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Sheriffs of Randolph County

The Sheriff (Shire-Reeve), as known today, originated in England over a thousand years ago. In the early days the Sheriff was the steward of the King's estates, guardian of the peace, judge and jury of the Shire County (county court) and was the local agent of the King in military affairs. The King also appointed him as the Chief Police Magistrate.

The Office of the Sheriff was first established in Virginia in early 1634. On October 9, 1662 the General Court of Virginia issued a commission to Captain Samuel Stephen "to be a Commander of the Southern Plantation" and authorized him to appoint a Sheriff. Although this was Virginia, the "Southern Plantation" was in a part of which would later become North Carolina. Hence, North Carolina has had a Sheriff in existence since 1662.

The settlers in 1736 thought that one Sheriff for the whole Colony was not enough and that there should be a system of Sheriffs as existed in England and Virginia. So in 1738 the Office of the Sheriff, as it is known today, was created in the Colony of North Carolina by the Governor. The Governor appointed the first Sheriffs in North Carolina to serve two-year terms.

In 1829 the Sheriff became an elected official while other county and municipal officials did not become elected until 1868. Thus the longest elected official position in North Carolina has been the Sheriff. In 1829 each county was broken down into a Captain's District, a minor division of the county for military purposes. From this time on the Sheriff was the Chief Law Enforcement Officer and for many years with the exception of the militia was the only law enforcement officer.

The First Randolph County Court met at Abraham Reece’s house (between Brown’s Cross Roads and Randleman) March 8, 1779. An act providing for formation of the county was read, William Bell was appointed the first Sheriff of Randolph County.


Term Party
William Bell 1779-1782
John Coller 1782-1784
William Pickett 1784-1786
John Arnold 1786-1788
Robert McLean 1788-1790
Simeon Geron 1790-1800
Isaac White 1800-1826
Thomas Handcock 1826-1827
George Hoover 1827-1840
Isaac White 1840-1846
Hezekiah Andrews 1846-1850
J. W. Steed 1850-1864 Democrat
Zebedee F. Ruch 1864-1868 Democrat
R. F. Trogdon 1868-1872 Republican
W. R. Ashworth 1872-1876 Republican
O. R. Cox 1876-1878 Democrat
Benjamin Millikan 1878-1880 Republican
E. A. Moffitt 1880-1888 Democrat
J. S. Swaim 1888-1892 Republican
Romulus R. Ross 1892-1894 Democrat
G. G. Hendricks 1894-1897 Republican
W. F. Redding 1897-1899 Republican
E. C. Lassiter 1900-1901 Democrat
W. F. Redding 1901-1902 Republican
T. J. Finch 1902-1906 Democrat
S. L. Hayworth 1906-1910 Democrat
J. Wyatt Birkhead 1910-1916 Democrat
John F. Hughes 1916-1920 Republican
J. A. Brady 1920-1922 Republican
A. Carl Cox 1922-1924 Democrat
J. Ferree Cranford 1924-1927 Republican
J. A. Brady 1927-1928 Republican
William B. Millikan 1928-1930 Republican
Carl E. King 1930-1942 Democrat
Micajah Bingham 1942-1946 Republican
Benjamin Morgan 1946-1950 Democrat
Coble M. Maness 1950-1954 Republican
Wayne W. Wilson 1954-1962 Democrat
Lloyd E. Brown 1962-1974 Republican
Carl O. Moore 1974-1978 Democrat
Robert Mason 1978-1989 Republican
Litchard D. Hurley 1989-2006 Republican
Maynard B. Reid, Jr. 2006-2016 Republican
Robert Graves 2016 - Current Republican

The Office of Sheriff has changed dramatically from that of collecting taxes to a full-fledged comprehensive law enforcement agency and keeper of the County Jail and also provides for security of the County Courthouse.