Richard Jefferies was born near Gaffney, the youngest of eleven children. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1910 and subsequently taught school. He helped form Jasper County, founded its newspaper, and was its first Superintendent of Education. Judge James C. Peurifoy guided his study of law. Admitted to the Bar in 1912, he practiced at Walterboro. Both his son and son-in-law are lawyers.
He served Colleton County as Master-in-Equity, Probate Judge and State Senator for eight consecutive terms. He served as Governor of South Carolina from March 1942 until January 1943 and was General Manager of the South Carolina Public Service Authority (Santee-Cooper). Active more than 40 years in the Democratic Party, he served as a delegate to the State and National (Platform Committee in 1956) Conventions. He held numerous important posts in the State Senate and in various fraternal orders. He served as a National Director and State Chairman of the World War II War Fund.
His intellect resulted from faithful, earnest study, his achievements from hard work and tenacity of purpose.