Denton, MD., June 18, 2008 — Louis Andrew, 81, of Denton ended a 32-year career as sheriff of Caroline County when he retired in 1994. Born on a farm at American Corner, the 10-year old started hanging out with a bad crowd after his family moved to the county seat during the Great Depression. There were drunks and all sorts of lawbreakers, but his father, William, didn’t mind that the youngster was mixing with this bunch.
In fact, his dad was the one who brought him into town to live in the jailhouse with wayward types when he was elected to Caroline’s top law enforcement post in 1938. While growing up with these jailbirds, he befriended many of the regulars. As his dad and one deputy (an uncle), along with the cook (his mother), ran the joint, little Louis wandered the building and grounds playing. After that, except for a four year period in the 1940s, when his father was not allowed by law to succeed himself, the post was entirely a family affair.
When his dad died of a heart attack in 1961, the 33-year-old continued the tradition of serving as the top cop in the county. “I moved my wife Joyce, and two children, Ricky and Charles, into the living quarters of the jail. Joyce, who wasn’t paid for her work for years, cooked three meals a day for the prisoners, and took care of the place while we were out. There was one deputy to assist me. The two of us provided security for the circuit court, served warrants, answered calls, and guarded the jail. I was making $2,400 a year and had to buy my own car, badge, and gun.”
One jailhouse regular holds a special place in the Sheriff’s memory. “When my family first moved into the jail, one of the prisoners would take me down to the Choptank River, where he taught me about crabbing and the ways of the river. When I moved in 23-years later this same gentleman, now an old man, was still one of our regulars. He would take my son, Ricky, down to the waters-edge and talk to him about the things he’d shown me as a child. Sometimes I’d hear him proudly saying to Ricky, “I used to show the sheriff these things, when he was a little boy.”
The sheriff has many interesting recollections. “Once I had to have a prisoner in court, but something urgent came up. I got the man out of the cell and said take yourself down to court for the hearing and don’t go anywhere else. If the judge gives you time, don’t come back without the indictment, but come right back here when you get the papers. It was getting late in the day when I noticed this man hadn’t returned, so when I checked I found out he was still at the court. The clerk hadn’t given him his papers and he was going to follow my orders.”
“When I retired in 1994, the governor appointed my son to finish my term, making the third consecutive Andrews to hold the post.” The legacy of crime fighting for the Andrews family of Caroline County, which began in 1921 when his grandfather held the job, continued with Charles served as the first director of the Detention Center.