by Barb Chapman, Wheatland Town Historian
For well over a hundred years, the men responsible for keeping law and order in the Town of Wheatland were known as “Constables.” At the very first town meeting held on April 3, 1821, Caleb Calkins and Chester Savage were elected constables. Later in the nineteenth century, constables were elected by the people and chosen to represent the various geographic areas of the town. In 1885, for instance, there were five constables elected; Samuel Conkey and Isaac Salyerds for Scottsville, Duncan McQueen in Garbutt and James Freeman and Duncan Grant to cover Mumford.
In 1929 a ballot was used for the Republican Primary Election in Wheatland where voters were asked to choose candidates for constable. Rosenworth, Studeman and Rebholtz were Scottsville men, while Nichols and Skivington lived in Mumford. Harry Harvey of Mumford was the Republican Candidate for Supervisor that year who lost to Democrat Romeyn Dunn.
One of the outstanding constables of Wheatland was former slave John Alexander. He lived on Caledonia Avenue in Scottsville and served as town constable for more than 30 years at the turn of the last century. He became a hero in Scottsville’s famous 1912 murder case when he was able to convince the suspect to surrender after he had murdered his father, Turner Twiman.
William Rebholtz was a popular Wheatland constable who held the position in the 1920s and 30s. By 1960 there was only one town constable, and he was appointed by the Town Board. Stuart Grant held the position in 1960 and 1961 and was paid $100 a year. This article was inspired by the gift of a Wheatland constable’s badge to the Town Historian’s office. It was given by Debbie DiPasquale last fall before she and her husband Paul moved from Bowerman Road to retire in North Carolina. It calls attention to an interesting aspect of Wheatland history.