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Jasper County was organized in 1841 and named for William Jasper, a hero of the American Revolutionary War. The first seat of justice in Jasper County was established in the home of George Hornback, west of Carthage, on February 25, 1841. Samuel M. Coolley, Jeremiah Cravens, and Samuel B. Bright were the first justices of the Jasper County Court. Missouri Governor Thomas Reynolds appointed John P. Osborn as the first sheriff of Jasper County. One of his first tasks was to give public notice that the county court of Jasper County would meet in the home of George Hornback until the permanent seat of justice was established.

Jasper County Sheriff George Hickam displays the new polygraph instrument in a photo taken in 1962. It is believed to be the first Missouri sheriff’s department to own one. Sheriff Hickam is the longest-serving sheriff in the history of the county – 1947 – 1972. (Photo Courtesy Barry Duncan)