|Silas Brown||1808||Allen J. Beach||1883-86|
|Ichabod Nye||1809-13||John G. Stevenson||1887-90|
|John Hawn||1813-17||John G. Fowler||1891-92|
|John Shaw||1817-19||Noah W. Allen||1893-94|
|Alexander Elliot||1819-20||Charles S. Sapp||1895-96|
|William Beavans||1820-24||Justus D. Smoots||1897-1900|
|Charless Colerick||1824-28||Isaac C. Lynde||1901-03|
|John Shaw||1828-29||James Shellenbarger||1903-05|
|Johnston Elliot||1829||Rollin C. Clements||1905-08|
|Hugh Neal||1830-34||Peter J. Parker||1908-13|
|Isaac Hadley||1834-36||John M. Woolison||1913-17|
|William Beam||1836-40||Walter B. Mosholder||1917-21|
|Absalom Thrift||1843-46||Burr H. Lytle||1921-25|
|David C. Montgomery||1847-50||Clifton G. Stream||1925-29|
|Thomas Wade||1851-54||Hoy C. Lynde||1929-33|
|Lewis Strong||1855-56||F. Dowe Mason||1933-37|
|Israel Underwood||1857-60||Clyde E. Biggs||1937-41|
|James Shaw||1861-62||Charles R. Lawrence||1941-44|
|Allen Beach||1863-64||Bertha Lawrence||1944-45|
|George W. Steele||1865-68||Salathiel Bumpus||1945-53|
|Allen Beach||1869-72||Paul M. Cochran||1953-65|
|John Armstrong||1873-76||Ralph D. Peairs||1965-77|
|John Ferguson Gay||1877-80||Paul K. Rowe||1977-93|
|John A. Schnebly||1881-82||David B. Barber||1993-2013|
Knox County Sheriff's Office History
The American Sheriffs trace their heritage back to ninth century England when the King had a personal representative in each Shire, whose title was Shire Reeve. A shire was the equivalent of an American county, and the title Shire Reeve evolved into a single word Sheriff.
When English subjects came into the New world, they brought with them the traditions of the English criminal justice system, including the office of the Sheriff.
The first Sheriff of Knox County was Silas Brown who was appointed in 1808. In his first year, Sheriff Brown performed the first public whipping of a criminal in Mount Vernon. Our first county jail was built on what is now the present square in Mount Vernon in 1809.
In 1877, Knox County Sheriff John Fersuson Gay conducted the county's first public execution by hanging convicted murderer William Bergin.
In May 1905, Sheriff James Shellenbarger was shot while attempting to arrest a man named Frank Coile in Miller Township for assault. Sheriff Shellenbarger never recovered from his wounds and died five months later.
In 1913, a new Knox County Jail was built next to the County Court House on East Chestnut Street, which served as the residence of the Sheriffs and their families for many years.
Sheriff Hoy Lynde, who served from 1929 to 1933, was the father of "Hollywood Squares" celebrity and film star, actor Paul Lynde.
In 1938, Sheriff Clyde Biggs escorted Fred Mosley to the Ohio Penitentiary, where Mosley was the first person from Knox County to die in the electric chair for the murder of his wife.
From 1944 to 1945, Knox County had its first woman Sheriff, Bertha Lawrence. Bertha was appointed to finish her husband, Sheriff Charles Lawrence's unexpired term after he died in office unexpectedly at the age of forty-one.
It was not until 1945 that any of the Sheriffs of Knox County ever served more than four years in office at one time.
The Knox County Special Deputies Unit was formed in 1955, the first such unit in the State of Ohio.
The current Knox County Sheriff's Office and 100 bed jail opened on Upper Gilchrist Road in 2002, replacing the ninety year old Chestnut Street Jail, which has been torn down for parking at the court house.
Sheriff David Barber was the longest serving Sheriff in the history of Knox County, who at the end of his current term served as the county's chief law enforcement officer for twenty years.
In 2007, the Knox County Sheriff's Office became only the fifth Ohio Sheriff's Office to become internationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement agencies.
In 2010 that distinction was maintained as the Sheriff's Office was re-accredited by CALEA.