C. E. "Cap" Barham

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Charles Emmett "Cap" Barham​

Cap Barham (left) with 1956 gubernatorial running mate Chep Morrison, then the mayor of New Orleans

43rd Lieutenant Governor
of Louisiana​
In office
May 13, 1952​ – May 8, 1956​
Governor Robert F. Kennon
Preceded by Bill Dodd
Succeeded by Lether Frazar

Louisiana State Senator for District 29 (Lincoln and Union parishes)​
In office
1948​ – 1952​
Preceded by A. K. Goff, Jr.​
Succeeded by James P. Hinton​

Born September 28, 1904​
Near Dubach

Lincoln Parish, Louisiana​

Died February 23, 1972 (aged 67)​
Resting place Greenwood Cemetery in Ruston​
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Carice Helen Hilburn Barham​
Children Charles C. Barham

Robert Ewing Barham

Residence Ruston, Lincoln Parish​
Alma mater Northwestern State University

Louisiana State University Law Center​

Occupation Attorney

Charles Emmett Barham, known as C. E. "Cap" Barham (September 28, 1904 – February 23, 1972), was the Democratic lieutenant governor of his native Louisiana from 1952 to 1956. He is credited with having made the office more independent of the governor. Prior to his statewide position, Barham was a state senator from the then 29th District (Lincoln and Union parishes) between 1948 and 1952. Like Governor Robert F. Kennon, under whom he served, Barham was part of the anti-Long faction of Louisiana politics, but the more liberal Barham was frequently at odds with Kennon as well.​


Barham was born in Kimbleton near Dubach in Lincoln Parish to John Robert Barham and the former Leola Fowler. He was educated in Dubach public schools and then attended Northwestern State University (then "Louisiana Normal College") in Natchitoches, from which he graduated with teaching credentials in 1927. He taught school for a year at Dubach and then enrolled in the law school of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He received his L.L.B. degree in 1931 and thereafter opened his law practice in Ruston.​

Barham married the former Carice Helen Hilburn 1907-1965),[1] and the couple had two sons, Charles C. Barham, a Ruston attorney and the Lincoln-Union state senator from 1964 to 1972 and 1976 to 1988, and Robert Ewing Barham (1940–1996), an English professor at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. Barham was an uncle by marriage to Wiley Hilburn, long-time head of the Louisiana Tech University journalism department, editorial writer for The Shreveport Times, and an authority on Louisiana politics, and Chester William "Chet" Hilburn (born 1945), a journalist retired from The Houston Chronicle.​ ​

Political life

Barham served for a single term in the Louisiana State Senate from 1948 to 1952. He did not seek reelection because he instead ran for lieutenant governor on the intra-party ticket with U.S. Representative Hale Boggs of New Orleans in the 1951-1952 election cycle. Boggs, considered one of Louisiana's most liberal politicians in his time, did not make the gubernatorial runoff, but Barham was placed into a second primary with outgoing state Representative John J. McKeithen of Columbia in Caldwell Parish, who had run on a ticket with Judge Carlos Gustave Spaht, Sr. (1906-2001), of Baton Rouge.

Eliminated in the first round of voting was Leon Gary, the mayor of Houma in Terrebonne Parish, who ran on the Bill Dodd intra-party ticket that year, Elmer David Conner of Jennings in Jefferson Davis Parish, the choice of Robert Kennon, and Lionel Ott, a member of the New Orleans City Council who had run with gubernatorial contender James M. McLemore of Alexandria. In the runoff campaign, Barham was "adopted" by Kennon, as the Kennon-Barham slate won an easy victory over Spaht-McKeithen. Barham was the only member of the original Boggs ticket to win office at the statewide level. Nevertheless, Barham often found himself at odds with the more conservative Governor Kennon.​

In 1956, Barham ran again for lieutenant governor. He allied himself with Boggs' former law partner, Chep Morrison, the mayor of New Orleans.[2] Both Morrison and Barham were crushed in the primary by Earl Kemp Long and Long's choice for lieutenant governor, Lether Frazar, a former president of two state colleges. After leaving the lieutenant governorship, Barham was a delegate to the 1956 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, which re-nominated Adlai Stevenson to run again against U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower.​

In 1969, Barham was among the first six men inducted into the Northwestern State University "Hall of Fame." He died at the age of sixty-seven and is interred beside his wife and sons at Greenwood Cemetery in Ruston.​


  1. Greenwood Cemetery records (Ruston, Louisiana).
  2. Minden Herald and Webster Review, December 8, 1955, p. 2.
  • "Charles Emmett Barham," Carl A. Brasseaux, ed., A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography, Vol. 1 (1988)​
  • Ruston Daily Leader, February 24, 1972​.

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