Nathan Butcher drove Mount Vernon's horse-drawn Police Wagon in the early 1900's, celebrating a century of law enforcement here.
Silas Brown was named Knox County’s first Sheriff just after our county was formed in 1808. Eight more gentlemen would hold that post, single-handedly providing all law enforcement to the county until 1830, when Mount Vernon was officially organized as a village and elected John Phifer as its first village marshal.
Since then we have seen the establishment of township constables, Justices of the Peace, Marshals in the villages, a sizable city police force along with a well-trained County Sheriff’s Office, and for nearly 50 years, a local post of the Ohio Highway Patrol until its relocation to Morrow County in the 1980’s.
In 1905, Sheriff James Shellenbarger lost his life in the line of duty for which he was recently honored in Washington, D.C. One woman, Bertha Lawrence, served as County Sheriff in 1944-45, serving out the unexpired term of her deceased husband.
With the recent demolition of the 1913 Sheriff’s Office and Jail came the donation to our Museum of a jail cell with related furnishings, early fingerprinting equipment, highway “stop spikes,” and related items.
We are also grateful to the family of Phillip Mauger, former Mayor of Mount Vernon, for their donation of several rare photographs of our early city police force.