In January 1864
an independent party of ten men under the leadership of Albert Lewis
came from Sanpete and arrived in what is now Richfield on 6 January.
In the winter of 1864 Orson Hyde called additional families to go. Some
bought their way out, but others responded to the call to settle. The
first two white women in Richfield were Ann Swindle and Charlotte Doxford.
The first settlement was called Big Springs or Warm Springs, after the
life-giving spring at the foot of the red hills to the west. The settlement
later was called Omni after a prophet in the Book of Mormon. The name
was changed to Richfield because of the fertile soil. The first dwelling
places were dugouts.
The early settlers
wasted no time. August Nelson planted cottonwood saplings and Joseph
F. Doxford even organized a martial band. A temporary bowery was built.
Early in 1865 about 100 more families arrived, most from Sanpete Valley.
In February 1865 the first schoolhouse was built; the first teacher
in the school was Hans P. Miller. A fort was started in the fall of
1865; each man who owned a city lot was required to build one rod (16.5
feet) of wall.