Decatur County IA Sheriffs ~ 1850-2014

Sheriffs list from Decatur County Historical Society file.
1850 - 1852 Andrew Jackson STILL~Board of Commissioners of Decatur County
b. 12 Jun 1837 MOallowed $30 to Andrew Still as organizing sheriff.
d. 24 Mar 1909
inter. New Salem Cemetery
1852 - 1855John J. STANLEY~
1855 - 1857Joseph R. PARSONS~
1858 - 1859Harrison WELDON~
1860 - 1863George WOODBURY, Sr. DemocratRe-elected in 1865
b. 23 Jul 1832 NY
d. 14 Mar 1904, Leon
inter. Garden Grove Cemetery
1864 - 1965Ira Burwell RYAN Republican
b. 06 1809 NJ
d. 19 Jun 1899, Leon
inter. Leon Cemetery
1866 - 1869George WOODBURY, Sr. DemocratDuring his 2nd term: James ALFREY was shot/killed by
was shot/killed by John CRAWFORD. CRAWFORD was
tried and acquitted.
1870 - 1873Ezekiel J. SANKEY DemocratHistory of Decatur Co. Books says he was elected sheriff
b. 02 Aug 1843 PAin 1867; served two years and was re-elected for another
d. 1935, Leonterm. As the result of an injury receiving while serving in
inter. Leon Cemeterythe Civil War, his left leg was amputated.
In 1878 he was elected Decatur County Treasurer.
In 1885 he was elected Clerk of the District Court, served
until 1889. In 1903 was elected State Representative:
served in the 30th and 31st General Assemblies.
He was re-elected in 1908.
1874 - 1875William H. FORTUNE~Civil War Veteran
d. 04 Mar 1900
Davis City
inter. Old Davis City Cemetery
1876Albert DILSAVER~Civil War Veteran
b. 21 Jan 1839
d. 04 Apr 1876, AE 37
inter. Leon Cemetery
1876J. A. SNYDER~
1877John BACUS~Deputy was Mr. Lindsey.
During his term attempted courthouse robbery -
John SALL confessed to axe murder of Joe BURON -
a crime that took place in Woodland Township.
1878 - 1879W. A. KILPATRICK~
1880 - 1883Albert Jesse ALLEN~Civil War Veteran, POW
b. 1845 MO1881 Mercer Brothers' crime in Davis City;
d. 1912Frank THOMPSON shot/killed Arnold TUCKER
inter. Leon Cemetery
1884 - 1885William A. BROWN DemocratCivil War Veteran
b. 04 Apr 1884 OH
d. 04 Sep 1888, Leon
inter. Leon Cemetery
1886 - 1889James W. HONNOLD~Wounded in the Civil War
b. 08 Nov 1821 OHOnly lynching in Decatur County -
d. 1921A tramp was accused of criminal assault.
inter. Leon Cemetery
1890 - 1892George W. LaFOLLETTE~Civil War Veteran
b. 14 Jan 1842 MO
d. 23 Aug 1924
inter. Leon Cemetery
1893 - 1897Charles C. BECK~See News Article Below
1898 - 1901George F. WOLEVER~
1902 - 1903Robert Dudley MARTIN RepublicanDuring his Term:
b. 01 Jan 1847 INW. H. CLARK shot/killed Dr. DUFF on June 1902 in
d. 03 Feb 1934 ALGarden Grove; Jim WHARTON was shot/killed by
inter. Leon CemeteryPhil DIETRICK; F. BRACEWELL was shot/killed by
1904 - 1908Thomas Enos WALLACE~
b. 11 Apr 1862 IL
d. 08 Mar 1933, Leon
inter. Leon Cemetery
1909 - 1912Jesse Zekiel ANDREW~Died with only 2 months to complete his term;
b. 20 Oct 1876his deputy finished the term.
d. 04 Nov 1912
inter. Elk Chapel Cemetery
1912Harry R. LAYTON RepublicanA doctor
1913 - 1916Forest Lake "Duffy" LOREY RepublicanElected sheriff Nov. 1912
b. 1879Re-elected 1914
d. 1950Served 2 terms
inter. Leon Cemetery
