J. Frank McInnis
|Jesse Frank McInnis|
1952 – December 1953
|Preceded by||Robert F. Kennon|
|Succeeded by||H. Welborn Ayres|
26th Judicial District Court Judge
January 1, 1930 – 1952
|Preceded by||Harmon Caldwell Drew|
|Succeeded by||James Edwin Bolin|
Webster Parish Clerk of Court
September 26, 1919 – April 7, 1924
|Preceded by||John H. Tillman|
|Succeeded by||G. A. Rathbun|
|Born|| January 28, 1886|
Castor, Bienville Parish
|Died|| January 27, 1959 (aged 72)|
|Resting place||Minden City Cemtery in Minden|
|Spouse(s)||Cortez Mixon McInnis |
|Children||Elizabeth M. Crumpton (1917-2013)|
Jesse Frank McInnis, known as J. Frank McInnis (January 28, 1886 – January 27, 1959), was a judge of the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal, based in Shreveport though he resided to the east in Minden in Webster Parish. In 1952, McInnis succeeded Robert F. Kennon of Minden, in the circuit judgeship which Kennon vacated to become governor. Prior to his appeals court service, McInnis served for twenty-two years on the then newly-organized 26th Judicial District Court.
The son of Jesse McInnis (1858-1946), McInnis was born on a farm near Castor in Bienville Parish in north Louisiana, where he attended Castor High School. He left the farm at the age of sixteen to come to Minden in 1906, where he worked for more than a decade in mercantile, railroads, and banking. From 1919 to 1924, he was the Webster Parish clerk of court, having succeeded his mentor, John H. Tillman, in which capacity he also independently studied for the law. In 1923, McInnis was admitted to the Louisiana bar and began his law practice in Minden. One of his early law partners was another attorney originally from Castor, John T. Campbell (1903-1993), who also for a time was the secretary of the Louisiana State Senate.
On January 1, 1930, Governor Huey Pierce Long, Jr., appointed McInnis, a fellow Democrat, to the newly-formed 26th District state court, created in 1926 and based in Benton in Bossier Parish. After his short-term appointment, McInnis was elected to full terms on the district court in 1930, when he defeated fellow Democrat R. H. Lee in a runoff election. In 1936, he won by 46 votes over opponent Clifford E. Hays, 2,889 (50.4 percent) to 2,843 (49.6 percent). McInnis won again in 1942 and 1948. Some 80 percent of McInnis' criminal court rulings were upheld on appeal. At the time, relatively few criminal cases were appealed.
As district judge, McInnis succeeded Judge Harmon Caldwell Drew, who at the time was elevated to the Second Circuit Court of Appeal. Drew was the father of later city Judge and state Representative Richard Harmon Drew, Sr. (1917-1995). The grandson of Harmon Caldwell Drew, Harmon Drew, Jr., also of Minden, still serves on the same appeals court.
From 1945 to 1946, McInnis served for fourteen months on the Court of Appeals and returned to that body when Judge Kennon became governor in 1952. On December 31, 1952, Judge McInnis swore in Louis H. Padgett, Jr., as the district attorney for Bossier and Webster parishes. Padgett had defeated R. Harmon Drew, Sr., in a special election for the DA position vacated by incoming Judge James Edwin Bolin.
McInnis was also involved in non-judicial matters. He helped to reorganize the former Bank of Webster during the Great Depression. In 1950, he marked his twentieth anniversary on the court. In 1953, McInnis was named "Citizen of the Year" by the Minden Lions Club.
In December 1953, McInnis retired after a year and a half of service on the circuit court of appeals, having completed Kennon's unexpired term. In February 1954, McInnis joined the Minden law firm of John B. Benton, Jr. (1924–2009), the assistant DA under Louis Padgett, and Enos McClendon, later a state court judge from 1960 to 1978.
Death and family
McInnis was married to the former Cortez Mixon (November 3, 1889 – December 2, 1947), a native of Cotton Valley in central Webster Parish. The couple resided at 211 Goode Avenue in Minden. McInnis was a Methodist; he died nine years before the formation of the United Methodist denomination.
McInnis died on the day before his 73rd birthday in Madison, Wisconsin, where he was visiting his daughter, Elizabeth Crumpton (1917-2013), and her husband, Dr. Charles Whitmarsh Crumpton, Sr. Elizabeth was living in Middleton near Madison at the time of her death. Frank and Cortez McInnis are interred at Minden Cemetery.
Judge McInnis, through his brother John Lawson McInnis, Sr., was an uncle of the Minden businessmen and building contractors, Harry Elwood McInnis, Sr. (1913-2003), and John Lawson McInnis, Jr. (1915-1994). Judge McInnis was a brother-in-law of the banker Clarence C. Fulbright of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, who was married to Mrs. McInnis' sister, Trevanion Mixon Fulbright. Clarence Fulbright was killed in an automobile accident in 1953.
- Elizabeth M. Crumpton obituary, Minden Press-Herald, February 26, 2013
- "Judge J. F. McInnis Will Retire Soon," Minden Herald, December 18, 1953, p. 1.
- Records of Old Castor Cemetery, Castor, Louisiana.
- "District Judge J. Frank McInnis on Bench 20 Years; Serves Longer than Any Other Man!", Minden Herald, January 6, 1950, p. 1.
- "McInnis became longest serving judge of 26th District," Minden Herald January 6, 1950, p. 1.
- "Local attorney to be honored", Minden Press-Herald, March 20, 1942, p. 1.
- "J. F. McInnis Candidate for District Judge: He Is Now Serving on the Bench," Minden Herald, May 1, 1930, p. 1.
- Minden Herald, September 18, 1930, p. 1.
- Minden Herald, January 28, 1936, p. 2.
- "L. H. Padgett Sworn in as DA by Judge McInnis", Minden Press, January 9, 1953, p. 1.
- Minden Press, April 3, 1953, p. 1
- "Judge J.F. McInnis Joins Law firm," February 19, 1954, p. 1.
- Earlene Mendenhall Lyle, Minden Cemetery records
- "Mrs. J. F. McInnis Funeral Rites Held December 4: Wife of Minden Jurist Succumbed After Long Illness", Minden Herald, December 5, 1947, p. 1.
- Telephone directory, Minden, Louisiana, 1940
- "Final Rites at 3 p.m. Friday for Judge J. Frank McInnis", Minden Herald, January 29, 1959, p. 1.
- "Judge McInnis's Brother-in-law Killed by Truck", Minden Press, July 3, 1953, p. 5.