- Associated Press - Sunday, October 30, 2016

MARIETTA, W.Va. (AP) - Frances Parlin, 88, of Marietta, remembers spending her childhood running through the halls of the Washington County Courthouse and eating the same meals as jail inmates.

“Daddy was the sheriff there for six years,” said Parlin of her father, Arthur Mackey, who served as sheriff from 1935-1941. “We lived in the courthouse in the Putnam Street side’s apartment and my mother was matron of the jail. Of course that’s when the jail was in the courthouse, too.”

Parlin’s story is one of many Major Brian Schuck, of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, hopes to gather to begin an archive of the agency’s history.

“No one has really been able to sit down and frame the history of this office since its inception when Col. Ebenezer Sproat was appointed in 1788,” said Schuck. “But as not only the first sheriff in Ohio, but also the man who the Buckeyes are named after, his story is important.”

Sproat was named the “Great Buckeye” by Native Americans in the area for his size, said Schuck.

Now Schuck and Reserve Deputy Jeff Staudt, 45, of Marietta, are digging into the past and hoping locals will come forward willing to either donate or allow copies to be made of photos and documents pertaining to the history of the sheriff’s office.

“There have been surprising gaps in the history that I want to find,” Schuck said. “We’ll put it all down the hallway to the sheriff’s office and in the front room of the civil division. That’s why I’m asking people to come forward with things like patches, photos, certificates, badges, letters of significant value or pertaining to a major case, uniforms and old weapons.”

Parlin donated her father’s night stick, certificate of office and one of his badges to begin the project.

“It makes you feel connected to their past when you see those items,” she said. “I think people should be proud to share that.”

Other items Schuck has collected include photos from deputy horse races at the Washington County Fairgrounds, ledgers showing which weapons were for sale to law enforcement after World War II and an old booking placard used at the jail.

“We want to share the story of the department, so documents with some significance, like this $20,000 bond for the sheriff in the 1930s or this list of weapons for sale, those tell the history of our men,” he said. “And I need help identifying a lot of the deputies in the photos we already have. There are photos of old car wrecks, arrests at the courthouse and portraits with some of the wives, I want to know who all of these guys were.”

Staudt said he volunteered to help with the project through research in Marietta College Library’s special collections and through searching through information at the genealogy branch of the Washington County Public Library.

“I have an academic background and so I wanted to step up and do some of the leg work to get information about the deputies and some of those major cases,” he said. “The intention is to display what we find so you can see a chronology of the sheriff’s office.”

The office is in search of all types of stories for their archive, including ones like Parlin’s memory of a breakout at the jail.

“I was so little then and so were my brothers, but I remember when some of the men in the jail had ripped sheets to tie together and climb down the side of the building,” she said. “Daddy had to call in the other deputies and they were all armed with shotguns at the bottom of the courthouse, and my mother was up pointing a gun from above them. I remember it so clearly because I think that’s the first time she had ever held a gun.”

To donate or share memorabilia of the office and its deputies, the public is invited to email Schuck at [email protected] or Staudt at [email protected] or to call Schuck at 740-373-6623, ext. 309.

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Information from: News and Sentinel (Parkersburg, W.Va.), https://www.newsandsentinel.com


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