Wayne County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help with old photograph


WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va (WOWK) The Wayne County Courthouse has a Wall of Honor for its military veterans and its former sheriffs, but now the sheriff’s office wants to create one for its past deputies, but the project has run into an obstacle that they need the public’s help on.   

Captain James Ward, who is the chief deputy with the Wayne County Sheriff’s office, has been collecting pictures for a few years now on former deputies with the sheriff’s office that he and the department would like to recognize for their service.

“We have a real proud history within our department, and I feel we have a real good department, and I want to give the former deputies and past deputies the credit they deserve for helping create that,” said Capt. Ward. 

Some of the residents in the county said the project is long overdue, and they are looking forward to seeing it and helping out anyway they can. 

“It’s part of history. Its like our military, and we need to support them and not forget them,” said Anna Queen. 

So far the sheriff’s office has collected more than 30 pictures from local residents and historians in area, and one of the pictures is more than a century old.

Captain James Ward with photographs

“This is a group of deputies from around 1900 in the old Wayne County jail with a bloodhound,” said Capt. Ward. 

Capt. Ward recently came into possession of a photo of five deputies and a sheriff that was taken for a calendar shoot for the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office in 1965. He received it from Barbarra Meddings, whose father was deputy with the department. Her father John Meddings was a deputy in the 1960’s, and he is in the photograph. The picture is in great condition, but Capt. Ward said they are having problems identifying the other men in the photo. 

“Anybody that I have seen here that would know I have asked them, and they don’t know who the other gentlemen are either,” said Capt. Ward. 

He also said the department has piles of pre-internet archives, but even if they had the resources to go through all of the boxes they don’t know if it would be useful.

“If we did find personnel files most them don’t have a picture that would identify who that is anyway,” said Capt. Ward. 

The sheriff’s office and local residents have been asking people through social media to help identify the deputies, so far two have been identified as Sheriff Harry Smith, who is in the top left hand corner of the photograph, but he isn’t one of the five deputies.The other is John Meddings, who was identified by his daughter.

Wayne County Sheriff Harry Smith
Wayne County Sheriff’s Office Deputy John Meddings

Capt. Ward is hoping they can identify the rest, so they can put a name with the face on the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office Wall of Honor for deputies.  

“I would really like to put their names up there and know who they are,” said Capt. Ward. 

Anyone who can help identify the men in the photo should contact the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office

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