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Governor De Forest Richards

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Office Dates:  Jan 02, 1899 - Apr 28, 1903

Died in office

Born:  Aug 06, 1846

Passed:  Apr 28, 1903

Birth State:  New Hampshire

Party:  Republican

Family:  Married Elsie Jane Ingersol; two children

School(s):  Phillips Andover Academy


DE FOREST RICHARDS was born in Charlestown, New Hampshire and attended Phillips Andover Academy in Massachusetts. An active participant in post-Civil War Reconstruction, he first held public office as a member of the Alabama State Legislature and then as Sheriff and Treasurer of Wilcox County, Alabama. He moved to Douglas, Wyoming Territory in 1888, where he organized a bank and mercantile business and served as Mayor from 1891 to 1894. He was elected a delegate to Wyoming's first constitutional convention in 1889 and served one term in the State Senate. As governor, Richards advocated cession of federally-owned lands to the state and opposed federal leasing of lands for grazing, preferring either state ownership or free use. He was also a proponent of social reform, seeking appropriations from the state legislature for penal facilities, a home for the mentally ill, a general hospital, a school for the disabled, and a home for soldiers and sailors. He supported railroad construction and served as officer of a railway company that sought to connect the Union Pacific Railroad with mining areas in Wyoming. Richards died four months into his second term as governor.

Sources:

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 11. New York: James T. White & Company.

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.

Wyoming State Archives