On this date in 1883, future Little Rock Mayor Sam M. Wassell was born. His grandfather John W. Wassell had been appointed Mayor of Little Rock in 1868. He is the only Little Rock Mayor to be a grandson of another Little Rock Mayor.
Sam Wassell served on the Little Rock City Council from 1928 through 1934 and again from 1940 through 1946. He is one of the few 20th Century Little Rock Mayors who previously served on the City Council.
Wassell was an attorney. He practiced law privately and also served as an Assistant US Attorney. In 1930, he ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for the US Congress representing the 5th Congressional District, which at the time included Little Rock.
Wassell ran for Mayor in 1947 and was unopposed in the general election. He was unopposed in his bid for re-election in 1949. During his second term, President Harry S. Truman visited Little Rock. In 1951, he sought a third term as Mayor. No Little Rock Mayor had sought a third consecutive term since 1923. Though he received the Democratic nomination, the Republican party nominated Pratt Remmel who defeated Wassell by a 2 to 1 margin.
With a new USS Little Rock under construction, it is interesting to note that Mrs. Sam Wassell christened the previous USS Little Rock in 1944. At the time, she was a City Councilor’s wife.
Mayor Wassell died on December 23, 1954 and is buried at Roselawn Cemetery in Little Rock.