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Rupert Rudolph Peyton
|Louisiana State Representative from Caddo Parish (at-large)|
Joseph B. Hamiter
|Born||August 26, 1899|
Bossier Parish, Louisiana, USA
|Died||October 19, 1982 (aged 83)|
Shreveport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana
|Resting place||Greenwood Cemetery in Shreveport|
|Spouse(s)||Elsie Eliza Dubus Peyton|
|Occupation||Newspaper editor and historian|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Battles/wars||World War I|
Rupert Rudolph Peyton (February 14, 1899 – October 19, 1982) was an anti-Long member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Shreveport, the seat of Caddo Parish, having served at-large for a single four-year term from 1932-1936. Peyton is also remembered as a North Louisiana journalist and historian.
Peyton was born on a farm near Sarepta, Louisiana. Though Sarepta is in Webster Parish, Peyton is considered a native of neighboring Bossier Parish. It is possible that the farm was near Sarepta but also in Bossier Parish. Peyton finished six years at the old Line School four miles west of the Red Land community. The school, a crude building built of logs, was named because of its location between Wards Three and Four in northern Bossier Parish. The facility closed in 1912 and merged with other one-room schools to become Red Land Consolidated School. Shortly before his death, Peyton recalled his youthful experiences at old Line in the article "Beloved School of My Childhood" published in The Journal of the North Louisiana Historical Association, since renamed North Louisiana History. Peyton thereafter attended nearby Plain Dealing High School. Peyton then enrolled in 1918 at Louisiana Industrial Institute (now Louisiana Tech University) in Ruston and served for three months there with the Students Army Training Corps. He did not attend college but learned his craft of journalism from practical experience.
Peyton's newspaper career began as a reporter for the Haynesville News in Haynesville in northern Claiborne Parish. He later worked for Shreveport Times and was then a reporter and city editor from 1925 into the 1940s for the rival and since defunct Shreveport Journal, owned for years by the family of Douglas F. Attaway. In 1931, Peyton was listed in Shreveport Men and Women Builders. After his time at the Shreveport Journal, Peyton edited three former newspapers in Bossier City: the Bossier City Tribune, the Bossier City Press, and the Bossier City Banner-Progress. He also wrote other works for the North Louisiana History.:22
Peyton's legislative service paralleled his newspaper career. In the 1932 gubernatorial primary election, Huey Long's preferred candidate, Oscar K. Allen of Winnfield, emerged triumphant, and the anti-Long Peyton was one of four state representatives elected at-large in Caddo Parish. One of the men that he succeeded was Cecil Morgan, the leader of anti-Long forces in the Louisiana House in the prior legislative session.
Thereafter, Long, as U.S. senator, attempted in 1933 to tighten his control over Louisiana's election machinery, The tall, gangly Peyton, known for his use of invective, offered a facetious amendment which would have authorized election officers to "shoot and kill any person known or suspected of having cast his or her ballot against the present administration [Allen] or against the desires of Senator Long.":202 On the last day of the legislative session, Peyton dressed humorously in ridicule of Long and proposed a bill to grant the title of "Your Majesty" to every man and woman in the state.:205–206 When Long proposed a 2 percent tax on gross advertising sales by newspapers with circulations of more than twenty thousand, Peyton led the opposition. He also protested the presence of Long on the House floor, when the senator gave orders to his supporters on how to vote on legislation. Of Long's actions, Peyton said: "I am sick and tired of this, and I think every other member is disgusted too.":213–214
In 1976, Peyton penned a four-page article "Reminiscenses of Huey P. Long", which appeared in the NLHA Journal and is cited in the 2006 book Kingfish: the Reign of Huey P. Long by historian Richard D. White, Jr.
Peyton was later an aide to anti-Long Governor Jimmie Davis, a native of Jackson Parish and a former member of the Shreveport City Council (public service commissioner) and the Louisiana Public Service Commission. Peyton also worked for a time for U.S. Representative Riley J. Wilson of Ruston, whom Huey Long defeated in the 1928 Democratic gubernatorial primary. From 1930-1950, Peyton was the chairman of the Shreveport Democratic Executive Committee.
Peyton's historical articles deal mainly with genealogy and local history. His last article in 1982 is about George Paysinger, a slave owned by planter John Hamiter. He also wrote about a country physician, Johnathan S. Cheshire of Sarepta in Webster Parish, one of his own ancestors. Other NLHA articles are entitled "First Woman to Drive the Golden Spike at the Completion of a Railroad", "The Civil War Began and Ended in North Louisiana", "Yankee General Captures the Heart of Shreveport", and "Memoirs of a Shreveport Churchman: Miss Kate Sings at Old Salem Church".:4–25 Peyton also wrote a column in 1974 in the Bossier City Press, since Bossier Press-Tribune, entitled "North Louisiana's Neglected History".
At the time of his death at the age of eighty-three, Peyton was survived by a daughter, Patricia Peyton, and four siblings. The Reverend Carl E. Rhoads, associate pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Shreveport, officiated at his services. Peyton is interred at Greenwood Cemetery in Shreveport.:25 At the time of his death, Peyton was apparently divorced from his wife, the former Elsie Eliza Dubus, who upon her death in 1994 was interred at Forest Park East Cemetery in Shreveport. The couple had two sons in 1931 and 1933; the first died on the first day of life; the second, Rupert, Jr., in less than six months. The children are like their father interred at Greenwood Cemetery.
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Harney S. Bogan
| Louisiana State Representative for Caddo Parish
Rupert Rudolph Peyton
P. T. Alexander