Reuben McKellar

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Reuben Neil McKellar

In office
1896–1900
Preceded by Richard Tucker Vinson
Succeeded by Benjamin Holzman

Shreveport Streets and Parks Commissioner
In office
1922–1930

Born 1855
Kickapoo, Anderson County
Texas, USA
Died May 11, 1933 (aged c. 78)
Shreveport, Louisiana
Resting place Oakland Cemetery in Shreveport
Nationality American
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Theodosia "Theo" Hamilton McKellar (married 1882-1933, his death) 
Children Two children
Occupation Planter; businessman

Reuben Neil McKellar (1855 – May 11, 1933) was a planter, businessman, and politician from Shreveport, Louisiana.

Background

McKellar was born to Alabama natives Edwin Daniel McKellar (1827-1876) and the former Susan Miller in rural Kickapoo in Anderson County in east Texas but moved to Shreveport at the age of fourteen. He had a sister, Mrs. T. O. Townsend of Pueblo, Colorado, and from his father's second marriage to the former Mrs. J. B. Hodges three step-siblings.[1] As a youth, he clerked during time off from school in his father's store.[2] He worked with his father until the latter's death.[1]

In 1882, McKellar wed the former Theodosia "Theo" Hamilton (1856-1935), daughter of physician David Blackshear Hamilton (1817-1886) and the former Theodosia Munson (1921-2003). The McKellars had two children: Edwin D. McKellar and Mary Belle McKellar (1888-1941). Mary McKellar never married. In 1886, they lost a six-week-old boy, Hamilton McKellar.[1]

Career

At the age of twenty before he could legally vote, McKellar began serving on the Democratic municipal executive committee in Shreveport, including a stint thereafter as the treasurer of that group. He served on the Shreveport City Council during the 1880s as was named the chairman of the municipal improvement committee. He was in his third council term in 1890. Because Shreveport lacked equipment for streets, he used teams of horses and men from his own cotton plantation to begin the task of building dirt streets. As mayor from 1896 to 1900, he used convict labor for the first street paving in Shreveport. He sold to the railroads the dirt graded from the digging sites to finance the first Shreveport city park. He also pushed for construction of the first city storm sewer. He was the Shreveport street commissioner from 1908 to 1910. As the elected streets and parks commissioner from 1922 to 1930 under the former city commission government, he built a park for African-Americans during the era of the segregated society.[2][3]

From 1886 to 1888, McKellar was the president of the New Orleans Cotton Exchange. He was a director of the Commercial National Bank of Shreveport. He also held stock in the Merchants & Farmers' Bank and was a president of the Board of Trade, specific organization unknown. he was affiliated with the  Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the Masonic lodge.[1]

Upon his death in the spring of 1933, McKellar was interred at Oakland Cemetery in Shreveport. His widow was buried beside him two years later.[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Reuben Neil McKellar. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on May 16, 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 McKellar, Reuben Neil. Louisiana Historical Association. Retrieved on May 16, 2016.
  3. The Louisiana Historical Association used these sources for its biographical sketch of Reuben McKellar: Lilla McLure and J. Ed Howe, History of Shreveport and Shreveport Builders (1937) and Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northwest Louisiana (1892).