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PEYTON, RUPERT RUDOLPH, SR. (1899-1982) was City editor of the Shreveport Journal during the World War II years. In the 1930s, he served as secretary of the city Democratic Executive Committee and a single term (1932-1936) as an anti-Long member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Shreveport, Caddo Parish. He is also remembered as a north Louisiana journalist and historian.

Peyton was born February 14, 1899, on a farm near the community of Sarepta in Webster Parish, Louisiana, son of William Madison and Fenner Cheshire Peyton. His father was a native of Alabama and his mother was the daughter of pioneer physician and surgeon, Dr. J. C. Cheshire, of Webster parish. He was one of ten children: six brothers, J. Cheshire Peyton, C. G., B. H., P.G., R. A., and E. E. Peyton, and three sisters, Mrs. W. B. Crow and Mrs. Nevella Crawford, both of Shreveport, and Mrs. F. K. Edens, Longview, Texas When he was still very young, the family moved slightly west to a farm near Plain Dealing in Bossier parish.

Peyton attended school irregularly as it was often necessary to interrupt schooling to work on his father's farm. He started school at the age of five in the old Line School, a one-room log cabin structure near Red Land. He was active in school activities and showed particular interest in debates. At one time he edited a small school paper. Peyton recalled his youthful experiences at old Line in the article "Beloved School of My Childhood" published in North Louisiana History, the journal of the North Louisiana Historical Association. He attended Plain Dealing High School, but left in 1918 during his senior year to enlist in the United States Army and was assigned to the Student Army Training Corps at Louisiana Polytechnic Institute in Ruston.

Peyton's newspaper career began as a reporter for the Haynesville News in Haynesville in northern Claiborne Parish. He later worked for Shreveport Times and was then a reporter and city editor from 1925 into the 1940s for the rival and now defunct Shreveport Journal. After his Shreveport Journal tenure, Peyton edited three Bossier City newspapers: the Bossier City Tribune, the Bossier City Press, and the Bossier City Banner-Progress.

Peyton's legislative service paralleled his newspaper career. In the 1932 gubernatorial primary election, Huey Long's preferred candidate, Oscar K. Allen of Winnfield, emerged triumphant, and the anti-Long Peyton was one of four state representatives elected at-large in Caddo Parish. One of the men that he succeeded was Cecil Morgan, the leader of anti-Long forces in the Louisiana House in the prior legislative session.

In 1933 Long, as U.S. senator, attempted to tighten his control over Louisiana's election machinery. Peyton, known for his use of invective, offered a facetious amendment which would have authorized election officers to "shoot and kill any person known or suspected to have cast his or her ballot against the present administration [Allen] or against the desires of Senator Long." On the last day of the legislative session, Peyton dressed humorously, ridiculing Long, and proposed a bill to grant the title of "Your Majesty" to every man and woman in the state. When Long proposed a two percent tax on gross advertising sales by newspapers with circulations of more than twenty thousand, Peyton led the opposition. He also protested the presence of Long on the House floor, when the senator gave orders to his supporters on how to vote on legislation. Of Long's actions, Peyton said: "I am sick and tired of this, and I think every other member is disgusted too." In 1976, Peyton’s "Reminiscences of Huey P. Long" appeared in North Louisiana History. The article was cited in the 2006 book Kingfish: the Reign of Huey P. Long by historian Richard D. White, Jr. Peyton later became an aide to anti-Long Governor James Houston "Jimmie" Davis and worked for a time for U.S. Representative Riley J. Wilson of Ruston. He chaired the Shreveport Democratic Executive Committee from 1930-1950.

Peyton's historical articles deal mainly with genealogy and local history. His last article, in 1982, told the story of George Paysinger, a slave on Oak Hill plantation in Bossier Parish, John Hamiter. He also wrote about one of his own ancestors, Jonathan S. Cheshire, a country physician of Sarepta. Other articles included "First Woman to Drive the Golden Spike at the Completion of a Railroad," "The Civil War Began and Ended in North Louisiana," "Yankee General Captures the Heart of Shreveport," and "Memoirs of a Shreveport Churchman: Miss Kate Sings at Old Salem Church." His 1974 column in the Bossier City Press was entitled "North Louisiana's Neglected History".

Peyton married Elsie Eliza Dubus of Vermillion parish, Louisiana. Two sons died in infancy. Only a daughter, Patricia Peyton, survived into adulthood. Peyton is interred at Greenwood Cemetery in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Laura Lyons McLemore

Bibliography: "Rupert Rudolph Peyton," Shreveport Men and Women Builders (Shreveport, LA: Shreveport Biographies, 1931), 143; William McCleary, "Remembering Rupert Peyton," North Louisiana History 40.1 (Winter 2009): 22-27; "In Memoriam, Rupert Peyton," North Louisiana History 13.4 (Fall 1982): 142.


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

"PEYTON, RUPERT RUDOLPH, SR." Handbook of North Louisiana Online (http://www…….), accessed …………. Published by LSU-Shreveport.

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