The Office of Sheriff is an integral part of the American law enforcement system; a descendant of an ancient and honorable tradition. The Shelby Chronicle, Trade Issue, dated Thursday, December 29, 1887 has a listing of Sheriffs through 1887, with Ed F. Vest, elected in 1884 and in office at the time of the newspaper article. Also, much information about some of the early Sheriffs of Shelby County are found in the Concise History of Columbiana as told by Joseph L. Peters in the 31st Anniversary Edition of the Columbiana Sentinel, dated September 7, 1905. The Shelby County Museum & Archives have many of the newspapers and county record books that contain much valuable information about the Sheriffs. It was a pleasure to research this information and to be able to present it to you. If you find any discrepancies or errors please contact Bobby Joe Seales.
[First in office.] "On the fourth Monday in October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighteen, the worshipful the County Court of Shelby County Alabama Territory was opened according to adjournment by James Hamilton, High Sheriff of the county aforesaid...." Col. James Hamilton, born 1783 in North Carolina, a part of that state that is presently Jefferson County Tennessee, son of Francis & Mary Hamilton. About 1806 in Knox County Tennessee James Hamilton married Jane Bayles, daughter of Hezekiah Bayles and Jane Evans. In about 1807 James, along with his inlaws, moved from Knox County Tennessee to what is now Madison County Alabama. There James was elected Captain of his Militia Company and in 1813 the company was attached to Col. Peter Perkins Battalion, 7th Regiment, under General Jackson. It was this company that was at the point of attack by the Creek Indians at the battle of Emuckfau. In 1815, or shortly thereafter, James moved to an area that became Shelby County Alabama, and after the death of his wife in 1820 moved to Jefferson County Alabama. He died in or near Leeds, Jefferson County, Alabama at the home of his son-in-law Hugh Coupland who had married Karenhappuck Hamilton. He is probably buried in Shilo Cemetery in an unmarked grave. Jane Bayles was born August 23, 1785 in North Carolina, now Washington County Tennessee, died September 23, 1820 in Shelby County Alabama. Their son, Governor Andrew Jackson Hamilton, 1815-1875, had a significant impact on Texas and the nation before, during and after the Civil War. Texas Senator Morgan Calvin Hamilton, 1809-1893, was a brother to Andrew Jackson Hamilton.
William B. Arnold, born 1791 in Kentucky, died 1847 in Hempstead County Arkansas. He married in 1823 to Lucinda P. Harden, 1799-1879.
Ezekiel Henry, born 1785 in Tennessee, died August 19, 1853 in Cherokee County Texas. He married January 18, 1810 in Rhea County Tennessee to Judith Francis, 1795-1857. The 1820 census indicates Ezekiel Henry and his family were living in Shelby County Alabama; in 1840 he was living in Chambers County Alabama and the 1850 census indicates he was living in Cherokee County Texas. A Historic Texas Cemetery Marker was placed in the Henry Cemetery in 2008. "Woodson Henry and his wife Levissa Hutton Henry were part of a group of thirty-five Muskogee (Creek) Indian families who came to Texas between 1832 and 1837 from Chambers County Alabama. After claiming land in Texas, Henry returned to Alabama in 1840 to recruit additional settlers to join him in Texas. His father, Ezekiel Henry, soon packed up and took his family to the area that would become Cherokee County, Texas. Henry Cemetery was founded in 1852 when Ezekiel Henry chose the site to bury his twenty-four year old daughter, Parolee Henry Clark. The cemetery was expanded in 1853 with the burials of Ezekiel Henry and his son, Joseph Francis Henry. At least sixty-eight known descendants of the Henry family are buried in the cemetery...."
Name also spelled Nabours. He served as Auctioneer before serving as Sheriff. James M. Nabors, born February 13, 1797 in South Carolina, died November 3, 1852, is buried in Montevallo cemetery. He married Caroline Henry, daughter of Ezekiel Henry.
Name also spelled Shelley. He was appointed Auctioneer on May 3, 1826. He married Mary Cravens. The 1850 Talladega County Alabama census indicates Jacob D. Shelly, age 55 years, born in North Carolina, “Circuit Court Clerk”, and his family were living in Talladega, Alabama. In June 1860 J.D. Shelly, age 65 years, born in North Carolina, and his family were living in DeSoto Parish Louisiana. Jacob D. Shelley, born 1795 in North Carolina, died September 1860.
The enumerator for the 1830 and 1840 Shelby County Alabama census was Martin H. McHenry. Martin Hugh McHenry, born September 15, 1804, died November 26, 1888, and his wife, Margaret Moore McHenry are buried in Bayou-Meto Cemetery in Jacksonville, Pulaski County, Arkansas.
The 1840 census indicates Thomas Toomey and his wife were living in Shelby County Alabama. He was the son of Pinckney Toomey and Mary Johnson and the grandson of Moses Johnson, Sr. and Elenor Havis. About 1847 he and his wife, Caroline, and family moved to Wayne County Mississippi. The 1870 Wayne County Mississippi census indicates Thomas Toomey was born 1805 in Tennessee.
Archibald Sloan and his family were living in St. Clair County Alabama in 1830. The 1850 Union Parish Louisiana census indicates Archibald Sloan, age 58 years, born in North Carolina, and his wife, Mary, age 48 years, born in North Carolina, and their children, all born in Alabama. He died in Union Parish Louisiana in 1860.
The enumerator for the 1850 Shelby County Alabama census was Benjamin F. Randall. The 1850 Shelby County Alabama census indicates Benjamin F. Randall, age 43 years, born in North Carolina, and his family. B.F. Randall, born September 6, 1806, died July 2, 1860, is buried in Reynolds Cemetery near Montevallo. As noted in his obituary received from Stephane Crow, his great-great-great granddaughter, "Our community were very much shocked on Monday morning, July 2nd, upon receiving the intelligence that Benj. F. Randall, Esq. has been thrown from his buggy whilst his horse was dashing at full speed, and was then lying senseless and speechless about a mile from town, in the public road... In 1840, and again in 1846, he was elected Sheriff of the county, and in 1859 by the almost unanimous vote of his neighbors, was made a magistrate. These responsible offices he filled with fidelity... Montevallo, July 7th, 1860."
