Henry L. Bridges

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Henry Lee Bridges, Sr.

In office
Preceded by Robert F. Kennon
Succeeded by Connell Fort
In office
Preceded by Connell Fort
Succeeded by David William Thomas

Born December 6, 1874}
Athens, Claiborne Parish
Died April 9, 1939 (aged 64)
Minden, Webster Parish
Resting place Minden Cemetery
Nationality American
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Forrest Cobb Bridges
Children Mary Elise Hilzim

Helen B. Gallien
Henry L. Bridges, Jr.
Lewell Bridges
Forrest Lee Bridges
Jack Clifford Bridges, Sr.

Occupation Businessman
Religion Methodist

Henry Lee Bridges, Sr. (December 6, 1874 – April 9, 1939), was a businessman who served from 1928 to 1932 and again from 1934 to 1936 as the mayor of Minden, the seat of government for Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana.[1]


Bridges was born in nearby rural Athens in Claiborne Parish but moved to Minden in 1907, where he operated a clothing store. He was first elected mayor in the Democratic primary in the spring of 1928, when Robert F. Kennon, then twenty-six and later the governor of Louisiana from 1952 to 1956, declined to seek a second two-year term.[2] The position became four years in 1954 and is now filled in the fall of the national mid-term elections.

Bridges was reelected on April 8, 1930, when he defeated Coleman Lindsey, later a state senator and the lieutenant governor in the abbreviated 1939–1940 term of Governor Earl Long.[3] In that contest, Bridges polled 519 votes to 402 for Lindsey.[4] In 1932, however, Bridges was unseated by his sole opponent, former Mayor Connell Fort, who had preceded Kennon as mayor from 1922 to 1926. Fort polled 709 votes to Bridges's 437 in the primary held on April 12, 1932.[5]

In the primary election held on April 10, 1934, Fort was eliminated from the race,[6] and Bridges then faced his eventual successor as mayor, David William Thomas, a former university professor, journalist, publisher, and lawyer, who was a native of Wales. In the runoff election held on May 15, Bridges handily defeated Thomas, 624 to 377.[7] In March 1936, Thomas in turn unseated Bridges, 736 to 682, to secure the first of his two consecutive terms in the office.[8]After his defeat, Bridges returned to store keeping with the opening of a men's furnishings business in the Webb Building in Minden.[9]

Bridges was married to the former Miss Forrest Cobb (November 14, 1880 – December 18, 1947) of Athens. The couple had two daughters, Mrs. Helen Moss of Erath in Vermilion Parish in south Louisiana, later Helen Gallien of Columbus, Mississippi, and Mary Elise Bridges, a former Webster Parish schoolteacher then living in Baton Rouge. Later, she was Mary Hilzim (1908–1988) of Minden, the wife of R. H. "Buster" Hilzim (1883–1961). Henry and Forrest Bridges had four sons, Henry L. Bridges, Jr. (1903–1962), who died of a heart attack at the age of fifty-nine;[10] Forrest Lee Bridges (1912–1973), who ran for ward marshal in 1948,[11] and Jack Clifford Bridges, Sr. (1917–1977), all of Minden, and Lewell Bridges (1910–1980) of Shreveport.[2][12]

Like his oldest son, Bridges died of a heart attack while he was returning home from observing a golf game. He was sixty-four and a Methodist. Pastors of Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches conducted his services. He is interred beside family members at Minden Cemetery.[2] Son Lee Bridges was an inspector for the City of Minden and a former municipal sanitation superintendent. He died at the age of sixty in a boating accident in 1973 on Toledo Bend Reservoir near Many in Sabine Parish, in the company of his friend Albert Simolke (1917–1976) of Minden. Lee Bridges and his wife, the former Roba Watson (1917–2010), had two children, Roba Leah Bridges Miller (born 1949), and her husband, Clif Miller, then of Monroe, and later from Shreveport, and Henry Watson Bridges (born 1950), who for a time was a banker in Minden.[13]


  1. City of Minden, List of Minden Mayors Since 1888
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Bridges Rites Held Monday: Former Mayor Succumbs to Heart Attack", Minden Herald, April 14, 1939, p. 1.
  3. Isaac Coleman Lindsey. Louisiana Historical Association. Retrieved on May 24, 2011.
  4. Minden Herald, April 10, 1930, p. 1.
  5. Minden Herald, April 15, 1932, p. 1.
  6. Minden Herald, April 13, 1934, p. 1.
  7. Minden Herald, May 18, 1934, p. 1.
  8. "David W. Thomas Elected Mayor", Minden Herald, March 3, 1936, p. 1.
  9. "Mayor will soon go back to store keeping in Minden", Minden Herald, May 15, 1936, p. 1.
  10. "Heart Attack Fatal to H. L. Bridges, Jr., Rites Tomorrow," Minden Herald, May 17, 1962, p. 1.
  11. Minden Herald, August 27, 1948, p. 8.
  12. Minden Cemetery records
  13. "Lee Bridges Dies in Boating Accident", Minden Press-Herald, June 4, 1973, p. 1