In Colonial Maryland, the sheriff was responsible for collecting taxes, rents and other monies due owed to the governor, as well as issuing court summonses. The sheriff was appointed by the governor as a patronage position, and the fees the sheriff was allowed to collect for himself, could bring the officeholder significant profit. However, sheriffs would often put forward their own money to cover the obligations of citizens who could not pay, and could consequently lose a great deal of money if unable to collect. It was a position which required great skill and efficiency to perform well. As Stephen Bordley, Attorney General 1756-1763, wrote, "The Sheriffs office is a place of either Considerable gain or...Considerable loss; & the difference turns upon...Care, Exactness & diligence in the Execution of it."2
With the beginning of the American Revolution, Maryland changed its
constitution and introduced democratic elections for sheriffs. From 1776
until 1851, sheriffs were elected to three-year terms and were ineligible
to serve for four years after their terms.3
Terms were shortened to two years, with two years of ineligibility between
terms, in 1851.4 Since 1915, sheriffs
have served four-year terms and have been able to run for reelection.5
Today, the sheriff's responsibilities include serving warrants and
court summonses, collecting fines, and transporting prisoners.
|1658-1663||John Norwood||aomol vol. 41, p. 86; aomol vol 49, p. 347; vol. 3, p. 448-450|
|1663-1664||Samuel Chew||aomol vol. 49, p. 215; vol. 3, p. 481|
|1664-1665||Capt. William Burgess||aomol vol. 49, p. 313; vol. 3, p. 491|
|1665-1666||Richard Ewen||aomol vol. 57, p. 92; vol. 3, p. 518|
|1666-1670||Capt. Thomas Stockett||aomol vol. 57, pps. 147, xli, 423; vol. 51, p. 321, 325; vol. 3, p. 341; vol 5, p. 70|
|1673-1676||Henry Stockett||aomol vol. 51, pps. 100, 130, 179|
|1676-1678/9||John Welsh||aomol vol. 51, p. 179, 220; vol. 67, p. 436; vol. 68, p. 178|
|1678/9-1682||Robert ffranklin6||aomol vol. 51, p. 246; vol. 17, p. 446; S536-11, p. 27.|
|1683-1685||George Burgess||aomol vol. 17, pps. 142, 463|
|1685-1690||Capt. Henry Hanslap7||aomol vol. 5, pps. 470, 545; vol. 8, p. 21; vol. 17, p. 378|
|1690-1692||Abel Brown||aomol vol. 13, p. 266|
|1692-1694||Benjamin Scrivener||aomol vol. 13, p. 298; vol. 77, pps. 3, 55|
|1694-1697||Capt. William Holland||aomol vol. 20, pps. 107, 461; vol. 19, p. 320; vol. 77, p. 55|
|1697-1699||Richard Beard||aomol vol. 23, pps. 173, 330, 447; vol. 25, p. 52|
|1699-c.1701||Thomas Reynolds||S551-19, p. 96|