Thomas H. Brasher, born October 19, 1798, died January 5, 1871, buried in Johnson Cemetery. He married Elizabeth B. Hawkins. The November 2, 1850 census indicates Thomas H. Brasher, "Farmer", age 52 years, born in South Carolina, and his family living in Shelby County Alabama. Living with them was his father Henry Brasher, age 79 years, born in North Carolina. The July 1860 Shelby County Alabama census indicates Thomas H. Brasher, age 61 years, born in South Carolina, and his family living in Columbiana.
The 1850 Shelby County Alabama census indicates James M. Finley, age 36 years, born in Tennessee, “Farmer”, and his family. His estate was settled in Shelby County. James Madison Finley, 1814-1863.
As noted in the Sheriff's Execution Docket Book, located in the Shelby County Museum & Archives, his term "expired August 4, 1855." He married Ellen Elizabeth Cobey, born in Maryland. Hudson W. Nelson and family are indicated in the 1850 Shelby County census. The 1860 Shelby County Alabama census indicates H.W. Nelson, age 46 years, born in Maryland, and his family were living in Harpersville. In 1870 Hudson W. Nelson and family are indicated in Hopkins County Texas census. Hudson W. Nelson, born 1814 in Maryland, died December 18, 1878 in Hopkins County Texas.
Name also spelled McCormack and McCormic. John T. McCormick was elected in 1855, but resigned in a short time. This was after the time that his brother, Hugh McCormick, was killed between the jail and the Owen tavern. Hugh McCormick died in March 1848, leaving a widow, Amanda J., who later married W.D. Thomas, and a daughter, Caroline. It was never legally ascertained who killed him as he was shot in the night time. The 1850 Shelby County Alabama census indicates John McComic, age 27 years, born in Georgia, was living in household with James M. Finley and family. Served as Deputy Sheriff in 1852. He married in Shelby County Alabama on July 20, 1851 to Elizabeth A. Hatcher. John T. McCormick died in Summers County West Virginia on October 10, 1891.
The 1850 Shelby County Alabama census indicates William D. Rives, age 32 years, born in South Carolina, “Clerk”, living in “Hotel” with David N. McClanahan, “Merchant”, and others. William P. Reeves, born March 31, 1819, died November 23, 1856, is buried in Columbiana City cemetery. D.N. McClanahan probated the estate of W.P. Reeves in Shelby County Alabama.
Todd R. Wyatt, born 1829 in Alabama, died August 18, 1871 in Montgomery County Alabama. He married in 1851 to Sarah R. “Sally” Dudley. In 1850 census he was living with his father, William Wyatt, and family in Autauga County Alabama. In 1860 and 1870 census he was living in Montgomery County Alabama with his wife, Sallie, and children. Filed in Shelby County Probate Court May 30, 1856 by James T. DeJarnette, Sr., “the present acting Sheriff … as said Wyatt has of late contracted the habit of gambling and thereby rendered the safety of his securities….” Judge J.M. McClanahan issued a notice to “Tod R. Wyatt” … “you are hereby notified … to appear at my office in the courthouse in Columbiana … and make, execute and file your new bond as Sheriff of said county as required by law, or your said office will be vacated as provided by law ….”
He served as Coroner before serving as Sheriff. In 1859 he served as Deputy Sheriff. The 1850 Shelby County Alabama census indicates John Edmondson, age 45 years, born in Virginia, “Waggoner”, and his family. He died in Shelby County Alabama in November 1866.
He served from March 1857 to August 1860. The July 1860 Shelby County Alabama census indicates Henry J. Sawyer, age 34 years, born in Alabama, “Sheriff & Farmer”, and his family. He married Mary Ann Rushing, daughter of Bryant Rushing and Charity O'Barr.
He is the son of Thomas H. Brasher and Elizabeth B. Hawkins. The July 1860 Shelby County Alabama census indicates R.H. Brasher, age 29 years, born in Alabama, “Deputy Sheriff”, living with parents and family in Columbiana.
His "bond" indicates that he was elected August 21, 1863 ... and resigned September 2, 1865. The 1860 Shelby County Alabama census indicates James Walton, age 28 years, born in [Wilcox County] Alabama, and his family living in Sterretts. James Walton, born November 16, 1831, died October 2, 1866, is buried in Walton Cemetery. His wife was Rhoda Payne. He was the son of John Gaines Waltom [note change in spelling of name] and Louisa Yeldell. [See the January 2000 issue of the Shelby County Historical Society Quarterly magazine for more information on the Waltom/Walton families.]
His "bond" indicates that he was appointed by Provisional Gov. Travis E. Parsons on September 2, 1865. The 1870 Shelby County Alabama census indicates Hiram Duran, age 33 years, born in Georgia, “Retail Merchant” and his family were living in Columbiana. The 1880 census indicates James H. Duran, age 40 years, born in Georgia, “Merchant”, and his family were living in Columbiana. He married in 1865 to Elizabeth Ellen Nelson. He died December 20, 1895 in Calera.
