Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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OGLESBY, Richard James, senator, born in Oldham county, Kentucky, 25 July, 1824. He was left an orphan at the age of eight, removed to Decatur. Illinois, in 1836, and learned the carpenter's trade, which, with farming and rope-making, occupied him until 1844. While making rope, he invented a machine that was a decided improvement on the methods before in use. In the mean time he had studied law in his leisure hours, and in 1845 was admitted to the bar, beginning to practise in Sullivan, Moultrie County, Illinois. The following year he returned to Decatur, and was commissioned 1st lieutenant in the 4th Illinois regiment, which he accompanied to Mexico, and was preset at the siege of Vera Cruz and the battle of Cerro Gordo. He resumed practice at Decatur in 1847, pursued a course of study at Louisville law-school, and was graduated there in 1848. In 1849 he went to California, and engaged in mining until 1851, when he again returned to Decatur. In 1860 he was elected to the state senate, but resigned to accept the colonelcy of the 8th Illinois volunteers. He commanded a brigade at the capture of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, and was promoted for gallantry brigadier-general of volunteers, 21 March, 1862. He added to his reputation at Corinth, where he was severely wounded, and disabled from duty until April, 1863. In the mean time he had been made major-general of volunteers, and assigned to the command of the 16th army corps. This coin-mission he resigned in May, 1864, and in the following November he was elected governor of the state as a Republican by a large majority. He was in office continuously until 1869, and was again elected in 1872. He was chosen United States senator in 1873, and served until 3 March, 1879, but declined a re-election. In November, 1884, he was again elected governor for a period of four years.
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