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Past Sheriffs of Putnam County Tennessee

Campbell J. Bohannon 1872 - 1876

    Campbell Bohannon - Campbell J. Bohannon was born on August 25, 1829 in White County, Tennessee. He died on May 30, 1911 in White County, Tennessee and was buried in Cash Cemetery, Fountainhead Area, in White County, Tennessee. Campbell J. Bohannon married Rosa Henry on 19 Nov 1848 in White (Putnam) Co., Tennessee. Submitted by: Sharon Bryant-Mata

Charles B. (Charlie) Bradford 1884-1888, 1892-1894

    Charles B. (Charlie) Bradford was born January 15, 1844 in Missouri and died August 7, 1918 in Putnam County, TN He is buried in the Bradford Cemetery off Old Kentucky Road in Cookeville. Charlie was the son of William Bradford and Elizabeth Huddleston, and the grandson of David and Elizabeth Bradford and Charles B. and Martha Huddleston. Charlie’s father, William Bradford died before 1850 in Missouri. Elizabeth, Charlie’s mother, brought Charlie and his brother, David, back to Tennessee to live with her parents. Charlie married a lady names Mary, last name unknown. They have two daughters, Bitty, born in 1868 and Marney, born in 1877. Charlie and Mary are buried in the Bradford Cemetery on Old Kentucky Road in Cookeville. Charlie was a Confederate soldier and a blacksmith. He served two terms as Sheriff of Putnam Count, from 1884 to 1888 and 1892 to 1894. Charlie’s grandfather, David Bradford, was a brother to my great grandfather, Thomas Jerry Bradford. Submitted by: Glenn T. Bradford.

Charter Franklin Napoleon McCaleb 1894-1896

    Charter Franklin Napoleon McCaleb, Uncle Pony, was born 1856 to John Allison McCaleb and Sarah T. Mitchell McCaleb. He is buried in the Campbell Cemetery in the Gentry Community. The only Sheriff of Putnam County that was a Republican. He lived at Pekin, TN (before it became Gentry). His first marriage was to Dicy M. Campbell and the second was to Laura Hughes. Their children are, Ina Belle, born January 2, 1879; she married Joseph Haywood Jared. Mary Ova born 1878 and died October 1879. Isaac Allison was born March 1880. He married Minnie Young June 7, 1902 and moved to California in 1916. Michael Oregon (a female) was born May 23, 1881 and married Noah Duke. Erv McCaleb was born June 17, 183 and died 1884. They had a farm in Gentry but moved to the jail while Pony was sheriff. Submitted by Mrs. Ralph Jared.

R.L. Jared 1900-1902

    R. L. (Robert Lee) was born May 19, 1863 and died May 6, 1932. His parents were Josiah and Frances Bennett Jared. He married Frances (Fannie) Byrne; they had four children. One child died at infancy. Children are Katherine Frances, James Carlisle, and Joseph Haywood. He worked at the state prison as a transportation officer. He is buried at Rock Springs, Buffalo Valley, on the Joe Jared Farm (Joe was a brother to Robert Lee). Submitted by Bill Harper, his only grandson, Wartburg, TN

G. W. Alcorn 1896-1900, 1904-1908

    G. W. Alcorn – General G. W. Alcorn was born April 22, 1861 at Buffalo Valley and spent his entire life in Putnam County. In 1883 he married Josephine Garner. He was a member of the Methodist Church and a member of the Masonic Lodge. Submitted by Bettie Doyle.

A. L. Weeks 1908-1912

    A. L. Weeks – He is the grandfather of Bill Bilyeu, later the Chief of Police in Monterey. He served in the Civil War. He died at the age of 56 and is buried at Whitaker Cemetery in Monterey. Submitted by Bettie Doyle.

