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Monday, July 28, 2014
Sheriff's Department
Contact: Phil Miller - Sheriff
8470 Earl D. Lee Boulevard - Douglas County Sheriff's Department
Douglasville, Georgia 30134
Phone: 770.942.2121


The Douglas County Sheriff's Department is a full-service agency that provides law enforcement for all of Douglas County. The City of Douglasville Police Department is the primary law enforcement agency within the incorporated City, but the Douglas County Sheriff's Department cooperates with and supports the Police Department when requested.

Organization Structure of the Douglas County Sheriff's Department

Administration (directed by the Chief Deputy)
  • Information Services
  • Personnel
  • Purchasing
  • Training
Corrections (directed by a Major)
  • Court Services
  • Detention
  • Warrant Fugitive

Law Enforcement (directed by a Major)
  • Criminal Investigations
  • Special Investigations
  • Uniform Patrol


Web Site
The Douglas County Sheriff's Department maintains its own independent web site: www.sheriff.douglas.ga.us which is accessible from the area to the right of this narrative.

The Sheriffs of Douglas County - Compiled by Joe Baggett
Douglas County's first sheriff was Thomas Hurt Selman, who served for one term from 1871 - 72. As a small boy, he came with his parents to the Chapel Hill community from Spartanburg County, S.C. Selman was the first of eight Confederate veterans to serve as sheriff.

Up until his death in 1922, Tom Selman was active in the affairs of Douglasville and Douglas County, serving as county treasurer and operating Selman Brothers, grocers, hardware and feed stuffs. His brother, Dr. Joe Selman, was Douglasville's first permanent druggist. The store was at the former site of B&W Rexall Drugs.

Elected at the age of 25, Selman was the youngest sheriff in county history. He and his wife, Imogene Winifred Arnold, were the parents of five children.

Douglas County's second sheriff was Evan R. Whitley, 1821 - 78, who had served as deputy under Tom Selman. Whitley moved to Campbellton from Greene County, GA, where he had been a slave dealer before the Civil War. During the war he served as captain of Co. E, 35th GA Infantry. He is buried in Douglasville.

Whitley, who served as sheriff from 1873 - 74 and 1877 - 78, died with one week remaining in his second term. He and his wife, Mary Rice, were the parents of John J. Whitley (grandfather of Mrs. Henley Hutcheson of Douglasville) and Dr. Thomas Rice Whitley. Dr. Whitley served in the state legislature and was a co-founder of Douglasville College. His adopted son founded J. Cowan Whitley Funeral Home in Douglasville.

Henry M. Mitchell, Jr., born in 1837 in what is now Douglas County, served as the third sheriff of Douglas County in 1875 - 76 in the Reconstruction era following the Civil War. He returned to farming after his term at his farm between Beulah and Lithia Springs.

His wife was Sarah E. Stewart.

Following the second term of Evan R. Whitley, George M. Souter served as sheriff from 1879 - 80. Born in South Carolina in 1834, he came to Georgia at the age of 19 and served in the Civil War. As his second wife he married Silvey Elizabeth Stewart, whose sister had married Sheriff Henry M. Mitchell. Souter died in 1902. At his death, he was superintendent of the county poor farm on Chicago Avenue.

William T. Lindley, born in 1846 near Campbellton, served as sheriff from 1881 - 82. A farmer living near Winston, he married Mary Ann Henderson. Lindley died in 1918 and is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetary in Arley, AL. The Lindleys moved to Alabama in the 1880s.

Lindley's sisters Eliza Enterkin, Caroline Strickland and Lucinda Strickland left descendants in Douglasville and around the Fairplay community.

James W. Brown, 1844 - 1908, was born in Rome, GA, and served as sheriff from 1883 - 84. He and his wife, Victoria Annie Whitley, were the parents of nine children. During his last years, he earned his livelihood as a landlord at Chapel Hill.

A Confederate veteran, he is buried at what was formerly known as New Hope Baptist Church, now Chapel Hill Baptist Church.

