RICHARD C. BYRD was born in Hawkins County, Tennessee, in 1805. He was a merchant and a farmer when he moved to Arkansas in 1826. Byrd entered politics as the auditor of the Arkansas Territory, where he served from 1829 to 1831. He served in the Territorial Legislature in 1833, was a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1836, and was a member of the Arkansas Senate in 1840, 1842, 1846, and 1848. Byrd ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1844. On January 10, 1849, Governor Thomas S. Drew resigned from office, and Byrd who was president of the Senate at the time, became acting governor. During his short term, he summoned for a special gubernatorial election, which was held on March 14, 1849. Byrd left office on April 19, 1849, and returned to his mercantile business in Jefferson County. Richard C. Byrd died on June 1, 1854, at his plantation, following a protracted illness.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
Donovan, Timothy P., and Willard B. Gatewood, Jr., The Governors of Arkansas, Essays in Political Biography, Fayetteville; The University of Arkansas Press, 1981
Herndon, Dallas T., Centennial History of Arkansas, Vol. 1, Chicago, Little Rock, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1922. 3 vols.