Friday, March 1, 2013

LeDoux Elgee Smith (1856-1917)

From a 1902 Annual Report of the Louisiana Department of State.

   A prominent man of affairs in turn of the century Louisiana, LeDoux Elgee Smith served eight years as Louisiana State Treasurer. Despite being a notable figure in the Louisiana state government, little information exists online that details Smith's life and exploits, with an exception being a small write-up in volume three of the 1914 work Louisiana: Comprising Sketches of Parishes, Towns, Events, Institutions and Persons, Arranged in Cyclopedic Form.
   A lifelong resident of the Bayou State, LeDoux E. Smith was one of  five children born to Dr. Stokes Anderson and Clarissa Scott Smith, being born in Rapides Parish on July 25, 1856.  It is unknown why Smith was endowed with the unusual name of "LeDoux Elgee", but he may have been named in honor of one Charles LeDoux Elgee (1836-1864), a former Adjutant General and Brigadier General, as well as a prominent former resident of Rapides Parish.
  LeDoux E. Smith received his education in schools local to Rapides Parish and spent the majority of his adolescence working as a farmer. He married on September 14, 1896 to Virginia native Mary Diggs Fitzhugh (1854-1929) and the couple are recorded as being childless throughout the duration of their marriage.
   Little is known of Smith's life before his nomination for state treasurer, but it has been found that he served as a justice of the peace for the Alexandria Ward in Rapides Parish during the 1880s. Due to his personal popularity and keen awareness of state politics, Smith was nominated for the position of state treasurer in 1899 and was elected the next year. Serving until 1904, Smith was unable to serve a second consecutive term as treasurer due to a then existing Louisiana state law that forbade him from running again. However, Smith is recorded as having "went before the people" in 1912 and was nominated once again for treasurer. 
   In that years election, Smith faced off against Republican nominee Baxter Simeon Braswell (1883-1951). On election day Smith emerged the victor, besting Braswell by nearly 20,000 votes. A electoral result from that election appeared in the St. Martinville Weekly Messenger and is shown below.


   Smith's second term as treasurer concluded in 1916 and he died of pneumonia on January 25th of the following year at age 60. His death occurred at the Rapides Hotel in the city of Alexandria and he was shortly thereafter interred at the Rose Hill Cemetery in the Parish of Iberia, Louisiana. His wife Mary survived her husband by thirteen years, dying in 1929 at age 75 and was buried in the same cemetery as her husband. The portrait of LeDoux Elgee Smith shown above was featured in a 1902 Louisiana Department of State Report to then Louisiana Governor William Wright Heard.

A death notice for Smith that appeared in the February 3, 1917 edition of the Abbeville Progress.

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