Utah History Encyclopedia


By Linda Thatcher
Richmond is located fourteen miles north of Logan in Cache County. In July of 1859 Agrippa Cooper camped at Bowers Springs on the southwest boundary of Richmond with his wife and son. Additional families settled in the area during the autumn of that year; they included John Bair, William H. Lewis, Francis Stewart, and Robert D. Petty. A total of seventeen families spent the winter in the area. An influx of new settlers arrived in the spring of 1860 and the land was planted and roads were built. Ditches were dug to obtain water from Cherry Creek, and a dam was built across City Creek for irrigation purposes.

Brigham Young visited Richmond in 1860 and advised the settlers to move closer together for protection, in case of an Indian raid. A fort was built at present Center Street. In 1861 Richmond was surveyed by Jessie Fox, the territorial surveyor, and property assigned. One hundred four claims were made for land after the townsite was laid out.

It is not known how Richmond received its name, but some believe it was in honor of LDS Church apostle Charles C. Rich. Others think that the name came from the deep rich mound of soil located on the alluvial fan made by the waters coming from Cherry Creek and City Creek; other believe that it was named after Richmond, Virginia, by "homesick" southern settlers. Richmond was incorporated as a city on 26 February 1868.

Among Richmond's early industries were a shingle mill, gristmill, sawmill, and the Richmond Co-operative Mercantile Store, built in 1866. Cache Valley is a great dairy and cattle area, and Richmond boasted of having the first creamery in the area. In 1896 the Utah Plow Factory was started; it produced plows, bobsleds, iron harrows, and cultivators. Other early businesses included two livery stables, a furniture store, and a tin shop. In the 1870s and 1880s Richmond was second to Logan in manufacturing in Cache County. The Sego Milk Plant began operation in 1904 and became a thriving industry for the area. Before its closure it was owned by Western General Dairies, Inc. Today the major industries in Richmond are Pepperidge Farms, Lower Food, and Heart to Heart (which manufactures low-fat yogurt products).

A major event in Richmond is the annual Black and White Days celebration. It was started in 1913 to promote and stimulate an interest in better quality dairy cattle. The event has evolved from driving the cattle into the old tithing yard with judges riding horses through the herd to pick out the award-winning animals to its present status as one of the largest exclusive Holstein dairy shows in the United States, with its own permanent grounds and pavilion. The event is held each year in May and draws exhibitors from throughout the Intermountain West.

Richmond has had religious diversity since territorial times. The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was organized in Richmond in the 1870s and continued there until 1903. The 1890 census showed Richmond with thirty-three Reorganized Church members. In 1883 the Presbyterian Church opened a school in Richmond. The school was held in a log house and was taught by Jennie McGintie, who remained for about a year and a half until the arrival of a Reverend Mr. Renshaw, who took charge of the Presbyterian congregations in Franklin, Richmond, and Smithfield. Richmond's Presbyterian school closed in 1907.

The Richmond LDS Ward was organized in the spring of 1860. An additional chapel was built in 1917. The Benson Stake Tabernacle, erected in 1903, was condemned in 1962 following an earthquake, and a new Benson Stake Center was built and dedicated in 1964. The stake center serves seven wards in Lewiston, Cove, Cornish, Trenton, and Richmond. Richmond now has five LDS wards.

Richmond had a growth of around 1,000 people from 1940 to 1970. A period of growth began in the 1970s, and according to the 1990 census the population was 1,955.