Click Here To View Marion County Sheriffs List & Photos

Robert J. Prinslow was elected Sheriff of Marion County in 1986. He won a majority vote in the primary in May to run unopposed in the November general election.

Prinslow was born in Hubbard, a small town north of Woodburn in Marion County. He was raised in Woodburn, graduating from Woodburn High School in 1956.

The Marion County Sheriff served two years in the United States Army from 1956 to 1958, assigned for a time to a military police unit in West Germany.

Prinslow joined the Woodburn Police Department in 1959. He was appointed Chief of Police in 1965 until he left in 1973 to take a position with the Oregon Department of Corrections. He was appointed Undersheriff of Marion County in 1974, where he served until June 30, 1985.

Sheriff Prinslow is a graduate of Chemeketa Community College with an Associate in Arts degree in police science. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in behavioral science from Mt. Angel College. Prinslow also attended graduate school at the University of Portland.

The Sheriff is a member of the Oregon State Sheriffs' Association and the National Sheriffs' Association. He served for a time on the Woodburn City Council and Woodburn School Board and is a past president of the Woodburn Kiwanis Club and a member of the Keizer Rotary Club.

Prinslow is married and lives in Keizer with his wife, Anneliese. He has two children, including a son who is a Salem Police Officer.

Marion County


William Morrison became the first Sheriff of Marion County in August 1845, about two years after Marion County was established on July 5, 1843.

Located in the heart of the Willamette Valley, Marion County was created by the Provisional Government Legislative Committee six years before Oregon becme a United States Territory. Originally called Champoik, the county in 1849 changed its name to honor General Francis Marion.

Salem, the largest city in Marion County and one of the oldest cities in the state, is the state capitol. The county's boundaries were established in 1856. The Willamette River serves as Marion County's western boundary.

Public buildings located in Salem include the state capitol, old courthouse, a civic center dedicated in 1972 and the Mission Mill Museum complex.

Government is the key industry in Marion County followed by agriculture in the lush Willamette Valley, food processing, timber, manufacturing and education. A number of private colleges are located in Salem.

The county lists dozens of attractions, including Champoeg State Park, Wheatland Ferry, Buena Vista Ferry, Silver Falls State Park, Detroit Dam and Santiam River and the Breitenbush Hot Springs. The Mt. Angel Abbey and Mt. Angel, the site of the popular annual Oktoberfest, both are located in Marion County.

The early days of law enforcement in Marion County are a little sketchy. Records show that William Morrison was elected to serve as the new county' s Sheriff in August 1845. He served for four months before W. P. Hughes was appointed to head up Marion County law enforcement.

William Martin followed Hughes after he was elected to two consecutive one-year terms. Martin used his Oregon law enforcement experience in California, where he served as Sheriff of Siskiyou County from 1860 to 1862 and returned to serve as Sheriff of Umatilla County from 1880 to 1886.

Martin was succeeded by William Parker, who apparently resigned in late 1849 to run for the State Legislature. William Gilliam was appointed to take his place, serving only until the next election in 1850. When Gilliam left the Sheriffs Office, he became the Marion County Coroner.

William John Herren followed Gilliam when he was elected in 1850 and served until 1854. When he left the Sheriffs Office, he was elected to serve on the Madon County Commission in 1855 and 1856 and later, the Salem City Council. Robert C. Hague was elected Sheriff of Marion county in 1854 but served only a short time. He resigned sometime in 1855 under suspicion of embezzling tax money.

Milton Shannon was appointed to take Hague's place, serving as Sheriff of the county until 1856. Two years after leaving law enforcement, Shannon was appointed to serve as Madon County Judge until 1862.

Narcisse A. Cornoyer, who was born in Illinois and came to Oregon in 1849, was elected to serve for four years as Sheriff of Marion County from 1856 to 1860. Prior to coming to the county, Cornoyer fought in the Rogue River War in 1853 and was a major in the Yakima War in 1855 and 1856.

George A. Edes succeeded Cornoyer, serving as Sheriff of Marion County from 1860 to 1862. After he left the Sheriff' s Office, Edes was Marion County Clerk from 1862 to 1864 and again from 1876 to 1878.

Samuel Headrick was elected to the office in 1862, serving as Sheriff until 1866. After leaving the Sheriff' s Office, he went on to become Marion County Treasurer from 1866 to 1868.

J. J. Murphy put in four years as Sheriff beginning in 1866 when he was elected to the position. Murphy at one time was a County Clerk in Marion County and a Supreme Court Clerk for 15 years. He also served at one time as Salem Mayor.

A former Salem City Marshal, Jasper Newton Matheny, was elected Sheriff of the county in 1870, serving until 1872 when Lyman S. Scott won the election. Scott, who was born in Connecticut, fought in the Civil War. He came to Oregon in 1861 from California, where he had been digging in the gold mines. He owned a merchandise business in Portland in the 1860s. Seven years after leaving the Marion County Sheriff' s Office, Matheny became the Salem postmaster. He was the state's Adjutant General in 1883.

Thomas C. Shaw, who moved to Oregon from Missouri in 1844, was elected Sheriff of Marion County in 1874, serving until 1876. Shaw also held a number of other important positions in Marion County. He was a County Commissioner in 1864, County Assessor from 1870 to 1874 and County Judge in 1880.

Joseph A. Baker followed Shaw. He served from 1876 until sometime in 1881, when he left the office. Records are not clear whether he died or resigned. At one time, Baker also was Mayor of Salem and served as the Salem City Marshal.

Robinson Crusoe Ramsby apparently was appointed to take Baker's place when Shaw left. Ramsby ran the Marion County Sheriff's Office until sometime in 1884, when he apparently resigned. Records are unclear, but it appears another man, Blair Forward, may have come in for a brief time to serve as Sheriff before John Wilson Minto was elected and served until 1890.

Minto brought with him plenty of law enforcement experience. He was Salem City Marshal from 1876 to 1880 and a Marion County Deputy from 1880 to 1882. After leaving the Sheriff's Office, Minto apparently worked for U.S. Customs in Portland and at one time served as Chief of Police in Portland.

Photo Left: Sheriff E.M. Croissan [seated] with two of his Deputies, Frank Wrightman [left] and Lon Waln. Wrightman was Sheriff from 1898-1899.

Edward M. Croisan, who had served as a Deputy under Minto, was elected to succeed Minto in 1890. He was Sheriff of Marion County until 1894. He later was superintendent for a state reform school and served in the Oregon Senate. John Knight, from Shelby County in Missouri, served as Marion County Sheriff from 1894 to 1898. He moved to Oregon in 1866 from Washington state and was the half brother of William Knight, who was Sheriff of Clackamas County from 1884 to 1888. A blacksmith by trade, Knight served on the Salem City Council in 1882.

Frank T. Wrightman was elected Sheriff of Marion County in 1898, serving until sometime in 1899 when he either resigned or died in office. Frank W. Durbin was appointed to take his place and was Sheriff until 1903, when he either died or resigned.

Click Here To Continue Reading

Return to "A History of Oregon Sheriffs Index"
Return to "A Place Called Oregon"