Richard P. Bland

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Richard Parks Bland (August 19, 1835 – June 15, 1899), American school teacher, lawyer, and Democratic Congressman between 1873 and 1899, serving except from 1895 to 1897, when he returned to office.

Born near Hartford, Ohio, he graduated with a teacher’s certificate from the Hartford Academy, and taught school there for two years. He moved to Wayne County, Missouri at age 20, in 1855, and then to California soon after. Then he moved to the western portion of the Utah Territory, part of present day western Nevada, where he taught school, and tried his hand at prospecting and mining. While teaching school he studied law, and after passing the bar, began practicing in Virginia City and Carson City. Bland had a keen interest in the mining industry, which was the mainstay of the western Nevada economy. His first elected office was treasurer of Carson County, 1860-1864.

In 1865 he returned to Missouri, and set up a law practice, with his brother C.C. Bland, in the town of Rolla, in central Missouri. Four years later, 1869, he moved to nearby Lebanon. Because a predecessor of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad had recently laid track through Lebanon, it was seen as more commercially viable.

In 1872, he was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives in the 43rd Congress. He was re-elected to the House ten times, narrowly defeated in 1894, regained his seat in 1896, was re-elected in 1898, and died in 1899. He was chairman of the Committee on......
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