Willie Waggonner

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William Edward
"Willie" Waggonner

Sheriff of Bossier Parish, Louisiana
In office
July 1, 1948 – May 9, 1976
Preceded by Louis H. Padgett, Sr.
Succeeded by Vol Sevier Dooley, Jr.

Born August 7, 1905
Plain Dealing

Bossier Parish, Louisiana

Died May 9, 1976 (aged 70)
Plain Dealing, Louisiana
Resting place Plain Dealing Cemetery
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Nell Evans Waggonner
Relations Joe Waggonner (brother)
Children Jacqueline Waggonner Gore
Residence Plain Dealing, Louisiana
Occupation Law-enforcement officer
Religion Southern Baptist

William Edward Waggonner, usually known as W. E. "Willie" Waggonner (August 7, 1905 – May 9, 1976), was from 1948 until his death in office the sheriff of Bossier Parish in northwestern Louisiana, located across the Red River from Shreveport on the west. A native and resident of Plain Dealing near the Arkansas state line, he was the older brother of U.S. Representative Joe Waggonner, a Democrat who held Louisiana's 4th congressional district seat from 1961 to 1979.[1]

Career as sheriff

The son of Joseph David Waggonner, Sr. (1873-1950), and the former Elizzibeth Johnston (1882-1957),[2] Waggonner was a deputy under Sheriff Louis H. Padgett, Sr (1883-1955), from 1936 to 1948, when he was elected sheriff at the time that Earl Kemp Long returned to the Louisiana governorship after an absence of eight years. Waggonner was a president of the Louisiana Sheriff's Association and a member of the Louisiana Peace Officers and the National Sheriff's associations. He was affiliated too with the Masonic lodge, Lions International, and the Chamber of Commerce.[1]

Early in 1954, The Shreveport Times published a picture taken by its chief photographer, Henry Langston McEachern, entitled, "The Sheriff Weeps", depicting a heartbroken Waggonner mourning the deaths of two law-enforcement officers. One of Waggonner's deputies, Maurice M. Miller (1912-1954) was shot to death when he confronted a suspect, Ed "Man" West (1918-1954) in West's residence in Taylortown in Bossier Parish. West then shot to death Shreveport Police Chief Edward Gaston Huckabay (1906-1954), when Huckabay attempted to retrieve Miller's body. Other officers then killed West.[3] [4]

On December 5, 1959, in his successful bid for a fourth term, Waggonner was handily reelected as sheriff in the same election in which his brother, Joe Waggonner, was an unsuccessful candidate for Louisiana state comptroller against then Mayor Roy Theriot of Abbeville in Vermilion Parish in southwestern Louisiana. Willie Waggonner defeated fellow Democrat Joe B. Mason, a native Arkansan, by a five-to-one margin.[5]

In 1967, Waggonner, along with his chief deputy and subsequent successor as sheriff, Vol Sevier Dooley, Jr. (1927-2014), were accused of collusion with then Judge Oscar Ewing Price (1924-2006) and 26th Judicial District Attorney Louis H. Padgett, Jr. (1913-1980) (the son of the sheriff whom Waggonner had succeeded), to rig the double murder trial of Jack Favor (1911-1988), a rodeo star from Fort Worth, Texas, who was falsely accused of shooting to death an elderly couple, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Richey, who operated a bait and tackle business near Haughton in south Bossier Parish. Waggonner believed the false testimony of Favor's accuser, Floyd Edward Cumbey.[6] After his conviction was overturned Favor sued for wrongful conviction and imprisonment but settled for only $55,000.[7] The actor Robert Norsworthy, under the fictitious name "Sheriff Gerker," played Waggonner in the 1998 television film, Still Holding On: The Legend of Cadillac Jack.[8]

On February 1, 1968, Waggonner hired Wilbert Anderson, the first African-American deputy sheriff in Bossier Parish. Anderson was also the first black licensed bail bondsman in the parish. He retired as the first black detective in the department.[9]

In 1973, outgoing Bossier City Mayor George Nattin was charged by a grand jury under then District Attorney Charles Allen Marvin (1929-2003) of three counts of public bribery. Waggonner booked Nattin, his son, George, Jr. (1940-2014), and three other suspects but refused to fingerprint them or take their mug shots.[10] Ultimately, Nattin was acquitted of two charges, and a third was dropped.[11]


Waggonner died at the age of seventy at his home of an apparent heart attack, the fourth that he had sustained in the latter part of his life. He and his wife, the former Nell Evans (1907-1989), had a daughter, Jacqueline Waggonner Gore, known as "Jack" Gore (born 1940), the widow of the farmer Odie Lee "Sonny" Gore, Jr. (1940-2016), also of Plain Dealing, who died from complications of a tractor accident.[12]

Sheriff Waggonner had a sister since deceased, Mrs. Susie W. Carroll of Dickinson in Galveston County, Texas. He was preceded in death by a second brother, Johnnie J. Waggonner (1908-1968). Services were held at the First Baptist Church of Plain Dealing, with interment in the family plot at Plain Dealing Cemetery. One of his pallbearers, James Cathey, was a former deputy who was from 1973 to 1977 the mayor of Bossier City.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Bossier Sheriff Waggonner Dies", 'The Shreveport Times, May 10, 1976.
  2. Plain Dealing Cemetery interments. usgwarchives.net. Retrieved on February 7, 2014.
  3. The Shreveport Times, February 27, 1954.
  4. Deputy Sheriff Maurice M. Miller: Officer Down Memorials. search.ancestry.com. Retrieved on January 16, 2015.
  5. The Shreveport Times, December 6, 1959.
  6. "Legal Blotch", January 6, 1982, p. 20. The Paris (Texas) News. Retrieved on February 7, 2014.
  7. Jack Favor, rodeo star .... google.com. Retrieved on February 6, 2014.
  8. Still Holding On: The Legend of Cadillac Jack. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on February 17, 2014.
  9. Significant People. blackdigitalnetwork.com. Retrieved on February 7, 2014.
  10. Former Mayor Indicted On Bossier City Corruption Charges. The Camden (Arkansas) News' (July 3, 1973). Retrieved on December 21, 2014.
  11. Former Bossier City mayor dead at 83. Midland (Texas) Reporter-Telegram (April 26, 2002). Retrieved on December 21, 2014.
  12. O. L. "Sonny" Gore, Jr.. The Shreveport Times. Retrieved on August 16, 2016.