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History of the Chatham County Sheriff Office

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Researching this historical information has been exciting. Sheriff Webster and I read county documents that are more than a hundred years old, interviewed resident historians, spoke to past sheriff's, questioned immediate family members of past sheriff's, spent hours on the internet, and even hiked through the woods of the county to find this information. We have done our best to record this history. Not all our information is published. If you would like to add to or comment, please email us at 

Served              Sheriff                          Historical Marker

1771-1776         Elisha Cain                      First Chatham County Sheriff

1776-1777         Jeduthan Harper              Helped Frame the North Carolina Constitution

1777-1779         Isaiah Hogan                   Helped Frame the North Carolina Constitution

1779-1781         John Birdsong                 One of 53 Captured by David Fanning at the Chatham County Courthouse

1781-1785         Roger Griffith                  American Revolutionary War Ends

1785-1796         Zachariah Harmon           Town of Pittsborough (later Pittsboro) is Founded in 1787

1796-1798         John Howard                  United States Marine Corps is Established by the United States President

1798-1804         Thomas Ragland             The Louisiana Purchase Doubled the Land Size of the United States

1804-1809         George Gee                    Lewis & Clark Expedition Reaches the Pacific Ocean

1809-1812         Bartholomew Lightfoot    The War of 1812 with Great Britain Began

1812-1813         Edwards Rives                The War of 1812 Ends

1813-1837         Horace D. Bridges          First Elected by the People and Longest Serving Sheriff of Chatham County

1837-1840         John Harmon*                New State Capitol is Completed in 1840

1840-1842         William P. Taylor            Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina in 1853

1842-1844         Wesley Hanks                First Telegraph Message is Sent in the United States

1844-1850         John Harmon*                James Polk of North Carolina is the 11th United States President

1850-1854         Robert Edwards Rives    Son of Sheriff Edwards Rives

1854-1865         Richard Bray Paschal      The American Civil War Started

1865-1874         George J. Williams          North Carolina is Readmitted into the Union on April 24, 1868

1874-1880         John Wesley Taylor        100th Anniversary of the United States of America

1880-1890         Stephen Wiley Brewer    Siler City is Chartered on March 7, 1887

1890-1892         William Spencer Taylor   Son of Sheriff John Wesley Taylor

1892-1898         Joseph J. Jenkins*          Spanish American War

1898-1902         Joseph John Johnson      Congress makes Free Postal Delivery for Rural Route Delivery

1902-1908         John R. Miliken                  Town of Goldston was Formed in 1907

1908-1910         Joseph J. Jenkins*         Henry Ford Introduces the First Model T

1910-1920         Leonidas T. Lane         World War I Begins and Ends

1920-1920         Mary Myrtle Siler          First Female Sheriff in the State of North Carolina

1920-1932         George W. Blair, Sr.     The Great Depression of 1929

1932-1949         George H. Andrews      World War II Begins and Ends

1949-1967         John W. Emerson, Jr.     First African American Deputy, First Female Deputy in Chatham County

1967-1972         Calvin A. Simmons         Vietnam War

1972-1978         John Atlas Farrell, Jr.      Deputies Supplied with the First County Patrol Car

1978-1990         Jack Elkins                    Computerized System Introduced to the Sheriff’s Office

1990-2000         Donald J. Whitt             Implemented Crime Stoppers in Chatham County

2000-2002         Isaac L. Gray                  September 11th Attack on the United States

2002-2016         Richard H. Webster   New Detention Center Built