Biography of William A. Richards

William A. Richards has found his work in life in the field of education, and is one of the youngest city superintendents of schools in the state. He is now serving in that capacity at Toronto.

Mr. Richards is of English ancestry. His grandfather Richard Richards was born in England in 1831, and came to the United States when twenty-one years of age. He passed through New York City and Chicago and soon settled on a farm in Illinois, and from there moved to Adams County, Iowa, in 1864. He spent the rest of his career there as a farmer and died in 1896. As an American citizen he loyally supported and advocated the republican principles and candidates. He was an honored veteran of the Civil war, enlisting in 1861 in the Twenty-sixth Illinois Infantry. He was in service three years three months, and was in all the important engagements in which his regiment was joined. Among other hardships, he was wounded in one of his battles. Richard Richards married Sarah Walford, also a native of England, where she was born in 1832. She died in Adams County, Iowa, in 1892. Of their children still living, William F., father of Professor Richards, is the oldest. Ed Richards, a farmer in Adams County, Iowa, and Fannie is the wife of George Tennant, a farmer in Adair County, Iowa.

It was on a farm near Corning, in Adams County, Iowa, that William A. Richards was born May 3, 1890. His father is Mr. William F. Richards, who now resided at Lyndon in Osage County, Kansas. William F. was born near Peoria, Illinois, February 22, 1857, and was eight years of age when his parents removed to Adams County, Iowa. He grew up and married there and his entire active career had been spent as a farmer. Coming to Kansas in 1893, he spent one year at Salina, and in 1894 settled in Osage County. He is a republican, is an active member and had served as trustee of the Methodist Episcopal Church and was formerly identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. William F. Richards married Lydia E. Frederick, who was born near Madison, Wisconsin, October 11, 1861. Their children are: Harvey E., a farmer at Bridgewater, Iowa; John M., who is in the railway service at Topeka, Kansas; William A.; Laura L., who is a member of the senior class at Baker University; and Kenneth V., who resided in Colorado on a claim of 320 acres which he had taken up and which he is now busy in developing.

The public schools of Osage County supplied Mr. William A. Richards with his early training, and after graduating from the high school at Lyndon in 1908 he entered with characteristic enthusiasm into the work of teaching. For three years he taught in Osage County and then used the means thus acquired to give him a college education. Entering Baker University in 1911 he was graduated Bachelor of Arts with the class of 1913. While in college Mr. Richards became a member of Zeta Chi Greek letter fraternity.

Following his graduation from Baker University Mr. Richards became principal of the high scchool at Toronto in the fall of 1915, and a year later was made superintendent of the entire city school system. He had built up an effective working staff and is giving splendid satisfaction both as an administrator and as a teacher. Under him he had a corps of nine teachers, and the enrollment of the city schools is 280.

Mr. Richards is a member of the Kansas State and the Woodson County Teachers Associations. He is a republican and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.


Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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