Search billions of records on

Nowata County Sheriff's
Sheriffs of Nowata County 1907 - 2011
Name of Sheriffs        Years in office
Beginning  End
Rufus R. Riley Nov. 16, 1907  Jan. 2, 1911
William F. Gillespey Jan. 2, 1911  Jan. 6, 1913
James Mayes (Mayse) Jan. 6, 1913  Jan. 2, 1917
William F. Gillespey Jan. 2, 1917  Jan. 1931
Henry B. Lowery  (Lowrey)   (died of a heart attack while in office ) Jan. 1931  Aug. 8, 1936
Mrs. "Carrie" Lowery   (Lowrey)     (appointed)    Aug. 15, 1936  Jan. 1937
Hugh A. Owen             (killed in office) see below Jan. 4, 1937  Oct. 12, 1938
Mrs. Lena Owen (appointed)   see below Oct. 13, 1938  Jan. 1939
James G. "Bill" Lupfer Jan. 3, 1939  Jan. 1941
C. Ray Reed Jan. 6, 1941  Jan. 1943
Arthur L. Turner Jan. 4, 1943  Jan. 1951
Charles Arch Sequichie, Jr. Jan. 1951  Jan. 1967
C.A. "Gus" Johnson Jan. 1967  Jan. 1971
E.L. "Deece" Carter Jan. 1971 Jan. 1973
William H. Sutton Jan. 1973  Jan. 1975
Lewis R. "Bob" Arnold    (resigned) Jan. 1975  Jul. 1976
Harold Lay (finish Arnold term & elected) Jul. 1, 1976 Jan. 1981
Michael E. Bird Jan. 1981  Jan. 1985
Harold Lay Jan. 1985  Jan. 1989
Lewis R. "Bob" Arnold    Jan. 1989  Dec. 26, 1994
Charles Edward "Sam" Stinnett  Dec. 27, 1994   Dec. 31, 1996
Charles Edward "Sam" Stinnett  (appointed, elected & resigned) Jan. 2, 1997  Dec. 15, 1997
James H. Hallett    Dec. 15, 1997  Dec. 31, 2000
James H. Hallett    (appointed, elected, & re-elected) Jan. 2001  Present
Hugh Owen Shot; Dies

Hugh Owen Shot; Dies!

Nowata Daily Star 

June 5, 1938


Hugh Owen, sheriff, was shot and killed about 3:30 this afternoon when he, with Deputy Sheriff Bill Lupfer and a highway patrolman attempted to arrest two men 10 miles east of the city who were believed to be implicated in a robbery here Tuesday night.


According to Bill Lupfer, the officers approached a house east of the city, believing that the men in question were there.  Sheriff Owen ordered the men to come out of the house and when neither complied he forced the door with his shoulder.  As the door gave way, one of the men fired at Owen with a shotgun, the charge striking him just above the heart.  He died enroute to the hospital.


According to an account of the tragedy, given to the Star by Deputy Sheriff Lupfer, he in company with Sheriff Owen and Highway Patrolmen Reynolds had gone to the farm home of one Wright, about ten miles east of Nowata, to question Wright and a companion regarding a robbery which took place in Nowata Tuesday night.


Deputy Lupfer stated that as the three officers reached the farm home, Sheriff Owen got out of the car and said he would go and talk to the men, telling his fellow-officers to remain in the car.  When he approached the house, the door was slammed and Mr. Lupfer then got out of the car to go to his chief’s assistance.  As he did so, Sheriff Owen called back to him to get the rifle out of the car, at the same time attempting to force the door of the farm home. 


Immediately a shot was heard and Sheriff Owen fell to the ground, mortally wounded.  He did not lose consciousness, but asked Lupfer and Reynolds to take him to town, explaining, “I am badly hurt.” 


Picking up their companion, Lupfer and Reynolds raced to town with the injured man,  but he was dead when they arrived at the Emergency Hospital.

