John H. Overton
|John H. Overton|
|United States Senator
March 4, 1933 – May 14, 1948
|Preceded by||Edwin S. Broussard|
|Succeeded by||William C. Feazel|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 8th district
May 12, 1931 – March 3, 1933
|Preceded by||James B. Aswell|
|Succeeded by||Cleveland Dear|
|Born||John Holmes Overton
September 17, 1875
Marksville, Avoyelles Parish
|Died||May 14, 1948
|Resting place||Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Pineville, Louisiana|
|Spouse(s)||Ada Ruth Dismukes Overton|
|Relations||Overton Brooks (nephew)|
John H. Overton Jr.
Mary Elizabeth Overton
|Alma mater||Louisiana State University
John Holmes Overton Sr. (September 17, 1875 – May 14, 1948), was an attorney and Democratic United States representative and U.S. senator from Louisiana. His nephew, Thomas Overton Brooks, was also a congressman—from the Shreveport-based fourth district of Louisiana.
Early and family life
Born in Marksville in Avoyelles Parish, Overton was the youngest son of Judge Thomas Overton and the former Laura Waddill. His great-uncle was General and U.S. Representative Walter Hampden Overton. Another distant relative was Thomas Overton Moore, the governor of Louisiana during the American Civil War.
Overton graduated in 1895 from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and in 1897 from Tulane University Law School in New Orleans, where his classmates included the future state Attorney General Bolivar Edwards Kemp Jr., and the state representative E. L. Stewart of Minden in Webster Parish. Tulane listed Overton as a resident of Opelousas in St. Landry Parish.
In 1905, Overton married the former Ada Ruth Dismukes of Natchitoches. They had three daughters, Katharine (1910–1988), Ruth (1912–1973), and Mary Elizabeth (1916–1988), and a son, John H. Overton Jr. (1914–1946).
Overton was admitted to the Louisiana bar in 1898. He established a law practice with four partners in Alexandria and was the city attorney as well. He was a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors.
I've supported every governor that has been elected in Louisiana for twenty-five yeas, all on promises that they have made to the people. Not one of them has been able or, if able, willing to carry out what was expected of him. The present governor is throwing out of office the clique that all other governors promised to throw out. He is backed to the wall in his efforts to redeem his campaign pledges.
In 1931, Overton was elected to fill the since defunct Louisiana's 8th congressional district seat in the United States House of Representatives which had been vacated by the death of Representative James B. Aswell of Natchitoches. Overton served in the House for just under one term: from May 12, 1931, to March 4, 1933. Overton failed inhis first bid for the U.S. Senate in 1918.
In 1932, Overton unseated the two-term U.S. Senator Edwin S. Broussard of New Iberia for the Democratic nomination, then equivalent to election in Louisiana. Overton was warmly endorsed by Huey Long, who then became his Senate colleague. Six years earlier, Long had helped Broussard turn back a challenge from the conservative former Governor Jared Y. Sanders Sr., but the two had long since parted political alliances. In his autobiography, Every Man a King, Long notes that Overton won all sixty-four parishes against Broussard, including the incumbent's on Iberia Parish. Long said that Overton had "always been very kind to me. [He] let me speak in his meetings every time he ran for the Senate."
Despite his lopsided loss, Broussard alleged fraud and voter irregularities. A Senate investigating committee held months of hearings beginning in February 1933, but Overton was nevertheless seated without opposition on the then first day of the congressional session on March 4. As a senator Overton generally voted with the Conservative coalition of Midwestern Republicans and Southern Democrats, much as Broussard had done.
Overton was reelected in 1938 and 1944, as has been traditional with incumbent Democratic senators in Louisiana. His committee memberships included Appropriations, Manufactures, Commerce, and Irrigation and Reclamation. His chief area of interest was in flood control and river and harbor development.
Overton attempted to withdraw from reelection race in 1944. However, his Louisiana colleague, Allen J. Ellender, circulated a letter urging him to run. The letter was signed by all of the then Senate Democrats.
Death and legacy
Overton's last term was cut short by his death at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. His remains were buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Pineville in Rapides Parish. In 1985, his house in Alexandria was added to the National Register of Historic Places . In 1998, Overton was posthumously inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield.
- List of United States Congress members who died in office (1900–49)
- List of United States Senators expelled or censured
- May 17, 1897. The Register of Tulane University. p. 28. Retrieved March 13, 2015.
- Huey Long, Every Man a King: The Autobiography of Huey P. Long (New Orleans: National Book Club, Inc., 1933), p. 149.
- Huey Long, Every Man a King: The Autobiography of Huey P. Long (New Orleans: National Book Club, Inc., 1933), p. 314.
- "Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame". cityofwinnfield.com. Archived from the original on July 3, 2009. Retrieved August 22, 2009.
- "John Holmes Overton" A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography, Vol. II (1988), p. 623
- United States Congress. "John H. Overton (id: O000146)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Alexandria Daily Town Talk, May 17, 1948
- Alcee Fortier, Louisiana (1909)
- T. Harry Williams, Huey Long (1969)
- New Orleans Times-Picayune, February 26, 1933; November 5, 1944
- Winnfield, La - Old L&A Depot, LA Political Museum at www.cityofwinnfield.com
- Biographical Directory of the American Congress: 1774-1971, p. 1500.
- maternal grandson: Edward Overton Cailleteau
- maternal granddaughter: Elizabeth Hood Brazelton
- great-nephew Malcolm Lafargue
|U.S. House of Representatives|
James B. Aswell
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 8th congressional district
Edwin S. Broussard
|U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Louisiana
Served alongside: Huey Long, Rose McConnell Long, Allen J. Ellender
William C. Feazel