E. S. Richardson

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Edwin Sanders "E. S."
Richardson, Sr.

In office
1936​ – 1941​
Preceded by George W. Bond​
Succeeded by Claybrook Cottingham​

Superintendent of Webster Parish Schools
In office
Preceded by Thomas Wafer Fuller
Succeeded by James Edward Pitcher

Born Augus 31, 1875​
Gum Springs, west of

Minden, Webster Parish
Louisiana, USA

Died October 11, 1950 (aged 75)
Ruston, Lincoln Parish, Louisiana​
Nationality American
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Zenobia Longino Richardson (married 1903-her death)​
Children Leland, Ruth, Don L., Evelyn, Edwin, Jr.​
Occupation Educator; University president​
Religion Southern Baptist

Edwin Sanders Richardson, Sr., principally known as E. S. Richardson (August 31, 1875 – October 11, 1950), was an educator who served from August 14, 1936, until 1941 as the president of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston in Lincoln Parish, Louisiana. Previously, Richardson was the superintendent of schools in his native Webster Parish.

The E. S. Richardson Elementary School at the intersection of ​East Todd and Elm street in the eastern part of Minden, established by a bond issue after World War II, is named in his honor.​


Richardson was born in the Gum Springs community near the small city of Minden in northwestern Louisiana to James Sanders Richardson and the former Sally C. Havis. He attended the Minden Male Academy, a forerunner of Minden (Louisiana) High School. He studied one summer under T. H. Harris, later the Louisiana State Superintendent of Education. He soon took jobs teaching in one-room schools in Claiborne and Webster parishes for $30 per month.[1]

In 1900, he was awarded his Bachelor of Science degree from Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. Years later in 1936, he received an L.L.D. degree from Methodist-affiliated Centenary College in Shreveport. On May 10, 1903, he married the former Zenobia Longino, and they had five children: Leland Richardson of Baton Rouge, Ruth Richardson of Ruston, Don L. Richardson of Tallulah in Madison Parish, Evelyn Richardson Mulhern of Rayville in Richland Parish, and E. S. Richardson, Jr., of Shreveport and later Lafayette. Richardson began teaching in 1898.[2]

He was a member of the Louisiana State University faculty in Baton Rouge from 1911 to 1916.[2] From 1916 to 1920, he was the superintendent of Bienville Parish public schools, based in Arcadia, Louisiana.[3]

Educational standardization

In 1921, Richardson left Bienville Parish to succeed former state Senator Thomas Wafer Fuller as the superintendent of schools in Webster Parish. A teacher in Sibley, south of Minden, Fuller was a state senator from 1896 to 1900,[4] and a newspaperman in Minden.[5] Richardson implemented a reform and standardization plan in regard to pupil progress. In the summer of 1927, he made appearances at educational conferences in seven states to explain the plan that some had termed the "Webster miracle." His uniform promotion plan, used for several decades, rested on four principal points:​ ​

  1. Promotions in the first three grades were based on work in reading and arithmetic. For the second grade, a student had to perform in two minutes fifteen simple addition problems and nine subtraction problems.​
  2. In grades 4-7, a pupil had to pass arithmetic, reading, and language before being eligible for promotion. He could be promoted with one failure in either of the other major subjects, history, civics, geography, and health.​
  3. A pupil absent from school for the last marking period could return for the final examinations provided that he had performed passing work in arithmetic, reading, and language at the time of his withdrawal, and provided that his absence was for sufficient cause.​
  4. Examinations were given at the beginning of each year to pupils, on request, if they failed two subjects, one of which could be arithmetic, reading, or language. Pupils who withdrew from school after attending as much as one hundred days could hence take examinations in all subjects with a view of promotion, provided they were doing passing work in reading, arithmetic, and language at the time of their withdrawal.[6]

