Seeking Memories of Hamilton County Sheriff Rex A. Richey

Saturday, January 25, 2014 - by Harmon Jolley
Hamilton County Sheriff Rex A. Richey
Hamilton County Sheriff Rex A. Richey

Rex A. Richey was elected Sheriff of Hamilton County in August, 1950 and served in that role for the next six years.  He was the first Republican elected to the office since 1932. 

During his years heading the Sheriff’s Department, Chattanooga’s city limits did not extend as far as they do today.  So, his jurisdiction was a very large area.  Some of the area was remote, and moonshining was a common offense.

Sheriff Richey had operated a restaurant at the corner of Eighth and Cherry streets prior to running for office.  He was a World War I veteran, serving in Europe.  His birthplace was Harrison, and in the year of his birth, 1893, Harrison was part of James County.

One might feel certain that the local library would have a lot of information on file on every sheriff of Hamilton County.  That isn’t the case for Sheriff Richey, however.  We need your help with compiling some memories of him.

Bill Dietzen,a son-in-law of Sheriff Richey, contacted The in connection with a program that his wife, Wilma, will be presenting at First Presbyterian Church.  She is trying to locate some interesting stories about the office while he was sheriff.

If you remember Sheriff Richey, some cases which were pursued by his department, or just anything noteworthy about him, please e-mail your memories to Bill Dietzen at  Also, please send a copy to me at  I’d like to learn more about Sheriff Richey, too.

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