Huey Pierce Long was born on August 30, 1893, on Winnfield, Louisiana, United States to a moderately poor family of Huey Pierce Long Sr. and Caledonia Palestine Tison. He was the seventh of the couple's nine surviving children. Huey toiled on the farm until he was 13.
Little Huey Long was forever resisting the boundaries established to restrain him. He learned to walk at eight months and was soon discovered playing among the livestock, much to the frustration of his parents and siblings, who were always chasing after him. His father built a cover for their water well out of fear that Huey would jump in, “just to see what it was like.”
Small for his age, Long was not like the other boys in his community, who amused themselves with outdoor activities like hunting and fishing. He disliked farm work and loved to read books, which were scarce in his community. He was intensely curious and determined to understand how things worked. When a train rolled into Winnfield, it was common for little him to crawl underneath it to get a closer look, delaying its departure until somebody pulled him out. When it came to working, he preferred anything to the monotony of farm work. His jobs were many and varied, from delivering baked goods to setting newspaper type, but sales work was his favorite.
Winnfield was a stronghold of populism, a political philosophy popularized in the nineteenth century that championed the needs of the common man over the interests of corporations and the wealthy elite. Long grew up listening to the old-timers complain about the corrupt and indifferent political establishment that ran the state and how things should be different. As a youngster, Long had no inhibitions about chiming in and offering his own opinions.
Long’s parents were better educated than most, and they stressed the importance of education to all of their children. The Longs were also a deeply religious family, studying the Bible daily, attending church twice a week and never missing a gospel revival.
Long’s mother was universally remembered as a remarkably tolerant and compassionate woman, often sending her children to the homes of less fortunate neighbors with gifts of food and clothing. Caledonia Long imbued her children with a strong sense of righteousness and fairness. In addition to her values, Caledonia appears to have passed her intellect and photographic memory to Huey.