LAW & PUBLIC SAFETYSheriff's OfficeDepartment History   

Serving the Citizens of St. Louis County

The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office has proudly served the citizens of the county for over 150 years and has had a colorful history. 

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Here are some interesting facts:

 

Past Sheriffs Minimize
 
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Sheriff Ross Litman

Sheriff Ross Litman has been a life long resident of St. Louis County.  His father was a Judge in the Sixth Judicial District.

Sheriff Litman graduated from Duluth East High School in 1978.  He attended the University of Minnesota in Duluth and graduated with a B.A in Criminology and Political Science in 1983. 

Ross was hired as a Deputy Sheriff in 1992 and in 2000 was promoted to the rank of Investigator.

In the fall of 2002 Investigator Ross Litman decided to run for Sheriff of St. Louis County.  He did this after learning that Sheriff Rick Wahlberg would not be seeking re-election.  Ross Litman was elected Sheriff of St. Louis County in November of 2002.

Ross Litman was sworn in as Sheriff of St. Louis County on Monday, January 6, 2003 by Judge Gerald Martin.

Sheriff Rick Wahlberg

Sheriff Rick Wahlberg

Sheriff Rick Wahlberg served as Sheriff from 1999 to 2003.  He began his career with the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office in 1972 and worked his way through the ranks as a Deputy Sheriff, Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Undersheriff. 

Rick Wahlberg attended the FBI National Academy 173rd Session (April 4 - June 18, 1993) which included 257 law enforcement professionals from the United States, as well as military organizations, Federal Agencies and 20 foreign Police Officers.  Officers attending the academy are offered, on a cost-free basis, a comprehensive and balanced 11-week program of advanced professional instruction.  Throughout this training, particular emphasis is placed on leadership development.

Sheriff Gary Waller

Sheriff Gary L. Waller

Gary Waller served as St. Louis County Sheriff from 1986 to 1999.  

Gary was a Duluth Police officer for 21 years and was one of the lead investigators on the scene of the famous Congdon double murder at Glensheen Mansion and is a co-author of WILL TO MURDER, a book about the Congdon murders.

In 1995 Sheriff Gary L. Waller, St. Louis County, Minnesota, received the FBI Director's Community Leadership Award.  Sheriff Waller was very instrumental in implementing D.A.R.E. training for his personnel and furthering the D.A.R.E. program in St. Louis County schools.

The Director’s Community Leadership Award is reserved for those individuals or organizations that have made an outstanding contribution within the community towards crime prevention and community awareness.  

Sheriff Charles Bergquist

Sheriff Charles BergquistSheriff Charles Bergquist was appointed as Sheriff by the St. Louis County Board of Commissioners to complete the term of Sheriff Ernie Grams, who died in a car accident.

Sheriff Bergquist served until January 5, 1987, when Gary Waller was elected sheriff.

On September 30, 1986 the St. Louis County Board of Commissioners appointed Supervising St. Louis County Deputy Sheriff Charles Bergquist to complete the term of St. Louis County Sheriff Ernie Grams, who died in a car accident.  Bergquist served until January 5, 1987.





Sheriff Ernie Grams

Sheriff Ernie GramsSheriff Ernie Grams served from 1983 to 1986.
Ernie Grams began his career in law enforcement when he was appointed to the Duluth Police Department in December 1948 as a patrolman.  He resigned from the police department in December 1982 to assume the position of Sheriff of St. Louis County.

Sheriff Ernie Grams died on Monday, September 22, 1986 when his car crashed into a tree on East Superior Street in Duluth, MN. Grams had been sheriff since 1982 when he tallied 62 percent of the county vote, unseating four-term incumbent Greg Sertich. (Source: Duluth News Tribune, February 27, 1969.)




Sheriff Greg Sertich

Sheriff Greg SertichSheriff Greg Sertich served from 1967 to 1983.

