Yates, Richard, (1815-1873.) | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
Yates was elected as a Representative to the Illinois Congress, a position he held for most of the 1840s. In the early 1850s, he served two terms in the United States House of Representatives, but after an unsuccessful bid for reelection, he returned his focus to state level issues.
After returning to Illinois he joined the growing movement for a railroad through Menard County that was ultimately realized in the Tonica and Petersburg Railraod. Today, under control of the Chicago and Alton Railroad Company, the Tonica and Petersburg line runs to Kansas City, still carrying passengers and freight.
Richard Yates was inaugurated as governor of Illinois just three months before the attack on Fort Sumter, and quickly aligned himself and his state with the goals of President Lincoln. After four years of fighting, the Civil War and Yates' governorship came to a close, but he continued to serve his state as a member of the U.S. Senate. He did not seek reelection 1871, likely due to his declining health.
Following a long period of illness, Richard Yates died from apoplexy in November 1873.
Sources (in addition to collection materials):
History of Menard and Mason Counties, Illinois, 1879.
Yates, Richard, 1815 - 1873.