Richmond is the county seat of Fort Bend County on the Brazos River southwest of Houston. The earliest settlement was in 1822 by members of the Old Three Hundred (Stephen F. Austin's colony). Richmond was established in 1837 by Robert Eden Handy and his business partner, William Lusk and named for Richmond, England. Before the Civil War, the area became a center for ranching and cattle as herds were shipped north to the market centers. When the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway extended its tracks through the area, it bypassed Richmond. The Post-Reconstruction era brought the "Jaybird-Woodpecker War" with heavy casualties among the rival political factions of 1888-90. Carrie Nation's crusade against "demon rum" began in Richmond. The silver-domed Fort Bend County Courthouse dates from 1908 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Historical markers are displayed on the grounds. The Morton Cemetery contains graves of many early pioneers of Texas.
Richmond's growth has paralleled nearby Houston and Harris County. Its fertile coastal plains are devoted to farming and ranching. Industries include oil, salt, sulphur production, steel fabrication and diversified manufacturing.