1968 Duluth-Cotton Patrol Established - The St. Louis County Sheriff's Department inaugurated around-the-clock patrol service between Duluth and Cotton.  Sheriff Greg Sertich, Duluth, said shifts were juggled to free a crew to work daily from midnight to 8 a.m.  Prior to this there were no crews on patrol between Duluth and Cotton from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m.  Calls were handled by deputies off duty but on call at their homes.








Sheriff Samuel Owens

Sheriff Samuel OwensSheriff Samuel Owens was the county’s fourth sheriff in 1931 when he was appointed on 12/18/31. Sheriff Owens took the oath of office before Walter H. Borgen, county auditor. Owens was the youngest sheriff to hold the office since 1904, when Walter Butchart, aged 21, was appointed to succeed his father, who died. Samual Owens was a former chief deputy sheriff under Magie.

Sheriff Owens appointed Edward Hanson as chief deputy of the Duluth Office.  Hanson served as a deputy for former Sheriff Magie for the last few months of Magie’s stay in office. Jeff Cusson was chief deputy in Virginia.



Magie Pleased With Appointment of Owens as Sheriff

 Sheriff Owens and Chief Deputy Hansen
Magie declared he was pleased with the appointment of Owens as sheriff, and it is no secret that the former sheriff would rather have his former chief deputy receive the office than any of the numerous candidates mentioned.

Edward B. Hansen, also a former Magie deputy, has been named chief deputy by Sheriff Owens, while Jeff Cusson, well known Virginia baseball pitcher, is the new chief deputy at Virginia.

Sheriff Owens’ list of deputies including jailers and matrons will be submitted to the county board for approval at a meeting Monday.  Including among the deputies named are seven who served under Sheriff Erickson. These include Ernest E. Robinson, G.A. Hoel, Michael Boyle, T.J. Hanifen, Walter Butchart, James C. Kelley and Ernest Westing. Deputies Hoel, Boyle and Hanifen also served under former Sheriff Magie.

Deputies who served under Magie and appointed by Sheriff Owens are: Edwin O. Anderson, Frank Doudt, Joseph Burdash, Elling Munkeby, Frank H. Carlson, Rovert Wendlandt, R.T. Serrurier, D.E. Stevens, George McDowell, Justin Zuger, RW Smith and Chief Deputy Hanson.  W.E. Downey, Frank Randall, T.O. Perrault and Alex McEwen also were named deputies. 

The county’s new sheriff is a young man, 36 years old, and has a splendid record both as a peace officer and citizen.

Excerpt from Labor World, dated 12/19/31

Pictured above are Sheriff Owens and Deputy Hansen.

 

Sheriff Charles F. McComb

Sheriff McCombDr. Charles F. McComb was the county coroner and was named sheriff to administer the affairs of the sheriff’s office pursuant to state law governing vacancies in that office when Emil Erickson resigned.  Dr. McComb was appointed as sheriff on 12/11/31 and served until Sheriff Sam Owens was appointed on 12/18/31.

Photo (left): not dated, NEMHC S2386 portrait collection
Northeast Minnesota Historical Center


Dr. C. F. McComb and Emil EricksonIn the photo, Dr. MComb (right) is shown at the sheriff's desk in the courthouse talking to Emil M. Erickson (left) shortly before the office changed hands.  Photo by Duluth News Tribune 12/11/31

Charles Frederick McComb, M.D., was one of the oldest established members of the medical profession in Duluth and had been in continuous practice since 1883.  He served as coroner of St. Louis County for two terms in the 1880's and in 1912 was appointed county coroner and had held that office continuously by election.  (Source: Duluth and St. Louis County, Minnesota; their story and people) 

McComb Takes Over Duties of Erickson as Sheriff

Sans handcuff, gun or billy but a real sheriff withal, Dr. C. F. McComb, St. Louis county coroner, at 9 a.m. yesterday ensconced himself behind a desk in the sheriff’s office in the courthouse and prepared temporarily to enforce the law in the county.

