History of the Somerset County Sheriff

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The Office of the Sheriff has existed for over one thousand years and is the oldest law enforcement position in the United States. The word sheriff is derived from the shire-reeve, who was the most powerful English law authority figure, even before 1000 A.D. The shire-reeve, in contrast to a reeve (in charge of mere tenths), was responsible for both the order of the land within his banded group of a hundred families (shire) and the call of the "hue and cry." The hue and cry made every citizen in earshot of the sheriff’s call lawfully obligated to join in a posse comitatus, or group, which banded to catch criminals.

In the former brick courthouse in Somerville - precursor to the 1907 marble historic courthouse now on Main Street - the sheriff and his family had living quarters in the basement, and the jail occupied the other half of that space. The Rev. Dr. Thomas De Witt Talmage, for whom Talmage Avenue in Bound Brook is named, was the son of one of the sheriffs (David T. Talmage, 1841-43) whose family lived in the basement of the brick courthouse. A brick jail eventually was added behind that courthouse, and then was torn down when the now-razed 1906 jail was built.

History of Somerset County Sheriff's Office Patches

Below is a listing of Somerset County Sheriffs from 1711 to the present day.

Frank J. Provenzano, Sr. 2002 -        Wm. H.H. Wyckoff 1895 - 1898        John I. Gaston 1826 - 1828
Robert H. Lund 1986 - 2001
George A. Dilts 1892 - 1895
William Hoagland
1823 - 1825
Louis Nickolopoulos 1980 - 1986
Lewis M. Codington 1889 - 1892
Martin Schenck 1820 - 1822
Paul C. Zanowic 1967 - 1979
William W. Tunison 1886 - 1889
John Wyckoff 1817 - 1819
George M. Gurisic 1964 - 1967
William A. McMurthy 1884 - 1886
Martin Schenck 1814 - 1816
Ernest L. Hunnewell 1946 - 1964
Lewis A. Thompson 1881 - 1884
Peter I. Stryker 1811 - 1813
Edward J. O'Connor 1943 - 1946
George W. Vroom 1880 - 1881
Isreal Harris 1808 - 1810
John H. Veghte 1940 - 1943
Simon Van Lieu 1878 - 1879
Henry Van Derveer 1807 - 1808
Lewis D. Case 1939 - 1940
Benjamin S. Totten 1874 - 1877
Samuel Swan 1805 - 1806
Thomas C. Vail 1936 - 1939
James Bergen 1871 - 1873
Peter I. Stryker 1802 - 1804
Robert L. Adams 1934 - 1936
Thomas Coddington 1868 - 1870
Joseph Doty 1799 - 1801
William R. Sutphen 1931 - 1934
John J. Brokaw 1865 - 1867
Robert Blair 1797 - 1798
Ellsworth Brokaw 1931 - 1931
William Ross, Jr. 1862 - 1864
Joseph Annin 1795 - 1796
Ira E. Brokaw 1928 - 1930
Henry A. Herder 1859 - 1861
John Hardenburgh 1792 - 1794
Sanford W. Tunison 1925 - 1928
Elias Hoagland 1856 - 1858
William Wallace 1790 - 1791
Joseph Hanlon 1922 - 1925
David Wilson 1853 - 1855
John Hardenburgh 1787 - 1789
Bogart T. Conkling 1919 - 1922
Henry A. Herder 1850 - 1852
Robert Stockton 1784 - 1786
Ellsworth Brokaw 1916 - 1919
Joseph V. Vredenburgh 1847 - 1849
Peter D. Vroom 1781 - 1783
Charles P. Sebring 1913 - 1916
Hugh Kirkpatrick 1844 - 1846
Peter D. Schenck 1778 - 1780
Frank Mobus 1910 - 1913
David T. Talmage 1841 - 1843
Peter Dumont 1774 - 1777
Frank T. Ross 1907 - 1910
Peter A. Voorhees 1838 - 1840
William McDonald 1771 - 1773
Edward E. Cooper 1904 - 1907
James W. Todd 1835 - 1837
Abraham Van Doren 1750 - 1770
Calvin D. McMurthy 1901 - 1904
John I. Gaston 1832 - 1834
John Piatt 1732 - 1749
Selah Schoonmaker 1898 - 1901
John Cox 1829 - 1831
Barefoot Brunson 1711 - 1730