John T. David

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John Thomas David, Sr.

Mayor of Minden, Webster Parish, Louisiana, USA
In office
July 1, 1944 -- February 23, 1955
Succeeded by     Jasper Goodwill

Member of Webster Parish Police Jury
In office
1956 – 1968

Born August 30, 1897(1897-08-30)
Minden, Louisiana
Died April 5, 1974 (aged 76)
Minden, Louisiana
Nationality American
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse Irma M. David
Children John T. David, Jr. Four grandchildren
 
Occupation Businessman
Religion Baptist
 
 
(1) Mayor David was forced from office less than halfway into his fifth two-year term after the Louisiana Supreme Court sustained his conviction of two misdemeanors for bootlegging liquor through his David Drugs.
 
(2) David penned his letter of resignation as mayor to then Governor Robert F. Kennon, who had, ironically served as mayor of Minden from 1926-1928.
 
(3) Less than a year after his 120-day sentence for illegal liquor sales, David was elected to the first of three four-year terms on the Webster Parish Police Jury, the parish governing body.
 
 
John Thomas David, Sr. (August 30, 1897-April 5, 1974) (1) was the Democratic mayor of the small city of Minden, the seat of Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana, from 1946—1955. After scandal forced him from the mayor's office, he remained the chief of the Minden Volunteer Fire Department (1934-1971) and served three terms as well on the Webster Parish Police Jury from 1956-1968 (equivalent to county commission in other states). As mayor, David sought to increase available housing in the post-World War II era when military personnel returned home, married, and started families.
 
On July 1, 1954, David was sworn in to his fifth two-year term as mayor. He had defeated businessman Paul Wallace (1896-1969), (1) a former member of the Minden City Council, in the April 6 Democratic primary, 1,437 (51.6 percent) to 1,350 (48.4 percent). (2) In his last race for mayor, David ran an advertisement in the local newspaper proclaiming himself as "Fair, Courteous, Impartial, Independent." (3) He advocated a four-year term for the office, a change which took effect in 1958.(4)
 
On February 23, 1955, David resigned as mayor when the Louisiana Supreme Court upheld his conviction of two misdemeanors for illegal liquor sales in his Minden drugstore, a common practice known as bootlegging in a prohibition city.  Judge James E. Bolin, Sr., sentenced David to a $600 fine and 120 days at the Webster Parish Penal Farm. His resignation was confirmed in a February 23, 1955, letter to then Governor Robert F. Kennon, ironically himself a former mayor of Minden. (5) The penal farm is managed by the police jury, the body to which David was elected in 1956, 1960, and 1964. David had been allied with pro-Long elements within the Democratic Party but had not been an open enemy of the hometown Governor Kennon, then a leader of the anti-Long faction of the dominant party. Anti-Long elements in Minden sought to remove David as mayor, and the state police raid which netted David in November 1954 proved fortuitous from their standpoint. (6) Paul Wallace ran in the special election to complete David's term but was again defeated. Businessman Jasper Goodwill defeated Wallace, 944 (52.4 percent) to 858 (47.6 percent). (7)
 
In addition to his David Drugs, he also operated David Furniture in Minden. He was a member of the Emmaunel Baptist Church in Minden. David and his wife, Irma M. David  (February 5, 1903--September 29, 1989), (1) had a son, John T. David, Jr. (November 12, 1922 -- September 15, 1991), a corporal l during World War II. (8) John, Jr., and wife, Yvonne David, had four children, Johnny Ross David (born 1943), Dinah David Garcia (born 1947), Sally Irene David (born 1957), (9) and Joe David, and six great-grandchildren. He also had two brothers, Larkin C. David (February 16, 1902 --July 12, 1988) (1) and J.B. David, and five sisters. David died in Minden Medical Center and was interred at Minden Cemetery. (10)
 
Preceded by
Missing
Mayor of Minden, Louisiana
 
John Thomas David, Sr.
July 1, 1946 -- February 23, 1955

 
Succeeded by
Jasper Goodwill

 

References

  1. ^ a b c d Social Security Death Index
  2. ^ Minden Herald, April 9, 1954, p. 1
  3. ^ Minden Herald, April 2, 1954, p.  7
  4. Minden Herald, February 5, 1954, p. 1
  5. Minden Herald,  February 24, 1955, p. 1
  6. ^ John Agan, Minden: Perseverance and Pride, pp. 132-133, Google Books:
  7. Minden Herald, May 12, 1955, p.1
  8. ^ The Men and Women in World War II from Webster Parish website 
  9. ^  Net Detective, People Search
  10. ^ Minden Press-Herald, April 6, 1974, p. 1

Submitted by Billy Hathorn, Class of 1966

I well remember the popular soda fountain area of David Drugs, but didn't know about the liquor sales.

Theresa Matthews Bunner, Class of 1946