Z. Tom Hand, 1918-19

HandInterim Sheriff Z. Tom Hand holds the distinction as the shortest-serving Lee County Sheriff, having only been in office from December 1918 to November 1919 after being appointed by Gov. Sidney Johnston Catts. Little is known of this Sheriff: Both the Southwest Florida Museum of History and Southwest Florida Historical Society have scant records, only a photo and list of serving sheriffs.

When Frank Tippins eventually returned to Lee County, he wanted his old job back. Flanders “Snag” Thompson, Sheriff from 1949-73, recalls that Sheriff Hand promptly resigned, allowing the former Sheriff to resume his position. Robert “Bob” King, Sheriff from 1933-41, adds to the intrigue surrounding the mysterious Sheriff in news reports years later. Hand, King said, had second thoughts about giving up the post and ran for Sheriff. Hand was King’s personal friend and hunting partner. Hand won King’s vote but lost the election.