James D. Richardson
Richardson in Masonic regalia, c. 1909
House Minority Leader
In office
March 4, 1899 – March 3, 1903
Preceded byJoseph Weldon Bailey
Succeeded byJohn Sharp Williams
Leader of the House Democratic Caucus
In office
March 4, 1899 – March 3, 1903
Preceded byCharles Frederick Crisp
Succeeded byJohn Sharp Williams
Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus
In office
March 4, 1897 – March 3, 1899
SpeakerThomas Brackett Reed
Preceded byDavid B. Culberson
Succeeded byJames Hay
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1885 – March 3, 1905
Preceded byRichard Warner
Succeeded byWilliam C. Houston
Member of the Tennessee Senate
In office
Member of the Tennessee House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1843-03-10)March 10, 1843
Rutherford County, Tennessee, U.S.
DiedJuly 24, 1914(1914-07-24) (aged 71)
Murfreesboro, Tennessee, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseAlabama Rebecca Pippen
Alma materFranklin College (Tennessee)

James Daniel Richardson (March 10, 1843 – July 24, 1914) was an American politician and a Democrat from Tennessee for Tennessee's 5th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1885 through 1905.

Early life and education

James Daniel Richardson was born in Rutherford County, Tennessee, son of John Watkins and Augusta M. Starnes Richardson.[1] He attended the country schools and Franklin College, near Nashville. He married Alabama Pippen on January 18, 1865, and they had five children,[2] Annie Augusta, Ida Lee, James Daniel, Allie Sue, and John Watkins.[3] Before graduating from college, Richardson enlisted in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War, and served nearly four years. The first year he was a private and the remaining three years as a first lieutenant and the adjutant of the 45th Tennessee Infantry Regiment.


Richardson studied law; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice January 1, 1867, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives, serving from 1871 to 1873, and then to the Tennessee Senate, serving from 1873 to 1875. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1876, 1896, and 1900, and presided as permanent chairman at the 1900 convention.[4]

Elected as a Democratic to the Forty-ninth and to the nine succeeding Congresses, Richardson served from March 4, 1885, to March 3, 1905.[5] He was among the earliest U.S. House Minority Leaders, holding that position from 1899 to 1903, during the 56th and 57th United States Congresses.

Pursuant to an act of Congress on August 20, 1894, Richardson was charged with compiling the "Messages and Papers of the Presidents," a multi-volume work including every single important document from the federal Government, from the early days of President Washington through the second administration of Grover Cleveland, plus some papers from the administration of William McKinley.[6]


Richardson died on July 24, 1914 (age 71 years, 136 days) in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He is interred at Evergreen Cemetery.[7]

Personal life

James Richardson was a freemason and was raised in Mt. Moriah Lodge 18, in Murfreesboro, on October 12, 1867.[8]: 262  He was elected the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee in 1873.[8]: 262  He also became the eleventh Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite's Supreme Council for the Southern Jurisdiction. He held this office from 1900 until his death until 1914.[8]: 262 


  1. ^ Allison, John (1905). Notable Men of Tennessee: Personal and Genealogical, with portraits. Atlanta, Georgia: Southern historical Association. pp. 131–132. OCLC 2561350 – via Internet Archive.
  2. ^ "James D. Richardson". Notable Names Data Base. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  3. ^ "James D. Richardson". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  4. ^ "James D. Richardson". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  5. ^ "James D. Richardson". Govtrack US Congress. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  6. ^ "The Project Gutenberg eBook of a Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, by James D. Richardson".
  7. ^ "James D. Richardson". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  8. ^ a b c Snodgrass, Charles A.; Demott, Bobby J. (1994). The History of Freemasonry in Tennessee. Knoxville, TN: Tennessee Valley Publishing. ISBN 1882194128. OCLC 32626841.