City of Richmond was Born on the Fourth of July

Dublin Core


City of Richmond was Born on the Fourth of July


In the Kentucky Encyclopedia, published as part of the state bicentennial in 1992, I contributed the article on Richmond.

Bob Grise and I have written many articles about various subjects related to our hometown over the last 40 years or more.

So this time I will review the writings of others who wrote articles for the encyclopedia. They included contributions by William Ellis, H. E. Everman, Robert Grise, Warren Lambert, Charles Hay, Melba Hay, Lavinia Kubiak, H. E. Richardson and Richard Sears.

The city of Richmond was built on land donated by Col. John Miller and was named after his hometown in Virginia. The city’s birthdate was July 4, 1798. The county seat of Madison County previously was Milford.

A Greek Revival style county courthouse was built around 1850, replacing the first building. The first newspaper was called the Globe Register. The first school was established in 1799 by Israel Donaldson. The first city sponsored schools were Madison Seminary (1821) and Madison Female Institute (1858). A hotel began in 1812 and in 1817 the first bank was established.

Warren Lambert wrote the article on the Civil War Battle of Richmond.

Given his complete report, I will merely say that the Confederate forces routed the Union troops on a hot late August day in the most complete the south had in the entire war. Gen. Kirby Smith commanded the victorious Confederate forces.

Madison Countians who became state governors include James B. McCreary (two terms), and Keen Johnson in Kentucky, William J. Stone and David R. Francis in Missouri, and Green Clay Smith as governor in the Montana territory.

We can also claim U. S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Freeman Miller.

There have been two universities in the city of Richmond, Central University (1874-1901) a southern Presbyterian affiliated school, and Eastern Kentucky University, founded by the state in 1906.

For more information about Richmond, read our column and peruse the local libraries and used bookstores for the many good books out there on Madison’s heritage. And a happy, belated birthday to Richmond on the Fourth of July.


Dr. Fred Engle




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Dr. Fred Engle, “City of Richmond was Born on the Fourth of July,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed January 20, 2022,