is the life history of James Pinckney "Pink" Logan, the
Honorable Mayor, Commissioner, Democratic Delegate to the DNC1, and successful businessman.
of the day referred to him as a great man; tall and handsome, soft
spoken, a gentlemen at all times, erect and dignified carriage. He was
described as a man before his time, a visionary, an early but immature
civil rights pioneer, a historian, an infrastructure kingpin, poll tax
opponent, and a man who loved Port Arthur with the affection of a son.
victory or defeat, Pink Logan remained unchanged. He was the ideal
politician. His interest and activity on behalf of his fellow Port
Arthurans was the same whether he was in office or out. He was modest
when successful and gracious when otherwise. He was for Port Arthur,
Jefferson County, and Texas, first, last and always. He was Port
Arthur's own J.P. Logan2.
In the years from the 1920's thru early 1950's, he guided Port Arthur
and its infrastructure into the 20th century and prepared its survival
into the 21st. He might have had his political enemies, but his
political friends were far superior in numbers, and this is, as he often
said, "The way it was". History always seemed to pick the right leader
for a certain era and J.P. Logan was the man for the occasion3.
Descendent of Great Men
order to understand the man, you must understand the heritage, the
lineage of a man's descent. In Pink's case, he was well aware that
he came from the blood of great men. The following is an ancestral
account of where "Pink" Logan inherited his drive:
was born in Lurgen, Ireland. He crossed the Atlantic in 1699 to arrive
in the New World, employed as secretary to William Penn. He was a
confidential friend and advisor to Penn, as well as to his sons and
grandsons. For nearly half a century he was the factotum of the Colonial
government of Pennsylvania. In 1722 he was elected Mayor of
Philadelphia. He retired at "Stenton" Plantation in Germantown, PA. An
intimate friend and colleague of his named Linnaeus, who was a
botanists, named an order of herbs and shrubs after him, "Loganiaceae".
James Logan came from an honorable and ancient family of Scotland; he
was the Great Grandson of Logan of Restalrigg. In 1398, Robert Logan, of
Restalrigg married the daughter of Robert II and was named Admiral of
Scotland. Sir Robert Logan (a descendant of Robert's) had a son, Patrick
Logan, who was an educated clergyman and father of James Logan of
James Logan was the Great Great Great Grandfather
of James Pinckney Logan (Pink). James' son was named James Logan Jr.
(the Great Great Grandfather of Pink). His son, William Logan, married
Katherine Henderson (Aunt of James Pinckney Henderson, First Governor of
Texas). He was Great Grandfather to Pink.
James Henderson Logan, was brother of Captain William Mitchel Logan, who
was closely associated to Sam Houston. William M. led Texas and
Louisiana Volunteers at the Battle of San Jacinto. There are many
historical documents regarding communications with General Sam Houston -
these and other Captain Logan documents are still in the possession of
Logan's descendents. He was awarded numerous lands by Sam Houston for
his service and became First Sheriff of Liberty County. A monument was
erected in Liberty County in honor of Captain Logan's service to his
State and his country, and it remains on the lawn of the Liberty County
Courthouse to this day. Captain William M. Logan's uniform of the Texas
Army is the only one on display at the San Jacinto Monument. Captain
Logan and James Pinckney Logan's documents can be found at the Sam
Houston Regional Library and Research Center in Liberty, Director Robert
Schaadt. Director Schaadt lectures on the history of the Logan families
as well as others.
Pink's father, James Bryant Logan, drove
cattle on the Old Chisum Trail. He later farmed and then owned and
operated a store in Port Arthur on 6th Street. He married Virginia
Sweeney, daughter of John Sweeney of Grand Chenier, Louisiana, whose
wife was Sarah Jane Hickok, 1st cousin of James Butler Hickok, known as
"Wild Bill Hickok".
Pink's Early Days
was born on June 7, 1890 in Grand Chenier, Louisiana. In 1902, his
family moved to Port Arthur Texas where they owned a small cotton farm
that is today the Motiva and Huntsman Plants, formerly the Texaco Plant.
He attended Webster School on Seventh Street, Port Arthur High School,
and Port Arthur Business College as one of its first students. In 1912,
he began working for the Phelan Josey Grocery Company. He later owned
the three Logan Feed Companies in Orange, Beaumont, and Port Arthur. In
addition, he owned three hotels; The Logan Hotel, The Worth, and
the Texas Hotel all on Proctor street.
