John Gardiner Richards, Jr., Governor

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John Gardiner Richards, Jr.

Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of John Gardiner Richards and Sophia Edwards Smith

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About John Gardiner Richards, Jr., Governor,_Jr.

John Gardiner Richards, Jr. (September 11, 1864 – October 9, 1941) was the 96th Governor of South Carolina from 1927 to 1931.


Born in Liberty Hill, South Carolina, on September 11, 1864, to John G. Richards and Sophia Edwards Smith, he attended schools in Liberty Hill and North Carolina's Bingham Military Institute for a short time.

Career Milestones

1898: Elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives
1910: Appointed as the South Carolina Railroad Commissioner
1926: Elected Governor of South Carolina on his fourth attempt by winning a contested Democratic primary.

Gubernatorial career

The South Carolina Constitution had been amended in 1926 to give the governor a four-year term and Richards became the first South Carolina governor elected for a four-year term. His time as Governor was noted for his strict observance of Blue laws, even chastising golfers for playing on Sunday.

From Walter Edgar's South Carolina: A History, p. 484:

"When John G. Richards of Kershaw County was inaugurated as governor in 1927, he vowed that his administration would have 'one great place South Carolina upon a pedestal where she can be proclaimed by the world as a leader in righteousness.' He had little luck in suppressing illegal liquor, but with the support of the General Assembly he was able to stamp out gambling. He also announced that the state's blue laws would be strictly enforced. Businesses were supposed to be closed on Sundays---period. Police arrested golfers in Aiken, Camden, Greenville, Hartsville, and Sumter.

The governor twice vetoed efforts by the legislature (reflecting the will of a majority of South Carolinians) to modify the state's blue laws. The press and business leaders criticized the governor, but he was not alone in his desire to see a return to old-fashioned decency.
The Governor had to pay the expenses for the mansion and staff. He had nine daughters and five or six lived at the mansion. In order to save on expenses he kept a cow on the lawn of the governor's mansion for milk and for mowing. After his term as governor, Richards returned to his farm in Liberty Hill where he died on October 9, 1941.


There is a story told by his daughters:

When the Union Army camped in Liberty Hill, South Carolina, one of the Union soldiers saw John G. Richards as a baby and said, "Let me stick that little Johnny Reb". His Nursery maid, a slave took little Johnny up in her arms and protected him from the soldier. Later she was said to have asked, "How did that soldier know that his name was Johnny?"
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John Gardiner Richards, Jr., Governor's Timeline

Age 77