Henry Clay Sevier

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Henry Clay "Happy" Sevier
Louisiana State Representative from Madison Parish
In office
Preceded by Mason Spencer
Succeeded by Edgar H. Lancaster, Jr.
Personal details
Born (1896-01-24)January 24, 1896
Madison Parish
Louisiana, USA
Died June 1, 1974(1974-06-01) (aged 78)
Vicksburg, Warren County, Mississippi
Resting place Silver Cross Cemetery in Tallulah
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Retta Brooks Sevier (married 1918-1974, his death)
Relations Cousins:

Andrew L. Sevier
Andrew Jackson Sevier

William Putnam Sevier
Children Carolyn Sevier Yerger

Roberta Sevier Gandy

Henry Clay Sevier, Jr.
Parents Roxie Roberta Allen and James Douglas Sevier, Sr.
Residence Tallulah, Louisiana
Alma mater Louisiana State University

Columbia University

Louisiana State University Law Center
Occupation Lawyer; law partner of Jefferson B. Snyder
Religion Presbyterian
Military service
Service/branch United States Army

Henry Clay Sevier, Sr., known as Happy Sevier (January 24, 1896 – June 1, 1974), was a lawyer from Tallulah, Louisiana, who was from 1936 to 1952 a Democratic member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Madison Parish.[1]

Political background

Sevier was a descendant of John Sevier, a fighter in the American Revolution, an early governor of Tennessee, and the namesake of Sevierville in Sevier County in eastern Tennessee. His cousin was Louisiana State Senator Andrew L. Sevier, whose tenure extended from 1932 until his death in office in 1962.[2]

In 1936, Sevier was elected to succeed fellow Democrat, Mason Spencer of Tallulah, the husband of another Sevier cousin, Rosa Vertner Sevier Spencer (1891-1978). Sevier's election occurred a few months after the assassination of Huey Pierce Long, Jr., and at the time there was much voter sympathy for the pro-Long faction.[3] The staunchly anti-Long Mason Spencer had announced that he would run for governor but withdrew before the election,[2] and victory went to the Longite choice, Richard Leche of New Orleans.

Biographical sketch

Sevier was a son of the former Roxie Roberta Allen and James Douglas Sevier, Sr., a native of Port Gibson, in Claiborne County in southwestern Mississippi, who became a planter in Madison Parish in 1880. Sevier graduated in 1917 from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He then served as a second lieutenant in the United States Army during World War I. He was wounded an astonishing sixteen times in France and received the Purple Heart and the Silver Star medals.[4] By 1921, he had completed postgraduate work at Columbia University in New York City and graduated from the Louisiana State University Law Center. He entered into practice with Jefferson B. Snyder of Tallulah, the political boss of the delta parishes in northeastern Louisiana,[3] who wielded power as the regional district attorney from 1904 to 1948.[5] After Snyder's death, he formed the Sevier, Yerger, and Sevier law firm in Tallulah. He was president of the Tallulah State Bank and Trust Company.[4]

Like Snyder, Sevier was active in the Democratic State Central Committee. He was the national committeeman during the first administration of Governor Jimmie Davis.[6] In 1952, when his legislative service ended, he was the state Democratic chairman under Governor Earl Kemp Long.[4] He was a Presbyterian and was affiliated with the 6th Judicial District Bar Association, Rotary International, and the Masonic lodge.[3]

In 1918, Sevier married the former Retta Brooks (1899-1992) in Shreveport in northwestern Louisiana. The couple had three children: Carolyn S. Yerger (1921-1997), wife of Rufus Taft Yerger, Sr. (1914-1973); Roberta Sevier Gandy (1924-2006), wife of Robert Wyly Gandy, Jr. (1915-1987), and Henry Clay Sevier, Jr.[2] (born c. 1926), once a partner in his father's law firm[4] of Covington in St. Tammany Parish.[7]

Sevier died in 1974 in Mercy Hospital in Vicksburg, Mississippi.[6] Along with many Sevier family members, Sevier and his wife are interred at Silver Cross Cemetery in Tallulah.[4]


  1. "Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2016" (PDF). house.louisiana.gov. Retrieved June 10, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Sevier Family of Madison Parish, Louisiana". rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved July 23, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 James Matthew Reonas, Once Proud Princes: Planters and Plantation Culture in Louisiana's Northeast Delta, From the First World War Through the Great Depression (PDF). Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, Ph.D. dissertation, December 2006, pp. 216, 268. Retrieved July 20, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "Henry Clay "Happy" Sevier". files.usgwarchives.net. Retrieved July 23, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Jeff B. Snyder Succumbs Thursday At Vicksburg Hospital: Body of Prominent Figure Lay In State at Tallulah Courthouse Thursday", Madison Journal, October 19, 1951, p. 1
  6. 6.0 6.1 Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, June 2, 1974
  7. "Henry Clay Sevier". intelius.com. Retrieved July 22, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Preceded by
Mason Spencer
Louisiana State Representative from Madison Parish

Henry Clay "Happy" Sevier

Succeeded by
Edgar H. Lancaster, Jr.