Richmond's Early Beginings



The area around Richmond was never inhabited until the 19th century. Indians only traveled through stopping long enough to hunt and fish. When David Hoover arrived in 1805, he discovered the undisturbed natural wonder of the Whitewater Gorge. Upon returning to his family in Ohio, he proclaimed that he found the promise land. The Hoovers were Quakers from North Carolina looking for land and settling here. Word got back to North Carolina and other Quaker families came to the Whitewater Valley.

The Hoovers settled on land North of Richmond around the area of Middle Fork Reservoir. John Smith and Jeremiah Cox followed in 1806. Their land adjoined at the present Main Street. Smith established a trading post and Cox built a mill on the river. At this time, the Greenville Treaty was still in effect and these settlements were very close to the treaty line. Indians visited the settlements and traded with John Smith.

As more people came John Smith realized he should divide his land for settlements, and in 1816 had David Hoover lay out streets and lots on south 4th and 5th Streets. The plan followed the direction of a country road along a line parallel to the river. Reluctantly, Jeremiah Cox platted his land west from North 6th Street naming his town Coxborough. In 1818 the two towns joined and became Richmond. 

Suggested reading:

History of Wayne County, Indiana, Andrew W. Young (Cincinnati: Robert Clarke and Company, 1872)

Memoirs of Wayne County and the City of Richmond, Indiana, Hon. Henry Clay Fox (Madison, Wisconsin: Western Historical Association, 1912) 

Garr House of Richmond, Indiana, Gertrude Ward and James Hartig (Richmond, Indiana: Neighborhood Preservation Services, 1991)

Pictorial History of the City of Richmond 1896 ed. and 1906 ed., Edwin Dalby and Walter Dalby (Richmond, Indiana: Nicholson Printing, 1896 and 1906). 

Richmond Eastern Gateway to Indiana, Daisy Marvel Jones (Richmond, Indiana: Richmond Community Schools, 1959)