John T. David

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John Thomas David, Sr.

Mayor of Minden, Webster Parish, Louisiana
In office
July 1, 1946 – February 23, 1955
Preceded by J. Frank Colbert
Succeeded by Jasper Goodwill

Member of the Webster Parish Police Jury
In office
1956–1968
Preceded by At-large in Ward 4:

Leland Mims
Frank Krouse
Frank Burnett Treat, Sr.
Floyd Kennon, Sr.

Succeeded by At-large in Ward 4:

Leland Mims
W. Nick Love
James Tenney "Jim" Branch, Jr.
Achillea G. "Ike" Kirkikis


Born August 30, 1897
Minden, Louisiana
Died April 5, 1974 (aged 76)
Minden, Louisiana
Resting place Minden Cemetery
Nationality American
Political party Democrat
Occupation Businessman and pharmacist
Religion Southern Baptist

John Thomas David, Sr. (August 30, 1897 – April 5, 1974),[1] was a businessman and pharmacist who from 1946 to 1955 was the Democratic mayor of Minden, the seat of government of Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana. After being convicted for selling liquor illegally, he was forced to resign as mayor. He also served three terms from 1956 to 1968 on the Webster Parish Police Jury, the parish governing body, and was the long-term Minden municipal fire chief.

Career

David ran for mayor in 1946 and won a runoff election, in which he prevailed, 1,064-844.[2] In 1950, David narrowly won his third term as mayor in a runoff, again, against Castle Overstreet "C. O." Holland (1895-1981), a native of St. Helena Parish in south Louisiana, 1,172 (53 percent) to 1,039 votes (47 percent).[3] Attorney Alton Eugene Frazier (1922-2001), had been eliminated in the first round of primary voting.[4] In 1952, David again was a narrow winner for another two-year mayoral term. In the runoff election on May 13, David again defeated Alton Eugene Frazier, 1,593 (56 percent) to 1,250 (44 percent).[5] Frazier ran his second race on a platform calling for fluoridation of municipal water. A third candidate eliminated in the primary was another young lawyer, Henry Grady Hobbs (1923-2012), a Sarepta native who subsequently served eighteen years as the Minden city attorney.[6][7]

On July 1, 1954, David was sworn into his fifth two-year term as mayor. He had defeated by 87 votes in a runoff, 1,969 (50.9 percent) to 1,896 (49.1 percent), furniture store owner Paul Wallace, a former member of the Minden City Council. The tally in the April 6 first Democratic primary had been 1,437 (51.6 percent) for David to 1,350 (48.4 percent) for Wallace.[8] In his last successful race for mayor, David ran an advertisement in the local newspaper proclaiming himself "Fair, Courteous, Impartial, Independent." He pointed to widened streets new sidewalks, street lights, a second fire station, a baseball park, swimming pool, and water tank as landmarks of his administration.[9] David advocated a four-year term for the office of mayor, a change approved by the Louisiana State Legislature with the 1954 elections,[10] Throughout David's time as mayor, Jack Batton, the streets and parks commissioner, was the senior member on the city council.

Resignation and jailing

On February 23, 1955, David resigned as mayor when the Louisiana Supreme Court upheld his conviction of two misdemeanors for illegal liquor sales in his Minden drugstore; Minden was a prohibition city at the time. David was arrested along with two others after an undercover operation.[11] He was sentenced to a $600 fine and 120 days at the Webster Parish Penal Farm.[12] His resignation was confirmed in February 1955.[13]

On April 7, 1962, David attempted a comeback in the Democratic primary for mayor but lost to incumbent Frank T. Norman, 1,536 to 578. A third candidate, W. O. Cook, polled 236 votes.[14]

After he left the office of mayor, David served three terms on the parish police jury, but he was unseated in the Democratic runoff election held on December 16, 1967.[15]

He died in 1974 at the age of seventy-six and is interred at Minden Cemetery, along with numerous other Minden mayors.

References

  1. Tombstone inscription at Minden Cemetery. David may have graduated from Minden High School c. 1914, but the author is unable to make confirmation of that point.
  2. Minden Herald, May 10, 1946, p. 1.
  3. Minden Herald, May 19, 1950, p. 1.
  4. Minden Herald, April 14, 1950, p. 1.
  5. Minden Herald, May 16, 1952, p. 1.
  6. Henry Hobbs obituary. The Shreveport Times (January 2, 2013). Retrieved on January 3, 2013.
  7. Minden Press, April 11, 1952, p. 1.
  8. Minden Herald, April 9, 1954, p. 1.
  9. The Minden Herald, April 2, 1954, pp. 1, 7.
  10. The Minden Herald, February 5, 1954, p. 1.
  11. "State Police Raid Minden", Minden Herald, November 25, 1954, p. 1.
  12. "David Is Given Second Sentence", Minden Herald, February 10, 1956, p. 1.
  13. Minden Herald, February 24, 1955, p. 1.
  14. Minden Press, April 9, 1962, p. 1.
  15. Minden Press-Herald, December 18, 1967, p. 1.