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Sheriff Mary Myrtle Siler

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28th Sheriff of Chatham County

28th Sheriff of Chatham County

Served: Oct 4th 1920-Dec 6th 1920

Appointed/Elected: Appointed

Age taking office: 33

Population: 23, 814 in 1920

Birth date: June 20, 1887

Birth place: Siler City, Chatham County, NC

Died: March 30, 1985

Buried: LOVES CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH located in the Matthews Township, Siler City on north side of US 64 and west of New US 421. She is buried near her husband and their headstones read: Thompson, Myrtle Siler (b. 20 Jun 1887 - d. 30 Mar 1985) Wife of William Reid Thompson.




Husband: William Reid Thompson, Sr.

Children: William Reid Thompson, Jr., Nancy Sue (Mrs. E.V. Parks)


Tenure Notables


Prior to her appointment as sheriff, she had served as a clerk in that office since 1911.

On October 4, 1920, Mary Myrtle Siler was appointed Sheriff by the County Commissioners by a unanimous vote after the resignation of Sheriff Lane.

Sheriff Mary Myrtle Siler is not only the first female Chatham County Sheriff, but is the first female sheriff in the North Carolina.

There were 13 deputies in Chatham in 1920, one in each township, none of whom worked full-time but did aid in serving warrants and reporting any suspected illegal activities.


Military Experience


Other Offices


On Dec 3, 1920 Sheriff Myrtle Siler and William Reid Thompson got a marriage license. By December 22, 1920, they married.

Sheriff Siler left the position with the law enforcement office in order to work as a clerk in her husband’s office. The office was only down the hall from the sheriff’s office in the courthouse here. (Sanford Hearld, c. 1958)

William Reid Thompson was the County School Superintendent for about 20 years.

Sheriff Siler and W. Reid Thompson bought land from and next to the home of Wade Barber, Sr. They built a house very similar to the “Wade Barber” house in Pittsboro. Sheriff Siler’s home is located just south of the “Wade Barber House” and is presently owned and occupied by “Corky” Harris.

The town of Siler City, in the western part of the county, was named after one of her grandfathers, Samuel Siler. Before the community took the name of Siler City, it was known as Matthews Crossroads, in honor of her other grandfather, Bill Matthews.