Henry Ward, born in Meriwether County in 1845, settled at Villa Rica after the Civil War. There he operated a grist mill, and he continued milling after the creation of Douglas County in 1870 and placed his home in the new county.

Ward, who died in 1911, is buried in Douglasville with his wife Mary Conner, whose family gave their name to Conners Road near Villa Rica.

Serving from 1885 - 90 and 1893 - 1900, Ward's second term saw the 1893 murder by ambush of William K. Glover, a former marshall and postmaster, at Lithia Springs. The murder of 42 year old Glover was never solved.

Ward was the father of nine children, including John Henry Ward who served as deputy under his father before moving to Cordele, where was elected sheriff of Crisp County in 1912. Most of this family moved to North Carolina and south Georgia.

Fred Aderhold, Jr., born in 1846 in the Chestnut Log district, served as sheriff from 1891 - 92. During his term a new jail was built (by Manley Manufacturing Co. of Dalton), which lasted until 1954.

Aderhold, who operated a saloon in Douglasville at the turn of the century while at the same time serving as deputy sheriff, died in 1920 and is buried in Douglasville with his wife, Mary Sue Edge.

Aderhold, whose father was a pioneer miller who settled here in the 1830s from North Carolina and operated Aderhold's Mill near the Chattahoochee River, was the last Confederate veteran to serve as sheriff.

Robert E. Lee James, 1865 - 1949, is buried in Douglasville with his wife Eugenia Baggett. He was the youngest son of pioneer settler Stephen James of Chestnut Log and was the brother of Douglasville's first mayor, Joe James. At the time of his election as sheriff, Robert. E Lee James served as clerk of Douglas County Superior Court. He served as sheriff from 1901 - 02.

Rob and Eugenia James were the parents of five children. One grandchild is former Board of Education Chairman Thelma Turley of Lithia Springs.

Middleton LaFayette Hathcock, born in 1862 in Old Campbell (south Fulton) County, served from 1903 - 04. Before his election, he served for two terms as state representative from Douglas County.

A farmer, his home was at Chapel Hill while he lived in Douglas County with his wife Hattie and children.

Charles W. McGouirk, 1853 - 1930, buried at County Line Church with wife Jessie Winn, was the son of William N. and Elizabeth Baggett McGouirk. The elder McGouirk served as sheriff of Old Campbell County for eight years before the Civil War and for two years after the war.

Following his term as sheriff from 1905 - 1910, McGouirk moved to Carroll County.

Alfred Seawright Baggett, in office from 1911 - 32, holds the longest record as sheriff of Douglas County. He also holds the record for most election victories, since terms were formerly for two years instead of the present four years.

Born in 1875 in Coweta County, he came to Douglas County with his parents in 1881. The homeplace was at the intersection of Interstate 20 and Chapel Hill Road.

Beginning his career as merchant in Douglasville, Seawright Baggett married Coburn Morris and became father of eight children: Edwin, Julia House, Virginia Morris, Bill, James, John, Mary McKelvey and Dan.

In sentencing convicted persons, Circuit Judge A. L. Bartlett is reported in newspaper accounts to have said, "To the Baggett House I commit you, and may the Lord have mercy on your soul." The jail at the present site of the Douglasville Police Department also served as the family's home. Deputies included Luke Bartlett and W. T. Mozley.

Baggett also served as Douglasville postmaster, chairman of the county Democratic Party and state revenue agent. He died in 1959.

Mac Claude Abercrombie, Sr., who died in 1994 at age 90, served as county sheriff from 1933 - 52. He defeated Seawright Baggett in the 1932 election by 24 votes.

Abercrombie started business in 1923 with a grocery store on Broad Street, later moving to Church Street near his father's barn and blacksmith shop. At the time of his election, he operated a dairy on Fairburn Road at Dura Lee Lane. His deputies included Fred Waldrop, Fred Milam and A. M. Howell.

