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Oklahoma's Lawmen
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Woodward County Sheriffs
Men and woman who served terms as sheriff.

1John E. “Jack” Love1893 - 1895 1st appointed sheriff
2C. E. “Tobe” Odem1895 - 1897 1st elected sheriff
3Robert “Big Bob” Benn1897 - 1899 
4Jeff Mynatt1899 - 1901 
5Albert S. Woods1901 - 1903 
6William G. Stump1903 - 1905 
7Willie T. Cooley1905 - 1907 last territorial sheriff
8Johhn J. Bouquot1907 - 1911 
9B. F. Richards1911 - 1915 
10Ed I. Durant1915 - 1921 
11Hank Bowers1921 - 1925 
12John J. Bouquot1925 - 1927 June died in office
13Anna Bouquot1927 - 1929 finished husbands term
14Ben A. Barnett1929 - 1933 
15William “Bill” Blevins1933 - 1937 
16Elmer Nelson1937 - 1939 resigned
17Herbert Quickel1939 - 1943 Aug resigned
18Clyde Taylor1943 - 1944 Jan resigned
19Milt Marston1944 - 1953 
20Gordia Queen1953 - 1957 
21Hank White1957 - 1965 
22Ceford Castor1965 - 1969 
23A. C. “Creel” Gaston1969 - 1985 
24Tommy Matthews1985 -  

Elections were held in even number years
2 year terms, starting in Jan of following year.
*possibly no election in 1908 because of changeover to statehood.

Woodward County was carved out of a vast domain of public lands belonging to the Federal Government, and when opened to settlement became a part of Oklahoma Territory.

The first governmental authority established in this area was the establishment of a military, post at Fort Supply, where a garrison of soldiers was kept for the purpose of holding ‘within a restricted area certain western Indian tirbes, towit: Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Apaches, Kiowas and Comanches, known as The Plains Indians. These Indians were wild, nomadic tribes, governed only by tribal customs administered by themselves. At infrequent intervals U. S. Deputy Marshals visited this area in search of outlaws. Cattle trails traversed this area, over which herds were driven from north and west Texas to railroad points in Kansas for shipment to eastern markets. Travellers and advernturers followed these trails. But in either case the herdsmen or travellers provided their own means of protection and safety.

At the organization of Woodward County, Jack Love was the first Sheriff, and also served as a Deputy U. S. Marshal. Mr. Love was a man of personality, large stature, handsome, with poise and dignity.

The mere fact that Jack Love was Sheriff and B. B. Smith was County Attorney, with their determination to maintain law and order, of itself had a restraining influence upon the lawless element which had drifted into the new country.

Mr. Love owned a cattle ranch a few miles south of Woodward. At the first State Election in 1907 he was elected as the first Corporation Commissioner of the new state, serving with distinction as chairman of the commission until his death in 1918.

Ed I. Durant, under-sheriff under B. F. Richards, was shot and severely, almost fatally, wounded in 1914, when he was called to a house in the northwest part of Woodward to take into custody a man mentally deranged. He was ambushed by the insane man, who was armed, and fired a shot through the door into his body inflicting a wound that almost cost him his life. He recovered after a long fight for his life, and was later rewarded for his suffering by election to the office of Sheriff, which he held for four years. Durant had a high sense of duty and was regarded as an outstanding peace officer.

John Bouquot, first elected sheriff in 1907 at Statehood, serving two terms, and later in 1925 being returned to the office, died during his second term, and his wife, Anna Bouquot, was appointed to fill out his term. Mrs. Bouquot, in her own right, distinguished herself as a peace officer, at which she showed unusual ability. She has the distinction of being the first and only woman sheriff of this county, and possibly the only one in this state. A ludicrous incident occurred at a county fair when two men got into a fist fight and Mrs.Bouquot being near the scene intervened, taking each man by the collar and shoving them apart and placing them under arrest. Ludicrous, because the antagonists were so surprised and speechless at at having been separated and arrested by a woman officer. She announced her authority and ordered them into the sheriff’s car and took them before a magistrate.

We are attempting here merely to set up a chronology of the official tenures of these two groups of law enforcing officers of this county who have made local history, or rather helped to make local history, making particular mention briefly of some of the earlier ones, with the hope that the information here given may be useful in the further development of a history of this county. The writer came to this county in 1913, and cannot be counted as a pioneer in the strict sense of the term, but early enough to make personal acquaintance of all the men who served as county attorneys, and all the sheriffs except Odem, Benn, Mynatt and Stump. It may be said in passing to the credit of the long list herein set out from the beginning down to the present time that crime has never become rampant or entrenched in Woodward County. The type of law enforcement has been a deterrent to crime, and with the high type of citizenry who came here to build homes and carve out a future for themselves, Woodward County has ranked high on the list as a peaceable and law-abiding community. Not a great deal of material could be gathered here that would fit into the modern concept of a western movie featuring skirmishes between outlaws and officers of the law, such as might have occurred in the taming of the western frontiers in other sections of the west.

B. Walforth-U.S. Deputy Marshall was in Wellington, on his way home from the east. He is still able to handle a gun too lively for most men although he has but one hand. WW News Oct. 4, 1895.

Ben Walforth came in & handed the paper a dollar for another year of News - Raising Feed & Cattle on Persimmon Creek. WW News Dec. 7, 1897.

