Sunday, March 21, 2010

Kansas Sheriffs

Over the last hundred and fifty years Kansas has had many law officers and many have stood out and became famous in their time. We all know the names of most of the marshals of the famous cowtowns of Kansas, but how many Sheriffs can we name. Many of these Sheriffs would become famous in their town and county they served, but would never reach the heights of the likes of Bat Masterson, and the rest. Does this make them any less important of course not, for without these unsung heroes the west would not have been tamed.

When I first started this page I had no idea how many sheriffs there were. All these sheriffs served with pride and some would loss their life’s will serving. There are more sheriffs then I could put on the page, those of you who be to this site before or my other site ( Civil War Days & Those Surnames ), know I only work in the years of 1776-1900, for this reason I only give the names of those who served in the eighteen hundreds although same would end their service in the nineteen hundreds.

These sheriffs are listed by counties, however there is no order to the counties. I listed them as I found them. Many of the names have no information on them, but there are some who have information or links so you can read their story.

Sheriffs of Chase County.

Sheriff Jabin Johnson, 1877-1880.
Born: unknown.
Death: November 26, 1906.
Wife: MARY ELIZABETH THOMAS, married 1866.

Sheriff George Balch, 1881-1882.
Birth: 6 Sept. 1833, Niagara Co., NY.
Death: unknown.
Wife: Jennie Houston, married 1866.
Father: Horace Balch
Mother: Mary Manning

Sheriff J. W. Griffis, 1883-1886.

Sheriff E. A. Kinne, 1887 & 1889

Sheriff J. H. Murdock, 1891 & 1893.
Birth: Sept. 8, 1844.
Death: Dec. 10, 1923.

Sheriff John McCallum, 1895 & 1897.
Born in London, Ontario, Canada, Mar 9 1850.
Death: 1903, near Las Vegas.
Wife: Mary Brecht, married March 1, 1879.
Children: Nellie, Hugh, Niel and Charley.
John McCallum was known as the "the big Irish sheriff of Chase Co."

Sheriff S. W. Beach, 1899.


January 18 David McCammon qualified as sheriff by giving bond and taking the oath prescribed by the law of 1855, and was the first sheriff of the county.

Sheriffs of Allen County.

*Josiah Clark Redfield, 1861 & 1865.

*To read more on him use this link..

C. F. Coleman, 1865.

Wm V. Crow, 1866.

John Harris, 1867 & 1869.

H C. Amsden, 1871.

J. L. Woodin, 1873 & 1875


A. Hodgson, 1877.

J. D. Sims, 1879.

D. Worst, 1881.

S. Riggs, 1883.

J L. Brown, 1885.

D. D. Britton, 1887.

L. Hobart, 1889 & 1891.

C. C. Ausherman, 1893 & 1895.

H. Hobart, 1897 & 1899.

Cherokee County.

1875. sheriff, Alfred Palmer.

1877. sheriff. A. J. Bahney.

1879 & 1881. sheriff, A. S. Dennison.

1883 & 1885 sheriff, W. H. Layne.

1887 & 1889 sheriff, J. C. Babb.
James Cummings "Jim" Babb.

Birth: Oct. 27, 1850, Franklin County, Missouri.
Death: Apr. 6, 1908, Parsons, Labette County, Kansas

Former city marshal of Galena, Ks. The son of Joshua E. & Elizabeth Evans Babb.
He married Clara Van Gundy. He married second Mrs Mary Waters. Survivors include his wife, daughter Mabel Monroe, sons Grover, Harry, Ed & Claud.

1891 & 1893 sheriff, C. D. Arnold.

1895. sheriff, W. T. Forkner.

1897 & 1899 sheriff, 0. W. Sparks.
Oliver Walker Sparks.

Birth: Aug. 5, 1863
Death: 1932.