1917 - 1920 John A. FULTON DemocratBank in Pleasanton robbed;
b. 1889Bank in Grand River robbed;
d. 10 Jul 1978Farmers Bank in Leon robbed
inter. Leon Cemetery
1921 - 1924Ray SCOTT RepublicanServed 2 terms
b. 1884
d. 1958
inter. Garden Grove Cemetery
1925 - 1926Forest Lake "Duffy" LOREY RepublicanElected November 1924
Deputy - Clint MCCONNELL
1927 - 1930Elda Franklin "Frank" KENDALL RepublicanElected November 1926
b. 24 Jul 1887Re-elected November 1928, Served 2 terms;
d. 08 Aug 1966Prohibition Days & Bootleggers flourished;
inter. High Point CemeteryDeputy Clint MCCONNELL shot in 1927,
SW of Van Wert; died as a result of the shooting.
Sam PETTY & Pete POLLARD from Woodland were
accused of the shooting. PETTY left the county -
couldn't find him. Pete POLLARD was sent to prison;
escaped and was not found.
1931 - 1936J. Leon LEEPER Republican
1937 - 1940Roscoe Gene SINCO RepublicanElected November 1936
b. 15 Jul 1905
d. 1976
inter. Lillie Cemetery
1941 - 1946 Herman HAMILTON DemocratElected November 1940
1947 - 1954Oscar M. MIDGORDEN RepublicanElected November 1946
1955 - 1967Kenneth MEEK~MEEK resigned;
Deputy Gale McCLURE completed his term
See News Article Below
1968 - 1978Elvin "Gale" McCLURE RepublicanServed 13 years as Decatur County Sheriff;
d. 11 Nov 1968, AE 51yResigned January, 1968 & accepted position as
car accident, Creston IAprobation officer for the Third Judicial District
1968 - 1978Deral "Slim" HOUCK RepublicanWorld War II Veteran
b. 1926Elected sheriff November 1967. He had 8 deputies.
d. 07 Sep 2005Resigned March 1, 1978 to become State Jail
inter. Grand River CemeteryInspector. Leonard Carmi POUSH appointed by
the Board of Supervisors as acting sheriff until Kent
STOCKMAN was elected in November, 1978.
See News Article Below
1978Leonard Carmi POUSH~Interm Sheriff
1978 - 1979Kent STOCKHAM RepublicanKent was elected sheriff November, 1978.
He completed the 1978 sheriff's term. He took
office January 15, 1979. He resigned from office
September 15, 1979. Deputy Steve LAYTON
completed Kent's unexpired term.
See News Article Below
1981 - 1986Steve LAYTON RepublicanElected to office November, 1980;
Re-elected 1984; resigned July 1, 1986
See News Article Below
1986Rex KELLEY RepublicanDeputy Rex KELLY was appointed by the Board
of Supervisors June 10, 1986 to fill LAYTON's
unexpired term from July 1986-November 1986.
See News Article Below
1986 - 1996Fred BUCKINGHAM DemocratFred was elected sheriff November 1986
started serving as sheriff November 1986.
See News Article Below
1997 - 1998Steve WARD RepublicanElected November, 1996; resigned January 1, 1998.
WARD was removed from office after failing to meet
the educational requirements for sheriff set forth
in the Iowa code. Dale KILLPACK of Lamoni was
appointed by the Board of Supervisors, as interim sheriff
to serve until special election held March 17, 1998. J. R.
Deputy Sheriff SCHAEFER resigned February 21, 1998.
March 17, 1998 special election results:
Dale KILLPACK received 650 votes; Bert MUIR received 770 votes.
1998Dale KILLPACK~ Interm sheriff
1998 - 2014Bert MUIR Republican

