The office of sheriff was created in 1792 when the first sheriff was appointed by the Northwest Territorial Governor Arthur St. Clair.  Under the 1802 Ohio Constitution the office became an elective post; the original two year term was extended to four years in 1936.

The duties of the sheriff have remained unchanged since the creation of the office.  The sheriff is required to attend the court of common pleas, court of appeals, and upon request, the probate court.  In addition to insuring that order is maintained throughout these court proceedings, the sheriff is empowered to adjourn the court of common pleas if the judge fails to appear, and the court of appeals if a quorum is lacking.  In 1805, the Ohio General Assembly defined additional duties of the sheriff: to preserve the peace by suppressing riots, unlawful assemblies, and insurrections, to act as the official custodian of the county jail, to apprehend and incarcerate all felons and traitors, to serve as county executioner (until 1886), to enforce the election laws at the request of the board of elections or the secretary of state, to be present at all drawings of jurors, and to serve notice upon jurors.

Presently, the sheriff serves all warrants, writs, subpoenas, and other orders from the court of common pleas, court of appeals, juvenile court, and probate court.  Warrants issued by the governor are executed by the sheriff’s office, which also serves writs and subpoenas issued by various state officials and boards.  Today, the sheriff possesses jurisdiction coextensive with the county boundaries, including all municipalities and townships.


Union County Jail - c1898

Union County Sheriff's Office and Jail - c1898



The first Union County Jail was constructed along East Fifth Street in Marysville in 1821.  It was built by Otis Green for a cost of $186 and was a double log structure that stood behind the courthouse when the courthouse was located along East Fifth Street.  This jail served the county until 1856 when a new jail was built near the southwest corner of Court and Fifth Streets.  This jail was destroyed by fire on the evening of December 22, 1870, "having been for a number of years practically worthless as a place of detention for offenders against the law."  In early 1873, bids were received to erect a new jail near the location of the former jail.  The firm of Rice & Grummons were award the contract for the new jail at a cost of $18,644, and they finished the building in February 1874.  In addition to serving as the jail, the building was also used as the Sheriff's office and residence.  In 1901, the Champion Iron Works of Kenton, Ohio, removed the original jail portion at the back of the 1873 building and constructed a new two story jail at a cost of $9,997.  A decorative porch was added to the front of the building in 1908, which was later enclosed.  In 1969, an addition was constructed on the east side of the building to serve as a new Sheriff's office and new secured entrance.  The Union County Jail was closed in 1994 and eventually replaced with the Tri-County Regional Jail in Mechanicsburg, Ohio.  The building still served as the Sheriff's office until it was demolished in April 2000 to make way for the new Union County Justice Center that would house the Sheriff's office and the county 911 Center.

Union County Jail Matrons

 Lula Bolenbaugh (1905-1909)  Ella Rausch (1931-1937)
 Alice Price (1909-1913)  Sarah Roosa (1937-1946)
 Mollie Sams (1913-1916)  Marie Moore (1946-1948)
 Mary Liggett (1916-1921)  Marjorie Roosa (1948-1949)
 Ada M. Collier (1921-1925)  Erma Galloway (1949-1957)
 Claudia M. Hager (1925-1927)  Roberta Amrine (1957-1972)
 Neva Harger (1927-1927)  Paula R. Wolfe (1974-1982)
 Icie Lingrel (1927-1931)  Flora E. Cook (1982-1984)


In April 1904, the Ohio General Assembly allowed the county sheriff, with the approval of the Probate Judge, to appoint a jail matron.  It was the duty of the jail matron to "have charge over and to care for the insane, and for all female and minor persons" confined in the county jail.  The person also doubled as a cook for all the prisoners in the jail.  Usually the the Sheriff's wife served as the jail matron, as was the case throughout the state of Ohio.  The last jail matron in Union County served in the position for a couple of years before transitioning into just the cook for the jail.


Union County Jail - 1909

Union County Sheriff's Office and Jail - 1909



 Cash Books (1868-1995)
 Foreign Execution Docket (1838-1964)
 Foreign Summons Docket (1844-1993)
 Index to Jail Register (1977-1982)
 Jail Registers (1874-1994)
 Records of Accrued Fees (1907-1916)
 Sheriff’s Sales Journals (1889-1991)