A History of
who held the office, and when...
Benjamin Whiting, Esq. of Hollis (1772 to 1775)
Original Deputy Sheriffs: John Holland, Robert Reed, Samuel
Cunningham, Samuel Atkinson, Daniel Farnsworth and James
Wilson. Sheriff Whiting was a loyal subject of the King of
England as were most government officials at the time. As the
political climate changed he was brought up on charges of,
" acting against the best interest of his country"
by a committee of revolutionary colonists. He was convicted
without being present and his property and land were
confiscated. He took his family and fled to England never to
return to America.
Kelley, Esq. of Goffstown (1775 to 1808)
At thirty-three years, Sheriff Kelley of Goffstown has the
distinction of being the longest serving sheriff in county
history. He owned a tavern and was a prominent local supporter
of the "Sons of Liberty". He was a selectman and
town moderator in Goffstown and was also a delegate to the
county congress during the Revolutionary War. During the war
he attained the rank of Colonel. Kelley Falls in Goffstown and
Kelley St. in Manchester were both dedicated in his honor. His
home is still standing and is the oldest house in the
Pinardville section of Goffstown.
Benjamin Pierce of Hillsboro (1809 to 1813)
Sheriff Pierce served in the Revolutionary War from 1775
until 1784. He fought at Bunker Hill (1775), Saratoga (1777)
and survived Valley Forge (1777-1778). Originally, from
Chelmsford, Mass. he moved to Hillsboro after the war where he
organized and commanded the Hillsborough County Militia from
1786-1807 rising to the rank of Brigadier General. He served
in the N.H. Legislature from 1789-1802, a delegate to the
state constitutional convention in 1791,was a member of the
governor's council 1803-1809 and 1814-1818. He was governor of
New Hampshire in 1827 and 1829. In 1832 he was a Democratic
presidential elector. He was the father of Franklin Pierce the
14th President of the United States.
4. Israel W. Kelly (1814 to 1818)
Benjamin Pierce of Hillsboro (1818 to 1827)
He is one of only two men to hold the Office of Sheriff on
two separate occasions. Sheriff Pierce also had the
responsibility of carrying out a death sentence, by hanging,
on a man named Daniel Farmer for the murder of a widow named
Anna Ayer of Goffstown around 1821.
6. Jacob Whittemore (1828 to 1836)
7. Frederick G. Stark (1836 to 1842)
8. Mace Moulton (1842 to 1844)
9. Elijah Monroe (1844 to 1856)
10. Charles P. Danforth (1856 to 1862)
11. Daniel L. Stevens (1862 to 1866)
Charles Scott of Peterborough (1866 to 1874)
He served a combined eighteen years as sheriff. Sheriff
Scott was also Peterborough town moderator for over twenty
years and was a retired Lt. Colonel from the Civil War. He was
also a state senator for two years and was a judge in a local
police court for five years.
13. Thomas P. Pierce (1874 to 1876)
Charles Scott (1876 to 1886)
Sheriff Scott is only the second sheriff to serve two
separate terms. In 1877 the state legislature added county
sheriff and county solicitor (attorney) to the list of county
officials that were to be elected by the public, making
Sheriff Scott the first elected sheriff in county history.
F. Healey (1886 to 1898)
He was also a Colonel from the Civil War. A new High
Sheriff badge was given to him on January 1, 1890. This badge
was made by Shreve, Crump and Lowe Jewelers in Boston and has
recently come into the possession of the office historian and
will be going on display at the sheriff's office in the near
Doane (1898 to 1906)
Sheriff Doane appointed the first female deputy sheriff in
the state in 1906 and her name was M. Jenny Kendall of Nashua.
A copy of her deputization papers is on file with the sheriff.
Fredrick K. Ramsey of Manchester (1906 to 1914)
In 1911 the state legislature expanded the authority of the
10 county sheriffs to give then state wide power not just in
their respective counties as it states in the N.H.
constitution. This change came about because of the invention
of the automobile and the need to keep up with local
L. Stearns of Manchester (1914 to 1918)
Sheriff Stearns was a deputy collector for the U.S.
Internal Revenue Service for thirteen years before being
elected county sheriff.
T. O'Dowd of Manchester (1918 to 1929)
He was a Manchester police officer for twenty-nine years,
retiring in 1917 as a sergeant. He previously worked for the
Manchester Fire Department for about seven years. He ran and
lost a bitter campaign for sheriff in 1916 against Sheriff
Stearns but finally beat him in 1918. Sheriff O'Dowd was a
delegate to the Democratic conventions of 1924 and 1928. He
was the sheriff until 1928 when he supported his son Richard
to succeed him as sheriff. He then became the county
jailer/deputy from 1930 until 1938. He was also a delegate to
the constitutional convention of 1930.
