Known as the Gateway to the Northern Neck, Richmond County was established in 1692 from the old Rappahannock County.
Originally explored by Captain John Smith in 1607–1608, the county was settled in 1640 when people migrated up from settlements below the Rappahannock River. It was presumably named after the First Duke of Richmond, cousin to both King William III and Queen Mary. One of the early settlers was Colonel Moore Fauntleroy, who patented land in the county in 1650.
The first county seat was thought to be at the mouth of Little Carter’s Creek, then moved to Naylors, an early river settlement. The seat moved inland in 1730 and renamed the Richmond County Courthouse. In 1831, the name was changed to Warsaw in sympathy with the Polish struggle for independence. Warsaw was incorporated as the county’s only town in 1947.
The Downing Bridge was built across the Rappahannock River in 1927, connecting Richmond County to Essex and opening up travel to and from the Northern Neck. The bridge replaced 200 years of ferry service and was dedicated by Sen. Thomas Downing of the Northern Neck.
Richmond County was home of the last president elected under the Articles of Confederation. In 1788, Judge Cyrus Griffin was elected president of the U.S. Congress Assembly and held that position until the U.S. Constitution was adopted and his successor, George Washington, was elected as the first U.S. President.
William A. Jones gained recognition for Richmond County in 1916 when, in supporting self-government for all people, he authorized a bill that guaranteed independence for the Philippines. In 1926, the people of the Philippines erected a memorial at Jones’ gravesite in the St. John’s Episcopal Churchyard in Warsaw.
Today Richmond County has a population of 9,300. Serving as the crossroads of U.S. Route 360 and State Route 3, the county seat of Warsaw is currently the headquarters for many regional government agencies as well as a community college, vocational center and regional jail.
The Richmond County seat is at 101 Court Circle in Warsaw. 333-3415. Richmond County has one incorporated town, Warsaw. The sheriff’s office can be reached at 333-3611.
The Richmond County Public Library is at 52 Campus Dr. in Warsaw. 333-3025.
The Richmond County Museum and Visitors Center is open Wed. – Sun. and is at 5874 Richmond Rd. in Warsaw. 333-3607
May 27: Historic Architecture Talk, Menokin, near Warsaw.