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(Brig: t. 200; epl. 104; a. 16 guns)
The first Richmond, a brig, was purchased for the Navy in 1798 by the citizens of Richmond, Petersburg, Manehester and Norfolk, Va., while being built at Norfolk as Augusta for a Mr. Myers. Renamed Richmond, she was fitted out in the fall of that year and in December stood out from Hampton Roads for the Caribbean, Capt. Samuel Barron in command.
Sa~hng south, the hrig joined Truxton's squadron in the West Indies and operated with the ships of that squadron to p rotect American merchant shipping from French raiders— warships and privateers. Based at St. Kitts, Richmond convoyed merchantmen among the ports of the Lesser Antilles until June 1799, assisting, in May, in the capture of a French privateer, Louis.
On 10 June 1799, Richmond departed the West Indies with a convoy bound for Norfolk, whence she continued on to New York. Between 18 July and 6 October, she cruised off the east coast, from Boston to the Virginia Capes, in search of rumored French raiders, and, in February 1800, she returned to the Caribbean. Based at San Domingo for a year, she reeaptured the American schooner Chance on 22 May and asslsted in returning Thomas Chalkley to the American merchant fleet on the 28th.
After the end of the Quasi-War with France, Richmond sailed north and in February 1801 she arrived back at New York. In March most of her crew was detached, and on 1 Aprfl she was ordered turned over to the Navy agent at New York to be sold at auction.
In 1835, Erastus Beebe had a dream. With his two brothers and several men from an English settlement in New York, he was determined to carve a prosperous community out of the wilderness known today as the City of Richmond.
They had traveled on foot from their eastern home to Cleveland, Ohio, where they acquired passage on the Robert Fulton Steamer to Detroit. On foot again, the pioneers made their way north to a settlement in Armada. Traveling along the Armada Ridge, they came upon the site where two ridges met. Beebe, fascinated with the beauty of the area and the richness of the soil, returned to Detroit to purchase the government land grants.
Richmond Township Early History
For Richmond Township’s early history, the life of the first settler, the Honorable William A. McConnell, was followed. He came in 1837 and built a log house, 16 feet by 18 feet. How long it took him, working alone, to cut his trees and put them in place is unknown. He was a strong young man of Scotch and English descent, although his father was a native of Pennsylvania and VVilliam McConnell had spent his winters in school and his summers on the farm until he was 20. After that he learned the carpentry trade and worked in that line for seven years. In his biography in the 1885 HISTORY OF MCHENRY COUNTY he says he came to Richmond Township in 1836, and that he had no neighbors closer than McHenry and Geneva, in each of these places there being two families. In 1838, he returned to Lycoming, Pennsylvania and there married Elizabeth Bodine, a girl a year younger than himself. Their first son was born in 1839.
A mill had been started on the Nippersink the year before, and there were neighbors much nearer than Geneva and McHenry now. He had laid claim to his land—480 acres-before going back to Pennsylvania for his bride, and when it came on the market in 1840 (at the end of the required time by the Blackhawk Treaty) he bought it from the government. Another son, John, was born in 1842 and before his coming, the Montelona schoolhouse was built, in 1841 on the corner of their farm, west of Richmond. Also within this time, the town of Richmond had attained enough growth to be granted a post office and William McConnell was named by President Van Buren as the first postmaster.
In 1844, he was elected a commissioner of McHenry County and served two terms of three years each. This was the same year that the township saw its first marriage, within the township limits, when Laura Warner married Andrew Kennedy.
All that time-he had not been living in the county 10 years—he had been adding to his land holdings and other responsibilities had come his way also. He was an Associate Judge of McHenry County, a position he was to hold for 16 years. He also served several years as supervisor for his township, and was on the Board Equalizers for one term.
The village of Richmond had been laid out in 1844, and that same year the town was named, the privilege of giving it a name being the prize awarded to the man who climbed the highest at the raising of the new mill. Like so many other local names, he chose one remembered from his childhood in Vermont, so Isaac Reed named the village Richmond. The mill which was being built then was 35 feet by 40 feet and two-and a-half-stories high. The section where the village growth began was taken from the government by Charles Noyce, whose house—a log structure about 20 feet by 24 feet-was the first residence in the village of Richmond.
