Our History

The Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office was established on October 19th, 1809, alongside the inception of our County. Currently, little is known about our Department from its inception, although a list of our former Sheriffs has been kept a record of. Prior to 1836, records are extremely sparse.

Pre- 1836, and Other Discrepancies

David H. Burton, first mentioned as sheriff in 1811 records

John Lain, served as sheriff in period 1814-1822

Mitchell Childress, 1829 exact dates unknown

Sheriff Childress, 1837 exact dates unknown

Sheriff Jones, sheriff in 1839, exact days unknown

James Foresee, listed as high sheriff on 1850 Census which disagrees with the list given below.

Years Served
B.B. Spicer (First Elected Sheriff)1836 – 1842
Lemuel McCollum1842 – 1844
B.B. Spicer1844 – 1848
Edward Cowen1848 – 1850
B.B. Spicer1850 – 1856
J.P. Forsee1856 – 1858
B.B. Spicer1858 – 1860
M.M. Massey1860 – 1868
R.W. Cooley1868 – 1870
M.M. Box1870 – 1874
W.A. Short1874 – 1876
James P. White1876 – 1880
D.D. Collier1880 – 1886
J. Hiram Hall1886 – 1892
J.B. Hall1892 – 1898
George F. Fentress1898 – 1902
J. Hiram Hall1902 – 1904
Ben F. O’Barr1904 – 1910
Sam Stockard*1910 – 1914
J.L. Smith1914 – 1920
W.B. Bryant1920 – 1922
J.L. Smith1922 – 1928
Walter McNeil1928 – 1934
J.S. Westbrook1934 – 1938
Frank James1938 – 1942
Ralph Hooper1942 – 1946
Bliss Dodson1946 – 1946
Trent Westbrook1946 – 1952
Lawrence Bradley1952 – 1954
J.C. Carter1954 – 1960
Herschel M. Bone**1960 – 1962
M. Lurton McNeil1962 – 1964
Howard Deck1964 – 1966
Connie Runyons1966 – 1972
Bill Bell1972 – 1976
E.C. Hall1976 – 1980
Ronnie Toungette1980 – 2006
Chris Davis2006 – Present
  *Sheriff Stockard was killed in the line of duty, EOW September 15th, 1914. See Our “In Memoriam Of” page for more details.
**Sheriff Bone was seriously injured in line of duty during his term as sheriff.

Below are some excerpts from the County Technical Assistance Service website.

The following acts once affected jails and prisoners in Humphreys County, but are no longer operative.

  1. Acts of 1809, Chapter 66, was the basis for the Justices of the Peace in Montgomery County to lay a tax to build a district jail in the City of Clarksville for the Robertson District. The Courts of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of the Counties of Robertson, Dickson, Hickman, Stewart, and Humphreys were also authorized to levy a tax in the year 1810 in order to produce their respective shares of the cost of the District Jail.
  2. Private Acts of 1823, Chapter 99, directed the Humphreys County Court to appoint commissioners to build a public jail, and directed the treasurer of Humphreys County to pay over to said commissioners all monies in his hands collected from the sale of the lots in Reynoldsburg. The commissioners would purchase a lot in Reynoldsburg for the purpose of erecting a jail.
  3. Acts of 1837-38, Chapter 145, permitted the County Courts of Humphreys County and Benton County to sell the jails and public prisons and purchase others, and to sell, remove and rebuild their court houses. Humphreys County would divide the proceeds equally with Benton County.
  4. Acts of 1855-56, Chapter 19, directed the Comptroller of the State Treasury to pay to James McGhee of Humphreys County the sum of $31.12½ for keeping in jail certain negroes who were placed there at the instance of the State of Tennessee.

The following acts have no current effect but are included here for reference purposes since they once applied to the Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office.

  1. Public Acts of 1825, Chapter 36, Section 5, provided that any Coroner who might be hereafter appointed by the County Court of Humphreys County would not be compelled to take or receive any capias ad satisfaciendum on any judgment heretofore rendered against the Sheriff of the County and others jointly.
  2. Private Acts of 1825, Chapter 136, made it lawful for the Sheriffs of the counties of Humphreys, Perry, and Hardin, the Rangers, and the other public officers to advertise the sale of lands to be sold under execution, or for taxes, and the sale of strays to be made in some public newspaper in the City of Jackson in Madison County.

Source: https://www.ctas.tennessee.edu/private-acts/law-enforcement-historical-notes-89