Charles McConnell

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Charles Emmett McConnell

Mayor of Springhill
Webster Parish, Louisiana
In office
1954​ – 1958​
Preceded by Ed Shultz​
Succeeded by Jesse L. Boucher​

Member of the
Webster Parish School Board​
In office
1960​ – April 1969​

Born February 5, 1923​
Rayville, Richland Parish,
Died December 29, 2000 (aged 77)​
Resting place Springhill Cemetery​
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Mary Virginia Hathorn McConnell (married 1952-2000, his death)​
Children Malinda M. Gore​

Lenae M. Scott​
Six grandchildren ​

Alma mater Rayville High School​

University of Louisiana at Monroe
Louisiana State University Law Center​

Occupation Attorney
Religion United Methodist

Charles Emmett McConnell, also known as Jack McConnell (February 5, 1923 – December 29, 2000), was an American attorney and Democratic Party politician, who was elected in 1954 as the mayor of Springhill in northern Webster Parish, Louisiana.


Originally from Rayville in Richland Parish in northeastern Louisiana, McConnell had seven siblings. He was a law partner of his brother Nathaniel Julius McConnell, Sr. (1918-1995), the Springhill ward judge from 1956 to 1986, when he was succeeded by John M. Robinson. One of his sisters, Theresa McConnell Lowe (1907-1959), was an educator for whom the former Lowe Junior High School in Minden was named.[1][2]

After graduation from Rayville High School, McConnell attended the University of Louisiana at Monroe, then Northeast Louisiana Junior College in Monroe. He served for two years overseas during World War II and completed his legal education at Louisiana State University Law Center in Baton Rouge. He was the chairman of the board of Citizens Bank and Trust Company in Springhill. He was affiliated with Lions International, the American Legion, the Chamber of Commerce, Masonic lodge, and the Shriners,[3] and the United Methodist Church.[4] In 1962, McConnell was elected head of the Webster Parish United Way.[3]

McConnell and his wife, the former Mary Virginia Hathorn (1921-2009), had two daughters, Malinda M. Gore and Lenae M. Scott, both of the Shreveport-Bossier City metropolitan area.[4] Mrs. McConnell, the daughter of Ernest Eldorado Hathorn and the former Claudia Waller, graduated in 1937 from Haynesville High School in Haynesville in Claiborne Parish and in 1941 from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. Mary McConnell was for many years a business education teacher at several locations, including Springhill High School (now North Webster High School). She was Southern Baptist.[5]

Political career

In the April 1954 municipal primary, McConnell garnered 53 percent of the vote over two primary rivals, Jesse C. Anderson and Robert J. Hughes.[6] He was succeeded after a single term by the businessman Jesse L. Boucher. From 1960 to 1969, McConnell was an elected member of the Webster Parish School Board.[4] He resigned from the board two years into his second term[7] because in his words he had "too many irons in the fire to continue work on the board." A second board member, Alfred Ellsworth "Alf" Day (1898-1972) of Minden, a former schoolteacher, soon followed McConnell's lead in resignation.[8]

McConnell was engaged in a law practice in Springhill with Roy Morris Fish (1922-2020), a native Arkansan who later served for five years as the president of Springhill Bank and Trust Company and retired to Shreveport.[9] Johnnie Souter McMahen (1930-2012), the wife of subsequent Sheriff Royce L. McMahen, was their legal clerk. From 1974 to 1992, Mrs. McMahen was the Springhill city clerk.[10] He was also in partnership with John Bernard Slattery, Jr. (1955-2020), in the firm McConnell & Slattery. Prior to becoming the Springhill city judge, Slattery was the city attorney for Springhill and the nearby communities of Cullen, Sarepta, Shongaloo, and Cotton Valley.[11]

In 1967 and 1971, McConnell waged losing campaigns for what is now the District 10 seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives, having been defeated, respectively, by fellow Democrats Parey Branton of Shongaloo and R. Harmon Drew, Sr., of Minden. In the first campaign, McConnell vowed if elected to "represent all equally" and to seek the "advancement of constituents without compromising ideals and principles."[4]

