About John E. Rickards, Governor
John Ezra Rickards (July 23, 1848 – December 26, 1927) was a Republican politician in the Montana legislator. He served as the first Lieutenant Governor of Montana, and the second Governor of the state of Montana.
Rickards was born in Delaware City, Delaware and was educated in the public schools of his home state. In 1857, he became a clerk in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He moved to Pueblo, Colorado in 1870 and was a clerk and a bookkeeper until 1873. Changing his residence to San Francisco, California, he was a salesman in the mercantile business, and also involved in real estate, insurance and the oil industry. When he moved to Butte, Montana in September 1882, he became a successful businessman in those fields. He married Lizzie M. Wilson and the couple had three children before her death. He married Eliza A. Ellis on June 15, 1883, and they had five children.
Rickards was elected Alderman of Butte in 1885. He was a member of the territorial legislature from 1888 to 1889, and was a delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1889.
Rickards, a Republican, was elected as Montana's first Lieutenant Governor in 1888 at the same time that Joseph K. Toole, a Democrat, was chosen as Montana's first Governor. He served from 1889 to 1893.
Rickards served as the second Governor of Montana from 1893-97. While continuing to build Montana's infrastructure, he is credited for overseeing the creation of the state legal code and the state board of education, and an anti-gambling bill was sanctioned during his tenure.
After leaving office, Rickards moved to California and resumed his business career. Given an appointment to the Census Bureau in San Francisco, he was in that post for eighteen years.
Rickards died in Berkley, Alemeda County, California. His place of interrment is unknown