Appointed by County Court Justices (Constitution of 1776, sec. 47):
1777-1795 Brooke Beall
1795-1827 Upton Beall
1827-1845 Brice Selby

Appointed by Governor to 7-year term (Chapter 224, Acts of 1836, confirmed by Chapter 160, Acts of 1837):
1845-1851 Samuel T. Stonestreet


Elected by Voters to 6-year terms (Constitution of 1851, Art. IV, sec. 14):
1851-1863 James G. Herring
1863-1865 E. Barrett Prettyman (D)

Elected by Voters to 6-year terms (Constitution of 1864, Art. IV, sec. 29):
1865-1867 E. Barrett Prettyman (D)

Elected by Voters to 6-year terms (Constitution of 1867, Art. IV, sec. 25):
1867-1885 E. Barrett Prettyman (D)
1885-1897 James Anderson (D)
1897-1903 Thomas Dawson (R)
1903-1915 John L. Brunett
1915-1926 Preston B. Ray (D)

Elected by Voters to 4-year terms (Constitution of 1867, Art. XVII, added by Chapter 227, Acts of 1922, ratified Nov. 7, 1922):
1926-1930 Preston B. Ray (D)
1930-1958 Clayton K. Watkins (D)

Elected by Voters to 4-year terms (Constitution of 1867, Art. IV, sec. 25, amended by Chapter 99, Acts of 1956, ratified Nov. 6, 1956):
1958-1966 Clayton K. Watkins (D)
1966-1990 Howard M. Smith (D)
1990-1994 Bettie Skelton (D)
Molly Q. Ruhl (D)
2006-2014 Loretta E. Knight (D)
2014-2021 Barbara H. Meiklejohn (D) (retired March 31, 2021)
2021- Karen A. Bushell (D)

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