His "bond" indicates that he was elected November 6, 1865 ... and resigned March 6, 1866. He married Angeline Fulton on December 13, 1846 in Shelby County Alabama. She was the daughter of David Fulton and Rebecca Lindsay and a sister to Martha J. Fulton Essman. [Martha J. Fulton Essman was a second great-grandmother to Bobby Joe Seales.] Charles B. Elliott was the son of Amos Merrill Elliott, Jr. and Sarah Hale, daughter of Joseph Hale and Mary Elizabeth Lindsay. Sarah Hale Elliott was also the second wife of Herod Seale [a second great-grandfather to Bobby Joe Seales]. The 1860 Shelby County Alabama census indicates C.B. Elliott, age 36 years, born in Alabama, “Merchant”, and his wife, Ann, living in Hillsboro. He served as a Private, Company H, 58th Alabama Infantry, C.S.A.[obituary] Shelby Sentinel, December 5, 1895 … “An old citizen of this county passed away when Chas. B. Elliott breathed his last at his home at Elliottsville on Wednesday night the 27th ult. He was 72 years of age and had resided on the place where he died for more than forty years. He was a brother of the late A.M. Elliott and was well known throughout the county. He leaves no children but his widow survives to mourn his decease.” Charles B. Elliott and his wife, Ann Elliott, are buried in Elliottsville Cemetery in Shelby County Alabama. The land for Elliottsville Cemetery was donated by Charles B. Elliott.
He served as Coroner in 1856. His "bond" indicates that he was elected August 24, 1866. In February 1869 he served as Deputy Sheriff. His "bond" indicates that he was appointed by the Gov. on March 29, 1869 ... and elected on November 7, 1871, thus taking office November 20, 1871. Shelby County Guide, April 1, 1869 … “At last we have a Sheriff. The office has been lying around loose for nearly two years. Sheriff Tom Harrison, a most excellent officer having been displaced by Gen. Swayne to make a place for Honorable Jim Walker, late of the Shelby County jail who was unable to make a bond, and the Sheriff elect under the new Constitution, having resigned. Gov. Smith has appointed Mr. Thomas Harrison to the vacancy. The appointment is a good one and will meet the approval of a large majority of the citizens of this county.” Shelby County Guide, March 25, 1869 … “The new jail has the roof on and is sufficiently completed to receive and entertain boarders comfortably and safely. Honorable Jim Walker, of convention notoriety and Mr. Tillerson, christened it – by breaking in a few minutes after the keys were delivered to the Deputy Coroner, Mr. L.F. Elliott … Amongst the arrests made by the Coroner last week, was that of C.L. Spillers, head of the Loyal League of this county, and the leader of the lawless band, who broke the jail open some 18 months ago during the session of Court, and releasing the prisoners.” The 1870 Shelby County Alabama census indicates Thomas Harrison, age 49 years, born in Alabama, “Sheriff”, and his family were living in Montevallo. [obituary] The Sentinel, September 29, 1881 … “It is with painful sadness that we announce to you and your readers, the death of our worthy citizen and ex-Sheriff, Thomas Harrison, which took place at his home, near Montevallo, on Monday, the 19th inst. It is said that he was one of the most peaceable, quiet, sober, industrious, upright and respectable citizens; and that no man in his county was held more highly in esteem that he. Some who knew him from his boyhood say, “A better boy we never knew; and a better one we do not believe ever lived.” Even from his youth, he was ever the person to attend strictly to his own affairs; and when called to serve his people in public office, he did it faithfully. His widow and bereaved children have many friends who sympathize with them in the loss of so good a man as he was. We are informed that he made a profession of religion and joined the church at the old Ebenezer camp ground in this county, about the autumn of 1844. He was taken sick on Saturday. He lived till the afternoon on the following Monday. His physicians say he died of congestion. So he is taken from us. A good man dies; we mourn his loss; and all bow in humble submission to the Divine hand.”
Name also spelled Duycke. His "bond" indicates that he was elected August 24, 1868, thus taking office in November 1868 ... and served until March 1869, when the Gov. appointed Thomas Harrison as Sheriff again. The 1870 Shelby County Alabama census indicates L.H. Duyck, age 28 years, born in Alabama, and his wife, Eugenia, were living in Hillsboro. In 1880 census Lewis H. Duycke and family were living in Columbiana. He married Eugenia A. Pope in 1867.
His "bond" indicates that he was appointed by Gov. Lindsay in November 1872. His "bond" indicates that he was elected November 3, 1874. He was elected again in August 1880 and took office in November 1880. Shelby County Guide, November 21, 1872 … “Mr. Thos. Harrison our worthy sheriff has resigned his office and Gov. Lindsay has appointed Mr. Francis A. Nelson to fill the unexpired term. No better selection could have been made to fill the vacancy. Mr. Nelson is held in high estimation by the people of this county, and he has always been consistently and uncompromisingly opposed to radicalism.” The June 1880 Shelby County Alabama census indicates Francis A. Nelson, age 55 years, born in Alabama, “Farmer”, and his family were living in Columbiana. [obituary]The Sentinel, May 6, 1897 … “Mr. Francis A. Nelson, one of the oldest and most highly esteemed citizens of this county, died at his residence in Columbiana on Tuesday last. He was well known throughout this county where he had resided during his long life. He served several terms as sheriff of the county and was throughout an efficient and popular official. He was a man of strong convictions and decided views. In politics he was an uncompromising democrat, tenacious of the principles that he believed to be right. A man of the finest character, stern in his integrity and devoted in the discharge of duty, he leaves an example worthy of emulation. He reared a family of several sons and daughters who, with their children, revere his memory. His aged widow survives him and many relatives and friends mourn his decease. A loving husband, a kind and indulgent father, a good neighbor, a gallant soldier and an excellent citizen has gone to his reward. He was about seventy years of age; had been in feeble health for some months but his death came as a shock, as his family and friends did not realize this his condition was so serious until shortly before the end ….” Francis A. Nelson married Parlee Elliott, daughter of Amos Elliott and Nancy Hale. He was a brother to Hardy Sanders Nelson.
His "bond" indicates that he was elected August 6, 1877, and took office November 7, 1877. The June 1880 Shelby County Alabama census indicates Rufus M. DeShazo, age 43 years, born in Alabama, “High Sheriff”, and his family were living in Columbiana. [obituary] The Peoples Advocate, January 25, 1917 … “Captain R.M. DeShazo of Pelham, well known in Birmingham and throughout this section of the State, who died Sunday morning at 9:30 o'clock, was buried Monday at noon from the family residence, interment in the Pelham cemetery. … Captain DeShazo was born in a little village in Talladega County not far from the town of Talladega, September 23, 1837 … The deceased had seven brothers and one sister … In 1877 he was elected Sheriff of Shelby County, and served the last three years of his official term under the old State Constitution. He was elected Tax Assessor in 1880 for four years and was defeated in 1884 … He was married twice, the last time in 1903 ….” Rufus Monroe DeShazo.