 And when Dr. McComb, serving until a successor is appointed to Emil Erickson, resigned, became sheriff yesterday morning, he became a sheriff in earnest.  He took off his hat and coat, rolled up his sleeves and questioned deputies. 

“Where are you going, Bert?” asked Dr. McComb as Deputy Duff started to leave the office.  “Got to serve a warrant,” answered Duff.  “All right, let me know when you get back,” said the doctor. 

The new sheriff picked up a telephone and called the jail.  “How many prisoners have you,” he asked Allen Longstreet, jailer.  Longstreet readily gave the figure.  “All right,” said Dr. McComb, “Feed ‘em well.”

So it went.  Deputy George A. Hoel was “fired” for throwing a cigarette butt on the floor and then rehired on his promise never to do it again.  George Kettner, chief deputy was complimented for satisfactorily explaining to a taxpayer that taxes really should be paid and Deputy W. J. Dutcher acted as official guide to Mr. McComb during a tour of the office.

However, there was one thing the new sheriff refused to do.  “I won’t wear a badge,” said Dr. McComb, “and that’s that.”

Source:  Unknown – newspaper article, date unknown 

Sheriff-Elect Emil M. Erickson

Sheriff Elect Emil Erickson

Sheriff-Elect Emil M. Erickson left office 12/9/31 after a court decision that he was not an American citizen at time of election.

Source:  Unknown – newspaper article, December 14, 1931

In November 1930 Sheriff Frank L. Magie contested Emil M. Erickson’s right to the office of sheriff on the ground he was not a citizen and contends that Erickson was born in 1886 and his father was naturalized in 1908, when Erickson was more than 21 years old.

The debate continued for the next year. 

  • Emil M. Erickson, sheriff-elect of St. Louis county, testified before Judge Bert Fesler in district court he was born May 20, 1887.  Erickson admitted that on many previous occasions he had given the date of his birth as May 20, 1886.
  • Judge Fesler restrained Sheriff-Elect Erickson from attempting to assume the office.
  • Sheriff Magie contended he was the duly elected sheriff Nov. 4 in that he was the only candidate eligible for that office.
  • Judge Fesler discharged the temporary restraining order giving Emil Erickson legal right to take over the office.
  • Sheriff Magie refused the demand of the sheriff-elect to give up the office.
  • Sheriff-elect Emil M. Erickson filed a petition for a peremptory writ of mandamus asking the removal of Frank L. Magie from the office of Sheriff of St. Louis County. 

 

An excerpt from a newspaper article states: “Sheriff Magie maintained a guard of deputies in his office through last night. The vigil has been continued since last Sunday night to forestall any attempts to take the office by force.”

  • January 28, 1931 – Judge Fesler ruled that Erickson was a citizen of the United States and eligible to hold office and take the post of sheriff at once.
  • A newspaper article dated January 29, 1931 states Magie barricaded himself in the office of sheriff and was preparing to file a motion for an appeal to the state supreme court.
  • On December 7, 1931 Sheriff Emil Erickson submitted his resignation as sheriff of St. Louis County.  His resignation left the appointment of a new sheriff in the hands of the St. Louis county board.

 

In December 1931 Judge Albert H. Enersen decided after hearing evidence that Emil M. Erickson was not a citizen at the time of his election as sheriff and never has been a citizen.  With Erickson declared an alien, Frank L. Magie had a legal right to attempt his reinstatement as sheriff.

 

Sheriff Frank L. Magie

Sheriff Frank Magie

Frank L. Magie served as sheriff from 1918 to 1931.

The Duluth News Tribune newspaper on March 18, 1947, described his tenure as "adventure-filled."

