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Richard ThatcherRichard Thatcher

President of Territorial Normal School of Oklahoma (1891-1893)

Biographical Information

  • Born March 23, 1846 in Alton, Illinois to Rev. John Wesley Thatcher and Virginia Bolls-Thatcher Some sources list his birth date as on or around March 10, 1846
  • Married Melissa D. DeFord of Ashley, Illinois in September 1869. Their 35 year marriage produced five children - a son who died in infancy and four daughters: Edna, Mae, Blanche, and Ethel.
  • Died November 28, 1909 in Edmond, Oklahoma of tuberculosis


  • 1866- 1878 B.S. and Master's in Mathematics, Doctor of Divinity from McKendree College, Illinois, graduating with honors. He would leave school to teach and return to finish his degree in 1878 


  • 1861 At age 15 he enlisted in the 111th Regiment of Illinois Volunteers of the Union Army as a drummer boy under General Sherman's command
  • 1864 Thatcher was taken prisoner on July 22, 1864 and confined to Andersonville Prison He developed a lung and throat condition while in prison and never fully recovered
  • 1865 Discharged from the Union Army on June 6
  • 1868, c. Superintendent of City Schools in Severy, Kansas. Prior to holding this position, he taught school for a few years in Illinois
  • 1887, c. - 1890 Superintendent of Neodesha Schools, Kansas
  • 1890 Moved to Edmond, Oklahoma and purchased the Central Hotel Received appointment to work at the Census Bureau in Washington, D.C.
  • 1891 Returned to Edmond in the Autumn Appointed "Principal/President" of then Territorial Normal School of Oklahoma by the Board of Education on October 15 1893 Resigned his position as principal at the end of the 1892-1893 school year. Continued on the faculty as Head of the Mathematics Department of Territorial Normal School
  • 1894 Principal of the Edmond Schools for the 1894-1895 school year while continuing to teach at the Territorial Normal School
  • 1908 - 1909 Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at then Central State Normal School

Awards and Affiliations

  • Member of the Grand Army of the Republic
  • 33rd Degree Mason, Second Master of Edmond Masonic Lodge
  • 1861 - 1864 Veteran of the Civil War