John Peter Richardson, III

53rd Governor of the State of South Carolina 1886 to 1890

Date Born: September 25, 1831

Date Died: July 6, 1899

Place Born: Sumter District, SC (now Clarendon County)

Place Buried: Old Quaker Cemetery in Camden, SC

Residence: Elmswood Plantation, now Clarendon County, SC, then Columbia, SC.

Occupation: Lawyer,
Planter

           

South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina): Graduated in 1849.

South Carolina House of Representatives: 1856-1861, 1865

Richardson served on the staff of Confederate General James Cantey from 1862-1865

South Carolina Senate: 1865-1866

South Carolina Treasurer: 1878-1886

South Carolina Governor: 1886-1890

Winthrop's Richardson Hall was named for Governor John Peter Richardson, III

Elmswood Plantation was Richardson's home.

On November 2, 1886, Richardson elected without opposition. He received 33,114 votes.

On November 6, 1888, Governor Richardson was re-elected without opposition. He received 58,730 votes.


John Peter Richardson, III was born on September 25, 1831 in the Sumter District (now Clarendon County), South Carolina, the son of John Peter Richardson II, a former Governor of South Carolina, and Juliana Augusta (Manning) Richardson. He was educated by private tutors and Leslie McCandless of Camden, SC. After graduating from South Carolina College in 1849, Richardson managed Elmswood Plantation in the Sumter District (now Clarendon County).

In 1856, John Peter Richardson, III was first elected as one of two men to represent the Clarendon District in the House of Representatives of the:
- 42nd General Assembly that met from 1856-1857
- 43rd General Assembly that met from 1858-1859
- 44th General Assembly that met from 1860-1861

With the outbreak of the American Civil War, John Peter Richardson, III enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1862 and was brigade and division inspector on the staff of Brig. Gen. James Cantey of the Army of the West until the end of the war.

In 1865, John Peter Richardson, III was elected to represent Clarendon County in SC Constitutional Convention.

In 1865, John Peter Richardson, III was also elected as one of two men to represent Clarendon County in the House of Representatives of the:
- 47th General Assembly that met from 1865-1866

When John Laurence Manning resigned his seat in the SC Senate on November 4, 1865 to take his seat in the U.S. Senate, a special election was held and John Peter Richardson, III was elected to represent Clarendon County in the SC Senate of the same:
- 47th General Assembly that met from 1865-1866

On December 3, 1868, John Peter Richardson, III first married his cousin Eleanore Norvelle Richardson, daughter of Richard Charles Richardson and Eleanore (Spann) Richardson. She died on October 23, 1874 without issue. On February 13, 1877, he married a second time to another cousin, Juliana Augusta Manning Richardson, daughter of William Henry Burchell Richardson and Dorothy Ann Richardson. They had no children either.

John Peter Richardson, III was inactive in politics when Radical Republicans ruled the state during Reconstruction and returned in 1880 on the Democratic ticket running unopposed for SC Treasurer. He then moved to Columbia, SC. He was re-elected twice and served until 1886.

In 1886, Richardson was endorsed by Clarendon County Democrats for the candidacy of governor. His nomination proceeded forward to the state Democratic convention where he was opposed by Lieutenant Governor John Calhoun Sheppard, who had the backing of Benjamin Tillman. The recently formed Farmers' Association had a major influence in the nomination and backed Richardson despite an attempt by Tillman to force them to support Sheppard. Richardson won the nomination on the third ballot and went on to win the gubernatorial election of 1886 to become the next governor of South Carolina on November 2, 1886.

Again opposed by Tillman for the gubernatorial election of 1888, Richardson managed win the Democratic nomination for a second term as governor with the support of 60% of the delegates and ran unopposed in the general election that fall. During his time as governor, agitation from the farmers of the state for reforms increased leading to the foundation of Clemson College in 1889 and the political rise of demagogue Ben Tillman.

On July 6, 1899, John Peter Richardson, III died of heart failure in Columbia and was buried at the Old Quaker Cemetery in Camden, SC.


Born in the Sumter District (now Clarendon Count), SC, John Peter Richardson, III graduated from South Carolina College in 1849 and went on to serve in the state legislature prior to the American Civil War. He enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1862, and when the Civil War ended he was elected to the convention that was held to establish a provisional government for South Carolina. Under the state's new constitution adopted in 1865, he was elected to the SC House of Representatives and then to the SC Senate. He became state Treasurer in 1878, serving until 1886, when he was elected governor. During Richardson's first gubernatorial term, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals validated the will of Thomas G. Clemson, clearing the way to fund the creation of Clemson Agricultural and Mechanical College. During Richardson's second term, the Farmers' Association emerged as a strong political force in South Carolina.

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