Burke County Sheriff's Office

Burke County Sheriffs-1777 to Present

(1) Daniel McKissick (1777 to 1779)
  • Born 1755, died March 18, 1811 in Shelbyville, Tennessee
  • Not a resident of present Burke County, however lived in the south-central section of present Catawba County near the town of Maiden
  • Gunsmith by trade
  • Married Jane Wilson (b. 1759 - d. 1844) in 1776
  • Nine children, three girls, six boys
  • Captain in the Revolutionary War
  • Commanded a company of N.C. Dragoons
  • Severely wounded in the shoulder at the battle of Ramsour's Mill on June 20, 1780
 
(2) John Bowman (1779 to 1780)
  • Killed while in office
  • Captain in the Revolutionary War
  • Killed in action at the battle of Ramsour's Mill on June 20, 1780
  • His only daughter married William Tate, the brother of Hugh Tate who was the 15th and 17th Sheriff
 
(3) James Greenlee II (1780 to 1783)
  • Born October 19, 1740 in Rockbridge County, Virginia
  • Died at the age of 73 on November 8, 1813 in Morganton
  • Buried at Quaker Meadows Cemetery
  • Burke County's first coroner
  • Owned 24 slaves in 1790
  • Owned 34 slaves in 1810
  • Burke County Representative in 1788
  • Land inspector
  • Farmer and cattleman; drove his cattle to Philadelphia and Charleston for sale
  • Presbyterian
  • Married Mary Elizabeth Mitchell on June 10, 1770 at Ten Mile House, a tavern ten miles north of Charleston, S.C.
  • He and wife, Mary had eight children, including James Mitchell III; John Mitchell; Margaret; William M.; Samuel; Ephiriam; and David Washington
  • In 1790 census, listed as head of family of 13
  • He owned 4,050 acres in Burke County in 1778
  • Served as trustee of Morgan Academy
 
(4) Samuel Greenlee (1783 to 1784)
  • Born in 1751
  • Son of James Greenlee and Mary Elizabeth McDowell
  • Owned ten slaves

Please see James Greenlee's biography for more information regarding Samuel Greenlee's family.

 
(5) William Moore (1784 to 1786)
  • Married Ann Cathey
  • Second marriage to Margaret Patton
  • In 1790 census, listed as head of family of ten
  • Captain in 2nd Rowan Regiment
 
(6) James Davidson (1786 to 1788)
  • Lived in what is presently known as McDowell County, not Burke County
  • In 1790 census, listed as family of eleven
  • Member of the 1777 commission to establish a site to erect a Burke County Courthouse and prison
  • Qualified as a Justice in Burke County prior to 1792
 
(7) William Morrison (1788 to 1790)
  • Member of the North Carolina General Assembly in 1779 - Representative
  • North Carolina Senator in 1795
  • In 1790 census, listed as head of family of six
  • Captain during the Revolutionary War
  • In 1788, John Sevier escaped from Sheriff Morrison while being taken to the courthouse for trial
 
(8) Johannes "Peter" Mull (1790 to 1792)
  • Born 1736 in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania; died October 29, 1805 in Burke County, N.C.
  • Father Johan Christoffel Moll (Mull) was born in Germany; died approx. 1702 in Rowan County, N.C.; mother was Anna Catharina
  • Paternal grandfather was Michael F. Mull
  • Siblings Catherine; Margarite; Abraham; Anna Margaret; George Abraham; and Conrad
  • Married Barbara A Kline (b. approx. 1740 - d. approx. 1836 in Burke County); their children were John; Henry; Peter; Barbara; Susanna; and Jacob
  • Owned 12 slaves
  • Sold 320 acres of Burke County land located at the mouth of Upper Creek in 1771 to Abraham Collett
  • In 1790 census, listed as head of family of 13
  • Member of the Burke Militia, 7th Regiment in 1814
  • Owned 165 acres in Burke County in 1778
  • Qualified as a Justice in Burke County prior to 1792
  • Captain under the command of Colonel Christopher Beekman in the 2nd Rowan Regiment
 
(9) Thomas McEntire (1792 to 1795)
  • Became sheriff twice
  • Did not live in present Burke County, lived in what is presently McDowell County near Old Fort
  • Member of the North Carolina General Assembly in 1802 - Representative
  • Justice of the Burke County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in 1805
  • Owned five slaves in 1790
  • Owned 13 slaves in 1800
 
