W. H. Richardson, president of the Racine Carriage Company, is one whose long experience in this line of trade well qualified him for the important position which he now occupies as executive official, directing the policy and shaping the course of the business. One of the elements of his success is the fact that he has always continued in the line in which he embarked as a young tradesman, never dissipating his energies over a broad field but concentrating on the mastery of every task that has devolved upon him and thus gaining a most comprehensive and exact knowledge of the work in all of its phases. He was born in Mt. Pleasant Township, Racine County, February 13, 1868, a son of John Strong and Caroline (Butterworth) Richardson, natives of Ireland and New York, respectively. The latter was a daughter of Henry Butterworth, who was born in Manchester, England, and became a resident of Racine County in. the early ’40s, casting in his lot with its first settlers who laid broad and deep the foundation upon which has been built the later progress and prosperity of the district. It was in the ’60s that John Strong Richardson arrived in Racine County, where he followed the blacksmith’s trade, which he had previously learned in England.
W. H. Richardson acquired a public-school education and a business college training which further qualified him for life’s practical and responsible duties. His initial step in the business world was made as a clerk in the hardware store of George Conroe on Sixth Street and afterward he accepted the position of bookkeeper with the Racine Wagon & Carriage Company. Later he was advanced to the sales department and the capability and fidelity which he displayed won him promotion to assistant secretary and treasurer of the company and for over twenty years he was sales and advertising manager, thus having control of the output in its introduction to the market. When the Racine Carriage Company, in 1914, was organized and took over the vehicle business of the Racine-Sattley Company and the Richardson-Kennedy Company he was elected president of the new organization. Their business is now one of growing volume and importance, necessitating the employment of a number of skilled workmen and the output, which includes all lines of spring vehicles, finds ready sale in the home markets and in the west and southwest. Their patronage is now most gratifying. They have ever maintained high standards in workmanship, in durability and in the style of the product and have ever realized that satisfied patrons are the best advertisement.
On the 25th of June 1896, Mr. Richardson was married to Miss Emily Olson, of Racine, a daughter of S. Olson, and they have one son. William H., now in school, Mr. Richardson maintains an independent political attitude but is neglectful of none of the duties of citizenship, heartily endorsing and supporting plans and measures that work for the benefit of Racine or upholds the high status of state and nation. In fraternal circles he is well known, having membership with the Elks and Royal Arcanum, while in Masonry he has taken the degrees of club, lodge, chapter, council and commandery, exemplifying in his life the beneficent spirit of the craft and adhering loyally to its teachings. He is also an active member of the Racine Commercial Club. His is the notable record of the self-made man. Starting out in life empty-handed, the salary which he at first received was small and the position he occupied was insignificant but like many other brainy, energetic men who have left their impress upon the magnificent development of this western manufacturing center, he did not wait for a especially brilliant opening. Indeed, he could not wait, and his natural industry would not have permitted him to do so, even if his financial circumstances had been such as to make it possible. His mental and physical activity-the only capital that he brought with him to the starting point of his business career-made immediate employment a necessity and at that time he showed conspicuously the traits of character which have brought him prosperity, for he performed all his duties, however humble and however small the recompense, conscientiously and industriously and thus step by step he worked his way upward until he stands today at the head of an enterprise of growing proportions, the interests of which he is most capably directing.