History


The History of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office

ASCO Badges Circa; the 19th,20th,21st Centuries

Gettysburg, founded in 1786 on land owned by Samuel Gettys, was 77 years old by the time of the Civil War battle for which the town would become justly famous.  On July 1, 1863, the time of that battle, Adams County itself was 63 years old having been created out of the western portion of York County. Gettysburg served as the County Seat for Adams County. Prior to 1800, the York County Sheriff serviced the Gettysburg area. However, when Adams County was created, the 211 year history of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office began. 

Upon the creation of Adams County, Governor Thomas McKean appointed George Lashells to serve as the first Sheriff of Adams County. Sheriff Lashells served in that position from 1800 to 1802. In 1803, following an election for that post, James Gettys (a descendant of Gettysburg founder, Samuel Gettys) was elected to and served as Adams County’s first elected Sheriff. Mr. Gettys served from 1803 until 1805.

As a bit of trivia for our readers who are Civil War buffs, we offer the following. Francis Bream, who had served a term as the Adams County Sheriff from 1842 to 1844, was one of the many county residents whose lives were to be disrupted by the Battle of Gettysburg. His crops were destroyed, the lands and fencing ruined, and his house and farm buildings

occupied for nearly a month after the battle and used for field hospitals.  Damages to his farm amounted to 7,000 for which he was never compensated. 

Adam Rebert served as the Sheriff of Adams County during the Battle of Gettysburg. Unfortunately, we have little historical data to tell us what exactly he might have been doing during the three days of the battle. However, given the fact that there were two opposing armies totally approximately 150,000 soldiers, hundreds of artillery pieces and thousands of animals in and about the borough, townships and Adams County, prudence would dictate he do exactly what the rest of the civilian population did; find cover and concealment or evacuate the borough.

Union troops move south along the Baltimore Street in Gettysburg shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg

It would take nearly a year to restore normalcy to Gettysburg and Adams County after the battle and the Sheriff would have been involved in those efforts. There are records to indicate whether he would have been there to witness the dedication ceremony at the new National Cemetery and President Lincoln’s “few appropriate comments” at the event.

Named in honor of President John Adams, with a population approaching 100,000 in an area of 520 square miles, Adams County is the Commonwealth’s third fastest growing county. The Sheriff’s Office provides service to the Courts of Adams County. Housed in the historic Adams County Court House, it is comprised of an Operations Division responsible for Prisoner Transport, the Personal Property and Civil Process, Courtroom Security and the Warrant Sections. There is a K-9 Bomb Dog and a Mounted function under the direct control of the Sheriff. Real Estate Division processes all Sheriff’s Sales for Real Estate. Requests for a Carry Concealed Weapons permit as well as other license requests are also processed through the Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office employs a number of different vehicles to carry out its  Bus. Like so many of the 67 Sheriff’s Offices throughout the Commonwealth, its deputies enforce traffic laws when necessary and provide assistance to various police agencies within the county. It participates in the US Marshals Service Fugitive Apprehension Taskforce. 

Adams County Heritage Day Celebration

For the past two centuries and into the new millennium, some 49 individuals have been elected and served as the Sheriff of Adams County.  Beginning with Sheriff George Lashells in 1800 and continuing to its current Sheriff, James Muller, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office has a 213 year history of providing quality service to the Courts and county citizens alike.


ADAMS COUNTY SHERIFFS ROLL

GEORGE LASHELLS

1800-1802

APPOINTED THE FIRST SHERIFF OF ADAMS

COUNTY BY GOVERNOR THOMAS MCKEAN

JAMES GETTYS

FOUNDER AND PROPRIETER OF GETTYSBURG

WAS THE FIRST ELECTED SHERIFF OF ADAMS COUNTY

1803-1805

JACOB WINROTT…………………….…………1806-1808

JAMES HORNER……………………...………...1809-1811

JOHN MURPHY………………………………….1812-1814

SAMUEL GALLOWAY………………….………1815-1817

JOHN ARENDT……………………………………1818-1820

BERNHART GILBERT………………………....1821-1822

THOMAS C. MILLER……………………………1824-1826

PHILIP HEAGY……………………..…………....1827-1929

WILLIAM COBEAN………………………….….1830-1832

JAMES BELL…………………………….…….…..1833-1835

WILLIAM TAUGHINBAUGH………..….…..1836-1838

GEORGE W. MCCLELLAN…………………...1839-1941

FRANCIS BREAM…………………………….…..1842-1844

BENJAMIN SHRIVER…………………….…….1845-1847

WILLIAM FICKES………………………….…….1848-1850

JOHN SCOTT……………………………….……...1851-1853

HENRY THOMAS…………………….……….….1854-1856

ISSAC LIGHTNER……………………..…….……1857-1859

SAMUEL WOLF……………………………..…….1860-1862

ADAM REBER (Sheriff during the

Battle of Gettysburg) …………………….1863-1865

PHILIP HANN………………………………..…….1866-1868

JACOB KLUNK……………………………………..1869-1871

ZACHARIAH MYERS………………….…………1872-1874

JOSEPH SPANGLER……………………………..1875-1877

A.J. BOWERS………………………………………..1878-1880

JOCOB H. PLANK……………………….…………1881-1883

SAMUEL EAHOLTZ……………………….………1884-1886

JACOB W. TAUGHINBAUGH…………………..1887-1889

NEWTON W. STONER……………………………..1890-1892

WILLIAM B. MCILHENNY……………….……...1893-1895

FRANK M. MILLER…………………………………1896-1898

F.W. MORRISON……………………………………..1899-1901

A. CALVIN BASEHOAR……………………………1902-1904

GEORGE L. COLESTOCK…………….….………..1905-1907

ELIAS FISSEL………………………………………….1908-1910

G.R. THOMPSON……………………………………..1911-1914

HOWARD J. HARTMAN……………………………1915-1918

JOHN W. SHEALER………………………………….1919-1922

GEORGE D. MORRISON………………….……….1927-1930

JOHN C. WIBLE…………………………………..…..1931-1943

B.W. SPENCER…………………………………………1935-1938

DANIEL J. WOLFF……………………..…………….1939-1942

JOHN E. MILLHIMES…………………..…………..1943-1946

B.W. SPENCER………………………………………….1947-1948

DORSEY J. SHULTZ………………………………….1949-1956  (2 Terms)

DAWSON MILLER…………………………………….1957-1968  (3 Terms)

BERNARD V. MILLER………………………….……1969-1996 (7 Terms)

RAYMOND NEWMAN………………………....……1997-2004 (2 Terms)

JAMES W. MULLER…………………………….……2005- To Present