Virginia Governors

The Governor of Virginia serves for four years. A governor cannot serve consecutive terms, but he can run in an election after he is out of office. When the Virginia Company founded a colony, a Council was chosen to run the colony. In 1609 the Virginia Company abandoned the council and appointed John Smith as Governor. In 1624, the monarchy took control of the colony, revoking the Virginia Company's charter. The Governor was chosen by the monarchy. At the time of the American Revolution through 1851, the Governor was elected by the State legislature. In 1851, the Governor was elected by popular vote of the people.

GovernorTook OfficeLeft OfficeNotes
Capt Edward Maria WingfieldApr 1607 President of the Council
Capt John Ratcliffe10 Sep 1607 President of the Council
Capt John Smith7 Sep 1608 President of the Council
Thomas West, Lord de la War (Delaware)23 May 1609 Appointed Governor and Captain General
Did not reach Virginia until 10 Jun 1610
Born in England 1577
Died at Sea 7 Jun 1618
Capt George Percy1609 President of the Council
Born 4 Sep 1586 England
Died Mar 1632 England
Thomas West, Lord Delaware10 JUn 1610 Governor
Capt George Percy28 Mar 1611 Deputy Governor
Sir Thomas Dale19 May 1611 High Marshall and Deputy Governor
Sir Thomas GatesAug 1611 Acting Governor
Sir Thomas DaleMar 1612 Acting Governor
Capt George YeardleyApr 1616 Lt or Deputy Governor
Born in England
Died Nov 1627 Virginia
Capt Samuel Argall9 Apr 1617 Lt or Deputy Governor
Born 1572 England
Died 1639 England
Capt Nathaniel Powell9 Apr 1617 Senior Councillor, Acting Governor
Born in England
Killed 22 Mar 1622 Indian Massacre
Sir George Yeardley19 Apr 1619 Knighted and Appointed Governor and Capital General 18 Nov 1618
Arrived in Colony 19 Apr 1619
Sir Francis Wyatt18 Nov 1621 Governor
Born 1588 England
Died Aug 1644 England
Sir George Yeardley1626 Lt Governor
Sir George Yeardley19 Apr 1626 Governor
Commission Dated 19 Apr
Capt Francis West14 Nov 1627 Elected Governor by Council
Dr John Pott5 Mar 1628 Elected Governor by Council
Sir John HarveyMar 1629/30 Deposed by Council and sent to England
Capt John West28 Apr 1635 Elected Governor by Council
Born 14 Dec 1590 England
Died 1659 Virginia
Sir John Harvey2 Apr 1636 Governor
Commission Dated 11 Jan 1635
Arrived in Virginia
Sir Francis WyattNov 1639 Governor
Sir William BerkeleyFeb 1641/42 Governor
Born abt 1606 England
Died 19 Jul 1677 England
Richard KempJun 1644 Elected Governor by Council in Sir William Berkeley's absence
Born in England
Died 1656 Virginia
Sir William BerkeleyJun 1645 Governor
Richard Bennett30 Apr 1652 Elected Governor by General Assembly
Bennett sent by Parliament to "subdue" Virginia
Brought sealed instructions, not to be open until Virginia Surrendered
Died 1675 Virginia
31 Mar 1635Edward Digges Elected Governor by House of Burgesses
Born in England
Died 15 Mar 1675 Virginia
Samuel Matthews13 Mar 1657/8 Elected Governor by House of Burgesses
Died Jan 1660 Virginia
Sir William Berkeley23 Mar 1660 Elected Governor by General Assembly
Commission from King dated 31 Jul 1660
Appointed Sheriff for Lower Norfolk County 9 Mar 1659/60
Col Francis Moryson30 Apr 1661 Deputy Governor
During absence of Berkeley in England
Sir William BerkeleyFall 1662 Governor
Herbert Jeffreys27 Apr 167730 Dec 1678Commissioned Lt Gov 11 Nov and Governor 9 Oct 1676
