Archived Story

A look back at sheriffs

Published 2:24pm Thursday, June 19, 2014

Morgan Sheriff Ana Franklin has recently been re-nominated (re-elected) for a second term as the county’s top enforcement officer. Sheriff Franklin has the distinction of being the only woman to occupy this position in the state. Here are some news stories related to past sheriffs—all men.

April 7, 1900—Morgan County Sheriff Ryan has given orders to his to arrest vagrants and tramps found in the county and put them in jail. All persons thus arrested will be put to work on the roads of the county or will be sent to the mine.

June 18, 1900—A former sheriff and prominent politician of adjacent Lawrence County Green Etheridge has been arrested on a charge of entering the office of the circuit clerk and destroying a large batch of indictments.

Jan. 19, 1910—A telephone message was received at the sheriff’s office this afternoon from Valhermosa Springs, in the eastern end of the county, saying that two brothers had committed a criminal assault on a highly respected young woman of that neighborhood and then fled the county. Sheriff Thomas R. Shipp at once commenced to hunt the men down.

Jan. 31, 1911—Former Sheriff Shipp, only a few days out of office (sheriffs were unable to succeed themselves at that time), has accepted a position as a traveling salesman to sell jail disinfectants for an Atlanta, Georgia, house and, for the present, will travel the states of Mississippi and Louisiana. Mr. Shipp is an old knight of the grip.

Feb. 10, 1911—This afternoon Morgan County Sheriff R. M. McCulloch closed 13 “soft drink” stands in the county and confiscated their stocks of goods and fixtures, which were hauled to the courthouse. Injunctions were issued under the Fuller law of the state. The sheriff says that large quantities of liquor were found.

Feb. 10, 1913—A suit for $5,000 damages against Sheriff McCulloch has been filed in the courts of Lawrence County by John W. Davis. Davis claims that he was falsely imprisoned a few weeks ago.

Feb. 23, 1917—Morgan County Sheriff James A. Foreman has the largest Shriner fez ever made. He became affiliated with the order at a recent local ceremonial. He is the largest sheriff in the world, weighing over 300 pounds and standing 6 feet, 7 inches, in his sock feet.

March 13, 1918—The political pot in this county has commenced to warm up. Today, J. R. White, a well-known manufacturer of Hartselle, entered the race for sheriff. This is the best office in the county aside from that of probate judge.

Feb. 13, 1919—Two stills were raided by Sheriff J. V. May and his deputies today. They were located east of Wilhite and were about a mile apart.

March 31, 1922—Eleven men have qualified to run for Morgan County sheriff in the Democratic primary to be held on August 8. The race for this office is obviously the most popular in the county.

Jan. 24, 1927—Limestone County has the state’s youngest sheriff. J. E. Clem, 24, was sworn in as that county’s top lawman today.

Feb. 8, 1928—Tonight Sheriff B. E. Davis was called to the door of the jail by two youths who gave the names of Harry Power and Vernon Sylvester and saying their homes were in Athens, and they desired to be locked up, being wanted in Athens in connection with the thefts of chickens.

Feb. 3, 1938—G. E. “Blacksmith” Almon of Decatur has entered the race for sheriff of Morgan County in the May 3 primary, saying that he was “putting his striped cap in the political ring.”

Jan. 17, 1955—Jimmie Collier took over as sheriff. (Sheriff Collier passed away in the line of duty.)


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