His "bond" indicates that he was elected August 4, 1884. On August 3, 1896 he was elected again, and died July 18, 1899 while in office. Junius L. Walthall was appointed after the death of Sheriff Vest. The 1880 Shelby County Alabama census indicates Edwin F. Vest, age 45 years, born in North Carolina, “Blacksmith”, and his family were living in Montevallo. [obituary] The Sentinel, July 20, 1899 … Mr. E.F. Vest, sheriff of this county, died at his residence in Columbiana on Tuesday morning, the 18th inst., after an illness of several weeks, aged about sixty years. In his death Shelby county loses a faithful and painstaking official and an energetic and substantial citizen. He was an old resident of the county, having spent the greater portion of his life as a citizen of Montevallo. He was twice married, and leaves a widow and a large family of children, a number of whom are grown, to mourn his decease. He filled the office of sheriff, and afterwards that of tax collection, for this county several years ago, and discharged the duties of both ably and satisfactorily, making a most excellent official in both capacities. At the last election for sheriff, about three years ago, he was again elected to that office, the duties of which he discharged untiringly and faithfully up to his death … The remains were taken to Montevallo on yesterday and laid to rest.”
Visit This is the first execution in this county since 1863 on Friday, Febraury 19, 1897.
He was elected August 6, 1888. The 1880 Shelby County Alabama census indicates William R. Carter, age 45 years, born in Virginia, “Time Keeper”, and his wife, Amanda M. were living at Shelby Iron Works. The 1870 census indicates they were living in Autauga County Alabama.
He was elected August 4, 1892. The 1900 Shelby County Alabama census indicates Hudson W. Nelson, age 45 years, born in Alabama, “Teamster”, and his family were living in Columbiana. [obituary] Shelby County Reporter, March 19, 1942 … “Hudson W. Nelson of Columbiana, one of the oldest citizens of Shelby died Friday morning at the home of his daughter, Mrs. S.E. Pace, in Montgomery, after a brief illness. He and Mrs. Nelson had gone for a visit with the family of their daughter and while there he had become ill. Mr. Nelson had reached the advanced age of 87 years. Funeral services were held Saturday afternoon at the Methodist church in Columbiana with the pastor, Rev. A.C. Blackburn and Rev. T.K. Roberts conducting the services. Pall bearers were grandsons of Mr. Nelson, Alvin Bird, Milton Bird, Sidney Bird, Nelson Haygood, Harold Nelson and George William Nelson. Burial was in Columbiana cemetery, Walton in charge. Mr. Nelson was born and reared in Columbiana and he spent all of his long life a resident of the community. He was active in business before his health failed and had served for a term as Sheriff of Shelby county. He was a life long and loyal member of the Methodist church. In his early manhood he was married to Miss Alice Cliett of Childersburg, member of a prominent Talladega county family. Mr. and Mrs. Nelson were married 62 years ago ….” He was the son of Hardy Sanders Nelson and Sarah Ann Elliott and a brother-in-law to James H. Duran.
His "bond" indicates that he was appointed by Gov. July 26, 1899. The Sentinel, August 10, 1899 … “Mr. J.L. Walthall, the newly appointed sheriff, did appoint Mr. Henry Norris as his deputy. Can Sheriff Walthall explain such an unusual course? If there not a democrat in the county that could fill the position of deputy sheriff?” The June 1900 Shelby County Alabama census indicates Junius L. Walthall, “widowed”, age 56 years, born in Virginia, “Farmer”, and his son, Henry B. Walthall, “Deputy Sheriff”. [obituary] The Peoples Advocate, October 2, 1902 … Capt. J.L. Walthall, of this city, died at the Brown Infirmary in Birmingham last Monday morning, after a serious illness of several weeks. It is said he died of pneumonia. Capt. Walthall was well known to the entire citizenship of Shelby county, and was a prominent citizen and a clever gentleman. He was once appointed Sheriff of this county, in which capacity he served for more than a year, with credit to himself and constituents. He was a strong Johnston supporter in the last race of Gov. Johnston in the primary, and was well known throughout the State as a man and a gentleman, who was loyal to his country and his friends. He was 59 years of age, and had reared a large family, all of whom survive him, except one son. He was buried in the family cemetery, near Harpersville, in this county, Tuesday afternoon; Rev. O.P. Bentley, pastor of the Vincent Baptist church, conducted the funeral service.”
He was first elected August 6, 1900. The June 1900 Shelby County Alabama census indicates Robert F. Cox, age 44 years, born in Alabama, and his family living in Bold Springs. [obituary] The Peoples Advocate, March 29, 1923 … “R.F. Cox, aged 72, died at his home in this place last Sunday night after an illness of several months of heart trouble and other complications. He had been in declining health for the past two years. He had been a citizen of Columbiana for the past twenty-three years, moving here from Cahaba Valley this county, where he was born and reared. He was well known throughout the county, and served six years as sheriff, having been elected in 1900 … Interment was made in the [Columbiana] city cemetery.”
The Columbiana Sentinel, June 23, 1904, "The contract for building a new jail for Shelby county has been awarded to Dobson & Bynum, of Montgomery, the contract price being $9,270.75. The Columbiana Sentinel, December 1, 1904, "The new jail will soon be ready for some prisoner to try and break out. But that is all he will do - just try." The Peoples Advocate, October 22, 1908, "Grand Jury Report ... We examined the county jail in a body and are glad to report that the jail appears to be kept in a splendid condition. We find however, that the kind of brick and morter used in building this jail makes it a very easy matter for anyone who so desires and who is not confined in cells to make his escape, and we recommend that something be done to make the jail safer for the keeping of the prisoners...."
