The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office had a unique system for jail inmates incarcerated for civil action called “Jail Limit Markers.” The Jail Limit Markers came into effect about 1840, after a law was established by the Court of Common Pleas. The markers created an area outside of the jail that allowed civil inmates to leave the jail to work, visit their family or carry out legitimate business matters. But, these inmates had to stay within the area formed by the jail limit markers. They were only allowed out of the jail between sunrise and sunset. The markers were not to exceed one mile in any direction from the jail. The last time the jail limit markers in Montgomery County were used was 1913.

Pictured to the left is a Jail Limit Marker that was discovered buried in the earth. It was recovered and placed in front of the new Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and Jail.
We thank Sheriff Mike Amato for this submission and he was also complimenting his efforts in researching the rich history of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.  







WANTED FOR MURDER Joseph Lupo – Alias Wolfe


This is a wanted post card – 31/2” – 51/2’’ – issued by Montgomery County Sheriff Seely Hodge and the New York State Police.




Sheriff Jacob Snell was Montgomery County’s 39th Sheriff.

Sheriff Snell served from 1885 – 1888. We thank current Sheriff Mike Amato for this submission.





Montgomery County Sheriff Elmer E. Folmsbee, the county’s 50th Sheriff, pulls into the Sheriff’s Office in his vintage 1918 automobile (if anyone knows the car’s manufacture please e-mail that info to me – Sheriff Folmsbee served from 1915-1918. We thank current Sheriff Mike Amato for this submission.





Schoharie County - Sheriff Henry "Dick" Steadman

Sheriff Steadman was shot and killed in the Court House on July 16, 1930 by a prisoner who was consealing a gun. It is interesting to note that the picture was taken only a few weeks before his untimely death as evidenced by the calender on the wall in the photo. Sheriff Steadman is honored on Police memorials in Albany and Washington.




Schoharie County - 1941 The entire staff of the Sheriff's Office, all 9 of them!

FRONT ROW, Left to Right
Roland Gage of Esperance, Bruce Craft of Stamford, Frank Stark of Schoharie, Claude VanWie of Schoharie, Henry Lipe of Sharon, Eli Shelmandine the Sheriff,
** Frank Stark is still alive and living in Schoharie.

SECOND ROW, Left to Right
Clint Earles of Central Bridge, Homer Hissey of Carlisle, Orville Foland of Cobleskill




Columbia County Deputy Sheriff William Hapeman gets his blood hound comfortable with a sent before they head into the woods after what was believed to be a burglar. Blood hounds, for the most part, were the first breed of dog introduced into modern police work. They were used exclusively for tracking. Columbia County Sheriff David Harrison believes this photo was taken in 1978 or 1979


Grover Cleveland is most remembered for being the only person in United States history to be elected President after being defeated as an incumbent President. His political career began with his election as Sheriff of Erie County in 1987. Sheriff Cleveland shirked none of his official responsibilities. When it became his duty to impose a court ordered execution, he refused to delegate the task. In 1872, he personally sprung the trap on two men, Patrick Morrissey, convicted of stabbing his mother to death and Jack Gaffney, a well-known gambler who had been found guilty of shooting a man in a card game. Thus, he became known as the “Hanging” Sheriff.




Al Smith, the famed New York politician was the first major party candidate to run for President who was Catholic. Though he served four two-year terms as Governor and served for several years as Speaker of the New York State Assembly, we feel the most important office he ever held was that of Sheriff of New York County (Manhattan). In 1914, the career politician left his powerful position in the Assembly to run for Sheriff. At the time, Sheriffs were compensated, not from the public treasury, by retaining fees they charged for executing and enforcing civil process. (note this has since been changed and these fees go into the county treasury). In a county like New York, the Sheriff did a tremendous volume and made a staggering amount of money. In Al Smith’s case, the desire to be Sheriff was to raise funding to run for Governor. Once Governor, Smith successfully worked to change how a Sheriff was compensated.


The year was 1916, and the county’s first reported murder was solved through remedial forensic pathology. Dr. Abel Watkins lived on the east side of the small village near a cabin occupied by the Perry family. The Dr’s wife, one of his children and Mr. Perry had been found dead. The Sheriff was called. The community became suspicious because of Dr. Watkin’s “unusual attention” to Mrs. Perry.

After conferring with the Sheriff, the corner’s physician decided the only way to decide the validity of the rumor of poisoning was to feed the stomach of one of the deceased to a dog. When the dog died it was decided to arrest Dr. Watkins. In the meantime, the Doctor had taken his own life.

Editors Note – This story is taken from The Sheriff of Wyoming County:150 Years of Protection and Service, a book written by former Wyoming County Sheriff Allen Capwell.


The 1980’s New York State prison population grew from 23,558 inmates in January 1981 to 55,564 inmates in December 1990. The State did not have the bed space for this massive influx of inmates. They stopped accepting sentenced inmates, forcing county jails to hold the inmates. Sheriffs across the State were dealing with serious overcrowding as a result. They were being asked to deal with the State’s problem, which was causing serious tension within the overcrowded jails, not to mention the evaporation of fiscal resources.

This frustration boiled over in Saratoga County. On October 26, 1983, Sheriff Jim Bowen invited the media to photograph him handcuffing a “state ready” inmate to the exterior fence of a Downstate Correctional Facility. Sheriff Bowen’s action clearly drew the attention of then Governor Mario Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Using the criticisms of Sheriff Bowen’s action as a façade, the Governor and Legislature finally took seriously the need for a major capital expansion project of the State prison system. Though it took the rest of the 80’s to solve the prison crisis one can trace Sheriff Bowen’s action to the event that got the governing factions of the State of New York to take serious action.

Editors Note – Shortly after the “state ready” inmate was handcuffed to the fence, state correction officers released him and he was accepted into the state prison system.


Governor Mario Cuomo and his son Christopher Cuomo are welcomed to the Sheriffs’ Associations’ 50th Anniversary Summer Training Conference by Peter R. Kehoe, left, Counsel and Executive Director of the Association. Christopher, then 14, is now co-anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America as well as co-host of ABC’s Primetime. Current New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Christopher’s brother, is not pictured.

Orleans County Sheriff Chester M. Barlett (left) sits in his office with Undersheriff Scott Porter Scott Porter. Note the “intercom” system above the Sheriff’s desk. Photo courtesy of Orleans County Sheriff Scott Hess.


Monroe County Deputy Sheriff Joseph Friedman proudly stands by his patrol car #9. The year is 1935. The photo is courtesy of Monroe County Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn.


Monroe County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Frank Hayden (standing) looks over the Sheriff’s Offices first motorcycle patrol. The year is 1936. Photo courtesy of Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn.


A Monroe County Deputy Sheriff ties a Sheriff’s rowboat to the dock as a sheriff’s deputy who been operating the vessel waits to come to shore. The Monroe Sheriff’s Office was looking for a body in a murder investigation. Photo courtesy of Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn.

The gallows have been constructed outside the Otsego County Sheriff’s Office for the hanging of Myron Buel on November 14, 1876. At the time such events were invitation only and a ticket like is pictured here was very desirable and often reserved for the “elite” citizens of the county. These photos are courtesy of Sheriff Richard Devlin.


Inmates at the Monroe County Penitentiary Farm cut hay under the watchful eye of a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Correction Officer. Photo courtesy of Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn.


This is the old Monroe County Jail that was closed in the early 1970’s because of it’s age. The three tiered jail blocks, like pictured here, are no longer used by Sheriffs and this one was one of the last to be retired. Photo courtesy of Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn.