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Previous Chiefs & Marshals

Marshals preceded Police Chiefs when the City of Gainesville was first created.  The following is a list of the known Marshals who served the City of Gainesville.

Served   Marshal's Name 
1869-1874   Poindexter Shemwell
1874-1887   Richard L. Wilson
1877-1887   F.W. Halin
1888-1889   Charles H. Davies
1889-1890   A.J. Collins
1890-1896   Charles H. Davies
1905-1908   Charles Pinkoson
1908-1909   Benjamin T. Arnow
1909-1909   Harry L. Owens
1909-1911   Charles M. Dell
1911-1911   Charles C. Warren
1911-1919   Charles Pinkoson


Poindexter Shemwell 
1869-1874
City of Gainesville's first Marshal.  Poindexter Shemwell was born 1822 in North Carolina, son of Alexander Shemwell and Nancy Daniel.  On November 28, 1849 he married Elizabeth Mc Donnell in Cumberland County, North Carolina and they had three sons, Walter, John, and William. 


Shemwell enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1863-1864 and served in the 1st Regiment and in the 3rd Regiment in North Carolina.  After the war the Shemwell family moved to Gainesville, Florida. 

 In 1869, Shemwell was elected first town Marshal of newly incorporated Gainesville.  Marshall Shemwell won the election after earning 56 of the 93 votes polled. The Marshal’s duties in the beginning consisted of managing the horse traffic at the local bars, road work management and lamp lighting (of the kerosene-powered streetlights).

The above information on Marshall Poindexter Shemwell was provided to the Gainesville Police Department by Herb Shemwell of Kansas, a distant relative of Marshall Poindexter Shemwell.

Richard L. Wilson
1874-1877
Listed as the City Marshal of Gainesville for the year of 1874.  


F.W. Halin
1877-1887
Listed as having been elected to the position of City Marshal of Gainesville for the year 1887.


Charles H. Davies
1888-1889, 1890-1896
Listed as having been elected to the position of City Marshal of Gainesville for the year 1888, and the years 1890-1896.


A.J. Collins
1889-1890
Listed as having been elected to the position of City Marshal of Gainesville for the year 1889.


Charles Pinkoson
1905-1908
Born in Gainesville, FL, August 25th, 1875, and was a life-long resident of Gainesville. Pinkoson married local resident Lula Perry on April 30th, 1913. After serving a few years as a policeman prior to 1900 Pinkoson assumed command of the local two-man department in 1905 and served as City Marshal of Gainesville until 1907. In 1907 Pinkoson was employed by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad as Captain of Police and served until 1911 when he returned to Gainesville to head the Police Department until 1918. Pinkoson again returned to the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, and worked there until 1922. In 1922 Pinkoson returned to Gainesville as Chief until 1925. In 1925 he was elected Sheriff of Alachua County and served as such until 1929. Pinkoson retired to farm in 1929, but would be coaxed out of retirement on October 15, 1932 to replace Chief R.A. Berga who resigned to accept an appointment as a federal probation officer with the United States Department of Justice. Pinkoson served until 1936 when he retired again. Pinkoson died suddenly of a heart attack at his home, 958 West University Avenue on November 4th, 1937, at the age of 62.


Benjamin T. Arnow
1908-1909
Listed as having been elected to the position of City Marshal, and served as such in 1908-1909. Arnow was born in Micanopy, Florida. Arnow was a local dairyman and lived in Gainesville ½  mile north of the University of Florida stadium. Arnow died on April 5th, 1931 and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery. During Marshal Arnow’s tenure the Gainesville Police Department purchased its first police car, a Model T Ford, in 1908.


Harry L. Owens
1909-1909
A police officer who was appointed Acting Marshal on September 16,1909.  Owens was selected to fill the vacant  Marshal's position when Arnow was suspended for going to Georgia and not advising proper authorities of his absence. Owens lost the election for Marshal to Charles Dell on October 20, 1909.


Charles M. Dell
1909-1911
Born in Trenton, FL, and spent most of his life as a farmer. Dell eventually sold his property in Hague and moved to Gainesville where he served two terms as City Marshal from 1909-1911. He was married with six children: George, Marion, Mary-Lou, Bessie, Charles and Lantigue. Dell died on Sunday morning October 23, 1911 at the age of 45 from apoplexy. Dell is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.


Charles C. Warren
1911-1911
Appointed by Mayor Matheson on October 24, 1911, after Marshal Charles M. Dell's unexpected death. Warren had been a police officer several years before his appointment as Acting City Marshal. Warren was later replaced by Charles Pinkoson on December 21st, 1911.