Last modified on December 18, 2020, at 13:23

Richard Maxwell Drew

Richard Maxwell Drew

Louisiana State Representative
for Claiborne Parish
In office
Preceded by Unknown
Succeeded by S. Smith

Born July 26, 1822
Overton community
Near Minden
Then part of Claiborne Parish
Died July 11, 1850 (aged 27)
Overton community
Now Webster Parish
Resting place Overton Cemetery

Cenotaph at Minden Cemetery

Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Sarah Jessie Cleveland Drew
Relations Thomas Stevenson Drew (brother)

Harmon Caldwell Drew (grandson)
R. Harmon Drew, Sr.
(great grandson)
Harmon Drew, Jr.
(great-great grandson)

Children Richard Cleveland Drew
Occupation Attorney

Richard Maxwell Drew (June 26, 1822 – July 11, 1850) was an attorney and politiciann in Claiborne Parish in north Louisiana. His family was among the first settlers of what is now Webster Parish, which was established in 1871 as a breakaway from Claiborne Parish.


Drew was a son of Newitt (or Newett) Drew and Sarah A. Sally Maxwell Drew, natives of Southampton County, [[[Virginia]], who later moved to[Wilson County, Tennessee], and then northwestern Louisiana. Richard Maxwell Drew was born in his father's Overton community on Dorcheat Bayou near Minden, Louisiana, the seat of government of Webster Parish. The community was subsequently obliterated by yellow fever. Drew's brother, Thomas Stevenson Drew (1802-1879), who was twenty years his senior, became the governor of Arkansas in 1844.[1][2][3] Thomas S. Drew was the namesake of Drew County, Arkansas.[2][4][5]

In 1846, R. M. Drew married the former Sarah Jessie Cleveland. At seventeen, he was already practicing law. At twenty-three in 1845, he was a district judge in Claiborne Parish (prior to the establishment of Webster Parish),[6][7] and a delegate to the Louisiana Constitutional Convention of 1845.[4] For the last two years of his short life, Drew was a Democratic member of the Louisiana House of Representatives.[8][9]

Drew died fifteen days before his 28th birthday. His son, Richard Cleveland Drew, and grandson, Harmon Caldwell Drew, were subsequently judges of both the Webster Parish district court. [10] and the state circuit court, the only father-son combination thus far on the latter court.[11] Judge R. C. Drew married Katie Roberta Caldwell, daughter of Thomas Stevenson Caldwell. R. M. Drew's great-grandson, R. Harmon Drew, Sr., was a municipal judge and a state representative. His great-great-grandson, Harmon Drew, Jr., serves on the same circuit court as did his grandfather and great-grandfather.[11]

After Richard Maxwell Drew's death in 1850 his widow married in 1855 Dr. W. W. Arbuckle. To this marriage two daughters were born: Kate and Corinne. Sarah J. Cleveland Drew Arbuckle was buried at Overton c. 1875 according to Cleveland family records. Her grave was destroyed ic. 1958.

Drew is interred at the abandoned Overton Cemetery off Interstate 20. The epitaph on his tombstone, which was damaged several years ago by a bulldozer doing clearing work for the new I-20, reads: "His public and private virtues have survived his death and will endure when this dumb marble shall have faded."[12][13]In 2011, a cenotaph] honoring Drew was erected at the Minden Cemetery.


  1. State of Arkansas Governors. Retrieved on June 11, 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Thomas Stevenson Drew. Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved on June 11, 2011.
  3. Other sources list Thomas Drew as the third Arkansas governor because Drew's predecessor, Samuel Adams, was not "governor" but the "acting governor" from April 29 to November 5, 1844, through Adams' previous role as president of the Arkansas State Senate.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Richard Drew Carey (1934-2013), The Drew Family of Minden, Louisiana. Retrieved on June 5, 2011; material no longer accessible on-line.
  5. and were a combined large social, cultural, and historical website operated from Bellaire, Texas, by Sherry Gresham Gritzbaugh, a 1955 graduate of Minden High School. The website had historical articles on the major families involved in the settlement of Minden and Webster Parish, Louisiana.
  6. The Bettis Family and the Settlement of Pocohontas, Arkansas. Retrieved on June 11, 2011.
  7. Drew Family of Virginia. Retrieved on June 11, 2011.
  8. Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2024. Louisiana House of Representatives. Retrieved on August 4, 2020.
  9. The state of Louisiana erroneoulsy lists Representative R. M. Drew as "R. C. Drew," the initials of his son, who did not serve in the state House.
  10. List of Webster Parish District Judges, Webster Parish Centennial Booklet, 1971", Webster Parish Police Jury publication
  11. 11.0 11.1 Descendants of William Caldwell. Retrieved on June 5, 2011.
  12. Inscription on R. M. Drew tombstone, Overton Cemetery, Webster Parish, Louisiana
  13. Overton. Retrieved on June 5, 2011; material no longer on-line.