Lidgard F. "Dock" Miller 1908-1912

    Lidgard "Dock" Miller was born on 26 Dec 1873. He died on 16 May 1949. Lidgard "Dock" Miller married Amanda Leona Brown on January 1, 1905. His parents are Susanna A. Henry, born 13 Aug 1839 in Montgomery Co, Illinois and James M. Miller. Susanna died on 30 Dec 1910 in Putnam County, Tennessee and was buried in Board Valley Cemetery. Susanna A. Henry married James M. Miller BET. 1870 - 1873. Submitted by: Sharon Bryant-Mata

Willis Morgan Stout 1920-1922

    He was Born December 22, 1883 and died February 19, 1934. His parents were James B. Stout and Martha Veteto. Morgan married Cynthia Ella Brown, born August 17, 1887 and died June 16, 1992. They are buried at Brown Family Cemetery in the Nameless Community in Jackson County. Submitted by: Bettie Doyle

John M. Lee 1922-1926

    John M. Lee – born August 12, 1876 and died February 14, 1941 He was a direct descendant of Robert E. Lee and grandfather of Earl Nichols. His first wife was Myrtle West; she was born August 19, 1880 and died July 16, 1923. They are buried in the West Cemetery in the Bangham Community. John and Myrtle’s girls are Cora Lee who married James M. Nichols, Elsie Lee Martin, Beulah Lee Bower, Ada Lee married Lupper Bennett, Dimple Lee Wall, and Mary Lee Heiser. Their sons are General Lee, Robert Lee, and Shelby Lee. Submitted by: Earl Nichols

Marion Talmadge Warren 1926-1930, 1940-1944

    Marion Talmadge Warren – He was born September 22, 1894 and died February 28, 1968. Marion married Sarah Chalice Bilbrey on August 25, 1918, Sarah was from Overton County. Her parents were John Dock Lewis Bilbrey and Celina Alvania Bilbrey. Marion and Chalice had two children Kathryn and John K. Submitted by Kathryn Huddleston

Hubert Crawford 1930-1932

    Hubert Crawford –He was born January 6, 1896 and died April 8, 1982 He was a native of Jackson County the son of William Alexander (Alex) and Mary Brown Crawford. At an early age he came to Cookeville where he spent his life except for three yeas in Ashland City, TN and the years he was in the military. The people who knew him best, those he served, in his hometown, his state, and his country, honored him. The American Legion, the Lodge and his church received priority in his service to people. Possibly his greatest day was June 5, 1975 when Governor Ray Blanton proclaimed “Hubert Crawford Day” in Cookeville. Friends and neighbors from across the state came to pay special tribute in a program at Tennessee Technological University. Other awards included National Achievement Award by the American Legion in 1962. Humanitarian of the year January 1975, Cookeville Jaycees. Kiwanis Community Service Award 1979. He was the founder of the American Legion Big Brothers in Putnam County. He was a member of the American Legion for more than 50 years. He was the last surviving charter member of the Cookeville Lions Club. He was a member of the Cookeville Masonic Lodge 266 and the York Rite Bodies. He was a Shriner and a member of the Al Menah Temple. He was called “chief” because for 11 years he was chief of police in Cookeville. He was called “colonel” because he is a retired US Army Colonel with a record of service in both World War I and World War II and was in the National Guard between the two wars and after the close of World War II. Crawford once directed traffic on the streets of Orlando, Florida in his Cookeville police chief uniform. Tennessee Tech was playing in the Tangerine Bowl, and he and a lot of other people were tangled up in traffic on the way to the stadium down there – and he just got out and directed traffic. Bill Bilyeu told this story. Submitted by Mrs. Willie Glen Crawford and Mary Jo Denton.

Alex Burton 1932-1936

    Alex Burton was born October 1, 1888 and died December 19, 1977. He was the son of Samuel S. Burton and Maggie Young. He married Virginia (Jennie) Ensor, daughter of William Wirt Ensor and Monsie Amonett. Jennie was born February 4, 1894 and died September 6, 1978. He was from Buffalo Valley. They are the parents of four children: Sam Ensor Burton, Virginia Burton, Ruth Burton, and Allison Burton. Both Jennie and Alex are buried in the Cookeville City Cemetery. Submitted by Carol Bradford.

Sam Denton Poteet 1936-1940, 1956-1958

    Sam Denton Poteet – He was born July 26, 1899 and married Tennie Berilla Holladay on January 18. A memory of Sam Denton from Doyle Burton, “One day my dad and I got off the train in Algood and passed by the store where a big shinny apple was looking at me, I took the apple and took a big bite out of it. Just then Sam Denton came in and my father turned me in. I was very glad when he let me go with out any charges.” Submitted by Doyle Burton

Harvey Higgenbothem 1944-1948

    Harvey Higgenbothem –– He was born July 9, 1895 in White County died June 9, 1968 in Putnam County. Buried at Crest Lawn Cemetery in Cookeville. He married Mabel Masters from Overton County. He and Mabel had six boys and one girl.

