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Since 1791, a sheriff has kept the peace in Mathews

For more than 225 years, Mathews County has had a chief law enforcement officer to make sure that its residents were safe and law-abiding.

There is no known comprehensive history of the sheriffs of Mathews County, current Sheriff Mark Barrick said, so he asked Mathews Memorial Library’s head of genealogy and family research services Becky Barnhardt to come up with that information.

To that end, Barnhardt has compiled a list of the Mathews sheriffs all the way back to the county’s founding in 1791, when the area known as Kingston Parish separated from Gloucester County. The list is incomplete, but Barnhardt will add to it as information becomes available.

The first sheriff to serve Mathews County was Thomas Tabb, who was appointed in 1791. He most likely responded to disturbances from his home, said Barnhardt. In 1792, “the sheriffry passed from Thomas Tabb to Thomas Smith, and George Guthrie, a tavern-keeper, became the deputy sheriff,” according to “Ma...

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