In 1841 Ansel Briggs, the first governor of Iowa, settled on a location outside of Andrew known as Bluff Mills, later moving his family to town. He became the Jackson County deputy treasurer in 1843 then began a two-year term as Sheriff of Jackson County in 1844. Ansel Briggs won the election against Thomas McKnight for the governor of Iowa in 1846. Briggs served as governor until 1850.
On September 22, 1909 the citizens of Andrew constructed a granite monument in honor of the first governor of Iowa. It is located in the city cemetery.
The first school was made of logs in 1841 and the second was a framed structure. A brick building was built in 1889 where the present school is, 13 South Marion Street. Andrew Community School conducts preschool through high school level classes.
Andrew was incorporated in 1863 with the first record of ordinances recorded in 1867. The county seat switched between Bellevue and Andrew several times until it was moved to Maquoketa in 1873. The county seat was responsible for much of the growth of the city. An orphans asylum and courthouse was built along with other structures to serve the county government.
The Jackson County Jailhouse was built in 1870 and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The three-story limestone structure includes sheriff's office, cell room, exercise yard, a jailer quarters, and prison kitchen.
The Andrew Public Library is located in the City Hall on 11 E. Benton Street. Books are available for all ages with a special program held for children of the community during the summer.