Died 30 Dec 1678
Sir Henry Chicheley30 Dec 1678 Deputy Governor
Commission dated 28 Feb 1673/74
Born 1615 England
Died 5 Feb 1682/83 Virginia
Thomas, Lord Culpeper10 May 1680 Governor
Died 1719 England
Nicholas SpencerSep 1683 President of the Council
Died 23 Sep 1689 Virginia
Francis, Lord Howard of Effingham15 Apr 1684 Lt Governor
Commission dated 28 Sep 1683
Died 30 Mar 1694 England
Nathaniel BaconApr 1687 President of the Council
Born 1619 England
Died 16 Mar 1692 Virginia
Col Francis Nicholson16 Oct 1690 Lt Governor
Died 5 Mar 1728 England
Sir Edmund Andros15 Oct 1692 Governor
Born 6 Dec 1637 England
Died 27 Feb 1713/14 England
Col Francis Nicholson9 Dec 1698 Lt Governor
Commissioned 20 Jul 1698
George Hamilton Douglas, Earl of Orkney1704 Commissioned Governor-in-Chief for life
Never Came to Virginia
Died 29 Jul 1737
Edward Nott15 Aug 1705 Lt Governor
Born 1634 England
Died 23 Aug 1705 Virginia
Edmund JeningsAug 1706 President of the Council
Born 1659 England
Died 5 Dec 1727 Virginia
Col Robert Hunter14 Aug 1707 Commissioned Lt Governor
Captured on voyage to Virginia by French and never arrived
Col Alexander Spotswood23 Jun 1710 Lt Governor
Born 1676 Tangier, Africa
Died 7 Jun 1740 Annapolis, MD
Hugh Drysdale8 Sep 1722 Lt Governor
Died 22 Jul 1726
Robert Carter11 Jul 1726 President of the Council
Born 1663 Virginia
Died 4 Aug 1732 Virginia
William Gooch8 Sep 1727 Lt Governor
Born 21 Oct 1681 England
Died 17 Dec 1751 England
Subsequently Knighted
William Anne Keppel, Earl of Albemarle6 Sep 1737 Appointed Governor-in-Chief
Died 23 Dec 1754
Never in Virginia
Rev James Blair DD174025 Jul 1741President of the Council
Acting Governor while Governor Gooch on Carthagena Expedition
Born abt 1655 Scotland
Died 3 Aug 1743 Virginia
Sir William Gooch1741 Governor
John Robinson20 Jun 1749Sep 1749President of the Council
Born 1683 Virginia
Died Sep 1749 Virginia
Thomas Lee5 Sep 174914 Nov 1750President of the Council
Born 1690 Virginia
Died 14 Nov 1750 Virginia
Lewis Burwell14 Nov 1750 President of the Council
Born 1710 Virginia
Died 1752 Virginia
Robert Dinwiddie20 Nov 1751 Lt Governor
Born 1673 Scotland
Died 27 Jul 1770 England
John Campbell, Earl of LoudonJul 1756 Appointed Governor General of all the American Colonies
Never came to Virginia
John BlairJan 1758 President of the Council
Born 1689 Virginia
Died 5 Nov 1771 Virginia
Francis Fauquier7 Jun 1758 Lt Governor
Born 1703 England
Died 3 Mar 1768 Virginia
Sir Jeffrey Amherst1763 Governor-in-Chief
Never in Virginia
John Blair7 Mar 1768 President of the Council
Norborne Berkeley, Baron De Botetourt28 Oct 176815 Oct 1770Governor-in-Chief
Born 1718 England
Died 15 Oct 1770 Virginia
William Nelson15 Oct 1770 President of the Council
Born 20 Feb 1677 Virginia
Died 19 Nov 1772 Virginia
John Murray, Earl of DunmoreAug 1771Jun 1775Governor-in-Chief
Appointed Jul 1771
Fled from Government Seat Jun 1775
Born 1732 Scotland
Died May 1789 England
Committee of Safety17755 Jul 1776Executive functions exercised by Committee of Safety
Members were: Edmund Pendleton, George Mason, John Page, Richard Bland, T L LEe, Paul Carrington, Dudley Digges, William Cabell, Carter Braxton, James Mercer and John Tabb
Elected 17 Aug 1775
Joseph Jones and Thomas Walker added to committee 16 Dec 1775 in place of Braxton (elected to Congress) and Mason (declined).
