Where the Cotton Grows, by Paul Ashton Vick

Paul's parents, Dorothy Flanders Vick and Robert Vick
Paul’s parents, Dorothy Flanders Vick and Robert Vick

My Story

Paul Ashton Vick

China plane crash site

The Plane crash

Paul was only 16 months old when a plane carrying himself, his parents, and his 3-year-old brother crashed in a cotton field in a remote area of China in 1947.

The plane crash made international news from Shanghai to San Francisco to New York City and parts in between as readers were caught up in the intrigue of why the plane crashed, one of several recent crashes in remote China. Photos of the orphaned toddler Paul Vick, with his legs in traction in a hospital in Shanghai, pierced the hearts of readers everywhere.

Robert and Dorothy Vick were young Baptist missionaries on their way to their first assignment when a wing of the plane caught fire. Robert jumped from the plane while tightly gripping Paul in his arms. Robert lived just long enough to dictate his final wish that Paul be returned to his grandparents in Rochester for them to raise.

Paul in China hospital

Going Home

Paul was returned to Rochester where he was raised by his grandparents Clarence and Ethel Vick. It wouldn’t be until many years later that Paul realized the extent the events of that day would shape his life.

Paul on last leg to US
Paul visiting china and speaking with farmers who saw the crash

Return to china

More than sixty years after the crash and his retirement from a successful career as an attorney, Paul resolves to return to China, to find answers to two questions haunting him.

What caused his parents to take a perilous journey to a war-torn country, exposing themselves and their two young children to so great a risk?

What impact did their lives, and the lives of so many others called to serve during a turbulent period in China’s history, have on the China of today?

Where the Cotton Grows, by Paul Ashton Vick

This mesmerizing memoir includes more than 120 color and black-and-white photos documenting the plane crash site, Paul’s family and his growing up years, and his return trips to China, along with maps, newspaper clippings, and letters. The book is available in print and e-book editions on Amazon.com.

Paul Ashton Vick, Where the Cotton Grows

Paul A. Vick is an ordained American Baptist Minister and retired as partner in charge of the Family Wealth Planning Department of the Rochester office of Phillips, Lytle LLP. He currently serves as treasurer of the board of the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society (also known as International Ministries) as well as chair of the finance committee of the board of trustees of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. Paul also serves on the board of the American Baptist Churches of Rochester Genesee Region of the American Baptist Churches USA and is a member of Immanuel Baptist Church in Rochester, New York. He has acted as legal counsel for many civic and religious service organizations.

Paul is a 1967 graduate of Kalamazoo College in Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts degree; a 1971 graduate of Colgate Rochester Divinity School with a Master of Divinity degree; and a 1975 graduate of University of Buffalo Law School with a Juris Doctor degree. Paul has made two trips to China. A video called The Vineyard documents Paul’s most recent trip and can be viewed below.

Paul resides in Rochester, New York, with his wife Joyce Miller Vick. They have three children and seven grandchildren. This is his first book.

The Vineyard