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Richard Yates Jr.

Gov. Richard Yates Jr.

  • January 13, 1901 - January 8, 1905
  • Republican
  • December 11, 1860
  • April 10, 1936
  • Illinois
  • Illinois College, University of Michigan Law School
  • Married Helen Wadsworth; two children
  • Representative


RICHARD YATES, JR., son of Illinois’ thirteenth governor, Richard Yates, was born in Jacksonville, Illinois, on December 12, 1860. In 1880, he graduated from Illinois College, where he also earned a Master of Arts degree three years later. Yates graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1884, and established a legal career in Jacksonville, Illinois. In 1878 and 1879, he worked as editor of the Daily Courier, as well as, working at the Daily Journal from 1881 to 1883. Yates entered public service in 1885, serving as city attorney of Jacksonville, an office he held for five years. He also served as judge of Morgan County from 1894 to 1897 and was the U.S. collector of internal revenue at Springfield from 1897 to 1900. Yates won the 1900 Republican gubernatorial nomination and was sworn into office as Illinois’ twenty-fourth governor on January 14, 1901. During his tenure, he vetoed two separate pieces of legislation: the first would have legalized horseracing in the state, and the second bill would have secured funding for the executive mansion’s upkeep and improvements. Yates also dealt with a race riot that erupted in June 1902 in Saline County. The state militia was called in to suppress the violence and protect black citizens. Yates did not win renomination and left office on January 9, 1905. He later ran again for the governor’s office but was unsuccessful in both his 1908 and 1912 bids. Two years later, he served on the state public utilities commission, a position he held for three years, he also was assistant attorney general of the state of Illinois from 1917 to 1918 and served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, serving from 1919 to 1933. Governor Richard Yates died on April 11, 1936 and was buried at the Diamond Grove Cemetery in Jacksonville, Illinois.


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.

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