Richard Yates

Richard Yates, (1815 – 1873)

Born in Warsaw, Gallatin County, Ky., January 18, 1815; attended the common schools, and relocated to Illinois in 1831. Graduated from Illinois College and went to law school at Transylvania University. Practiced law in Jacksonville, Illinois, then became involved in State politics as a house member. Yates followed Lincoln in the US Congress from 1851 – 1855. Yates chose the Republican Party in 1856 and served as the Illinois state party vice president.

Yates was elected governor from 1861 – 1865. He was a big foe of those who favored secession. Yates accompanied Lincoln to Washington for the inauguration. In many ways Yates and Lincoln were similar – more conservative than other Republicans. Unlike Lincoln, Yates partook of alcohol which sometimes led to embarrassing public moments down through the years.

Yates had a good deal of involvement with getting Grant in the Civil War. Grant’s mustering of Galena, Illinois troops took place at Camp Yates – in honor of the Illinois governor. Yates asks Grant to help organize the soldiers from Illinois – and he helped with clarifying army regulations. Yates then offers (by telegram) Grant command of the 21st Illinois infantry regiment – and Grant accepts.

Governor Yates and President Lincoln did not always see eye to eye. Yates at times badgered Lincoln about appointments and commissions. In a letter Lincoln reminds Yates that “Major Generalships in the regular army are not as plenty as blackberries”. Further bantering took place in regard to various Federal and State loopholes. Yates at times seemed to waiver on his support of Lincoln’s second election campaign – but eventually came around in support.

Yates was elected as United States Senator and had just started to serve when Lincoln was assassinated. Interestingly, Yates was invited to attend the theater with the Lincolns that evening. Yates would be a pall bearer at the capital services – representing the Senate chamber. The next day at 6:00 A.M. Yates was back at the capital and was a part of the procession to the B&O terminal that would be the beginning point of Lincoln’s funeral train’s journey to Springfield, Illinois.

After two terms in the Senate, Yates was appointed by Grant as commissioner to inspect a land subsidy railroad. Yates died suddenly in St. Louis, Mo. on November 27, 1873 – and is buried in Diamond Grove Cemetery, Jacksonville, Illinois.

No Comments »

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.