Governor of Illinois, 1901-1905
William A. Northcott, Lieutenant Governor

Richard Yates, Jr.

Richard Yates, Jr.
Governor of Illinois, 1901-1905

Richard Yates was born in Jacksonville, Illinois, December 12, 1860, the son of Richard and Catherine Geers Yates. Richard Yates, the elder, was elected Governor in November, 1860, and his son Richard was born December 12, between the time of the election and the inauguration, which was in January, 1861. Richard Yates, Jr., after receiving his elementary education in the public schools of his native city at thirteen years of age, entered Whipple Academy, the preparatory department of Illinois College and three years later (1876) was admitted to the College proper, from which he graduated as class orator in 1580.

He then took a course in the law department of Michigan University at Ann Arbor, Michigan, graduated therefrom in 1884, and was immediately admitted to the bar in both Michigan and Illinois and soon thereafter to practice in the Circuit and Supreme Courts of the United States. For four years (1885-89) he served as City Attorney for the city of Jacksonville, in 1892 was the nominee on the Republican ticket for Congress for the State-at-large, but was defeated, though receiving a larger vote in the State than President Harrison in 1894 was elected Judge of Morgan County, but resigned in 1897 to accept the position of Collector of Internal Revenue for the Springfield District, continuing in this position until after his nomination for governor on the Republican ticket at Peoria on May 9, 1900, just forty years to a day after the same honor had been conferred upon his father at Decatur in May, 1860. In 1904 he was a candidate for re-nomination before the convention which met at Springfield in May of that year. After a prolonged contest in the convention, Governor Yates withdrew and Charles S. Deneen was nominated. On his retirement from the governorship in January, 1904, Governor Yates took up his residence in Springfield.

Richard Yates was appointed by Governor Dunne a member of the Board of Public Utilities.

He was married to Miss Helen Wadsworth in Jacksonville, October 28, 1888. He is now Assistant Attorney General of the State of Illinois.

Source: “The Governors of Illinois, 1818-1918“; Issued by the Illinois Centennial Commission


RICHARD YATES—190l-1905.

RICHARD YATES, son of the thirteenth governor of Illinois, was elected the twenty-fifth governor in November, 1900.

The campaign was begun before his nomination, and continued until his election in a spectacular manner. His candidacy was urged as an inheritance from his father, he receiving support because of the remembrance of the wise administration of Yates, the War Governor.

Richard Yates was the first governor of the state born in Illinois. He was born in Jacksonville, Ill., December 12th, 1860, was educated as a lawyer, attending the Law School of the Michigan University, afterward having a law office in Jacksonville. Since his term, he has resided in Jacksonville, with his address at Springfield.

During the administration of Governor Yates, the “little battle law” and a new primary election law were given the state. The Illinois war claim of $1,005,129.29 was paid by the United States. The site of Fort Massac was purchased by the state. The laws relating to child labor, employment offices and agencies, and mechanics’ liens were revised. A board of prison industries and a good roads commission were created. The speed of automobiles was regulated by state law. The constitution was amended relating to charter of the City of Chicago. Floods in Madison and St. Clair counties and the Iroquois theatre fire were great disasters during the third year of his administration.

The Republican national convention was held at Chicago, June 21-23, 1904, and the Populist national convention was held at Springfield, July 4.

Source: Decisive Dates in Illinois History, A Story of the State, By Lottie B. Jones. Danville, Illinois: Illinois Printing Company, 1909.