The Pioneer Sheriffs
Michigan came in as a state in 1836. In November of that year we held our
first general election as a State. Lewis Reed was the Whig candidate and George
M. Mills, the Democratic candidate for the office of sheriff of the election
district consisting of Kent and several other counties. Mills claimed the
office, having a majority of the votes in Kent County. Reed claimed it, as
having the most votes in the district. It was referred to the Attorney General
who decided in Reed's favor, when he entered upon his duties and served the
It was during Reed's term that the first court house and jail was built, after a plan drawn by him; copied nearly after the court house in Herkimer county, New York, his former place of residence. Wm. I. Blakely, then and ever since a resident of this city, was the contractor and builder, and as it was "wild-cat" times, he may, if he chooses tell how he got his pay.
James Hoag was the first deputy sheriff, and served from Nov., 1836 to May, 1837, when he resigned, and Aaron Russell was appointed in hi stead, who served to the end of Reed's term when he (Russell) was elected sheriff and served his legal term. Next, Harry Eaton was elected in 1840, and next, Solomon Withey, (Father of Judge Withey) who was sheriff when the court house burned, and living there with his family, I think, at the time; since which, I believe the records are clear.
Created: 25 July 2009