About

The office of Court Clerk was created in 1780 by the Cumberland Compact, the original articles of agreement signed by settlers who established Fort Nashborough. Andrew Ewing, a Revolutionary War veteran born in Pennsylvania, and who arrived in 1780 with John Donelson, was appointed as the first County Court Clerk for the Cumberland Territory. Ewing was reappointed in 1783 when Davidson County, North Carolina was established. During his tenure he set the precedence for transcribing the county’s earliest legal proceedings, recording of all land deeds and transactions, wills, marriages, births, and deaths in the territory. He even transcribed some of Founder James Robertson’s state documents. When Tennessee became a state in 1796, Ewing remained as County Court Clerk. He held the position until his death in 1813.

The Clerk, along with other county officials, is a “Constitutional Officer” as established by the Tennessee State Constitution. Andrew Ewing was responsible for collecting funds (taxes) to build Nashville’s first court house, prison, and stocks. The buildings were not constructed until 1803. He was followed by two of his sons, who also died in office. Ewing is buried in the Nashville City Cemetery. Since 1783 there have been 24 County Clerks. In 1978, some of the duties of the County Court Clerk were divided and the title County Clerk was designated as the official officer.

Andrew Ewing 1783-1813

Nathan Ewing 1813-1830

Henry Ewing 1830-1835

Smith Criddle 1836-1840

Robert B. Castleman 1840-1850

Felix R. Cheatham 1850-1861

Phillip L. Nichol 1862-1870

W. G. Ewing 1870-1873

James G. Bell 1874-1878

Joseph R. McCann 1878-1880

W. T. Smith 1892-1894

P. A. Shelton 1894-1910

W. F. Hunt 1910-1916

Romas Hailey 1916-1922

Thomas O. Hill 1922-1926

Dick Lindsley 1926-1935

Jake Petway 1935-1935

John B. Cobb 1935-1958

Ramsey Leathers 1958-1958

R. E. Worrall 1958-1980

William McPherson 1980-1986

Bill Covington 1986-2006

John Arriola 2006-2012

Brenda Wynn 2012-present