By the middle 1840s, there were two mills, a flour mill and a sawmill, a wagonmaker, a blacksmith, a hotel, a doctor and a lawyer. The “settled east” was still trying to recover from the panic of 1837 the government had at last established its own treasury in Washington, with sub-treasuries in other areas. (It did not last. The experiment was given up the next year, but when it was resumed in 1846, it was here to stay.) Other businesses were starting or growing in the local area. William McConnell had opened the first cheese factory, not in Richmond proper, but a half-mile west. It is said to have been the first cheese factory in the county. Solon Mills, which had built the second school in the township, also continued to grow. More of these people rated themselves farmers at that time, rather than considering themselves whatever their avocation was.
Early in the 1850s, the McConnells built a house across the road from their log house and moved into it. They had three boys and undoubtedly needed more room. Also, one presumes, there were more people coming to the house to see Mr. McConnell on business for the railroads were crossing the township, the Kenosha and Rockford crossing Section 6 from the northeast to the southwest and the Elgin and State Line, coming in from the south side of the township and “on to Richmond” where it bore to the west, leaving the state about a third of a mile west of the east line of Section 5. There were about seven-and a-half-miles of track and a small depot in the township. The first train crossed the Nippersink on November 26, 1855. William McConnell was one of the directors of the railroad.
Besides being a railroad director, he served a term in the state legislature, exact years omitted he continued being active both in local civic affairs and church affairs, having been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church for 53 years and a class leader for almost 40. He joined the first temperance group organized in McHenry County. He was concerned with his sons’ welfare and he says that he gave each son a farm in 1872. They do not mention the gift in their biographies in the 1885 history. By that time, all three were grown. A. B., who married Hattie S. Potter, lived near Woodstock on a farm of 333 acres of choice land with a large residence and three barns. They had lost one son but had two living as well as three daughters, and he had been a township trustee and road commissioner several times.
His brothers were also married, John to Mary Frothingham, they had two children, a girl and a boy, Bertha and Charles George to Susan Cushman, they had five: Cora, May, Frank, Harry, and William. Both of these families lived in Richmond Township.
In 1872, he built a new house on the site of the log cabin, after-living-in-the-house across the road for 20 years. There are still McConnells in the county but none in the Richmond directory, but the town and township we cannot help but believe would still please Mr. McConnell if he could look down and see them today.
Nicole Sackley, associate professor of history and American Studies, has received $6,000 in summer funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to advance her book project, which explores the history of cooperatives in the United States. Read more: http://bit.ly/Sackley-NEH-Grant
Nicole Sackley, associate professor of history and american studies, was awarded a $2,000 VFIC Mednick Memorial Fellowship for her project, Co-op Capitalism: Cooperatives, International Development, and American Visions of Capitalism in the Twentieth Century.
Nicole Sackley, associate professor of history and american studies, has been awarded a $50,000 American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship for her project, Co-op Capitalism: Cooperatives, International Development, and American Visions of Capitalism in the Twentieth Century.
Nicole Sackley, associate professor of history and American Studies, received a $2,000 grant from the Friends of University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries for her new project, Co-op Capitalism: Cooperatives, International Development, and American Visions of Capitalism in the Twentieth Century.
Michelle Kahn has been awarded the 2019 Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize by the German Historical Institute.
Dr. David Brandenberger, Professor of History and Global Studies, has been awarded a $18,000 Title VIII National Research Competition Grant from the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research for "The Leningrad Affair: The Purge of Stalin’s Would-Be Successors, 1949-1952."
Dr. Edward L. Ayers, Tucker-Boatwright Professor of Humanities and President Emeritus , was named a charter member of the St. John's Church Foundation Leadership Council .
