John E. Rickards

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John Ezra Rickards
John E Rickards.jpg
2nd Governor of Montana
In office
January 2, 1893 – January 3, 1897
LieutenantAlexander C. Botkin
Preceded byJoseph Toole
Succeeded byRobert Smith
1st Lieutenant Governor of Montana
In office
GovernorJoseph Toole
Preceded byVacant
Succeeded byAlexander Campbell Botkin
Personal details
BornJuly 23, 1848
Delaware City, Delaware
DiedDecember 26, 1927 (aged 79)
Berkeley, California
Political partyRepublican

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.[1]


Rickards was born to David T. Rickards and his second wife, the former Mary Burris in Delaware City, Delaware and was educated in the public schools of his home state. His mother died when he was a young boy and for a time he Eliza lived and labored on an uncle's farm. In 1857, Rickards became a clerk in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where his father was living with his third wife and their two daughters. The younger Rickards moved to Pueblo, Colorado in 1870 and was a clerk and a bookkeeper until 1873. He married Lizzie M. Wilson, born 19 April 1848 in Newark, Delaware, on 5 July 1876. The couple moved to California, and had three sons, Homer Crary (1877-1907), Earl Merritt (1878-1884), and Seward Adams (1880-1964). The family was living in Oakland by 1880. Lizzie died in San Francisco at the age of 33 on 18 May 1881.[2] Rickards was a salesman in the mercantile business, and also involved in real estate, insurance and the oil industry. After Lizzie's death he moved to Butte, Montana in September 1882 and became a successful businessman in those fields.[3] Rickards married Canadian-born Eliza Anne (Ellis) Boucher on 18 June 1883, in Ogden, Utah.[4] She brought a daughter, Harriet Ellis Boucher, into the marriage. The Rickards then had five children: Howard Burris (1884-1952), Carlisle (1885-1958), "Baby" (1886), John Ezra (born and died in 1889), and Rachel (1891-1954). The Rickards were active lay leaders in the Methodist-Episcopal Church.[2] After his stint as governor, Rickards, his wife, and five surviving children aged 9–24 moved back to Butte, Silver Bow County, Montana.[5] By 1908, John, Eliza and Ellis were living in Berkeley, California. In 1914, the three were registered Progressives but 1916, they were once again registered Republicans.[6]


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.[7] 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.[8]

After leaving office, Rickards moved to Berkeley, California and resumed his business career. Given an appointment to the Census Bureau in San Francisco, he was in that post for eighteen years.[9]


Rickards died of angina pectoris and chronic myocarditis at his Berkeley, Alameda County, California home on 26 December 1927. His death certificate notes that he was retired from a special appointment to the U.S. Agricultural Secretary.[10] His cremains are interred at Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, California.


  1. ^ "Former State Governors". Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Family documents.
  3. ^ John E Rickards. The Encyclopedia of Montana. January 2000. ISBN 9780403096046. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  4. ^ "John E. Rickards". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  5. ^ 1900 Federal Census.
  6. ^ California Voter Registrations 1900-1968.
  7. ^ "Montana Governor John Ezra Rickards". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  8. ^ "John E. Rickards". National Governors Association. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  9. ^ "John E. Rickards". The Encyclopedia of Montana. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  10. ^ California State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Standard Certificate of Death

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of Montana
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Lieutenant Governor of Montana
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of Montana
Succeeded by