Rev. Richard Cordley, Ll. D., during a period of nearly forty years minister of the Plymouth Congregational Church at Lawrence, a victim of the Quantrill raid and somewhat known in public life, was born at Nottingham, England, September 6, 1829. When he was about four years of age he came with his parents to America, the family locating on a tract of Government land in Livingston County, Michigan, where Richard attended the pioneer public schools. In 1854 he graduated from the University of Michigan and in 1857 from the Andover Theological Seminary. On December 2, 1857, he preached his first sermon in the Plymonth Congregational Church at Lawrence, Kansas, where he remained as pastor until 1875, when he went to Flint, Michigan, for awhilc, after which he was pastor of a church at Emporia, Kansas, for six years. In 1884 he returned to Lawrence and continued as pastor of the Plymouth Church until his death, which ocenrred on July 11, 1904. At the time of the Quantrill raid, August 21, 1863, his house and all its contents were burned, and he was one of the persons marked for death, but he managed to elude the guerrillas. Mr. Cordley was several times a member of the National Council of Congregational Churches. In 1871 he was elected president of Washington College, but declined the office. Three years later the University of Kansas conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Divinity. He served for some time as a regent of the Kansas Agricultural College, and was for several years president of the Lawrence Board of Education. He was the author of “Pioneer Days in Kansas” and a “History of Lawrence,” and was a contributor to magazines and church periodieals.
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