Sheriff’s Picnic

This photo from 1912 shows the former residence of Starke County’s Sheriff. The attached jail was just out of view to the right. Gabriel Doyle was the sheriff at that time.

The facility had been built in 1887 and was located at the southeast corner of Mound and Pearl Streets in Knox, the same location as the jail today. This view is looking north.  The two story brick residence of the sheriff was one of the finest homes in Knox when it was built. It was an honor to be invited to the annual sheriff’s picnic, which was held on the south lawn. This was a formal affair attended by such folks as the Koffels, Peters, Vanderweeles, Bortz’s, Moormans, Longs, Whitsons and Hartzlers.

Jail picnic

The second photo shows the Jail, which was attached to the east side of the house and had a separate entrance on the south side. In the early days, there was also a stable located in the southeast corner of the lot, where the sheriff’s horses and buggies were kept. Starke County’s first sheriff was Jacob S. Wampler, who was appointed in 1850 instead of being elected like all later sheriffs. In 1914, the sheriff’s salary was $1,100 and the jail’s annual operating expenses were $700. In 1971, the Indiana Department of Corrections found the facility inadequate and recommended that the 84 year old facility be closed.

Jim Shilling
Starke County Historical Society