County Clerk's Office - 1885



        The building was erected at the same time as the courthouse and was completed in 1885.  The identify of the men in the picture is not known, except for the man standing on the steps, who is bareheaded with the light colored coat on is John Joseph Emmett Gibson, contractor and builder of the courthouse, clerk's office and jail. 
        Notice the many trees in the background and the small frame building back of the clerk's office. The front of the building faced west. The line of trees on the right site of building now is a bandstand, and at one time the elder retired men of the community could be seen daily playing dominos. During World War II, a War Bond Drive was held, with celebrities passing thru the town.  You could obtain autographs of "Johnny Mack Brown", "Gale Storm" and couple more which not able to recall. 

Shelby County Square ca 1930 - Polley Hotel is at left. Notice the Light in foreground - same today


        Mr. Gibson's bid for erecting the courthouse and clerk's office was $26,725.00, which was the lowest bid.  He agreed to superintend the jail on the courtyard at the same time.  J. F. Barnes was awarded the contract to construct the jail for $8,625.00.  The contract was signed April 8, 1884.
        The first jailer in the "new" jail was C. R. Smith.  He was followed by J. M. Welch, 1886-1887; Thomas Welch, 1890-1896; F. E. Hunter, 1897; W. J. Pearce, 1898; P. H. Smith, 1900 and J. I. Childress, 1901-1902.
        The two story jail on the corner of the square, now occupied by Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, was completed in 1914.  The first jailer at this location was J. T. Hurst.  The old jail on the court yard was ordered to be used as an "agricultural exhibit hall" by the Commissioner's Court in 1918. 


        The building often called the Clerk's Office, NE corner of square, converted the Clerk's office into a Ladies Rest Room.  The building was also used as offices upstairs for the American Red Cross during World War II.  
   


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