Click Here to View Sheriffs List
Click Here to View Sheriff Photos
Robert L. McManus was appointed as Sheriff of Lane County by the Board of County Commissioners on May 1, 1991, when long-time Sheriff David N. Burks retired. McManus had been Sheriff pro tem since December 1990 when Burks became disabled.
McManus' law enforcement career began as a Lane County Reserve Deputy in 1969. He was hired as a Deputy by Sheriff Harry Marlowe in 1970, was promoted to Sergeant in 1975, then to Lieutenant in 1979. In 1985, McManus became Chief of Police in Silverton, Oregon, where he served until 1990. He then returned to the Lane County Sheriff's Office as commander of the Police Services Division.
Sheriff McManus attended high school in Salt Lake City, Utah, then attended Utah State University, the University of Utah and Lane Community College in Eugene. He has an executive certification from the Oregon Board on Public Safety Standards and Training in both police and corrections. He also is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, where he received credits from the University of Virginia.
Sheriff McManus is an active member of a number of professional organizations in both the police and corrections fields.
The Sheriff has been married to Adeena, a registered nurse, for 26 years. They have four daughters and two grandchildren and live on a small farm near Cheshire.
Election records in Lane County name James Robinson of Shelby County in Ohio as the first Sheriff of the county. But other records indicate that the county's first Sheriff was Vermont native Leonard Howe, who later went on to become the Sheriff of Douglas County in 1866. Howe may have been appointed to serve from the time the county was established on Jan. 28, 1851 until Robinson was appointed a short time later. The information is sketchy on the beginning of law enforcement in Lane County.
The county was named in honor of Joseph Lane, the first Territorial Governor of Oregon. It covers 4,620 square miles from the Willamette Valley to the Pacific Ocean. There are an estimated 273,700 people living in Lane County, making it one of the larger counties in Oregon.
Eighty acres of land near the Willamette River in what is now downtown Eugene were donated to the county by pioneers Eugene Skinner and Charnel Mulligan. Four county courthouses over the years have been built at the square at the intersection of Eighth Avenue and Oak Street in downtown Eugene, the county seat of Lane County. The present courthouse was built in 1959 and the adjacent Public Service Building was constructed in 1977.
Lane County adopted the Home Rule Charter in 1962 which became effective on January 1, 1963. The charter allows Lane County to enact local legislation on matters of county concern while still complying with Oregon statutes. It empowers the county to provide services and improvements needed by its increasing population through county service departments and improvement districts.
Eugene is the home of the University of Oregon. The principal industries in the county are agriculture, education, fishing, food processing, logging, manufacturing of wood products, recreation and tourism.
A number of points of interest are listed in Lane County, including Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Bohemia Mines, a number of covered bridges, the Darlington Botanical Wayside, Eugene Conference Center, Eugene's Fifth Avenue Historical District, Heceta Head Lighthouse, Honeyman State Park, Howard Buford Recreation Area, Hult Center for the Performing Arts and McKenzie Pass ski areas.
Since the early days of law enforcement are sketchy in Lane County, not much is known about Howe, the man believed to be the county's first Sheriff. He apparently came to Oregon from California after the 1849 Gold Rush and left the county in 1853 after serving a short time as Sheriff. Howe was Sheriff of Douglas County from 1862 to 1864. A brick layer, he built the second jail in Douglas County in 1865 and had $25 docked from his pay for the job because the Douglas County Commissioners did not like the roof on the new jail. Records show that Robinson was appointed as Sheriff of Lane County, also in 1851. He served until 1854.
Robert Fletcher Walker, a Kentucky native who moved to Oregon from Ohio in 1851, was elected Sheriff of Lane County in 1854, serving for two years. He was a surveyor who moved to Dayton in eastern Washington in 1865 after leaving the Sheriff's Office in Lane County.
James E. McCabe followed Fletcher when he was elected Sheriff of Lane County in 1856, serving until 1858. He was born in Bath County in Virginia and moved to Oregon in the early 1850s from Salt Lake City, Utah after making the trip from Independence, Missouri. A rancher, McCabe later left Oregon and moved to Latah County in Idaho.
