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CALDWELL, SAMUEL S. known as Sam Caldwell (November 4, 1892–August 14, 1953), was an oilman who served as the Democratic mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana, from 1934-1946. From 1932-1934, Caldwell served on the Caddo Parish Commission, then known as the police jury, the parish governing body. He was elected mayor of Shreveport in 1934, 1938, and 1942. As mayor, he worked to merge the municipal and parish boards of health into one entity; he set up a recreation system, helped organize the city parks and recreation council, and oversaw the stocking of Cross Lake, the city's water supply. He also originated the eight-hour day for police and firemen. He represented the Louisiana delegation of the U.S. conference of mayors and organized the Louisiana Municipal Association. He was a strong advocate of the city manager form of administration and urged Shreveport to change from the mayor-commission form of government, unsuccessfully.

Sam Caldwell was born at Mooringsport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana, November 4, 1892, the son of Samuel A. and Alice Jeter Caldwell. He attended local schools and Louisiana Polytechnic Institute in Ruston. While still a teenager, he went to work for the Kansas City Southern railroad as a traveling auditor.

Several years later, as the oil boom spread through north Louisiana and east Texas, Caldwell began working for oil companies, including Gulf Oil in 1917. He resigned that position to become an independent oil operator. He organized Guaranty Drilling Company, which operated in north Louisiana. He disposed of his interests in that company in 1920 to join the land department of Roxena Petroleum, later to become part of Shell Oil Company. In 1926, Caldwell became assistant division superintendent with headquarters in Dallas, Texas, but resigned in 1928 to return to Shreveport as manager of the land department for Arkansas Natural Gas Corporation, a post he shortly resigned to re-enter independent operations in the East Texas oilfields.

During his third term as mayor of Shreveport, Caldwell entered into partnership with W. N. Thompson in the formation of an oil distribution company that distributed Skelly oil products in Caddo and Bossier Parishes. In 1946, following his retirement from politics, Caldwell joined the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas association and served as executive vice-president Louisiana-Arkansas division until his retirement in 1953.

In 1944, Caldwell campaigned unsuccessfully for governor against former Shreveport Public Safety Commissioner, James Houston "Jimmie" Davis. Caldwell had the endorsement of Leander Perez, political boss from Plaquemines Parish. He campaigned as a representative of "the people's faction." His campaign pledges included education assistance to soldiers, elimination of factional politics, opposition to "invasion of state rights by bureaus and bureaucrats fostered by the federal government," a "real" home rule policy, and "an absolutely square deal for both labor and capital."

Caldwell married the former Anna Pauline Owen of Monroe, Louisiana, in 1913. The couple had one child, Betty Ann (born 1923). He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church and the Masonic lodge. Caldwell died in Shreveport at the age of sixty and is interred at Greenwood Cemetery.

Bibliography: Lilla McLure and J. Ed Howe, "Sam S. Caldwell," History of Shreveport and Shreveport Builders. Shreveport, LA, 1937, 391; "Sam S. Caldwell," Vertical File. Northwest Louisiana Archives, Noel Memorial Library, Shreveport: Louisiana State University.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

"CALDWELL, SAMUEL S." Handbook of North Louisiana Online (http://www…….), accessed …………. Published by LSU-Shreveport.

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