Interview with Leroy Simkins Jr., September 18, 2019

Collection: Two-Party Georgia Oral History Project

Dublin Core


Leroy H. (Roy) Simkins, Jr. was born in Augusta, Georgia, and grew up in Beech Island, South Carolina. He is a graduate of Richmond Academy in Augusta and Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. After serving two years in the U.S. Army, Simkins returned to Augusta. After working for his father’s construction firm, Simkins entered the real estate business in 1959. Simkins, a Republican, won election to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1964 and became House Minority Leader in 1965. Simkins ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Congress in 1966. He returned to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1968 but declined to seek reelection in 1970. Simkins is founder and owner of Simkins Land Company, a timber, land appraisal, and real estate firm. He resides in Augusta.

Simkins discusses his early life and education in Beech Island, South Carolina, and Augusta, Georgia. He talks about attending Washington & Lee University, serving in the U.S. Army, returning to Augusta to work for his father, and starting his own real estate firm. Simkins reflects on his growing interest in Republican politics during the early 1960s. He recalls his unsuccessful campaign for the Richmond County Commission in 1962, Senator Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign, and his successful 1965 Georgia House campaign. He discusses his experience in the Georgia House of Representatives, as a member and House Minority Leader. The interview turns to his unsuccessful 1966 congressional campaign as well as Bo Callaway’s historic 1966 gubernatorial run. Simkins assesses the impact of Richard Nixon and Watergate on the Georgia Republican Party during the 1970s. The interview closes with Simkins’ thoughts on how the Georgia Republican Party has changed since he became active.






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Leroy Simkins Jr. and Ashton Ellett, “Interview with Leroy Simkins Jr., September 18, 2019,” UGA Special Collections Libraries Oral Histories, accessed January 20, 2022,