Charlie B. Pierce 1948-1950

    Charlie B. Pierce, grandson of Charlie Bradford, he was born February 18, 1902 and died on May 10, 1992, Mother’s Day at Master’s Health Care Center in Algood. His parents were Millard Pierce and Mamie Bradford. The “B” in Charlie B. is for Bradford. He was in the Air Force during WWII as an Engineer. He got to fly as a co-pilot on the Boeing B-29. He was a good Sheriff and treated everyone very well. After he was Sheriff he went to work in Nashville at the state prison. There he met his wife Nina Mae Meadows from Nashville. Nina was an Emanuel pastor. Charlie was a long chain car driver at the prison; they would transport prisoners back and forth from the prison to court in Nashville. He was a crack shot with a pistol; he belonged to the Tennessee and Mississippi Pistol Club. He won lots of awards and trophies. His sisters are Valeria Wilhite and Mabel Richart. Charlie was a very special person, his family misses him very much, and he was loved. Submitted by: Margaret Spurlock, niece of Charlie.

Nashaw Matheney 1950-1954

    Nashaw Basil Matheney was the son of Charles Winton Matheney and Mary Jane Storey Matheney. Nashaw was the oldest of five children. He was followed by Iva Lee Matheney Tallent, Ovid Curtis Matheney, Willie Charlcie Matheney Presley and Jonny Lillian Matheney Holloway.

    Nashaw graduated from Algood High School and attended Tennessee Tech when Tech was known as TPI. He started his career teaching school in Putnam County. He taught school until the Tennessee Highway Patrol was being formed. He asked my mother, Iva Lee Matheney Tallent, if she would finish out his school term so he could join the new Highway Patrol. This is when my mother got chalk dust in her blood and a love of teaching school. Mother went on to teach approximately 46 years in Putnam County, TN and Ft Knox, KY. Nashaw went on to a lifetime career in law enforcement. He stayed with the Highway Patrol until elected sheriff of Putnam County in August 1950. After his term as sheriff, he was a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent until retirement. He had a long and colorful career in law enforcement. A number of his cases were written up in Detective Magazines. One of his most interesting ones was written up in Dell’s Detective Magazine in the July 1965 issue. The case was entitled, “No Miracle for Irene” and took place in Decatur, TN in April 1965. He served as President of the Tennessee Sheriff’s Association in 1952. He followed in his father’s footsteps and was a lifelong Mason and Shriner.

    Nashaw first married Nannie Pearl Ferguson. While he was sheriff, they adopted two children, Fred Max Matheney and Janice Mae Matheney Adkins. Both Fred and Janice are now deceased. This marriage lasted approximately 31 years before ending in divorce. He later married his childhood sweetheart, Ermine Judd Moles, who had first married his best friend, Amon Moles. Nashaw and Ermine lived in Oak Ridge, TN till his death in 1983.

    Nashaw suffered from kidney disease all of his entire adult life. It ultimately took his life on August 1983. He always said that when he died he wanted his body to go to research for insight into kidney disease. Aunt Ermine followed his wishes and his body went to research at Vanderbilt. Aunt Ermine got her wish as well. She is buried between the two great loves of her life in Paran Cemetery in Overton County, TN.

Submitted by Raymond Nashaw Tallent, Nephew

Ernest Webster 1954-1956, 1958-1960

    Ernest Webster was a strong Democrat, good man. He was born August 31, 1907 and died September 10, 1991 and is buried at Crest Lawn Cemetery. He married Bebie; they did not have any children. He was Circuit Court Clerk and also worked at Allen Brown Hardware before he was Sheriff. He was like many others and went to work in the north for a while, in Akron, OH. He was one of my best friends. I thought of him like a father. He was very honest; if he told you it was going to rain tomorrow, it would rain tomorrow. Submitted by Glen Lee

