Since its official formation in 1838, Newton County has elected 41 individual sheriffs, by my count. Interestingly, some of them share the same last name of past sheriffs - including our present sheriff, although I don't know if Sheriff Chris Jennings (2016-) is related to Sheriff Henderson Jennings (1854-1858) or not.

Since its official formation in 1838, Newton County has elected 41 individual sheriffs, by my count. Interestingly, some of them share the same last name of past sheriffs - including our present sheriff, although I don't know if Sheriff Chris Jennings (2016-) is related to Sheriff Henderson Jennings (1854-1858) or not.
Today let's spotlight Newton County's very first sheriff, Isaac Gibson (1839-1844). I'm not sure how much is really known about him, and I don't have very much to add, unfortunately, but what I do have I'll share here.
Isaac Gibson was born in Virginia about 1797. He moved to Tennessee as a young man, which may be where he met his future wife and married. He moved his family to Missouri sometime between 1825 and 1832, according to birth information on the national census records. He came to the area of what would become Newton County sometime between 1836 and 1838.
Isaac was elected Newton                                County's first sheriff as a Democrat, as were most, if not all, of Newton County's office holders prior to the War Between the States (1861-1865). Newton County's first jail was a crude log structure located at or near what is now 214 Patterson Street. That jail was in business until another jail was built in 1860 at 212 S. Washington. But by then Gibson had left Newton County - and Missouri - for good.
Back then it appears the sheriff terms were for two years. Isaac Gibson was sheriff from 1839 to 1844, so it would seem he served two terms. Perhaps he was defeated in his reelection to a third term, or maybe he simply chose not to run again, or maybe there were official or unofficial term limits for that office then, as I don't see any Newton County sheriff from that time era who ever served more than four years.
In 1854 he purchased 40 acres of public land that as best I can tell was located near the present day corner of Waldo Hatler Drive and Business Highway 49 and encompassed part of the current city golf course and state conservation office property.
However, by 1860 Isaac, his wife, and his youngest children had moved to Goliad, Texas. Why did a man in at least his late 50s again pull up stakes after living nearly three decades in one place and start all over by moving what remained of his family 675 miles to south Texas? Bear in mind, although there had been trouble along the Kansas and Missouri border for years, the War Between the States hadn't started yet. Did Isaac Gibson sense the storm that was coming and wanted to stay clear of it? I don't have the answer. I have seen some speculation on genealogy sites that his father might have moved to Goliad before that time, along with some of Isaac's half-siblings, but nothing concrete.
Isaac probably remained in Goliad the rest of his days. He was still living there in 1880, a widower by then and bunking with his daughter and her family. He was about 83 years old. Although I don't find when he died or where he is buried, it's plausible his body rests in or near Goliad, Texas, in the county where the daughter he lived with was ultimately buried.
I might add in way of postscript that I'm not sure of the relationship, if any, between Isaac Gibson and William Gibson (1790-1846), for whom Gibson Cemetery (where the latter rests) is named, and whose son, John, built the antebellum home on HH Highway, east of Neosho. William was born in South Carolina, which is where Isaac lists his father as being born, but beyond that I haven't found a firm relationship. It's possible they were brothers or cousins, but I really haven't seen a solid link, or at least not yet.

Wes Franklin writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.