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 Chattanoogan.com 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 bdietzen@epbfi.com.  Also, please send a copy to me at jolleyh@bellsouth.net.  I’d like to learn more about Sheriff Richey, too.


Chester Martin Remembers "Little Willie" King, Graphic Artist

There was once a time in another century when our two Chattanooga newspapers shared the same building - on East 10th Street. It was immediately behind the present Jay Solomon Federal Office Building. Each newspaper had its own staff, and, I understand that the rivalries between the two papers ran high. That is the way it should be, of course, as one was Democrat and the other Republican. ... (click for more)

Chester Martin Remembers Tapp's Valley Store

William Bomar Tapp was a distant relative of mine who lived well over 100 years ago in northwest Chattooga County, Ga. It is not clear whether he owned the little brick store, pictured, or merely leased it, but it was well-known for being the only such store in the entire area. That is Georgia Highway 337 in the foreground, with York Road crossing it left and right. It was ... (click for more)

2 Homes Totally Destroyed By Fire On Sunday In Separate Blazes

Two homes were totally destroyed by fire in separate blazes on Sunday afternoon. At  5 p.m. , a neighbor called 911 reporting a house fire at 3910 Fairmont Pike on Signal Mountain. Walden's Ridge Emergency Services responded and arrived on the scene reporting a fully involved house fire. A mutual aid response was requested for additional manpower and apparatus ... (click for more)

Signal School Study Says Under Own School System Much More Could Go To The Classroom; Lennon Says Getting Land, Buildings A Major Issue

A panel studying a new school system operated by Signal Mountain concluded that much more money could go directly into the classroom, helping students further increase their potential.   However, County School Board member Kathy Lennon said how the town would be able to acquire the land and buildings is a major issue.   A group of Signal Mountain residents ... (click for more)

CVB Should Share Financials With The Home Folks

The recent debate over the Convention and Visitor's Bureau's funding and budget has gotten ugly. A Hamilton County commissioner has asked questions and made comments about the CVB. The director of the CVB has organized a campaign to dismiss the commissioner's questions and comments. The children on the playground are choosing sides and nothing useful seems to be happening. It's ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Trump's Latest Delight

I was quite amused this week when Donald Trump’s administration “locked out” several news organizations from the daily press briefings at the White House. The reason I loved it because in the 50 years I have spent in the news business, I have been locked out of press conferences, too. To be truthful, I am a longtime veteran of a bunch of “you versus me” squabbles and, if I do say, ... (click for more)