Richard James Oglesby (Congressional Biographical Directory)
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, “Oglehurst,” Elkhart, Ill., where he died on April 24, 1899; interment in Elkhart Cemetery.
"Oglesby, Richard James," Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present, http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=O000048.
Richard James Oglesby (American National Biography)
After Oglesby returned to Decatur he began presenting what became quite popular speeches about his travels [in Europe]. The increased name recognition made him a viable Seventh District Republican congressional candidate in the 1858 Illinois election, which featured the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Both Lincoln and Oglesby lost their 1858 election bids, but the Illinois Republicans made a comeback in 1860, when Oglesby was elected to the state senate while contributing to Lincoln's successful campaign for president. It was Oglesby who devised the "rail-splitter" sobriquet for Lincoln at the Illinois state convention at Decatur.
Mark A. Plummer, "Oglesby, Richard James," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/04/04-00751.html.