Robert Ewing, I
| Robert Wilson Ewing, I|
(Editor and publisher in
|Born|| September 27, 1859 |
Mobile, Alabama, USA
|Died|| April 27, 1931 (aged 71) |
New Orleans, Louisiana
|Political Party||Democrat |
|Spouse|| (1) May Dunbrack (married 1883-1904, her death)|
(2) Grace Nolan Mackay (married 1917-1931, his death)
Robert Wilson Ewing, I, also known as Colonel Ewing (September 27, 1859 – April 27, 1931), was a prominent newspaper publisher and a Democratic political figure in primarily Louisiana during the last two decades of the 19th century and the first third of the 20th century.
Ewing was born in Mobile, Alabama, to James Lindsay Ewing, a cotton merchant, and the former Martha Hunter. At the age of thirteen, he was a messenger for the Western Union Telegraph Company. At seventeen, he was a telegrapher for the Associated Press. In 1879, he helped establish and managed the Mobile division of the Union Telegraph Company. After he joined a strike of the Order of Telegraphers labor union, Ewing was blacklisted in Mobile and therefore relocated to New Orleans, where he managed the former Morning Chronicle, a journal owned by the conservative Henry J. Hearsey, who also published the former New Orleans Daily States.
In 1888, Ewing became affiliated with the reform, anti-machine faction of New Orleans municipal politics. He served in the administration of Mayor Joseph Ansoetegui Shakspeare (1837-1896) as an innovative city electrician and superintendent of the police telegraphy and fire-alarm systems. He also for a time as the New Orleans municipal tax collector. Under Henry Hearsey's tutelage, Ewing was also telegraph editor, circulation and business manager, and editor and proprietor of The Daily States, later the defunct States-Item. He was furthermore nationally prominent in the AP, having served two terms as vice president of the organization.
In 1908, while still the publisher of the defunct Daily States, Ewing purchased the still operating Shreveport Times in Shreveport in northwestern Louisiana. In the latter 1920s, he bought the two newspapers in Monroe: the defunct Morning World and the remaining News Star, since switched to morning publication. He was hence among the two or three most influential persons in the Louisiana journalism community.
In 1898, Ewing was elected to the Louisiana Constitutional Convention held that year. He was backed by the New Orleans Regular Democrats. He thereafter worked to organize the Choctaw Club, which opponents claimed was a political machine that sought to dominate state politics until 1920. Ewing's political influence was such that he was the Louisiana Democratic national committeeman from 1908 to 1930. In 1908, Ewing was a manager of the third failed presidential campaign of former U.S. Representative William Jennings Bryan of Nebraska.
Like the rice broker Edward Mandell House in Houston, Texas, Ewing claimed to have been particularly influential in securing the Democratic nomination in 1912 for then Governor Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey, a part of the burgeoning progressive movement. Ewing was a Louisiana delegate to the Democratic convention that nominated Wilson on the 46th ballot. House and Wilson both wore the honorary title of "Colonel." Bryan was Wilson's secretary of state from 1913 to 1915, and House was Wilson's chief advisor from 1913 to 1919.)
After Wilson's election as president with a plurality of popular votes, Ewing was a powerful political figure in the state. He spoke for contradictory interests: (1) Wilson "New Freedom" expansion of government and (2) the conservative planters and machine politicians.
In 1928, Ewing broke with the Regular Democrats of New Orleans to support Huey Pierce Long, Jr., for governor. His relationship with the Louisiana "Kingfish" was a stormy one. Ewing supported Long's impeachment by the [state House of Representatives. Long, however, was not convicted by the state Senate, finished his one term as governor, and was even elected to the United States Senate. Long accused Ewing of having attempted and failed to dictate Long's policies.
Family and death
Ewing was twice married. In 1883, he wed the former May Dunbrack of Nova Scotia, Canada. She died in 1904. In 1917, after thirteen years as a widower, Ewing wed the former Grace Nolan Mackay of Kansas City, Missouri. He had five sons and one daughter: James Lindsay Ewing, II, John Dunbrack Ewing (1892-1952), Toulmin H. Ewing, Robert W. Ewing, II, Esther Ewing, and Wilson Ewing, named for Ewing's presidential favorite. Wilson Ewing's son was Robert Wilson Ewing, III (1936–2007), a member of the Monroe News Star board of directors and a nature photographer.
On Ewing's death, second son John D. Ewing became publisher of the Shreveport and Monroe newspapers and held those positions until his own death in 1952.
- Ewing, Robert. A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography: Louisiana Historical Association. Retrieved on October 31, 2019.
- A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography bases its article on Robert on these source: Margaret Ann Martin. Colonel Robert W. Ewing: Louisiana Journalist and Politician, a 1964 master's thesis through Louisiana State University; T. Harry Williams, Huey Long (1969), and the John Ewing obituary, New Orleans Times-Picayune, April 28, 1931.
- Ewing. The Political Graveyard. Retrieved on October 31, 2019.