John M. Branch
November 3, 1906, to
November 8, 1910
John M. Branch was born on September 13, 1867, in Rusk County, Texas. He came to
Wise County in 1896 and settled in the Sycamore Community north of Decatur. On March 14,
1903, he married Lenora Kelly. They had five children.
In 1900, Branch went to work for the county supervising the prisoners on the
chain gang. The chain gang was made up of prisoners who were being held in the county jail
on misdemeanor charges. Their work consisted of working on the road and cutting the brush
along the right of ways.
Branch was elected sheriff on November 6, 1906, and served until November 8,
John Branch was a well-respected man. "He is intensely loyal to his
friends, and no man is more ready to accommodate his friends than Mr. Branch."
John Branch was the beginning of a law enforcement family. Two of his children,
J.R. and Hugh Malcolm would also serve as sheriff.