Photo: from book History of Duluth and St. Louis County vol. 3, page 1010, published in 1921
Northeast Minnesota Historical Center

Born in Chicago, Frank Magie came to Duluth in 1893.  He served as a deputy sheriff for 21 years and first became a candidate for sheriff in 1914, being defeated by a small margin.  He was elected sheriff in 1918, in which capacity he served until 1931.  The Duluth News Tribune newspaper on March 18, 1947, described his tenure as "adventure-filled."

While in his deputy sheriff/sheriff positions, he was wounded in a gun battle with a prisoner and made headlines in 1930 when he refused to give up his office to his successor Emil M. Erickson.

In November 1930 Sheriff Frank L. Magie contested Emil M. Erickson’s right to the office of sheriff on the ground he was not a citizen and contended that Erickson was born in 1886 and his father was naturalized in 1908, when Erickson was more than 21 years old. 

In November 1930 Sheriff Frank L. Magie contested Emil M. Erickson’s right to the office of sheriff on the ground he was not a citizen and contends that Erickson was born in 1886 and his father was naturalized in 1908, when Erickson was more than 21 years old.

Sheriff Magie refused the demand of the sheriff-elect to give up the office.  Sheriff-elect Emil Erickson filed a petition for a writ asking the removal of Frank L. Magie from the office of Sheriff of St. Louis County.

An excerpt from a newspaper article states: “Sheriff Magie maintained a guard of deputies in his office through last night. The vigil has been continued since last Sunday night to forestall any attempts to take the office by force.”

 

Sheriff John R. Meining

MEINING, JOHN R. (1857-1947). 

Meining served as sheriff of St. Louis County from 1911 to 1918, and was active in civic affairs. He ran for re-election in 1918 but lost the primary election which was on June 17, 1918.

Personnel in later years included the following:

Deputy Sheriffs – Victor A. Dash, R. T. Serrurier, Joseph Burdash, Edward Schubisky, Charles Evans, Sieg Levy, Frank Carlson, J. W. McDonald , Geo. W. Power, Duncan Buchanan, John H. LaVaque, Roger S. Lerch, John Movern, Michael Boyle, Fred C. Witte, Charles Gronberg, Andrew Moilan, Arthur O’Dea, Peter Ring, Alf Gustafson, E.L. Lockhart, Joseph Allen.

 

Sheriff John R. Meining

MEINING, JOHN R. (1857-1947). 

Meining served as sheriff of St. Louis County from 1911 to 1918, and was active in civic affairs. He ran for re-election in 1918 but lost the primary election which was on June 17, 1918.

Sheriff Meining appointed the following deputy sheriffs when he was elected in 1911:

Victor A. Dash - Chief Deputy; William Merrill; Charles Gonberg; Harry Little; George R. King; Frank Magie; Darwin E. Stevens; O. J. Larson; Seig Levy; Edwin Slocum; Duncan Buchanan; John Moren; John H. LaVaque; and Roger S. Lerch.

Source: NORTHEAST MINNESOTA HISTORICAL CENTER

 

Sheriff William Jones Bates

Sheriff William Jones Bates first took office in 1905 and served until 1911.

He was born at Waitsfield, Vermont on April 18, 1859 and educated in the public schools of Chippewa County, WI.  He began an active career in the lumber business, at Chippewa Falls, MN. He re-located in Duluth in 1884 and continued in the lumber business, looking up timber lands in Northern Minnesota. He became a Deputy sheriff of St. Louis County in1889 and continued until 1905 whe he was elected sheriff of St. Louis County and assumed office on Jan 1, 1905.

Source: The Book of Minnesotans


Early records indicate the following men were Deputy Sheriffs in 1910  and worked for Sheriff W. J. Bates:

Deputy Sheriffs S.L. Pierce, S. Levy, Michael J. Horgan, J.W. Allen, F.L. Magie, R.S. Lerch, C.E. Johnson, Owen Gately, B.J. Frink, Sinies J. Pierce, W.H. Oppel, Geo. Donahue and Alf Aronson worked with Sheriff W.J. Bates. 

