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.