Oglesby, Richard James

Life Span
Full name
Richard James Oglesby
Place of Birth
Burial Place
Birth Date Certainty
Death Date Certainty
Sectional choice
Slave State
No. of Spouses
No. of Children
Anne Elizabeth White (first wife, 1859), Emma Gillett Keays (second wife, 1873)
Attorney or Judge
Farmer or Planter
Other Occupation
Political Parties
Other Affiliations
Abolitionists (Anti-Slavery Society)
US Senate
State legislature
US military (Pre-Civil War)
Union Army

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.
Chicago Style Entry Link
Davis, J. McCan. How Abraham Lincoln Became President. Springfield: The Illinois Co., 1909. view record
Hickey, James T. "Oglesby's Fence Rail Dealings and the 1860 Decatur Convention." Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 54 (1961): 5-24. view record
Plummer, Mark A. Lincoln’s Rail-Splitter: Governor Richard J. Oglesby. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2001. view record
Plummer, Mark. "Lincoln and the Rail-Splitter Election." Lincoln Herald 101, no. 3 (1999): 111-116. view record
Temple, Wayne C. Lincoln the Railsplitter. La Crosse, WI: Willow Press, 1961. view record
How to Cite This Page: "Oglesby, Richard James," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/index.php/node/6329.