Library of Congress
RICHARDSON, William Alexander (1811-1875)

RICHARDSON, WILLIAM ALEXANDER, a Representative and a Senator from Illinois; born near Lexington, Fayette County, Ky., January 16, 1811; attended an academy at Walnut Hill, Ky., Centre College at Danville, Ky., and Transylvania University at Lexington, Ky.; taught school; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1831 and commenced practice in Shelbyville, Ill.; State's attorney 1834-1835; member, State house of representatives 1836-1838, 1844-1846, and served as speaker in 1844; member, State senate 1838-1842; presidential elector on the Democratic ticket in 1844; during the Mexican War enlisted as a captain and was promoted to the rank of major; moved to Quincy, Ill., in 1849; elected as a Democrat to the Thirtieth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Stephen A. Douglas; reelected to the Thirty-first and to the three succeeding Congresses and served from December 6, 1847, to August 25, 1856, when he resigned; chairman, Committee on Territories (Thirty-second and Thirty-third Congresses); elected to the Thirty-seventh Congress and served from March 4, 1861, until his resignation on January 29, 1863, having previously been elected Senator; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1863 to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Stephen A. Douglas and served from January 30, 1863, to March 3, 1865; was not a candidate for renomination in 1864; engaged in newspaper work; died in Quincy, Adams County, Ill., December 27, 1875; interment in Woodland Cemetery.

Chicago Historical Society
Chicago, IL
Papers: Ca. 3 items in various collections.

Filson Club Historical Society
Louisville, KY
Papers: Autobiographical or biographical sketch in the Charles Lanman collection. Finding aid.

Illinois State Historical Society
Springfield, IL
Papers: 1837, 1848, 1850. 4 items. Letters regarding 1848 presidential campaign, investigation of corruption in Department of the Interior, congressional reelection and campaign, and belief that Fillmore will abandon Taylor's policies. Finding aid.

Nebraska State Historical Society
Lincoln, NE
Papers: Correspondence in Thomas B. Cuming papers, 1822-1913.

Pierpont Morgan Library
New York, NY
Papers: 1853-1866. 3 items.

  • Holt, Robert D. "The Political Career of William A. Richardson.''Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 26 (October 1933): 222-69.
  • Thavenet, Dennis Jerome. "William Alexander Richardson, 1811-1875.'' Ph.D. dissertation, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, 1967.