Burke County Sheriff's Office

 

Home || Contact || History || Narcotics Task Force || Divisions || Most Wanted

 Crime Stoppers || D.A.R.E./Schools || Press Releases || Community Projects

 

 

 Burke County Sheriffs

Then and Now

 

The office of sheriff is a very old one. It's roots date back to 1066 in England. At this time, the sheriff was considered superior to any nobleman in the country and was himself a member of the royal family.

The word "sheriff" is a combination of "shire" meaning county and "reeve" meaning "keeper of." In other words, the sheriff is the "Keeper of the County."

Over the years, the duties of the sheriff have been many and varied. In the early days, the sheriff was responsible for the collection of taxes. The sheriff and his deputies were paid a commission on the taxes collected. Later, the courts named the sheriff as Executor of Deceased Estates. Both practices were removed.

The office of sheriff is constitutionally mandated in North Carolina. It is an elected law enforcement position. The sheriff has duties in all three branches of law enforcement, which are:

  • Policing
  • Courts/Criminal Justice
  • Corrections/Jail

In North Carolina, the sheriff is elected to a four-year term. A county sheriff is responsible to the citizens of the county, not to county authorities. County government is responsible for providing funding to the sheriff's office.

General Information

Burke County has had a total of fifty-nine sheriffs.

*Two sheriffs were named Greenlee

  1. James Greenlee (1780-1783)-3rd
  2. Samuel Greenlee (1783-1784)-4th

*Three sheriffs were named Tate

  1. Hugh Tate (1806-1808), (1811-1813) - 15th & 17th
  2. Samuel M. Tate (1824-1829) - 20th
  3. Samuel C. Tate (1829-1830) - 21st

*Two sheriffs were named Moore

  1. William Moore (1784-1786) - 5th
  2. E.Peyton Moore (1871-1874) - 35th

*Three sheriffs were named McDowell

  1. John McDowell (1805-1806) - 14th
  2. Athan A. McDowell (1813-1815) - 18th
  3. Charles Manly McDowell (1898-1906) - 40th

*Nine sheriffs have had the prefix " Mc" in their last name

Tenure of Burke County Sheriffs

  • 1-year sheriffs.........11
  • 2-year sheriffs.........15
  • 3-year sheriffs...........9
  • 4-year sheriffs...........6
  • 5-year sheriffs...........3
  • 6-year sheriffs...........3
  • 7-year sheriffs...........1
  • 8-year sheriffs...........4
  • 9-year sheriffs...........1
  • 10-year sheriffs.........2
  • 14-year sheriffs.........1
  • 16-year sheriffs.........1


Party Affiliation

  • Democratic Party sheriffs..........22
  • Republican Party sheriffs............8
  • Whig Party sheriffs.....................3
  • Conservative Party sheriffs.........1

Democratic sheriffs have served for 127 years since 1838

Republican sheriffs have served for 30 years since 1838

Whig sheriffs have served for seven years since 1838

Four sheriffs have died while in office:

  1. John Bowman (2nd)-Killed in battle of Ramsour's Mill
  2. John Boone (23rd)-Died of an apparent heart attack
  3. Fred Ross (47th)-Died of a heart attack
  4. David Oaks (52nd)-Shot and killed in the line of duty in 1966

 

For statistical information on each Burke County Sheriff, click here

 

Return to Top of Page