Abercrombie retired to operate a stable at the corner of Church Street and Club Drive, now the county jail parking lot, and later owned Timber Ridge Stables. He and his wife Betty were the parents of Claude, Joyce and Cathy.

Joe Hunter Harding, 1890 - 1954, won a close four-man race in 1952. A widower, the Douglasville native was sheriff when the "old jail" was opened in 1954 on Church Street.

The oldest man elected county sheriff (63), he was a familiar figure with a cigar clenched in his teeth. His deputies included Ollie Browning, Robert Parr, Howard Daniell, Clyde Gable and J. Cowan Whitley. Harding was defeated for re-election in 1956, coming fourth out of seven candidates.

O. M. "Monk" Redding, born in Haralson County in 1913, lived most of his life in Carroll and Douglas counties, where he operated several restaurants. The most famous was the Rock Inn Cafe near Villa Rica.

Redding was elected in a wide-open race in 1956. The most famous case of his term took place in 1958 when Billy Homer Ferguson was charged in the slaying of television repairman Luke Brown. Ferguson was sentenced to death four times in the case.

Redding, whose deputies included James R. Rainwater and J. B. Cooper, won re-election in 1960 over Claude Abercrombie, Red Hembree and Floyd Terry. He died of a heart attack in July 1963.

Lucille Redding was appointed to fill out the unexpired term of her husband in 1963 by Ordinary Robert Abercrombie. In the Democratic primary in August, she beat Claude Abercrombie, R. L. Smith and E. L. Smith.

Aged 46 at the time of her election, she became the first woman to be elected sheriff in Georgia history. (Thirty-two years earlier, Lula Duggan Camp was appointed to succeed her husband, Thomas W. Camp of Campbell County.)

Following her term, Mrs. Redding retired to the family business, later operated by her son, Burnell Redding, and his family.

Mac Claude Abercrombie, Jr., born in 1929, served as sheriff for two terms from 1965 - 72. In 1964 he outpolled opponents James Rainwater, J. B. Cooper, Jesse Pilgrim and Eddie W. Cosby in his third try for office.

The son of former Sheriff Mac Abercrombie, he was associated with his father's horse and feed business from 1947 and was later livestock and real estate dealer.

Abercrombie was first elected as a county commissioner in 1992. His wife Vickie is a teacher. He is the father of five children.

Earl D. Lee, 1931 - 1998, married Betty Belcher and worked in his father-in-law's feed and grocery business before running as a deputy with Claude Abercrombie in 1960 when two candidates for deputy ran on a ticket with a candidate for sheriff. When Abercrombie was elected in 1964, Lee became chief deputy.

In the 1972 election, the Lithia Springs native ran for the top post in a hot political contest. Lee won 3,873 votes to Abercrombie's 3,032. Retiring at the end of 1992, he made an unsuccessful attempt at a comeback in 1996 but was hampered by poor health.

Innovations during Lee's term included a S.W.A.T. team and in-service training. His investigative techniques, including work on the Atlanta missing and murdered children's case, were widely recognized. During his term, the new county jail was opened on May 13, 1993.

Lee and his wife, Betty, were the parents of three daughters.

Tommy Waldrop of Winston took office as Sheriff in January 1993 at the age of 55, defeating former Chief Deputy Ron Shadix in the Democratic primary and former Deputy Mike Nolin in the general election. He was re-elected in 1996.

A fifth-generation Winston farmer, Waldrop retired from the Georgia State Patrol in 1989 after 32 years in law enforcement, including 20 years as post commander at Post No. 4 in Villa Rica. Innovations during his first year included new patrol cars and uniforms and expansion of the jail facility, which continued during his second term.

Waldrop's father, Fred, was a deputy in the department for more than 24 years.

Waldrop and his wife, Elaine, are the parents of five children, all of whom have been active in showing cattle raised on the Waldrop farm in Winston.

IMPORTANT LINKS
- Douglas County Sheriff's Department Web Site
The Douglas County Sheriff's Department maintains an independent web site.

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