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Art Martinak, a native of Albany, was appointed Sheriff of Linn County in 1987 to replace the retiring Kenneth Goin. He ran for the office in 1988 and was elected to a four-year term. He plans to run for Sheriff again in 1992.

A graduate of Albany Union High School, Martinak went on to earn an Associate of Arts degree at Chemeketa Community College in Salem. While working full-time, Martinak took classes at what is now Western Oregon State College in Monmouth. In 10 years, he had his Bachelor of Sciences degree in Social Science.

Martinak worked for Simpson Timber Co. for three years before becoming involved in law enforcement. He signed on with the Linn County Sheriff's Office as a reserve in January 1965. He became a full-time Deputy later that year.

In 1967, Martinak was named a Detective. Four years later, he became a Detective Lieutenant until 1982, when he became a Patrol Lieutenant. In 1983, Martinak was appointed Undersheriff. He was picked on April 1, 1987 to replace the retiring Goin until the election the following year.

When Martinak was hired in 1965, he became only the ninth employee for the Linn County Sheriff's Office. He now heads a department of 106 employees, including 45 in the criminal division and 47 in corrections. Seven municipalities in Linn County contract to the Sheriff's Office for services.

Since taking office, Martinak has played a big role in getting a new jail in the county in 1989 and helped organize a county-wide 9-1-1 emergency dispatch center.

Martinak and his wife, Joyce, have three grown children.

Linn County

Jason Wheeler was named as the first Sheriff of Linn County shortly after the county was established on Dec. 18, 1847. Through the late 1800s, Linn County had a new Sheriff every other year or so. There have been 36 Sheriffs in the county over the years.

Linn County was named for United States Senator Lewis F. Linn of Missouri, author of the Donation Land Claim law that allowed for free land for settlers in the West.

The county, which covers 2,297 square miles and has a population of some 90,000 persons, is located in the heart of the Willamette Valley with an open-air atmosphere but urban attractions nearby. It is one of Oregon's most diversified farming areas due to the mild climate with plenty of rain and sun. Linn County leads the nation in the production of common and perennial rye grass.

The county also lists a number of dairy farms. Agriculture and food products are the biggest industries in Linn County, which also lists others like wood products, rare metals and manufacturing. Large corporations have selected Linn County as the location for manufacturing plants.

Recreation opportunities are unlimited and include fishing in the high lakes and mountain streams, picnic and camping facilities in forest camps and parks, boating and water skiing on the lakes and rivers, petrified wood and agate beds, covered bridges and plenty of historical spots.

Wheeler made history when he became the first Sheriff of Linn County sometime after the County was established in late 1847. Wheeler moved to Oregon in September 1847 from New York and was appointed Sheriff after fighting in the Cayuse Indian War in early 1848.

Wheeler moved to California to work the gold mines after he left Linn County in 1849. He came back to the area later and served on the State Legislature in 1878. He also at one time was Mayor of Albany and spent three terms as a City Councilman.

Wheeler was replaced by Isaac Huchens in November 1849, but it is not clear whether he was elected or appointed. Huchens was Sheriff of Linn County until 1854-- one of the longest terms in the early years of the county.

J. M. Jackson was elected to the office in 1854 and was Sheriff for two years before John Smith was elected.

Smith crossed the plains in 1852, settling in Linn County. He was Sheriff of the county until 1860 and then went on to serve on the State Legislature in 1861. A prominent man in the territory, he was named Indian Agent at Warm Springs and held that position for 20 years. He died in 1884. Smith Rock State Park in Deschutes County was named for Captain John Smith.

In 1860, Davis Layton won the election to head up county law enforcement. He was Sheriff until 1862, when former Linn County treasurer Timothy A. Riggs was elected and served for two years.

