SHERIFF'S OF PETTIS COUNTY
HISTORY OF SELECTED SHERIFF'S
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* The Office of Collector was connected with the Sheriff until 1877
10. Finis E. “Ewing” Cravens 1855-1858
In 1855, Cravens was appointed deputy sheriff under William H. Killbrew, who died about six months after going into office. Ewing, as he was known by, was appointed by then Governor Sterling Price to fill the vacancy as sheriff. One of Ewing’s best friends and a neighbor refused to go on his bond, saying that he was too young and inexperienced in public business to straighten Killbrew’s tangled operation; but he did, and was so successful as to ensure his re-election to the same office in 1856 by almost unanimous vote. Before his term expired, he was elected Representative to the Missouri General Assembly. In all the positions he serviced with ability, honor and credit both to himself and his constituents. He was a lifelong Democrat, and in his whole life maintained consistence in his acts and principles, ever ready to defend either with zeal – characteristic of a sound man. He returned to his farm until 1872, when he came again before the people on the Democratic ticket for Sheriff of Pettis County. He was defeated in the convention but subsequently appointed deputy by Sheriff H. J. McCormack, which he remained until his death.
11. Wesley E. McClure 1858-1862
In 1858, McClure was elected Sheriff of Pettis County, and discharged the duties of that office with much credit to himself for four years. During his terms in office, Mr. McCormack performed many hazardous duties with nerve and preciseness, which won him the admiration of all peace-loving citizens. Soon after the expiration of his second term of office, he moved to Dresden.
17. L.S. Murray 1874-1880
July 6, 1876 Jesse and Frank James along with the Younger's arrived at the Lamine River Railroad bridge two miles east of Otterville, MO, known as Rocky Cut. There they successfully carried out the robbery of the Union Pacific Express #104, enroute from Kansas City to St. Louis.
$15000.00 dollars later the outlaws rode south to Florence where they divvied up the goods and rode on through Pettis and Benton Counties .
In response to the train robbery, Pettis County Sheriff L.S. Murray formed two posses
one lead by Bacon Montgomery and the other by the Sheriff himself. After several days searching for the trail that would lead them to the James/Younger gang, the posse disbanded.
21. Moses S. Conner 1880-1883
In 1837, Conner moved to Missouri and located in Cooper County, where he resumed his trade until 1873, when he moved to Sedalia. He was employed in the M,K,&T round house for a time. In the spring of 1876, he was elected Constable of Sedalia Township, which he held until the fall of 1880, when he was elected Sheriff of Pettis County, which he held until 1883. Connor filled the Office of Sheriff with credit to himself and satisfaction to the people in general.
25. Isaac Newton Sprencher 1905-1907
Mr. Sprencher served for two terms as the sheriff of Pettis County. When he took office January 5, 1905, the term of office for sheriff was only two years. He was a staunch Democrat and before his health failed was active in all campaigns.
28. W. W. Bolton 1917-1920
The office of sheriff of a county of the size and importance attained by Pettis County is weighted with responsibility, and requires a man of decided executive ability and acumen to fittingly discharge the devolving upon him. Sheriff William W. Bolton, since taking charge of the office of sheriff, has given and is giving ample evidence of decided ability and tireless energy on behalf of the citizens of Pettis County. His work as chairman of Pettis County Exemption Board has been marked with singular diplomatic honesty in the discharge of the duties involved upon him, because of the drafting of Pettis County citizens during the World War in which American valor has played such a significant and decisive part. The Pettis County Board has the distinction of being one of the foremost boards in the State of Missouri, and regarding accuracy and responsibility in the number of men handled and examined, places eighth in the state. He was elected Constable of Sedalia Township in 1912, and again elected in 1914. In November 1916 he was elected to the office of Sheriff of Pettis County for a term of four years. He lead the Democratic ticket in number of votes received all three times he ran for office. Mr. Bolton’s term as sheriff expired in 1921.
34. C. R. “Ross” Bothwell 1941-1944
Ross Bothwell was a well-known fire insurance man in Sedalia. For thirteen years, he was a state agent for the Connecticut Fire Insurance Company, then retired from that position to open his own agency in Sedalia. When he decided to run for sheriff, all of his friends said that when elected, he would bring to the office qualifications of a high type for good, sound business administration. He became sheriff in 1941, and was physically and mentally able to cope with any emergencies that occurred. C. R. Bothwell was honest, fearless, a good mixer, and had an engaging personality.
Special Badge to New Sheriff
Sedalia Democrat, January 1st, 1941
The badge which Sheriff C. R. Bothwell will wear during his term of office, which begins today, is a handsome gold one, with a diamond in the center, which was worn by Pettis County’s last Republican sheriff, W. H. Fewell.
Tradition decreed for years and years that Democratic sheriffs hand down the badge from sheriff to sheriff. With the election of W. H. Fewell, who took office just twenty years ago in 1921, a number of Republicans decided he should not wear a Democratic badge, and they presented him with a new one. It has an attractive gold emblem, a diamond in the center, and his name engraved above.
Mr. Bothwell is the first Republican to hold that office since Mr. Fewell’s term, and the badge which Fewell treasured very highly has been handed down to his Republican successor, for his use while in office. The name C. R. Bothwell has been engraved on a plate which replaces the name of Fewell.
Old Pettis Co Badge