Ohio’s First Female Sheriff Spotlighted In New Play

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Throughout the rest of March, the Ohio History Center in Columbus is featuring a theater production about former Vinton County Sheriff Maude Collins.

The performance, entitled Sheriff Maude: Lawman, Detective and Mother, will shed light on one of the county’s most well-known historical figures.

Collins served as Ohio’s first female county sheriff. She was appointed to the position after her husband Sheriff Fletcher Collins was killed in 1925 trying to make an arrest.

“While the tragedy of Fletcher’s untimely death shattered the world Maude had known, it also put her in a position to make history,” reads a passage about Collins on the county’s visitors website.

A year later, she was formally elected to serve out a full term. Collins is also remembered for her detective skills, having solved a double homicide during her tenure as sheriff, according to the Ohio History Society.

Collins was later elected as Vinton County Clerk of Courts and also worked at the Columbus State School following her time as sheriff. Collins died on June 8, 1972 and is buried in Hamden Cemetery, according to an obituary printed then in The Courier.

The performance, featuring Westerville’s Harriet Merriman as Maude Collins, will take place on March 22 and 29 at the Ohio History Center, located at 800 E. 17th Ave. in Columbus.

The theater show is free with museum admission and is performed at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.