​ Pupils absent during the last marking period and who returned for the final examinations but failed to make passing grades, could again take examinations in the subjects in which they failed. Uniform tests were prepared by the superintendent and teachers and advertised in the newspaper as to when and where they would be administered. By defining this policy, Richardson furthered the standardization he established in nearly all aspects of the parish system, from furniture to textbook acquisition.[6]

Later years

In 1926, Richardson was named president of the Louisiana Teachers Association. He was also a member of the National Education Association and was thereafter affiliated with the National Association of School Administrators. Richardson left Webster Parish schools in 1936 to accept the Louisiana Tech presidency, which he held for five years. He was then named Tech president-emeritus.[2]

In Webster Parish, Richardson was succeeded as superintendent by his assistant, James Edward Pitcher (1896–1988),[7] a New Orleans native who was reared in Hammond in Tangipahoa Parish in southeastern Louisiana. A lieutenant in the Louisiana National Guard, Pitcher came to Minden in 1920 as a classroom teacher. After a stint as Richardson's assistant superintendent, he was elevated by the school board as superintendent, a position which he filled from 1936 to 1961. After he left the parish school system, Pitcher was the business manager of the former Evergreen Presbyterian School in central Webster Parish.[8] Pitcher is remembered for having survived an attempt by segregationists to oust him in 1957 at the height of the power of the defunct White Citizens Council organized by state Senator William Rainach of Claiborne Parish to the east of Minden.[5]

On June 23, 1942, Richardson, a Democrat, became the area rent director under the wartime Office of Price Administration, an agency for which Richard M. Nixon similarly worked in Washington, D.C.[2] ​ ​ During the war, he headed a program to find housing for workers flooding into Minden to take jobs at the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant, a since defunct munitions factory which opened early in the war during the time that Floyd D. Culbertson, Jr., was mayor of Minden. Working with Richardson in this endeavor was Zenobia Camp West (1919-2008), later a registered nurse and a former secretary to Mayor Culbertson.[9]

He was affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce and the Lions Club in Minden and Ruston. Richardson was a Southern Baptist.[2]​ ​

Death and family

Richardson died in a Ruston hospital of heart and gall bladder problems. After the death of his wife, Richardson had resided in Ruston with daughter Ruth Richardson, a home economics professor at Louisiana Tech. He was predeceased by his wife and survived by all five children.[10]

Other survivors were his brother, Samuel Milton Richardson, Sr., a Minden physician, and a second brother and two sisters, none of whom are identified by name in his newspaper obituary. His nephews included Minden physicians, S. Milton Richardson, Jr. (1909–1986), a former member and president of the Webster Parish School Board, and Thomas A. Richardson (1911–1976), the former Webster Parish coroner.[10]

A niece of Richardson, Virginia Grace Pullig (1921–1979) of Houston, was married to Wilson Clyde Pullig (1924–1996), an engineer who was reared in Sibley and was the older of two sons of William Clyde Pullig (1899–1979) and the former Stella Sarah Hathorn (1902–1951).[11]

His great-great nephew, Joshua Barrett Madden, was killed in the Iraq War.

In addition to the elementary school in Minden named his honor, Richardson is the namesake of Richardson Hall men's residence building at Louisiana Tech. Next to Richardson Hall is Cottingham Hall, named for Richardson's successor as the Louisiana Tech president, Claybrook Cottingham (1881-1949), a former president of Louisiana College.


