JOHN EZRA RICKARDS, the second governor of Montana, was born in Delaware City, Delaware on July 23, 1848. His education was limited and attained in the public schools of his native state. He moved to Colorado and California before settling in Butte, Montana, where he worked in the real estate, insurance, and oil industries. Rickards first entered politics as alderman of Butte, a position he was elected to in 1885. He also served as a member of the Montana Territorial Legislature from 1887 to 1889, was a member of the 1889 State Constitutional Convention, and served as the state’s first lieutenant governor from 1889 to 1893. Rickards next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote in 1892, serving from 1893 to 1897. During his tenure, state agencies were organized; a state legal code system was implemented; an anti-gambling bill was sanctioned; and a state board of education was established. After completing his term, Rickards left office and retired from political life. Governor John E. Rickards passed away in Berkley, California on December 26, 1927.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
Progressive Men of the State of Montana. Missoula, MT: Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana Libraries, 2004.
Miller, Joaquin. History of Montana. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co. 1894.
Obituary (January 3, 1927). Billings Gazette.