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Mabel Chase

Mabel Chase

Sheriff. Born April 15, 1876, Charlottesville, Indiana. Married: Frank O. Chase, March 23, 1899, Haviland, Kansas. Died May 6, 1962, Pea Ridge, Arkansas.

Mabel Clare Brown was born April 15, 1876, in Charlottesville, Indiana, to Nathan and Mary A. Brown. The Chase family moved to Kiowa County, Kansas, in 1896, where she taught school. In 1899 Mabel married Frank Chase. 

Frank was city marshal of Haviland and from 1922 to 1924 served as sheriff in Kiowa County.  Terms were limited to two successive years so Mable ran instead.  On November 2, 1926, Mabel Chase was elected Kiowa County sheriff, the first female sheriff in Kansas, and among the first women elected sheriff in the United States.

Mabel served one term as Kiowa County sheriff from 1926 to 1928. She appointed Frank as her undersheriff.  She drove an armor-plated car with bullet-proof windows and carried a submachine gun to stop bootleggers and bank robbers. However, Frank handled most of the law enforcement responsibilities, while she took care of administrative duties. The Chases retired from law enforcement in 1930. They had two sons, and three daughters. Mabel was a member of the Haviland Friends Church and a member of the Royal Neighbors Lodge.

By 1940 they had moved to Pea Ridge, Arkansas. Mabel died May 6, 1962. Frank died in 1965.

Entry: Chase, Mable

Author: G. Joseph Pierron

Author information: Judge Pierron serves on the Kansas Court of Appeals and has an interest in Kansas history.

Date Created: March 2012

Date Modified: April 2014

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.