This was the earliest settlement, in 1822, by members of the Old Three Hundred (Stephen F. Austin's colony). The city was established in 1837 by Robert Eden Handy and his business partner, William Lusk. It was named for Richmond, England. Before the Civil War, the area was a center for ranching and cattle. The Post-Reconstruction era brought the "Jaybird-Woodpecker War," with heavy casualties among rival political factions in 1888–90. Carrie Nation's crusade against "demon rum" began here. It is the Fort Bend County seat, and the copper-domed courthouse (circa 1908) is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Historical markers are on the grounds.
Growth has paralleled nearby Houston and Harris County. Fertile coastal plains are devoted to farming and ranching. Industries include oil, salt, sulphur production, steel fabrication and diversified manufacturing.
Morton Cemetery contains graves of many early Texas pioneers, including Jane Long, the Mother of Texas, and Mirabeau Lamar, second president of the Republic of Texas. Maps of the cemetery and walking guides are available at the Fort Bend Museum.
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