Born in Clarendon County, South Carolina, JOHN PETER RICHARDSON graduated from South Carolina College in 1849 and went on to serve in the state legislature prior to the Civil War. He enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1862, and when the Civil War ended he was elected to the convention that was held to establish a provisional government for South Carolina. Under the state's new constitution adopted in 1865, he was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives and then to the South Carolina Senate. He became state Treasurer in 1878, serving until 1886, when he was elected governor. During Richardson's first gubernatorial term, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals validated the will of Thomas G. Clemson, clearing the way to fund the creation of Clemson Agricultural and Mechanical College. During Richardson's second term, the Farmers' Association emerged as a strong political force in South Carolina.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 12. New York: James T. White & Company.