History of Richview, Illinois
January 28, 1929
Interesting Richview History
along the Illinois Central Railroad. Old Richview was laid
out in 1839 by Wm. Lindsay. It gradually grew and became
quite a business center having five stores, two blacksmith
shops, one wagon shop, three physicians and had a
population of between five and six hundred.
When the Illinois Central Railroad was built the track was
laid about a half mile east of Old Richview or "Our Town"
as it is called today. The railroad company built the depot
and switch on a forty acre tract owned by the company in
the year 1854 and laid out an addition to the town.
A section boarding house was erected by the company
and years after this house remodeled and an addition
was built on which propeerty is today owned by
Mrs. J. W. Stanton. The residense is occupied by
Mr. and Mrs. R. J. Stokes.
Mr. Stokes is the I. C. station agent.
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Early Days of Richview
This is a copy of a manuscript found in the Poole Family Bible
found by : Wm. Stimson
the Author is Unknown
It was written about 1923.
furnished by : Bucky McCoy
There is perhaps few subjects more interesting to those of us who have born and reared in Richview, than going back to the early days when our Grandparents and parents helped to build our churches, schools, and business places.
Old Richview was laid out in 1839, by William Livesay. It was formally called "Richmond". The first settler was James Severs, and among the early settlers Joseph Barber, Asa Foster, John Tate, James Gore, and H. G. Whittenberg.
The first school was a log structure built at Grand Point which at that time was included in Richview Precinct.
The first store by Cornelius Dorsey in 1839. It gradually grew and became a business center. In a few years having 5 stores, 2 blacksmith shops, 1 wagon shop, 3 Physcians, and a population of 5 or 6 hundred.
In 1852 when the I. R. R. company built their track, It was laid about one half mile east of Old Town. In 1854 The R. R. Company laid out an addition, built a Depot and named the Station Richview. One of the old residents who was living at that time said the people from Old Town came down in masse to see the First train pass though Richview, and to them it was a wonderful sight attracting as much attention as Ringling Bros. Circus.
The new town brgan to grow and in a short time two towns old and new had a population of 1000.
The General stores were,
House and Bingham, Joel Edimonston, C. W. Oppenlander, W. W. Shanks, Samuel G. House,
Cooper & Wall, L. R. Barnes,
M. S. Merril & B. F. Willis,
Wm. Sproul, John H. Askins,
Furniture & Undertaking,
R. B. Keyes, Meat Markets, H. P. Ingram, J. Dillingham,
N. F. Tate, Wm. Sproul & James Whitechurch
L. Benjamin & Morgan Wooley,
S. J. Chapman
Castor Oil Mill
Holcomb and Cooper
S. P. Cooper,
Richview House, E, Mussey, Prop.; American House, S. T. Howard, Prop.
Professional men were :
W. H. Burns, H. B. Lucas, G. W. Downey, J. B. Houston
John Breeze, who served as Justice of the Peace;
Geo. T. Hake, who served as Justice and Notary Public from 1856 until his death.
Police Magistrate was
Trustees of the town were :
Ws. Merril, Pres. of the board; H, P. Ingram, S. T. Howard, E. C. Matthews, La. Gamble
E. Wright was Town Clerk.
The Grand Lodge of Masons of Illinois granted a charter to #452 of Richview. Its first fficers were: H. P. Walker, W. M. Phillips,
R. G. Williams, Geo. T. Hake, & E. E. chapman. At that time it was the most flourishing lodge in Washington County.
One of the historic institutions was Washington Seminary which was projected by a few leading citizens of Richview who
desired as was stated in their first deed to establish a Seminary of elevated character to diffuse the benefits of a good
education, and advance the interests of civilization, morality & piety
As a compromise the R. R. Co. gave 75 lots for establishing this school. These lots were sold for $4000 in June 1857.
In Oct. 1857 the foundation was laid. About $800, in posssession of the school district was added to this fund. The lower story was divided in two rooms and a graded school opened . N. E. Way, assissted by his sister, Mrs. Cope taught about two years. Miss Graham & later Mrs Moody also taught. Prof. H. C Hillman assisted Mrs, Cope and Miss Irwin followed. But the building was found to be too large and expensive, and by a vote of the district of trustees sold the Seminary to R. G. Williams for $1500. Aug. 22, 1864, it was resold to S. J. P. Anderson, DD of St. Louis; in 1870 again sold by Anderson heirs to Rev. Edgar Clark, of Sterling, IL. the attendance at Washington Seminary was large, especially under Rev. Williams. Besides studies in the common branches there were students in geometry, navigation, surveying, astronomy, Chemistry, Latin and Greek.
It was incorporated in 1865 with a board of 30 Trustees with power to grant degrees having a full College Charter.
A number of citizens now living in Richview were educated in this school. The site where this building stood is now the home of David Needles.
The first church in Richview was the M. E. organized at the home of Samuel White. These pious people continued to worship in this home erected in 1842, when the first M. E. Church was built in Old Richview. Among the first Pastors and local preachers were: Rev. Daniel Whittenberg, Rev. Simeon Walker, Rev. G. W. Robbin, Rev. Levi S. Walker, whom most all knew and had the priviledge of hearing his wonderful sermons & prayers.
The First Baptist was organized in 1855, Elder Wm. Mitchell was the first Pastor. Membership 53. this group worshiped in the basement of S. J. Chapmans, who was a chater member, until 1861 when the present Baptist Church was built. Elder Joseph Payne, J. C. Harris, & Elder W. Cramer were among the first Pastors.
The Presbyterian Church was organized in 1863. Prof. R. G. William, then in charge of the Seminary, supplied them with preaching for a time. The original members were 25. They erected a commodious building of brick. It was dedicated in 1865. Among the first ministers were Rev. Stebbins, Dr. Caudel, and Rev. E. W. Clark, Prof. in Washington Seminary.
The first newspaper published in Richview was by M. L. McCord in 1856. It was called "The Richview Phoenix". Its publication continued until March 1858, when the press and materials were moved to Centralia, Ill.
My parents were among the first patrons of the Richview Post Office.