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Sheriff's Office History

There is perhaps no public officer closer to the people, than the Sheriff of the County since he and his Deputies, in their work, come in contact with the people throughout the county. They are symbols of law and protection and feared by wrong doers.

Sheriff's of Tattnall County did not have a courthouse for the first 30 years of its existence. It is unlikely that it had any jail in which to confine prisoners. However, after the county site was located at what is now Reidsville, and a courthouse built there, a substantial jail was erected on the grounds, being a few yards east where the courthouse is. This was used until about 1888, when the present jail was constructed on the west side of the courthouse.

For many years, term of office of a Sheriff was only two years instead of four as at present, and some of the Sheriff's only served one term. Many outstanding residents of the county have filled this office and have descendants living in the county today.

The following have filled this office in the county:

Elijah Paine 1803-1803   John B. Glisson 1960-1861
Allen Johnston 1804-1809   B.F. Dowdy 1862-1863
John Sharp 1810-1811   William Smith 1864-1865
Allen Johnston 1812-1813   John A. Wilkes 1866-1867
Ezekiel Clifton 1814-1815   B.F. Dowdy 1868-1870
James Smith 1816-1817   W.F.M. Edwards 1871-1872
James B. Stripling 1818-1819   C.C. Anderson 1873-1876
John Sharp 1820-1821   W.B. Surrency 1877-1878
James Kemp 1822-1823   J.H. Eason 1879-1880
Allen Johnson 1824-1825   D.N. Wilkes 1881-1882
Charles McCall 1826-1829   R.J. Partin 1883-1884
Benjamin Brewton 1830-1831   J.H. Eason 1885-1886
William Hodges 1832   T.N. Adamson 1887-1894
Charles McCall 1833   George F. Conley 1895-1898
James A. Durrence 1834-1835   S.A. Brewton 1889-1902
Edward Kennedy 1836-1937   A.D.Smith 1903-1904
Robert Partin 1838-1839   Willis Edwards 1906-1908
Francis N. Caswell 1840-1841   J.A. Kennedy 1909-1925
John Hurst 1842-1843   J. Henry Kennedy 1926-1944
James Vinzant 1844-1845   A.W. Dubose 1945-1948
B.F. Dowdy 1846-1847   Dan Waller 1949-1956
James Cowart 1848-1849   C.W. Kicklighter 1957-1964
Cullin Cowart 1850-1851   Ronnie Waters 1965-1988
B.F. Dowdy 1852-1853   Ned Deloach 1989-1996
John P. Rustin 1854-1855   Quinton Rush 1997-2016
B.F. Dowdy 1856-1857   Kyle Sapp 2017-Present
Malachi Hagans 1858-1859