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Leland Garland Mims

Member of Webster Parish, Louisiana, Police Jury (County Commission)
In office
February 1953 – July 1, 1976
Preceded by G. Calhoun Garland
Succeeded by Ralph Lamar Rentz, Sr.

President of the Webster Parish Police Jury
In office
Preceded by J.M. Pearce
Succeeded by Morris W. McClary

President of the Police Jury Association of Louisiana
In office
April 20, 1965 – April 2, 1967
Succeeded by Charles Naquin of Lafourche Parish

Born February 7, 1901(1901-02-07)
Evergreen Community, Webster Parish, Louisiana, USA
Died September 4, 1979 (aged 78)
Minden, Webster Parish
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Rubye Lowe Mims (married 1925-1975, her death)
Children Linda Lee Mims Martin

Grandson: Robert Martin, III

Occupation Businessman
Religion United Methodist
(1) Mims became a specialist in parish government, particularly rural road projects, though his long-term service on the Webster Parish Police Jury and the statewide Police Jury Association of Louisiana.

(2) Mims was a son-in-law of former Minden Mayor W. Matt Lowe, who served during World War I. The two served together on the police jury for some eleven months.

Leland Garland Mims (February 7, 1901–September 4, 1979)[1] was a Minden, Louisiana, businessman and civic leader who served as a member of the Webster Parish Police Jury (equivalent to county commission in other states) from 1953-1976 and as president of the body from 1956-1973. He was also the elected president of the Police Jury Association of Louisiana from 1965-1967 and served for several years as well on the executive committee of the statewide organization. On October 5, 1976, Minden observed "Leland Mims Day".[2]


Webster Parish Police Jury

In February 1953, Governor Robert F. Kennon (1902-1988), also a former Minden mayor, appointed Mims to the police jury, the 12-member parish governing council, to fill the vacancy created by the death of Mims' distant cousin, G. Calhoun Garland.[3]

At the time, the members were elected at-large by wards. Mims campaigned door-to-door in each Democratic primary election, beginning in 1956. He usually led the field with a healthy majority. Four members were elected from the former Ward 4, which covered the immediate Minden area. A Ward 4 colleague, businessman William N. "Nick" Love (1909-2000),[1] was also a strong votegetter in police jury races. The lower-polling candidates wound up either being defeated outright or placed into runoff elections among themselves.

During his tenure on the police jury, Mims ultimately served on each committee. He was the third vice-president, then second vice-president, and first vice-president of state Police Jury Association, headquartered in Baton Rouge. He served from April 20, 1965, to April 2, 1967, as the president of the state organization, the only Webster Parish juror thus far to have headed the association. In 1973, partly as a result of health problems of his wife, Mims relinquished the police jury presidency to the first vice-president Morris W. McClary (1917-1988)[1] of Sarepta.[3] When he, and McClary as well, retired from the body in 1976, the Police Jury Association of the Fourth Congressional District adopted a resolution recognizing Mims for his “excellent, energetic, and intelligent service."[2]

James Tenney "Jim" Branch, Sr. (born 1927), a Minden businessman who succeeded McClary as jury president and himself lost the 1982 race for Minden mayor, said that he had "never known any juror [Mims] to be more honest, sincere, and knowledgeable of jury matters. Years ago, the jury found itself to be in bad financial shape. Then he became president, and today it is in great shape due to the financial abilities of Mr. Mims."[2]

In addition to his watch over fiscal matters, Mims took an interest in all parish roads, including some of the lesser-travelled ones. He made sure that all such thoroughfares were well-maintained and that planning be undertaken before new roads were authorized. Daughter Linda Martin recalls her father being a "people person. He really loved people and enjoyed working with them. He spoke with plain words and from the heart. He was easygoing and a peacemaker by nature, but he never hesitated to take a stand for what he believed was right." [4]

Mims served until July 1, 1976, having declined to seek another term in the single-member District 8 seat created earlier by court-ordered reapportionment. Outgoing Webster Parish Clerk of Court Clarence Douglas Wiley (1909-1976)[1] was handily elected to succeed Mims, but Wiley never joined the panel, having died as police juror-elect four months before he was to have taken office. Instead a special election was held, and the Webster Parish school administrator, Ralph Lamar Rentz, Sr. (1930-1995), defeated Minden businessman Stewart Covington (1930-1997), later of Doyline, by three votes for the right to succeed Leland Mims. Rentz had finished a close third in the 1971 Democratic primary for the Webster Parish seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives, a position won by Judge R. Harmon Drew, Sr. (1917-1996) and held at the time by Parey P. Branton of Shongaloo, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor.[5]

Early years and education

Mims was born in Evergreen southwest of Shongaloo and north of Minden in central Webster Parish north of Minden to Henry Nathaniel Mims (February 3, 1851–June 25, 1900) and the former Ella Olivia Garland (July 31, 1859– May 25, 1920). A successful farmer, Henry Mims, died suddenly at the age of forty-nine, some seven months before his wife gave birth to Leland. Henry Mims was a native of the Darlington district of South Carolina; Ella, from nearby Sumter County in central South Carolina. Henry and Ella are interred at Pine Grove Cemetery north of Minden. Leland Mims was the youngest of seven children; his oldest sister was already nineteen when Leland was born. The second youngest sibling was seven years Leland's senior. The older siblings were more like surrogate parents or doting aunts and uncles than brothers and sisters, and Leland was close to all of them, recalls daughter Linda Martin.[6]

