DeForest Richards

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DeForest Richards
DeForest Richards.jpg
5th Governor of Wyoming
In office
January 2, 1899 – April 28, 1903
Preceded by William A. Richards
Succeeded by Fenimore Chatterton
Personal details
Born August 6, 1846
Charlestown, New Hampshire
Died April 28, 1903 (aged 56)
Political party Republican

DeForest Richards (August 6, 1846 – April 28, 1903) was an American banker, farmer, and politician. He was the fifth Governor of the state of Wyoming, and the first to die while still in office.


Born in Charlestown, New Hampshire, Richards attended Phillips Andover Academy in Massachusetts.[1] He married Elsie Jane Ingersol and they had two children.


Richards became involved in the post-Civil War Reconstruction, moving to Alabama in the mid-to-late 1860s. He served as sheriff and treasurer of Wilcox County, and ran a tannery. During his time in Alabama, Richards was often derided as a "carpetbagger". After the failure of his tannery, he moved to Chadron, Nebraska, where he similarly acted as county treasurer.

Following his experiences in Chadron, Richards moved to Douglas, Wyoming, where he set up the mercantile firm Richards and Lidell. He also helped found the First National Bank of Douglas, of which he was the first President.[2] Both the firm and the bank were very successful, and Richards moved on to politics, successfully running for mayor of Douglas, commanding the Wyoming National Guard, attending the Constitutional Convention that saw Wyoming Territory achieve statehood, and sitting on the Wyoming Senate.

In 1898 he ran as the Republican candidate for state Governor, and defeated Democratic candidate Horace C. Alger by 1,394 votes. He ran for a second term in 1902, defeating George T. Beck by the largest margin seen since the Territory joined the Union in 1890. However, the victory was short-lived: Richards died on April 28, 1903, just four months into his second term.


He died on April 28, 1903, while in office. Richards was a member of the Holy Royal Arch. His body is interred at Lakeview Cemetery, in Cheyenne.


  1. ^ "DeForest Richards". National Governors Association. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "DeForest Richards". Wyoming Historical Society. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
William A. Richards
Governor of Wyoming
January 2, 1899 – April 28, 1903
Succeeded by
Fenimore Chatterton