To understand what was
going on during those times, in 1916 Pancho Villa crossed into the
US-Mexico border killing US citizens. Port Arthur recruited 110
volunteers were sent to help shut Villa down - they were known as
Company L. Also, an Article in the Port Arthur News on January 19, 1925
depicted that in 1924, pelts, fur, and some alligator skins local to
Port Arthur brought in over $750,000.00, and over 500 men were trappers
in the area. These weren't soft and easy men, but rough and rugged men
who made a hard living in a mosquito-invested area of the country.
Streets were dirt and shell; hot mix and asphalt was just being
experimented with. World War I (1914-1918) had ended and most southern
boys coming home were looking for work and of course the refineries
offered them plenty of work. Since there were not many hotels or
houses, some had to pay just to sleep in barns, but they came by the
droves. The port was exporting millions of tons of supplies and imports
the same; the seamen arrived by the thousands. Port Arthur was
where they were able to spend their time, money, and restlessness. This
had been going on since the port opened, Spindletop boomed, and the
economy grew. Businesses to support them were popping up everywhere.
There was only one way Pink knew to deal with all the lawlessness and
keep it under control, it was to control and contain - this was to
protect the citizens. If you keep the seamen and rowdy folks contained
in one part of town to have fun, listen to music, dance, drink, and
entertain themselves, then you control the area where things have a
tendency to go wrong when men drink and stay up all night.
There were reports that in the early years up to two men were
killed per day (night) on the streets downtown. So something had to be
Entry Into Politics
J.P. Logan in 1921
a span of over 30 years, Pink Logan was the most elected official in
Port Arthur history. After resigning his position as Sales Manager for
Phelan Grocery, he opted to run for City Commissioner Ward No. 3. He won
by an overwhelming margin and was appointed Mayor by the other
He first took office in May 1921 and served
through May 1923. He was then re-elected for another term in May of
1923, serving until June 1925.
The campaign of 1925 proved to be
the hottest in the city's history. Jesse Peek was expected to run
against Logan for mayor. However, he withdrew from the race. O.W.
Youngblood circulated a petition to place H.F. Banker on the ballot.
H.F. Banker announced his candidacy and the campaign began6.
Pink Logan announced his candidacy by saying: "I am glad, in short, that
I have not been weak enough to play traitor to the people, to give up
the least of their fights or properties or privileges for 'sweet
harmony's sake'."7 The campaign lasted two weeks and was
heated. Attacks came from both camps, Pink conceded the black vote to
Banker, but this was a ploy as Pink had a lock on the vote in the black
community8. His proactive relationship with the black,
Jewish, and Catholic community was challenged throughout his career, as
many did not approve.
Pink won the election of 1925 and again served from May of that year until June of 1927.
was always favored by the black community, and one of the
reasons was that he actively showed care for all. He was
against poor people having to pay a poll tax to be able to vote in
Texas, specifically Jefferson County. One of the stories his family
talks about was when a black friend of Pink's called him and said the
road on his block was potholing, could he help him out. The next day
Pink had a crew there fixing the pothole, and Pink was there with a
shovel to help. Some say it was a political gesture, but gesture or
not, actions speak louder than words.
Pink ran for office again
in 1927 and won, but with issues. There was a runoff between Perry Pace
and Pink Logan, and Pink won. Perry Pace alleged Pink with fraud for too
many votes in the Grannis Fire Station voting box, this was on the west
side of town in the black neighborhoods. Charges of fraud were
brought up because the precinct had been created within 6 months of the
election. The case ended up in County Court with Pink being charged with
voter fraud. Pace was sworn in, but Pink would not give up his position
believing that the poor communities were being disenfranchised. An
injunction was filed and Pink kept the office. On March 21, 1928, the
Ninth Court affirmed that Logan was rightfully the Mayor and upheld the
vote at the Grannis box voting station, making the determination that
there was no fraud. Pink served until June of 1929. Not many
remember or choose to print the gallant efforts of Mayor Pink Logan to
protect the rights of the black citizens of Port Arthur, Texas. In those
days, blacks that were arrested were mistreated and some brutally
beaten, so Logan created a completely separate Police Department16,
a completely separate black Police Chief along with their own black
jail house. He did this to protect the black citizens of Port Arthur and
it worked - tensions were lowered as black leaders protected the black
families, and of course in conjunction with Pink's administration. Few
know that one of the reasons he resigned from particular fraternal
organizations was because of the pressure he would receive regarding his
perseverance and active protection of the civil rights of the minority
sections of town. At the time, this included black, Jewish,
and Catholic families in the area.
