Born August 1, 1846, in Madison, North Carolina
Died March 19, 1931, in Hanover County
First elected by the General Assembly on January 6, 1894, to a 12-year term beginning January 1, 1895. Service terminated by resignation.
Elected president on June 12, 1916, to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of James Keith. Service terminated by resignation.
Studied law in Hanover County
Farmer, Hanover County
Private practice, Richmond, 1874-
State delegate, 1881-1894 (speaker, 1887-1894)
Civil War (Confederate)
Elected, Thomas R. Morris, “Richard Henry Cardwell (1846-1931),” Dictionary of Virginia Biography (1998); elected court president, 119 Va., iii; announced resignation, Cardwell Resigns, Prentis is Named as his Successor, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Va.), October 25, 1916, col. 7, retrieved on February 24, 2014; resignation effective November 16, 1916, 120 Va., iii; birth and death, education, and career, Morris, “Richard Henry Cardwell”; portrait, Library of Virginia catalog.
The Constitution of 1902 included a provision that the first judges elected under the new constitution be elected to terms of four, six, eight, ten, and twelve years, and thereafter to regular terms of twelve years. This measure was taken to prevent another complete turnover of the court, which had occurred in 1882 and 1894. Under the terms of this provision, Cardwell was elected on January 16, 1906, to a new term of four years beginning February 1, 1907. Journal of the House of Delegates of Virginia, 1906 Session, 69 and 70; and Thomas R. Morris, The Virginia Supreme Court: An Institutional and Political Analysis (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1975), 22-24.
In 1929, the Virginia State Bar Association formed a committee to acquire portraits of former justices who were not already represented in the court’s collection and approved a measure to reduce the cost of the project by asking family members of the justice to donate a portrait. Cardwell’s portrait was donated by family members in 1932 in response to this request; see Proceedings of the Fortieth Annual Meeting of the Virginia State Bar Association, August 1929, 206-210; and Proceedings…August 1932, 108.