Leon Journal-Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
January 02, 1895

Sheriff BECK had an exciting experience on Christmas day, which he will remember for many years to come, as a gang of Missouri toughs tried to kidnap him and very nearly succeeded. The trouble all grew out of the famous state line cases, which have already cost the litigants a small fortune, and the present prospect are good for more trouble. Last January Howard MOORE, who lives just across the line in Missouri, was indicted by the Decatur County Grand Jury charged with kidnapping, but the officers were unable to arrest him, as he did not come across the line into Iowa.

Last Saturday Sheriff BECK went down and watched for him until Monday, when he was MOORE start from his house and go down a lane which is on the Iowa side. Sheriff BECK rushed up on him and grappled with him, and after a rough and a tumble time of it, succeeded in making the arrest and brought his man to Leon, where he was placed under bonds of $1,500. On Tuesday he hired a livery rig and with Asberry PRICE as driver, he and Sheriff BECK, went down to Lineville to have his bond signed. This was duly accomplished and MOORE was released.

Sheriff BECK placed the bond in his pocket and just then a young fellow named SUMMERS, asked him to step across the line to his drug store to see his father, who was an old friend of Sheriff BECK, who he said was sick. No sooner was Sheriff BECK inside the building, than a gang of about twenty of the MOORE crowd jumped on him and tried to take the bond from him, and would probably have succeeded had not Asberry PRICE stepped in and shoved a pistol in the leader’s face. This gave the Sheriff time to draw his weapon and he and PRICE backed off across the line into Iowa where the crowd dared not follow. It was a narrow escape for Charley and he will be a little cautious in the future how he goes over the line.


Leon Journal-Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa

50 YEARS AGO ~ Dec. 2, 1954

Kenneth MEEK is the new Decatur County Sheriff elect and has appointed Gale McCLURE of Grand River as his deputy. Willa BRYANT is the new county recorder and has chosen Martin CESLER as her deputy. Owen McCLAIN is the new county auditor and will have as his assistant Eloise REYNOLDS. All officers will be sworn in Jan. 3.

~ ~ ~ ~

Christmas Day was marred here by the knifing of Deputy Sheriff Kenneth A. MEEK and Raymond VANDERPOOL, night marshall of Leon, late Saturday night following trouble at the Anderson Café and Tavern on Main Street, caused by Leon FRAZIER, 29, a roofer in Leon. Both MEEK and VANDERPOOL recovered, only stitches were required to heal the wounds. FRAZIER was later apprehended by Missouri State Troopers.

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Leon Journal-Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa, 1955

KENNETH MEEK resigned as Decatur County Sheriff. The Board appointed Deputy GALE MCCLURE as the new Sheriff.


Leon Journal-Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa, 1955

Gale McCLURE, Decatur County Sheriff, appointed Emmett C. CRAIG, of Leon as deputy sheriff.


Leon Journal-Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa, 1976

Sheriff Slim HOUCK stated this week the new Decatur County Law Enforcement program will go into effect at midnight Saturday, June 30. The radio operators who will be working in shifts are Jim DURELL, W. R. LINDSEY, and Bob CRAIG. Deputy Sheriffs appointed are L. C. POUSH, Raymond VANDERPOOL, Bob HENDERSON, Terry HAINLINE, Jeff EVERSON, and Kenneth HILL. Tony CRANDELL is first deputy.

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25 YEARS AGO ~ Feb. 9, 1978

Sheriff Deral ‘Slim’ HOUCK tendered his resignation as Decatur County Sheriff to the Decatur County Board of Supervisors. His termination will be effective the latter part of the month. HOUCK has accepted the job as Iowa State Jail Inspector for the western one-third of the State from the Minnesota border to the Missouri border and from Ringgold County to the western boarder. HOUCK came to the sheriff’s department in 1960 and took over sheriff when Gale McCLURE resigned.

~ ~ ~ ~

Leon Journal-Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
February 12, 1976

Lt. Bob DELAHUNT of the Los Angeles, Calif., sheriff’s department (seated) is gathering data for a reporter for the National Sheriff’s Association from Sheriff Slim HOUCK (standing) and Deputy CRANDELL at the sheriff’s office Monday.

Lt. DELANHUNT is visiting the sheriff departments in many states after having been granted a leave of absence for one year, to visit, gather information and complete his report for the association.

~ ~ ~ ~


Sheriff “Slim’ HOUCK left the office of Sheriff of Decatur County this past weekend and reported for training for the job he has taken as State Jail Inspector. Deputy L. C. POUSH is acting sheriff until a person can be named sheriff to fill out the term of HOUCK.


Leon Journal-Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
March, 1978

The Decatur County Board of Supervisors acting under their official capacity selected Kent STOCKHAM to fill our term of office as sheriff of Decatur County due to the resignation of Sheriff “Slim’ HOUCK.

