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New York Obituaries - 1899 - Ex-Gov. John Peter Richardson
Ex-Gov. John Peter Richardson died yesterday in Columbia, SC, of heart disease.
He had been in failing health for some years.
Gov. Richardson came of a family which has been a social and political leader in
South Carolina since long before the revolutionary war, and he was the fourth man
of his family to be Governor of the State. His father, John Peter Richardson, was
Governor, and his great-grandfather, Richard Richardson, was an officer of the American forces
in the Revolution, being from the part of the State in which Gen. Marion, the famous swamp fighter, operated.
Gov. Richardson was born on his father's plantation in Clarendon County in 1831, and
followed the course traditional in the old South Carolina families - was graduated with
honors from the South Carolina College, was elected to the Legislature as a matter of course, and
gave his attention to planting and politics.
In 1862 he left the Legislature, and joined the Confederate Army. He served on the
staff of Gen. James Cantey until the surrender. In the political revolution of 1876
he took a prominent part, although his county is in the black belt, and his influence
among the negroes, with whom his family had always been popular, won many of their votes
for Gen. Wade Hampton, the Democratic nominee for Governor.
In 1878 Gov. Richardson was elected to the Legislature. It was known that his ambition
was to maintain the family record and be Governor of the State, and the most powerful
influences were enlisted in his behalf. In 1880, 1882, and 1884 he was elected
State Treasurer. In 1886 he was elected Governor, and in 1888 he was re-elected.
He performed the duties of both offices faithfully and ably, but he was intrinsically
a conservative, and ill-fitted for rough political work. He was a ready orator,
with much charm of manner and diction, but he was not a debater nor an effective
stump speaker. He was mercilessly ridiculed by Senator Tillman and his followers
when the Tillman movement of 1890 developed, and in the new conditions was helpless.
He has been living in Columbia since his retirement, and was a social favorite there.
His urbanity, courtesy, and graces of manner made him notable even among a generation
of men famous for those qualities. He was prominent in the councils of the
Episcopal Church of his diocese. A widow survives him.
Source: NY Times, Friday, Jul 7, 1899
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