Richardson, Walter Raleigh (1839–1909)

By: DuBose Murphy

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 1, 1995

Walter Raleigh Richardson, Protestant Episcopal Church minister, was born in Houston, Texas, on May 3, 1839. He attended St. Paul's College, Anderson, and later taught at Wharton College, Austin. He enrolled in 1860 in the Berkeley Divinity School at Middletown, Connecticut. When the Civil War broke out, he managed to get through the lines and return to his home in Houston, where he was ordained on February 23, 1862, the first native Texan to become an Episcopal clergyman. Richardson served as rector of St. Stephen's, Huntsville, and became rector of St. Mark's, San Antonio, on June 1, 1869. Under his leadership the church building was completed in 1875. After the Missionary District of Western Texas was set apart from the Diocese of Texas in 1874, Bishop Robert W. B. Elliott believed that a cathedral would strengthen the work of the church. Accordingly, St. Mark's Church was designated as the cathedral, with Richardson as dean. Bishop James Steptoe Johnston, who succeeded Elliott in 1887, did not wish to continue this arrangement, so St. Mark's resumed its status as a parish church. Richardson was known, however, as "Dean Richardson" for the rest of his life. Although not considered an eloquent preacher, he was a faithful and diligent pastor and exerted great influence in San Antonio. He was much interested in the aesthetic side of worship and raised the music of St. Mark's to a high standard. He also did much of the wood carving and interior ornamentation of the church. Richardson was never married. He was injured in an accident in 1891 and gradually became more infirm; he resigned his charge in 1906 and was named rector emeritus. He died on April 8, 1909.

  • Religion
  • Protestant Episcopal

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

DuBose Murphy, “Richardson, Walter Raleigh,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 27, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995