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    Former Sheriffs from 1914-2000

      N.C. Mann
    1914-1918
     

    N.C. Mann was born April 18, 1879 in Tarrant County and worked on a farm for several years.  He later worked with the North Texas Traction Company.

    His public service began with the city of Fort Worth’s Fire Department.  A change in Fort Worth’s Fire Department’s administration sent him to the Fort Worth Police Department.  Mann was next elected as Tarrant County Constable.  He was elected Sheriff of Tarrant County in November, 1914 and 1916 completing his term in November 1918.

     

      Sterling Preston Clark
    1918-1920
     

    See first term, 1896-1902.

     

      Carl Smith
    1920-1929
     

    Carl Smith was a native of Tarrant County.  He was first elected Sheriff on November 2, 1920 and was re-elected in 1924 and 1926.  He was defeated by J.R. “Red” Wright in 1928.

    During Sheriff Smith’s first two administrations, the average population of the County Jail was about 80 prisoners.  The High Sheriff would always provide a complete turkey dinner every Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    After a very bitter campaign and loss to Red Wright, who was supported by W.T. Waggoner, Carl Smith ran for Sheriff once more in 1934 when Sheriff Wright became U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Texas.  Sheriff Smith died in office on August 10, 1936.

    The Sheriff’s Office today still has a Texas 1836-1936 Centennial carving with Carl Smith’s name on it on display in the third floor trophy case.  In a 1921 Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office picture, Sheriff Smith is surrounded by his employees and former Sheriffs’ Sterling P. Clark (age 60 at the time), W.M. Rea (age 71 at the time) and Nance Mann (42 at the time).  Also pictured are future Sheriff’s A.H. “Dusty” Rhodes and A.B. Carter.

     

      J.R. "Red" Wright
    1929-1933
     

    J.R. “Red” Wright’s path to becoming Sheriff is tied to the folklore of Tarrant County. He and his brother had a filling station in Arlington across from Ross Downs when W.T. Waggoner passed through. Apparently he was coming from the horse track in his chauffeured car and stopped for gas.  Evidently, Mr. Waggoner was a good friend of J.R. Wright and asked if he would like to be the  Sheriff of Tarrant County. The rest is history when Waggoner supported him in the upcoming bitter election between Carl Smith and Wright.  It was a victory soon tainted by tragedy when Bonnie and Clyde passed through Tarrant County.

    On January 6, 1933, Tarrant County Sheriff’s Deputies Malcolm Davis, Dusty Rhodes, Walter Evans and D.A. Investigator Fred Bradberry, along with Dallas County Sheriff Deputies and Special Texas Ranger J.F.Van Noy went to 507 County Avenue in an unincorporated area west of Dallas to investigate a Grapevine bank robbery, which had occurred the week before.

    Around midnight, a car with two men and a woman pulled into the driveway of the home.  A woman inside the house shouted out a warning about the officers in and around the house and a gun battle erupted.  Tarrant County Sheriff’s Deputy Malcolm Davis ran from behind the house and was shot in the abdomen by a shotgun blast, killing him instantly.  The notorious Dallas killer Clyde Barrow is attributed with firing the fatal shot.

    Tarrant County Sheriff J.R. “Red” Wright, Texas Ranger Captain Tom Hickman and Dallas County Sheriff Smoot Schmidt directed the investigation and searched for the killers.

    Sheriff J.R. “Red” Wright further distinguished himself in law enforcement by becoming the U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Texas.

     

      C.D. Little
    1933-1935
     

    C.D. Little was elected in the heart of the Great American Depression.  The Office of Sheriff was further complicated by a scarcity of County operating funds and general unrest by the unemployed population.

    Both the county and local jails were at full capacity with minor criminals from all walks of life. In 1933, all forms of unemployment benefits were stopped for about 6,000 Fort Worth residents.  Sheriff Little armed Tarrant County Sheriff Deputies with gas bombs and shotguns in an effort to disperse the large, unruly crowd that was assembled in the downtown streets.   Eventually, the angry crowd broke up and left the downtown area.

    In 1936, there were allegations of vote tampering by Sheriff Little and others in his party in the primary elections.  Sheriff Little was eventually exonerated, but the damage was done and he lost the election to the former Sheriff, Carl Smith.

     

      Carl Smith
    1935-1936
     

    See first time he held office, 1920-1929.  Sheriff Smith died on August 10, 1936 while holding the Office of Sheriff.

     

      Arthur B. Carter
    1936-1943
     

    Arthur B. Carters’ career started as Constable for Lake Worth and Azle, in which he served for 14 years.  Carter also briefly served as an investigator for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office.

    In 1934, A.B. Carter ran for Sheriff and lost to Carl Smith in the Democratic runoff.  Carter shifted his support and campaigned for Carl Smith in the general election.  As a result of his help, Sheriff Smith gave A.B. Carter a job in the Sheriff’s Office.