Bill Bilyeu 1960-1964

    Mr. Bilyeu died on Friday, Nov. 9, 2001, at Cookeville Regional Medical Center. He was born Oct. 15, 1914, in Putnam County to the late Perry and Rhoda Weeks Bilyeu. Mr. Bilyeu was a member of the West View Baptist Church. He was a former Chief of Police for Cookeville and Sheriff of Putnam County. He was a life member of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police; in addition, he belonged to the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Sheriffs' Association, the American Law Enforcement Officers' Association, the Middle Tennessee Peace Officers' Association, the American Federation of Police, the Michigan Sheriffs' Association, the Disabled American Veterans and the Democratic National Committee. He was a 'Kentucky Colonel' and belonged to numerous other organizations. Submitted by: Sharon Bryant-Mata

James Edmond Stamps 1964-1966

    James Edmond Stamps was born 1918, at Stamps Hollow, in the western edge of Putnam County and died January 23, 2000. He is the son of William Virgle Stamps and Nancy Catherine Jackson. He was married to Notie Cecil Smith, daughter of Dalton Smith. Information submitted by: Sue Milligan
Billy G. Smith 1968-1974

    Billy G. Smith – I was born November 9, 1934 in Jackson County, near Dodsons Branch (Sarwood). My parents were Perry H. Smith and Ella Mae Hawkins Maberry. I married Elsa Way, and we have two children Perry Glenn Smith of Kansas City, MO and Janice Carol Williams of Cookeville. Perry is a minister, and he and his wife have five children. Janice Carol works at First Tennessee Bank and has one child. I began my work career in Detroit, working at US Rubber and Chrysler. For a while I was working two jobs. One day I decided this life was not for a country boy. I went home one day and told my wife to pack the bags; we were going to Tennessee. I did not like Detroit, and I wanted to go home. In Tennessee I worked with Fred Pippin in construction work; later the insurance business; next the car business, retail and wholesale. One Sunday afternoon I was sitting on the porch with my Dad, and he asked me, “Son, did you ever think of running for Sheriff?” My first answer, “No, Dad, no desire.” I think he planted the seed. A few minutes later I was in my Rambler (with push button gears) headed to my home and started to think about being Sheriff. I started thinking about how to get the experience I would need. I called Bethel Newport. He told me to come over, and we would talk. Next thing I knew I was working for the Police Department. Dawson Gentry was Chief. I asked Dawson if I could be the first to go to the Tennessee Law Enforcement School in Donaldson. He said I could be the second because he wanted to be the first. I was a patrolman, sergeant, and lieutenant, and then Sheriff. I served three years. At that time three years is all anyone could serve. My Dad was the jailer, and my Mom was the cook. They lived at the jail for a while and later bought a house on Chestnut. Then my family and I moved into the jail. After being the Sheriff, I was County Trustee for eight years. Later I worked food and beverage at the Holiday Inn. While I was at the Holiday Inn, Bart Gordon asked me to come to work with him. I am very proud of the people I have helped. Sometimes people walk up to me and tell me how I have helped them and that really makes me feel good. One time I was asked, “how did you get the name Billy G?” The inmates started calling me that and it took. The worst time was the storm Black Tuesday, which killed 11 people. I was so thankful for the Auxiliary Police at that time. One volunteer would ride with a deputy. They were a big help. Everyone was like family; we would have big fish fries and lots of excitement. James Smith had caught a rattle snake and the guys were sitting around doing the regular whittling, the shavings were piling up, I took the snake and tied some clear plastic wire to it and hid it under the shavings. When the guys went back to start whittling again, I moved the snake a little and then a little more. They moved out very quickly. They did not think it was as funny as some of us did. Submitted by Billy G. Smith

Jerry Abston 1974-2002

    I was born February 13, 1945 to Earl Abston and Delia Smith from the Califkiller community. I watched Cookeville grow from a Mayberry into a large community overnight. I am honored to have served as Sheriff for a friendly warm-hearted city. It was a good feeling moving into the new Justice Center. Those days were some of the Best Days of my Life. My son, Jerry Dale, is with the Sheriff’s Department today. Submitted by: Jerry Abston

David K. Andrews 2002-2014

    Biography and photo available soon.

Eddie Farris 2014 - Present

    Current Sheriff of Putnam County, TN

    Sheriff Eddie Farris, Biography

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