Richmond, John P.

Born: 1811-08-07 Frederick County, Maryland

Died: 1895-08-28 Nebraska

Flourished: Schuyler County, Illinois

Richmond was a Methodist Episcopalian minister and politician who lived in Maryland, Illinois, Mississippi, and the Pacific Northwest. At the age of fifteen, he became a convert and adherent of the Methodist Episcopal Church. A few years later, he attended the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1833 with a degree in medicine. In 1834, he opened a medical practice in Middletown, Maryland, his hometown, and the Methodist Episcopal Church ordained him as a minister. A year later, he moved to Mississippi to practice medicine. In October 1835, he married America Walker Talley, with whom he had four or five children. A widow when she married Richmond, America also had two children from her previous marriage. In 1836, Richmond and his family moved to Rushville, Illinois, where he engaged in preaching. Over the next three years, he preached at various churches in Illinois and on several preaching circuits, including the Mount Pulaski circuit, at McComb Station, and at Jacksonville. While preaching in Jacksonville, Richmond met Jason Lee, a missionary to Oregon who was in Illinois promoting settlement in Oregon and looking for ministers for his mission station in the Willamette Valley. Lee urged Richmond to join him, and the latter accepted. In 1839, Richmond and his family left for Oregon, arriving at Fort Vancouver in June 1840. Lee appointed Richmond head of the Indian mission at Nisqually on the Puget Sound, becoming the first Methodist missionary in what would become Washington. In 1842, Richmond left Nisqually and returned to Illinois, where he preached in Petersburg, Springfield, Quincy, Mount Sterling, and on the Rushville Circuit. An ardent Democrat who was opposed to politicizing the slavery issue, Richmond entered state politics. In 1848, Schuyler County voters elected him to the Illinois Senate, where he served until 1852. In 1853, he returned to Mississippi and preached on the Madison Circuit under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. A year later, he returned to Illinois and re-entered politics, winning election to the Illinois House of Representatives representing Schuyler County. In 1856, he won election as a presidential elector, and was chosen to carry the state's official returns to Washington, D.C. In 1859, he returned to the Senate, serving until 1861. America Richmond died sometime before 1859, and in October 1859, Richmond married Kitty Gristy, with whom he had three children. In 1862, he represented Schuyler County as the Illinois State Constitutional Convention. In 1865, he received appointment as superintendent of schools for Brown County, Illinois.

Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Brown County, 19 October 1859, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Erle Howard, "John P. Richmond, M.D.," Methodist History 9 (October 1970), 26-36; John Clayton, comp., Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 216, 217, 220, 222, 223; Gravestone, Tyndall Cemetery, Tindall, SD.