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Chad Holmes

Graduate Instructor

Major Field

United States History: 1750s to 1850s

Minor Fields

Colonial American History, British History, and Latin American History


Brian Luskey

Research Interests

Chad is a doctoral candidate and a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of History at West Virginia University. His dissertation project, "Sheriffs Capitalism, and Civil Society in the Early Republic” examines how county court officers shaped and influenced the early republic political and commercial society. These men were not the gunslingers of the Wild West. Instead, their authority was represented in the paper—writs, newspapers advertisements, and scraps noting fee collections—that represented the power of the courts to manage and resolve financial and civil disputes. Chad argues that sheriffs’ work as court officials, their paperwork that served as conduits of capital, and the cultural perceptions of sheriffs all shaped the nation’s economy and its modes of governance in vital and underappreciated ways. By focusing on the careers of individual sheriffs and famous conflicts from Shays’s Rebellion to the Fugitive Slave Act in which sheriffs participated, Chad’s work helps to uncover the role local legal officials played in shaping how Americans contested ideas about police power and the authority of legal institutions.

Courses Taught
  • HIST 102: European History since 1600
  • HIST 152: Growth of the American Nation to 1865
  • HIST 153: Making of Modern America since 1865
  • HIST 241: Latin America: Culture, Conquest, and Colonization
  • HIST 484: History Capstone