Biographical / Historical
Paul Louis Wakefield was born in May 6, 1895 in Lovelady, Texas, to John Henry and Della Hogg Wakefield. He attended high school in Lovelady and college at the University of Texas. He was a journalist, politician, and served in the United States Army in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.
Wakefield was a newspaperman by trade, and worked for the Houston Chronicle until he left to serve in World War I. He resumed his career in journalism after the war, working for United Press in both New York and Paris. He began working for Universal Film Company in 1922, as the representative of Texas publicity. He worked with the motion picture industry to write articles about Hollywood, films, and actors.
Wakefield also dabbled in writing and production when he collaborated with theater owner and playwright George Waters on the romantic comedy Hot Air, which premiered at the Palace Theater in Houston in 1923.
The Houston Advertising Association chose Wakefield as a representative at the International Advertising Convention in London in 1924. He was subsequently appointed assistant to Jesse H. Jones, director of finance for the Democratic Party. Wakefield wrote a biography about Jesse H. Jones, and co-authored “Memories of Jesse H. Jones: During the Period 1924 to 1936.”
Wakefield wrote an article in 1929, while working for the United Press in New York and Paris, on the Puerto Rico scandal. The article exposed that Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. had signed over a 999-year lease of property known as Fort Geronimo, to Virgil Baker, a retired naval officer. The lease gave the property to Baker for a nominal amount of money and stated that it was a gift for services rendered. The scandal became known as the “Teapot Dome” of Puerto Rico. Wakefield returned to Texas in the aftermath of the exposé, which included a Senatorial investigation.
Paul Wakefield had a long military career as well, serving in World War I, World War II and the Korean War. He enlisted in World War I and was overseas in France for about year. He was part of the intelligences service in the Corps of Engineers, and worked with the French military. In March 1927, he was appointed first lieutenant for the Texas National Guard. He was promoted to brigadier general in 1950, and major general in 1956. Wakefield was appointed state director of Selective Service by President Truman in 1949, and retired from this position in 1955. His main duties involved public relations and re-employment.
Paul Wakefield also served in various capacities to several Texas Governors. After working for the United Press in Paris and New York he became press secretary for Governor Ross Sterling in 1930. Governor James V. Allred appointed General Wakefield to the Texas Planning Board in Washington, for the purpose of recommending PWA fund projects. He handled press relations regarding military matters for Governor Coke Stevenson. Governor Pat Neff appointed General Wakefield to represent Texas at the ceremonial burial of the Unknown Soldier of World War I in Arlington National Cemetery. Vice President John Nance Garner named him one of the Texas Centennial Commissioners in 1936. He was also Robert B. Anderson’s assistant when Anderson was over the Texas Employment Commission.
General Wakefield married on January 24, 1928, to Eleanor L. Wilson from Houston, Texas. They had one son they named Paul. The marriage ended in divorce and Wakefield remarried Miss William Lois LaLonde from San Antonio, on December 22, 1946. She had a son from a previous marriage, C.B. Hodges. During his retirement years Wakefield became President of the Texas Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to the preservation of historic Texas documents. Wakefield passed away on March 23, 1961, in Austin, Texas.