Elijah Dewey RICHMOND, the present judge of the county court of
Marshall county, like his honored father before him, is a man of
the people, and has ever enjoyed the confidence and respect of
those with whom almost his entire life has been spent. He was
born in the city of Lacon, March 18, 1859, and is the son of
Judge Samuel L. and Susan (HUNT) RICHMOND, the former a native
of Vermont, and the latter of Ohio. His father for many years
was judge of the circuit of which Marshall county formed a part,
and was one of the most accomplished men and best read lawyers
in the state.
Until his fifteenth year our subject remained with his parents at Lacon, where his primary education was obtained in the public schools. At his time the death of his father occurred, and his mother removed with the family to a farm in Douglas county, Illinois. Here the succeeding six years of his life were spent, much as that of other farmer boys. He was ambitious to learn and greatly desired a college education, but this seemed impossible. His services were in demand at home, and while other boys were in college he was engaged in tilling the soil and pursuing such studies as he could with the assistance rendered him by his older brothers and sisters. After leaving Lacon he attended school but comparatively a short time, but did succeed in taking a six months’ course in a business college at Peoria with the view of entering upon a business career. At one time he was greatly desirous of entering West Point, there fitting himself for a military career. However, he never applied for examination, and that youthful ambition was forever laid aside.
In 1880, at the age of twenty-one, he left the farm and returned to Lacon, entering the office of Shaw & Edwards, and placing himself under their instruction, commenced the reading of law. He continued with this firm until his admission to the bar in 1882 after an examination before the supreme court at Ottawa. In the fall of that year he began the practice of law in the city of his birth and has continued in active practice since. He has never had a partner in business, but has always continued alone. His standing at the bar is second to none.
Soon after returning to Lacon, Mr. RICHMOND was elected township clerk, and served four years. While a strong democrat, he was twice elected on the union ticket, and served with great acceptance at the time when the office was of some importance. In 1883, less than one year after his admission to the bar, he was elected attorney for the city of Lacon and served two years.
The year 1884 was a memorable one, being the year in which Cleveland was first elected to the presidency, his opponent being James G. Blaine. Mr. RICHMOND was in that year nominated by the democrats to the office of state’s attorney, his opponent on the republican ticket being Winslow EVANS, then residing in Wenona, where he was in the enjoyment of a comfortable practice, and who later served as a county judge. The canvass was a warm one, but Mr. RICHMOND was elected by one majority. Serving the four years’ terms of office, he was re-nominated in 1888, and again elected, but served only two years. In 1890 he resigned the office to accept the nomination for the office of county judge, his opponent again being Hon. Winslow EVANS, who was then serving in the office, and who had been re-nominated by the republican party. His election followed, receiving a majority of two hundred and fifty votes, which he considered a very handsome compliment. On the expiration of his tem in 1894 he was re-nominated and re-elected, and is now serving his second term. During his entire service as county judge he has had but one decision appealed from; that being a case involving the question of the validity of a special tax for the construction of water works in Wenona. His decision was adverse to the objectors. The case is now pending before the supreme court.
On the 28th of July, 1892, Judge RICHMOND was united in marriage with Miss Jennie M. HOYT, a daughter of James HOYT, one of the pioneers of Marshall county, now in his ninetieth year, and well preserved physically and mentally. With one exception, Mr. HOYT is the oldest man living in Marshall county. Besides Mrs. RICHMOND he has five living children: Sarah E., the widow of Samuel CLIFFORD, residing near Wenona; Julia, now the wife of John BOBBITT; Henry H. HOYT, Greenfield, Missouri; Seymour HOYT, a lawyer, and until recently county judge of Dade county, Missouri; and Charles E. HOYT, of Lacon, Illinois. Mrs. RICHMOND was born July 28, 1862, in Marshall county. She is a graduate of the Lacon high school and also of the Boston Conservatory of Music, taking her degree in 1886. At the time of her marriage she was a teacher of music in Cornell college, Mt. Vernon, Iowa, and as such had rendered great satisfaction to her pupils and the college faculty. While not neglecting family duties she still keeps up her interest in musical studies and the musical world. To Judge and Mrs. RICHMOND three children have been born: Geraldine, Lyle Lee, and Paul James.
Fraternally, Judge RICHMOND is a member of Lacon lodge, No. 61, A. F. & A. M., and has taken an active part in the work of his lodge. He is now serving as worshipful master of the lodge. The judge is also a member of Lacon chapter, No. 123, R. A. M., and has served two years as high priest. While politically a strong democrat, he has kept out of partisan politics and has ever enjoyed the confidence and respect of his political opponents. He stands squarely on the Cleveland platform on the monetary question and also in regard to the Monroe doctrine.
Extracted March 2011 by Norma Hass from The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois, 1896.