message-star Sheriff's Office History

Platte County began in 1837 with the Platte Purchase which in part formed what is now Platte County.

In 1839 the first Sheriff, J. H. Owen was appointed by Governor Frederic Bates. He served for five years. When the Civil War came to Missouri, Platte County was not spared the troubles and turmoil that the war brought. On April 7, 1862 Sheriff W. K. Bryant was forced to leave his elected office. In 1861 Governor Hamilton Gamble required that citizens and elected officers in Missouri must swear their loyalty to the Federal Government in the form of an oath which stated, “I do solemnly swear that I have not, since the 17th day of September 1861, willfully taken up arms or levied war against the United States, nor against the provisional government of the State of Missouri.” Sheriff Bryant, along with two other elected officials, were unwilling to take the oath and forfeited their offices.

One of the darkest days in Platte County occurred in the town of Farley on August 20, 1900 when Sheriff John H. Dillingham, was killed. Sheriff Dillingham responding to a double homicide encountered a gunman. A gun fight took place and the gunman shot the Sheriff in the head. The Sheriff’s twenty-three year old son Henry, a deputy, returned fire fatally wounding the gunman. He was then appointed as Sheriff to fill his father’s un-expired term. Sheriff John Dillingham is the only Platte County law enforcement officer killed in the line- of-duty.

Bonnie and Clyde made their presence known during the watch of Sheriff Holt Coffey, on July 19, 1933. Sheriff Coffey, his son Clarence S. Coffey, a State Trooper, and other local law enforcement agencies went to arrest the Barrows Gang at the Red Crown Service Station and Tourist Court (located where Farmland Headquarters is now situated). In April, two Joplin Police Officers had been gunned down by the gang. Sheriff Coffey and his group approached the cabin at 10:00 a.m. inside were Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, along with Buck Barrow and Blanche Barrow. A fierce gunfight ensued, wounding both the Sheriff and Deputy Coffey. Buck Barrow later died of wounds received in the gun fight. Blanch Barrow was captured and placed in the Platte County Jail where she would soon be sentenced to ten years in the Missouri State Penitentiary. Bonnie and Clyde escaped behind the barrage of bullets, leaving Sheriff Coffey, Clarence Coffey, and a Jackson County Deputy Sheriff wounded.

Roster of Sheriffs for Platte County, Missouri

Sheriff Service Date 
Mark S. Owen Jan 01, 2013 to Present
Richard L. Anderson Jan 01, 1997 to Dec 31, 2012
Tom Thomas Jan 01, 1969 to Dec 31, 1996
Larry Reeves Jun 01, 1967 to Dec 31, 1968
John W. Lowmiller Jan 01, 1949 to Dec 31, 1966
A.D. Myers Jan 01, 1945 to Dec 31, 1948
Holt Coffey Jan 01, 1941 to Dec 31, 1944
George Elliott Jan 01, 1937 to Dec 31, 1940
Holt Coffey Jan 01, 1933 to Dec 31, 1936
Edward P. Pennington Jan 01, 1929 to Dec 31, 1932
Joseph B. Duncan Jan 01, 1925 to Dec 31, 1928
Frederick M. Hulett Jan 01, 1921 to Dec 31, 1924
James A Vestal Jan 01, 1917 to Dec 31, 1920
Calvin Ham Jan 01, 1913 to Dec 31, 1916
Thomas H. Perry Jan 01, 1909 to Dec 31, 1912
Gid Miller Jan 01, 1905 to Dec 31, 1908
Joseph M. Elgin Jan 01, 1901 to Dec 31, 1904
Henry Dillingham Aug 20, 1900 to Dec 31, 1900
J.H. Dillingham Nov 02, 1896 to Aug 20, 1900
Oscar Berry Nov 02, 1892 to Nov 01, 1896
James Synnamon Nov 02, 1888 to Nov 01, 1892
R.W. Pack Nov 02, 1884 to Nov 01, 1888
W.J. Overbeck Nov 02, 1880 to Nov 01, 1884
W.H. Hunt Nov 02, 1876 to Nov 01, 1880
E McD. Coffey Nov 02, 1872 to Nov 01, 1876
George W. Belt Nov 02, 1868 to Nov 01, 1872
N.P. Ogden May 02, 1865 to Nov 01, 1868
W.T. Woods Nov 02, 1862 to May 01, 1865
Grame W. Hood Aug 08, 1862 to Nov 01, 1862
W.K. Bryant Aug 02, 1858 to Apr 07, 1862
W.H. Spratt Aug 02, 1854 to Aug 01, 1858
L. Shepard Aug 02, 1850 to Aug 01, 1854
Moseby N. Owen Aug 03, 1846 to Aug 01, 1850
James Kuykendall Aug 01, 1844 to Aug 03, 1846
Jones H. Owen Mar 01, 1839 to Aug 01, 1844

Please report any errors or omissions to the webmaster.

Source for the Records of Sheriff’s serving Platte County came from the Manual of the State of Missouri, The Register of Civil Officers, and the Journal of Platte County. If we have missed someone, misspelled a name, or have misrepresented the history, please let us know. Historical records have been scarce and not totally accurate.

Updated December 31, 2012

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