Richland County -- situated in the
southeast quarter of the State, and has an area of 361 square miles. It was organized from Edwards County in 1841.
Among the early pioneers may be mentioned the Evans brothers, Thaddeus Morehouse, Hugh Calhoun and son, Thomas
Gardner, James Parker, Cornelius De Long, James Gilmore and Elijah Nelson. In 1820 there were but 30 families in
the district. The first frame houses - the Nelson and Mourehouse homesteads - were built in 1821, and, some years
later, James Laws erected the first brick house. The pioneers traded at Vincennes, but, in 1825, a store was opened
at Stringtown by Jacob May; and the same year the first school was opened at Watertown, taught by Isaac Chauncey.
The first church was erected by the Baptists in 1822, and services were conducted by William Martin, a Kentuckian.
For a long time the mails were carried on horseback by Louis and James Beard, but, in 1824, Mills and Whetsell
established a line of four-horse stages. The principal road, known as the "trace road," leading from
Louisville to Cahokia, followed a buffalo and Indian trail about where the main street of Olney now is. Olney was
selected as the county-seat upon the organization of the county, and a Mr. Lilly built the first house there. The
chief branches of industry followed by the inhabitants are agriculture and fruit-growing. Population in 1880 was
15,545; in 1890 the population was 15,019 and 16,391 in 1900.
Source: "Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois",