John Peter Richardson III

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John Peter Richardson III
John Peter Richardson III, Governor of South Carolina.jpg
83rd Governor of South Carolina
In office
November 30, 1886 – December 4, 1890
Lieutenant William Mauldin
Preceded by John Calhoun Sheppard
Succeeded by Benjamin Tillman
Treasurer of South Carolina
In office
November 30, 1880 – November 30, 1886
Governor Johnson Hagood
Hugh Smith Thompson
John Calhoun Sheppard
Member of the South Carolina Senate from Clarendon County
In office
November 29, 1865 – April 16, 1868
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from Clarendon County
In office
November 27, 1865 – November 29, 1865
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from Clarendon District
In office
November 24, 1856 – November 24, 1862
Personal details
Born John Peter Richardson III
(1831-09-25)September 25, 1831
Clarendon County, South Carolina, U.S.
Died July 6, 1899(1899-07-06) (aged 67)
Richland County, South Carolina, U.S.
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Eleanora Norvell Richardson
Children Wilhelmina Willis (Clarkson)
Alma mater University of South Carolina
Profession Planter, politician
Military service
Allegiance Confederate States of America
Service/branch Confederate Army
Battles/wars American Civil War

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 1880 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.

On April 25, 1886, Mattie Faust (Willis-Berry), a Negro woman of mixed ancestry, who had been Richardson's wash woman since his time as Treasurer, gave birth to Richardson's only child, a 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 Old Quaker Cemetery in Camden.

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Political offices
Preceded by
John Calhoun Sheppard
Governor of South Carolina
Succeeded by
Benjamin Tillman