History professor Joanna Drell was invited to speak at a meeting Palermo, Sicily in early October on the topic of medieval immigration of northern Italians down to Sicily. The meeting was coordinated by the Office of Medieval Studies and the Cultural Circle of the ‘Marquises of Monferrato.’
Edward Ayers, Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and president emeritus, was elected to the board of trustees for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
History professor Carol Summers published "Scandal and Mass Politics: Buganda's 1941 Nnamasole Crisis" in the International Journal of African Historical Studies.
History of Richmond College
On March 4th, 1840 the Virginia Legislature granted a charter for “a Seminary of learning for the instruction of youth in the various branches of science and literature, the useful arts and the learned and foreign languages, which shall be called and known by the name of Richmond College.” This “Seminary of learning” grew out of an actual seminary The Virginia Baptist Seminary was founded in 1832, and the Virginia Baptist Education Society had been formed two years earlier. The seminary began admitting students who had not had a calling to the ministry, and in due time it made sense to expand the mission of the institution.
The first campus was located on the grounds of an old mansion once owned by the Haxall family, who at the time owned the largest milling operation in Virginia. The mansion was named “Columbia” and stands to this day at the corner of Grace and Lombardy Streets.
In the early days, Columbia was Richmond College. The basement of the building housed a dining hall, a chapel, two classrooms, and a study room. The first floor held the president’s office, a classroom, a society hall, and a library. The second floor was a dormitory and also held apartments for two bachelor faculty members. 68 students were enrolled in the early years, and the first bachelor’s degrees were conferred in 1849 to Poindexter Smith Henson and Josiah Ryland.
The College increased its student body and endowment in its first twenty years. 161 students were enrolled in 1861, and there were 68 alumni. The College ceased operations during the Civil War as most of the students and faculty went to fight for the Confederacy. When the war was over, one fifth of the alumni and many members of the student body had been killed, the campus was a camp for the Union Army, the endowment was worthless, and the equipment and books of the College were stolen as spoils of war.
Through the generosity of alumni and the Virginia Baptist Society, funds were raised to reopen the College in the fall of 1866. Individuals who literally kept the College alive during the Reconstruction Period – such as Thomas, Ryland, Puryear, and Jeter – have been honored with buildings on the West End campus named for them. Over the next 50 years a beautiful campus thrived within the borders of Ryland, Broad, Lombardy, and Franklin Streets, near the current campus of Virginia Commonwealth University.
In 1895 Frederic Boatwright was appointed president of Richmond College. During this time, Richmond College had 200 students and 11 faculty members. Although there were no entrance requirements for the College, the courses were of such quality that students without preparation could not make passing grades. Roughly two-thirds of the matriculates failed to earn a degree.
Although women had been enrolled in Richmond College toward the end of the 19th century, the prevailing wisdom at the time was that higher education was the dominion of men. In the early 1900’s, President Boatwright and the Board of Trustees set in motion the series of events that ultimately moved the campus to its current location on the West End in 1914 and established Westhampton College as a coordinate college, “of equal grade, and having similar courses of instruction.” Westhampton College existed on one side of the lake, and Richmond College on the other. To this day, we refer to the Westhampton and Richmond “sides” of the campus. In 1920, the name of the institution was changed to the University of Richmond, but the coordinate colleges remained as separate entities well into the later part of the 20th century.
Dr. John C. Metcalf was appointed the first Dean of Richmond College, a position he held through 1917. In 1915, student self-governance was established for the College with the creation of the Richmond College Student Council, which later became the Richmond College Student Government Association, or RCSGA. Tuition and fees for the 1914 – 1915 academic year were $20 matriculation, $70 tuition, $5 contingent and $5 laboratory – a total of $100 (not including room and board).
During World War I the Federal Government took over the new campus, using it as a hospital for wounded soldiers. The Colleges moved to the old Richmond College campus during 1917-18.
Dr. Raymond Pinchbeck began his 26-year tenure as the Dean of Richmond College with the 1931-32 academic year. Dean Pinchbeck started the first orientation program and first career services office on campus, and advocated with the student leaders to create the Richmond College Council of Honor in 1933.
