Richard James OGLESBY, Congress, IL (1824-1899)

Senate Years of Service:

OGLESBY, Richard James, (cousin of Woodson Ratcliffe Oglesby), a Senator from Illinois; born in Floydsburg, Oldham County, Ky., July 25, 1824; orphaned and raised by an uncle in Decatur, Ill.; received a limited schooling; worked as a farmer, rope-maker, and carpenter; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1845 and commenced practice in Sullivan, Ill.; during the Mexican War served as first lieutenant of Company C, Fourth Illinois Regiment; spent two years mining in California; returned to Decatur, Ill., and resumed the practice of law; unsuccessful candidate for election in 1858 to the Thirty-sixth Congress; elected to the State senate in 1860 and served during one session, when he resigned to enter the Union Army during the Civil War; served as colonel, brigadier general, and major general of the Eighth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry; Governor of Illinois 1865-1869; again elected Governor in 1872 and served from January 13, 1873, until his resignation on January 23, 1873, having been elected Senator; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1873, to March 3, 1879; declined to be a candidate for reelection; chairman, Committee on Public Lands (Forty-fourth and Forty-fifth Congresses); Governor of Illinois 1885-1889; retired to his farm, âOglehurst,â Elkhart, Ill., where he died on April 24, 1899; interment in Elkhart Cemetery.


Dictionary of American Biography; Johns, Jane Martin. Personal Recollections of Early Decatur, Abraham Lincoln, Richard J. Oglesby and the Civil War. Edited by Howard C. Schaub. Decatur, IL: Decatur Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 1912; Wilkie, Franc B. A Sketch of Richard Oglesby. Chicago: W.A. Shanholtzer, 1984.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present