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Historical List
Maryland Court of Appeals Clerks, 1781- 

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The position of Clerk of the Court of Appeals was authorized in 1780 (Chapter 23, Acts of March Session 1780).  The Clerk was appointed by the judges of the Court.  Under the several acts reorganizing the judiciary of Maryland in 1806, the Court of Appeals held separate terms for the Western Shore and the Eastern Shore, and a clerk was appointed for each shore (Chapter 55, Acts of 1804; Chapters 16 and 65, Acts of 1805).  Since the adoption of the Constitution of 1851, the Court of Appeals has held its sessions only at Annapolis and has had only one Clerk of the Court.  Beginning in 1851, the clerk held office for six years and could be reappointed (Const. 1851, Art. 4, sec. 3).  In 1867, the Clerk's office became an elected position (Const. 1867, Art. 4, sec. 17), and they were chosen by the qualified voters of the State.  In 1939, the office again became an appointed one, and without a specified term length (Chapter 40, Acts of 1939).1  The clerk maintains the docket, receives briefs and transcripts of cases filed with the Court, and maintains official custody of Court decisions, Acts of the General Assembly, and other records required to be filed with the Court (Const., Art. IV, sec. 17).2

David Bradford, 1781-1784
Thomas D. Merrick, 1784-1794
Burton Whetcroft, 1795-1805
James Earle, Jr., Eastern Shore, 1806-1814
James Parrott, Eastern Shore, 1814-1835
Thomas C. Nicols, Eastern Shore, 1836-1842
H.E. Bateman, Eastern Shore, 1842-1851
Thomas Harris, Jr., Western Shore, 1806-1829
John Johnson, Western Shore, 1829-1836
Richard W. Gill, Western Shore, 1836-1851
Richard W. Gill, 1851-1852
William A. Spencer, 1852-1863
George Earle, 1863-1867
James S. Franklin, 1867-1879
Spencer C. Jones, 1879-1891
John Frank Ford, 1891-1897
Allan D. Rutherford, 1897-1900
John Frank Ford, 1900-1901*
J. Frank Turner, 1901
Thomas Parran, 1901-1907
Caleb C. Magruder, 1907-1923
Luther H. Gadd, 1923
James A. Young, 1923-1942
Maurice Ogle, 1942-1957
J. Lloyd Young, 1957-1971
James H. Norris, Jr., 1971-1983
Alexander L. Cummings, 1983-2008
Bessie M. Decker, 2008-2018
Suzanne C. Johnson, 2018-present

1Georgory A. Stiverson, ed. Maryland Manual, 1985-1986. Annapolis, MD: State Archives of the State of Maryland, 1985: 642.
2Maryland Manual On-Line

* John Frank Ford died February 26, 1901, however, his term did not expire until 1904. He was appointed to finish the term of Allan D. Rutherford, who died April 28, 1900.

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