    When Sheriff Smith died in office, A.B. Carter received support from all of the deputies to replace the deceased Sheriff Smith.  Commissioners Court appointed A.B. Carter to fulfill the remaining term.  When Carter accepted the appointment, he pledged to donate half of his first year’s salary, if re-elected, to the two sisters of Carl Smith.

    Sheriff Carter was small in stature, but described by fellow law enforcement officers as quick to act and very rugged.  Sheriff Carter was elected again in 1938 and 1940.  He eventually lost to Dusty Rhodes in 1942 by only a few votes.  A.B. Carter rejoined the Sheriff's Office under the administration of Sheriff Sully Montgomery from 1947 until the 1950’s as a Deputy.

     

      Dusty Rhodes
    1942-1947
     

    Dusty Rhodes first became a peace officer in 1919.  Dusty Rhodes served as a Deputy Sheriff in several Sheriff's Office administrations.  After his terms as Sheriff, he served three terms as a Tarrant County Constable.

     

      James Ralph "Sully" Montgomery
    1947-1953
     

    James R. “Sully” Montgomery grew up on Fort Worth’s north side.  Mr. Montgomery played football and boxed in the Golden Gloves.  He also played college football and went on to be a professional player for three years.  Sully next boxed professionally for twelve years.  His heavyweight career ended when Jack Dempsey defeated him.

    Sully Montgomery first held office as the Constable of Precinct 1 in 1942.  After two terms as Constable, Montgomery was elected Sheriff of Tarrant County.  Sheriff Montgomery held office during some of Tarrant County’s more notorious days of gangsters and widespread gambling.

    After leaving the Sheriff’s Office, Sully Montgomery bought a franchise for coffee, tea and chocolate vending machines.  In 1956, Sully Montgomery was appointed Chief Deputy in a constable’s office.  He held that position until he died on September 6, 1970 at the age of 69.

     

      Harlan Wright
    1953-1961
     

    Harlan Wright was a native of Tarrant County and grew up in Fort Worth’s north side.  Wright owned a wholesale meat company and lived in the Oak Hurst area of Riverside.

    Harlan Wright was first elected Sheriff of Tarrant County on November 4, 1952.  Up until 1956, all County-wide elected positions were two year terms.  In 1956, the terms for Sheriff changed from two years to a four-year term.

    Sheriff Wright’s administration was centered around the heyday of the County’s infamous gangsters, their rackets and their deaths.  Chock Parrish and his wife were blown up in their 1957 Chevy.  Cecil Green was gunned down on a Jacksboro Highway club parking lot.  The Sheriff and Deputy Vernon Johnson found the body of “Mad Dog” “Tincy” Eggleston in a well off Watauga-Smithfield Road (now Western Center Boulevard).  Perhaps the  most cold-blooded killer in Tarrant County’s history was Gene Paul Norris, who was chased down and killed by Tarrant County Deputies and Fort Worth Police Officers.

    Lon Evans defeated Harlan Wright in the 1960 election.  The former Sheriff joined Southwestern Petroleum as a sales representative and died of a heart attack in 1970.  Sheriff Wright had gained recognition for such innovations as putting two-way radios in deputies’ vehicles.

     

      Lon Evans
    1961-1985

     

    Lon Evans was a TCU football player and All-Southwest Conference guard in 1932.  He also achieved All-American honorable mention the same year.  Next he played for the Green Bay Packers and was All-Pro in 1936 and 1937.  Sheriff Evans continued his love of the game as an official for a number of years.

    Sheriff Evans was elected president of the Sheriff’s Association of Texas in 1972 and was awarded the Tom Tellepsen Award at the Sheriff’s Association of Texas Convention.

    Sheriff Evans had the longest tenure of any Sheriff in the history of Tarrant County.  Sheriff Evans was held in high esteem by persons from all walks of life and initiated a number of programs and innovations while he held office.

     

      Don Carpenter
    1985-1992

     

    Don Carpenter was born in Post, Texas and was a Warrant Officer in the Sheriff’s Office when he ran on the Republican ticket.  It was the first time in the history of the Sheriff’s Office a Republican candidate won when voters put Carpenter in office over a former Fort Worth Police Chief.

    Carpenter held office for two terms, and retired to his ranch in Wise County, Texas.

     

      David E. Williams
    1992-2000

     

    David E. Williams was born and raised in Norman, Oklahoma.  His first contact with law enforcement was in the military.  He began his civilian law enforcement career in Oklahoma as a patrolman.

    Williams came to Texas to work as Security Director with the Kenneth Copeland Ministries.  His career continued at the Haltom City Police Department where he served as a patrolman, crime prevention officer and DARE officer.

    Williams was elected Sheriff of Tarrant County in 1992 and again in 1996.  He was defeated in the Republican primary for the 2000 election.