History of the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office

The creation of the Sheriff’s Office dates back to 1066 when the King of England appointed a representative called a “reeve” to act on behalf of the King in each shire or county. The “shire reeve” or kings representative in the county became the “Sheriff” as the English language changed over time. The “shire reeve” or “Sheriff” was the chief law enforcement officer in each county in the year 1066 and this concept still applies today in the year 2008.

The first Sheriff in Ohio was Colonel Ebenezer Sproat, who was appointed in 1788 prior to Ohio achieving statehood in 1803. His territory included all of eastern Ohio from the Ohio River to Lake Erie.

After Ohio became a state, the first elected Sheriff in Ohio was William Skinner. Since the early 1800s the Ohio Sheriffs have been elected on the county level making it the oldest law enforcement office in the United States.

The first Sheriff of Tuscarawas County was Henry Davis, who was elected in 1808. Since that time, the citizens of Tuscarawas County have had 52 Sheriffs.