(increased to 13 deputies)

A proceeding was brought to oust Bates from the office of sheriff because of the alleged violation of the corrupt practices act of the state of Minnesota.

The alleged misconduct grew out of the following: In the spring of 1906 the respondent Bates, then sheriff, one Miles and one Armstead were conspicuous candidates or possibilities for the Republican nomination for the next term as sheriff of St. Louis county. Miles showed to Bates a letter which he claimed to have received fvrom Armstea. The letter set forth that Armstead had great political strength with respect to the nomination for sheriff in the approaching primary election, that Armstead was not anxious to mix in the fight,, and that, if Miles would run, Armstead would stay out and do all he could to help him.

The result of the interview was an agreement in words and figures as follows: "Duluth, Minn., March 30, 1906. In return for $500.00 (five hundred dollars); one hundred of which has been paid and $400.00 (four hundred dollars) of which is to be paid on or before the last day of filing, I agree to file for the office of sheriff of St. Louis County before the coming election, and to withdraw from the fight on or before the last day of filing. I do this to keep out any opposition to Mr. Bates, and in order to split up the vote if any other candidate should get into the filed. (Signed) Jack Miles."

Respondent signed the contract and paid Miles at the time $75 and afterwards $375 more.

The essential question in this case was whether or not the respondent, Bates, was a candidate for the office of sheriff of St. Louis county at the time at which he entered into the agreement with Miles.

Source: The Pacific Reporter, Volume 110

Sheriff Walter B. Butchart

Byron WW ButchartWalter B. Butchart, aged 21, was appointed to fill out the unexpired term of his father, William B. Butchart, also known as "Old W. W.", when the later died in his sleep Aug. 28, 1904.  The following day, Walter pinned on the gold star and became the youngest sheriff on record in St. Louis County and one of the youngest in the nation.

Walter B. Butchart was educated in the Duluth Schools.  At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War he enlisted with Company G, 14th Minnesota regiment. (Source: Minn. 920 W628 Who's Who In St. Louis County; Collier. 1932)

Byron Butchart is pictured with the badges worn by his family during their law enforcement history.


About the Family...

Wearing a sheriff’s star has run in the Butchart family since 1894 when William W. Butchart, usually referred to as “Old W.W.,” took office. 

The Butcharts have left their mark on the pages of St. Louis County and Minnesota history. 

Old W. W. did so when he let spring the trap of the scaffold in the last legal execution in Minnesota before the state abandoned capital punishment.

Assisted by his son Walter, Sheriff Butchart acted as hangman in the execution of Charles E. L. Henderson, in the old county courthouse, then located at Sixth Avenue East and Third Street.

Deputy Sheriff Byron W. Butchart, aka "Butch", joined the sheriff’s staff when his father, Walter, died.  He was appointed deputy by Sheriff Owens in 1934 and served ever since.

“The badges tell the story,” he says.  “When Granddad took office, the star had six points.  He wore an old nickel star until the deputies have him a gold one.  In 1895, they gave him the gold star I wear now.  That has five points.  Later, they started using the shield.”

He still carries the silver shield, No. 35, that his father wore.  It’s weighted down in back with lead counterfeit coins which a would-be passer tried to get rid of in the county before he ran afoul of the law.

From his grandfather and father, and later from Sheriff Owens, Butch learned the trade, and learned it well.  He is known all over Duluth and surrounding territory.  He is equally well liked by his fellow deputies and persons outside the office – from the bowery to the best sections of the city.


Last Legal Execution In Minnesota

Walter B. Butchart assisted his father, Sheriff William W. Butchart, referred to as "Old W. W.", with the last legal execution in Minnesota in 1903 before the state abandoned capital punishment.

Assisted by his son Walter, Sheriff William W. Butchart acted as hangman in the execution of Charles E. L. Henderson, in the old county courthouse, then located at Sixth avenue east and Third street.