|c. 1701-1705||John Gresham, Jun||aomol vol 25, p. 150; C91-1, p. 62, n.p.; C91-2, n.p.|
|1705/6-1708||Josiah Wilson||C91-2, n.p., 801; C91-4, p. 1|
|1708-1711||John Gresham, Jun||C91-4, pps. 1, 324, 372|
|1711-1714||Thomas Gassaway||C91-4, pps. 372; C91-5, n.p.|
|1714-1717||Thomas Reynolds||C91-5, n.p.; C91-6, p. 46; C91-6, pps. 30, 79|
|1714-1718||Benjamin Tasker||C91-7, p. 79, 231, 252|
|1718-1721||Stephen Warman||C91-6, pps. 252, 535; C91-7, pps. 241, 396|
|1721-1723||Henry Lazenby||C91-7, p. 396; C91-10, p. 29|
|1723||John Gresham8||S551-36, p. 269; C91-11, n.p.|
|1724-1725||Zachariah Maccubbin||S551-36, p. 385; S551-37, p. 1|
|1725-1726||John Gresham||S551-37, pps. 115, 253|
|1726-1727||Daniel Mariartee||S551-37, pps., 395, 483|
|1727-1730||James Govane||S551-38, pps. 1, 137, 203, 317; S551-39, pps. 1, 173|
|1731-1733||Zachariah Maccubbin||S551-40, p. 425; S551-39, p. 273; S551-41, pps. 1, 93; S551-42, p. 1|
|1733||John Welsh9||S551-42, p. 120|
|1733-1736||Nicholas Maccubbin||S551-42, p. 161; S551-44, p. 146|
|1736-1739||Zachariah Maccubbin||S551-45, p. 223; S551-46, p. 173|
|1739-1742||John Darnell||S551-49, p. 1; C91-16, p. 469|
|1742-1745/6||Samuel Smith||C91-16, p. 573; C91-19, p. 1|
|1745/6-1748||William Thornton||C91-19, p 1; C91-20, p. 143|
|1748/9-1751||John Gassaway||C91-20, p. 193; C91-21, p. 161; Maryland Gazette 4 Dec 1751|
|1751-1755||Maj. Nathan Hammond||C91-21, p. 321; C91-22, p. 41; Maryland Gazette 4 Dec 1751|
|1755-1757||John Raitt||C91-22, p. 95; C91-23, p. 101; Maryland Gazette 2 Jan 1755|
|1757-1760||Upton Scott||C91-23, p. 159; C91-24, p. 1|
|1761-1763||Kensey Johns10||C91-24, p. 85; C91-25, p. 695; Maryland Gazette 2 Jun 1763|
|1763||Lancelot Jacques||C91-25, pps. 760, 890|
|1764-1766||Joseph Galloway||C91-26, p. 1; C91-28, p. 224; C91-29, p. 236|
|1767-1769||William Stewart||C91-30, p. 303; S551-83, p. 1|
|1770-1772||John Clapham||S551-84, p. 401; S551-90, p. 375|
|1773-1775||William Noke11||S551-93, p. 379; S551-94, p. 357|
|1779-1782||Capt. Thomas Harwood||S397-1|
|1788-1791||Benjamin Howard15||S397-1; Maryland Gazette 16 Oct 1788; 21 Apr 1791|
|1803-1805||Jasper E. Tilly||S397-1|
|1805-1809||John McCeney||S397-1; Maryland Gazette 1 Sep 1808|
|1815-1818||Robert Welch of Benjamin||S397-1|
|1824-1827||Robert Welch of Benjamin||Maryland Gazette 6 Jul 1826; C91-77|
|1830-1833||Bushrod W. Marriott||C91-78|
|1833-1836||Robert Welch of Benjamin||C91-79|
|1836-1841||John P. Selby19||C91-80; S1004-242|
|1842-1845||Benjamin T. Pindle20||C91-81; Sun 10 Jan 42; Maryland Republican, 5 Feb 1845|