On March 15, 1927,
the area headlines told of Pink "pushing the button" , to mark the
beginning of the City's Water Filtration Plant. This was one of Pink's
great accomplishments; this is described in detail in his exit speech
from 1952 (see below14).
In May of 1929 Pink lost to
J.W. O'Neal. The year 1929 would also reveal the stock market crash, and
the Great Depression did not spare Port Arthur.
In May of 1931 Pink Logan defeated O'Neal and served until March 1932.
March 12, 1929, the State Legislature in Austin had passed
the Port Arthur Seawall Bill. It paved the way for Pink to build Port
Arthur's first seawall. It set aside eight-nineths of all State ad
valorem taxes levied at Port Arthur for over 20 years in order to divert
$2,000,000.00 for the seawall14. The same seawall has proven
to provide protection and security to this day from hurricanes like
Rita and Katrina. When President Roosevelt came out with the CCC
(Civilian Conservation Corps, approved March 31, 193315),
he must have heard what Mayor "Pink" Logan was doing in Port Arthur and
took note. When funds were requisitioned by Pink and received, Pink
purchased hundreds of wheel barrows and shovels and notified local
personnel that were out of work they had jobs available, and instead of
utilizing all heavy equipment, he chose to keep people busy and earning
money working on the Levee as these were the years when the country had
fallen on hard times due to the Great Depression. As an added note, Pink
was a delegate and attended the DNC in Chicago in 1940,
when Roosevelt was elected to another term. Pink was a loyal
Democrat. Roosevelt also served more terms (three) than anyone at that
post, the President of the United States of America. The Logan
family retains original letters to President Roosevelt, from the
Vice President's office, Sam Rayburn, as well as others. As a
crowning touch to the levee, red and white oleander shrubs were planted,
and over the years the root of the shrubs acted as reinforcement for
the levees. The biggest threat to the levee was Hurricane Carla in 1961.
The old earthen levee, with the roots of the oleanders acting like wire
mesh, held firm1.
The Legal Battles of a Civil Rights Pioneer
J.P. Logan in 1937
August of 1931 Pink was indicted for paying poll taxes for the voters
on the west side of town, the predominantly black neighborhoods. He
served his mayoral term until March 1932. Again, he believed that no one
should have to pay to vote, and actions speak louder than words.
Move the time frame up 40-50 years and some powerful civil rights
activists would have come to Pink's rescue and supported his cause,
instead those who didn't respect that Pink Logan served all (rich and
poor, black and white) were brought to the forefront. There
is little doubt that it was in an effort to win the election, but
also to represent those voices that were only heard when he was in
office. Any and all charges were adjudicated as the right of the people
to vote and be heard. One of Pink's long-term friends and confidant,
Mack Hannah, was black and a leader in the community. Pink was
invited to speak at many events in the black community for his friend
Mack Hannah, who was a Logan supporter. In an interview, Mack Hannah
said, "'Pink' was the kind of fellow who had a flair about him. He
was the kind of person people liked. He had a lot of that Huey P. Long
stuff in him."9 Great
things were happening in and around the city at this time. New
construction was everywhere, hotels sprang up, and investments rang
throughout the area. Stilwell and Gates gave Port Arthur its start, but
Spindletop guaranteed its future. In January 1901, the first big Texas
oil boom blew in. The household names of Gulf, Magnolia, Humble, and
Texaco were all born with Spindletop. Pipelines and refineries were
built and their workers required housing and stores. By 1914 Port Arthur
was the second largest oil-refining point in the U.S. The population
jumped from 900 in 1900 to 7,000 in 1910. By 1930 it was over 50,000. Port Arthur refineries area employed some 12,000 workers in 1950. Their salaries directly accounted for half the city's economy.
After the late 1960's, when the population reached a zenith of 69,000, a decline began after refineries backed down production11. (Mayor Logan had been out of office for over a decade.)
1948, Pink ran for Commissioner again and won. All charges or
indictments (even the lawsuit of the acclaimed duel) had
been dropped and allowed him to continue to serve in an elected
official position. In 1949, he was Mayor Pro-Tem, and then ran for Mayor
again in 1950 and won where he served Port Arthur another two years.
