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Andrew Jackson Sevier

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Andrew Jackson Sevier
File:Andrew Jackson Sevier of Louisiana.jpg
Sheriff Sevier at his desk in Tallulah, Louisiana
Sheriff of Madison Parish, Louisiana
In office
June 4, 1904 – August 25, 1941
Preceded byColeman H. Lucas
Succeeded byMary Louise Day Sevier
Personal details
Born(1871-01-30)January 30, 1871
Port Gibson, Claiborne County
Mississippi, USA
DiedAugust 25, 1941(1941-08-25) (aged 70)
Tallulah, Louisiana
Cause of deathHeart attack
Resting placeSilver Cross Cemetery in Tallulah
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Mary Louise Day Sevier (married 1905-1941, his death)
RelationsCousins Andrew L. Sevier
Henry Clay Sevier
ChildrenJohn Donelson Sevier
Emma Louise Sevier Nadler
ParentsColumbia Dobyns and Andrew Jackson Sevier, Sr.
ResidenceTallulah, Louisiana
OccupationLaw enforcement officer

Andrew Jackson Sevier, Jr. (January 30, 1872 - August 25, 1941), was the sheriff of Madison Parish in the delta country of northeastern Louisiana, having served from 1904 until his death in office thirty-seven years later at the age of sixty-nine. He was a direct descendant of John Sevier, a fighter in the American Revolution who served as governor of Tennessee and is the namesake of Sevierville in Sevier County in eastern Tennessee.[1]


Sevier was born to the former Columbia Dobyns (died 1881) and Andrew Sevier, Sr. (1844-1916), in Port Gibson in Claiborne County in southwestern Mississippi. His father had served in the Confederate Army and was held for a period as prisoner of war during the American Civil War.

The family moved west into Madison Parish, Louisiana, bordering the Mississippi River, when the younger Andrew was five years old. They lived first at Milliken's Bend and then in the parish seat, Tallulah. He had six siblings. His mother died when he was eleven years of age; apparently his father did not remarry and was a widower for thirty-five years. Sevier, Sr., served from 1883 to 1887 on the Madison Parish School Board. He got more involved in local politics, and served from 1909 to 1913 on the Madison Parish Police Jury (similar to a county council).[1]


In addition to his law practice, Sevier began his law enforcement career in 1896 as a deputy to Sheriff Coleman H. Lucas. A Democrat, Sevier ultimately became the "Dean of Louisiana sheriffs." He was elected as Sheriff of Madison Parish for ten consecutive terms, only two with opposition. His official title was "Sheriff and Tax Collector." He had already been a peace officer for six years before Tallulah was incorporated as a town in 1902.[2]

Madison Parish was nearly 90 percent African American in population during the tenure of Sheriff Sevier, related to the history of numerous blacks as slaves and later free workers on the large cotton plantation of the area. It remained majority black through the 20th century. Although Louisiana's 1898 constitution raised barriers to voter registration and discriminatory practices virtually excluded blacks from the political process, black men were called to serve on juries in Madison Parish. In an interview, Sevier said that most of the cases he investigated and handled were ones of black-on-black crime.

He said,

"We had no trouble in meting out justice to the evil doer. The Negroes picked for service on juries were made up of the old-time, law-abiding elderly men, who hewed to the law as given them by the court. We had eight or ten legal executions of Negroes in this parish during the reign of the Negro jury, all of which were cases that called for that kind of verdict."[2]

Sevier was an active participant in the organization of the Louisiana Sheriffs Association. He spoke often to civic groups of crime prevention methods. He was an advocate of a penal institution or farm for delinquent African-American juveniles.[2]

Marriage and family[edit]

Sevier and his wife, the former Mary Louise Day (c. 1880 - 1958) of Vicksburg,. Mississippi, had a son, J. Donald "Don" Sevier (1909-1987) and a daughter, Emma Louise Sevier (1907-1944). Their son lived in Tallulah as an adult. "Don" Sevier was a long-time employee of the United States Army Corps of Engineers based in Vicksburg.[3] Their daughter married and lived in Plaquemine in Iberville Parish in South Louisiana.

Sevier served as senior warden in the Episcopal Church in Tallulah and the Masonic lodge.[4] Sevier died at his home on August 21, 1941, of a heart attack at the age of sixty-nine, having just returned from a drive to Vicksburg.[4] Services were held at the Sevier home. Like most members of the extended Sevier family, he and his wife are interred at Silver Cross Cemetery in Tallulah. Mrs. Sevier was appointed to complete her husband's last term as sheriff, serving until January 1944.[1]


The Chamber of Commerce in Tallulah passed a resolution to honor Sevier:

He was one of our outstanding citizens, answering every call to public service. He was a fearless officer. He was generous to a fault. Hundreds of men, women and children, can testify to his great charity. He was ever sympathetic, fair in all his dealings, and served his people faithfully. We shall ever hold in grateful remembrance his services and his work. His life was that of a Christian gentleman, and his example and his splendid career is one to be followed and emulated by all.[2]

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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Sevier Family of Madison Parish, Louisiana". Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Madison Loses Dean of Peace Officers", Madison Journal, Tallulah, Louisiana, August 25, 1941, p. 1
  3. "Vicksburg Evening Post, September 9, 1987
  4. 4.0 4.1 Sevier obituary, Vicksburg Evening Post, August 26, 1941
Preceded by
Coleman H. Lucas
Sheriff of Madison Parish, Louisiana

Andrew Jackson Sevier, Jr.

Succeeded by
Mary Louise Day Sevier

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