|Rupert Rudolph Peyton|
Louisiana State Representative
for Caddo Parish
1932 – 1936
|Born|| February 14, 1899|
Bossier Parish, Louisiana
|Died|| October 19, 1982 (aged 83)|
|Resting place||Greenwood Cemetery in Shreveport|
|Spouse(s)||Name of wife unavailable|
|Alma mater||Plain Dealing (Louisiana) High School|
Rupert Rudolph Peyton (February 14, 1899 – October 19, 1982) was an anti-Long member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Shreveport having served at large in Caddo Parish for a single four-year term from 1932 to 1936. Peyton was a Louisiana journalist and historian.
A Bossier Parish native, Peyton finished six years at the old Line School four miles west of the Red Land community. The school, a crude building built of logs, was named because of its location between Wards Three and Four in northern Bossier Parish. The facility closed in 1912 and merged with other one-room schools to become Red Land Consolidated School. Shortly before his death, Peyton recalled his youthful experiences at old Line in the article "Beloved School of My Childhood" published in North Louisiana History. He thereafter attended nearby Plain Dealing High School and then enrolled at Louisiana Industrial Institute at Ruston in 1918 and served for three months there with the Students Army Training Corps. He did not attend college but learned his craft of journalism from practical experience.
Peyton's newspaper career began as a reporter for The Haynesville News in northern Claiborne Parish. He later worked for The Shreveport Times and was then was a reporter and city editor from 1925 into the 1940s of the rival and since defunct Shreveport Journal, owned for years by the family of Douglas Attaway and his son, Douglas Fisher Attaway. In 1931, Peyton was listed in Shreveport Men and Women Builders. After his Shreveport Journal tenure, Peyton edited three Bossier City newspapers: The Bossier City Tribune, The Bossier City Press, and The Bossier City Banner-Progress. He also wrote extensively for North Louisiana History, when the publication was known as The North Louisiana Historical Association Journal.
Peyton's legislative service paralleled his newspaper career. In the 1932 gubernatorial primary election, Huey Long's preferred candidate, Oscar Kelly Allen of Winnfield, emerged triumphant, and the anti-Long Peyton was one of four state representatives elected at-large in Caddo Parish. One of the men that he succeeded was Cecil Morgan, the leader of anti-Long forces in the Louisiana House in the prior legislative session.
Thereafter, Long, as U.S. Senator, attempted in 1933 to tighten his control over Louisiana's election machinery, The tall, gangly Peyton, known for his use of invective, offered a facetious amendment which would have authorized election officers to "shoot and kill any person known or suspected of having cast his or her ballot against the present administration [Allen] or against the desires of Senator Long." On the last day of the legislative session, Peyton dressed humorously in ridicule of Long and proposed a bill to grant the title of "Your Majesty" to every man and woman in the state. When Long proposed a 2 percent tax on gross advertising sales by newspapers with circulations of more than twenty thousand, Peyton led the opposition. He also protested the presence of Long on the House floor, when the senator gave orders to his supporters on how to vote on legislation. Of Long's actions, Peyton said: "I am sick and tired of this, and I think every other member is disgusted too."
In 1976, Peyton penned a four-page article "Reminiscenses of Huey P. Long", which appeared in the NLHA Journal and is cited in the 2006 book Kingfish: the Reign of Huey P. Long by the historian Richard D. White, Jr.
Peyton was later an aide to anti-Long Governor Jimmie Davis, a native of Jackson Parish and a former member of the Shreveport City Council and the Louisiana Public Service Commission. He also worked for a time for U.S. Representative Riley Joe Wilson of Ruston. From 1930 to 1950, he chaired the Shreveport Democratic Executive Committee.
Peyton's historical articles deal mainly with genealogy and local history. His last article in 1982 is about George Paysinger, a slave owned by plantation owner John Hamiter. He also wrote about a country physician, Johnathan S. Cheshire of Sarepta in Webster Parish, one of his own ancestors. Other NLHA articles are entitled "First Woman to Drive the Golden Spike at the Completion of a Railroad,","The Civil War Began and Ended in North Louisiana," "Yankee General Captures the Heart of Shreveport," and "Memoirs of a Shreveport Churchman: Miss Kate Sings at Old Salem Church." Peyton also wrote a column in 1974 in The Bossier City Press entitled "North Louisiana's Neglected History."
At the time of his death at the age of eighty-three, Peyton was survived by a daughter, Patricia Peyton, and four siblings. The Reverend Carl E. Rhoads, associate pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Shreveport, officiated at his services. Peyton is interred at Greenwood Cemetery in Shreveport.
William McCleary, "Remembering Rupert Peyton (1899-1982) Journalist and State Representative," North Louisiana History, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Winter 2009).