Title: Oral History Interview with John Ledford, January 3, 2001. Interview K-0251.
Interviewer: Amberg, Rob
Interviewee: Ledford, John
Subjects: Madison County (N.C.) Express highways--North Carolina Madison County (N.C.)--Social life and customs Ledford, John Madison County (N.C.)--Politics and government Sheriffs--North Carolina
Abstract: John Ledford, the sheriff of Madison County, North Carolina, describes his job and the changing role of county sheriff in a growing area. His job requires an understanding of the personal dynamics of the county, and many of its residents expect personal service. But Madison County is growing, and its growth is changing Ledford's job. In this interview, he describes the growing conflict between new arrivals and longtime residents; the political aspects of his position; the effects of a new highway corridor that brings business, but also crime, to the area; and the increasing complexity of a job that was once local and personal. In doing so, Ledford reveals his drive to keep pace with change and his regret that Madison County cannot remain the wooded paradise of his youth. This interview offers a thoughtful look at the challenges small communities face, caught up in an increasingly connected nation.