Sheriff John H. Douglass


9th Street looking West, Sibley, Iowa - 1880's


November 8, 1887, John Douglass was elected Sheriff of Osceola County, receiving 483 votes over his running mates S. J. Cram which received 311 votes, I. B. Lucas which received 33 votes, and J. A. Dunshee which received 27 votes.


January 25, 1888, Douglass' salary was set at $300 to be paid out quarterly, ($1,200 for the year.)


April 13, 1888, the Board of Supervisors accepted Stephen A Douglass as Deputy Sheriff.

In 1889, the town of Harris was platted.  By 1898, Harris had over 500 residents and at one time, there were 3 hotels.  The Harris Mercantile Company became well known as one of the finest establishments in northwest Iowa and sold the latest fashion from the east.  In the upper story there was a theater that showed silent movies.  In 1963 the building was demolished.

November 5, 1889, John Douglass was re-elected Sheriff of Osceola County, receiving 552 votes over his running mate Joseph Gill which received 438 votes.

February 7, 1890, the Board of Supervisors accepted S. H. Westcott as Deputy Sheriff.


John H. Douglass served an additional two, two year terms as Sheriff of Osceola County from 1888 to 1892.

John H. Douglass previously served one, one year term and four, two year terms as Sheriff of Osceola County from 1873 to 1882.

In 1862, John H. Douglass enlisted in the US Army as a drummer, and then later served as a Corporal in Company K, of the First Iowa Calvary until the close of the war.

During his time as Sheriff, Douglass earned a lot of money but spent it all as fast as he earned it.  He was known to be generous to a fault and had the reputation of being one of the best criminal officers in the state of Iowa.  Douglass was engaged with the Iowa Land Company as a Superintendent for Osceola County.  Douglass went to great lengths in protecting the interests of the homesteaders against agents who attempted to enforce collection of debts, which made him very popular.  He held no political party and always ran as an independent candidate.  He called himself "Mugwump."

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