SAM H. JONES was born in Merryville, Louisiana on July 15, 1897. His education was attained at Louisiana State University, but he did not graduate. Instead he enlisted in the Army Reserve Officers Corps during World War I, where he later attained the rank of major of infantry. Jones entered politics in 1921, serving as a member of the Louisiana Constitutional Convention. He also obtained a law license in 1922, and served as the district attorney for the Fourteenth Judicial Parish from 1925 to 1934. Jones won the 1940 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by popular vote on May 14, 1940. His tenure marked the end of a twelve-year reign by the Long faction. Jones restructured the state government into a civil service system, initiating numerous reductions in state agencies and boards, as well as reducing the number of state employees. Also, a competitive bidding system was instituted on state contracts and purchases, teachers salaries were increased, social welfare payments were raised, the procedure of annual voter registration was eliminated, and voting machines were initiated. When Jones left office on May 9, 1944, he left a substantial surplus in the state treasury and had reduced the bonded debt. He later served on the Intergovernmental Relations Commission in 1953, and was involved in the Public Affairs Research Council and the State Board of Commerce and Industry. Governor Sam H. Jones passed away on February 8, 1978, and was buried at the Prien Memorial Park Cemetery in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Dawson III, Joseph G. The Louisiana Governors: From Iberville to Edwards. Baton Rouge: Lousiana State University Press, 1990.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.