The Peoples Advocate, September 15, 1904, "Larkin Johnson hanged. Sheriff Cox and Deputies perform unpleasant duty successfully and his neck is broken ... Larkin Johnson bravely walked upon the gallows to meet his fate in the jail yard at this place [Columbiana] at 10 o'clock last Friday [September 9, 1904]...." The entire article was reprinted in the June 2004 issue of the Quarterly published by the Shelby County Historical Society.
He was first elected November 6, 1906, and his "bond" declared him elected November 9, 1906 with 1082 votes for J.H. Fulton to 1075 votes for H.M. Norris. He took office on January 14, 1907. The Shelby Sentinel, Thursday, January 17, 1907, "On Monday morning, Sheriff R.F. Cox turned over to his successor, J.H. Fulton, the office of sheriff, Mr. Fulton having been elected to that responsible position last November. Sheriff Fulton and his chief deput, Geo. W. DeShazo, are now in charge ...." The Shelby Sentinel, September 17, 1908, "Glaring frauds committed by the county ring. Changes made in Poll Tax stubs of dead men, men in jail, and others far away. In the contest case of Henry M. Norris against J.H. Fulton for the office of sheriff of Shelby County, Judge Longshore handed down a decision in favor of Mr. Norris on Thursday night last...." The Shelby Sentinel, June 24, 1909, "Sheriff Fulton has decided to press the contest no further, and has turned the office over [on June 19, 1909] to Henry Norris in obedience to the mandate of the Alabama Supreme Court."
He was again elected in November 1914 and assumed duties on January 18, 1915. The Peoples Advocate, January 21, 1915 … “J.H. Fulton assumed the office of sheriff Monday, and the following men were sworn in as his deputies: C.M. Hinesley of Acton; J.M. Leonard of Siluria; J.W. Roy of Helena, and C.E. Goodwin of Sterrett.” The 1920 Shelby County Alabama census indicates J.H. Fulton, age 53 years, born in Alabama, “Teamster”, and his family were living in Columbiana.
[obituary] Shelby County Reporter, March 3, 1949 … “J.H. Fulton, ex-sheriff of Shelby County, and widely known citizen passed away January 28, at his home in Columbiana. Mr. Fulton was 82 years of age and took an active interest in all current events and local happenings. He was a member of the Methodist church and services were conducted Sunday morning from the Walton Funeral Home, the Rev. S.E. Paulk of Columbiana, and the Rev. J.M. Holland of Birmingham, officiating. Active pall bearers included six of his grand-children … Mr. Fulton is survived by his widow, Mrs. Jessie (Roy) Fulton; two sons, Gerald and Frank Fulton of Columbiana; and two daughters, Mrs. Cecil Duke of Columbiana, and Mrs. M.J. Williams of Oxford; one sister, Mrs. L.F. Goodwin of Birmingham; and ten grandchildren. Interment in Elliottsville cemetery, Walton in charge.” He was the son of Elijah Lindsey Fulton and Martha Ann Nabors. Elijah Lindsey Fulton was the son of David Fulton and Rebecca Lindsay, and the brother to Martha J. Fulton Essman [a second great-grandmother to Bobby Joe Seales] and Angeline "Ann" Fulton Elliott.
The Peoples Advocate, June 18, 1908, "At 11:44 a.m. last Saturday the trap door of the scaffold in the county jail at this place [Columbiana] was spring by Sheriff Fulton and Tom Patterson, the murderer of Jeff Knight, dropped into eternity. Patterson held his nerve remarkably well and did not seem excited in the least. A few minutes before the execution took place Patterson was brought to the front door of the jail and was there viewed by a number of spectators, after which he walked up the steps to the scaffold without a waver. Upon reaching the scaffold prayer was offered and then the condemed man was given the opportunity to make his last statement, which was as follows: "I especialy want to warn the young people to shun the gallows. I have got forgivness for my sins, and hope to meet you all in heaven. Farewell! farwell!" The execution was witnessed by only a few deputies, doctors and preachers on account of the fact that under the new law only a certain number are allowed admission." The Death Register, as found in the Shelby County Museum & Archives, indicates Tom Patterson, colored, age 38 years, married, died June 13, 1908 at 11:45 a.m., in Shelby County Alabama, "legal execution by hanging", place of burial Columbiana, Dr. A.T. Rowe.
He assumed duties in June 1909. In the November 6, 1906 election J.H. Fulton was shown with 1082 votes and H.M. Norris was shown with 1075 votes. The Shelby Sentinel, September 17, 1908, "Glaring frauds committed by the county ring. Changes made in Poll Tax stubs of dead men, men in jail, and others far away. In the contest case of Henry M. Norris against J.H. Fulton for the office of sheriff of Shelby County, Judge Longshore handed down a decision in favor of Mr. Norris on Thursday night last...." The Shelby Sentinel, June 24, 1909, "Sheriff Fulton has decided to press the contest no further, and has turned the office over [on June 19, 1909] to Henry Norris in obedience to the mandate of the Alabama Supreme Court." The April 1910 Shelby County Alabama census indicates Henry M. Norris, age 59 years, born in Alabama, “Sheriff”, and his family were living in Columbiana. [obituary] The Peoples Advocate, October 8, 1914 … “After a lingering illness of several weeks, Henry M. Norris died on last Saturday morning at 8:30 o'clock at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Leo Friedberger in this place, aged 64 years. Mr. Norris was born in Chambers County, Ala., near LaFayette on September 6, 1850, and spent his boyhood days on the farm with his father. On Jan. 25th, 1872, he was married to Miss Alice Upshaw, and to this union were born four children. Mr. Norris was one of the best-known men in Shelby county, having been prominent in politics for more than 25 years. He was a candidate for sheriff on the Populist ticket in 1906, but on the official count he was beaten by two votes. He entered a contest and was successful, and served the county as Sheriff for nearly two years, and made a model officer. It was conceded by all of those well posted, that he knew more of the details and the law pertaining to the Sheriff's office than any man in the county. He served as Deputy Sheriff for a number of years to the satisfaction of the various Judges who presided over the courts, and he was frequently complimented as one of the best equipped officers in the State … Mr. Norris moved to Columbiana from Dadeville in 1882, and lived here continuously until his death … His remains were laid to rest in the [Columbiana] city cemetery ….”
