Remembering Z. T. Vinson


In 1916, an unidentified artist published “Just for Fun,”
 a portfolio of sketches of leading Huntington
 businessmen, including Z.T. Vinson.

Sketch courtesy of Jerry Sutphin


Zachary Taylor Vinson was born in 1857 in Wayne County, just outside Huntington,
 and educated at Bethany (West Virginia) College, the Law School of the
 University of Virginia and Boston University Law School. He first
practiced law at Ceredo in Wayne County, then moved to
Huntington, where he was very successful as
 both a lawyer and a businessman.

In the 1890s, the separate streetcar lines in Huntington and the nearby
 Kentucky communities of Catlettsburg and Ashland had something
in common — all were running in the red. It was Vinson who
 had the idea of combining the separate lines and linking
 the towns. To finance his idea, he turned to Johnson
 N. Camden, a successful oil man and
member of the U.S. Senate.

With the infusion of Camden’s cash, Huntington’s Consolidated Light
 and Railway Co. became the Camden Interstate Railway Co,
 linking Huntington, Ceredo and Kenova in West Virginia,
 Catlettsburg and Ashland in Kentucky and (by ferry
boat) Ironton in Ohio. Passengers flocked
 to the new system.

For decades, the Huntington coal-loading tipple built by Island Creek
 Coal Company was the last stop for the long trainloads of coal
dug from the company’s mines in Logan and Mingo counties
in southern West Virginia. Vinson and other local
investors founded the predecessor of Island
Creek Coal. He and his partners sold their
 firm to U.S. Coal & Oil Company,
which soon changed its name
 to Island Creek Coal.

Vinson was one of the founders of Huntington’s Central
 Christian Church and taught a Sunday School class
there. On his death in 1927, the class was
named the Vinson Memorial Bible Class.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on June 27, 2023.


[ Back ]