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Notes for Richard YATES


Franklin B Hough, American Biographical Notes, p 441

Yates, Richard d at St. Louis, MO., Nov 27, 1873, on his return from Fulton, ARK as US commissioner for examining the lower end of the Cairo and Fulton rail road; was b. in Kentucky, Jan 18, 1818; removed to Illinois, and grad. at the Ill. College; afterward studied law; served in the legislature of his state several terms, and a representative in congress from Illinois in 1851 to 1855; was elected governor of Ill. in 1861 for a term of four years, and took an active part in raising troops for the Union army during the rebellion; was elected United States senator from Ill., for the term beginning in 1865 and ending in 1871; served on the committees on the district of Columbia, the Pacific rail road, territories, pensions, manufactures, and mines and mining; also served as chairman of the committees on revolutionary claims and terrotires; was a delegate to the loyalists' convention, held in Philadelphia in 1866 (NY Tribune).

Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1949; Biographies, p 2051

Yates, Richard, a Representative and a Senator from Illinois; born in Warsaw, Gallatin Country, KY, January 18, 1818; attended the common schools; moved with his father to Springfield, Ill, in 1831 and subsequently settled in Berlin (now New Berlin), Sangamon County; was graduated from Illinois College, Jacksonville, Ill., in 1835; studied law at Transylvania University, Lexington, KY; was admitted to the bar in 1837 and commenced practice in Jacksonville, Ill; member of the State House of representatives 1842-1845, 1848, and 1849; elected as a Whig to the Thirty-second and Thirty-third Congresses (Mar 4, 1851-Mar 3, 1855); unsuccessful candidate for relection in 1854 to the Thirty-fourth Congress; delegate to the Republican State convention in 1854 and to the Republican National Conventions at Chicago in 1860 which nominated Lincoln and in 1868 which nominated Grant; Governor of Illinois 1861-1865; was the caucus nominee of his party, which was in the minority, for Senator in 1863; elected as a Union Republican to the United States Senate, and served from Mar 4, 1865, to Mar 3, 1871; was not a candidate for reelection; died suddenly in St. Louis, Mo., November 27, 1873, while returning from Arkansas, where he had gone as a United States commissioner, appointed by President Grant, to inspect a land subsidy railroad; interment in Diamond Grove Cemetery, Jacksonville, IL.

See: DAB; Hartman, Linda "The Issue of Freedom in Illinois Under Gov. Richard Yates, 1861-1865" Journal of the Illinois State History Society 57 (Autumn 1964); 293-297; Yates, Richard (1860-1936), and Catherine Pickering Yates. Richard Yates, Civil War Governor. Edited by John H Krenkel. Danville, IL Interstate Printers & Publishers, 1966.

PLAT BOOK OF MORGAN COUNTY ILLINOIS, 1894

HON. RICHARD YATES. - The world's history is the record of individual acts, and the brilliancy of that record is good deeds - such deeds as rise above self, and elevate and ameliorate the condition of man. Among the names that will live and shine in the history of our state and country will appear that of Richard Yates, the patriot governor of Illinois, who, through the dark years of the rebellion, gave such living proof of devotion to his country. Such was the character of Governor Yates for patriotism and ability, that, during the war, he administered counsel and strength to the Chief Executive of the nation with the same ease and grace that he gave sympathy and consolation to the humblest patriot, and has left a record which, for devotion to the Union cause and earnest effort in its behalf, has few equals, and will long be remembered by his grateful countrymen.

Richard Yates was born on the 18th of January, 1818, in Warsaw, Gallatin county, Kentucky. He is the second son of Henry Yates, who was a native of Caroline county, Virginia. His father, on coming to Illinois, settled first in Springfield, where he remained several years in the mercantile business. He then removed to Berlin, and after completion of the Toledo, Wabash, & Western railroad, laid out the town of New Berlin, where, as a merchant and dealer in real estate, he resided till his death. He was one of the pioneer citizens of our state, and was respected by a large circle of acquaintances. He raised a family of nine children, five sons and four daughters. Abner and Richard are at present residing in Jacksonville - also Millisent, wife of Wesley Mathers, and Catherine, residing with her sister, Mrs. Mathers.

Richard Yates was indebted for his early educational advantages to Morgan county, except one term in Miami University, at Oxford, Ohio. He graduated at Illinois College in 1837, and commenced his legal studies in the law office of John J. Hardin, who was afterwards so highly distinguished in the Mexican war as colonel of the first regiment of Illinois infantry. He was married July 11th, 1839, to Miss Catherine Geers, daughter of William Geers, of Morgan county, formerly of Lexington, Kentucky. By this marriage he has had five children, viz: William, deceased; Eliza, who died in infancy; and Henry, Katie, and Dickey, who still reside at home with their parents.

Mr. Yates political record covers a period of nearly thirty years. He was first elected to the state legislature in 1842, in which capacity he served the people six years. He was eleven years a representative in congress, four years governor of Illinois, and six years in the senate of the United States.

Such is the brief record of one of Illinois' distinguished patriots and statesmen, whose deeds will live in the memory of her grateful children.
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