LEONARDTOWN, Md. – Today, on April 1, 2022, Sheriff Tim Cameron and the St. Mary’s County Office of the Sheriff solemnly mark the one-year anniversary of Sheriff Joseph Lee Somerville Sr.’s passing.
Sheriff Somerville’s phrases in workplace from 1977 to 1982 have been historic in St. Mary’s County and in Maryland. A local of Loveville, Somerville was St. Mary’s County’s first black sheriff’s deputy when he joined the Sheriff’s Office in 1966.
In 1977, Somerville turned each the primary black sheriff in St. Mary’s County and within the state of Maryland when he was appointed by the governor to finish the earlier sheriff’s time period. Sheriff Somerville went on to win the 1978 election for St. Mary’s County Sheriff, which then made him the primary elected black sheriff in St. Mary’s County and in Maryland as effectively.
At the time of the 1978 election, Sheriff Somerville was solely the sixth black sheriff in the complete United States, in line with “America’s First, A History of America’s Oldest Continuously Operating Sheriff’s Office.”
Two of his sons — Kevin Somerville and Joseph Lee Somerville Jr. — each went on to serve lengthy and proud careers as deputies with the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Somerville died on April 1, 2021 on the age of 81.