On January 22, 2020 The Fred M. Vinson Museum and Welcome Center held an Open House in Observance of his birthday. He was born in Louisa KY, on January 22, 1890.
The Fred M Vinson Building was built in 1890 and was originally the Lawrence County Jail. It had four cells. The Museum and Welcome Center has had over 1500 visitors from 48 different states and two foreign countries.
His great grandfather James Vinson came through Pond Gap, Va., from South Carolina and settled on the Tug Fork of The Big Sandy River in 1800. James Vinson bought 800 acres of land from the Indians on Tug River and “paid them one black mare, two bear dogs and two rifle guns and had their friendship as long as they lived.
Fred’s early boyhood playground was the Lawrence County Public Square. He received his early education in the Louisa and Catlettsburg public schools, where he excelled in scholastics and sports. He also attended Kentucky Normal College in Louisa, KY for two years graduating on May 5, 1908. He then attended Centre College in KY. He graduated at the top of his class and won the Ormond-Beaty Alumni Prize. He graduated this school in 1909 with the highest grades that had ever been achieved at Centre College.
At age 21, in 1911 he began practicing law in Louisa. By 1914-1915 he was Louisa’s city attorney. Fred was elected Commonwealth Attorney for the 32nd District of Kentucky in 1921, until January 12, 1924. He then became a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the old 9th District, until 1938. In 1938-1943 he served as Associate Justice of the U.S. Court of Appeals fro the District of Columbia. In 1943-1945 he served as Director of Economic Stabilization (appointed by President Roosevelt). In 1944 he was Vice Chairman of the United States Delegation to the United Nations Monetary And Financial Conference at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. He helped established three main goals, while holding this position.
1-International Monetary Funds
2-Established a World Bank
3-World Reserve Currency ( because of Fred’s influence, the world’s currency is the U.S. dollar, thus, enhancing the U.S. economic development, making the economy soar after the war).
In March 1945 he became a Federal Loan Administrator, in April he was the Director of the Office of War Mobilization And Recovery. On July 16, 1945 to June 5, 1946 he became Secretary of the State ( all currency bills printed, while he held this position will have have his signature on them).
On June 6, 1946 he became The Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. While he held this office President Truman was encouraging him to run for President of The United States. According to some polls he could have won in the running against President Eisenhower, who wrote a tribute to this great man after his passing in 1953. His body was laid to rest on Pine Hill Cemetery in Louisa KY.
Fred was a human symbol of the strength of American Leadership and to the two Commander’s In Chief he served. He was awarded The Medal For Merit for his exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the United States from May 1943, to June 1946.