Until Ohio achieved statehood in 1803, the position of Sheriff was filled through appointments made at the pleasure of the Territorial Governor. The first Sheriff on the record in Ohio was Colonel Ebenezer Sproat. At the time he was appointed in 1788, Colonel Sproat’s jurisdiction covered all of Washington County. This enormous area of land included all of eastern Ohio from the Ohio River to Lake Erie.

After statehood became a reality, only three public offices in Ohio were filled through the electoral process system. The position of Sheriff was one of them. Through this new system, William Skinner became the first elected Sheriff in the Buckeye State. Since the early 1800’s, Ohio Sheriffs have been elected on the county level by the people they serve. By virtue of this process, this office has become the oldest law enforcement position in the United States. It is also the only remaining law enforcement office which is filled through the election method. The term of office for County Sheriffs in Ohio is four years.

In each of the 88 counties of Ohio, the Sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer. His primary duties are to provide common pleas court services and corrections on a countywide basis, and full police protection to the unincorporated areas of the county. However, he also maintains full police jurisdiction in all municipalities, townships, and villages. In an effort to become consistent on a statewide level, Ohio Sheriffs and Deputies wear a standardized uniform, and all patrol vehicles are marked in the same manner.

Within Ohio, Sheriff’s Offices have probably one of the most extensive sets of responsibilities to those they serve. By statute they must provide the following:

Line Law Enforcement; Court Security and Service of Papers; Jail Operations; Extradition Process; Transportation of Prisoners.

Past Muskingum County Sheriffs


Matthew J. Lutz

2008 – Present

Robert J. Stephenson 1996 – 2008
Bernard W. Gibson 1976 – 1996
Jack Pennybaker 1972 – 1976
F.B. Uffner 1960 – 1972
David Weissert 1952 – 1960
H.J. Bealmear 1948 – 1952
Edward Redman 1935 – 1948
William Curtis 1931 – 1935
W.A. McFarland 1927 – 1931
O.E. Bradford 1923 – 1927
W.H. Garrett 1919 – 1923
John M. Evans 1915 – 1919
J.J. Frick 1911 – 1915
G.C. Smitley 1907 – 1911
Howard E. Elliott 1903 – 1907
James B. Alexander 1899 – 1903
Albert B. Worstal 1895 – 1899
Charles N. Bainter 1893 – 1895
William H. Bolin 1890 – 1893
Russell Bethel 1887 – 1890
Richard J. Haines 1883 – 1887
William Hunter 1880 – 1883
Orrin Ballou 1877 – 1880
William Ruth 1873 – 1877
Benson Loyd 1869 – 1873
Benjamin F. Leslie 1865 – 1869
John Quigley 1864 – 1865*
James C. Wolf 1860 – 1864**
Penrod Batemon 1858 – 1860
James C. Wolf 1856 – 1858
Joseph Richey 1854 – 1856
Benjamin F. Leslie
1850 – 1854
James Caldwell 1850-1850*
Carson Porter 1847 – 1850**
John Dillon 1843 – 1847
Edward Ball 1839 – 1843
Zachariah Adams 1837 – 1839
Asa R. Cassidy 1833 – 1837
Daniel Brush 1829 – 1833
John Stanton 1827 – 1829
John Burwell 1823 – 1827
James Hampson 1819 – 1823
Charles Roberts 1816 – 1819
John Reynolds 1812 – 1816
Jacob Crooks 1808 – 1812
George Beymer 1804 – 1808
* – coroner and acting Sheriff
** – died in office
Special thanks to Deputy Donn Steer and Mr. Richard E. Bauer for their input and historical data provided for this list.

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