History of Rich County, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)

When Congress 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.

Originally part 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.

Harsh winters 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 County's economy.

Linda Thatcher

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