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Senator John Holmes Overton
John Holmes Overton was an American politician,
U.S. Congressman (1931-1933), and 3-term U.S.
Senator representing the state of Louisiana
Biographical fast facts
Date and place of birth: September 17, 1875,
Marksville, Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana, U.S.A.
Date and place of death: May 14, 1948,
Bethesda Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.A.
Wife: Ada Ruth Dismukes (m. 1905)
Wedding took place in Natchitoches, Louisiana, U.S.A.
Son: John Holmes Overton, Jr. (b. February 7, 1914 -
d. October 23, 1946)
Daughters: Katharine Overton (b. December 1, 1910 - d. October 31, 1988)
Ruth Overton (b. December 31, 1912 - d. August 27, 1973)
Mary Elizabeth Overton (b. December 19, 1916 - d. September 6, 1988)
Father: Judge Thomas Overton (b. March 26, 1835 - August 14, 1913)
Mother: Laura Elizabeth (Waddill) Overton (b. March 17, 1845 - d. October 27, 1937)
Burial site: Mount Olivet Cemetery, Pineville, Rapides Parish, Louisiana, U.S.A.
Error corrections or clarifications
* Note that some sources erroneously report
Senator Overton had only three children.
As noted above, he actually had four.
Also, some sources erroneously spell his
daughter's name "Katherine" instead of Katharine.
John H. Overton's name first appeared in U.S.
census records on the June 15th, 1880, census
in the household of his parents, Thomas Overton
and Laura Elizabeth Waddill, at Marksville,
Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana. He graduated
from Louisiana State University (LSU) at
Baton Rouge in 1895, received his law degree
from Tulane University in 1897, and was
admitted to the Louisiana bar in 1898. He then
commenced the practice of law in Alexandria,
Louisiana. In 1929, he was engaged to serve
as chief counsel for Governor Huey P. Long's
successful defense against impeachment.
Overton even served as a member of the
board of supervisors of his alma mater,
Louisiana State University.
His service in the U.S. Congress resulted from
the need to fill a vacancy caused by the death
of James B. Aswell. This led to his serving as
the representative from Louisiana's 8th District
from May 12th, 1931, to March 3rd, 1933. Overton
then set his sights on the United States Senate.
He won the Senate seat in 1932, but election
irregularities caused the Senate Committee on
Elections to investigate. They returned a report
which condemned the political conditions in
Louisiana but made no specific recommendations
in regard to Senator Overton's victory. Regardless,
he went on to serve from March 4th, 1933, until
his death on May 14th, 1948. After his reelection
in 1938, he announced he would retire at the end
of his second term. He later reconsidered his
decision when he was asked to run again by the
Louisiana state Democratic party and dozens of
his fellow Senators.
Senator Overton was a Mason, and a traditional
Southern segregationist, who was once quoted as
saying, "the Democratic South stands for White
supremacy." Over the course of his senate career,
he served as chairman of the Appropriations
Committee's subcommittee on the District of
Columbia, and the Appropriations Committee's
subcommittee on Navy Appropriations. During his
final term in office he served on the Committee
on Commerce, Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation,
and was chairman of the Committee on Manufactures.
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