~ ~ ~ ~

Following the examination by an inspector from the State Department of Social Services, the Decatur County Jail at Leon was officially closed Wednesday, March 15. This jail was one of 23 others in the state which were classified as ‘poor’ by the inspectors. Currently, if anyone is arrested and needs jail, they will have to be jails at either Creston, Osceola, or possibly Centerville. The first wooden jail was constructed in Leon in the early 1800’s and it was abandoned in 1884 and soon after a brick structure, which is now the present jail was constructed and put into use. The cost of the jail, when constructed, was $12,000.

~ ~ ~ ~

Leon Journal-Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa, 1979

Sheriff Kent STOCKHAM stated that since the Decatur county Jail was constructed in the courthouse, it has practically paid for itself. Approximately 350 days of jail time have been spent in it. The cost to send prisoners to other jails would have been $13 a day to Clarke County and $15 a day to Union County.

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Leon Journal-Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
September, 1979

Due to too many hours and the lack of manpower, Kent STOCKHAM, Decatur County Sheriff, has turned in his resignation of the Decatur County Board of Supervisors. Deputy Steve LAYTON was appointed interim sheriff.


Leon Journal-Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa, 1979

Steve LAYTON, who has been serving as interim sheriff since the resignation of Sheriff Kent STOCKHAM, has been unanimously appointed by the Decatur County Board of Supervisors as Decatur County Sheriff to complete the term of STOCKHAM which is in the Fall of 1980.


Leon Journal-Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa, 1979

Deputy Rex KELLY of Davis City has been appointed chief deputy of the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department.

The Leon Journal-Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
Wednesday, June 25, 1986

Rex Kelley Named Acting Sheriff

Announcement was made this week by the Decatur County Board of Supervisors that Rex Kelley has been named acting sheriff for the county. The action was taken following the resignation of Sheriff Steve Layton, who indicated that he will be pursing other interests.

Kelley, a thirteen year veteran of the force, has held the post of Chief Deputy for over eight years. A long-time resident of Davis City, Kelley resides there with his wife Margaret Louise. The couple have four children.

Other changes were also made due to the resignation. Kelley announced that Dale Killpack, another veteran of the force, has been names as First Deputy, while Mike Martin will assume the role of Investigator. Martin will replace Ken Peck who has requested to be returned to night patrol.

The Leon Journal-Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
Wednesday, July 09, 1986

Board Appoints Acting Sheriff

The Decatur County Board of Supervisors today announced the appointment of Chief Deputy Rex Kelley as Acting Sheriff effective July 1, 1986. The duration of this appointment will be until such time as a sheriff may by elected.

This appointment is in keeping with Chapter 331.651 of the 1985 Code of Iowa, which reads as follows:

"331.651 'Office of county Sheriff.'

"1. The office of sheriff is an elective office except that if a vacancy occurs in the office, the first deputy shall assume the office after qualifying as provided in this section and shall hold the office until a successor is appointed to the unexpired term as provided in chapter 69. If a sheriff is suspended from office, the district court may appoint a sheriff until a temporary appointment is made by the board as provided in section 66.19.

"2. A person elected or appointed to the office of sheriff shall qualify by taking the oath of office as provided in section 63.10 and give bond as provided in section 64.8.

"3. The term of office of sheriff is four years."

NOTE: Rex Kelley was acting sheriff until Fred Buckingham was sworn into office in 1986.

Submission by Decatur County Historical Museum, Sara Rose Joan LeFleur, June of 2016


Leon Journal-Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
June 03, 1992


A light voter turnout in the Primary Election saw one big race in Decatur County for the office of sheriff. Incumbent Fred BUCKINGHAM was seeking re-election on the Democratic ticket but was defeated by Mike MCCONNELL. MCCONNELL tallied 507 voters to BUCKINGHAM’s 357 votes. On the Republican side, Jerry JONES defeated Jon BARENY 270 to 206.

Submission by Sara Rose Joan LeFleur for Decatur County Historical Society
March 02, 2014

Additional notes by Sharon R. Becker, October of 2014
Criminal and Court Cases and Legal History *** Decatur County IAGenWeb