Richard "Mac" O'Dowd of Manchester (1929 to 1944)
He was the son of John T. O'Dowd. Richard was a deputy
sheriff from 1919 until 1929. In 1931 Sheriff O'Dowd enforced
a court order out of Rockingham County to close down the
Rockingham Race Track for illegal gambling. Sheriff Spinney
(Rockingham County) was grateful the court had asked Sheriff
O'Dowd to enforce this order since the track was quite popular
with the people of Rockingham County. Sheriff O'Dowd resigned
office to take a job with the N.H. Racing Commission. Later he
was hired at the track and soon was its' general manager. Gov.
Meldrim Thompson gave the eulogy at Sheriff O'Dowd's funeral
in the early 1970's.
L. Spillane of Nashua (1944)
He was a deputy sheriff under Sheriff O'Dowd who was
appointed "Commissioner to Perform Duties of the
Sheriff" in early 1944 until the election of a new
sheriff in late 1944. He stayed on as a deputy under Sheriff
O'Brien for a couple of years before retiring.
F. O'Brien of Manchester (1945 to 1969)
Sheriff O'Brien held office for twenty-four years, which
makes him the second longest serving sheriff in county
history. He was a deputy sheriff from 1930-1938 and served as
county jailer from 1938 to 1944. While he was sheriff he lived
in the wardens' quarters at the county jail in Manchester.
During one election cycle he received the most write-in votes
of any candidate in the state, which was a state record at
that time. He didn't run for reelection in November of 1968.
Lawrence Shea of Manchester (1969 to 1981)
He was a lieutenant with the Manchester Police Department
when he retired and ran for sheriff. Sheriff Shea also lived
in the wardens' quarters at the county jail. During his term
the legislature passed a law to create a separate county
department of corrections for all ten counties. The Sheriffs
officially gave up control of their county jails at that time.
F. O'Flynn of Peterborough (1981 to 1984)
Sheriff O'Flynn helped put the Sheriff's Office on a
professional track when he got the county to get rid of the
"fee system"** for deputy sheriff's serving civil
process. He appointed full-time New Hampshire Police Academy
certified deputy sheriffs to fill positions in the office. He
also appointed the first female court officer in the county's
history to work at the Hillsborough County Superior Court in
Manchester. Sheriff O'Flynn established the Hillsborough
County Special Officers Certification School in 1982 in
cooperation with the N.H. Police Standards & Training
Council, the Hillsborough County Attorney and the Goffstown
Police Department. During his watch in 1983 a deputy sheriff
shot and wounded a state prison inmate trying to escape
custody. The N.H. Attorney General declared the shooting to be
justified. In late 1984 Sheriff O'Flynn was forced to resign
do to charges of criminal wrongdoing related to his
Pereault, Esq. (1984)
An Assistant Attorney General for the State of New
Hampshire, he was appointed "Commissioner to Perform the
Duties of the Sheriff" for several months until the
upcomming election. He currently has a private law practice in
Durette of Manchester (1984 to 1993)
He was a retired Manchester police officer. During his term
in office a second county court was built in Nashua to handle
the workload which was overwhelming the one county court in
A. Morse of Hillsboro (1993 to 2003)
Sheriff Morse is a retired New Hampshire State Police
Captain. Under his administration the office has become a much
more involved and visible partner in the law enforcement
community. Except for the Criminal Division deputies, all
deputies wear full uniforms and drive marked vehicles. In the
past eight years deputies from the office have become involved
in TRIAD, a nationwide senior citizen crime prevention program
sponsored by the National Sheriff's Association. Deputies have
been involved in several federal and state task force units
fighting drugs, drunk driving and other crimes in our county.
The office has also led and been part of several warrant
sweeps in communities throughout the county. We have
accomplished many of these efforts using grant funding
received from the federal and state governments. Since 1993,
Sheriff Morse has been asked by several communities in the
county to have his deputies provide full law enforcement
duties for them on a short-term basis. In the year 2000 the
sheriff's office unveiled a new look for it's marked vehicles.
In January of 2001 the office issued the first set of baseball
type cards with staff pictures to be distributed by deputies
to the public. Funds for the ball cards were received from the
local business community.
A. Hardy of Pelham (2003 to Present)
Elected in the 2002 Election, Sheriff James A. Hardy
assumed office on January 8, 2003. Sheriff Hardy began his
career with the Pelham Police Department, and then moved to
the Sheriff's Office where he served for over 20 years before
being elected as High Sheriff of the County. During his career
he has received numerous awards, citations and honors,
including the Silver Star for Bravery in Law Enforcement.
** Civil process was issued out by the sheriff to the
deputies who received a fee per order served.
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