|James Albert Gremillion, Sr.|
Louisiana Secretary of State
1940 – 1944
|Preceded by||E. A. Conway|
|Succeeded by||Wade Omer Martin, Jr.|
|Born|| October 19, 1884|
|Died|| August 5, 1967 (aged 82)|
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
|Resting place||Roselawn Memorial Park in Baton Rouge|
|Spouse(s)||Mary Cassidy Gremillion|
|Children|| James Gremillion, Jr.|
John Edward Gremillion
|Alma mater|| Marksville High School|
(2) Gremillion hedged his bets in 1944 by vacating a runoff race for reelection and instead becoming a staff attorney in the secretary of state's office under Wade Omer Martin, Jr., who had led Gremillion in the primary contest.
Born in Marksville in Avoyelles Parish, he was a son of Alfred Martin Gremillion (1941-1925) and the former Hermentine Bonnette (1846-1930).Educated privately in elementary school, he graduated from Marksville High School and Tulane University in New Orleans, from which he received his law degree in 1905. He was a law clerk for Olivier Otis Provosty (1854-1924), a Louisiana Supreme Court justice from 1920 to 1922. In 1906, Gremillion settled in Crowley in Acadia Parish near Lafayette. He was the 15th Judicial District Attorney from 1924 to 1936 and the Louisiana Secretary of State from 1940 to 1944.
In 1944, Gremillion faced a looming runoff contest with Wade Omer Martin, Jr. (1911-1990), of St. Martin Parish, who had led for the secretary of state's office in the first primary. The senior Martin, a public service commissioner, and Martin, Jr., coaxed Gremillion to withdraw from the race and instead work as an attorney in the office. Gremillion's exit from the campaign hence made Martin, Jr., the official Democratic nominee, equivalent at the time to election in overwhelmingly Democratic Louisiana. Gremillion was an attorney in the secretary of state's office after he withdrew from the runoff election. William J. "Bill" Dodd, a state legislator from Sabine Parish in western Louisiana at the time of the 1944 election wrote: "That a deal was made seemed evident -- when Gremillion wound up with a big job in Wade, Jr.'s office."
The possibility had existed that there would have been no runoffs at all in 1944 if the Long-backed gubernatorial candidate, Lewis Lovering Morgan (1876-1950), an attorney from Covington in St. Tammany Parish, had decided not to pursue a second primary against Jimmie Davis. Morgan, however, remained in the race, but Davis won the first of his two nonconsecutive terms as governor. At the time Louisiana law then allowed runoffs for the lower-level constitutional office only if there was also a runoff for governor. Somehow, the Martins convinced Gremillion that he would lose a runoff, should bow out and continue to work as an attorney in the secretary of state's office under the junior Martin. With runoffs completed, Earl Long lost his bid for lieutenant governor to J. Emile Verrett (1885-1965), a school board member from Iberia Parish.
Gremillion and his wife, the former Mary Cassidy (1886-1978), had six children: James Gremillion, Jr. (1912-1950), Roman Catholic clergyman John Edward Gremillion (1917-1997), Charles C. Gremillion, Frances Gremillion Hains (1918-2007), Mrs. H. E. Ratcliff, and Mary Lucile Gremillion (1916-1993). In 1955, James Gremillion retired from the secretary of state's office. He died twelve years thereafter at the age of eighty-two in Baton Rouge, where he is interred with most of his family at Roselawn Memorial Park.
Gremillion's namesake grandson, James Albert "Jimmy" Gremillion, III, a Crowley native who also spent much of his life in Baton Rouge, where he was employed by Shell Chemical Company, died in 2006 at the age of seventy-two.
- James Albert Gremillion. Ancestry.com. Retrieved on September 8, 2019.
- James Albert Gremillion. Wikitree.com. Retrieved on September 8, 2019.
- Bill Dodd, Peapatch Politics: The Earl Long Era in Louisiana Politics (Baton Rouge: Claitor's Publishing, 1990).
- James Gremillion obituary. The Baton Rouge Advocate (August 30, 2006). Retrieved on September 9, 2019.