(10) John McGimsey (1795 to 1798)
  • Became sheriff twice
  • Burke County Warden of the Poor in 1793
  • Justice of the Burke County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in 1803
  • County Trustee from 1803 to 1806
  • Burke County Processioner in 1810
  • Owned a plantation on the Linville River according to the Price-Strother Map of 1808
  • In 1790 census, listed as head of family of seven
  • Owned 300 acres in Burke County in 1798
  • Field Grade Officer in the Burke Regiment prior to 1800. Also served in this capacity between 1805 and 1810
  • Obtained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel by January 1815
 
(11) Thomas McEntire (1798 to 1801)
  • Became sheriff twice (See Number 9 above)
 
(12) John McGimsey (1801 to 1802)
  • Became sheriff twice (See Number 10 above)
 
(13) Robert Alexander (1802 to 1805)
  • Did not live in present Burke County, lived in what is presently Caldwell County
 
(14) John McDowell (1805 to 1806)
  • In 1790 census, he was listed as head of family of six
  • Justice of the Burke County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in 1792
  • County coroner in 1796
  • Field Grade Officer in the Burke Regiment prior to 1800
  • Member of the 14th Company, part of the First Burke Regiment, in 1812
  • Owned 640 acres in Burke County in 1778
 
(15) Hugh Tate (1806 to 1808)
  • Lived June 15, 1772 to March 27, 1816; died at the age of 44
  • Became sheriff twice
  • Father was Samuel Robert Tate, born May 24, 1730 in Londonderry, Ulster, England and died March 23, 1813 in Burke County, N.C.
  • Mother was Elizabeth Caldwell, born November 29, 1733 in Derry County, Ireland and died January 8, 1818 in Burke County, N.C.
  • Paternal grandparents were Robert Le Tate (b. approx. 1695 in France) and Jane McClelland
  • Siblings Samuel Houston II; John J.; Margaret; Robert; William; Catherine; David; Elizabeth; Washington; Elijah; and Benjamin
  • Migrated to Burke County in 1789 with three brothers (John, William, and David) from Augusta County, Virginia
  • Established a tavern and store in Morganton
  • Married Margaret Erwin, daughter of Colonel James Erwin
  • Owned 15 slaves in 1810
  • His brother, William, married the only daughter of Captain John Bowman (Burke County's second sheriff)
  • Six sons and three daughters
  • One son was Dr. Samuel Tate (1798 - 1873) who later moved to Cherokee County; another son, William Caldwell Tate (b. December 25, 1808 - d. March 11, 1869) married Adeline Massey
  • He and wife, Margaret, are buried in the Old Quaker Meadows Cemetery
  • His home was on the hill now occupied by the residence of T. Henry Wilson off Tate Street in Morganton
 
(16) Hodge Rayburn (1808 to 1811)
  • Lived 1759 to 1847
  • 1790 census listed as head of family of four
  • Did not live in present Burke County, lived in what is presently McDowell County
  • Member of the North Carolina General Assembly in 1804 - Representative
  • North Carolina Senator from 1812 to 1813
  • Field grade officer prior to 1800
 
(17) Hugh Tate (1811 to 1813)
  • Became sheriff twice (See Number 15 above)
 
(18) Athan Allen McDowell (1813 to 1815)
  • Born October 27, 1790 and died July 22, 1832
  • Second son of General Charles McDowell (b. October 28, 1743 in Winchester, Frederick County, Virginia - d. March 31, 1815 in Burke County, N.C.)
  • Mother was Grace Grizzell Greenlee McDowell (b. approx. 1740 and died May 13, 1823)
  • Paternal grandfather was Joseph McDowell (b. 1715 in Ulster, England - d. approx 1770 in Burke County); paternal grandmother was Margaret O'Neill McDowell (b. approx 1717 in County Tyrone, Ireland - d. 1790 in Burke County, N.C.)
  • Maternal grandparents were James Greenlee (b. 1707 in Ireland - d. 1757); and Mary Elizabeth McDowell (b. November 17, 1707 in Ireland - d. March 14, 1809 in Rockbridge County, Virginia)
  • Siblings were Margaret; Charles; Sarah; and James
  • Married Ann Nancy Ballard Gordon (b. October 3, 1793 - d. Dec. 1, 1822) in 1816, daughter of Major Charles Gordon (1750-1799) and Mary Lenoir (1772-1859) who was daughter of General William Lenoir (1751-1839)
  • Lived in "Quaker Meadows"
  • North Carolina Senator in 1815
  • Second Major in the Burke Militia in 1814
  • Member of the 14th Company, part of the First Burke Regiment in 1812
 