Patrick Henry05 Jul 177601 Jun 1779 
Thomas Jefferson01 Jun 177903 Jun 1781 
William Fleming03 Jun 178112 Jun 1781 
Thomas Nelson Jr12 Jun 178122 Nov 1781 
David Jameson22 Nov 178101 Dec 1781 
Benjamin Harrison V01 Dec 178101 Dec 1784 
Patrick Henry01 Dec 178401 Dec 1786 
Edmund Randolph01 Dec 178601 Dec 1788 
Beverley Randolph01 Dec 178801 Dec 1791 
Henry Lee III01 Dec 179101 Dec 1794 
Robert Brooke01 Dec 179401 Dec 1796 
James Wood01 Dec 179601 Dec 1799 
Hardin Burnley07 Dec 179911 Dec 1799 
John Pendleton Jr11 Dec 179919 Dec 1799 
James Monroe19 Dec 179901 Dec 1802 
John Page01 Dec 180207 Dec 1805 
William H Cabell07 Dec 180501 Dec 1808 
John Tyler Sr01 Dec 180815 Jan 1811 
George William Smith15 Jan 181119 Jan 1811 
James Monroe19 Jan 181103 Apr 1811 
George William Smith03 Apr 181126 Dec 1811 
Peyton Randolph27 Dec 181103 Jan 1812 
James Barbour03 Jan 181201 Dec 1814 
Wilson Cary Nicholas01 Dec 181401 Dec 1816 
James Patton Preston01 Dec 181601 Dec 1819 
Thomas Mann Randolph Jr01 Dec 181901 Dec 1822 
James Pleasants01 Dec 182210 Dec 1825 
John Tyler10 Dec 182504 Mar 1827 
William Branch Giles04 Mar 182704 Mar 1830 
John Floyd04 Mar 183031 Mar 1834 
Littleton Waller Tazewell31 Mar 183430 Apr 1836 
Wyndham Robertson30 Apr 183631 Mar 1837 
David Campbell31 Mar 183731 Mar 1840 
Thomas Walker Gilmer31 Mar 184020 Mar 1841 
John M Patton20 Mar 184131 Mar 1841 
John Rutherford31 Mar 184131 Mar 1842 
John Munford Gregory31 Mar 184201 Jan 1843 
James McDowell01 Jan 184301 Jan 1846 
William Smith01 Jan 184601 Jan 1849 
John B Floyd01 Jan 184916 Jan 1852 
Joseph Johnson16 Jan 185201 Jan 1856 
Henry A Wise01 Jan 185601 Jan 1860 
John Letcher01 Jan 186001 Jan 1864June 20, 1863 WV was formed
William Smith01 Jan 186409 May 1865 
Francis Harrison Pierpont09 May 186504 Apr 1868 
Henry H Wells04 Apr 186821 Sep 1869 
Gilbert Carlton Walker21 Sep 186901 Jan 1874 
James L Kemper01 Jan 187401 Jan 1878 
Frederick W M Holliday01 Jan 187801 Jan 1882 
William E Cameron01 Jan 188201 Jan 1886 
Fitzhugh Lee01 Jan 188601 Jan 1890 
Philip W McKinney01 Jan 189001 Jan 1894 
Charles Triplett O'Ferrall01 Jan 189401 Jan 1898 
James Hoge Tyler01 Jan 189801 Jan 1902 
Andrew Jackson Montague01 Jan 190201 Feb 1906 
Claude A Swanson01 Feb 190610 Feb 1910 
William Hodges Mann10 Feb 191001 Feb 1914 
Henry Carter Stuart01 Feb 191401 Feb 1918 
Westmoreland Davis01 Feb 191801 Feb 1922 
Elbert Lee Trinkle01 Feb 192201 Feb 1926 
Harry F Byrd01 Feb 192615 Jan 1930 
John Garland Pollard15 Jan 193017 Jan 1934 
George C Peery17 Jan 193415 Jan 1938 
James H Price15 Jan 193821 Jan 1942 
Colgate Darden21 Jan 194216 Jan 1946 
William M Tuck16 Jan 194618 Jan 1950 
John S Battle18 Jan 195020 Jan 1954 
Thomas Bahnson Stanley20 Jan 195411 Jan 1958 
James Lindsay Almond Jr11 Jan 195813 Jan 1962 
Albertis S Harrison Jr13 Jan 196215 Jan 1966 
Mills E Godwin Jr15 Jan 196617 Jan 1970 
A Linwood Holton Jr17 Jan 197012 Jan 1974 
Mills E Godwin Jr12 Jan 197414 Jan 1978 
John N Dalton14 Jan 197816 Jan 1982 
Chuck Robb16 Jan 198218 Jan 1986 
Gerald L Baliles18 Jan 198614 Jan 1990 
Douglas Wilder14 Jan 199015 Jan 1994 
George Allen15 Jan 199417 Jan 1998 
Jim Gilmore17 Jan 199812 Jan 2002 
Mark Warner12 Jan 200214 Jan 2006 
Tim Kaine14 Jan 200616 Jan 2010 
Bob McDonnell16 Jan 2010present