About Us

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.

 EARLY BUILDINGS

CHURCHES
Methodist Episcopal Church at Utters Corners, was organized in 1852. The Methodist Church, located on the top of "Richmond Hill", was organized in 1854, and is still being used.
Christus Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized on January 29, 1891 and a building 20 by 40 ft. was built by the eighteen members, on County Road A, across from the Richmond Mill.
A new building was erected in 1979 just west of the Methodist Church. The old building was sold and moved to Millard. The Norwegian American Methodist Episcopal Church was built about one and one-half miles north of County Road A on County Road P north to Whitewater, on the east side of the road on a small hill, between 1851 and 1853.
The church still remains, but has not been in use since the 1930s.
STORES

Richmond House was located where the home of the late Paul Scharine now stands on County Road A and Church Road.

The hotel barn of the Richmond House was the cow barn on the Ray Calkins/Martin Brandenburg farm. This store was owned by A.B.Hare, and housed the post office, also.

In 1823 the building burned when it was struck by lightning. The store, known as the Richmond Store, and owned by Melvin Scharine, the last owner being Frank Meyer, was built in 1893 by Myron Holbrooke.

Mr. Holbrooke bought the grocery supplies of A.B.Hare, and the post office was moved to the Holbrooke Store also.

The Richmond House was built in April 1842, and was owned by Perkins S. Childs, one of the first settlers in the township. It also did duty as a tavern at that time. A second story was added and was used for a hotel for people traveling between Janesville and Milwaukee. Later, it was used for a dance hall.

CREAMERIES
 
 In 1886 James Keefe built a creamery in the Richmond Island School District. No records are available about this early creamery.
Island Creamery was built across from the Island School on Island Road. It burned in 1890.
 
Mrs. Chapman built the Spring Brook Creamery on the farm formerly owned by Robert Folkers on County Road P, south, in 1890. They made butter and shipped it to Chicago.
 
Located on the corner of Whitewater-Richmond Town Line and Highway 89, the Whiewater Creamery was built in 1890 by Mr. Nowell. It was a cheese factory originally. Mr. Stewart and John Chapman bought it later and used it as a creamery. It closed in 1917. Later, it was remodeled to become Whitewater Lake Inn.
 
At the foot of the hill, north of the Norwegian American Methodist Episcopal Church on County Road P, stood a creamery and a store known as Lyman Creamery and Store. It was built about 1890. The farmers brought their milk in milk cans and had it made into cheese. Tom Kiernan and Will Dutton were the first cheese and butter makers. A small grocery and dry-goods store was built at one end of the creamery. Farmers finally bought the creamery, which closed about 1912. The creamery was moved about 1914, when it was purchased by John Deschner, and became the barn on his farm, later known as the Peter Stauffacher farm on County Road A, just west of Finch School.
LOG BUILDINGS

The log cabin which stands on the campus of Whitewater University , at Whitewater, was located on the farm now owned by William Sekares, across the field from the Floyd Helling farm. When the farm belonged to Enos Matzke, he sold the cabin to the Whitewater State Teachers College for $100.00 in 1912.

THE RIPPSCHEN LOG HOME– The old log house on County Road P just north of County Road A, formerly owned by Henry Rippschen, is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, houses in Richmond township. It is claimed that the house is more than 158 years old. The property was first owned by Ole Johnson, who came to Richmond as one of the first settlers from Noway. He lived there two years and then sold it to Solomon Finch. It is now the home of Larry Flitcroft.

STAGE COACH STOPS
 
The farm owned by Kenneth Rowley, and occupied by Curtis Rowley, was occupied by Ole Oleson for about 75 years. This is the first farm east of the Finch School on Highway A. It was called the "Half Way House", and was a regular stage coach stopping station on the road from Janesville to Milwaukee. The house is a three-story house. The basement level was equipped with a far. When the "Half Way House" was full for the night, drivers used to stop at the farm now owned by Wilfred Brotz, just west of the Finch School, on the right side of County Road A. The people used to sleep on fresh, clean straw spread on the floor.
OTHER BUILDINGS

The Joe Kestol house on Territorial Road was built when the Kestol family came from Norway about 1846. It has been occupied by Joe Kestol until 1993, when he went to live at a Retirement Home. The Richmond Mill was built by Mark Calkins, on County Road A, across the road from the Richmond Store in August 1926. It closed in March 1983.

THE RICHMOND TOWN HALL

The sixty-five foot frame structure was built in 1925 and was the center of many activities for the area. The hall was the scene of political meetings and community banquets. A complete dining and kitchen set-up was part of its structure, with a full basement. Fire of undetermined origin destroyed the building on Tuesday night, January 5, 1949.

SCHOOLS
 
It is believed that Knilians School was the first school built in the Township of Richmond. The land was leased by the government in 1850 and is located on Island Road. In 1841 the Richmond Island School was built. It was a square room of split logs. During the winter months, children ranging in age from seven to the twenties, and some in their early thirties, attended its school. The children huddled around the huge chunk stove in the middle of the room, with its drinking water, on the table near the stove, frozen. This gives an idea of how cold it was in the early school days, with which children of the early pioneers had to contend, to get a little schooling. During heavy snowfalls, children had to sleep at the school house during the night, while the teacher stayed awake keeping the fire burning. No records can be found when the Pioneer School was built, but the land was deeded to the district by the government on April 5, 1849. The school, located on the corner of Highway 89 and Territorial Road, closed in 1941.
 
Lyman School was built in 1848 and closed in 1940. It was located on the corner of County Road P and Town Line Road.
 
The Cavaney School was built before 1858, and is located on County Road A west of Richmond. It closed in 1943.
 
Records show that Finch School was built in 1868 on land owned by Solomon Finch, at the corner of County road A and Wisconsin Parkway Road. The school closed in 1956 when area rural schools united to become Lakeview School.
 
Richmond Center School stands at the intersection of Highway 89 and County Road A. The first school burned down in 1888. It was rebuilt the following year. When the school closed in 1956, it was used as the Richmond Town Hall.
 
Built on Delaney Road west of Richmond, no records are available as to the construction date of Delaney School.
 
CEMETERIES
 
There were old cemeteries on the Mitchell, Gransee, Knilians, and Bellman farms. Some of these graves have been moved to the present cemetery on Highway 89 in Richmond.
 
The Richmond Cemetery Association was organized May 24, 1894, and the cemetery is located in section 17, on Highway 89, and contains 2 acres. The oldest grave there is that of Eliphalet Wiggins, Esq., 1818.
 
The Lyman or East Richmond Cemetery surrounds the Norwegian American Methjodist Episcopal Church on County Road P, 1 ½ miles north of County Road A. The oldest grave is that of Carrie Peterson, buried in 1823.
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