He was elected November 1910 and took office in January 1911. He retired on January 18, 1915. The Peoples Advocate, January 21, 1915 … “J.R. Allan who has served the county for four years as sheriff, retired Monday. Mr. Allan made a good and efficient official, always ready and willing to discharge his sword duty as an officer, and not was blinded by prejudice, giving every one a square deal. His two deputies, R.W. Strickland and Oscar Cox made good officers, and they too, retired Monday. Sheriff Allan has moved to his farm near Pelham, where he will engage in farming.” The 1920 Shelby County Alabama census indicates John R. Allan, age 46 years, born in Alabama, “Farmer”, and his wife were living in Acton. John Reese Allan, born August 25, 1872, died July 17, 1954, is buried in Alan Cemetery. [obituary] Shelby County Reporter-Democrat, July 22, 1954 … “Funeral services were conducted from the Mt. Era Presbyterian Church Monday for John Reese Allen, life long resident of Shelby County and a former Sheriff of the County. Mr. Allen was 82 years of age. The Rev. Todd and the Rev. Bishop were the ministers in charge. Mr. Allen is survived by several nieces and nephews including Mrs. Frank Fulton and Mrs. E.B. Turner, of Columbiana. Interment in Allen Cemetery.” [correct spelling of last name is “Allan”.]
He was elected November 5, 1918, and assumed duties in January 1919. The January 1920 census indicates J.A. Jackson, age 37 years, “Single”, born in Alabama, “Sheriff”, was living in Columbiana. [obituary] Shelby County Reporter, June 16, 1969 … “J. Andrew Jackson died at his home near Columbiana Saturday, June 11. He was 76 years old. Funeral services, conducted by the Rev. Billy Jackson pastor, assisted by the Rev. Cecil Little, were held Monday from Bethel Church with burial in the Wilsonville cemetery. Mr. Jackson was born in Tallapoosa County; he moved to Shelby Co. with his family when his father, the late J.S. Jackson, bought a large farm in the Fourmile community. He was a leader of the Republican party in Shelby county and in Alabama and he served his county in both the offices of Tax Assessor and Sheriff ….”
He was elected in November 1922, and assumed duties in January 1923. Shelby County Reporter, December 5, 1929 … “J.J. Falkner, sheriff of Shelby county for four years, from 1923 to 1927, and chief deputy sheriff since that time, has resigned from his office to give his attention to private business….” The 1930 Shelby County Alabama census indicates James J. Faulkner, age 61 years, born in Alabama, “Manager, Lumber Co.”, and his family were living in Columbiana. James Jefferson Falkner, 1869-1938, is buried in Sterrett Cemetery. [obituary] Shelby County Reporter, November 24, 1938 … “J.J. Falkner, former sheriff of Shelby County, died Thursday night after a long illness at the home of his daughter, Mr. S.T. Tidmore, Wilsonville Rt. 2. He was 69 years old. The body was carried to Sterrett, Mr. Falkner's old home, where an impressive funeral service was had Saturday afternoon in the Sterrett Baptist church. The service was conducted by Rev. T.K. Roberts who was assisted by Rev. T.H. Ferrell of Columbiana and Rev. I.D. Windsor of Leeds, a former pastor of Mr. Falkner and his life long friend. Both Mr. Roberts and Mr. Windsor paid beautiful tributes to Mr. Falkner for his honest, upright life as a Christian citizen. At the request of the family L.H. Ellis who had known Mr. Falkner for many years and who had been intimately associated with him, spoke briefly at the funeral service, paying tribute to him for his outstanding service as a citizen and as a county official … His well established reputation as a man of the highest integrity made him in 1922 the overwhelming choice of his people for the important office of sheriff. He served faithfully in this office for four years, firm and determined in his efforts to enforce the law but always fair and considerate in his dealings with everyone … Surviving Mr. Falkner are his wife, six daughters and four sons. They are: Mrs. S.T. Tidmore, Mrs. B.H. Sewell, Mrs. Alex Moore, Mrs. W.B. White, Mrs. Preston Acker, and Mrs. Clarence Quick, C.J. Falkner who succeeded his father in the office of sheriff, Cecil, Donald and Jay Falkner.”
Visit Last Hanging in Shelby County Alabama on March 7, 1924.
He was elected in November 1926, assumed duties in January 1927, and resigned April 29, 1929. Shelby County Reporter, May 2, 1929 … “Curtis J. Falkner tendered to Governor Graves Monday afternoon his resignation as sheriff of Shelby county. The letter of resignation was handed to the governor by Senator L.H. Ellis, chief defense counsel in the trial in federal court that resulted in the conviction of Sheriff Falkner of conspiracy to violate the prohibition law….” Curtis Jefferson Falkner, born September 19, 1899, died April 3, 1982, is buried in Pinelawn Cemetery. [obituary] Shelby County Reporter, April 8, 1982 … “Curtis J. Falkner, 82, former sheriff and long time employee of Shelby County, passed away at his residence April 3. Since retiring from the maintenance crew of the Shelby County Highway Department he had served several years as bailiff of the county courts. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Columbiana and a member of Masonic lodge #140. He is survived by two children, J.D. “Buck” Falkner and Mrs. Marie F. Atchison, both of Columbiana; three grandsons; three great grandsons; four sisters, Mrs. Ethel Sewell of Birmingham; Mrs. Vernie Acker of Alabaster; and Mrs. Dessell White and Fay Quick, both of Columbiana; two brothers, Donald Falkner of Birmingham and Jay Falkner of Columbiana. Funeral services were held at Bolton-Brown Chapel on April 6. Interment was in Pinelawn Gardens.”