After World War II, the University grew in its offerings and in stature. The growing student body necessitated the development of a Dean of Students position for Richmond College. Dr. Clarence Gray was named the first Dean of Students in 1947, a position he filled until 1968.
The University was changed forever in 1969 when E. Claiborne Robins gave $50 million as seed money to make the University of Richmond a truly great small University. The academic and student life programs have steadily improved ever since.
During the 1970’s the decision was made to merge the academic missions of Richmond and Westhampton Colleges into what became in 1991 the School of Arts & Sciences. President Morrill and the Board determined that the Coordinate Colleges should remain as the pivot point between the academic and co-curricular lives of the students.
The appointment of Dr. Richard Mateer as Dean of Richmond College in 1976 began the “modern era” of Richmond College as a coordinate college. During his 26 years as dean, many of the traditions that are emblematic of the Richmond College experience were established, including the class photo, class flag, Investiture, and the Senior Banquet. Residence Life and Orientation programs were created and expanded upon, and the development of living/learning programs began with Spinning UR Web.
Today, Richmond College holds a unique position as a men’s college within a coeducational University. Richmond College is defined not by bricks and mortar, but as a community of diverse, authentic men who strive to uphold the values of a Positive Image of Masculinity: to act with sound judgment, demonstrate a generosity of self, and to live with confidence. We encourage our students to discover their best selves, and work to help shape society’s perception of men and masculinities.
There are still ties to the original campus that are visible today. The original Richmond College building, Columbia, remains at Grace & Lombardy. The Richmond College gates stand at Grace and Ryland Streets. The bricks of Old Main, which burned in 1910, make up the brick pathway next to Ryland Hall. Finally, the stone steps from Old Main now lead up to the Gottwald Science Building.
Richmond I - History
JUNE - August, 2021
Summer days and nights are filled to the brim at Historic Richmond Town. Come together to raise a glass with friends and neighbors under the stars and to the music of local bands and artists. Travel through time as a historic trades apprentice or attending a living history event. Honor the Declaration of Independence with a unique celebration on July 4th.
This May and June, In celebration of LGBTQ Pride, an urban knitting installation will be displayed throughout the Historic Richmond Town campus.
The Tavern Terrace Beer Garden features a selection of hand-crafted ales and lagers from Staten Island's famed Flagship Brewery, delectable meal choices, and LIVE music throughout the season. Enjoy good beer, good food, good music, and cool down at Egger’s Ice Cream Historic Richmond Town with a sweet treat!
Join us for a virtual presentation about historic foodways, presented live from the Guyon-Lake-Tysen House.
June-September 2021 | 12-5pm | Thurs.-Sun.
Open Village is back! This summer, New York City’s living history village returns to life. See historic trades and skills practiced in shops learn about Staten Island history in the museum see furnished interiors animated by costumed interpreters see the native flora and fauna flourish among Historic Richmond Town’s 100 acres.
Celebrate the founding of the American republic at Historic Richmond Town, with crafts, activities, homemade treats, and more.
Learn an historic trade at NYC’s only living history village! Historic Richmond Town’s rich array of apprenticeships build real-world skills based upon centuries of American ingenuity. The program is a wonderful alternative to the tried and true summer camp.
Join us in front of the General Store for a performance by Jayme Stone’s Folklife. An eclectic blend of musical styles and sounds from North American continent come forth in this free concert presented in partnership with Carnegie Hall Citywide.
The Richmond County Fair is Staten Island’s annual community celebration and Historic Richmond Town’s biggest fundraiser. For 40 years, Historic Richmond Town has hosted the Richmond County Fair, and we are honored to welcome everyone to enjoy the best of Staten Island. Also, it is our most important fundraiser of the year, and your ticket to the Richmond County Fair directly supports Historic Richmond Town in its mission to preserve and share our local history.
