Andrew Jackson Sevier

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Andrew Jackson Sevier
Sheriff of Madison Parish, Louisiana
In office
June 4, 1904 – August 25, 1941
Preceded by Coleman H. Lucas
Succeeded by Mary Louise Day Sevier
Personal details
Born (1871-01-30)January 30, 1871
Port Gibson, Claiborne County
Mississippi, USA
Died August 25, 1941(1941-08-25) (aged 70)
Tallulah, Louisiana
Resting place Silver Cross Cemetery in Tallulah
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Mary Louise Day Sevier (married 1905-1941, his death)
Relations Cousins Andrew L. Sevier

Henry Clay Sevier

Children John Donelson Sevier

Emma Louise Sevier Nadler

Parents Columbia Dobyns and Andrew Jackson Sevier, Sr.
Residence Tallulah, Louisiana
Occupation Law enforcement officer
Religion Episcopalian

Andrew Jackson Sevier, Jr. (January 30, 1872 - August 25, 1941), was the sheriff of Madison Parish in the delta country of northeastern Louisiana, having served from 1904 until his death in office thirty-seven years later at the age of sixty-nine. He was a direct descendant of John Sevier, a fighter in the American Revolution who served as governor of Tennessee and is the namesake of Sevierville in Sevier County in eastern Tennessee.[1]


Background[edit]

Sevier was born to the former Columbia Dobyns (died 1881) and Andrew Sevier, Sr. (1844-1916), in Port Gibson in Claiborne County in southwestern Mississippi. He came to Madison Parish when he was five years of age and lived first with his parents at Milliken's Bend and then the parish seat of government, Tallulah. He had six siblings. His mother died when he was eleven years of age; apparently his father did not remarry and was a widower for thirty-five years. The senior Sevier was a Confederate taken as a prisoner of war in the American Civil War. Sevier, Sr., served from 1883 to 1887 on the Madison Parish School Board and from 1909 to 1913 on the Madison Parish Police Jury.[1]


Career and legacy[edit]

Sevier began his law enforcement career in 1896 as a deputy to Sheriff Coleman H. Lucas. A Democrat, Sevier ultimately became the "Dean of Louisiana sheriffs", having been elected for ten consecutive terms, only two with opposition. His official title was "Sheriff and Tax Collector." He was already a peace officer for six years before Tallulah was incorporated as a town in 1902.[2]

Because Madison Parish was nearly 90 percent African American in population during the tenure of Sheriff Sevier, and it remains majority black, it was mathematically required that blacks serve on juries, long before federal law forbade states from excluding the jury pool on account of race. In an interview, Sevier said that nearly all the cases in which he was involved were ones of black-on-black crime. "We had no trouble in meting out justice to the evil doer. The Negroes picked for service on juries were made up of the old-time, law abiding elderly men, who hewed to the law as given them by the court. We had eight or ten legal executions of Negroes in this parish during the reign of the Negro jury, all of which were cases that called for that kind of verdict".[2]

Sevier was an active participant in the organization of the Louisiana Sheriffs Association and spoke often of crime prevention me­thods. He was an advocate of a penal institution or farm for delinquent African American juveniles.[2]

Sevier and his wife, the former Mary Louise Day (c. 1880 - 1958) of Vicksburg,. Mississippi, had a son, J. Donald Sevier (1909-1987) of Tallulah, and a daughter, Mrs. Emma Louise Sevier Nadler (1907-1944) of Plaquemine in Iberville Parish in South Louisiana. He was senior warden in the Episcopal Church in Tallulah and the Masonic lodge.[3]"Don" Sevier was a long-time employee of the United States Army Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg.[4]

Sevier died at his home of a heart attack at the age of sixty-nine, having just returned from a drive to Vicksburg.[3] Services were held at the Sevier home, and, like most members of the extended Sevier family, he and his wife are interred at Silver Cross Cemetery in Tallulah. Mrs. Sevier completed her husband's last term and remained sheriff until January 1944.[1]

The Chamber of Commerce in Tallulah passed a resolution to honor Sevier's memory:

He was one of our outstanding citizens, answering every call to public service. He was a fearless officer. He was generous to a fault. Hundreds of men, women and chil­dren, can testify to his great charity. He was ever sympathetic, fair in all his dealings, and served his people faithfully.We shall ever hold in grateful remembrance his services and his work. His life was that of a Christian gentleman, and his example and his splendid career is one to be follow­ed and emulated by all.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Sevier Family of Madison Parish, Louisiana". rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Madison Loses Dean of Peace Officers", Madison Journal, Tallulah, Louisiana, August 25, 1941, p. 1
  3. ^ a b Sevier obituary, Vicksburg Evening Post, August 26, 1941
  4. ^ "Vicksburg Evening Post, September 9, 1987
Preceded by
Coleman H. Lucas
Sheriff of Madison Parish, Louisiana

Andrew Jackson Sevier, Jr.
1904-1941

Succeeded by
Mary Louise Day Sevier