Lancaster County was organized in the Nebraska Territory in 1855. The first move for the organization of Lancaster County was in the fall of 1859. In 1861, Louis J. Loder was appointed the first sheriff and county clerk of the county. The first elected sheriff of the county was William Pemberton in 1863. By the 1870s, Lancaster County was growing rapidly. Since the establishment of the Office of the Sheriff in Lancaster County, thirty-two sheriffs have held the office. In the early years, a number of prominent businessmen held the Office of the Sheriff. Two of those were Samuel McClay and Granville Ensign, both Civil War veterans and prominent Republicans.
The last few decades have witnessed the evolution of an office stretching to meet the public expectations of training and professionalism, service and response to the rural community, and burgeoning responsibilities to the Courts and public safety.