Friend Richardson was the son of William and Rhoda Richardson, a resident of Friends Colony near Ann Arbor Quaker family. His real Christian name was Richard, but based on the Quaker salutation "Friend" he changed his name accordingly. He spent his youth in his home town. There he was employed inter alia in the county and judicial administration. To 1891, he moved to San Bernardino in California, and in 1896 he became the owner and editor of a local newspaper. In 1900 he moved to Berkeley, where he calls the " Berkeley Daily Gazette ", also a daily newspaper, acquired and edited.
Thanks to its now very good reputation Californian politicians were aware of him. With the approval of the California State Assembly and the Governor Henry Gage, he was appointed director of the California State Printing Office. In order to take this office, he had to move to Sacramento. Despite his new role, he remained the owner of newspapers in San Bernardino and Berkeley. In 1914 he was elected Minister of Finance ( State Treasurer ) of California and confirmed in 1918 in this office. In 1914, he was taken up for the Progressive Party under whose demise he had gone over to the Republicans and had managed with the support his re-election. With time, his politics became more conservative. In 1922 he ran for the Republican nomination for the office of governor. He sat within the party through against incumbent William Stephens. Finally, he also won the actual election against Thomas L. Woolwine, the candidate of the Democratic Party. Meanwhile, Richardson was but it has become so conservative that he was even supported in the election campaign by the Ku Klux Klan.
Governor of California
Richardson took up his new post on January 9, 1923. Even in his inaugural speech, he announced a rigorous austerity program. He condemned the policy of his predecessors as wasteful. He immediately let shine through the administrative apparatus according to savings. Overlapping areas were merged, deleted unnecessary places. Richardson savings plans were nearly the Californian Parliament too far. A proposal by the Governor to close two universities for cost reasons, was rejected. Its more and more conservative course came soon in his own party opposition. For this reason, Richardson found for the election of 1926, no longer a majority in his party. In his place, Deputy Governor was C. C. Young erected and finally selected. However, a positive result of his tenure could chalk up Richardson: His austerity measures brought the state budget a surplus of $ 20 million.
Evening of life and death
After the end of his tenure, Richardson was active in journalism again. In 1931 he became editor of the newspaper " Alemeda Time Star". In the years 1932 to 1939, he was appointed again in high administrative offices of the state. In 1939 he retired then returned permanently. He died in September 1943 at the consequences of a heart attack.
Richardson was a member of several Masonic lodges. In 1891 he was married to Augusta fields. The couple had three children.