1952, Pink retired from office but was always a consultant and active
participant in the City's needs as he was requested and summoned for
help and consultation until his death, but he chose not to serve again,
publicly, but to work in the private sector to support his family.
Pink's proudest accomplishments were the Filtration Plant, Filtration
Plant Upgrades with Fluoride, Sewage Treatment, Sewer Systems versus
dumping in the Neches River, Street Improvements, and Drainage Systems.
loved Port Arthur and marketed the area as best he could. The family
retains pictures of Mickey Rooney, Jane Russell, Sonny Tufts, as well as
others visiting and vacationing throughout the years in the area
and sitting at the Logan table on Pleasure Island enjoying the original
music of the area and dancing. In
1951, the City of Port Arthur passed Resolution 703, naming a tract on
Pleasure Island “Logan Park” in honor of J.P. Logan's many years in
service and as a tribute to a man who loved Port Arthur. It is filed in
the Deed Records, Jefferson County, Texas, in volume 818, page 53 et
seq. The resolution does not allow the changing of the name and many
other restrictions without a vote by the City of Port Arthur.
At Pleasure Island with Jane Russell and Others
Pink for Mayor
At Pleasure Island with Mickey Rooney and Others
Retirement and Looking Back to "the Way it Was"
1958 after Pink had been retired from public office, an article was
written in the paper that asked the question if Arthur Stilwell, founder
of Port Arthur was ever invited to the Silver Jubilee Celebration
(celebrating 25 years of incorporation), by someone who claimed to have
ran into one of Stilwell’s kinsman. The next day Pink produced the
yellowed telegram from Arthur Stilwell to the editor that read;
New York, N.Y., July 3, 1923 The Mayor of Port Arthur, Texas: I regret very much that I cannot be with you when you celebrate the 25th
anniversary of Port Arthur, the city I so love. Port Arthur has only
started. It will grow to be a city of a hundred thousand to fulfill my
vision, and I expect to live to see that
day. -A.E. Stilwell August
1999 Texas Monthly Reprint. The 1950’s in Port Arthur and Port Acres
were jammed until the late hours of the night beating to the sounds of
musicians. Those days were the days of music in Port Arthur. In
1960-1961 the Tom James Commission showed up and shut down the
clubs, brothels, and gambling houses, implicating all levels of local
officials. The report never once referenced or documented a
connection to Mayor J. P Logan as reported in gossip columns.Pink’s
control and contain approach was most suited for the times as he
inherited some lawless and ruthless history. An article printed in the
Port Arthur News on January 11, 1922, it states Logan as saying:
Arthur has tolerated law violation in one form or another until the
patience of the citizenship has been exhausted… In addition to the
public prostitution, gambling is known to be carried on daily under the
protection of social clubs licensed by the state. Police officers are
instructed to keep strict watch over these clubs and seek evidence which
will make possible the instituting of quo warrants proceeding to revoke
the licenses of the clubs.”
Oil refineries began
drying up in the late 1960’s and Port Arthur became a working class town
with no jobs, creating a tailspin which only recently appears to be
letting up, if only because it couldn’t get much worse. The unbelievable
sounds and sheer variety of music and talent of Port Arthur, like the
swamp blues, swamp pop (Louisiana’s version of blues and rock and roll),
country, gospel, New Orleans R&B and Cajun and Zydeco were essences
of Old Port Arthur nightlife came to a screeching halt when Tom James
came to town. That along with the slow refinery production of the late
1960’s really began the demise of the Old Port Arthur scene.13 The
nightlife of Old Port Arthur was real, the gambling houses, the
brothels, and the festive music of the day ruled the evening. Texas
brothels can be researched in detail by going to the following link: http://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/PP/jbp1.html.
Commentary and other facts:
order to understand the days and times of the early 1900’s, the old
west stories of duels were still true. There is one great story
about Pink and his brothers that is a favorite of his family. There
was a family that called out one of Pink’s brothers and of course, he
accepted, but noted that all of his brothers would be there. Picture the
hats, long coats and pistols walking down Proctor Street, well of
course when that family heard what was about to go down, they never
showed up. Whether this story is true or not can’t be verified, but the
old folks say it really happened. That’s just the way it was in those
loved duck hunting. When he was younger, he and his brothers used to
saddle up and go to the Sabine Pass swamps and hunt. On especially good
days they would bring the duck to market for up to $0.50 a duck for
extra money. He continued to hunt with his son’s, nephews, and
grandchildren until his departure.