He was appointed by Gov. Graves May 18, 1929. He was elected in November 1930, and assumed duties in January 1931. The Shelby County Reporter, May 23, 1929 … “Knox Woolley of Montevallo has been appointed by Governor Graves to the office of Sheriff of Shelby county to succeed Curtis J. Falkner who resigned some weeks ago. Mr. Woolley received his appointment Saturday and entered at once upon the duties of his new office. Mr. Woolley has appointed J.J. Falkner, former sheriff, to keep the jail … Following the resignation of Sheriff Falkner and before the appointment of Mr. Woolley, the duties of the sheriff's office were discharged by L.C. Walker, of Siluria, who had been appointed coroner [May 2, 1929] by Governor Graves.” Knox E. Wooley, 1893-1945, is buried in Montevallo cemetery. [obituary] Shelby County Reporter, May 10, 1945 … “Knox E. Wooley, a veteran of World War I and former sheriff of Shelby county, died Friday afternoon in the Veterans' Hospital, Montgomery, after a long illness. He was 52 years old. Funeral services, held at the home in Columbiana Sunday afternoon, were conducted by Rev. J.M. Holland, who was assisted by Rev. T.K. Roberts. Fitting honors due a former solder were accorded Mr. Wooley. An American flag was draped on the casket and former comrades, members of the American Legion, born his body to its last resting place. The burial was in Montevallo cemetery, Walton in charge. Mr. Wooley was appointed to fill a vacancy in the office of Sheriff, by his war-time commander Col. Bibb Graves, then Governor of Alabama. In 1930 he was elected by the people to a full term in that important office. He proved a conscientious officer and made a good record ….”
He was elected in November 1934, and assumed duties in January 1935. Claude H. Fore, born January 10, 1901, died October 20, 1976, “USN, WWII”, is buried in Pinelawn cemetery. [obituary] Shelby County Reporter, October 28, 1976 … A former Shelby County Sheriff, Claude Harvel Fore, 75, of Columbiana, died Oct. 20 at Shelby Memorial Hospital. Fore also served as Police Chief of Montevallo. Graveside services were held Oct. 22 in Pinelawn Cemetery with Rev. Lamar Davis officiating.” He was a brother to Tom O. Fore, Helena.
He was elected in November 1938, and assumed duties in January 1939. Walter B. White, born September 4, 1894, died April 1, 1953, is buried in Columbiana City cemetery. [obituary] Shelby County Reporter, April 2, 1953 … “W.B. (Bun) White, ex-sheriff of Shelby County and Veteran of World War One, passed away at his home in Columbiana Wednesday morning, April 1, after many months of illness in a veteran's hospital in Montgomery. Mr. White has long been active in official circles in Shelby County having served as Chief Deputy for a number of years in the Sheriff's office and later held the office of Sheriff of this county. Mr. White has also served as Superintendent of Transportation for the schools of Shelby County. At the time of his death, Mr. White was custodian of the jail … Surviving Mr. White are his widow, Mrs. Dessel F. White and four children: B.B. White, Mrs. Wylodean White Hill, Milton White and W.B. White, Jr., all of Columbiana, and six grandchildren.” Interment was in Columbiana City Cemetery.
He was elected in November 1942, and assumed duties in January 1943. He was re-elected in November 1946, and died while in office on September 28, 1950. Luther T. Bozeman, born October 25, 1898, died September 28, 1950, is buried in Columbiana City cemetery. [obituary] Shelby County Reporter-Democrat, October 5, 1950 … “Funeral services were held in the Baptist Church, Saturday afternoon, at two o'clock, for L.T. Bozeman, Sheriff of Shelby County, the Rev. J.E. Franks, officiating. Mr. Bozeman was a native of Shelby County and was honored by the people of the County when they elected him for two terms as Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the County. The present term of office terminates January 15, 1951. Mr. Bozeman held the distinction of being the only Sheriff ever elected for two successive terms in this County. He had many friends throughout the State and County who gathered in Columbiana to pay their last tribute of respect to him on Saturday afternoon. This fact was evidenced by one of the largest crowds ever assembled in the Church … His tragic death, caused by being run over by an automobile while raiding a still in this County, came as a shock to the entire County. He is survived by his widow [Sibyl Jemison Bozeman] and two children: Mrs. Hugh Sims [Lillie Mae Bozeman Sims] and Mrs. Martha Jean Turner [wife of Robert L. Turner] … Interment in Columbiana Cemetery, Walton directing.”
He was appointed by Gov. Folsom on October 2, 1950. He was elected in November 1950, and assumed duties in January 1951. Shelby County Reporter-Democrat, October 5, 1950 … “A.E. Norwood of Calera, Sheriff-designate of Shelby County, was appointed October 2, to assume the responsibility of this office by Governor James E. Folsom, following the death of Sheriff-incumbent, L.T. Bozeman which occurred September 28, as a result of being crushed under an automobile driven by William Franklin Webb during a raid on a still located near the Narrows on the Florida Short Route. Mr. Norwood took over the office immediately and has named the following official personnel: Tom Fore of Helena, Chief Deputy; Frank Lyon, Clerk; E.E. Walton, Jailer.” A.E. “Bud” Norwood, born October 3, 1892, died March 17, 1961, Cpl. Btry. A 316 Field Arty., WWI, is buried in Salem Cemetery. [obituary] Shelby County Reporter, March 23, 1961 … Shelby County and other parts of Alabama were saddened Friday, March 17, by the sudden death of A.E. (Bud) Norwood of Calera. Everyone who came in contact with Bud Norwood, went on their way knowing that if they needed a friend they could call on him. This fact was evidenced by the large crowd attending the funeral service and by the numerous floral offerings sent as a last tribute of respect to this beloved citizen … Mr. Norwood was born in Thomasville, but had been a resident of Calera for many years. He was sheriff of Shelby County from 1951-1955, an investigator for the State ABC Board, veteran of WWI, member of Alabama Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, Post Commander of American Legion Post No. 56, Member of Veterans Foreign Wars, Member of Shelby County Democratic Executive Committee, and Cattleman's Association ….”
