Sam Houston Jones

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Sam Houston Jones

In office
May 14, 1940 – May 9, 1944
Preceded by Earl Long
Succeeded by Jimmie Davis

Born July 15, 1897
Merryville
Beauregard Parish

Louisiana

Died February 8, 1978
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Resting place Prien Memorial Park Cemetery in Lake Charles
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Louise Gambrell Boyer Jones
Children Robert Gambrell "Bob" Jones
Carolyn Jelks Jones

Stepchildren:
James G. Boyer
William Edwin "Bill" Boyer

Alma mater Louisiana State University Law Center
Occupation Lawyer

United States Army in World War I

Religion United Methodist

Sam Houston Jones (July 15, 1897 – February 8, 1978) was a Democratic lawyer who served as the 46th governor of his native Louisiana for the single term from  1940 to 1944. He defeated the renowned Earl Long in the 1940 runoff election. Eight years later, Long in a reversal of 1940 soundly defeated Jones in the 1948 party primary, as both sought to return to the governorship then filled by the first term of the Democrat Jimmie Davis.

Jones obtained his legal credentials from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He was an assistant district attorney after he moved in 1924 from Merryville in Beauregard Parish to the larger Lake Charles in Calcasieu Parish.

Governor Jones sought to eliminate the power of the Long political machine by reducing the number of state employees. He instituted competitive bidding for state contracts, eliminated the "deduct system" begun by Huey Long of mandatory campaign contributions by state employees, and enacting state civil service procedures. Jones worked to increase international trade through the Louisiana ports on the Gulf of Mexico. He signed the Public Records Act of 1940, which declared most state documents public records. The new law also authorized the development of the state archives.[1]

In his 1948 race, Jones, who had been out of office for four years, polled only 223,971 votes (34.1 percent) to Earl Long's overwhelming 432,528 (65.9 percent). Other candidates eliminated in the primary were later Governor Robert F. Kennon of Minden and  U.S. Representative James H. "Jimmy" Morrison of Hammond.

In his later years, Jones often endorsed Republican presidential nominees. His son, Robert Gambrell "Bob" Jones (born May 9, 1939), a Lake Charles stockbroker, served in both houses of the state legislature from 1968 to 1976. He ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat in the first ever nonpartisan blanket primary against Governor Edwin Edwards. Bob Jones later became a Republican but did not seek office under the GOP banner.

Jones' stepson, William Edwin "Bill" Boyer (c. 1931-1997), was the mayor of Lake Charles from 1973 to 1981.

References

  1. A Historical Sketch of the Louisiana State Archives. sos.la.gov. Retrieved on October 1, 2013.