Sheriff William W. Butchart, according to old files of the Duluth News-Tribune, was executioner because nobody else applied for the job although a logger from the northwoods inquired about it.

Henderson was convicted of the first-degree murder of Miss Ida McCormack on the night of June 21, 1902.  The knifing took place in a rooming house located at 319 West First Street, present site of a laundry.

The gallows was set up in court room No. 1 where Henderson heard the jury return a verdict of guilty and the judge imposed the death sentence.




Sheriff W. W. Butchart

Sheriff William W. Butchert1896  Sheriff W.W. Butchart in Office

Photo: NEMHC S2386 portrait collection
Northeast Minnesota Historical Center

Deputy Sheriffs Victor A. Dash and Amos Shepherd worked for Sheriff W. W. Butchart.



"Old W.W."

Sheriff William W. Butchart served two terms in office.  The first from 1895 to 1897 and the second from 1903 to 1904. 

Sheriff William W. Butchart, usually referred to as "Old W. W." died in his sleep on August 28, 1904.  His son, Walter B. Butchart, filled out the unexpired term of "Old W. W." and became the youngest sheriff on record in St. Louis County and one of the youngest in the nation.

1890 Jail  Floor plan of 1890 Jail

The jail, designed by Oliver Traphagen in 1889, was located at 614 East Third Street.

The old building's most infamous use was in 1903, as the site of the last legal hanging in the State of Minnesota.  Capital punishment was outlawed in the state in 1911.  Charles E. L. Henderson was hanged in Judge Cant's court room for killing his mistress Ida McCormick on the night of June 21, 1902.  The attending sheriff at the trial and hanging was Sheriff W.W. Butchart, who was also referred to as "Old W. W."

Old W. W. let spring the trap of the scaffold in the last legal execution in Minnesota before the state abandoned capital punishment.

Assisted by his son Walter, Sheriff Butchart acted as hangman in the execution of Charles E. L. Henderson, in the old county courthouse, then located at Sixth avenue east and Third street.

The sheriff, according to old files of the Duluth News-Tribune, was executioner because nobody else applied for the job although a logger from the northwoods inquired about it.

Henderson was convicted of the first-degree murder of Miss Ida McCormack on the night of June 21, 1902.  The knifing took place in a rooming house located at 319 West First Street, present site of a laundry.

The gallows was set up in court room No. 1 where Henderson heard the jury return a verdict of guilty and the judge imposed the death sentence.

Instead of harboring any ill feeling against the sheriff, Henderson, a well-education, Bible-quoting man, presented Butchart and his deputies with a rose each from the large bouquet placed outside his cell by his sister.

In a 30-minute speech from the top step of the gallows that sunny March 6, 1903, the condemned man thanked the sheriff for the fine treatment he had received while he was a prisoner and said: “Upon those who were instrumental in securing my conviction I ask nothing but the blessings of God.  I bear no malice.  They did what they considered to be their duty, and so let the law take its course.”

About the Badge

Six point badgeByron "Butch" Butchart, grandson of W. W. Butchart was interviewed for a news story regarding the Butchart family legacy in law enforcement.  Butch noted, “The badges tell the story”. “When Granddad took office, the star had six points.  He wore an old nickel star until the deputies gave him a gold one.  In 1895, they gave him the gold star I wear now.  That has five points.  Later, they started using the shield.”

Butch’s dad, Walter B., filled out the unexpired term of Old W. W. when the latter died in his sleep Aug. 28, 1904.

Butch joined the sheriff’s staff when his father, Walter, died.  He was appointed deputy by Sheriff Sam Owens in 1934.  Sheriff Owens gave Butch permission to wear the solid gold, diamond-studded five-pointed star his grandad, W. W. Butchart, wore for years.

