Michel Delving (also called Delving), located on the White Downs in the Westfarthing, was the chief township and, essentially, the capital of the Shire. In this town were the home of the Mayor, the Lockholes, and the Mathom-House.
Mayor of Michel Delving
Though less powerful than the Thain or the Master of Buckland, the Mayor of Michel Delving was the only properly and regularly elected official in the Shire. Every seven years, one was elected during the Free Fair, held in the White Downs. The chief duty of the Mayor was to preside over feasts, but he was also somewhat responsible for the Shirrifs and Messenger Service. During the War of the Ring, Will Whitfoot held the office of Mayor, but he was unjustly imprisoned during the Scouring of the Shire, and during his time in the Lockholes was greatly weakened. For eight months afterward, Frodo Baggins took over as Mayor while Whitfoot recovered.
The most famous Mayor, however, was Samwise Gamgee, who was elected seven times. In FO 13, he was elected – with the Master of Buckland (Meriadoc Brandybuck) and the Thain (Peregrin Took) – by King Elessar as a Counsellor of the North Kingdom.