By Eddie West
There’s something about the office of sheriff which piques the interest of most people.
Perhaps, its the office’s unique history and folklore which date back to the “wild, wild west” days.
Many youngsters grew up watching western movies and programs which often depicted the good (the town’s sheriff) against the evil (the bad guys).
In addition, most everyone has an opinion concerning laws and how they should be enforced.
Columbia native Ronnie Erwin has penned a 516 page book detailing the history of the office of sheriff in Tennessee, including a listing of all the sheriffs from all counties in Tennessee, dating back to statehood.
Included in the book is every sheriff which has held office since Smith County was founded in 1799.
The book is entitled “Stars Over Tennessee”—Tennessee County Sheriffs: Compilation of the History of Sheriffs of Tennessee.
In addition to chronicling sheriffs from each county, the book includes historical tidbits, artwork and data pertaining to the office of sheriff from it Tennessee origins.
Erwin, along with his late wife and co-author, Judith “Lynn” McKee Irwin” spent 10 years working on the book prior to its publication.
Erwin dedicated the book to his late wife, who passed away in 2019.
From a local perspective, Nina Sutton, Ann Cole and John Waggoner Jr. researched the history of sheriffs in Smith County which are included in the book.
Many of the sheriffs were discovered through records of county court meetings.
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