Former Sheriff succumbs

Published 9:47 am Monday, November 2, 2015

GARYSBURG – Ellis Davis Squire, 77, former Sheriff of Northampton County, passed away at UNC Hospital on Oct. 26.

Squire was Northampton County’s first African-American Sheriff, serving from 1986 – 1990.

Current Sheriff Jack Smith said that Squire served with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office for nearly 44 years.

He began his career as a deputy sheriff on February 1, 1972 with the Honorable E. Frank Outland.

Squire served in various positions throughout his long and distinguished career. He served as the Chief Deputy for the Sheriff’s Office for about five years under the Honorable Sheriff John Wood and Honorable Sheriff Wardie P Vincent Sr.

Sheriff Squire retired from active service with nearly 30 years of service at the end of 1999. He served as a reserve deputy from 1999 until his death.

He was a fixture around the courthouse where he served as a courtroom Bailiff and any other capacity he was asked to perform. He was well known in Northampton and surrounding counties for his truthfulness and honesty.

“He was truly a supporter of this Sheriff’s Office, other law enforcement agencies and his community,” said Sheriff Smith. “He will truly be missed by all who knew him.”

Sheriff Smith reported that all flags are flying at half staff in honor of him.

Former Northampton County Sheriff John Wood praised Squire’s service to the county.

“We were friends from the 1970s,” said Wood, who served as a highway patrolman in the ‘70s as Squire served Northampton as a deputy sheriff.

Even though Wood defeated Squire for sheriff in the 1990 election, they had been and remained good friends.

In fact, Wood said, Squire didn’t have enough time in service to retire in 1990, so Wood hired him to work as his chief deputy, retaining a highly respected and very knowledgeable law enforcement officer.

Wood, who thoroughly researched past sheriffs after he was elected, said he had gone back as far as the records go (the late 1800s) and confirmed that Squire was the first African-American to become sheriff. (Wood’s historical research has since been donated to the county museum.)

“He was a good man,” Wood said. “He was also a very good singer and loved to sing. I’d love to hear the angels sing with him.”

Long time former county manager Wayne Jenkins said he had known Squire for over 25 years and said this is a real loss for all of Northampton County.

“He was a true southern gentleman,” Jenkins said. “Ellis was an honest man who was always there for you when you needed help.

“I’ve gone to him many times for advice,” Jenkins said, “and he always listened and never failed to give me good advice and opinions.”

Jenkins added, “He always helped anyone who asked. He will be missed.”

Squire was born March 12, 1938, in Northampton County, to the late Warner Squire Sr. and Elfreda Ingram Butcher.

He is survived by, Lorraine High of Roanoke Rapids, Nichole Jones (Royal) of Springfield, Va., Elton Floyd (Donna) of Maryland, Jerome Squire of Sanford, Richard Squire of Greenville and Charles Squire (Kathy) of Maryland; 10 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; his siblings, Rose Squire, Elizabeth Squire, Dorothy Squire, Geraldine Scott (Shelton) and Jeraldine Butcher Roberts (Danny), all of Gaston, Leon Squire of Roanoke Rapids, David Louis Squire of Gaston, Warner Squire Jr. (Mary) and Gilbert Squire, all of West Palm, Fla.; his fiancee, Joyce Kearney of Halifax; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.

A service honoring his life, love and legacy, will commence at 12 noon on Saturday, Oct. 31 at Gaston Middle School, 152 Hurricane Drive (off Broughton Street) in Gaston, with Bishop Wayne I. Welch Sr. delivering words of comfort. He will be laid to rest in Squire Memorial Gardens in Garysburg.

Squire will lie in state from 10:30 a.m. until noon on the day of the service in the school’s auditorium.