Stephen Archibald Yancy (1850-1939)

"YANCY AND THE OLD OREGON TRAIL" By Jerry L. Preas

Stephen Archibald Yancy (1850-1939) married Lucindy Bowen (1846-1929) in Georgia. The couple arrived in Texas with their children in 1882. Daughter Annie remembers coming by wagon and team, and crossing a large body of water by ferry.

The father and mother of Stephen Archibald "Y" Yancy were Stephen James Yancy and Mary Polly Ann (Holbrook) Yancy. (It has been reported that Stephen James father was Dabney (Dabner) Yancy who had a son named Stephen -other names connected with Stephen are Sterling, Louis, and Bernard Yancy).

The children of Stephen and Lucindy were James, Minnie, Annie, Charles Franklin, Eldridge Asberry, Steve Andrew, Mary, William Rudolph, and Sara. Some of their children were born in Texas.

Before coming to Texas, Stephen was an overseer on a large plantation. He was born 25 December 1850 in Georgia. His wife, Lucindy (Bowen) was born 30 April 1846 in Cowetta County, Georgia. Her father was A. J. Bowen, and her mother's name was Anilla.

In Texas, Stephen would sign his name A. Y. Yancy. When asked, "Why don't you write out your name inst.ead of using A. Y.?", he replied. "It's too much trouble". He said that he had started using the "Y" so that he could tell his mail from that of his son who had the same SAY initials. Stephen has a cattle brand registered in Coleman, Texas under the name A. Y. Yancy.

When Francis Parkman wrote of his experiences on the Oregon trail, little did he anticipate how it would affect the American People. Several movies were produced around this theme. In one of the movies, Stephen Archibald Yancy had a bit part.

Stephen Archibald Yancy had long white hair and a flowing white beard in the late 1920's. His wife Lucindy died in 1929. During those years he visited his daughter Mary, who lived in Summerton, Arizona. While in Arizona, he was employed to play a part in a movie. His grandson, James has a picture of Stephen standing behind a wagon with one of the women from the cast. The writing on the back of the picture states "To S. Y. Yancy with Best Wishes. The Old Oregon Trail. April 1930. Aline Goodwin".

Both Ila B. and Clifton, Stephen's grandchildren, remember him telling stories about his adventures in the making of the movie.
"Grandpaw was very religious and he would tell us how evil were the people making the movie.", said Ila. "When they were not working, they would throw a hlanket on the ground, gather round it and gamble. The big trees shown in the movie were not big trees at all, the camera crew would take pictures of broom weeds in such a way that they looked like huge trees."


"He told us that the bog holes were made by pouring water into a low place in the ground and driving horses and wagons through it. Women would come and waller in the mud - then push on the wagons. When the camera crew had got what they wanted, the equipment had to be pulled out of the bog."

"Pap was a farmer and teamster," explained Clifton. He told me that the movie people got on to him several times for feeding the animals.

"You'll have the animals all slick and fat," they said. "But we want them to look skinny and poor for the movie."

"Pap didn't stay with the movie company to the finish of the movie," Clifton stated. "The movie people paid at the end of each day. Pap thought that he had been fired when he got his pay, so he left."

A number of movies based on the Oregon Trail adventures have been produced. Two movies were released during that period of time Steve Yancy was in ,Nrizona - The Big Trail (1930), and The Covered Wagon 1, (1923). The Big Trail, a black and white movie stars

 

LUCINDY BOWEN YANCY Lucindy (Bowen) Yancy (1846-1929) moved to Texas with her husband, Stephen Archibald Yancy, and their family in 1882. She gave her grandson, Steve Louie Yancy an 1882 Indian Head penny and told him to keep it always as that was the year they came to Texas. She claimed to be of Black-Dutch and Cherokee Indian heritage, both of which she was proud of. Her mother's name was Anilla. They lived in Cowetta County ' Georgia. Lucindy had a one-eyed brother, George, who also came to Texas.

Stephen Archibal had been the overseer of a large plantation in Georgia before they decided to move to Texas. The Bowen's of Georgia purchased some of the Indian reservation land when it was opened up for settlement. The relationship of Lucindy to the Bowen's who were plantation owners there is not known. Lucindy was very superstitious. Ila Bea, her grandaughter, tells how when she forgot something, she would take ten steps backwards before going back to get it. She also made friends with the Indians in Arizona while she was there visiting her daughter Mary. Ila Bea said, "Grandmother's Indian friend never removed her dress. When it was dirty, she just added another dress on top."