In the Democratic primary held on November 4, 1967, McConnell finished in third place with 4,598 votes, behind Branton, also a former member of the Webster Parish School Board, who polled 6,127 votes. Two other candidates trailed McConnell and Branton in the primary, Minden attorney Henry Grady Hobbs (1923-2012), a native of nearby Sarepta,[12] who had lost the seat by sixteen votes to Branton in 1960, and James William "Tinker" Volentine (1915-1982), a Minden small businessman and a native of Bienville Parish.[13]

The other seat at stake was won outright in the primary with 6,904 votes by John Sidney Garrett of Haynesville, who thereafter was tapped by Governor John J. McKeithen as the new Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives.[14] In the Democratic runoff primary held on December 16, 1967, Garrett remained neutral, and Branton prevailed 7,619 votes (52.6 percent) to McConnell's 6,857 (47.4 percent).[15]

In 1971, McConnell sought the legislative seat which Branton vacated to run unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor to succeed Clarence C. "Taddy" Aycock of Franklin in St. Mary Parish, who ran instead for governor. This time, the senior Harmon Drew led in the primary balloting with 3,026 votes (25.2 percent). McConnell trailed in second place with 2,916 ballots (24.3 percent). In third place was the Minden educator Ralph Lamar Rentz, Sr. (1930-1995), who polled 2,739 votes (22.8 percent). Rentz proposed that Webster Parish establish a two-year educational program past the twelfth grade of high school to assist students seeking four-year college degrees, a reform implemented in Bossier Parish in 1967 which eventually became Bossier Parish Community College. And a community technical college opened years later in Minden. The businessman Houston Morris finished in fourth place in the legislative contest with 2,101 votes (17.5 percent). Two other candidates, including the late Minden businessman N. J. Cone, Jr., split the remaining 1,216 votes (10.1 percent).[16]

In the runoff election against Drew, McConnell ran on a platform advocating revision of the state tax code, greater industrial development, and the expansion of vocational technical education for the benefit of pupils unprepared for a college education.[17] Armed with strong support in the Minden and south Webster area, Drew easily defeated McConnell, 6,774 votes (57.7 percent) to 4,965 (42.3 percent) in the runoff held on December 18, 1971.[18]

In 1982, McConnell was named chairman of the Webster Parish Indigent Defender Board.[19]

McConnell died in 2000 at the age of seventy-seven, three days before the arrival of 2001. His wife lived another nine years. The couple is interred at Springhill Cemetery.[5]


  1. "Last Rites Held for Honored Educator," Minden Herald, November 5, 1959, p. 1.
  2. "Board Names School After Theresa Lowe," Minden Herald, July 7, 1960, pp. 1, 4.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "McConnell Elected Head of Parish United Fund," Minden Herald, March 29, 1962, p. 1.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "McConnell Announces Candidacy for One of Two Representative Positions," Minden Press-Herald, July 26, 1967, p. 1.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Obituary of Mary Virginia Hathorn McConnell. The Shreveport Times (May 31, 2009). Retrieved on July 21, 2020.
  6. "Springhill Elects New Mayor and Two Aldermen", Minden Press, April 8, 1954, p. 1.
  7. "Charles E. McConnell Ward 2 School Board Member to Resign," Minden Press-Herald, April 27, 1969, p. 1.
  8. "Webster Board Member A. E. Day Resigns Post," Minden Press-Herald, May 6, 1969, p. 1.
  9. Roy Morris Fish (1922-2020) obituary. The Shreveport Times (September 5, 2020).
  10. Johnnie Souter McMahen. The Shreveport Times (August 7, 2012). Retrieved on July 21, 2020.
  11. Will Phillips (July 17, 2020). Hon. John Bernard Slattery, Jr.. Minden Press-Herald. Retrieved on July 21, 2020.
  12. Henry Hobbs obituary. The Shreveport Times, January 2, 2013. Retrieved on January 3, 2013.
  13. "J. W. Volentine Enters Race for Representative Position," Minden Press-Herald, July 19, 1967, p. 1.
  14. Minden Press-Herald, November 6, 1967, p. 1.
  15. "Branch, Branton, Jack Montgomery Win", Minden Press-Herald, December 18, 1967, p. 1.
  16. Minden Press-Herald, November 9, 1971, p. 1.
  17. Minden Press-Herald, November 4, 1971, p. 10A.
  18. Minden Press-Herald, December 20, 1971, p. 1.
  19. Minden Press-Herald, April 12, 1982, p. 1.