WILLIAM W. HEARD was born in Union Parish, Louisiana on April 28, 1853. His education was attained at an academy in Farmerville and in the public schools of his native state. Heard entered politics in 1876, serving as clerk and later deputy clerk of the District Court, a position he held for sixteen years. He also was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1884, as well as the Louisiana Senate in 1888, and served as the Louisiana State Auditor of Public Accounts from 1892 to 1900. Heard won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was elected governor by popular vote in 1900. He was sworn into office on May 8, 1900. During his tenure, the state board of education was established, parish school boards were organized, a crop pest commission was formed, the state penitentiary board of control was granted total authority, and the old state convict lease program was eliminated. Also, a black insane asylum was built, a bureau of labor statistics was approved, oil was discovered, the petroleum industry was initiated, and an oyster commission was created. After completing his term, Heard retired from political life. He later served as moderator, vice-president, and president of several State Baptist Conventions. Governor William W. Heard passed away on June 1, 1926, and was buried at the Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans.
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.