Showing posts with label ohios first female sheriff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ohios first female sheriff. Show all posts

Did You Know Ohio's First Female Sheriff Was a Galionite?

To properly tell this story, I need you to take a trip back in time with me to the early 1920's. Not actual time travel, of course, just an imaginary trip to help you envision the way the amazing and sad story of Ohio's first female sheriff - a Galion native - unfolded.

Ohio's First Woman Sheriff Was a Galionite image courtesy of Pixabay

1924: Galion Woman Becomes Sheriff

The year was 1924, and it was in the early days of a typical Ohio winter when this story begins. It was as common to see a horse and buggy on the road at this point in time as it was to see a car.

(Vinton County claims to have had the first woman sheriff in Ohio, but Frankie Freese took office in Crawford County, Ohio a full year before Maude Collins became sheriff in Vinton County, Ohio.)

Calvin Coolidge was President, and women had just earned the right to vote a few years before Frankie Freese took over as Crawford County Sheriff.

(Frankie was born in Galion, Ohio in 1885, and that's why her story is being featured here on Galionite today.)

Thrown 100 Feet from the Impact of the Train

On the cold winter day of January 5, 1924, forty-five-year-old Sheriff Ira Freese - a man noted for his sense of humor - was killed when a train hit the car he was riding in at the railroad crossing on Poplar Street in Bucyrus.

(He put a sign over the jail door that announced vacancies were available when no one was incarcerated.) 

When the Best Man for the Job Wasn't a Man...

After some discussion and debate with only one man dissenting, Crawford County Commissioners decided that the best "man" to take over the job of sheriff was a woman - Sheriff Freese's wife, Frankie.

(It should be noted that the lone dissenter still wanted to deputize her - just not make her sheriff.)

Stepping Up as the County's First Woman Sheriff

A mere 19 days after the death of her husband, the still-grieving widow accepted the position of Crawford County, Ohio sheriff.

Frankie Freese was described as tall, "well built and able to cope with any person she may be called upon to arrest."

Her first actions as sheriff were to deputize her husband's deputy, Joshua Myers and name her daughter, Mildred, the jail's matron.

Widow-Sheriff Freese's First Arrest

Sheriff Frankie Freese's first arrest proved difficult but ended successfully.

She physically fought with a bootlegger named Ray Holloway, who escaped after physically dragging her across the street, according to witnesses.

After being captured again, Holloway then escaped from the car when a deputy serving under Sheriff Freese, not the above-mentioned deputy, was getting out of the other car door.

In the end, Holloway was caught again and sentenced to two years at a work camp to pay off his debt to society.

To finish this story, I just want to add that the Widow-Sheriff Frankie Freese successfully served out her husband's term.

Thanks to my researcher who brought me this story - and thanks to you for reading!

In addition to the archived newspaper clippings linked in the article, there's a book at the Crestline Library called History of Crawford County: Horizons '76 that was published by the Crawford County Historical Foundation, Inc that briefly details Mrs. Freese's time as Crawford County Sheriff. 

I hope you enjoyed this amazing bit of Galion and Crawford County, Ohio history. Be sure to check back because we've found some other great info to share with you in the coming months.

By: Ré


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