  1. John Agan (May 21, 2019). E. S. Richardson. Minden Press-Herald. Retrieved on January 1, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Edwin Sanders Richardson," Who’s Who in America, 1948-1949, p. 2068.
  3. Teachers, Mindenmemories.org; website no longer exists.
  4. Membership in the Louisiana Senate, 1880-2020. Louisiana State Senate. Retrieved on December 31, 2019.
  5. 5.0 5.1 John Agan, Webster Superintendents of Schools. mindenmemories.org. Retrieved on June 6, 2011; website no longer exists.
  6. 6.0 6.1 http://www.nwlanews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5436&Itemid=71, no longer on-line.
  7. "Richardson Is New Tech President: School Board Names J. E. Pitcher Superintendent," Minden Signal-Tribune, September 18, 1936, p. 1.
  8. "Former Superintendent James E. Pitcher dies," The Minden Press-Herald, February 23, 1988, p. 1.
  9. Juanita Murphy Agan (September 19, 2008). Remembering my friend, Zenobia Camp West. Minden Press-Herald in mindenmemories.net. Retrieved on March 10, 2015; website no longer exists.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Dr. E. Richardson, 75, Dies Wednesday in Ruston Hospital," Minden Herald, October 13, 1950, p. 1.
  11. Descendants of William L. Lucky. familytreemaker.genealogy.com. Retrieved on December 31, 2019.

​ ​​​​​

E. S. Richardson Elementary School

Richardson Elementary is a fourth and fifth grade campus which serves the city of Minden, Louisiana. The school opened in the 1949-1950 academic year, with W. W. Williams, Sr., as the principal. It was the original companion school to William G. Stewart Elementary School, named for former school board president William G. Stewart. The institution served the western side of Minden and also opened in 1949 and closed effective with the fall of 2011 under a parish realignment plan. Both schools were part of a post-World War II bond issue. Richardson school is located at 505 West Todd Street.​

In 1954, Williams switched positions with John L. Cathcart (1895-1969), the principal of Minden High School. Cathcart, a South Carolina native, then assumed the principalship at Richardson, as Williams went to Minden High School.[1]​ ​ Prior to the 2011 changes, Richardson offered all elementary grades and had nearly five hundred pupils.

Notable faculty and administrators

  • Alfred E. Day (1898-1972), fifth grade teacher, businessman, and member of the Webster Parish School Board from 1964 to 1969.[2]
  • Gertrude R. Alsobrook (1914-1994), first grade​
  • Martha Belton (born 1942), first grade, 1979-1988; gifted and talented, 1989-1998; fourth and fifth grades, 1998-2002​.
  • Velma Jones Boggs (1916-2009), first grade, 1950s and 1960s​
  • Mary Braley (1906-1983), librarian​
  • Ruth Durrett Doyle (1920-1994), first grade​
  • Vasta S. Green (1908-2002), third grade​
  • Jarrell Francis "Jerry" Heard (1923-2010), fifth grade (early 1960s)​
  • Audrey Hortman (1907-1974), second grade​
  • Christine Sapp Hunt (1927-2005), former principal​
  • Gene Reynolds, science teacher; former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for District 10
  • Elizabeth Ann Roberts (born 1934), fourth grade (1956-1967); relocated to Ouachita Parish public schools, retired 1991
  • Ronald D. Rhymes (born 1947), former principal​
  • Myrtis Saint (1904-1973), second grade​
  • Ruby W. Salmon (1904-1968), fifth grade​
  • Susanella Schoenbrodt (1901-1980), second grade, retired 1966[3]
  • Eva Grace Sutton (1907-2000), third grade​
  • Dorothy Clyde Nelson Travis Atkinson (1925-2015), fourth grade; native of Union Parish, contracted polio at the age of eighteen months, also a highly-regarded pianist and singer[4]
  • Grace Turner Watson (1919-2002), sixth grade​
  • William Turner Watson (1948-2011), educator, former principal, and musician; son of Grace Turner Watson[5]
  • Marie Chambers Winn (1902-1997), fourth grade​


  1. "Teachers II," mindenmemories.org; website no longer exists.
  2. "Parish Educator A.E. Day Dies in Minden", Minden Press-Herald, January 6, 1972, p. 1.
  3. Minden Press-Herald, July 27, 1966.
  4. Dorothy Clyde Nelson Travis Atkinson. Minden Press-Herald. Retrieved on January 2, 2020.
  5. William Turner Watson obituary, Minden Press-Herald, December 28, 2011.