John Peter Richardson, III (1831 - 1899)

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Birthplace: Clarendon County, South Carolina
Death: Died
Managed by: Doug Robinson
Last Updated:

About John Peter Richardson, III

John Peter Richardson III (September 25, 1831 – July 6, 1899) was the 83rd Governor of South Carolina from 1886 to 1890.

Richardson was born in Clarendon County, South Carolina to John Peter Richardson II, a former Governor of South Carolina, and Juliana Augusta Manning. After graduating from South Carolina College in 1849, Richardson managed Elmswood Plantation in Clarendon County. He was also elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives during antebellum South Carolina.

With the outbreak of the American Civil War, Richardson enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1862 and was on the staff of Brigadier General James Cantey until the end of the war. After which, he was elected in 1865 to the South Carolina House of Representatives and later that year to the South Carolina Senate. Richardson was inactive in politics when Radical Republicans ruled the state during Reconstruction and returned in 1878 on the Democratic ticket running unopposed for state Treasurer.

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 83rd governor of South Carolina.

In 1886, Mattie Faust, who had been Richardson's wash woman since his time as Treasurer, gave birth to Richardson's daughter, Wilhelmina Willis (Clarkson).

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, Richardson died in Columbia and was buried at Quaker Cemetery in Camden.


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John Peter Richardson III, Governor's Timeline

Clarendon County, South Carolina
Age 68
Quaker Cemetery Camden Kershaw County South Carolina