The town of Richland embraces the west two thirds of T. 31, of R. 2. It constituted a part of Eagle Township till 1867. It is an elevated prairie district, with no considerable stream, and no timber land within its limits. When the county was divided into townships, under the Township Organization Act, the Commissioners decided to make the navigable rivers, or such as were so declared by law, township lines, and consequently all towns cut by the Illinois, Fox, and Vermillion rivers, were divided by the stream.
The town of Eagle embraced T. 31, R. 2, and half of the town east of it, and south of the river. This policy was adopted for the reason that there were no bridges, and the streams were impassable at high water. Where the streams have been bridged, the tendency has been to so alter the town lines as to have the boundaries correspond with the surveyed township. This is a great convenience in electing school officers, and doing the business relating to schools-and that size is doubtless the most convenient. If Bruce had claimed the part of her township south of the river, and Eagle or Richland taken the balance, or the whole of T. 31, R. 2, it would have been a better arrangement. Bruce would have been forced to build a bridge over the Vermillion, which ought to have been done long since. Richland, being a prairie town, remained unoccupied till the building of the canal and railroad made its settlement practicable. In 1849 William Linder settled on S. 3. Peter Eschback, in 1851, settled on the same section. Conrad Eschback, in the same year, settled on S. 10, all from Germany, and commenced what is now the prosperous German settlement in the northeast part of the town.
E. A. Chase, from New England in 1838, settled first in Deer Park, and subsequently in Richland, on S. 7. He is now in Florida.
Reuben Hall, from Ohio in 1851, or 1852, settled on S. 7.
Asa Dunham, about 1848, settled on S. 8, and J. L. Dunham, in 1854, on S. 7-both from Ohio.
Robert E. McGrew, and sons, from Ohio in 1854, settled on S. 8.
Cutting, and Dana B. Clark, from Maine, in 1854, settled on S. 18.
Elwood Grist, about 1850, settled on S. 29 ; he died in 1855.
Israel Jones, from Maine ; W. Keller, from Ohio ; Isaac Vale, from Pennsylvania ; William Copeland, Andrew Fobs, and Alfred Lathrop, from Maine. The foregoing were those who first occupied and improved farms and participated in the experiences incident to the opening of a new country. Richland is now a well settled and populous town, the German element largely predominating.
[Source: History of LaSalle County, Illinois by Elmer Baldwin, Chicago, Rand, McNally & Co., Printers, 1877, SKETCH OF THE PIONEER SETTLERS OF EACH TOWN IN THE COUNTY, Richland, Page 472-473 - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]