• By Albert Depew

History Of the Sheriff
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Sheriffs from 1861 - Today

Updated on 08/10/2017 2:42 PM

Ormsby County, Nevada
November 25, 1861 – June 30, 1969

On December 9, 1861 William L. Marley became the first official Sheriff (by appointment of the Territorial Governor) of what was then Ormsby County Nevada, the location of the state capitol. Sheriff Marley replaced his predecessor, John L. Blackburn who had been killed in the line of duty. Sheriff Blackburn’s name is the first etched in the marble of the State Law Enforcement Memorial at the Legislative Complex located directly across the street from where he died.

From 1861 to 1890, the Sheriff acted in the sole capacity as the position described. Then, from 1892 thru 1918, and again from 1946 thru 1958 the Sheriff combined his duties with the County Assessor. Sheriff William Kinney became the first to hold the dual title and Sheriff Lester V. Smith the last.

Until 1922, the elected Sheriff held office for two year terms.  Sheriff Joseph H. Stern was elected the first four year term Sheriff.  Sheriff Stern held the office for five two year terms and then three four year terms, totaling 22 years. Sheriff Stern held the Office of Sheriff longer than any other in the history of Ormsby/Carson City.  In 1946, Sheriff Lester V. Smith became the 18th Sheriff of Ormsby County.  After passing away on October 21, 1958, his wife Anita was appointed to fill out his term. Anita became the first female Sheriff in Ormsby County’s history. Sheriff Howard Hoffman would follow, but he also died before fulfilling his second term.  Sheriff Hoffman’s wife, Ruth, would be appointed to complete his term.

City County of Carson City, Nevada
July 1, 1969 – Present

On July 1, 1969 the city and county of Carson and Ormsby combined, forming a combined municipality. Sheriff Robert Humphrey, elected in 1966, would become the first Sheriff of the newly formed county. At the same time, the office of the Sheriff was designated a Non-Partisan office for election purposes.

There have been a total of 27 Sheriff’s in the county history. Of those, six elected Sheriffs have been of Carson City-County. One Sheriff has been killed in the line of duty, Sheriff Timothy G. Smith, on December 17, 1867 (excluding Sheriff Blackburn). Two Sheriffs have resigned from office; Alanson W. Nightingill in 1868 and William Orton in 1945; and four Sheriffs have died while holding the seat, Walter Austin in 1940, Harold Brooks in 1944, Lester Smith in 1958 and Howard Hoffman in 1966.

    -  Sheriffs of Ormsby County and Carson City  --  1861 to Present
    -  The Office of the Sheriff -- By Definition