Pearl Reeves was county’s first woman sheriff

Published 6:16 pm Tuesday, May 24, 2022

In May 1942, Sheriff Ben Reeves was reelected as Pike County Sheriff without opposition.  Also in 1942,  Sheriff Reeves enlisted in the Navy and was to report for duty at New Orleans in a branch of service known as the Shore Patrol.  On December 1, 1942, history was made in Pike County.

“Pike County’s chief law enforcement office is now under the direction of a woman, Mrs. Pearl Ramage Reeves, having been sworn in to her new duties as Sheriff at a ceremony in the Commissioners’ room at the Court House this (Tuesday) morning.  The oath of office was administered by Probate Judge Alex Brantley, following the approval of Mrs. Reeves’ bond by the Commissioners’ Court.

Mrs. Reeves’ appointment as Sheriff was made under the terms of a recent law passed by the Legislature and she will serve throughout the time that her son, Sheriff Ben Reeves, is on duty with the Nation’s armed forces.  Sheriff Reeves has already been sworn into the Navy and is a member of the Shore Patrol division.  At the present time he is stationed in New Orleans.

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Following the swearing-in exercises, Mrs. Reeves was warmly congratulated by Judge Brantley and the small audience that witnessed the ceremony and the new sheriff stated that it possibly was not expected, but that she wished to publicly pledge her best efforts to the efficient conduct of this important office during her incumbency.

Associated with Mrs. Reeves in the conduct of the Sheriff’s office will be veteran Peace Officers Wilmer Furlow and Robert Rhodes, together with Jailer Lucas Fitts.  Many friends over the county will wish Mrs. Reeves much success in her new post.

Mrs. Reeves becomes Alabama’s second woman sheriff now in office—Mrs. Will Austin, of Wetumpka, having been elected to succeed her husband as sheriff of Elmore County.

With the exception of terms served by W. R. McBryde and Alva Galloway, the post of sheriff of Pike has been held by some member of the Reeves family, or relatives, since 1896.  When Sheriff W. W. Carroll took office at Troy in 1896 he named a cousin, Samuel M. Reeves, as chief deputy.  Reeves was elected for a six-year term and later two four-year terms, at intervals, because of the then law forbidding a sheriff to succeed himself.

W. Cisna Carroll, son of Sheriff Carroll, served for several terms.  One term each was served by the late James Reeves, brother of Sam Reeves, and Pleasant Nichols, a half-brother of Sam M. Reeves.

Nichols appointed his nephew, Burr Reeves (now warden of Draper prison) as his chief deputy.  Burr Reeves followed his uncle in office and was succeeded by Ben Reeves, the only Pike sheriff ever elected to succeed himself and the only sheriff ever elected without opposition in Pike County.”

All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger.  Stay tuned for more.  Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.