Back to former Wyoming governors
De Forest Richards

Gov. De Forest Richards

  • January 2, 1899 - April 28, 1903
  • Republican
  • August 6, 1846
  • April 28, 1903
  • New Hampshire
  • Phillips Andover Academy
  • Married Elsie Jane Ingersol; two children
  • Died in office


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.


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


Recent Wyoming Governors