History

The Office of the Sheriff in Adair County was first established in 1841. This was the same year in which Adair County was organized.

In the United States, a sheriff is always the highest law enforcement officer of a county. Sheriffs are usually an elected official, an almost uniquely American tradition.

In Adair County, our early sheriff’s duties were not only those of “lawman”, they were also given the task of tax collector. Law enforcement back then, and as it is today, is a difficult job. Fortunately, in 1872 the duties of tax collector were transferred to a new county officer, the Collector of Revenue.

Today, an individual elected to the Office of Sheriff will serve their community for a four year term. This was not always the case, until 1909 a Sheriff served two year terms in office.

Our Sheriffs That Served

Sheriff

Dates in Office

(Jan. to Dec)

Years of Service

Number of Terms

Isaac N. Eby

1841 to 1844

4

2

Preston Mulanix

1845 to 1846

2

1

Isham B. Dodson

1847 to 1850

4

2

John Adkins

1851 to 1854

4

2

W. H. Sheeks

1855 to 1858

4

2

Andrew Beatty

1859 to 1862

4

2

John Owenby

1863 to 1864

2

1

Fire destroyed the County Courthouse in 1865 and records were not located that identified who the Sheriff was during this period.

1865 to 1866

Edwin Darrow

1867 to 1870

4

2

A. J. Knight

1871 to 1872

2

1

J. D. Miller

1873 to 1876

4

2

Phillip M. Smith

1877 to 1880

4

2

John Shaver

1881 to 1884

4

2

J. H. Kinnear

1885 to 1888

4

2

George F. Williams

1889 to 1890

2

1

E. A. Polley

1891 to 1892

2

1

George W. Rupe

1893 to 1897

4

2

Robert I. Blackledge

1897 to 1900

4

2

Charles N. Roberts

1901 to 1904

4

2

John T. Curry

1905 to 1908

4

2

George F. Williams

1909 to 1912

4

1

Samuel C. Willis

1913 to 1916

4

1

Marion Shoop

1917 to 1920

4

1

Emery D. Waddell

1921 to 1924

4

1

Marion Shoop

1925 to 1928

4

1

Joseph A. Winslow

1929 to 1932

4

1

Charles A. Novinger

1933 to 1936

4

1

Arthur Floyd

1937 to 1940

4

1

Robert Love, Jr.

1941 to 1944

4

1

Alex Brown

1945 to 1948

4

1

G. E. (Shag) Grossnickle

1949 to 1956

8

2

Olin E. (Swede) Johnson

1957 to 1964

8

2

Leon G. Coy

1965 to 1976

12

3

James E. Kemp

1977 to 1984

8

2

Randy Forquer

1985 to 2000

16

4

Leonard Clark

2001 to 2008

8

2

Robert T. Hardwick

2009 to Present

Source for the records of Sheriff’s serving Adair County came from the Manual of the State of Missouri and “A Book Of Adair County History”, page 117- 118 published in 1976 by The Kirksville-Adair County Bicentennial Committee. If we have missed someone, misspelled a name, or have misrepresented the history, please let us know.

Several articles of historical interest are linked below for your enjoyment in studying the history of the Sheriff’s Office. These articles have been provided for this website by the permission of their authors/publishers.

  • A history of the Adair County Jail titled “Escape-Proof?”