Vineyard, John W. (1804–1875)

By: Keith Guthrie

Type: Biography

Published: August 1, 1995

John W. Vineyard, founder of Ingleside, businessman, cattleman-farmer, and moneylender, was born on July 4, 1804, in Virginia. He moved to Green County, Kentucky, as a young man and married Nancy Graham Owens. They moved westward and prospered in construction enterprises. They lived in Missouri, where his brother became president of Pleasant Ridge College, and twelve of their children received part of their education there. A thirteenth child was born in Ingleside. The family headed to Texas in the mid-1850s and purchased land from George C. Hatch in San Patricio County. Vineyard became known as a man with money to lend and invest. He became part owner with Gen. Thomas Taylor Williamson of one of the largest wharves at St. Mary's of Aransas. He also was a partner, with his son Sam, in a lumberyard and warehouse. They operated a 275-ton schooner to bring lumber from Florida to their yard. The bulk of the lumber used to build homes in South Texas during the pre-Civil War period came through St. Mary's and their yard. Sons Samuel W. and George W. Vineyard carried on this business. Vineyard furnished funds for dredging the Morris-Cummins Cut to get deep water to Corpus Christi in 1874 and was listed on the rate card as receiving the tolls. During the Civil War a considerable amount of Vineyard's property was destroyed or stolen, and he filed a claim with the federal government for $900,000. Despite the fact that a claim of $575,000 was later approved by Congress, there is no record of Vineyard's heirs receiving money. John and Nancy Vineyard were area leaders; she was the only "doctor" in the area, and he was justice of peace. The family were Baptists. Vineyard died in 1875 and his wife in 1888; both were buried in the family cemetery near Ingleside. As a result of highway construction their actual burial site is unknown. The grave markers, which have been moved twice, are in Aransas Pass Cemetery.

Keith Guthrie, History of San Patricio County (Austin: Nortex, 1986). Keith Guthrie, Texas' Forgotten Ports (Austin: Eakin Press, 1988).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Keith Guthrie, “Vineyard, John W.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 13, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995