Sheriff William C. Sargent

Sheriff William C. SargentPhoto not dated, NEMHC S2386 portrait collection
Northeast Minnesota Historical Center


William C. Sargent, one of the earliest residents of Duluth and a public office-holder for many years, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1859.  He came to Duluth at the age of 10, arriving at the Head of the Lakes on the steamer Meteor, Capt. Thor Nelson. (Source: Minn-920 W628; Who's Who in St. Louis County; Collier. 1932)

William C. Sargent turned to politics and gained recognition in his nomination for sheriff in 1896. He was elected by a handsome majority, and was re-elected in 1898 and 1900. (Source: History of the Great Northwest)

According to the R.L. Polk & Co. Directorty, 1898-1899, Sheriff Sargent's deputies were Deputy Sheriffs – V.A. Dash, W. J. Bates, H.N. Randall, F. L. Magie


A Spirit of Independence

William C. Sargent was the youngest of ten children born to his parents.  In 1896 he was elected sheriff of St. Louis County, serving for six years and discharging the duties of the office in an efficient and satisfactory manner.  (Source: Duluth and St. Louis County Minnesota, Their Story and People, Volume III, The American Historical Society, 1921)

William C. Sargent was born at Boston, Mass. On December 4, 1859. When four years of age his father located in New York City, and the boy attended the public schools of the metropolis for a time. When ten years of age he became a student in the Faribault Military Institute, subsequently taking a course of instruction at St. John’s Seminary.  He came to Minnesota when still in his teens, and though his father was at that time one of Duluth’s most successful business men, the lad was endowed with a spirit of independence. His first employment was as a teamster in the logging business. In 1880 he was appointed superintendent of the Duluth Blast Furnace Company.  He turned to politics and gained recognition in his nomination for sheriff in 1896. He was elected by a handsome majority, and was re-elected in 1898 and 1900. (Source: History of the Great Northwest)


Jail Management

In a paper on county jails, Wm C. Sargent, of St. Louis county, criticized the method of construction and management, and concluded with a strong argument in favor of district jails under state control.

Source: The Charities Review, 1898



Sheriff W. W. Butchart

Sheriff William W. Butchert1896  Sheriff W.W. Butchart in Office

Photo: NEMHC S2386 portrait collection
Northeast Minnesota Historical Center

Deputy Sheriffs Victor A. Dash and Amos Shepherd worked for Sheriff W. W. Butchart.

  

Sheriff Paul Sharvey 

Sheriff Paul SharveyPhoto: about 1895, from book City of Duluth and Environs, page 55 Northeast Minnesota Historical Center

Sheriff Paul Sharvey was nominated to run for sheriff by the Republican Party in 1888. He retired from his elevator position in January of 1889 and assumed the duties of sheriff the same month. He retired from the sheriff's office in January 1896 after serving 6 years.

Election Results for Sheriff: (R) Sharvey - 4,283 votes; (D) Truelson - 2,766 votes

Source: Duluth News Tribune, November 8, 1888




Sheriff Henry Truelsen

TRUELSEN, CASPER HENRY (1844-1931).

Casper Henry Truelson was born in Schleswig, Germany on October 20, 1844 and came to the United States in 1866.  Three years later he settled in Duluth; engaged in the grocery and general merchandise business until 1885; was sheriff of St. Louis county, 1887-8, and mayor of Duluth 1896.  (Source: Minnesota Historical Society)

Truelsen served in Duluth as alderman, sheriff, and public works commissioner. In 1896 he was elected mayor during the famous clean water concern of the middle 1890s. (Source:  NORTHEAST MINNESOTA HISTORICAL CENTER)

Henry Truelson lost the election to Paul Sharvey in 1888.  He was relieved of his office on January 7, 1889. 

“St. Louis County - The jail has been a public nuisance.  The jail had only eight cells, while the number of prisoners was sometimes over sixty.  The ventilation was poor and the prisoners’ discomfort amount to hardship and deplorable moral contamination and inevitable under such circumstances.  A large number of city prisoners were kept in the jail.  These prisoners were infested with vermin and it was impossible to keep them clean.  The result was that the county prisoners shared their miseries.

