Alexander Milton Vance (1871-1943)

My great-grandfather

Alexander Milton Vance, circa 1930

Alexander Milton Vance (known as “Alec”) was born May 15, 1871 in Pierce City, Missouri to James Andrew Vance  and Rachel Scott Vance.   In 1880 Alec lived in Capps Creek, Missouri with his parents and two brothers, Josiah S. (11) and James A. (3) and sister Julia (7).   Brother Earl was born in 1884 but passed away at age 20 in 1904.

He graduated from the University of Arkansas (at Fayetteville) in 1893 with a degree in civil engineering, which became his life profession.  He worked for the railroad, as a land surveyor, a paving contractor and eventually for the state land office in Texas.  He was the Texas State Reclamation Engineer for several years before his retirement and served as vice chair of the State Planning Board.

He married Mary Violet Dean in Mt. Vernon, Missouri on September 24, 1898.  The marriage record says they were married by a “Minister of the Gospel” and that Alec was 27 and Mary was 19; census records show Mary as 16 when she got married.  Mary was from Cloverport, Kentucky.  It was said that while Alec was working for the railroad in Kentucky, he saw Mary Dean on a farm and, thinking that she might make a fine wife, he returned to marry her.

In 1910 Alec and Mary Vance lived on Commercial Street in Pierce City, Missouri, where he worked as a civil engineer.  They had the following children:

Andrew Milton (“Milton”) – born November 27, 1901, Cloverport, Kentucky

Violet – born about 1901, Cloverport, Kentucky

John Dean (“Dean”) – born 1904 in Missouri

Mary Lee – born October 25, 1907 in Missouri

Alexander Vance Family in the Ozarks, 1904

By 1920 the family had moved to the Highland Park area of Dallas, Texas. Alec’s mother, Rachel Scott Vance, came to live with them that year after James died.  In 1922, sadly the family lost daughter Violet, who died at 19.  My family said it was suicide but it may have been a nutritional disorder. In 1930, the family lived at 3813 Miramar, Dallas, with son Milton who was single and an attorney, son Dean a dentist who was married, and daughter Mary Lee, widowed.

In 1935 Alec and Mary lived in Austin where he worked as a State Reclamation Engineer. The 1940 census shows them in Houston at the ages of 68 and 58 living with son Milton.

Alexander Vance’s 1938 license certifying him to practice land surveying in Texas “for life” since 3 persons provided affidavit ” that he is a reputable land surveyor of 15 years actual experience in the field”
Alexander Milton on the left when he was Texas Reclamation Engineer, Dallas Morning News January 1935

Alec died at the age of 71 in Austin, Texas on July 12, 1943.  He was buried at Memorial Park Cemetery, Austin, Texas.

Alexander Milton Vance obituary, 1943
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