About the Town of Richmond

The Town of Richmond was a part of Whitewater Township until 1841, when by an act of Legislature it became a separate township. Early settlers named it Richmond for a town of the same name in Rhode Island.

The Town is situated in the western part of Walworth County on the western boundry line, separated from the town of Johnstown in Rock County.

The surface in the northern part is rolling and quite hilly, interspread with beautiful oak openings. In the southern part there are considerable marshlands and rich prairies.

There are several small lakes in the Town, the principal ones being Lake No. 9 in Section 9 (Lake Lorraine); Lake No. 10 in Section 10; and Turtle Lake covering portions of Sections 11-14. The outlet of Turtle Lake is Turtle Creek, flowing in a general southerly direction across Sections 14, 23, 26, 35, and 36. Whitewater Creek rises on Section 3 and flows in a Northerly direction, being the water source for Whitewater Lake.

The earliest roads were Indian trails, about fifteen to twenty-four inches wide, and trodden to such depth as to resemble a ditch. These later became the main roads of the settlers. Most of the roads in the marsh districts were first laid with large logs. County Road A was known as Old Post Road leading from Janesville to Milwaukee. Another early road followed by ox-drawn wagons from Blue Mound to Milwaukee came through the road now known as Territorial Road. The Emma Anderson farm, now Walworth County Natureland on Territorial Road, was a stop-over place used as a hotel. There were many Indian arrows, bones, tomahawks, and stone bowls found on the various farms. There were two incidents in the early 1830s of Indians scalping settlers.

Morris F. Hawes, with his wife and six children, were the first settlers in town, arriving on August 1, 1837, made claim to the South half of Section 1. Thomas James, Arthur and Andrew Stewart, and Perkins S. Childs also arrived in 1837. Morris Hawes donated the land for Town Line school, on Richmond/Whitewater Townline Road. A son was born to the Morris Hawes family on January 5, 1838, and was the first born in the township. After a few months spent in improving his land, Morris Hawes sold the claim for $560.00 and located another 3 miles eastward on the town line between Richmond and Whitewater, on the farm now owned by Keith Craig.

The first Town Meeting and election of officers was held at the Richmond House, located on County A and Church Road, on April 5, 1842. John Teetshorn became the first Town Chairman, Asa Congdon was appointed Clerk. Among the first resolutions adopted were: the Town would raise one-fourth of 1% on the taxable property of the Town for the support of the common schools for the coming year; and the Town officers would receive 4 shillings per day for their services.

Sources of Information: Richmond Township History, 1948, compiled by teachers of the schools located in Richmond Township, using interviews of local residents and cemetery records. History of Walworth County Wisconsin, by Albery Clayton Beckwith, published 1912 by B.F.Bowen & Co., Indianapolis, Indiana. The Janesville Daily Gazette, Janesville, WI The Whitewater Register, Whitewater, WI