Rees Griffith Richards


HON. REES GRIFFITH RICHARDS, a prominent lawyer of Steubenville, and ex-lieutenant-governor of the state of Ohio, is anative of Wales, born July 22, 1842. He was the son of William G. and Sarah (Griffith) Richards, with whom he came to America when he was ten years of age, or in 1842. Both his paternal and maternal ancestors were purely of Welsh descent, and had resided in Wales for many generations back. On reaching the United States his parents located in Tioga county, Penn., where the father, for a few years, followed his trade, which was that of a blacksmith, and where later on he turned his attention to farming, devoting his attention to this pursuit until his death in 1863. The mother of our subject still survives, and is now a resident of Youngstown, Mahoning Co., Ohio. The subject of this sketch, in early youth, learned the wagon maker's trade with his father, and after the latter turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, his son, Rees, labored at farm work until the breaking out of the war. He received a good academic education, and at sixteen years of age he became a teacher in district schools, teaching, in all, three terms and alternating with it school work, as student. In September, 1861, he entered the service of the Union army as a private in Company G, Forty-fifth Pennsylvania volunteer infantry, with which he served until the end of the war. In a few weeks after his enlistment he was made an orderly sergeant, and on the 14th of September, 1862, for meritorious conduct in the battle of South Mountain, he was made captain of his company. It should be said right here, however, that, in the meantime, before he was made captain, he was commissioned a second lieutenant, but for some unknown reason, the commission failed to reach him, and he never had any knowledge of it until after the close of the war. He served in the capacity of captain from the time he was promoted to that rank until the close of the war. He participated in the battle near Charleston, S. C., the battle of SOuth Mountain, besides numerous skirmishes before he became captain, and he commanded his company at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Blue Springs, Campbell's Station, Knoxville, Vicksburg, Jackson, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania and the battle before Petersburgh, besides many others of less importance. In the battle of Jackson he received a painful, though not serious, wound. A ball struck him in the right leg, but fortunately the wound was not sufficiently serious to cause him to leave his command. At Petersburgh, on the 30th of July, 1864, he was captured, and for six months, and a half he was held a prisoner of war. He was regularly confined at Petersburgh, Danville, Va., Columbia, S. C., and finally at CHarlotte, N. C. On February 16, 1865, he made his escape from the prison at Charlotte, and in company with two other prisoners who had also escaped, he set out through the woods, for Knoxville, Tenn., arriving there four weeks later, or on the 16th day of March. He rejoined his regiment at Alexandria, and from that time until the close of the war he served on the staff of Gen. Curtin. He was mustered out of the service at Harrisburgh, Penn., August, 1865. On the 22d day of the following November he was married Tioga county, Penn., to Miss Catharine C. Rees, a native of Tioga county, and daughter of David and Mary (Morgan) Rees. In December, 1865, Mr. Richards removed to Youngstown, Ohio, where, for two years, he was engaged in mercantile pursuits. In 1867 he removed to Jefferson county, Ohio, and located in Irondale, where, for six years, he continued merchandising. In the fall of 1873 he was elected a member of the state legislature. He was re-elected in 1875, serving two full terms. in the fall of 1881 he was elected lieutenant-governor of the state of Ohio and served two years, declining a renomination. At the expiration of his term as lieutenant-governor, he returned to his home in Steubenville, whither he had removed from Irondale in 1877, and he has ever since devoted his whole time and attention to the practice of law, having, in the meantime, been admitted an ardent supporter of the principle's affairs and is recognized as one of its leaders in the politics of the state. He is a member of the Masonic lodge and of the Grand Army of the Republic. Gov. Richards is a pleasant, affable, agreeable gentleman, a good conversationalist and altogether a most companionable man. He has a wide acquaintance and is highly most companionable man. He has a wide acquaintance and is highly esteemed by all who know him. During his last term as state senator, owing to the absence of the lieutenant-governor, Mr. Richards served as lieutenant-governor, and he therefore presided over the state senate for four consecutive years. In this connection it should be said that during the entire four years his decision was never appealed from but once, and in that instance it was sustained by a vote of twenty-three to three.

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