O. W. Richardson succeeded Riggs when he was elected Sheriff in 1864, serving until 1866. Harvey Smith was Sheriff from 1866 to 1868 followed by Robert A. Irvine, Linn County Sheriff from 1868 to 1872. Allen E. Parker, an Ohio native, was Sheriff of the county from 1872 to 1874. A farmer and sawmill owner, Parker went on to become Mayor of Albany in 1876, the same year he was named as a Commissioner for Willamette Falls Locks. He also spent time in state government as a member of the House of Representatives in 1880.

L. C. Rice followed Parker, serving as Sheriff from 1874 to 1876, when J. R. Herren was elected to the office. Herren was Sheriff for two years, followed by Ira C. Dickey, who also spent two years as head of Linn County law enforcement.

Joseph Jackson Charlton, a native of West Virginia, was elected Sheriff in 1880 and served until 1882. His family first came to Oregon in 1850, settling in the Oregon City area for a while. He moved with his family back to the Midwest for a short time before returning to the Willamette Valley in 1866. He was a farmer and rancher in a number of counties before settling in Linn County.

Charlton was followed by George Humphrey, who ran the Linn County Sheriff's Office from 1882 to 1884. Humphrey was a Deputy with the department for two years prior to being elected Sheriff. He went on to serve in the State Legislature after he left the Sheriff's Office.

James Kyle Charlton, older brother of Joseph Jackson Charlton, was elected in 1884 and served as Sheriff of Linn County until 1886. A lifelong farmer, James Charlton also spent time as a Linn County Commissioner before being elected Sheriff. His son, Andrew Washington Charlton, was serving as Sheriff of Lake County while his dad was heading up Linn County law enforcement. Andrew Charlton was Sheriff of Lake County from 1884 to 1888.

Delevan S. "Vanie" Smith followed James Charlton when he was elected in 1886. It was the first of what would be two terms at different times for Smith 1886 to 1888 and 1906 to 1913.

John Smallman served as Sheriff of Linn County from 1888 to 1890 followed by D. Madison "Mat" Scott, who was Sheriff from 1890 to 1892.

Photo Left: Store owned by James McFeron, Linn Co. Sheriff from 1894-1896

C. C. Jackson was Sheriff from 1892 to 1894 followed by James Andrew McFeron, Sheriff of Linn County from 1894 to 1896. A native of Kirksville, Missouri, McFeron came to Oregon in 1875. He at one time served as the City Marshal in Albany and was a volunteer with the Albany Fire Department.

McFeron had always shown an interest in police and security work, according to accounts from his family. He liked to listen to police radio calls, marvelling at the ease in which they received their calls compared to the early days, when it might take two days for a call to reach the Sheriff.

M. C. "Colie" Gaines was elected Sheriff in 1896, serving until 1898, when J. A. Munkers took over as Sheriff. Munkers, who was Chief Deputy under Delevan Smith and, later, Worth Huston, remained as Sheriff until July 1900, when G. W. McHargne was elected.

McHargne was Sheriff until 1902, when Huston took over as Sheriff of Linn County, serving until 1904. He was succeeded by R. L. White, who was Sheriff from 1904 to 1906, when Smith was back for his second term, serving from 1906 to 1913.

Daniel Harvey Bodine was elected Sheriff in 1913 and ended up spending eight years as the head of county law enforcement. A native of Albany, he attended high school in the city and graduated in 1897 from Oregon Agriculture College, now known as Oregon State University. After leaving the Sheriff's Office, he went on to become Albany City Recorder from 1921 to 1925.

C. M. Kendall followed Bodine as head of county law enforcement. He was Sheriff until he was gunned down and killed by a moonshiner on June 22, 1922. The killing happened during a raid on a still in Plainview, about 15 miles southeast of Albany. Former Sheriff Delevan Smith was in the posse that made the raid. (See chapter on Sheriffs killed in the line of duty).

W.J. Dunlap was appointed to take r Kendall's place, but his term also was a short one. He was shot and killed on May 21, 1923 by a man who was stopped for stealing a car. (See chapter on Sheriffs killed in the line of duty).

