The History of the Galveston County Sheriff's Office

When it all Began...

On May 15th, 1838 the Congress of the Republic of Texas issued an Act declaring the territories that would be named Galveston County. The first appointed Sheriff of this new county would be William F. Wilson. The newly appointed Sheriff established the first Galveston County Jail in the “Elbe” a Brig class ship that had run aground during the 1837 “Racer” Hurricane. He would go onto serve in office until 1841.

In 1841, newly elected Sheriff Henry M. Smyth took office, but would soon find himself in quite a unique situation. Not long after the Sheriff took office, Texas President David Burnet would appoint a new Judge (Thomas Johnson) to serve in the 1st Judicial District, but failed to remove the current (Judge Shelby) from the bench. This unique situation meant that Sheriff Smyth would have to work alongside Judge Shelby’s Sheriff (William Herring). The matter would soon be corrected and Sheriff Smyth would remain in office until 1844.

Dates of Office Sheriff
1838-1840 William F. Wilson
1841-1841 William Herring
1841-1844 Henry M.Smyth
1845-1845 William F. Wilson
1846-1850 Pryor Bryan
1851-1852 William N. Sparks
1853-1854 John N. Reed
1855-1856 David N. Grove
1857-1860 John H. Westerlage
1861-1863 C.L. McCarty
1866-1871 Frank Dirks
1872-1872 Joe A. Owens
1873-1876 Joe Atkins
Dates of Office Sheriff
1877-1880 Chris Jordan
1881-1886 William P. Owens
1887-1894 Pat Tiernan
1894-1896 Albert Dirks
1896-1922 Henry Thomas
1923-1931 Robert E. Kirk
1931-1932 Claude J. Allen
1933-1956 Frank L. Biaggne
1957-1960 Paul Hopkins
1961-1980 J. B. Kline
1981-2000 Joe Max Taylor
2001-2008 M. E. "Gean" Leonard Jr.
2009-2012 Freddie Poor
2013-Present Henry A. Trochesset

Today, the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office is a full-service law enforcement agency that is organized into three bureaus: Law Enforcement; Corrections; and, Support Services.

Over the years the agency has increased in size to more than 500 regular and reserve deputies. Under Sheriff Henry A. Trochesset command, the deputies have the opportunity to expand their careers and challenge their talents in more than a dozen operational divisions including Administration, Civil Process, Corrections, Communications, Criminal Investigations, Identification, Marine, Mental Health Patrol, Reserve, Training, and Warrant's.

Operating and maintaining the county jail is one of the most important constitutionally-mandated duties of the Sheriff. A steady growth in inmate population impacts the agency and the county as a whole, as we do our best to provide more with less. As we move further in to the 21st century pro-active law enforcement which includes more training and education for deputies will continue to be one of the critical personnel areas ensuring our agency is run effectively, efficiently, and safely.”