area of what is now Iowa Highway 92 Southeast of Keota, Iowa. John is the father of George G. Vincent and the Grandfather of Charity Mae and Earl Vincent, ‘The Judge.’ John was known far and wide as Uncle Johnnie to friends and relatives alike. ~Mike Vincent
WINE NAMESAKE: Isabella Clark Wright
Isabella Clark Wright, my Great-Great Grandmother, survived against all odds. She was born in Shippinsburg, Pennsylvania on January 23, 1833. Isabella was the youngest child of William Weston Clark and Margret Young Clark. Her father was a veteran of the War of 1812 and died in 1835. Her mother died giving birth to twins 3 months later. An orphan at the age of 2, Isabella was raised by her older sister, Mary Ann, who worked hard to keep this orphaned family of 10 children together.
When Isabella was 16, she moved to Ohio with her sister Nancy. Where she was to meet her future husband, John M. Wright. As stated by Martha Grace Vincent, “A law was passed granting land to children of veterans of the War of 1812 who were under 18 years of age. Isabella was then 17 years, 10 months, and 7 days old. Her brother, William Weston, of Carrol County Ohio was her guardian. One of her brothers, either James or John, rode on horseback many miles (from Iowa) to where she was living to insist that she make application for this land. Making her application, she received 80 acres of land onto which she and her husband moved in 1850.”
With her quiet strength and pioneering spirit, she carved her own path with great dedication. In 1850, Isabella and her husband settled on what is now the site of Wooden Wheel Vineyards and raised her family of ten children. ~Mike Vincent
WINE NAMESAKE: George Gibson Vincent
George Gibson Vincent, born August 9, 1848 was the third child of John Vincent and Jane McCully Vincent. George was a member of a large family of eleven children. George had five brothers and sisters plus six older half brothers and sisters from John’s first marriage to Jane Parr. Jane had died in 1843 shortly after arriving in Iowa.
George began farming in eastern Washington County on 80 acres given to him by his father. He later married Mary Theresa Wright, known as Tessie (Isabella’s daughter) in 1879. Over the years, George became known as a very successful farmer accumulating a sizeable farm including the site of Wooden Wheel Vineyards. George was well known as a breeder of Shorthorn Cattle and his annual auctions were attended by people all over the Midwest. He was also the local Justice of the Peace.
George and Tessie had seven children, Jennie Bell, Charity Mae, Nellie Ina, Earl W., Martha Grace, Robert Elmer (Mike’s Grandfather) and George Everett. – Mike Vincent
WINE NAMESAKE: George Washington Husted
Private G.W. was awarded the Gold Medal from the 2014 Mid-American Wine Competition.
George Washington Husted, my Great-Great Grandfather, enlisted in 1861 in the 8th Iowa Infantry. On April 6, 1862, he was captured at the Battle of Shiloh fighting at the ‘Hornets Nest’. After being released via a prisoner exchange, he re-enlisted in the Iowa 5th Calvary. Under the command of Pappy McCook, he was captured at the Battle of Atlanta and imprisoned at Andersonville. Paroled for illness, he recovered and returned to the 5th. ~Mike Vincent
Mountain Man &
Mountain Man Iowa Petite Pearl
WINE NAMESAKE: Horace kephart
Horace Kephart, a cousin of my maternal grandfather, was born in 1862 in Pennsylvania and raised in Iowa. He was an American travel writer and librarian and is best known as the author of ‘Our Southern Highlanders’ about his life in the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina.
Horace was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Iowa where his father was the administrator of the Jefferson, Iowa Schools. Horace became the director of the St. Louis Mercantile Library from 1890 to 1903. In these years, he also wrote monthly articles about camping and hunting trips for Field and Stream magazine. Earlier, Kephart had also worked as a librarian at Yale University and spent significant time in Italy as an employee of a wealthy American book collector.
In 1904, Kephart’s family (wife Laura and their six children) moved to New York, while Horace found his way to western North Carolina, where he lived in the Hazel Creek section of what would later become the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Horace wrote, “I took a topographic map and picked out on it, by means of the contour lines and the blank spacing showing no settlement, what seemed to be the wildest part of these regions; and there I went.”
Later in life, Horace campaigned for the establishment of a national park in the Great Smoky Mountains with photographer and friend George Masa, and lived long enough to know the national park would be created. He was later named one of the fathers of the national park. He also helped plot the route of the Appalachian Trail through the Smokies. Kephart died in a car accident in 1931, and was buried in Bryson City, North Carolina. Two months before his death, Mount Kephart was named in his honor.
The Mountain Heritiage Center and Special Collections at Hunter Library, Western Carolina University have created a digitized online exhibit called “Revealing an Enigma” that focuses on Horace Kephart’s life and works. This exhibit contains documents and artifacts (photos and maps) that can be browsed or searched. ~Mike Vincent
wine namesake: charity mae vincent
Charity Mae, or Aunt Mae, as she was known to my family, was born May 22, 1881, the second child of George and Tessie Vincent. The Granddaughter of Isabella, Charity Mae grew up in the late 1800’s playing in the fields where Wooden Wheel Vineyards now stands. She attended country school at Hopewell Center and become a very social and well liked member of the community. A pioneer in her own right, she owned a successful small business, a millinery store, well before it was an accepted practice. Charity Mae married late in life to Chalmers Sturgeon and had no childred but dedicated her life to community and charities. The current site of Keota Community Schools was a farm owned by Charity Mae. A woman ahead of her time, and as exuberant as she was in life, so too, is this choice of a prairie fine wine with its robust and vibrant flavors. ~Mike Vincent
WINE NAMESAKE, EARL VINCENT
Uncle Earl Vincent, my Grandfather’s brother, was born March 27, 1886 in Washington County, Iowa, the son of George G. Vincent. Earl attended the Hopewell Country School and graduated from Keota High School in 1904. He attended Monmouth College and graducated in 1909. He then attended the University of Iowa Law School and graduated in 1912. Earl went into Law Practice with his Father-In-Law whose law office is now part of the Living History Farms in Des Moines, Iowa. In 1919, he became the County Attorney for Guthrie County and in 1923, he was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives. In 1928 he was elected U.S. Congressmen from the 9th District and in 1945, he was appointed as a Federal District Judge and served until his death in 1953. ~Mike Vincent
wine namesake: Martha Grace Vincent
Martha Grace Vincent, or Aunt Grace as she was known to our family, was born February 8, 1888. Martha was my Grandfather’s sister, and devoted her entire life to helping others. A graduate of Keota High School, she was trained as a teacher and taught at West Chester High School but spent most of her career in the Presbyterian Missionary. Her dedication to helping others took her to Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, and the Hawaii Islands where she taught children as part of her mission work. Later in life, Grace and Charity shared a home in Keota for many years. ~Mike Vincent
Martin & Tessie
wine namesake: Martin & Tessie Vincent
Martin & Tessie were the first born twins of Isabella. Growing up on the family farm that is now the site of Wooden Wheel Vineyards, they enjoyed the richness of pioneer life on the prairie. Tessie married George G. Vincent and later they purchased our farm where Wooden Wheel Vineyards stands today. Martin married Molly Moses and settled in Correctionville, Iowa. He became a druggist and owner of the Correctionville Drug Store. ~Mike Vincent