Old Rappahannock County (which contained the land that is now Richmond County) straddled the Rappahannock River. In 1692, noting the inconvenience of crossing the river for court sessions, Rappahannock County justices petitioned the
Virginia Assembly at Jamestown to divide the county again. The result produced two new counties, Essex on the south side of the Rappahannock and Richmond County on the north. The county was most likely named for the first Duke of Richmond (1672-1723) a favorite of King William III and Queen Mary, who were on the throne of England in 1692. At this time, the cash crop of tobacco was at the heart of the Virginia economy and enterprising planters like the Fauntleroys, Glascocks, Carters and Tayloes began to build fortunes and with the use of indentured servants and enslaved Africans.