H. H. Howard was Sheriff of Lane County from 1858 to 1860 followed by Joseph B. Meador, who was elected to the office in 1860 and was Sheriff until 1862. Meador was born in Sumner County in Tennessee and later moved to Utah before coming to Oregon in 1851. He went on to become Sheriff of Lane County again from 1866 to 1870. After serving his second term, Meador moved to Grant County in the early 1870s, living on the ShooFly Ranch near Spray.
Thomas Jefferson Brattain was elected Sheriff of Lane County in 1862 and served until February, 1864, when he resigned. He later went on to become the first Sheriff of Lake County from 1876 to 1878. Brattain was born in Morgan County in Illinois on January 2, 1828 and moved to Oregon in the early 1850s. When Brattain resigned as Lane County Sheriff, W. H. Haley was appointed to take his place, serving as Sheriff until 1866. A native of Illinois, Haley was a law clerk for a time in the early 1860s.
Meador followed Haley for his second time as Sheriff, serving for four years before James Newton Poindexter was elected in 1870, also spending four years as Sheriff of Lane County. Poindexter, a blacksmith, was born in Green County in Illinois in 1830 and moved to Oregon in 1850.
Stewart B. Eakin Jr. was elected Sheriff of Lane County in 1874 and served for six years -- the longest time yet in the county. A native of Elgin, Illinois, Eakin came to Oregon in 1866 and spent time as a banker. After leaving the Sheriff' s Office, he went on to become a State Legislator in 1882.
John M. Shelley, another Illinois native, followed Eakin as Sheriff when he was elected in 1880 and served until 1882. A farmer who lived in the Pleasant Hill area, Shelley came to Oregon in 1852.
J. R. Campbell was Sheriff of Lane County from 1882 to 1886 followed by J. M. Sloan, who was elected to the office in 1886 and served until 1890. Sloan, an Indiana native who came to Oregon in 1853 and to Lane County in 1871, was a blacksmith.
James E. Noland served as Sheriff of Lane County from 1890 to 1894 followed by A. J. Johnson, who was elected in 1894 and was Sheriff until 1898. Johnson was born in 1844 in Litchfield County in Connecticut and moved to Oregon in 1871. He was a farmer and worked in merchandise when he was not spending time as Sheriff.
William W. "Billy" Withers was elected in 1898 to succeed Johnson. He served until February 1903, when he was killed in the line of duty by Elliott Lions. (For more details, see chapter on Sheriffs killed in the line of duty).
Fred Fisk, a Deputy Sheriff with the Lane County Sheriff's Office,
was appointed to take the place of Withers. Fisk
was born in Fisk, Iowa in 1873 and moved with his family to the Eugene area in 1888. He served as Sheriff until 1906, when he left to become a banker and later, worked in the timber business. Fisk was elected to the Oregon Senate, serving from 1922 to 1926 and went on to become Lane County Judge in 1933.
Fisk attended public schools in Eugene and graduated from the University of Oregon in 1897.
Harry L. Bown followed Fisk as Sheriff of Lane County. He was elected in 1906 and served until 1913. A native Oregonian, he was born near Elmira in 1867. He was a school teacher who later became Lane County Judge. In a write-up in the Eugene Morning Register in 1911, Bown was called a "natural-born manhunter, combining in his makeup those qualities of quiet courage and dogged persistence with tireless energy. Perhaps no Sheriff in the entire state is better informed about the devious ways of the common criminal and the inside workings of the machinery of the law operating to apprehend the crooks than is the name Harry Bown."
James Carl Parker had the tough job of following the popular Bown as Sheriff of Lane County. He was elected in 1913 and was Sheriff until 1915, when he left office and was replaced by Dillard Elkins, who was Sheriff for nearly three years. Prior to his appointment, Elkins was a Deputy with the Lane County Sheriff's Office for five years.
Please Click Here to Continue Reading
Return to "A History of Oregon Sheriffs Index"
Return to "A Place Called Oregon"