January 17, 1974, The News front-page article read, “ PA Unemployment
Lowest in Years”. In the article it depicts the unemployment rate
was the lowest it had been in more than 15 years (which is around 1960),
so PA’s downswing didn’t happen in 1920, 1930, 1940, 1950, (as claimed
in one publication), but around 1960 when the refineries
an election debate he was asked how he could be trusted after having
been married three times, he replied, “ I’ve never loved a woman as
much as I love Port Arthur”.
Economic status of Port Arthur during Pink’s terms
Downtown Port Arthur 1932
In 1927, Filtration Plant went online.
Seawall was completed in 1931.
Asphalting of the streets reached almost 76 miles as reported in the Port Arthur News (September 2, 1930).
Churches sprang up throughout the 1920’s.
The third Pier Bridge was constructed in 1931.
In early 1929, buses were being used in the city.
1931, Pink and his Commissioners dedicated new fire trucks to the Fire
Department. (Family retains Fire Truck Brass Plaques.)
There was an increase of over 100% in the city’s population from 1920 to 1930.
In August of 1927, Port Arthur was third in the State of Texas in new construction.
Between 1920 and 1927, approximately 3,000 new homes were constructed.
In 1929, Port Arthur was ranked No. 1 in manufacturing.
The Vaughn Hotel completed construction in 1929.
The Goodhue Hotel completed construction in 1929.
St. Mary’s is dedicated by Pink Logan in 1929 and completed in 1931.
The new City Hall, Police Stations, and Fire Departments are completed.
Too many buildings and businesses are listed as being constructed or started to list in this document.
Bank deposits in 1927 were approximately $6.8MM, and in 1928 deposits were approximately $8.6MM.
are being quoted in the Port Arthur News in 1928 stating, in sum, that
the economy in the area is in fine shape and that the numbers don’t lie.
Bank’s also report their clearings in 1920 were almost $21MM, and by 1929 they are at an amazing $42.5MM.
Opening of Filtration Plant
St. Mary's Completion
Businesses and Organizations
was director of the Seaboard State Bank and Trust Company, a financial
institution he helped organize. Fraternally he was a Mason, being
affiliated with Cosmopolitan Lodge No. 872, Port Arthur Chapter, No.
250, R.A.M., Port Arthur Commandery No. 73, K.T., and El Mina Temple
Shrine at Galveston. He was also a member of the Shrine club of Port
Arthur, the U.C.T., and a Director of the Lion’s Club4. In 1948, he was named Member Chairman for the Texas Order of the Sons of the Republic of Texas5.
Pink at Fire Department Opening
Introduction of New Railcar
Population Facts & Important Dates
1902 – The poll tax becomes a requirement for voting. 1918 – (March) Texas women win the right to vote in primary elections. 1920 – Population of Port Arthur is 22,251. 1930 – Population is 50,902. 1940 – Population is 46,140. 1950 - Population is 57,530. 1960 - Population is 66,676.12 Late 1960's - Low oil production and lack of jobs leads to economic tailspin13
music back to Pleasure Island is striking a chord among some Port
Arthur city officials who are looking at the possibility of refurbishing
Logan Park. (Click for link to story)
A Note From the Author As
I find myself back at my birthplace, I wondered upon unjustified and
seemingly one sided personal attacks of untruth thrust upon the name of
my Great Grandfather in online articles I read. It seems that if you let
a few little people voice an opinion irresponsibly without opposition,
you create a biased analysis, so it is our responsibility to set the
record straight based upon facts not gossip or political one liner’s
from motivated opponents, or descendents thereof.
The research is based upon factual knowledge of events during his life and times.
MY GREAT GRANDFATHER, THE GREAT AND HONORABLE MAYOR, COMMISSIONER, AND
MAN OF PORT ARTHUR, WHO ONCE PATTED ME ON TOP OF THE HEAD IN THAT LONG
COAT AND TOP HAT, I HOPE THAT I HAVE SERVED YOU WELL IN THIS ARTICLE.
YOU WERE RIGHT WHEN YOU SPOKE OF “THE WAY IT WAS”