Interim Content

Richardson, William Alexander


16 Jan. 1811–27 Dec. 1875. Schoolteacher, lawyer, politician. Born near Lexington, Fayette Co., Kentucky. Son of James L. Richardson and Mary Edmonson. Attended Walnut Hills Seminary, Centre College, and Transylvania University, in Kentucky. Admitted to bar, 1831. Moved to Shelbyville, Shelby Co., Illinois, 1831. Served in Black Hawk War. Moved to Rushville, Schuyler Co., Illinois, 1833. Served as state attorney for Illinois’s Third Judicial Circuit, 1834–1835 and 1838. Elected to Illinois House of Representatives, 1836. Served in Illinois Senate, 1838–1842. Married Cornelia H. Sullivan, 18 Jan. 1838, in Adams Co., Illinois. Reelected to Illinois House of Representatives, 1844, where he served as Speaker of the House. Served in Mexican War, 1846–July 1847. Served as U.S. representative from Illinois for five terms, 1847–1856. Moved to Quincy, Adams Co., 1849. Ran unsuccessfully for governor of Illinois, 1856. Appointed governor of Nebraska Territory by U.S. president James Buchanan, 1857. Reelected U.S. representative from Illinois, 1861; elected U.S. senator, 1863. Died at Quincy.