HISTORY OF THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE
9th Century: The Office of Sheriff is actually rooted in English history, dating to the time prior to the Norman conquest of England, around the 9th century.
In early England, geographic areas were divided into units referred to as “Shires”. In each shire there was an individual who came to be known as the “Reeve”, or guardian of the shire. It was an informal role given by the local serfs to someone of trust. The King observed how influential these individuals became within the communities and soon incorporated the position into the formal government structure. The Reeve soon became the King’s appointed representative to protect his interest and act as mediator with the people of his shire. Through time and common usage the words Shire and Reeve blended together to be Shire-Reeve, or guardian of the shire, which eventually evolved into the word Sheriff, as we know it today.
1662: The Office of Sheriff was first recognized in the area now known as North Carolina while under British rule in the year 1662.
1776: North Carolina’s 1776 Constitution established the Office of Sheriff in the new state, as recognized within the newly established nation. It was first established with a two-year term that later changed to four years. It has remained a Constitutional elected office since that time. It is the oldest public office in the state.
Much has changed since the early days but Sheriffs are still chosen by the people. Sheriffs are entrusted through their oaths of office to be the true guardians of their counties and a dedicated servant of the people as the chief law enforcement officer of the county. The Sheriff reports directly to the citizens in the county he/she serves.
HISTORY OF THE SHERIFFS OF PITT COUNTY, NC
YEARS IN OFFICE ELECTED SHERIFF
2018 – Present Sheriff Paula Stokes Dance
2010 – 2018 Sheriff Neil Elks
1998 – 2010 Sheriff Mac Manning
1990 – 1998 Sheriff Billy L. Vandiford
1965 – 1990 Sheriff Ralph L. Tyson
1962 – 1965 Sheriff Arthur McGuire “Duke” Andrew
1943 – 1962 Sheriff Ruel W. Tyson
1938 – 1943 Sheriff J. Knott Proctor
1926 – 1938 Sheriff Sam A. Whitehurst
1922 – 1926 Sheriff Amos C. Jackson
1918 – 1922 Sheriff Ernest R. Dudley
1914 – 1918 Sheriff Joseph McLawhorn
1910 – 1914 Sheriff Samuel Isaac Dudley
1904 – 1910 Sheriff Leon W. Tucker
1900 – 1904 Sheriff O’Jennings Wise Harrington
YEARS IN OFFICE ELECTED SHERIFF
1898 – 1900 Sheriff Guilford Mortimer Mooring
1896 – 1898 Sheriff W. H. Harrington
1892 – 1896 Sheriff Richard Warren King
1888 – 1892 Sheriff J. A. K. Tucker
1882 – 1888 Sheriff William May King
1878 – 1882 Sheriff Allen Warren
1877 – 1878 Sheriff Guilford Mortimer Mooring
1874 – 1877 Sheriff Edmund A. Wilson
1872 – 1874 Sheriff William A. Quinerly
1870 – 1872 Sheriff John F. Hellen
1868 – 1870 Sheriff John Foley
Unknown Sheriff Joseph H. Gray
Unknown Sheriff Josiah Hodges
1818 - 1820 Sheriff Jesse Rountree
1778 Sheriff Benjamin Bowers
Research is ongoing, information will be updated as new data is gathered.
IN MEMORY OF THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED IN PITT COUNTY AND FALLEN
May God bless them, their families, and their friends for their service and sacrifices.