George Madden Lomax (August 8, 1849 – May 13, 1917) was from 1892 to 1896 a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for Lincoln Parish in North Louisiana. He introduced legislation to establish in 1894 what became Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana. A Democrat, his single term corresponded with the first term of Governor Murphy J. Foster, Sr.
In 1893, a fire destroyed the former Ruston College. The next year the Lincoln Parish Police Jury in special session outlined plans to establish a state-supported industrial institute. Along with fellow Representative J. T. M. Hancock of Jackson Parish and journalist, lawyer, later Judge John Burnham Holstead of Ruston, Lomax pushed for passage of the proposed bill. On July 6, 1894, the legislature passed Act 68 to establish The Industrial Institute and College of Louisiana to be located in the parish seat of Ruston. The law specified that the institution was intended "for the education of the white children of the State of Louisiana in the arts and sciences". The original skills to be taught at the industrial institute included telegraphy, stenography, drawing, industrial applications of designing and engraving, needlework, and bookkeeping. Since the school was the first state college north of Natchitoches, home of the new Northwestern State University, admission standards were considered lenient. Incoming students were merely required to be at least fourteen years of age and able with "tolerable correctness" to read, write, speak and spell.
Colonel Arthur T. Prescott of Baton Rouge was named the first president of the new institution. He immediately moved his family to Ruston, where he began the supervision of the building of a two-story brick building known as "Old Main."
In 1902, Lomax was a plaintiff with fourteen others in a civil suit against William H. Phillips regarding the physical destruction of the old Walnut Creek schoolhouse building in Ward 3 of Lincoln Parish near Simsboro. The structure had intermittently housed a private school affiliated with a Southern Baptist church. The building had fallen into disuse and the school was being held instead at the Walnut Creek Baptist Church. Phillips demolished the building to obtain the lumber from the structure for use in improvements to the public school in nearby Simsboro. Lomax won in the district court in Ruston, but the Louisiana Court of Appeal for the First Circuit reversed the original ward, and the Louisiana Supreme Court upheld the circuit court and sided with Phillips and the public school. The higher courts questioned the standing of Lomax and the other plaintiffs as representatives of a neighborhood.
At the time of his death, Lomax was a member of the Ruston City Council.
Ancestry and legacy
Lomax was the only son of Samuel Wesley Lomax (1825-1884), a native of Abbeville County in northwestern South Carolina, and the former Amy Madden (1818-1884). His sister and only sibling was Mary Ann "Mollie" Lomax Colvin (1852-1921). The parents are interred at Antioch Cemetery in Lincoln Parish. Lomax was born in Laurens in Laurens County, also in northwestern South Carolina. His first wife was the former Rebecca Burt (1855-1900), by whom he had eight children. His second wife, Mary C. Lomax, bore him a ninth child. The oldest son from the first marriage, Dallas Daniel Lomax (1882-1972), was born in Simsboro and is interred at Greenwood Cemetery in Ruston.
Lomax's granddaughter, the daughter of Dallas Lomax, was Virginia Lomax Marbury (1918-2008), the wife of William Ardis Marbury, Jr. (1917-2005). She was a music educator turned insurance agent. An Episcopalian, she and her husband in 1959 founded Banker's Life in Louisiana. In 1996, the Louisiana Tech alumni building was named the Marbury Center in their honor. The pair was named among the top 100 distinguished Louisiana Tech graduates at the 1994 centennial ceremony. Lomax's great-grandson, Lomax Bailey Napper, is a former director of the private Cedar Creek School in Ruston and a professor of education at Louisiana Tech. He also has ties to Simsboro through his descent from L.D. "Buddy" Napper, a state representative for Lincoln Parish from 1952 to 1964.
Lomax died a month after United States entry into World War I. He is interred along with his first wife and other family members, including presumably the second wife as well, at Walnut Creek Cemetery near Simsboro.
The former Lomax Hall on the Louisiana Tech campus, a liberal arts building, was razed to make way for the Charles Wyly, Sr., Tower of Learning. Another Lomax Hall on the south campus houses the Louisiana Tech Conservatory and has a display of tropical plants. The George Madden Lomax Scholarship is available at Louisiana Tech to junior students who qualify.