Born at Toronto, Ontario on 10 February 1848, son of Stephen Richards QC, he was educated at Upper Canada College and the University of Toronto. He graduated as medalist in modern languages in 1870. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 1874 and practiced at Brockville, Ontario from 1874 to 1882. He came to Winnipeg in 1882 and was called to the Manitoba Bar later that year. Richards founded the firm of Richards & Coutlee and practiced law until 1899. He was elected a Bencher of the Law Society of Manitoba, serving from 1883 to 1886, and was Treasurer of the Society for many years. In 1896, he was appointed a Queen’s Counsel.
In 1896, he was elected to the Winnipeg City Council and served for three years. In 1899 he was appointed Puisne Judge of the Court of King’s Bench for Manitoba. In 1906 he became Puisne Judge of the Court of Appeal. He was for some years a member and then chairman of the Board of License Commissioners for the Winnipeg district. As a member of the Board of Grain Commissioners he was instrumental in formulating the Grain Act of 1901. He was appointed to the Manitoba Court of King’s Bench and, on 23 July 1906, when the Court of Appeal was formed, he was made a Judge.
In 1877, he married Harriet Edith Henderson (1854-1928) of Kingston, Ontario and they had five children: Stephen Elswood Richards, Harold H. Richards (1880-?), Edith Mary Richards (1882-1950, wife of Frederick Hartington Bole), Stanley Crawford Richards, and Muriel Mabel Richards (1890-?). He was a member of the Manitoba Club and St. Charles Country Club.
He died at his Winnipeg home, 1 Elswood Place, on 28 May 1917 and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery.
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Richards House (1 Mayfair Place, Winnipeg)
Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.
Henderson’s Winnipeg and Brandon Directories, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta Libraries.
“Old time Winnipeg citizen is dead,” Manitoba Free Press, 28 May 1917, page 1.
Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Wendy Hepner for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 19 May 2023
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