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The Sheriffs of Hamilton County
Portrait of Samuel Bush

Samuel Bush was born on February 10, 1848, in his father’s log cabin in the Bushtown community, now known as North Chattanooga. During his lifetime, Bush had a total of 18 months or formal education, attending three months a year for six years.

As a young man, he earned $50 a month driving a wood wagon for the military buildings in Chattanooga. Bush later became a wagonmaster and received $75 a month.

In 1896, Bush ran for sheriff of Hamilton County, and on September 1st, 1896, was sworn into office. While campaigning, Bush was often quoted as saying, “Running for sheriff is both an impressive and depressing experience.”

During the next six years Bush was elected three times by wide margins, demonstrating the political power he held within the county. (At this time, the state constitution permitted a sheriff to hold office for a maximum of three two-year terms.)

After leaving office, Bush was appointed by County Judge Will Cummings to the newly created office of license inspector for an indefinite term. He also filled his time by being a member of the Elks, Knight Templers, and Shriners.

Following a brief illness Bush died on July 1, 1923, at the home of his daughter.

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