The Convention, which met from August 14, 1776,
about six weeks after the Declaration of Indepen-
dence, through November 11, 1776, framed the
Constitution that governed Maryland until 1851.
The General Assembly established by the Constitu-
tion began meeting on February 5, 1777, but the
Council of Safety continued to function as the
executive body of the State until March 20 of the
same year. On March 22, 1777, the Assembly
adopted a resolution "for dissolving the Council of
Safety and Vesting the Governor and Council with
their Powers." The Governor and Council had
qualified two days earlier on March 20, and they
immediately began to perform the duties assigned to
GOVERNORS OF THE STATE OF
By the Constitution of 1776, sec. 25, the Governor
was chosen annually by joint ballot of both houses
of the legislature. He had to be over twenty-five
years of age, and a State resident for five years
preceding the election. He also was required to hold
real and personal property in the State valued at
over five thousand pounds current money, one
thousand of which was to be of freehold estate
(Const. 1776, sec. 30). The Governor was limited to
three successive one-year terms. In the four years
thereafter, he could not again serve (Const. 1776,
By an 1837 constitutional amendment, the State
was divided into three gubernatorial districts
(Chapter 197, Acts of 1836). The Governor was to
be elected by popular vote from each district on a
rotating basis, beginning with the Eastern Shore
district. The first popular election for Governor was
held October 3, 1838. The Governor's term was
extended at this time to three years.
The Constitution of 1851 continued the system of
gubernatorial election districts. It raised the mini-
mum age for gubernatorial candidates to thirty. The
Governor was required to have been a U. S. citizen
and State resident for five years and a resident of the
district from which he was elected for three years.
His term was extended to four years (Const. 1851,
Art. 2, secs. 1, 6).
In the 1864 Constitution, gubernatorial election
districts were eliminated. Thereafter, the Gpvernor
was elected by vote of the entire State's electorate.
The 1864 Constitution also eliminated the district
' For members of the Conventions of the Province of Maryland,
1774-1776, and the Councils of Safety, 1775-1776, see Edward C.
Papenfuse et al., A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland
Legislature. 1635-1789. vol. 1 (Baltimore, 1979), pp. 68-75.
residency requirements for gubernatorial candi-
dates (Const. 1864, Art. 2, sec. 5).
The 1867 Constitution required the Governor to
have been a citizen of the State of Maryland for ten
years, a Maryland resident for five years, and a
qualified voter at the time of his election (Const.
1867, Art. 2, sec. 5).
The Governor was limited to two consecutive
terms by constitutional amendment ratified in 1948
(Chapter 109, Acts of 1947).
By a 1970 constitutional amendment, the Gover-
nor was required to be a resident and registered
voter of the State for only the five years preceding
his election (Chapter 532, Acts of 1970).
Elected Under the Constitution of 1776
by the Legislature for One Year.11
1777-1779. Thomas Johnson. No Party. Born in
Calvert County, November 4, 1732, the son of
Thomas Johnson and wife Dorcas Sedgewick.
Resident of Anne Arundel County when elected.
Episcopalian. Married Ann Jennings. Died at
Rose Hill, Frederick County, October 26, 1819.
Buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Frederick.
1779-1782. Thomas Sim Lee. No Party. Born in
Prince George's County, October 29, 1745, the
son of Thomas Lee and wife Christian Sim.
Roman Catholic. Married Mary Digges. Died at
Needwood, Frederick County, October 9, 1819.
Buried in the Mt. Carmel Cemetery, Upper
1782-1785. William Paca. No Party. Born near
Abingdon, Harford County, October 31, 1740,
the son of John Paca and wife Elizabeth Smith.
Resident of Queen Anne's County when elected.
Episcopalian. Married (1) Mary Lloyd Chew; (2)
Anne Harrison. Died at Wye Hall, Queen Anne's
County, October 13, 1799. Buried at Wye Hall,
Queen Anne's County.
1785-1788. William Smallwood. No Party.
Thought to have been born in Charles County in
1732, the son of Bayne Smallwood and wife
Priscilla Heaberd. Resident of Charles County
when elected. Episcopalian. Unmarried. Died at
Mattawoman, February 14, 1792. Buried at
Smallwood's Retreat, Charles County.
'"Under the Constitution of 1776, the Governor was elected annually
on the second Monday in November. He could be reelected for two
additional terms. Thomas Johnson, the State's first governor, was
elected on February 13, 1777, after the Constitution of 1776 became