Jimmy G. Shoalmire

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Jimmy Gayle Shoalmire
Born (1940-07-23)July 23, 1940
Caddo Parish
Louisiana, USA
Died July 31, 1982(1982-07-31) (aged 42)
Fairfax County
Alma mater

Fair Park High School
Louisiana Tech University

Mississippi State University
Occupation Historian
Professor at Mississippi State University
Years active 1966-1982
Religion Baptist

(1) Carol Ann Shaughnessy Shoalmire (married 1962-1979, divorced)

(2) Betty Kathryn Buckner Shoalmire (married 1980-his death)

From first marriage:
Alan Dean Shoalmire
Brent Thomas Shoalmire

Rachel Lea Shoalmire Scriber
Parents Rube Robert and Melba Elliott Shoalmire

Jimmy Gayle Shoalmire (July 23, 1940–July 31, 1982)[1] was an historian of the American South originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, who specialized in Reconstruction and agricultural studies.

Early years and education[edit]

Shoalmire was born in Shreveport to Rube Robert Shoalmire (1913–1984), a welder, and the former Melba Agnes Elliott (1915–1995).[2] He graduated in 1958 from Fair Park High School there.[3]

Shoalmire then enrolled at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, where he engaged in the study of history, having received both Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. In 1966, he completed his thesis "Reconstruction in Red River Parish" based in part on research at the Red River Parish Courthouse in Coushatta in northwestern Louisiana.[4] He was named a visiting instructor at Louisiana Tech for the academic year 1966-1967.[5]

At Mississippi State University[edit]

To pursue his Ph.D., Shoalmire entered Mississippi State University in Starkville in Oktibbeha County in east central Mississippi. In 1969, he completed the dissertation entitled "Carpetbagger Extraordinary: Marshall Harvey Twitchell, 1840-1905", a study of Marshall H. Twitchell, the Louisiana Republican state senator from Bienville and Red River parishes. As a legislator, Twitchell pushed for the establishment of Red River Parish and brought many of his northern relatives to live there, mostly as planters.[6] In 1876, his Redeemer detractors fired six shots at him, and he lost use of both arms below the elbows. He played dead and avoided even more bullets. Twitchell then left Louisiana and spent his later years as a diplomat in Windsor, Canada.[6] Shoalmire's dissertation stemmed from his earlier study of Reconstruction in Red River Parish.[7] In writing his original study on Red River Parish, Shoalmire located the Marshall Twitchell papers in the attic of a Twitchell grandson in Burlington, Vermont, and brought the materials to Prescott Memorial Library at Louisiana Tech.[8] The Twitchell papers were used by Ted Tunnell, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, in his 2001 publication, Edge of the Sword: The Ordeal of Carpetbagger Marshall H. Twitchell in the Civil War and Reconstruction.[9]

In 1973, Shoalmire co-authored with his MSU colleague, Roy Vernon Scott, The Public Career of Cully Cobb: A Study in Agricultural Leadership. Cully Cobb, originally a poor farmboy from Tennessee, became a southern agricultural publisher and philanthropist. From 1933-1937, Cobb was a director of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, a New Deal agency which supervised the plowing under of cotton fields to reduce farm output in hopes of reversing the lagging prices paid to farmers. In the preparation of their book, Shoalmire and Scott used papers from the Henry A. Wallace Collection at the University of Iowa at Iowa City.[10]

Shoalmire became associate professor of history at MSU and head of Special Collections at the Mitchell Memorial Library there.[11] Shoalmire as head of Special Collections was also the curator of the archives of U.S. Senator John C. Stennis. In that capacity, he conducted oral history interviews with personal friends, staff, senatorial colleagues, and other observers of Stennis' long career in politics. Among the interviewees was Stennis' son, Jackson attorney John Hampton Stennis, who lost in a 1978 bid for the United States House of Representatives.[12]

Shoalmire left MSU in 1979 to work on Stennis' staff in Washington. Within a year, he became a lobbyist, serving as director of legislative affairs for Gould, Inc., an electronics and defense weapons firm in Washington.[13][14]

Early death and family[edit]