Benedict Arnold captures and destroys Richmond
American traitor and British Brigadier General Benedict Arnold enjoys his greatest success as a British commander on January 5, 1781. Arnold’s 1,600 largely Loyalist troops sailed up the James River at the beginning of January, eventually landing in Westover, Virginia. Leaving Westover on the afternoon of January 4, Arnold and his men arrived at the virtually undefended capital city of Richmond the next afternoon.
Only 200 militiamen responded to Governor Jefferson’s call to defend the capital–most Virginians had already served and therefore thought they were under no further obligation to answer such calls. Despite this untenable military position, the author of the Declaration of Independence was criticized by some for fleeing Richmond during the crisis. Later, two months after Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, he was cleared of any wrongdoing during his term as governor. Jefferson went on to become the leader of the Democratic-Republican Party, and his presidential victory over the Federalists is remembered as The Revolution of 1800.
After the war, Benedict Arnold attempted and failed to establish businesses in Canada and London. He died a pauper on June 14, 1801, and lays buried in his Continental Army uniform at St. Mary’s Church, Middlesex, London. To this day, his name remains synonymous with the word “traitor” in the United States.
Start your morning at Libby Hill Park and take in “The View That Named Richmond,” where you will witness a breathtaking view of the city, the James River, and neighboring regions. In 1737, local politician and noted founder of the city, William Byrd, II, stood upon the hill overlooking the river and noticed a striking comparison the unique landscape held with the view of Richmond on the Thames in England. Byrd named the city, Richmond, as a dedication to the comparable scenery.
A short drive down scenic Route 5 from the Richmond Region are eight beautiful plantation homes known as the James River Plantations.ꂾlle Air,ꂾrkeley,ꃭgewood, North Bend, Piney Grove at Southall’s Plantation, Shirley, Sherwood Forestਊnd Westover (grounds only) are open to the public, some regularly and some by appointment. Allow 90 minutes each.
Enjoy a nice lunch paired with fine Virginia wine at Upper Shirley Vineyards or pack a picnic to enjoy on the grounds of one of the plantations. After lunch, continue on with your drive through the plantations.
Head back to Richmond for dinner on the patio of The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing, where you will enjoy an excellent meal paired with scenic views of the James River.
Richmond History Tours
Please note, reservations are required for all tours and capacity is limited. Attendees and Guides are encouraged to wear facemasks for the full duration of the tour. We look forward to exploring Richmond history with you this summer!
Discover Richmond Stories!
Join us on a guided tour and explore Richmond history from its beginnings to present day, discovering the sites and stories that shaped the River City! With the most experienced guides in Richmond, Valentine tours go beyond the highlights, uncovering best kept secrets of locals.
Public Richmond City Tours
Private Group Tours
Self-Guided City Tours
Capitol Square Grounds and Statues Teacher Professional Development Workshop
Figures of Freedom: Shockoe Bottom Teacher Professional Development Workshop
Highlights of Hollywood Cemetery Walking Tour
Highlights of Hollywood Cemetery Walking Tour
Things To Know
Availability: From May– October we offer weekly public walking tours. Private, custom and school tours are offered year round.
Reservations: Reservations are required. Purchase tickets online, or call call (804) 649-0711 x 301 to purchase tickets over the phone.
Accessibility: People of all abilities are welcome. If we can do anything to accommodate your needs, please let us know in advance by emailing [email protected]g.
Weather: Tours are held rain or shine. However, in extreme weather a tour may be cancelled. Call 804-649-0711 x 301 to verify the tour will take place.
Cancellations: Tour tickets are non-refundable. Cancellations made 48 hours before the start of the tour will be welcome to reschedule for another date. To reschedule a reservation, call 804-649-0711 x 301.
Visit Haunts of Richmond Online
RVA Hidden History Storytellers was founded in 2018 to help bring forth some of the overshadowed aspects of Richmond’s past. It sprung forth from a desire to share fascinating details that came to light while conducting research for Haunts of Richmond. While those details didn’t quite fit into the paranormal realm, they found a home with RVA Hidden History Storytellers. RHH has grown to include four unique themed tours, special history dinner events and professional city guide services.