OLIVER WALKER SPARKS, one of the prominent and substantial citizens of Columbus, a large mine operator at Peacock City, formerly a member of the city council of Galena, and sheriff of Cherokee County for five years, was born August 5, 1862, at Shelbina, Shelby County, Missouri, and is a son of Samuel and Lydia (Lewis) Sparks.

The Sparks family originated in England, whence came Robert Sparks, the great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch. He settled in Virginia, but removed to Kentucky at a very early day. There on March 30, 1808, was born his son, Henry J. Sparks, who died in 1888, in Missouri, to which State he had moved in 1839. He bought 320 acres of land for $4.50 an acre, and was an extensive grower of tobacco and stock. He married Nancy Thrailkell, daughter of John Thrailkell; she was born in 1804 and died in 1854. Samuel Sparks was the third child of this marriage. He was born in Henry County, Kentucky, about 40 miles from Louisville, July 2, 1835, and in boyhood accompanied his father to Monroe County, Missouri. He served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, from the fall of 1861 to the fall of 1863, as a member of Company A, 8th Missouri Regiment.

Samuel Sparks first married when he was about 21 years of age. He bought a farm near that of his father, and farmed in Cedar County for some years. He moved to Joplin, Missouri, about 1870, and became somewhat interested in mining. In 1878 he went to Leadville, Colorado, where he was engaged for three years in prospecting and making charcoal. In 1881 he came to Galena, Kansas, and for some time was very successful in his mining operations, but an ailment of his eyes rendered it impossible for him to continue in such exhausting work. The trouble increased and from 1888 until 1893 he was almost totally blind, losing the sight of one eye as a result of neuralgia. To his great relief, his sight seemed to be restored until the winter of 1902, since which time he has again been afflicted. He has always been a man of physical activity, and this affliction has been hard to bear. Politically, a stalwart Democrat, he has never consented to accept office.

Samuel Sparks' first wife was Lydia Lewis, whom he married in 1856. She was a daughter of Jesse Lewis, of Monroe County, Missouri. She died in 1862, aged 22 years, leaving four children, of whom the two survivors are Oliver Walker and Mary E., wife of Allen Thompson, of Cripple Creek, Colorado. The second marriage was to Mary C. Adams, who was a daughter of James Adams. She died in 1878, leaving three children, of whom the two survivors are,—Lulie V., wife of Lafayette Roe, of Galena; and Edmund L., of Shawnee township. Both wives were members of the Baptist Church. In 1883, Samuel Sparks was married to Mrs. Mary Ann (Horne) Stanley, who died in 1890. In 1892, he was married to the lady who is his present helpmeet, Mrs. Mary M. Stoops, a daughter of Samuel W. Robinson, of Joplin, Missouri.

The subject of this sketch was eight years old when his parents moved to Joplin, and he has been interested in mining ever since he reached the age of 11 years. Shortly after the family located at Galena, he went to mining in what is known as the Sawyer mines, and was the first man to find mineral on the old Schermerhorn place. These mines have made Galena. For about seven years Mr. Sparks had a lease here, and at the same time was associated with W. Sapp and H. Blackford when mineral was found on "The Lost 40." In the following year they found ore at the "Shelbina," which they worked several years and then sold. With John Murdock, Mr. Sparks owned the famous "Maggie Murphy," and has also owned the noted "Cock Robin" mine. With E. B. Schermerhorn and J. C. Moore, he owned the "Bunco" mines. and with his brother, Edward, the "Bessie Lee." Later with Wesley Best and J. Tutton, he was part owner of the "Miller" and "Gin Hollow" mills and mines, these being considered the best mills in the country. He was also associated with L. H. Winter in the ownership of the "Hot Spot" mine, and a fine mill connected with it. In 1891, Mr. Sparks sunk three shafts in the S. H. & S. Case. which are the best in which he has ever been interested. In June, 1902, the Sparks, Henderson & Sweaney Company was incorporated, with Mr. Sparks as general manager, and he is the main stockholder. This company controls a large territory. In addition to his large mining interests, Mr. Sparks is proprietor of a large retail furniture store in Columbus, the oldest and largest concern of the kind in that city.

