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John N. Sandlin

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Title: John N. Sandlin  
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Subject: John T. Watkins, Louisiana's 4th congressional district, United States House of Representatives elections, 1926, United States House of Representatives elections, 1928, United States House of Representatives elections, 1924
Collection: 1872 Births, 1957 Deaths, American Methodists, Burials at Minden Cemetery, Democratic Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, District Attorneys in Louisiana, Louisiana Democrats, Louisiana Lawyers, Louisiana State Court Judges, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Louisiana, Minden High School (Minden, Louisiana) Alumni, People from Minden, Louisiana, Politicians from Minden, Louisiana
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John N. Sandlin

John Nicholas Sandlin, Sr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1921 – January 3, 1937
Preceded by John T. Watkins
Succeeded by Thomas Overton Brooks
Judge of Louisiana's 2nd Judicial District Court
In office
March 4, 1911 – December 4, 1920
Preceded by Richard Cleveland Drew
Succeeded by Robert Roberts, Jr.
District Attorney of Louisiana's 2nd Judicial District
In office
December 8, 1904 – March 4, 1911
Preceded by Charles E. McDonald
Succeeded by Thomas W. Robertson
Personal details

(1872-02-24)February 24, 1872
McIntyre Community

Webster Parish, Louisiana
Died December 25, 1957(1957-12-25) (aged 85)
Resting place Minden Cemetery
Political party Democratic
Relations Brother McIntyre H. Sandlin
Alma mater Minden Normal School and Business College
Religion Methodist

John Nicholas Sandlin, Sr. (February 24, 1872—December 25, 1957), of Minden, Louisiana, represented his state's Fourth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives from 1921 to 1937.

In 1936, rather than seeking a ninth term in the House, Sandlin, upon the request of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, contested an open seat in the U.S. Senate. He lost the pivotal Democratic nomination to Allen J. Ellender of Houma in Terrebonne Parish in South Louisiana. Ellender, a confidant of the late Huey Pierce Long, Jr., received 364,931 ballots (68 percent) to Sandlin's 167,471 votes (31.2 percent). There was no Republican candidate, and Ellender was sworn into the first of what would become six consecutive senatorial terms.


  • Background 1
  • Congressional tenure 2
  • Personal life 3
  • References 4


Sandlin was born in the McIntyre community west of Minden, the younger of two sons to Sons of Confederate Veterans."[1]

John Sandlin's older brother, McIntyre H. Sandlin, was a mayor of Minden, a state representative like his father, and a long-term tax assessor of Webster Parish.[1]

Sandlin was educated in public schools and attended the former Minden Normal School and Business College, the forerunner to Minden High School. He privately studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1896, when he began his law practice in Minden. From 1904 to 1910, he was district attorney for the Second Judicial District (since 26th District). He was judge of the same district from 1910 to 1920.

In 1917, Judge Sandlin presided over a sensational ax-murder case in which the young district attorndey, Harmon Caldwell Drew, led the prosecution against several African American and white suspects charged with the Christmas Day 1916 murder of the John Nelson Reeves family in the rural Grove community north of Minden.[2]

In 1916, Sandlin was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, which met in St. Louis, Missouri, to renominate U.S. President Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey and Vice President Thomas R. Marshall of Indiana, for their second terms in office.

Congressional tenure

Sandlin was first elected to Congress in 1920, when he denied renomination to the incumbent, John Thomas Watkins, also of Minden. In 1931, Sandlin proposed the "cotton holiday", under which the United States Department of Agriculture advanced loans of nearly double the price of cotton to southern farmers to prevent massive bankruptcies. Some eleven million dollars went into the hands of Louisiana farmers under Sandlin's measure.[3]

In 1933, United States Postmaster General James A. Farley of New York, also the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, came to Shreveport, where he lavised high praise on Representative Sandlin. "No man in Congress has worked harder to assist us in bringing this nation out of chaos," a reference to the New Deal attempt to combat the Great Depression, said Farley. At the rally, Sandlin told Farley that Louisiana stood "100 percent behind" President Franklin Roosevelt.[4]Roosevelt thereafter urged Sandlin to challenge the reelection of U.S. Senator Huey Long. However, before the scheduled election in 1936 could occur, Long was assassinated in 1935. Pro-Long supporters, who coalesced behind Allen Ellender, started a false allegation that Sandlin had been involved in the assassination plot against Long.[5]

During part of Sandlin's congressional tenure, his chief aide was J. Frank Colbert, a former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and the mayor of Minden from 1944-1946. Upon leaving Washington, D.C., in 1937, Sandlin resumed his law practice in Minden.

Personal life

Faded Sandlin tombstone at Minden Cemetery

Sandlin was a Methodist, a Freemason, and a member of Woodmen of the World.

Sandlin married the former Ruth Reams (February 3, 1878 - March 28, 1911), and they had a son, John N. Sandlin, Jr. (May 3, 1900 - April 19, 1960), who was a staff sergeant in both World War I and World War II. They lost an infant daughter, also named Ruth, who lived only from March 19 to April 10, 1911. Ruth R. Sandlin died from complications from childbirth thirteen days before the death of their daughter.[6]

In 1913, Sandlin wed Mrs. Emma Lou Palmer Crichton (pronounced CRAY TUHN), a member of a prominent Minden family.

In 1951, Sandlin had a heart attack in Oxford, Mississippi, where he had taken his wife for treatment of an eye illness.[7] He recovered in Shreveport and then Minden.

Upon his death six years later at the age of eighty-five, Sandlin was interred in the old section of the Minden Cemetery. His grave marker reads "To Know Him Was to Love Him."


  1. ^ a b "John N. Sandlin, member of Congress". Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  2. ^ Marilyn Miller, Sons of Darkness Sons of Light (Many, Louisiana: Sweet Dreams Publishing Co., 2000), p. 188, ISBN 1-893693-09-0
  3. ^ "John N. Sandlin, Our Friend" (editorial), Minden Herald, January 3, 1936, p. 1
  4. ^ "Democratic Chairman Pays John N. Sandlin High Tribute," Minden Herald, October 20, 1933, p. 1
  5. ^ Marilyn Miller, Sons of Darkness Sons of Light, p. 193
  6. ^ Cemetery records, Section A West, Minden Cemetery
  7. ^ "Judge John N. Sandlin Very Ill in Miss. Hosp.", Minden Press, December 7, 1951, p. 1

"John Nicholas Sandlin", A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography, Vol. 2 (1988), p. 716.

Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections, U.S. House, 1920–1934, and U.S. Senate, 1936

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Thomas Watkins
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 4th congressional district

1921 – 1937
Succeeded by
Thomas Overton Brooks
Preceded by
Richard Cleveland Drew
Judge of the 2nd Judicial District of Louisiana

John Nicholas Sandlin, Sr.
1911 – 1920

Succeeded by
Robert Roberts, Jr.
Preceded by
Charles E. McDonald
District Attorney for the 2nd Judicial District of Louisiana

John Nicholas Sandlin, Sr.
1904 – 1911

Succeeded by
Thomas W. Robertson
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