He was elected in November 1954, and assumed duties in January 1955. Hugh M. Sims, born June 24, 1913, died September 10, 1965, Ala. MOMM3 USNR, WWII, is buried in Columbiana City cemetery. [obituary] Shelby County Reporter, September 16, 1965 … Funeral services were conducted for Hugh Sims, former Sheriff of Shelby County, (1954-1958) on Sunday after, September 12 from the First Baptist Church in Columbiana at 2:30 o'clock. The Rev. Raymond Scroggins, pastor of the church as assisted in conducting the service by the Rev. F.P. Richey of Sylacauga. Mr. Sims passed away at his home in Columbiana Friday, September 10, following a heart attack. He was 52 years old. He has long been identified with Shelby County's political, social and religious activities. At the time of his death he was serving the Town of Columbiana as Clerk … Interment in Columbiana Cemetery, Masons in charge. Bolton-Walton directing.”
"New Sheriff Makes First Arrest January 17" ... Shelby County Reporter-Democrat, January 20, 1955 ... "Hugh Sims of Columbiana became Sheriff of Shelby County on Monday, January 17. For his first official act after taking up his new duties the new sheriff went to Birmingham to arrest George Falkner, a fugitive since he escaped from the old jail in October. Falkner had been arrested in July charged with assault with intent to murder in an attack upon Miss Nellie Gandy in her store in Calera. Sheriff Sims found the fugitive Monday night peacefully asleep in his bed in Birmingham. The new sheriff and his assistants were busy Tuesday morning, getting settled in their new quarters on the third floor of the new court house annex. The twelve prisoners in the old jail had been moved Monday to their quarters in the new building. Assisting Sheriff Sims will be: George Holcombe [from Columbiana], who is chief deputy; John A. Snow [from Underwood] and Hubert Pickett [from Marvel, Route 1], field deputies. Elvie Parker [from Vandiver], has been installed as jailer."
He was elected on November 4, 1958, and took office January 20, 1959, “served 10 days before resignation [January 29, 1959].” Shelby County Reporter, January 15, 1959 … “There will be new county officials in some of the offices of Shelby county, beginning next Tuesday, January 20 … Charles Harris of Siluria will become the new Sheriff. He was nominated in the June primary and elected over his Republican opponent. Mr. Harris has served for several years as deputy sheriff and as chief police officer of the Town of Siluria …” Shelby County Reporter, January 20, 1959 … “Sheriff C.H. Harris has announced the appointment of Claude H. Fore to be Chief Deputy; Cecil C. Thrasher of Montevallo, Field Deputy; Dean R. Upson, Columbiana Rt. 2, Office Deputy; G.B. Rasco, Jailer; Mrs. Earlene Upson, Matron. Mr. Fore has had years of experience in law enforcement, having served a term in the office of Sheriff and as Chief Deputy in the administration of the late W.B. White and A.E. Norwood ….” At the time of his election in 1958 he had served for 12 consecutive years as a Deputy Sheriff of Shelby County, he was appointed Chief of Police in Siluria in 1954 and resigned to run for Sheriff, and he had 16 years experience as a Law Enforcement Officer." C.H. “Chuck” Harris, born February 27, 1907, died April 9, 1986, is buried in Still Memorial cemetery, Elliottsville. [obituary] Shelby County Reporter, April 17, 1986 … “Charles “Chuck” Harris, 79, of Alabaster, died April 9 at his residence. He is survived by a son, James Harris, Alabaster; two brothers, Walter “Snow” Harris, Alabaster, William “Bill” Harris, Jemison; two sisters, Lillian Carlton, Alabaster; Emma Moore, Gadsden. Funeral services were held April 11 at Rockco Chapel with the Rev. Harlice Keown officiating. Burial was in Still Memorial Cemetery.”
"The new jail, that was occupied by prisoners for the first time on Thursday, October 5, 1978, at noon, was tested and found secure ... The Watchgard was installed in the jail rather than bars, on the suggestion of several architects. It is made of two sheets of plastic glass with a layer of polycarbonate between them."
He was elected November 7, 1978, and assumed duties on January 10, 1979. He was re-elected two additional terms of office. [obituary] The Birmingham News, Sunday, February 7, 2010, "James Franklin Buddy Glasgow, 71, of Calera, Alabama passed away Friday evening, February 5, 2010. He was surrounded by family during his final hours. He was born and raised in the Siluria Community and was a lifelong resident of Shelby County ... In 1978 Buddy was elected Sheriff of Shelby County and served in that position until 1990 ... A funeral service will be held at Calera Baptist Church on Wednesday ... A full Masonic Graveside service will follow at Shelby Memory Gardens ...."
He was elected in November 1990, and assumed duties in January 1991. He was re-elected two additional terms of office. [obituary] The Birmingham News, Sunday, July 8, 2007, "James Lewis Jones, Sr., retired Supernumerary Sheriff of Shelby County, Alabama, joined Christ on Friday, July 6, 2007 at the age of 71. Sheriff Jones began his career in law enforcement in 1974 at the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, serving as a Deputy Sheriff and then Chief Deputy before seeking the Office of Sheriff. He was elected Sheriff in 1991 and served three terms before retiring in 2003 ... burial at the family cemetery on the Jones property, located in Wilsonville on Highway 30 ...."
He was elected in November 2002, and assumed duties in January 2003. He was re-elected two additional terms of office. "Jail officers and inmates moved into the county's new $17 million jail Sunday night, August 29, 2004."
Ramon J. "John" Samaniego, III, was elected in November 2014, and assumed duties as the 53rd Sheriff of Shelby County Alabama on January 10, 2015 at the 1:30 pm swearing in ceremony.