(19) Mark Brittain (1815 to 1824)
  • North Carolina Senator in 1831 and again in 1833
  • Only one of two sheriff's between 1777 and 1874 to serve as long as eight years
  • District Captain of the First Regiment of the Burke Militia in 1810
 
(20) Samuel McDowell Tate (1824 to 1829)
  • Nephew of Sheriff Hugh Tate
  • First cousin to Sheriff Samuel Caldwell Tate
  • Never married
 
(21) Samuel Caldwell Tate (1829 to 1830)
  • Lived January 30, 1801 to October 6, 1834; died at the age of 34
  • Justice of the Burke County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in 1831
  • Owned 19 slaves in 1830
  • Married his first cousin, Elizabeth Ann Tate (daughter of Burke County Sheriff Hugh Tate) on April 13, 1829. They had three children.
  • He obtained the rank of Colonel in the Burke Militia
  • Secretary of the Commission to build a Burke County Courthouse in 1833
  • On December 10, 1829, he was a charter member and master of the Rising Sun Lodge #100 Masonic Lodge in Burke County
 
(22) William Clairborne Butler (1830 to 1832)
  • Lived 1802 to 1841
  • First sheriff elected by popular vote
  • Served the first full two-year term
  • Sheriff during the trial of Frankie Silvers
 
(23) John Boone (1832 to 1837)
  • Born September 19, 1789 and died November 22, 1837
  • Parents were Jonathan Boone and Susannah Nixon
  • Married Isabella (Ibby) Kincaid; September 26, 1794 - March 9, 1843
  • Sheriff during the hanging of Frankie Silvers on July 12, 1833 on Damon's Hill in Morganton
  • Died in office of natural causes
  • Buried off Hwy. 18 North in Chesterfield
  • Did not live in present Burke County, lived in what is presently Caldwell County
  • Reportedly a great-nephew of Daniel Boone
  • Member of the 14th Company, part of the First Burke regiment, in 1812
 
(24) John Henry Pearson (1838 to 1846)
  • Lived 1809 to 1871
  • Democrat
  • Operated a grist mill on Silver Creek that produced 3,300 bushels of meal and 20,000 pounds of flour annually
  • His home, outbuildings, and mill were burned after supplies were stolen in 1865 by Union troops under the command of Major General Alvan C. Gillem
  • North Carolina Representative in 1860
 
(25) Alexander Duckworth (1846 to 1848)
  • Born August 10, 1798 and died July 29, 1877
  • Parents were John Duckworth (b. 1759 in Frederick, Virginia - d. November 6, 1843 in Burke County, N.C.); and Mary Robinson or Robertson (b. 1755 in Virginia - d. September 20, 1839 in Burke County)
  • Paternal grandparents were William Duckworth (b. approx. 1735 in Frederick County, Virginia - d. approx. 1771 in Mecklenburg County, N.C.); and Jane Woolverton (b. in Burlington County, New Jersey and died in North Carolina)
  • Paternal great-grandparents were John Duckworth (b. approx. 1714 in Burlington County, Virginia - d. approx 1757 in Frederick County, Virginia) and Sarah Hankins
  • Siblings Mary; Althea; Sarah; William; John R.; Jonathan; and Thomas
  • Married Nancy Van Horn in 1818
  • Child Jonathan A. Duckworth was born February 11, 1821
  • Whig
  • Became sheriff twice
  • Burke County Trustee from 1849 to 1850
  • Trustee of the Morganton Academy, the first high school in Burke County, in 1845
  • Sheriff at the time, and present in the courtroom, when Morganton attorney William Waightstill Avery, age 35, shot and killed Samuel Fleming, a Burnsville merchant, in the Burke County Courthouse
  • Avery was found not guilty based on a plea of "temporary insanity" in less than one week of the killing
 
(26) Milton Wellborn Kincaid (1848 to 1850)
  • Democrat
  • Justice of the Burke County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in 1855
  • Charter member of the Catawba Valley Lodge #100 Masonic Lodge in 1851
 
(27) Alexander Duckworth (1850 to 1854)
  • Whig
  • Became sheriff twice (See Number 25 above)
 
(28) Joseph Brittain (1854 to 1860)
  • Democrat
  • Wife Catherine; children Delia; Julius; and Clark M.
  • He owned one of only six stores operating in Morganton two years after the Civil War
  • Justice of the Burke County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in 1866
 
