The Village of Richfield, originally the home of the Menomonee and Potawatomi people, is located in the south-central Washington County. These areas were ceded by treaties ratified in 1831, by the Menomonee and 1833, by the Potawatomi to the United States. The areas were then surveyed under the auspices of Garret Vliet, who was appointed United States deputy surveyor in 1835.
The first landowner of record in the Village of Richfield was Samuel Spivey, a surveyor with Vliet's group, who purchased 160 acres in 1841, although he did not settle there, but bought it for land speculation. By 1846, a formal Township government had been established; and by 1848, most of the Township land had been purchased by German (primarily from Hesse-Darmstadt), Irish and a few scattered English immigrants where conditions in the homeland made it ripe for emigration to America. Most early settlers came with the intention of farming, but they brought with them skills which would prove useful in frontier living.
The settlers found the land in Richfield fertile and well suited to agriculture (early subsistence farming, wheat production and later the milk cow) as well as well-watered due to its small creeks and streams, the two largest being the Bark and Oconomowoc which, as part of the Rock River system, flow south through Illinois to the Mississippi River. The village also has several lakes within its boundary – Bark, Amy Belle, Little and Big Friess, and Lake Five.
Much of the western portion of the village, along with the neighboring Township of Erin to the west, is comprised of a rugged terrain of beautiful scenic features. Two battling glacial lobes, the Green Bay and Michigan, in movement and melting at their interlobate faces, disrupted the land and left unusual scenic features seen nowhere else on our planet except in the interlobate terrain of the Russian Ural Mountains.