J. C. Redfield, Sheriff.  --by Ray Downing

Readers of the spring issue of Voices may recall the search for information and discoveries on the life of a Kansas pioneer, Josiah Clark Redfield -- my great grandfather.

     Josiah -- J.C., as he apparently preferred to be called -- served as sheriff of Allen County from 1860 to 1865, after which he served in a number of public offices. My interest, as a retired police officer, was in his law enforcement days. It pleased me greatly when I learned of his elections to the position of sheriff nearly a century and a half ago.

     Contact with current Allen County Sheriff Ron Moore determined that he was accumulating photos of all the past Allen County sheriffs, and yes, he would be delighted to obtain a photo of J.C. In preparation for my trip from my home in Las Vegas to Kansas, then, I had an 8 x 10 framed enlargement made from the old family photograph.

Photograph of J. C. Redfield

     The first step on the way, however, was Wichita. There, in Highland Cemetery, on the near east side of town, I found the graves of J.C. and his wife, Hannah. They lie beneath a single marker with names and dates. The only cherry tree in the cemetery is adjacent, and the blossoms were still present at my visit.

Grave marker of J. C. and Hannah Redfield   View of J. C. and Hannah's grave at Highland Cemetary, Wichita, Kansas

     Then on to Iola, the county seat of Allen county, and the Sheriff's Office in the very modern courthouse. Sheriff Moore and his staff were a delight. On presentation of the photo, I noted the wall where perhaps two dozen of his predicessors had their photos. Many were back to the early 1900's. J.C. would soon join them.

Beaming Sheriff Ron Moore holds photograph of J. C. Redfield

     The thought that, had it not been for the Kansas Collection electronic transcript of Cutler's History of the State of Kansas, I might never have learned of J.C.'s life crossed my mind several times. I bless the day I stumbled on that internet site.

      The drive through the beautiful green of the Kansas farmlands was soothing to me after the last 14 years of living in the southwest deserts, complemented by my wandering mind feeling such satisfaction in returning J.C. to Allen county.

     J.C. is home.

Read about the search for J. C.

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