(29) Bartlett A. Berry (1860 to 1865)
  • Became sheriff three times
  • Married: Myra Ann Hennesee b. 1839
  • In the 1870's and 1880's he operated a grist mill on Ward's Creek in the Lovelady Township
  • North Carolina Senator in 1883
  • County Commissioner from 1874 to 1878
 
(30) John Tyler Patterson (1865)
  • Born in 1832 in Virginia
  • Whig
  • Became sheriff twice
  • Married Eliza McRee
  • Justice of the Burke County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in 1865
  • Democratic Burke County Commissioner in 1870
 
(31) Bartlett A. Berry (1865 to 1868)
  • Democrat
  • Became sheriff three times (See Number 29 above)
 
(32) Joel Cloud (1868)
  • Lived December 22, 1830 to June 2, 1908
  • Son of Ransome Pinkney (b. June 9, 1805 - d. October 25, 1850) and Katrina (Catherine) Hildebrand (b. February 10, 1806 - d. May 9, 1895)
  • Maternal grandparents were Conrad Hildebrand (b. May 28, 1741 in Pennsylvania - d. July 29, 1824 in Burke County, N.C.); and Elizabeth Mull (b. July 9, 1766 in Burke County, N.C. - d. March 16, 1854 in Burke County, N.C.)
  • Maternal great-grandparents were John Mull (b. January 25, 1742 in Pennsylvania - d. January 25, 1831 in Catawba, N.C.); and Anna Maria Anthony (b. July 9, 1749 - d. April 7, 1841)
  • Siblings were Terrel; Nancy Elizabeth (Betty); Catherine Mira (Katie); Sophronia; John Osborne; Abel; Sarah Emily; and Mary Ann
  • He was 6' 2" tall with gray eyes
  • Operated a saw mill in Lower Fork Township
  • Operated a liquor store in Morganton
  • Married Angeline Huffman and they had four children
  • Republican
  • Justice of the Burke County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in 1865
  • Nicknamed "Turncoat" during the Civil War because he wore a reversible overcoat
  • Buried at St. John's Baptist Church cemetery located on Hwy. 18 South
 
(33) John Tyler Patterson (1868 to 1870)
  • Conservative
  • Became sheriff twice (See Number 30 above)
 
(34) Robert Caldwell Perkins (1870 to 1871)
  • Lived 1825 to 1904
  • Democrat
  • County Register from 1860 to 1866
  • Justice on the Burke County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in 1865
  • In 1852, traveled with a party from Burke County to California in search of gold
  • In 1860, he and Donald Fraser, a Scotsman, formed a partnership to run a store in Morganton
 
(35) Eli Peyton Moore (1871 to 1874)
  • Democrat
  • Married Elizabeth Ann "Lizzie" Neely (b. 1837; d. 1874) in 1858 in York Co., SC
  • Child: Thomas Peyton Moore b. 1859
  • Justice of the Burke County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in 1867
  • Burke County Warden of the Poor in 1867
  • Captain in Civil War
  • Click here to read Moore's obituary as printed in 1911
 
(36) Joseph Brittain (1874 to 1882)
  • Democrat
  • Grandfather was Sheriff Peter Mull
  • Father was Sheriff Mark Brittain
 
(37) John A. Lackey (1882 to 1886)
  • Born April 19, 1853 near Fallston, North Carolina
  • Democrat
  • He and his brother owned a tobacco factory in Icard in 1884
  • Managed the Catawba Valley Canning Company in Morganton in 1908
  • During is campaign for sheriff, his opponents tried to accuse him of not paying his tuition at Rutherford College and of being a member of the KKK
  • In 1891, his home was sold to the State as part of the new school for the deaf
  • In July 1893, he bought 209 acres in Quaker Meadows from Samuel M. Tate
  • In September 1893, his wife Sarah (Sally) L. Peeler Lackey died, leaving him with eight small children
  • He remarried in 1894 to Sarah J. Benfield (widow of Charles M. Benfield)
  • He served as president of Farmers Union Warehouse in Burke County
  • His residence is the brick house located at the entrance to Camelot on Bost Road
  • In July 1907, his second wife died. He married again in June 1908 to Lillie M. Roderick
  • He was treasurer of Oak Hill United Methodist Church for many years
  • Died on June 19, 1921
  • He and his three wives are buried at Oak Hill United Methodist Church cemetery located on Hwy. 181 North
 
