passed the Homestead Act of 1862, Brigham Young became anxious to obtain
control of the land before non-Mormons did. In August 1863 he called
Charles C. Rich to lead an exploring party into the Bear Lake Valley
to select a site for settlement. The first settlement, known as North
Twin Creek and later as Paris Creek, was made near present Paris, Idaho.
Since Bannock and Shoshone Indians also
used the valley, Rich obtained their permission to settle there in order
to minimize conflicts. Other settlements were soon founded, including
Round Valley in 1863, Kennedyville, (Garden City) and Laketown in 1864, Woodruff in 1865, Randolph in 1870, and
Argyle in 1875.
of Green River County, which was formed in 1852, the county became Richland
County in 1864. The name was shortened to Rich in 1868, and a final
alteration occurred in 1872 when part of Cache County was added to the
county by the territorial legislature.
affected the settlement of the Bear Lake Valley. Woodruff averages only
fifty-seven frost-free days a year and holds the record for the coldest
temperature ever recorded in the state ( minus 50F on 6 February
1899). Even though much of Rich County is highland, it also has fertile
lowlands that support productive farms and livestock, and three-fourths
of the county's land is used for agriculture, primarily grazing. Livestock
and livestock products account for the greater part of the county's
income. The development of Bear Lake as a popular recreation area with
resorts, public beaches, and summer homes has helped to diversify Rich