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John Holmes Overton, Sr. Passes Away

Today in Masonic History John Holmes Overton, Sr. passes away in 1948.

John Holmes Overton, Sr. was an American politician.

Overton was born in Marksville, Louisiana on September 17th, 1875. He attended Louisiana State University and graduated in 1895. In 1898 he went to Tulane University Law School in New Orleans.

In 1898, Overton was admitted to the bar and began practicing law in Alexandria, Louisiana. He also became the city attorney in Alexandria and sat on the Broad of Supervisors for Louisiana State University.

In 1918, Overton ran unsuccessfully for the United States Senate. After the election he became a supporter of Huey Pierce Long Jr. Overton served as Long's legal counsel when he was brought up for impeachment. Long, in 1929 attempted to levy a tax on the Oil Industry in Louisiana. The Oil Industry pushed back and a freshman legislator in the Louisiana legislature moved for impeachment. The charges ranged from blasphemy to abuses of power, bribery, and the misuse of state funds. Long and his supporters, including Overton insisted the Oil Industry was behind the charges and Overton said at point:

I've supported every governor that has been elected in Louisiana for twenty-five yeas, all on promises that they have made to the people. Not one of them has been able or, if able, willing to carry out what was expected of him. The present governor is throwing out of office the clique that all other governors promised to throw out. He is backed to the wall in his efforts to redeem his campaign pledges.

Long took his argument to the people and successfully avoided impeachment.

In 1931, Overton was elected to fill a vacated seat in the United States House of Representatives. He served almost a full term in the House. In 1932 he ran a second time for the United States Senate, this time successfully.

In the 1932 election Overton defeated the incumbent two term Senator in the Democratic Primary. At the time in Louisiana it was essentially the same as winning the general election. Overton's opponent, Edwin S. Broussard, claimed there were voter irregularities and fraud in the election and demanded an investigation. Overton had won the majority of parishes in the state and all by large numbers. Although the United States Senate took up the investigation, Overton was seated in 1933.

Overton was elected three times to the United States Senate. His final term in 1944, he originally had decided not to run, until pressure from his fellow Senate Democrats convinced him to run for a third term.

Overton passed away while in office on May 14th, 1948.

Overton was a member of Oliver Lodge No. 84 in Alexandria, Lousiana. He was also a member of Keystone Chapter No. 44, Royal Arch Masons and Trinity Commandery No. 8, Knights Templar.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.