(38) Bartlett A. Berry (1886 to 1888)
  • Democrat
  • Served as a private in the 2nd Regiment, Company C in the Spanish American war
  • Became sheriff three times (See Number 29 and 31 above)
 
(39) Thomas Monroe Webb (1888 to 1898)
  • Lived 1830 to 1909
  • Republican
  • Traveled to California in 1852 in search of gold with a party from Burke County. They traveled by ship from Charleston to Chagres, Panama by way of Havana, crossed the Isthmus by land and re-embarked for San Francisco
  • Owned the land presently occupied by the Mimosa Hills Country Club and Golf Course
  • In 1889, two men (a black man named Boone and a white man named Franklin Stack), both accused of different murders, were taken from their jail cells by an angry mob and hanged on the Railroad Bridge at Rand Street. This is the only lynching in Burke County history.
 
(40) Charles Manly McDowell (1898 to 1906)
  • Lived August 9, 1861 to May 27, 1921
  • Democrat
  • Son of James Charles Sheffield McDowell (b. April 22, 1831 - d. 1863); and Julia Manly McDowell
  • Grandparents were Governor Charles Manly McDowell (b. December 27, 1775 - d. October 5, 1859); and Annie McDowell (b. October 25, 1793 - d. November 1, 1859)
  • Great-grandson of General Charles McDowell, Revolutionary War officer (b. October 28, 1743 - d. March 31, 1815); and Grace Greenlee (b. unknown - d. May 18, 1823)
  • Operated a dairy on Table Rock Road
  • Married Matilda Falls (b. July 16, 1872 - d. December 25, 1920)
  • One of the owners of the Burke County Telephone Company
  • Appointed by President Wilson as a Federal Revenue Agent
  • He and his wife are buried in Grace Episcopal Church cemetery
 
(41) Forrest C. Berry (1906 to 1916)
  • Democrat
  • Served as North Carolina Representative in 1937
 
(42) Dan A. Johnson (1916 to 1922)
  • Born May 23, 1868 to parents, John and Patsy Abernathy Johnson
  • Republican
  • Burke County Commissioner from 1912 to 1916
  • He attended school through the 4th grade
  • Operated a saw mill at Baker's Mountain
  • Operated a Big General Store
  • Member of Wilkies Grove Baptist Church
 
(43) Richard "Dick" Venable Michaux (1922 to 1925)
  • Born March 3, 1881 and died August 25, 1945
  • Father was William Macon Michaux (b. April 24, 1855 in Burke County, N.C. - d. March 29, 1930 in Burke County, N.C.); mother was Martha Robinson Henderson (b. September 25, 1858 - December 17, 1937 in Burke County, N.C.)
  • Paternal grandparents were Richard Venable Michaux (b. approx. 1798 in Charlotte County, Virginia - d. 1900 in Burke County); and Susan Forney Perkins (b. unknown - d. 1900)
  • Siblings William Macon; Charles Henderson; John; Mary Macon; Cornelia; Augusta; Nell; and Kathleen
  • Democrat
  • 6'4" tall
  • Served as chairman of the Burke County Democratic Party
  • In 1931 became the State Highway Commissioner for Burke County
  • Member of Grace Episcopal Church of Morganton
  • He and wife, Lucy Lynn had four sons and three daughters
  • Died of a heart attack and was buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Morganton
 
(44) Julian McDowell Walton (1925 to 1926)
  • Born approximately 1884; date of death unknown
  • Parents were Thomas (b. July 11, 1849 in Brookwood Plantation, Burke County, N.C. - d. 1922); and Annie Manly McDowell (b. June 17, 1858 in Burke County - d. approx. 1880)
  • Siblings James McDowell; William McEntire; Charles Manly; Basil Manly; Thomas; Hal Murphy; Anita Doane; Louisie Tilghman; Cora McDowell; and Lola
  • Married to Lelia Alexander (b. approx 1890 in Morganton, N.C. - date of death approx. 1920)
  • Democrat
 
(45) John Julius (Jule) Hallyburton (1926 to 1928)
  • Born June 21, 1888; died October 12, 1969
  • Father: Robert Julius Hallyburton b. Oct. 13, 1853 Burke Co.
  • Mother: Margaret Elizabeth Suddreth b. Mar. 12, 1857 Burke Co.
  • Married: Pearl V. Hall on Dec. 30, 1924
  • Democrat
  • Burke County Commissioner from 1952 to 1956
  • Commission Chairman from 1952 to 1954
  • Was sheriff when Gladys Kincaid, a 15 year old girl, was assaulted and beaten to death with an iron pipe near Fox Street in Morganton. The suspect, Broadus Miller, was shot and killed near Linville Falls on July 3, 1927 by a posse formed by Sheriff Hallyburton and his deputies. Miller's body was brought back to Morganton and dragged through town behind a vehicle.
 