Deputy Sheriff Ray Reed, Patrolman Reynolds, and Eugene Haverfield immediately returned to the scene of the shooting in an effort to locate the men. 


Meanwhile the Highway Patrol officers in all nearby towns were notified to be on the look-out for the men.  The officers obtained a description of the car and posses were immediately organized to hunt down the killers.


The car used by Wright and his companion was described as a 1933 Plymouth Sedan, with trunk on back, and carrying Oklahoma license No. 458-269.  



Nowata County’s New Sheriff and Her Family

The Nowata Star

Sunday October 23, 1938


Mrs. Lena Owen,

Sheriff Nowata County


Mrs. Lena Owen, now the duly qualified and acting sheriff of Nowata County, is pictured above with her three children.  Mrs. Owen, widow of the late Sheriff Hugh Owen, who gave his life to the cause of law and order, was appointed by the county commissioners to the position of Sheriff to fill out the unexpired term of her husband.  Her term of office will run until January 1, 1939.


Of a quiet, rather reserved nature, Mrs. Owen is naturally more interested in her children than she is in holding public office, but in conversation Saturday with the Star representative, this 43-year-old mother, who lived the greater part of her life in Nowata County, stated that she would “carry on” in the work and give the county the best service possible while she is serving as sheriff. 


Mrs. Lena Ray Owen is the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs.  Moses Ray, early day settlers, who came to Indian Territory from near Sedalia, Mo.  The father came to this country first and prepared a home for his family, the country home being located one mile south of what was known as Eaton post office.


Mrs. Ray with her daughter, Mrs. Owen, and other children, came later, the family reaching Coffeyville, Kan., on Oct. 4, 1892, the day preceding the memorable raid by Dalton gang.  The family remained in Coffeyville that night and was there the next day when the raid occurred.


Mr. Ray was engaged in the cattle, ranching and farming business in this county up to the time of his death, which occurred January 19, 1928.  Mrs. Ray preceding him in death on August 3, 1925.  Both are buried in the Lenapah cemetery.  Mr. Ray was known as one of the progressive, substantial citizens of the county and he had a prominent part in the up building of this county, which was truly “wild and wooly” when he migrated here.


 There was little semblance of law and order in the Indian Territory when the Ray family moved to this section and Mr. Ray was harassed considerably by “cattle rustlers” and horse stealing.  The epidemic of stealing became so bad that Mr. Ray and a number of neighboring ranchers organized the first Anti-Horse Thief Association in this county and it was through their efforts that depredations of marauders were ended.

 While only a child at that time, Mrs. Owen has a vivid picture today of her advent into what she thought was an uncivilized country.  With the Dalton raid fresh in her mind and later hearing plans of the AHTA members when they met at her father’s house to map out a campaign to put an end to the “cattle rustling”, the young mind of the child visioned a country infested with outlaws.  Law and order finally came, however, and in the transition her father, in the early day, and her husband, in the latter day, had active and meritorious parts.


On November 23, 1915, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Balch, near Wimer, Lena Ray became the wife of Hugh Owen, who was then engaged in the cattle business in Lenapah, later becoming chief deputy sheriff under the late Sheriff Henry Lowery and two years ago begin elected to the office.  To this union, three children were born, Irene, J.R., and Mary Kathryn.  After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Owen made their home at Lenapah for a number of years, until Mr. Owen was appointed deputy sheriff when they moved to this city.  In addition to her immediate family, Mrs. Owen has two sisters, Mrs. Alma Brown, Geneseo, Kan., and Mrs. Mabel Howell, Lenapah, both of whom have been with their sister during her sorrow.


Although bowed down with grief over the tragic death of her husband, Mrs. Owen is bravely facing the future, and while she has no plans outlined after leaving the sheriff’s office her greatest desire is to provide a home for her three children.  The ruthless slaying of the husband and father has all but shattered the once happy home, but with an indomitable spirit this middle-aged mother of the west “looks to the East,” determined to “carry on” for her three lovable children.  And in this laudable ambition, Nowata County citizens will unitedly rally to her support.