    The new jail has 32 cells for men, each 6 x 7 feet.  The general plan of the jail resembles that of the jails of Otter Tail, Goodhue and Olmsted counties, which have proved thoroughly satisfactory on trial.  The cells are set back to back, with a middle corridor, 6 feet wide.  The front of each cell is composed of open lattice work.

    The cell-fronts, floors and ceilings are of iron and steel.  The first and second floors are entirely separate.  On the second floor above the sheriff’s office are three excellent cells for women, with a bath room, and there is a bath room on each tier of men’s cells.  The sheriff’s residence is convenient and commodious, having on the first floor office, kitchen, dining room and parlor; and on the second floor four chambers and three cells for women.

    The sheriff and the board of commissioners, after consultation with the secretary of this board, concurred in the opinion that the jail should be kept on the separate plan and an excellent code of rules was prepared by the sheriff and adopted by the board of county commissioners.

    St. Louis county is to be congratulated upon the excellent workmanship and the admirable arrangement of this jail.  If the jail is administered in strict accordance with the rules which have been adopted, it will be one of the best jails in the United States.” 

     Source: excerpt from the Fourth Biennial Report – State Board of Corrections and Charities – dated October 31, 1890 

 

Sheriff Samuel McQuade

Sheriff Samuel C. McQuadeSamuel Caldwell McQuade, resided in Duluth from 1870 until his death, July 20, 1896. 

In 1877 Mr. McQuade was elected sheriff of St. Louis county, and was re-elected five times, serving ten years in all in that incumbency, where his services proved most satisfactory to all concerned. In 1891-92 he was chief of police in Duluth, and in that position also displayed executive ability and tact of high order.

Source: Commemorative Biographical Record of the Upper Lake Region containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens and Many of the Early Settled Families, J. H. Beers & Co., Chicago, 1905

Photo courtesy NEMHC S2386, Duluth, MN

 


 

Sheriff – Samuel C. McQuade
Deputy Sheriff – W. H. McQuade

Source: R. L. Polk & Co. Directory, 1886-1887

Sheriff Paul Sharvey 

Sheriff Paul SharveyPhoto: about 1895, from book City of Duluth and Environs, page 55 Northeast Minnesota Historical Center

Sheriff Paul Sharvey was nominated to run for sheriff by the Republican Party in 1888. He retired from his elevator position in January of 1889 and assumed the duties of sheriff the same month. He retired from the sheriff's office in January 1896 after serving 6 years.

Election Results for Sheriff: (R) Sharvey - 4,283 votes; (D) Truelson - 2,766 votes

Source: Duluth News Tribune, November 8, 1888
 

When the County was organized in 1856, the Governor appointed A.J. Ellis the sheriff.

St. Louis County was founded on February 20, 1855 as Doty County and had its name changed to Newton County on March 3, 1855. It originally consisted of the area east and south of the St. Louis River, while the area east of the Vermilion River and north of the St. Louis River was part of Superior County. Superior County was renamed St. Louis County.

Then on March 1, 1856, that St. Louis County became Lake County, and Newton County was renamed St. Louis County and had that eastern area added to it. It was also expanded westward by incorporating parts of Itasca County, which then also included most of Carlton County.

On May 23, 1857 St. Louis County took its current shape when Carlton County was formed from parts of St. Louis and Pine Counties.

1855

Early records of our Sheriffs are sketchy but it appears that after changing the name of Superior County to St. Louis County, the Governor of the territory on April 7, 1855 appointed Zach J. Brown as Sheriff and tax collector.

According to the History of Duluth and Northern Minnesota by Judge John R. Carey,  Mr. Brown took his oath of office as sheriff of Superior county before George W. Perry on Sept. 4, 1855, but it is not stated anywhere in the written oath where the oath was administered or what office Perry held.