John N. Sandlin

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John Nicholas Sandlin, Sr.
Louisiana Fourth Congressional District, United States House of Representatives
In office
March 4, 1921 – January 3, 1937
Preceded by John T. Watkins
Succeeded by Thomas Overton Brooks
Judge of Louisiana's 2nd Judicial District Court
In office
March 4, 1911 – December 4, 1920
Preceded by Richard Cleveland Drew
Succeeded by Robert Roberts, Jr.
District Attorney of Louisiana's 2nd Judicial District
In office
December 8, 1904 – March 4, 1911
Preceded by Charles E. McDonald
Succeeded by Thomas W. Robertson
Personal details
Born (1872-02-24)February 24, 1872
McIntyre Community

Webster Parish, Louisiana

Died December 25, 1957(1957-12-25) (aged 85)
Resting place Minden Cemetery
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) (1) Ruth Reams Sandlin (died 1911)

(2) Emma Lou Palmer Crichton Sandlin (married 1913)

Relations Brother McIntyre H. Sandlin
Children John N. Sandlin, Jr.

Ruth Sandlin (died early in infancy)

Alma mater Minden Normal School and Business College
Occupation Lawyer
Religion Methodist

John Nicholas Sandlin, Sr. (February 24, 1872—December 25, 1957), of Minden, Louisiana, represented his state's Fourth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives from 1921 to 1937.

In 1936, rather than seeking a ninth term in the House, Sandlin, upon the request of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, contested an open seat in the U.S. Senate. He lost the pivotal Democratic nomination to Allen J. Ellender of Houma in Terrebonne Parish in South Louisiana. Ellender, a confidant of the late Huey Pierce Long, Jr., received 364,931 ballots (68 percent) to Sandlin's 167,471 votes (31.2 percent). There was no Republican candidate, and Ellender was sworn into the first of what would become six consecutive senatorial terms.


Background[edit]

Sandlin was born in the McIntyre community west of Minden, the younger of two sons to Nicholas J. Sandlin (died 1896), originally from North Carolina, and the former Irene McIntyre (1840-1922), a Louisiana native. Nicholas Sandlin served in the Army of Northern Virginia under Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and was severely wounded in the American Civil War. In Louisiana, he was active in the overthrow of the Carpetbagger government. He was district attorney of a tract of land stretching from the Red to the Ouachita rivers. Years later, he represented Webster Parish in the Louisiana House of Representatives. In 1893, U.S. President Grover Cleveland named him postmaster at Minden. The former Nicholas J. Sandlin Camp near Minden was named in his honor by the organization, Sons of Confederate Veterans."[1]

John Sandlin's older brother, McIntyre H. Sandlin, was a mayor of Minden, a state representative like his father, and a long-term tax assessor of Webster Parish.[1]

Sandlin was educated in public schools and attended the former Minden Normal School and Business College, the forerunner to Minden High School. He privately studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1896, when he began his law practice in Minden. From 1904 to 1910, he was district attorney for the Second Judicial District (since 26th District). He was judge of the same district from 1910 to 1920.

In 1917, Judge Sandlin presided over a sensational ax-murder case in which the young district attorndey, Harmon Caldwell Drew, led the prosecution against several African American and white suspects charged with the Christmas Day 1916 murder of the John Nelson Reeves family in the rural Grove community north of Minden.[2]

In 1916, Sandlin was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, which met in St. Louis, Missouri, to renominate U.S. President Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey and Vice President Thomas R. Marshall of Indiana, for their second terms in office.

Congressional tenure[edit]

Sandlin was first elected to Congress in 1920, when he denied renomination to the incumbent, John Thomas Watkins, also of Minden. In 1933, United States Postmaster General James A. Farley of New York, also the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, came to Shreveport, where he lavised high praise on Representative Sandlin. "No man in Congress has worked harder to assist us in bringing this nation out of chaos," a reference to the New Deal attempt to combat the Great Depression, said Farley. At the rally, Sandlin told Farley that Louisiana stood "100 percent behind" President Franklin Roosevelt.[3]

Roosevelt thereafter urged Sandlin to challenge the reelection of U.S. Senator Huey Long. However, before the scheduled election in 1936 could occur, Long was assassinated in 1935. Pro-Long supporters, who coalesced behind Allen Ellender, started a false allegation that Sandlin had been involved in the assassination plot against Long.[4]

During part of Sandlin's congressional tenure, his chief aide was J. Frank Colbert, a former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and the mayor of Minden from 1944-1946. Upon leaving Washington, D.C., in 1937, Sandlin resumed his law practice in Minden.


Personal life[edit]

Faded Sandlin tombstone at Minden Cemetery

Sandlin was a Methodist, a Freemason, and a member of Woodmen of the World.

Sandlin married the former Ruth Reams (February 3, 1878 - March 28, 1911), and they had a son, John N. Sandlin, Jr. (May 3, 1900 - April 19, 1960), who was a staff sergeant in both World War I and World War II. They lost an infant daughter, also named Ruth, who lived only from March 19 to April 10, 1911. Ruth R. Sandlin died from complications from childbirth thirteen days before the death of their daughter.[5]

In 1913, Sandlin wed Mrs. Emma Lou Palmer Crichton (pronounced CRAY TUHN), a member of a prominent Minden family.

In 1951, Sandlin had a heart attack in Oxford, Mississippi, where he had taken his wife for treatment of an eye illness.[6] He recovered in Shreveport and then Minden.

Upon his death six years later at the age of eighty-five, Sandlin was interred in the old section of the Minden Cemetery. His grave marker reads "To Know Him Was to Love Him."


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "John N. Sandlin, member of Congress". usgwarchives.net. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  2. ^ Marilyn Miller, Sons of Darkness Sons of Light (Many, Louisiana: Sweet Dreams Publishing Co., 2000), p. 188, ISBN 1-893693-09-0
  3. ^ "Democratic Chairman Pays John N. Sandlin High Tribute," Minden Herald, October 20, 1933, p. 1
  4. ^ Marilyn Miller, Sons of Darkness Sons of Light, p. 193
  5. ^ Cemetery records, Section A West, Minden Cemetery
  6. ^ "Judge John N. Sandlin Very Ill in Miss. Hosp.", Minden Press, December 7, 1951, p. 1

"John Nicholas Sandlin", A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography, Vol. 2 (1988), p. 716.

Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections, U.S. House, 1920–1934, and U.S. Senate, 1936

http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=S000043

http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=W000193

http://politicalgraveyard.com/bio/sandford-sanfemio.html

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Thomas Watkins
United States Representative for the 4th Congressional District of (Northwestern) Louisiana

John Nicholas Sandlin, Sr.
1921–1937

Succeeded by
Thomas Overton Brooks
Preceded by
Richard Cleveland Drew
Judge of the 2nd Judicial District of Louisiana

John Nicholas Sandlin, Sr.
1911–1920

Succeeded by
Robert Roberts, Jr.
Preceded by
Charles E. McDonald
District Attorney for the 2nd Judicial District of Louisiana

John Nicholas Sandlin, Sr.
1904-1911

Succeeded by
Thomas W. Robertson