Historical Tidbits about the Office of Sheriff

WANTED FOR MURDER Joseph Lupo – Alias Wolfe 



This is a wanted post card – 31/2” – 51/2’’ – issued by Montgomery County Sheriff Seely Hodge and the New York State Police.



Sheriff Jacob Snell was Montgomery County’s 39th Sheriff. Sheriff Snell served from 1885–1888. Photo courtesy of Montgomery County Sheriff Mike Amato.



Montgomery County Sheriff Elmer E. Folmsbee, the county’s 50th Sheriff, pulls into the Sheriff’s Office in his vintage 1918 automobile. Sheriff Folmsbee served from 1915-1918. Photo courtesy of Montgomery County Sheriff Mike Amato.





Schoharie County - Sheriff Henry "Dick" Steadman. Sheriff Steadman was shot and killed in the Court House on July 16, 1930 by a prisoner who was concealing a gun. It is interesting to note that the picture was taken only a few weeks before his untimely death as evidenced by the calender on the wall in the photo. Sheriff Steadman is honored on Police memorials in Albany and Washington.




Schoharie County - 1941 The entire staff of the Sheriff's Office, all 9 of them!

FRONT ROW, Left to Right, Roland Gage of Esperance, Bruce Craft of Stamford, Frank Stark of Schoharie, Claude VanWie of Schoharie, Henry Lipe of Sharon, Eli Shelmandine the Sheriff

SECOND ROW, Left to Right
Clint Earles of Central Bridge, Homer Hissey of Carlisle, Orville Foland of Cobleskill




Columbia County Deputy Sheriff William Hapeman gets his blood hound comfortable with a scent before they head into the woods after what was believed to be a burglar. Blood hounds, for the most part, were the first breed of dog introduced into modern police work. They were used exclusively for tracking. Columbia County Sheriff David Harrison believes this photo was taken in 1978 or 1979.


Grover Cleveland is most remembered for being the only person in United States history to be elected President after being defeated as an incumbent President. His political career began with his election as Sheriff of Erie County in 1887. Sheriff Cleveland shirked none of his official responsibilities. When it became his duty to impose a court ordered execution, he refused to delegate the task. In 1872, he personally sprung the trap on two men, Patrick Morrissey, convicted of stabbing his mother to death and Jack Gaffney, a well-known gambler who had been found guilty of shooting a man in a card game. Thus, he became known as the “Hanging” Sheriff.



Al Smith, the famed New York politician was the first major party candidate to run for President who was Catholic. Though he served four two-year terms as Governor and served for several years as Speaker of the New York State Assembly, we feel the most important office he ever held was that of Sheriff of New York County (Manhattan). In 1914, the career politician left his powerful position in the Assembly to run for Sheriff. At the time, Sheriffs were compensated, not from the public treasury, by retaining fees they charged for executing and enforcing civil process. (note this has since been changed and these fees go into the county treasury). In a county like New York, the Sheriff did a tremendous volume and made a staggering amount of money. In Al Smith’s case, the desire to be Sheriff was to raise funding to run for Governor. Once Governor, Smith successfully worked to change how a Sheriff was compensated.


The year was 1916, and Wyoming County’s first reported murder was solved through remedial forensic pathology. Dr. Abel Watkins lived on the east side of the small village near a cabin occupied by the Perry family. The Dr’s wife, one of his children and Mr. Perry had been found dead. The Sheriff was called. The community became suspicious because of Dr. Watkin’s “unusual attention” to Mrs. Perry.

After conferring with the Sheriff, the corner’s physician decided the only way to decide the validity of the rumor of poisoning was to feed the stomach of one of the deceased to a dog. When the dog died it was decided to arrest Dr. Watkins. In the meantime, the Doctor had taken his own life.

Editors Note – This story is taken from The Sheriff of Wyoming County:150 Years of Protection and Service, a book written by former Wyoming County Sheriff Allen Capwell.



Governor Mario Cuomo and his son Christopher Cuomo are welcomed to the 50th Anniversary Summer Training Conference of the Sheriffs' Association by Peter R. Kehoe, left, Executive Director. Christopher, then 14, is now a correspondent with CBS News 20/20. Christopher’s brother Andrew, our Governor, is not pictured.





Orleans County Sheriff Chester M. Barlett (left) sits in his office with Undersheriff Scott Porter. Note the “intercom” system above the Sheriff’s desk. Photo courtesy of Orleans County Sheriff Scott Hess.
Monroe County Deputy Sheriff Joseph Friedman proudly stands by his patrol car #9. The year is 1935. The photo is courtesy of Monroe County Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn.
Monroe County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Frank Hayden (standing) looks over their first motorcycle patrol. The year is 1936. Photo courtesy of Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn.
A Monroe County Deputy Sheriff ties a Sheriff’s rowboat to the dock as a sheriff’s deputy who been operating the vessel waits to come to shore. The Monroe Sheriff’s Office was looking for a body in a murder investigation. Photo courtesy of Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn.

The gallows have been constructed outside the Otsego County Sheriff’s Office for the hanging of Myron Buel on November 14, 1876. At the time such events were invitation only and a ticket like is pictured here was very desirable and often reserved for the “elite” citizens of the county. These photos are courtesy of Sheriff Richard Devlin.


Inmates at the Monroe County Penitentiary Farm cut hay under the watchful eye of a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Correction Officer. Photo courtesy of Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn.
This is the old Monroe County Jail that was closed in the early 1970’s because of it’s age. The three tiered jail blocks, like pictured here, are no longer used by Sheriffs and this one was one of the last to be retired. Photo courtesy of Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn.


Sheriff Joel Ordway sent us this photo....great looking car!!

New York State Sheriffs' Association 27 Elk Street Albany, NY 12207 518 434-9091