Shoalmire's lobbying career was cut short, for he died suddenly at his residence in Alexandria in Fairfax County, Virginia, of a heart attack eight days after his 42nd birthday.[1]

In 1962, Shoalmire wed the former Carol Ann Shaughnessy (born 1942), a Ruston resident who also graduated from Fair Park High School. The marriage ended in divorce in 1979. Carol Shoalmire is the daughter of John Earl Shaughnessy, Sr. (born 1918), and the former Martha Leah Smith (born 1922), who is originally from Webster Parish.[15] Three children came from the marriage, Alan Dean Shoalmire (born 1967) of Navasota, Texas, Brent Thomas Shoalmire (born 1971) of Shreveport, and Rachel Lee Shoalmire Scriber (born 1972) of Ruston. Brent Shoalmire is a minister, professor, and associate dean at Louisiana Baptist University.[16]

On October 26, 1980, Shoalmire married the former Betty Kathryn Buckner of Starkville, Mississippi, and Alexandria, Virginia, then a member of the staff of U.S. Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi.[13] The wedding ceremony was performed in Christ's Episcopal Church in Alexandria. Shoalmire's sister, Robbye Agnes McGuinn (1937–1982), succumbed fewer than three months after her brother's death. Their paternal grandmother, Ethel Wright Shoalmire (1889–1982), died during the short period between the deaths of Jimmy and Robbye. In addition to his spouse Kathryn Shoalmire, his children and their mother Carol, Shoalmire had a surviving brother, Jack Benny Shoalmire (1942-2011)[17] of Broken Arrow near Tulsa, Oklahoma.[2][18] Jack Shoalmire was a 1960 Fair Park High School graduate and a Vietnam War veteran, recipient of a Purple Heart and three Bronze Stars,[17] who retired after thirty-six years with Ford Motor Company at the title of superintendent

A memorial service for Jimmy Shoalmire was held in the Mike Mansfield Room in the United States Capitol, with the Senate chaplain officiating. Another memorial service followed in Shreveport. Shoalmire, who was a Baptist, is interred at Forest Park Cemetery in Shreveport.[14]


  1. ^ a b "Social Security Death Index". ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Wright DNA Report". webcache.googleusercontent.com. Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Fair Park High School Alumni Association". fairparkalumni.com. Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Theses and Dissertations Database". louisinafolklife.org. Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  5. ^ The Historian Vol. 28 (Issue 4), 1967
  6. ^ a b "Jacob G. Ullery, compiler, Men of Vermont: An Illustrated Biographical History of Vermonters and Sons of Vermont, Part III," p. 160". Brattleboro, Vermont: Transcript Publishing Company, 1894, p. 160. Retrieved July 5, 2010. 
  7. ^ Jimmy G. Shoalmire, Carpetbagger Extraordinary: Marshall Harvey Twitchell, 1840-1905," unpublished dissertation, Mississippi State University at Starkville, Mississippi, 1969
  8. ^ Ted Tunnell, "Crucible of Reconstruction: War, Radicalism, and Race in Louisiana, 1862-1877, p. 182. Google Books. Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Edge of the Sword: The Ordeal of Carpetbagger Marshall H. Twitchell in the Civil War and Reconstruction". Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2001. Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  10. ^ Jimmy G. Shoalmire and Roy Vernon Scott, The Public Career of Cully Cobb: A Study in Agricultural Leadership, (Jackson, Mississippi: University and College Press of Mississippi, 1973)
  11. ^ "John F. Marszalek, Sherman's Other War: The General and the Civil War Press". Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1999, p. xiv. Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  12. ^ John C. Stennis Oral History Collection, Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi
  13. ^ a b "Shreveport native dies in Virginia", Shreveport Times, August 2, 1982, Associated Press story in the obituary section
  14. ^ a b Statement of Carol Ann Shoalmire, Ruston, Louisiana, July 5, 2010
  15. ^ "Descendants of John Ratcliff". ratcliff.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  16. ^ "July News, Louisiana Baptist University and Theological Seminary". lbu.edu. Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  17. ^ a b "Jack B. Shoalmire". Shreveport Times, September 8, 2011. Retrieved September 8, 2011. 
  18. ^ Net Detective People Search