Office Of The Union County Sheriff Part III

Sheriff Clifford Fowler
In the fall of 1920 Clifford Fowler was elected Sheriff. Noted for his ability as an investigator, many of Sheriff Fowler’s cases are still talked about today. One of the best remembered was that of an armored car robbery which actually occurred in Mecklenburg County. The job was planned and pulled by three prominent Union County men. Sheriff Fowler uncovered facts leading to arrests and convictions. Serving under Fowler at different times were Will Armfield, John Williams, Lee Walkup, Parks Helms, Ax Stallings and Frank Niven. Sheriff Fowler served continuously until the fall of 1932, when B. Frank Niven was elected.

Sheriff Frank Niven
Sheriff Niven, a Waxhaw merchant, served one term at this time and was succeeded by J. W. Spoon. Sheriff Spoon resigned as Chief of Police of Monroe to run for Office of Sheriff. In theses days the Sheriff was also the Tax Collector. Spoon had secured his bond for Sheriff but not the one for Tax Collector. He could not take office until he was properly bonded. Coroner Roy B. Funderburk moved into the jail and spent two nights. He decided the going got too tough and called Spoon’s deputy Flann Helms for assistance. The Coroner said, “It was just before Christmas and there was a lot of liquor floating around.” Sheriff Spoon assumed the office of December 20, 1934, and served until December 1936, when former Sheriff B. Frank Niven was elected to another term. Funderburk served 20 days as Sheriff Ex-Officio.

During the 1930’s an outlaw named Rob Kennedy terrorized the county. Kennedy broke into smokehouses, barns and the like. Many times the culprit was sighted but managed to elude his would-be captors. Sheriff Niven was credited with finally ending Kennedy’s siege. Niven was able to locate the outlaw’s current hideout and staked it out. The ordeal ended with Kennedy shot in the foot.

During Sheriff Niven’s administration the duties of Tax Collector were removed from the Office and a separate position was established. Niven continued in office until 1950, when he was appointed Tax Collector by the County Commissioners. Serving as deputies under Sheriff Niven were Jesse A. Helms, later to become Monroe Police Chief and Fire Chief, and Lee Walkup.

Sheriff Ben Wolfe
In 1950, Ben H. Wolfe was elected Sheriff of Union County. Sheriff Wolfe served a colorful term, but a dangerous one. Twice during Wolfe’s administration he was seriously injured; being run down by a truck on one occasion and shot in the arm on another. Sheriff Wolfe was a Monroe merchant prior to his election. When he was Sheriff, Wolfe was authorized to have three deputies. He personally owned the vehicles used by the department and was paid expenses by the County. Serving as Deputies under Sheriff Wolfe at different times were Hal Stewart, Cliff Dutton, Shelly Griffin and Edwin Sims.Wolfe did not seek re-election in 1958 and D. Shelly Griffin was voted into the office.

Sheriff Shelly Griffin
Sheriff Griffin was authorized three Deputies when he took office. Each man furnished his own vehicle and was paid a flat expense fee by the county. In 1962, the County for the first time put all Deputies in uniforms. In 1968, the first marked Sheriff’s cars were purchased by the county. Sheriff Griffin served continuously until 1970, when he retired from public service. Prior to being a Deputy, Griffin was a Monroe Policeman. Serving as Deputies under Sheriff Griffin at different times were Frank L. Fowler, Kenneth Helms, Edwin Sims, James Clontz, Cliff Dutton, Curtis Rollins, Eugene Myers, Tommy Rollins, Rufus Coffey, Kenneth McCain, Frank McGuirt, Frank Hyatt and Doyle Martin.

Pauline Lucore

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1 comment to Office Of The Union County Sheriff Part III

  • Luanne Sherron

    You are doing a wonderful job on the blog. I know you are putting a lot of time into it and it is very informative.

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