Sheriffs 1866 - 1908

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Kit Phillips: 1904 - 1908
Kit Phillips
  • No information available at this time.
William Henry Rollins: 1900 - 1904
William Rollins
  • Born 12-26-1854 and died on 09-30-1931.
  • Rollins destroyed barrels of whiskey on the town square. Such public exhibitions were frequent and regular arrests of moon shiners and bootleggers were common.
  • Rollins was also a Police Judge and the Mayor of Fayetteville. Offices in the city were closed for his funeral.
John Wesley Oxford: 1896 - 1900
John Oxford
  • Born in 1842 and died on 08-07-1923.
  • Oxford was from the Goshen area along the White River.
  • He was the first Sheriff to have offices in the new jail.
  • Oxford was a member of the Goshen Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons.
George T. Lake: 1892 - 1896
George Lake
  • On October 10, 1895, the Justices of the Peace met with County Judge Frank Hill and the Judge appointed a committee to investigate the county jail and recommend whether to repair it or build a new one. The following day, the committee submitted 2 reports; one to recommended construction of a new jail at the cost of $6,000 and another for an appropriation to repair the old jail and provide cells in the grand jury room. The court adopted the proposal to build a new jail. It made a total of $24,050 in appropriations, including $6,000 for a jail construction fund, which would be used for land and building. On November 11, 1895, Judge Hill appointed J.M. Phillips as building commissioner to purchase a lot not to exceed $6,000. The location is what is now East Mountain Street. The county also purchased adjacent land to the north fronting College Avenue and running back to Spring Street for $500. In the Democrat's issue of January 21, 1897, it reported that the new jail was not completed, but most of the county prisoners had been moved there, feeding 34 prisoners.
  • This new jail served as home for the Sheriff. The main floor was used as living quarters for the Sheriff.
I.G. Combs: 1888 - 1892
I G Combs
  • From West Fork.
  • Several robberies took place during his tenure. The bank was robbed as well as the Stockburger/Miller store, later known as the Winslow Mercantile, which was robbed twice. The first robbery suspect was Pearl Star. Pearl lived on Bunyard Road and her home was well known to shelter outlaws on the run. The second robbery suspect took only food for his family. He tied a bag of sugar with twine off a spool the storekeeper used to tie parcels. The storekeeper had just put out a new spool. The length of the string lay out along the road on which the suspect escaped and led the officer's right to the thief's door. He was asleep when officer's following the string arrived to arrest him.
George F. Deane: 1884 - 1888
George Deane
  • From Mt. Comfort area.
  • Served for 4 years.
  • Born on 01-06-1847 and Died on 03-11-1923.
  • Deane was a Confederate veteran having served with Captain Beaver's Company, Stirman Regiment.
C. Milton Henry: 1880 - 1884
C Milton Henry
  • Served for 2 terms.
  • On 09-14-1882, the Fayetteville Weekly Democrat showed an article, which stated, "Sheriff Henry took the field last week with an efficient force and is determined to break up out-lawry in Washington County. Henry is backed by every good citizen in the county; who are ready to respond if necessary."
  • In 1881, George Reed picked a quarrel with Marshal W.D. Patton and attempted to draw his gun and Marshal Patton shot and killed him. (This started as a result of George's brother being shot and killed in 1879 by Deputy John R. Sorrell). Patton was acquitted at trial.
  • A month later on July 2, 1881, Deputy Sheriff John Mount and Fayetteville Town Marshal W.D. Patton were gunned down on the square. 5 shots were fired into the officers. No suspects were ever captured.
  • Henry placed an add in the Fayetteville Weekly Democrat on Thursday, August 10, 1882 for an Election Proclamation giving notice that elections for Washington County would be held on the 4th day of September.
Zebulon M. Pettigrew: 1872 - 1880
Zebulon Petigrew
  • In 1874, a stagecoach was held up near Winslow.
  • In February of 1874, George Rivercomb was appointed as a deputy sheriff to act as a bailiff.
  • In 1877, several men and women were in trouble for "illegal co-habitation."
  • In 1877, Mary Holcomb was convicted of murdering George Holcomb; the Arkansas Supreme Court reversed the judgment.
  • In 1879, Deputy John R. Sorrell arrested a close friend of John Reed, John Rutherford, for assault. Reed demanded that Rutherford be released. When told he could bail out his friend, he refused and struck the jailer on the head with a bottle of brandy. Deputy fired two shots into John Reed and killed him. The deputy was arrested and charged with homicide, but at trial it was discharged. George, the dead man's brother, swore revenge.
  • Washington County held it's first County Fair in 1878, in which the proceeds exceeded $200.
Benjamin Franklin Little: 1868 - 1872
Benjamin Little
  • From the Goshen area.
  • First Republican Sheriff.
  • Was appointed Sheriff by Major General Gillem after the war.
  • Served in civil war as Sergeant in Company D, 1st Arkansas Calvary U.S. Army.
  • In 1868, a feud broke out between the Shannon's and the Fisher's in the western part of the county. The feud began over a gambling debt and resulted in the killings of 7 men. The noted Frank James is said to have joined the Fishers in the fight.
  • The jail built in 1840 was destroyed by fire prior to 1870. When a new courthouse was built in 1870, the southwest corner was used as a jail.
Jacob Yoes: 1866 - 1868
Jacob Yoes
  • Born 09-08-1839.
  • At 17 years of age, he started to make his way in the world with $2 and his clothes. His father's parting advice was "Pay all of your debts, be truthful, be honest" and his financial success was based on those principals.
  • In June of 1862, he enlisted in Company D, 1st Arkansas Cavalry U.S. Army, serving 3 years. The only battle he served was at Prairie Grove. On 05-24-1863, he was shot 3 times and was taken prisoner to Van Buren until he was exchanged in 08-18-1863, after which he served until the close of the war.
  • He was elected Sheriff during his absence and on his return assumed the duties of the office. In 1867, he was appointed to the same position and served another year.
  • In 1889, he was appointed U.S. Marshal of the West District of Arkansas with 200 Deputy Marshals under his command.
  • Jacob "Black Jack" Yoes was involved directly in capturing members of the Dalton Gang when they robbed the Coffeyville, Kansas Bank.
  • Jacob is buried in the National Cemetery in Ft. Smith.


The Washington County Sheriff's Office would like to keep an accurate and comprehensive history of the prior Sheriffs and relevant information. If anyone has information to share or corrections that need to be made please contact Kelly Cantrell.