Mr. Sparks has long been one of the leading Democratic politicians of the county, and holds the unusual record of being twice elected sheriff, in one year, as he was serving in that capacity at the time the act was passed changing elections to even years. While living at Galena he served four years in the city council. On December 15, 1897, he took up his residence at Columbus, and in the same year was elected sheriff, assumed the duties in the following January, and served five years.

Mr Sparks was first married to Ida May Keller, who was a daughter of Wesley and Lydia (Decamp) Keller. Four children were born to them, the three survivors being,—Dottie, Una and Warren. On June 26, 1903, Mr. Sparks was married to Brosie Newton, who is a daughter of Wallace Newton, of Columbus, and they have one son,—Oliver Wallace

Fraternally, the subject of this sketch is a member of the Knights of Pythias and the Elks, at Galena; the Odd Fellows, at Empire City. in which he has passed all the chairs; the Rebekahs; the Modern Woodmen of America, at Galena; and the Royal Neighbors.

Graham County.

1880. A. E. Moses, sheriff.

1883-1886, Willis Ellsworth, sheriff.
1887-1890, D. C. Stotts, sheriff.
1891-1894, Jerome Shoup, sheriff.
1895-1898, D. C. Greenwood sheriff.
1899-1903, D. M. Smith, sheriff.


1858, T. R. Roberts, sheriff.

Crawford County.

*1899 & 1902. MICA G. VINCENT, sheriff.
Wife: Jessae L. Hursh.
*To read more about him and his wife use this link ( Photos).

Stevens County.

*1886. Adam Pierce Ridenour, sheriff
*To read more about him use this link ( Photo).

Gray County.

1889. D. Welborn Barton, sheriff.
To read more about him take this link.


1886. George F. Eckert & Thomas G. McAuliffe, sheriff.
1887. George F. Eckert & E. B. Summers, sheriff.
1891. A. J. Byrns & Geo. B. Allen, sheriff.
1893. S. D. Adams & Richard Buis, sheriff.
1895. S. D. Adams & Geo. W. Potter, sheriff.
1897. F. C. Judd & A. J. Byrns, sheriff.

Republic County.


1868 Robert H. Vining.
1869 William H. Willoughby.
1871 William W. Newlon.
1873 & 1875, Josiah Kindt.
1877 William Norris.
1879 & 1881, Josiah Kindt.
1883 Robert Swan.
1885 & 1887, Thomas C. Reily.
1889 & 1891, Henry C. Swartz.
1893 & 1895, Richard B. Ward.
1897 & 1899, Frank N. Brown

Gove County.

1860. N. E. Terrill, sheriff.
1880. Robert C. Bohn, sheriff.
1882. E. T. Lewis, sheriff.
1887. Gust Anderson, sheriff.
1887. John W. Hopkins, sheriff.


*1887.Charles E. MORRIS, sheriff.
*To read more about him take this link.

Harvey County.

Ryan, James - James Ryan, ex-sheriff of Harvey County, died this morning at 7:15 o'clock at his home in Halstead, after an illness of several weeks. Mr. Ryan was born in 1840 and located in Halstead township in 1871. He was at one time sheriff of Harvey County. The funeral services will be held Monday at 10:00 o'clock a.m. in the Catholic Church. The body will be buried in the Halstead cemetery. (The Newton Kansan, May 9, 1908. Page 4).

Crawford County.

1867. J. M. Ryan, sheriff.


Anonymous said...

Pleasee provide for me a c opy of the oath of office for any Kansas
sgeriff? I cannot locate same.

Kit Carson of wyoming 307-632-5827

Dennis Segelquist said...

I could not find one but there out there.

Dennis Segelquist said...

If you will call the Topeka City Clerk office they so should have it as they are the ones that give the oath of office.
1-785-233-8200 Et, 4155.