Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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RICHARDSON, William Alexander, senator, born in Fayette county, Kentucky, 11 October, 1811; died in Quincy, Illinois, 27 December, 1875. He was educated at Transylvania university, came to the bar at nineteen years of age, and settled in Illinois. He became state attorney in 1835, was in the legislature several terms, serving as its speaker, and was a presidential elector on the Polk and Dallas ticket in 1844. He entered the United States army as captain of an Illinois company in 1846, and was promoted major for galantry at Buena Vista. He was elected to congress as a Democrat in 1846, served in 1847-'56, when he resigned, and in 1863 was chosen United States senator to fill the unexpired term of Stephen A. Douglas. He was a delegate to the New York Democratic convention in 1868, but after that date retired from public life.
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