Mims graduated in 1921 from Minden High School. He was the athletic editor of the yearbook, The Grig, a member of the football track and field, and basketball teams as well as the basketball captain. Among his MHS classmates were the artist Ben Earl Looney (1904-1981) and the future Minden educator Kirtley J. Miles (1904-1993).[7] After high school, Mims attended Louisiana Tech University, then Louisiana Polytechnic Institute in Ruston, on an athletic scholarship, but he did not graduate. He then ran a store for a period of time.[4]

Business and civic affairs

Thereafter, Mims headed the sales department for the former Standard Chevrolet Company, then owned by banker C.O. Holland (1895-1981) and businessman Earl Long (1898-1980, no relation to the late Louisiana Governor Earl K. Long);[3] some thirteen years later, Mims opened his own used-car business. At times he was in business with M.O. "Mop" Powell and Thomas C. Bloxom, Sr. (1896-1978),[1] the father of the current Minden police chief. Mims' operation was first on Pearl Street across from the former Joy Theater and thereafter on East Union Street.[4]

Mims was named Minden Man of the Year in 1960. He was an honorary lifetime Boy Scout and an active member of the Masonic lodge.[3] Though he had no musical training, Mims sang tenor at band concerts in the park and also in the choir of the First United Methodist Church, of which he was also a member of the board of stewards.[4] Mims was active in the Minden Lions Club and was selected "Boss of the Year" by the Business and Professional Women’s Club.[3]

The Lowe family

Mrs. Mims, the former Rubye Lowe (February 16, 1904—March 14, 1975)[1] was the daughter of William Matt Lowe (January 1, 1872—March 4, 1955) and the former Clara Hodges (February 5, 1880–December 29, 1954), a native of Cotton Valley in central Webster Parish. Lowe, a merchant, served as mayor of Minden from 1916-1920 and was thereafter a member of the police jury from 1940-1954.[8] He died at a Shreveport hospital at the age of eighty-three.[9]

Rubye Lowe Mims procured a teacher's certificate from Louisiana Tech. She taught for a year before the couple married on January 15, 1925.[4] Hence, her father and husband were both police jurors, but their terms coincided only from February 1953 until January 1954.[8] The Mimses resided at 103 Germantown Road. Rubye was a diabetic. She and her husband both died of congestive heart failure four years apart. After Mims' passing, the Germantown Road residence was sold to Minden photographer Stanley B. Quade (1914-2002).[4]

Linda Lee Mims Martin (born 1937) is the only child of Leland and Rubye Mims. She and her husband, Robert Oliver Martin, Jr., graduated from Minden High School in 1955 and reside in Houston, Texas. They have one son, Robert Martin, III (born July 14, 1966), who resides in League City, a southeastern Houston suburb, with his wife, Kimberly, and their two children. The Martins lived in Connecticut from 1976-2001, where Rob was employed by International Business Machines. He retired in 1993 with thirty years service.[4]


On June 8, 1973, on the occasion of Mims' vacating of the police jury presidency after seventeen years, the Minden Press-Herald quoted his advice to aspiring politicians: "The main person that can help you is the Good Lord -- you've got to put Him there. There's not much that can be done unless we give praise to Him and look to Him for guidance."[10]

Grave of Leland G. Mims at Minden Cemetery

In 1975, when Mims announced his decision to retire from his jury seat, he told the Press-Herald: "I loved every minute of it. It was the high spot of my life. And I have worked with a lot of good men.”[3] Daughter Linda Martin added: "He loved Minden with all his heart -- it was his town!"[4]

The Mimses are interred at Minden Cemetery.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Social Security Death Index". Retrieved October 3, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c Shreveport Journal, October 6, 1976
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Mims Will Not Seek Another Term", Minden Press-Herald, undated 1975 article
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Statement of Linda Lee Mims Martin of Houston, Texas, daughter of Leland G. and Rubye Lowe Mims
  5. ^ Louisiana Democratic primary election returns, November and December 1971
  6. ^ Mims family records held by Linda Mims Martin
  7. ^ Minden High School Grig" yearbook, 1920
  8. ^ a b "Respect for the Past: Webster Parish Centennial, 1871-1971, Webster Parish Police Jury, 1971
  9. ^ "Ex-Mayor of Minden Dies at 83", Shreveport Times, March 5, 1955
  10. ^ "Leland Mims: My Time to Bow Out", Editorial, Minden Press-Herald, June 8, 1973, p. 1
Preceded by
G. Calhoun Garland
Member of Webster Parish Police Jury (County Commission)

Leland Garland Mims

Succeeded by
Ralph Lamar Rentz, Sr.
Preceded by
J.M. Pearce
President of the Webster Parish Police Jury

Leland Garland Mims

Succeeded by
Morris W. McClary
Preceded by
President of the Police Jury Association of Louisiana

Leland Garland Mims

Succeeded by
Charles Naquin of Lafourche Parish


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