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Vinton is a town in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 3,338 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Lake Charles Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The Old Spanish Trail, which was neither old nor Spanish, wandered north and south of what is now U.S. Highway 90 in large part because of the unstable roadbed. The chief means of outside travel in the Parish relied on riverboats plying the Sabine and Calcasieu Rivers. Much of the marsh and bayous remained impassable. River travel made Lake Charles possible, just as mining for sulfur led to the founding of Sulphur. There had been numerous attempts to improve transportation throughout the 19th century. Confederate soldiers in 1863 cut a road extending from Niblett’s Bluff on the Sabine River to Alexandria, but it never developed into a major artery. Settlers had long been in the Vinton area. Jean Baptise Granger settled acreage between what is now Vinton and Big Woods about 1827, one of the first pioneers of the area. Even so, the area remained sparsely populated.
Geography was not the main reason the area had few settlers. From the beginning, the Spanish and French disputed the western boundary of Louisiana. When America bought the territory, they inherited the dispute. In 1806, when negotiations bogged down, a neutral strip or buffer zone was created. Both countries agreed not to claim the land in question, referred to as the Rio Hondo Territory. Starting in 1810, both governments removed all settlers in the Rio Hondo Territory, which included a sizable portion of modern Calcasieu Parish. This policy of forced relocation continued until after the Civil War.