|1845-1848||Richard Welch of Benjamin||C41-1; S108-15|
|1851-1853||Nicholas I. Worthington||C92-1|
|1855-1856||Ezekiel E. Bell21||C147-1; Annapolis Gazette 20 Mar 1856|
|1856-1859||Edwin W. Duvall||C147-1; C92-1|
|1863-1865||P. M. McCullough||C147-1|
|1865-1867||R. S. Woodward||C147-1|
|1867-1869||P. Dorsey Carr||C147-1|
|1869-1871||Edwin W. Duvall||C147-2|
|1873-1875||P. Dorsey Carr||C147-2|
|1875-1877||Thomas S. Nutwell||C147-2|
|1877-1879||J. B. Wells||C147-2|
|1879-1881||Thomas S. Nutwell||C147-2|
|1881-1883||H. S. Anderson||C147-2|
|1883-1885||Joseph O. Fowler||C147-2|
|1885-1887||R. P. Sellman||C147-2|
|1887-1889||John G. Crane||C147-2|
|1889-1891||James S. Armiger||C147-2|
|1891-1893||H. Clement Claude||C147-2|
|1893-1895||Thomas I. Linthicum||S108-89|
|1895-1897||Joseph W. Fowler||S108-90|
|1897-1899||Frank S. Revell||Maryland Manual 1898, 130|
|1901-1903||George T. Beasley||Maryland Manual 1901, 181|
|1903-1905||Samuel B. Hardy||S63-7|
|1905-1907||Joshua Linthicum||Maryland Manual 1906-1907, 222|
|1907-1909||James E. Williams||Maryland Manual 1908-1909, 134|
|1909-1911||Frank S. Revell||Maryland Manual 1910-1911, 134|
|1911-1913||George T. Beasley||Maryland Manual 1912-1913, 163|
|1913-1915||John E. Potee||Maryland Manual 1913-1914, 168|
|1915-1917||J. Carson Boush||S63-27|
|1917-1919||Joseph H. Bellis||Maryland Manual 1917-1918, 182|
|1919-1921||Thomas S. Dove||Maryland Manual 1919-1920, 192|
|1921-1923||Harry T. Levely||Maryland Manual 1922, 89|
|1923-1926||John Bowie||Maryland Manual 1924, 92|
|1926-1930||Michael F. Carter||Maryland Manual 1926, 92|
|1930-1934||R. Glenn Prout||Maryland Manual 1930, 115|
|1934-1938||Joseph W. Alton||Maryland Manual 1934, 122|
|1938-1942||Russell C. Turner||Maryland Manual 1938, 148|
|1942-1946||Joseph C. Griscom||Maryland Manual 1943-1944, 148|
|1946-1949||Joseph W. Alton22||Maryland Manual 1948-1949, 194; Sun 14 Sep 1949|
|1949-1950||Charles M. Russell||Maryland Manual 1950, 215; Sun 27 Sep 1949|
|1950-1962||Joseph W. Alton, Jr.||Maryland Manual Online|
|1962-1990||William R. Huggins||Maryland Manual Online|
|1990-1994||Robert G. Pepersack, Sr.||Maryland Manual Online|
|1994-2006||George F. Johnson||Maryland Manual Online|
|2006-present||Ronald S. Bateman||Maryland Manual Online|
1. Archives of Maryland Online (hereafter given as aomol), Vol. 3, pps. 61, 63.
2. Bordley to Hercules Coutts, 11 Dec 1756. Bordley Papers, Letterbook of Stephen Bordley, 1756-59, pps. 224-24, Maryland Historical Society. Quoted in Donnell M. Owings, His Lordship's Patronage: Offices of Profit in Colonial Maryland (Baltimore, MD: Maryland Historical Society, 1953), 70.
3. Constitution of 1776, Sect. 42.
4. Constitution of 1851, Art. IV, Sect. 20.
5. Laws of 1914, Chap. 845.
6. ffranklin died in June or July 1682 and Burges probably was his replacement.
7. During the seizure of power by the Protestant Associators, 1689-1692, Hanslap either refused to serve under the provisional government or was dismissed and replaced with Brown, who was loyal. Hanslap continued to collect revenue due to Lord Baltimore. Brown began serving as sheriff in February of 1690. See Lois Green Carr and David William Jordan, Maryland's Revolution of Government 1689-1692 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1974) 100, 107 n62.
8. Gresham died 24 December 1723.
9. Served May to October only.
10. Johns died 26 May 1763. Jacques served the end of his term.
11. Noke served at least until September, 1775, when the Provincial Court held its last term. Although the governor retained nominal control over the province as late as the beginning of 1776, the Council of Safety increasingly became the governing force in Maryland after its establishment in August, 1775. It is unclear who, if anyone, carried out the sheriff's duties from the end of Noke's tenure until the first popularly-elected sheriff was chosen in December, 1776.
12. Deale died 1 January 1778.
13. Appointed to finish Deale's term but refused the position
14. Appointed to succeed Deale.
15. Howard died 11 April 1791.
16. Appointed to succeed Howard but refused the appointment.
17. Appointed to succeed Howard by his bond was not accepted.
18. Appointed to succeed Howard
19. Selby resigned 20 December 1841. Pindle was appointed to replace him on 8 January 1842 and was subsequently elected to a term of his own.
20. Pindle failed to give bond in 1845 and was replaced in February by Welch. Welch was subsequently elected to his own term.
21. Bell died 14 March 1856. Duvall took office 18 March 1856 and was elected to a full term in October.
22. Alton died 14 September 1949. Russell was appointed
to serve out the remainder of his term.
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY COURT (Bond Record) 1841-1851 [MSA C41].
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY COURT (Judgment Record) 1703-1844 [MSA C91].
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT (Minutes) 1851-1903 [MSA C92].
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT (Test Book) 1851-1892 [MSA C147].
BOARD OF STATE CANVASSERS (Election Returns) 1896-1976 [MSA S63].
COURT OF APPEALS (Miscellaneous Papers) 1776-1983 [MSA S397].
GOVERNOR (Election Returns) 1838-1895 [MSA S108].
MARYLAND STATE PAPERS (Series A) 1715-1847 [MSA S1004]
PREROGATIVE COURT (Inventories and Accounts) 1674-1718 [MSA S536].
PROVINCIAL COURT (Judgment Record) 1658-1775 [MSA S551].
Maryland Gazette (Annapolis).
Maryland Republican (Annapolis).
The Sun (Baltimore).
Archives of Maryland Online.
Carr, Lois Green and David William Jordan, Maryland's Revolution of Government 1689-1692. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1974.
Return to Maryland Government, Historical List