Women of the Badge

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Not all sheriffs were men.  Mrs. Minnie Cooksey was one of several women to wear the badge.  Governor Warren appointed the forty-nine-year-old church organist as Jefferson County’s sheriff when her husband, J.R. Cooksey, Jr., died in office in 1949.  She assumed his duties for the remainder of his term, leaving the more vigorous responsibilities (like making arrests) to her male deputy.

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The majority of female sheriffs took over the position when their husbands died.  They usually served the remainder of his term until the next election.  Mary Marguerite Baldree was the first woman ever elected as a Florida sheriff by popular vote.  She originally assumed the office when her husband died in 1945, but defeated three male candidates in an election the following year. She served as Sumter County Sheriff until 1949.

Honor in Power
Women of the Badge