Frank Carl Richard, the former Chief of Police of Lebanon in the early 1900s, was appointed to fill in for Dunlap. Richard, who also had served as a Deputy under Sheriff Kendall, went on to run for the office and served as Sheriff of Linn County until 1929.

Richard was followed by Herbert Shelton, who took office in 1929 and ended up spending 16 years as Sheriff. Hillis A. "Mike" Southard was elected in 1945 and remained as Sheriff of Linn County until 1953. A native of Allerton, Iowa, Southard moved to Oregon in 1909. At one time, he was Chief of Police and Marshal for the city of Lebanon.

George Kenneth Miller spent 20 years as Sheriff of Linn County from 1953 to 1973, winning election to the office five times consecutively. Prior to taking over as Sheriff, Miller was a Deputy Sheriff in Linn County from 1945 to 1952. Following his 20-year term as Sheriff, Miller was elected to the Linn County Board of Commissioners in 1973.

Kenneth Dwight Goin succeeded Miller to become Linn County's 35th Sheriff. He served from 1973 to 1987. Goin was born in Primrose, Nebraska in 1930, moving to Oregon in 1941.

Goin attended high schools in Independence and Albany and went on to take law enforcement courses at Chemeketa Community College, where he received an Associate of Science degree in 1971. He also attended the FBI National Academy in Washington D.C. in the early 1970s.

Prior to going to community college, Goin began working as a patrolman for the Albany Police Department from 1955 to 1958, when he joined the Linn County Sheriff's Office as a Deputy. He was named Chief Criminal Detective for the Department in 1960 until 1973, when he was elected Sheriff.

Goin resigned in April 1987 and was replaced by Martinak, the Undersheriff, who went on to run for the position in 1988.

Dead Man in the Ditch

It was a grisly sight. The lifeless hulk of a man, his face bloodied and battered, his clothes soaked with blood, sprawled in a ditch along Cedar Road, a country road, one and a half miles south of Halsey.

The coroner said the man had been dead about 14 hours. It appeared the victim had been beaten or hacked with a sharp object.

At first, Linn County Sheriff's deputies figured this was another "hitchhike slaying." An unsuspecting driver picks up a hitchhiker along the road, the hitchhiker kills him, steals his money, then dumps the body and drives off in his vehicle.

Deputies found the victim had no identification on him, his wallet was gone and there was no money in his clothes.

Minutes after the body was discovered on Dec. 15, 1939, Linn County Sheriff Herbert Shelton was notified and Shelton in turn called Oregon State Police to broadcast what few pieces of information his deputies collected over the OSP teletype and radio.

Then Shelton ordered his deputies to begin canvassing houses in the area. Deputy Sheriff Frank Ganzle and State Police Sgt. Earl Houston conducted their own canvass of the rural farm district and located two families who had remembered seeing a truck with numerous lights, including an amber fog lamp, traveling down the deserted country road the night before, not far from where a rural mail carrier had spotted the body in the ditch the following morning.

Shelton put out a description of the truck over the police radio. He also had his men check local gas stations to see if anyone driving such a truck had come in for gas or repairs.

During their search, deputies found one gas station mechanic who recalled being called out to a road north of Halsey the previous morning to fix a flat tire. He told deputies he found two men and a woman sitting in the truck which appeared to be hauling scrap metal.

The mechanic said one of the men had only one arm, was tall and husky and about 45. The other man, who was about the same age, was much smaller. Their woman companion was an attractive blonde, about 25, wearing slacks and a leather coat.

The mechanic also said the truck's tire tread was V-shaped. The tracks found along the road, above the ditch where the man's body was found, were also V-shaped.

Ganzle had the mechanic come to the county morgue to look at the murder victim. After a careful inspection, the mechanic confirmed it was one of the two men in the stranded truck.

Please Click Here To Continue Reading "Dead Man in the Ditch"
and "Murder Rides the Rails."

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