Friday, October 29, 2010

The Case of the Vanishing Sheriff

Off to the right is old Robert Right Rea (pronounced "ray"), bidding us a faretheewell. His violent demise may never be accounted for, but one small mystery has been solved: that of why his name as sheriff of Jefferson County, Indiana, doesn't appear on the list of elected sheriffs that hangs on the wall of the current office.

According to Ron Grimes, archivist of the Jefferson County Historical Society Research Library:

The dates of his slave-hunting is not definitely known, but there is little record of his activities after Sept. 1854 when he lost in his bid to be elected Jefferson County Sheriff after a well publicized incident involving the arrest of abolitionist Delia Webster.  He owned and operated a hotel in Madison for some time after 1854 and died under suspicious circumstances in 1869.
We don't have the exact dates of his term as sheriff.  He was never elected to the office, but apparently replaced Sheriff William Wharton who resigned while in office in the early 1850's, and served until fall of 1854 when he lost the election.
 Case closed. For now.

1 comment:

  1. Go to
    and click on "Read the reminiscences of slavery times"

    for some information of Wright Ray or Rea.