(46) Homer Ballengee (1928 to 1930)
  • Republican
 
(47) Fred William Ross (1930 to 1937)
  • Democrat
  • Burke County Sheriff when Deputy Elmore Wilson was killed in a shootout on Snow Hill Church Road with a moonshiner
  • Suffered a heart attack on his wife's 50th birthday. He died three days later while in office. His wife, Nina Corpening Ross, served out his term.
 
(48) Nina Corpening Ross (1937 to 1938)
  • Democrat
  • Born October 5, 1887
  • Burke County's only female sheriff
  • North Carolina's second female sheriff
  • Died in August, 1975 at the age of 87
 
(49) Paul M. Dale (1938 to 1942)
  • Born November 9, 1905
  • Parents: Arthur and Mary Patton Dale
  • Democrat
  • First sheriff to serve a full four-year term
 
(50) Richard C. Chapman (1942 to 1946)
  • Republican
  • Born October 7, 1882
  • Owned a farm on Watershed Road off of Enola Road
  • Died March, 1967
 
(51) Ray Sigmon (1946 to 1962)
  • Democrat
  • Born July 12, 1904
  • Longest serving Burke County Sheriff (16 years)
  • Died November, 1973 at the age of 69
 
(52) David Oaks (1962 to 1966)
1964? Departmental Photo
  • Republican
  • First sheriff in Burke County to be killed in the line of duty at the age of 44 on August 21, 1966
  • County Coroner became the sheriff following the death of Sheriff Oaks until the County Commissioners appointed Chief Deputy Alvin H. Wise to complete the term of Sheriff Oaks.
  • Boyce Liverett was convicted and imprisoned for life for the murder of Sheriff Oaks. Liverett died in 1989.
  • David Oaks' son, Wally, is presently a Burke County deputy
 
(53) Alvin H. Wise (1966 to 1974)
1970 Departmental Photo
  • Changed his politics from Democrat to Republican after Sheriff Oaks' death in order to run for sheriff on the Republican ticket
  • Stepped down before his term was complete due to health reasons
 
(54) Lee Brittain (1974)
  • Republican
  • Born July 17, 1932
  • Served out the term of Sheriff Alvin H. Wise
  • Retired as a Valdese Police Officer
  • Died of cancer on August 7, 2002
 
(55) Jerry Richards (1974 to 1988)
1976 Departmental Photo
1979 Departmental Photo
  • Born March 19, 1938 in Cleveland County
  • Democrat
  • North Carolina Highway Patrolman for 13 years prior to being elected sheriff
  • FBI Academy graduate
  • Veteran U.S. Marine Corps
  • Retired two years into his fourth term in office
  • Married Edna "Pete" Mull Richards and had two sons
  • Died August 5, 1998 at the age of 60 after long battle with cancer
  • Buried at El Bethel Baptist Church cemetery on Hwy. 181 North
 
(56) Ralph Johnson (1988 to 1994)
  • Democrat
  • Served out the fourth term of Sheriff Jerry Richards
  • Elected sheriff in 1990
  • Retired as the Western North Carolina Supervisor for the North Carolina Unauthorized Substance Tax under the North Carolina Department of Revenue
 
(57) Richard Epley (1994 to 1998)
1995 Departmental Photo
  • Republican
  • Served as Morganton Public Safety Officer and Burke County Deputy prior to being elected Sheriff
 
(58) John T. McDevitt (1998 to 2011)
 
  • Democrat
  • Served three terms as Sheriff of Burke County and was elected to a fourth term
  • Retired June 2011 with 35 years in law enforcement
  • Instrumental in researching and making public the history of each Sheriff elected in Burke County's history
  • Served on numerous boards and committees, many of which in leadership roles
  • Received numerous awards and honors while serving as Sheriff
 
(59) Steve E. Whisenant (2011 to present)
 
***Special thanks to the Burke County Public Library, Dottie Ervin, Gail Benfield, Wayne Hitt, and Lauren Whisenant for their tireless efforts in researching for this site.