Jail break - 9 o' clock weds, (March 19) 3 men rode up to jail covered guards John Ghalston &

Bob Norvell liberated Tom Yoals, Curly George, Ed Lahr (time up), & Henry Smith (stayed). Yoals & George joined 3 men took guards to RR track-jail is in far west side of town.

Sheriff Odem, John Ghalson, Ben Ghalson, Ben Wolfarth, went in pursuit. WW News March 22, 1895.

DOVLIN - Marshall Hall received a telegram Saturday Morning that the DOOLING gang were headed for the Jones Ranch east. Bill was reported shot in side. WW News Jan. 17, 1896.

Benn appointed James Gober undersheriff. Smith Gregg-Gage deputy Charles Roselle - janitor. WW News Jan 8, 1897.

Jeff Mynatt-Was Berm’s deputy 1898.

Sheriff Berm’s family have the measles. Many of Berm family from NY visited during spring (3 month visit) Mother-Caroling Kate - Sister April 8, 1898 winds & sand blew. WW News March 18, 1898.

Bob Berm, the big hearted sheriff of WW County, Ok Was in the city awhile this morning on his way home from the north. Reprint from Wellington Daily Journal Dec. 5. WW News Dec. 9, 1898.

County Commissioners-paid $200 to Ben Wolfarth over loss of arm. WW News July 21, 1895.

Candidates for sheriff - L. L. Libby (rep). Jeff D. Mynatt (dem) won by 9 votes C. E. Hall (P. P.), James R. Gober (Ind) WW News Nov. 4, 1898.

4th of July Plans by Mrs. Bob Berm Cottonwood Springs 3 miles NW of WW. WW News June 12, 1896.


Ed I. Durant, sheriff of Woodward county, was shot and seriously wound Monday morning while attemtping to take charge of Bliss Richards, who was reported to the serifff’s office to be insane and carrying a revolver making threats and threatening to cause a disturbance. Sid NIxon, deputy sheriff and county jailer, was with the sheriff and several shots were fired at him without effect. Ed Durant was shot through the stomach, the bullett touching the spine and passing out at the back. He was given instant medical attention by Dr. R. A. Workman, who advised removal as soon as possible to the hospital at Wichita. Charles Swindell, who represents the Santa Fe, wired for a special, which was dispatched out of Waynoka without delay. The wounded man was then hurried to Wichita, where he is being given ever care. Daily reports are received here as to his condition. First reports would give hopes of his recovery then later ones would state that he was weakening. The last report received as we go to press states that he is holdinghis own, and the immediate danger seems to be over. Owing to his robust constitution his physicians are hopeful that he will be able to withstand the strain made on him and finally recover. He is not out of danger, however.

Bliss Richards, who fired the shot, was reported by his brother at abut 9 o’clock Monday morning to be in a one-room house in the west part of the city, carrying a revolver and making threats. This report was made to Sid Nixon, who notified Sheriff Durant, and the two at once proceeded to take charge of Richards. They found him located in the house but he would not come out nor reply to them. Nixon went to the car to get an instrument to force the door, and while he was away Richards fired through the walls at the point where he evidently supposed Durant to be. The shot passed through the wall and through the body of Durant. Durant then called to NIxon “look out Sid, he’s got me.” Durant was not armed, not thinking it necessary to deal with an insane man with weapons. Nixon was armed and as he looked towards the building, he saw Richards pointing a revolver at him out the window. They both fired several times without results. Durant was then cared for and Richards apprehended. Richards was later removed to the insane asylum at Supply, together with his brother, Edward, who is also reported to be insane, and who is reported to have conspired against the officers on various occasions.

          The affair caused quite a commotion in Woodward. Sheriff Durant is very popular and the community is united in the hope that he will return to Woodward well and sound as early as possible. Mr. Swindall accompanied him to Wichita and stayed until the next day. As he was leaving the hospital room Ed waved and said “I’ll be back there in a few days.” The Woodward Democrat hopes he will.

Ed Durant was the first sheriff shot - August 6, 1915. Rushed by train to Wichita, Durant slowly recovered, and was re-elected twice.

        June 1940
        Herbert Quickel is completing his first appointive term as Woodward County sheriff, having been named to succeed Elmer Nelson, who went to a post as special officer for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, Quickel served as police officer before going to the sheriff’s office last fall. He is a candidate to succeed himself and points to a record of courteous, efficinet service as Woodward County sheriff. Quickel is deeply grateful to the officers of other members of the State Highway Patrol for the splendid co-operation which has meant the execution of some very difficult tasks.

        R. A. “Bob” Carlisle, undersheriff, is well acquinted with law enforcement duties in western Oklahoma. Prior to his appointment on May 1, 1940, he had seen several years service in Arkansas as a peace officer.

        T. C. Hayes, the jailer, is the veteran of the men in this gourp, having been jailer in all of Elmer Nelson’s tenure as sheriff and is completing four years on the job. He is condiderate and treats is “guests” with a firm, but respected attitude and is not in any way cirticized...the “guests” all like him, as it were.

        Helen Salz, office deputy, has been a faithful member of the sheriff’s force for nearly eight years. To say that the ladies have “it” is putting it mildly. Her sunny disposition, together with her marked ability to handle the legal phase of the work for the sheriff’s office is no small accomplishment. The callers at the office know Helen....and by th same token Helen knows them and serves them well.



Updated: Sunday, 10-Apr-2016 22:40:37 EDT

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