Henry L. Bridges

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Henry L. Bridges, Sr.
Mayor of Minden, Louisiana, USA
In office
1928–1932
Preceded by Robert F. Kennon
Succeeded by Connell Fort
In office
1934–1936
Preceded by Connell Fort
Succeeded by David William Thomas
Personal details
Born (1874-12-06)December 6, 1874
Athens, Claiborne Parish
Louisiana, USA
Died April 9, 1939(1939-04-09) (aged 64)
Minden, Webster Parish, Louisiana
Nationality American
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Forrest Cobb Bridges
Children Mary Elise Hilzim

Helen B. Gallien
Henry L. Bridges, Jr.
Lewell Bridges
Forrest Lee Bridges
Jack Clifford Bridges

Occupation Businessman
Religion Methodist

Henry L. Bridges, Sr. (December 6, 1874 – April 9, 1939), was a businessman who served from 1928 to 1932 and again from 1934 to 1936 as the mayor of the small city of Minden, the seat of Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana.[1]

Bridges was born in nearby rural Athens in Claiborne Parish but moved to Minden in 1907, where he operated a clothing store. He was first elected mayor in the Democratic primary in the spring of 1928, when Robert F. Kennon, then twenty-six and later the governor of Louisiana from 1952 to 1956, declined to seek a second two-year term.[2] The position is now for a four-year term and is filled in the fall of non-presidential years.

Bridges was reelected on April 8, 1930, when he defeated Coleman Lindsey, later a state senator and the lieutenant governor in the abbreviated 1939–1940 term of Governor Earl Kemp Long.[3] In that contest, Bridges polled 519 votes to 402 for Lindsey.[4] In 1932, however, Bridges was unseated by his sole opponent, former Mayor Connell Fort, who had preceded Kennon in the position from 1922 to 1926. Fort polled 709 votes to Bridges's 437 in the primary held on April 12, 1932.[5]

In the primary election held on April 10, 1934, Fort was eliminated from the race,[6] and Bridges then faced his eventual successor as mayor, David William Thomas, a former university professor, journalist, and a native of Wales. In the runoff election held on May 15, Bridges handily defeated Thomas, 624 to 377.[7] In March 1936, Thomas in turn unseated Bridges, 736 to 682, to secure the first of his two consecutive terms in the office.[8]

Bridges was married to the former Miss Forrest Cobb (November 14, 1880 – December 18, 1947) of Athens. The couple had two daughters, Mrs. Helen Moss of Erath in Vermilion Parish, later Helen Gallien of Columbus, Mississippi, and Mary Elise Bridges, a former Webster Parish schoolteacher then living in Baton Rouge. Later, she was Mary Hilzim (1908–1988) of Minden, the wife of R. H. "Buster" Hilzim (1883–1961). Henry and Forrest Bridges had four sons, Henry L. Bridges, Jr. (1903–1962), Forrest Lee Bridges (1912–1973), and Jack Clifford Bridges (1917–1977), all of Minden, and Lewell Bridges (1910–1980) of Shreveport.[2][9][10]

Bridges's grave marker at Minden Cemetery

Bridges died of a heart attack at the age of sixty-five while he was returning home from observing a golf game. He was Methodist. Pastors of Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches conducted his services. He is interred beside family members at Minden Cemetery.[2]

Son Lee Bridges was an inspector for the City of Minden and a former municipal sanitation superintendent. He died at the age of sixty in a boating accident on Toledo Bend Reservoir near Many, Louisiana, in the company of his friend Albert Simolke (1917–1976) of Minden. Lee Bridges and his wife, the former Roba Watson (1917–2010), had two children, Roba Leah Bridges Miller (born 1949), and her husband, Clif Miller, then of Monroe, and later from Shreveport, and Henry Watson Bridges (born 1950), subsequently a banker in Minden.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ City of Minden, List of Minden Mayors Since 1888
  2. ^ a b c "Bridges Rites Held Monday: Former Mayor Succumbs to Heart Attack", Minden Herald, April 14, 1939, p. 1
  3. ^ "Isaac Coleman Lindsey". Louisiana Historical Association. Retrieved May 24, 2011. 
  4. ^ Minden Herald, April 10, 1930, p. 1
  5. ^ Minden Herald, April 15, 1932, p. 1
  6. ^ Minden Herald, April 13, 1934, p. 1
  7. ^ Minden Herald, May 18, 1934, p. 1
  8. ^ "David W. Thomas Elected Mayor", Minden Herald, March 3, 1936, p. 1
  9. ^ Minden Cemetery records
  10. ^ "Social Security Death Index". ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved May 18, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Lee Bridges Dies in Boating Accident", Minden Press-Herald, June 4, 1973, p. 1
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert F. Kennon
Mayor of Minden, Louisiana

Henry L. Bridges, Sr.
1928-1932

Succeeded by
Connell Fort
Preceded by
Connell Fort
Mayor of Minden, Louisiana

Henry L. Bridges, Sr.
1934-1936

Succeeded by
David William Thomas