Richard Cleveland Drew

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Richard Cleveland Drew, Sr.​

Judge of the Louisiana Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit, based in Shreveport, Louisiana​
In office
1911​ – March 1913​

Judge of the 2nd Judicial District of Bossier and Webster parishes (now the 26th Judicial District)​
In office
May 29, 1882​ – June 2, 1900​
Preceded by R. B. Taylor​
Succeeded by John T. Watkins​
In office
December 8, 1904​ – March 4, 1911​
Preceded by John T. Watkins
Succeeded by John N. Sandlin​

Born April 17, 1848​
Overton community
Webster Parish
Louisiana, USA​
Died December 21, 1919
(aged 71)​
Minden, Webster Parish​
Resting place Minden Cemetery​
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Katie Roberta Caldwell Drew (married 1880–1919, his death)​
Children Harmon Caldwell Drew

Richard Cleveland, Drew, Jr.
​ Allyn Sidney "Skeet" Drew
​ Miss Katie Cleveland Drew
​ Thomas Caldwell Drew
​ Waddy Thompson Drew
​ Miss Mary Sarah Drew​

Alma mater Homer College​
Profession Lawyer and Judge

Richard Cleveland Drew, Sr., also known as R. C. Drew (April 17, 1848 – December 21, 1919), was a judge of the state district and circuit courts, based in Minden in northwestern Louisiana. The Drew family was among the original 19th-century settlers of the future Webster Parish, of which Minden is the seat of government. The first Drew arrived in 1818 in the Overton community on Dorcheat Bayou.


​ Drew was born in rural Webster Parish to the former Sarah Jessie Cleveland (1828–1880) and Richard Maxwell Drew, an attorney, district judge, delegate to the Louisiana state constitutional convention of 1845, and state representative from 1848 until his death two years later.[1] R. M. Drew served in the House from Claiborne Parish for the last two years of his life, to the establishment of Webster Parish. The state mistakenly lists him as "R. C. Drew," instead of R. M. Drew. But R. C. Drew was only two years of age in 1850, when his father, R. M. Drew, died at the age of barely twenty-eight.[1][2]

Richard Maxwell Drew is interred at an abandoned cemetery in Overton. His epitaph on his tombstone, which was damaged several years ago by a dozer operating in the area, reads: "His public and private virtues have survived his death and will endure when this dumb marble shall have faded."[3][4]

R. C. Drew was educated at the former Homer College in Homer in Claiborne Parish. He read law under Alexander Banks George and was admitted to the bar in 1872 at Monroe, Louisiana. He was a member of the Masonic lodge.[5]​ ​


In 1880, R. C. Drew married the former Katie Roberta Caldwell (October 15, 1859 – December 5, 1936), a native of Plain Dealing in northern Bossier Parish and the daughter of Colonel and Mrs. Thomas J. Caldwell, who were originally from South Carolina.[6] Katie Caldwell was educated at a female seminary in Paris in northeastern Texas.[5] R. C. and Katie Drew had seven children, including Harmon Caldwell Drew, a district and circuit court judge who served on both benches from 1930 to 1945. R. C. and H. C. Drew remain the only father/son combination to have served as a judge on both state district and circuit courts in Louisiana.[5] Their other children, all but one of whom died before the age of sixty, were Allyn Sidney Drew (1897–1956), Richard Cleveland Drew, Jr. (1885–1950), Katie Cleveland Drew (1887–1908), Thomas Caldwell Drew (1891–1940), Waddy Thompson Drew (1894–1941), and Mary Sarah Drew (1904–55).[7]

Thomas Caldwell Drew, a soldier in World War I, was seriously injured by poison gas used by the Germans and never fully recovered. Mary, the youngest of the Drew children, had Down's syndrome. Neither of the two Drew daughters married.[5]​ Katie Cleveland Drew was a piano student at Cincinnati Conservatory in Cincinnati, Ohio. While home for the Christmas holidays she became ill with influenza and died on December 23, 1908.​

A sister and brother-in-law of Katie Caldwell Drew died in the 1918 flu pandemic. Their two orphans, Will and Katie Hall, were reared by R. C. and Katie Drew.[8]​ ​

Judicial tenure

R. C. Drew's youngest son, A. S. "Skeet" Drew, was the first judge of the Minden City Court, having assumed the position in the late 1920s. R. C. Drew, Jr., also a judge, died two months after the passing of his brother, Harmon Caldwell Drew.[5] A Drew has served in a judicial capacity in Webster Parish (created from Claiborne Parish in 1871) with comparatively little interruption since 1882.[9] R. C. Drew served as a district judge from 1882[10] to 1900 and again from 1904 to 1911.[9] Drew's tenure on the circuit court extended from 1911 to March 1913.​

In 1898, Judge Drew was a delegate to the Louisiana Constitutional Convention, as had been his father to the earlier conclave held in 1845.​ Drew's uncle, Thomas Stevenson Drew, the governor of Arkansas from 1844 to 1849, had also been a delegate to that state's 1836 constitutional convention.[11]


Drew died in Minden at the age of seventy-one. He is interred beside his wife in the older rear section of the historic Minden Cemetery.​ ​ R. C. Drew's grandson, Richard Harmon Drew, Sr. (1917-1995), was a Minden city judge, a state representative, and a delegate to the most recent state constitutional convention held in Baton Rouge in 1973. One of R. C. Drew's great-grandsons is the Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Harmon Drew, Jr.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812–2020. Retrieved on August 19, 2019.
  2. Drew Family. Retrieved on June 5, 2011; no longer on-line.
  3. Overton. Retrieved on June 5, 2011; no longer on-line.
  4. Inscription of Drew grave marker, Overton Cemetery, Webster Parish, Louisiana.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Descendants of William Caldwell. Family Tree Maker. Retrieved on June 5, 2011.
  6. "Mrs. Katie Drew Succumbs at Home Saturday Evening", Minden Signal-Tribune, December 8, 1936, p. 1
  7. Richard Cleveland Drew (1848–1919). Retrieved on June 5, 2011.
  8. Statement of Dr. Thomas Drew Carey (great-grandson of R. C. Drew), Ruston, Louisiana, 2011.
  9. 9.0 9.1 List of District Judges from Webster Parish, Webster Parish Centennial Booklet, 1871, Webster Parish Police jury publication.
  10. The Webster Parish list of judges has Drew becoming judge on May 29, 1882, but the Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northwest Louisiana, (Chicago and Nashville, Tennessee: Southern Publishing Company, 1890), contends that he began judicial duties in 1879.
  11. Thomas Stevenson Drew. Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved on June 11, 2011.

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