CALDWELL, SAMUEL S.
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.