Submitted by Deb Starr


Vincent Cawthon, Kooskia, died early Saturday morning in St. Joseph’s hospital, Lewiston, from injuries he received in an auto accident the Wednesday night before about midnight.  In the car with Cawthon was Ernie Nelson, Lewiston, driver of the car, who is still in the hospital, suffering from shock, bruises and possible concussion.

The two men had been out for a lunch and then went out for a drive.  The 1949 Chrysler went off the foot of the Uniontown highway, crashed through two guard posts, dropped down a 200 foot bluff and rolled out on the flat.  The car was a total wreck.

Cawthon suffered severe injuries to one lung and his ribs were said to have been sheared off along one side of his spine. His severe condition did not warrant many visitors.  His sister, Mrs. Myrtle Frankhouser, cam from Seattle and his son, William Cawthon La Beau from Bremerton.  The son could not remain because of expecting the arrival of a child in their family at any time.  He had visited his father in Kooskia last fall.

“Vin” as he was better known in Central Idaho, was one of the originators of the Brink and A Half Club, and was its main promoter, as secretary-treasurer.  At the time of the accident he was in Lewiston working on final details toward publishing the third edition to The Golden Road to Adventure, the club’s annual publication.  He was a weekly contributor to the Idaho County Free Press, and also wrote feature articles for the Lewiston Tribune and other publications.

Vincent Cawthon was born January 24, 1898 at Palouse, Wash., and moved to Seattle with his parents at the age of two.  In April, 1917, he joined the army, serving in World War I in the Air Corps, and remained in the reserves following 15 years of service.  He was called back to service during World War II, serving with the Engineers in Portland.  He came to Idaho, going to Golden, shortly after being released from service, and 18 years in the army.

He was a member of the Spokane Press club, Idaho State Editorial association, Idaho Writer’s league, North Idaho Chamber of Commerce, Northwest Trade association and Kooskia Chamber of Commerce.  He was scheduled as a speaker at a banquet of the North Idaho Writer’s league at the Lewis Clark hotel in Lewiston Friday evening of last week.

Survivors include, two sons, William Cawthon LaBeau, Bremerton; John Cawthon, Seattle; sister, Mrs. Myrtle Frankhouser, Seattle, and former wife, Mrs. Patricia LaBeau, Bremerton.

Funeral services were held Tuesday morning at the Brower-Wann chapel in Lewiston, with the Rev. Douglas Vance, Federated church. 


MARCH 9, 1950

Letters of Sorrow on “Vin” Arriving

Letters containing words of sorrow over the sudden death of Vincent Cawthon continue to arrive in the Free Press office.  Some are from people who had never met him, but felt that they knew him well from reading his weekly column and special features in the Free Press.

Some take to poetry to express their sorrow, and others to great length.  We are sorry that space and time does not permit us to print all the letters and articles, and therefore have selected excerpts from some.

Following are two verses from a poem written by W.H. Eller of Grangeville.

He blazed a trail of sunshine, as he traveled around each day

And miles and miles of cheer and smiles

He strewed along the way

I never met him face to face

Nor grasped his friendly hand,

But the brilliant pen of dear old Vin

Made me a loyal fan.


“Accident Injuries Fatal to Vin Cawthon.” No, it can’t be true!  There’s some mistake! Vin can’t be dear – not the Vin I knew- the little guy with the snow white head, a little bald on top.  To Vin there wer never any gray days, they were always happy and gay.

I hope the Lord will give you four things: A desk, a chair, a type-writer and a roll of green type-writer ribbon.  With these things Lord, he can type his Vignettes of Life and make even your place a happier one.

Vin never asked for riches, Lord, only for friends.

Jackie LeGresley, Kooskia.



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