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 William Wright Heard

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William Wright Heard

  • Birth 28 Apr 1853 Union Parish, Louisiana, USA
  • Death 31 May 1926 New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, USA
  • Burial New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, USA
  • Plot Sec. 77
  • Memorial ID 5833888

32nd Governor of Louisiana. Born near the rural north Louisiana community of Shiloh in Union Parrish, he was the son of Stephen Southard Heard and Mary Ann Wright. Heard was educated in a small local school near his family's homestead. In years to come, he remembered the challenges of educating children in rural areas. Education was one of the major concerns for the residents of the state; hence, as governor, he formed the first Board of Education for the State Louisiana. Heard married Isabella Josephine Manning on December 3, 1878, and seven children were born to this union. They were of the Baptist faith. After holding several elected positions on the county level, he was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives and then the Senate. In 1892 he became the Louisiana State Auditor. As a Democratic candidate, he was elected to the office of Governor of the State of Louisiana on May 8, 1900 and held this office until May 10, 1904. His term was fairly low-key compared to other colorful and dynamic personalities, which held the office in the past. It was during Heard's term that the discovery of oil was made in Louisiana, thus starting the state's vital oil and gas industry. Coupled the wealth of oil industry with the rise of forestry and then add the earlier discovery of sulfur, Louisiana was sent on a new wave of economic growth. It was Governor Heard who decided what was going to be on the State of Louisiana Seal: A Pelican with its head turned to the left resting in nest with of its three young. The seal included the motto, which Heard had chosen: Union, Justice, Confidence. This seal was adopted on April 30, 1902. Two other noted achievements of Heard's term were forming the State Prison System, which eliminated private contracted prisons; and forming the State Department of Pest Control, thus trying to control the hated cotton weevil. The Heard family had a beloved Black housemaid named Delia, who was born a slave in 1861 on the Heard homestead in Union Parrish. While Governor Heard was in office, Delia died and the family decided to buried her in his parent's plot at Fellowship Cemetery near Dubach, Louisiana. Since this was the segregated South, the governor faced opposition from some, but since he was the governor, it was done. After his term as governor, Heard left public service and became Vice President of the State National Bank in New Orleans. A Historical marker was placed on State Road #2 in Union Parish, LA honoring Governor William Wright Heard and Governor Ruffin G. Pheasant (1916-1920), as both were born in Union Parish.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Joel Manuel
  • Added: 9 Oct 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5833888
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Wright Heard (28 Apr 1853–31 May 1926), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5833888, citing Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .